Subtext Recap: Once Upon a Time 2.10 – The Cricket Game

So, at some point in the first week of this year, I said to myself, “Hey, just because you haven’t set another goal that you won’t meet for the new year doesn’t mean your first post of 2013 is going to be a Once Upon a Time subtext recap.”


Anyway –

SPOILERS yada yada yada


When we last left them, Regina tried to kill Emma (kinda) and then rescued Emma (kinda), but still got a major shafting, and not the kind she was hoping for from Emma. To make it up to her, Emma invites Regina to the ‘Welcome Home, Mary Margaret (and a little bit Emma)’ party in the first act of The Cricket Game, smiling when Regina walks through the door and boldly stating to the assembled angry mob haters guests “I invited her” when Regina’s right to be there is called into question.

Then, Emma proceeds to plead the case for her girlfriend true love party date to Snow and Charming in a very ‘Mom, Dad, I know that Vixen’s had trouble with the law, but she’s really just misunderstood. Please let me go out with her’ kind of way, and good ole Mom and Dad are finally like, “Fine. But you have to be home by ten-thirty.”

Okay, base level, I get the ‘I was given a chance to change, she gets one too’ argument, but let’s just press “pause” on this scene, shall we? Let’s see, Emma got her second chance because her son who already loved her went looking for her and then her mother who felt an affinity for her took her in and then the sheriff who wanted to shtoop her gave her a job. See where I’m going with this?

And this is before they’re alone together. Which comes after Regina realizes she’s invited, but not really welcome (one of the crummiest feelings in the world, I think we can all agree) and flees the scene, at which point Emma runs after her (Runs!) and attempts to woo Regina back inside with the promise of sugar. Not her own, unfortunately, which is probably why Regina turns it down.

So, looking like she doesn’t really want to do it alone, Emma starts back inside, and, realizing she doesn’t want to stop talking to Emma or that she hasn’t been effusive enough in her appreciation, Regina thanks Emma an extra time for inviting her. And Emma’s all “Henry wanted it! Don’t read into things! This is SO not a date!” And Regina looks happy? disappointed? Kinda both actually.

A brief Henry-discussion later, Regina gets hurt and goes into protective mode, spitting vitriol, and Emma’s all “Okay, it was fun flirting while it lasted,” and Regina apologizes twice, because she can’t be insistent enough in her thanking or sorrying with Emma, and calls Emma by her first name.

Which is sexy.

Emma accepts the double-apology, of course, because there were two of them so clearly Regina meant it twice as much, and says she knows that Regina is trying to change and looks positively elated about the prospect, as if Regina becoming a better person will ensure the ‘rents will be more understanding when they run off to become carnies together. Even though Regina’s mind is automatically sing-songing “Dead bug in the middle of the road,” she still manages to part from Emma with a smile, swinging her hands about because she NEEDS A DAMN HUG THAT NO ONE WILL GIVE HER!!!

So, then there’s a dead bug – or is there? – and Regina gets hauled in, cracks wise about the Sheriff’s office, and is shocked to find she’s accused of one of the few crimes she didn’t commit. Emma slides onto the table to be closer, and Regina angles up to her in an ‘I’m talking to Emma and ONLY to Emma’ pose, appealing directly to their mutual longing and giving Emma the best vantage point of her cleavage in the entire Sheriff’s office, just in case that helps.

It does.

Soon, Emma is, once again, defending Regina for the sake of Henry – oh, please – and is like “Look at her in there. In that red jacket. Come on, just look at her. I mean, damn, look at her.” After which, she stares longingly at the glass for three minutes. Once she can blink again, she whirls on her parents to testify with snippets like –

That’s a woman who wants to change. She just wants everyone else to see it.

I know her. I believe her.

I know in your kingdom, she was the evil queen, but here she’s Regina.

Emma’s smitten, kittens. And the way that Snow looks at Emma every time she comes to Regina’s aid, she totally knows it. She’s like, “Oh shit. There is clearly gonna come a time when Emma and Regina will always find each other, so we’d better start making nice with the future daughter-in-law, past-stepmother, redemption-seeker, evil queen… who the hell is this woman to us anyway?!?”

So, off they go to search for evidence and find it and Snow and Charming are all “Let’s kill the beast!” And Emma’s all “Nope, it’s a frame job. And she’s gonna be the other bride at my wedding, so could you two please just get over your whole ‘She tried to kill us! Yesterday!’ nonsense and just say mazel tov? By the way, are we Jewish? We’ve never really talked about it.”

Then, Emma reads a dog’s mind (we’ll just leave that one alone) and “sees” Regina do some killin’, and she says “Regina” in this pained manner and her daddy is all “I’m sorry, Emma.” Which is, frankly, a little bizarre.

“I’m sorry” isn’t cuttin’ it, though. Emma’s already blindly raging. “Regina broke my internal lie detector! Her sexy deceived me! She must pay!” And her parents are all “Emma, she’s going to burn you like a three-dollar toaster.” And Emma’s all “I’ve got skillz now” and the ‘rents are all “Not like Regina’s skillz.” And Emma’s like “Wait, what about Regina’s skillz? I think I need to know more .”

The distraction doesn’t last long, sadly, because Emma’s still uber-angry, having believed that she was about to get her lurve on, only to have the moment snatched away. Now, she’s thinking “my fiancee is a murderess (again) and I’m going to have to wait until like infinity to sweeten the deal.”  So, they go to capture Regina, and Regina learns that Emma used magic and looks at Emma all awe-inspired and longing and says “You can use magic?” in a voice that really should have made Emma forget her mission and jump her in the doorway. Instead, Emma drops a totally rude reminder of Regina’s mistakes on her, and, in lieu of smiting her (which Regina totally could have done), Regina chases after Emma and Emma gets pretty feisty at what feels like betrayal – of Henry, of course. (It’s not a date!)

Regina has magic on her side, though, and tosses Emma like a ball, before getting right up in her grill. And I mean right up in that thing. But while Regina is totally trying to tempt Emma into settling the whole thing in a magical jello realm, Emma brings out the big guns and tells Regina she will always be the evil queen.

That’s a bad breakup.

But, instead of really hurting anyone (which Regina totally could have done!), Regina simply poofs herself away, and her sadness reigns supreme for the rest of the episode.

All this, plus a less-than-subtle anti-capital punishment message.

Why they do this to me?

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