Once Upon A Time Review: On Second Chances
We’ve been away from Storybrooke for several weeks at this point, and aside from the fact that Captain Hook will be joining the rest of the cast on a regular basis, I really can’t say I was waited with bated breath for it’s return. If you kept up with my recaps last fall, you know that I find the sophomore season to so far be a hot mess as far as the storytelling, and boring to boot.
I can’t say that the winter premiere did much for me, either, but the subject matter is thought-provoking, at least. How many chances does a person get to do the right thing? Whose job is it to decide when they’ve had enough, when they’re so evil that there’s no way they’ll ever change? How does killing a killer set anything to right?
Certainly questions our society deals with (or avoids dealing with) today, and always fodder for interesting narratives. This week, the person in question is Regina (Lana Parrilla), who we know spent years doing terrible things to Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) in Fairytale Land. This weeks’ episode brought us additional flashbacks – basically rehashing the fact that Snow especially believed over and over again that Regina had good inside her and deserved a second chance. When she tried to kill Snow one last time, however, the royal couple’s patience ran out and they removed her magic with Rumplestilskin’s help so that she could no longer use her magic against Snow and Charming in the Fairytale Realm.
Which led, of course, as we all know to the development of the curse that sent them to Storybrooke all those years ago. The Fairytale Land portion of the episode felt like a rehash in more ways than one, basically reinforcing that Regina has been given multiple opportunities to be a better person and that Rumplestilskin engineered the entire curse for his own purposes.
Back in Storybrooke, the atmosphere is celebratory as Mary Margaret and David, um, reconnect and Emma and Henry (Jared Gilmore) spend more time together. Emma invites Regina to the welcome home party, willing to believe that she wants to be different in spite of the fact that everyone else is determined to hate her, and for her part Regina seems to be honestly attempting to walk the straight and narrow. Spending time with Henry is more important to her than anything, but when Emma congratulates Regina on making an effort by seeing Dr. Hopper (Raphael Sbarge), the conversation sets off an unforeseen chain of events.
Regina confronts Hopper the next day, upset that he broke their doctor/client privileges (rightfully so), Ruby sees them arguing. When Regina goes into Hopper’s apartment that night and ultimately kills him, Ruby (Meghan Ory) sees that, too.
Except it’s not Regina, it’s evil Cora (Barbara Hershey) wearing Regina skin. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) believes Regina when she says she didn’t kill Hopper, but all the evidence points her direction. As they go to Gold (Robert Carlyle) to try to prove Regina’s being set up, Emma uses her magic and proves the opposite instead – or at least thinks she does.
I can’t even talk to you about using a dog’s memories to see what happened that night. It’s too silly and unbelievable, even for a fairytale show. We’ll pretend it didn’t happen.
At any rate, they go to arrest Regina only to find that she doesn’t intend to go quietly. Neither Emma’s powers or the fairy dust are enough to contain her and she escapes. There is a really (forgive me) charming moment with the first family of Storybrooke as Emma freaks out about not knowing how to be a mother, and David and Mary Margaret remind her that they don’t know what they’re doing either, but they’re a family and will help each other get through it.
I actually loved that moment. I thought it was a poignant reminder of everything the three (four, counting Henry) of them have had stolen over the years, and how they’re going to have to come to terms with that sooner or later.
While they’re not willing to give Regina a second (or twenty-second) chance to be a good person, their family does have another chance to be together and to love each other. They should take it. If we’ve learned anything about the real world, it’s that second chances aren’t as easy to come by in the real world.
In that vein, it appears that Emma, Charming, and Snow all get a second chance to be parents, Ruby gets a second chance not to eat people, Henry gets a second chance to know his mother, Rumple and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) get a second chance at love…and Dr. Hopper gets a second chance at love.
Apparently the only person who doesn’t get a second chance is whatever poor sap is being buried in Hopper’s place.
And Regina. But she’s already squandered hers, though the writers are managing to make me feel badly for her character in both realms. Aside from that, please join me in taking up the mantra “more Captain Hook!”
It looks like next week the writer’s are going to get a second chance to make that happen.
Season 2, Episode 10 “The Cricket Game” (originally aired January 6, 2013)
Once Upon A Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.
Images courtesy of Jack Rowand and ABC.