Once Upon A Time: The Cricket Game

Once Upon A Time is back!

I know it was only gone a month, but that month was far too long to be without America's best, cheesily-written, awesome-female-characters-having fantasy show.

And the latest episode did not disappoint.

Quick recap: Cora is in town, and she's determined to make Regina hit rock bottom. Regina is struggling to convince the people in Storybrooke that she's actually trying to be good now, despite her dramatic change of heart and move to save Emma and Snow at the end of the last episode. Cora, seeing this, disguises herself as Regina and goes to "kill" Archie. His body is found, evidence is gathered, and all hell breaks loose for the once-evil queen.

Regina's move from a fairly one-dimensional villain to the most sympathetic character in the show is basically complete at this point. It's not surprising that the other characters are slow to trust her, or quick to believe that she killed Archie, considering how trusting her has worked out for them in the past, and it was refreshing to see Emma stand up for Regina and try to give her the chance she deserves. Even if that chance did not last very long. Now that Mulan and Aurora seem to be out of the picture, Emma and Regina have the most interesting relationship on the show: two women who feel a mixture of resentment and respect for one another, who both have pasts they regret, who share a son and are fighting to overcome their own flaws for his sake. Emma's complete assumption of Henry's care doesn't make much legal sense, since Regina is legally Henry's mother, but I suppose the law isn't exactly used to dealing with fairy tale curses and evil queens.

Meanwhile, Rumplestiltskin is luring another character into using magic. Regina's look of both respect and concern when she learned about Emma's powers, and her warning that "magic always comes with a price," seems pretty darn ominous. Is it possible that, just as Emma's past of mistakes and change was set up to mirror Regina's present in this episode, Emma's storyline may soon develop to mirror Regina's past, as magic takes hold of her?

In non-Regina-and-Emma news, Snow and Emma continue to try and navigate their unique mother-daughter relationship, Red and Snow continue to have a fantastic friendship, and Belle continues to be adorable but in need of another plotline of her own. Oh, and Captain Hook continues to be very attractive. But, Mr Gold excluded, who's watching this show for the guys these days?