A death, a lie and an unforeseen twist brought Once Upon a Time back for the winter.
Will Regina go down for Archie's death? Has Cora finally managed to break her daughter? Our round table team of TV Fanatic writers Jim Garner, Nick McHatton, Carla Day and Christine Orlando, dives in and conjures some answers about "The Cricket Game."
What was your favorite scene?
Jim: As much as I love Archie, I love a good death scene even more! So, yes, seeing Regina strangle Archie while poor Pongo watched? Gold!
Nick: I loved the beginning scenes with Emma and Henry chatting about tacos and Charming and Snow having some extracurricular activity. It's great because parents are never too old to embarrass or scar their daughter for life, and seeing Snow and Charming making up for lost time is great too. Plus, who doesn't love tacos?
Carla: I adored when Emma and Henry were having a mother-son chat before school about her Fairy Tale Land adventures. Those two have such a unique and loving bond that it's hard to believe they have only recently been living as a family. Emma's concern about Henry getting to the bus was a sign of her love, but also of the newness of her motherhood. Between this scene and walking in on David and Mary Margaret, the beginnings of a happy family are being formed. Though I doubt that will last long ... this is Storybrooke!
Christine: I'm with Nick. Snow and Charming were adorable and the shocked/horrified look on Emma's face was priceless.
Was Archie wrong to share details about Regina with Emma?
Jim: I don't think so. Like he told Regina, he didn't give details, only that they had talked but, to be fair, if it were me, I probably wouldn't be too happy either. (I wouldn't strangle the poor dude but that's just me.
Nick: No, Archie didn't share anything intimate or personal about Regina with anyone. He gave his professional, curse given opinion, to Emma. Regina is trying to change, that isn't a secret. The fact that she went to Archie to try to further that process is vital to her growing as a person.
Carla: In the real world, probably, but here Archie's intentions were innocent. Regina should have thanked him, because he was part of the reason that Emma was letting Regina into Henry's life at all. Regina was right to be upset about the supposed betrayal, but I think if Cora hadn't interfered, she would have come to see that Archie was helping her.
Christine: Maybe it's just me but I think Archie was wrong. It was hard for Regina to ask for help and she expected confidentiality. But then again, that's what you get for seeing a former cricket.
Did you feel sorry for Regina?
Jim: A little but I also don't want her to steer clear of her badness, which is so delicious to watch. It's a great layer to her character to know that in the past and present she has tried to do the right thing but, well, she's just meant to be bad.
Nick: Yes, absolutely. Her past continues to haunt her in all facets of her life, and, instead of trying to rehabilitate her like Archie, the town wants to burn her at the stake. It's hard to change when everyone wants your head.
Carla: I surprised myself and did feel sorry for her. She genuinely cares for Henry and was trying to be the person her son wants and needs her to be. Change is never easy and being framed for a murder makes it nearly impossible.
Christine: Yes. She's truly trying and other than Henry, there isn't anyone who is there to support her. It's hard to change when no one believes in you. That said, I also agree with Jim. I want her to change…but somehow never lose the badass Regina that I love.
Is Emma right to say Regina isn't Henry's mother?
Jim: In truth, yes. It's harsh but Regina also pushed Emma to say that to her. Yes, Regina had been raising the kid but his real mother is there and she's ready to be a Mom. I would hope they could still have some kind of relationship, though.
Nick: I'm of the opinion that Henry will always have two moms. The fact that Regina took care of him for so long isn't to be taken lightly. Henry is a good kid and that has more to do with Regina's parenting compared to Emma's; however, as Emma worked towards ridding the curse, Regina slowly slipped out of being a mother and headed towards being the evil queen again. Right now she's toting a fine line between them. No matter what squabbles Regina and The Charmings have Henry always comes first, and I have very little doubt that they will always put him first. Regina was willing to let her own vile mother into Storybrooke (as well as Emma) for Henry.
Carla: At this point, Regina isn't his mother, since she's been ostracized from his life. Unless she can prove that she is worthy, she won't be his mother ever again. In a way, it's a reverse adoption. Regina's parental rights are gone and Henry doesn't view her as such any more either. Regardless, it was a pretty harsh thing for Emma to say. It cut deep.
Christine: Regina loved him and raised him. I don't discount Emma's love for her son but I'm with Nick. Henry will always have two mothers. Ignoring his feelings for her will only hurt Henry in the end.
Has Cora broken Regina?
Jim: She's come damn close...and I think we can all guess that what Cora wants, Cora gets! Next episode should be VERY interesting!
Nick: As Jim said, it takes a lot to break Regina, and I don't think we're there yet.
Carla: No and I don't think she will. Regina is resilient. She may be upset and knocked down right now, but she's not out of the game. She'll be back and I wouldn't be surprised to see her even stronger after this incident.
Christine: Close. She's down and she's hurting but just wait until she figures out Cora is behind her pain. I can't wait.
Biggest surprise. Archie's death, that Rumplestiltskin had the original idea for the curse or Archie being alive but held captive.
Jim: I was most surprised when it did appear that Archie had been killed. I love a show that will shock us by killing people off unexpectedly. Was I happy that Archie is still alive? Shoot me but, yeah, I was glad. I like the little cricket!
Nick: Archie being alive.
Carla: Definitely that Archie was captured and not dead. I never saw that coming. The show hasn't pulled any pull twists in a while, so it was a pleasant surprise that they were able to do it here. Also, it offers an easy way out for Regina, when he reappears.
Christine: I was surprised that they killed Archie (and a little sad too) but Cora holding him on the boat was definitely the bigger twist.
So many great Once Upon a Time quotes. Who had the best line?
Jim: There were so many but I actually loved it when Regina was the one to say "Magic always comes with a price." It's usually Gold's line but it was great to hear it come from someone else and brought a heavier meaning to it. Regina being the one to say it to Emma - nice touch, OUAT writers!!
Nick: Mary Margaret: The trip home was tiring and I needed rest. David: And I needed to help her rest.
Carla: Regina: You tricked me. Snow White: It wasn’t a trick, it was a test. One that I truly hoped you’d pass.
Christine: Regina telling Red: Go take yourself for a walk. That just cracked me up.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.