"The Cricket Game" is the tenth episode of Season Two of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Robert Hull and directed by Dean White. It is the thirty-second episode of the series overall, and premiered on January 6, 2013.
Regina is accused of murdering one of the town's most beloved fairytale characters but only Emma senses that she may be innocent. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, after capturing the Evil Queen, Snow White and Prince Charming set about planning her public execution in order to rid the land of her murderous tyranny.
At the Storybrooke Harbor, Hook is on his ship staring at the town. When he gets off his ship with Cora, Hook says that this is where they should go their separate ways and that he needs to skin his "crocodile". As he walks away, Cora transports from behind him to in front of him. She says that going into Storybrooke alone is a bad idea. Hook says that they had a deal and to for Cora to get out of his way. Cora states that she is doing him a favor. She asks him how she could transport from one place to another and Hook realizes that there is magic in Storybrooke. Cora says that magic in Storybrooke would make matters a bit more complicated. If Hook chose to go to Mr. Gold, that would empower him. Hook knows what would happen and listens to Cora. They then meet a fisherman who asks them if they need anything from the tackle shop. Hook says that they are fine. The fisherman states that they have a nice vessel. Cora asks him what vessel he is talking about. Then she magically makes the ship invisible. The fisherman says that that was a "cool trick". He asks if Cora is some sort of magician and then Cora turns him into a fish, which Hook kicks into the water. The two then leave to go look at Storybrooke.
Mary Margaret Blanchard and David Nolan are making up for lost time in their apartment when Emma Swan and Henry Mills walk in on them. Henry is unfazed and asks why they are still in bed while Emma is in shock at finding her parents in this kind of situation. David jokes that he is glad they are still able to give Emma some embarrassing childhood memories even though they have been absent from her life.
Previously in the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen overlooks a burning village when one of her knights approaches her and tells her that the forces of King George have failed, Snow White and Prince Charming have won the war, and the location of King George is unknown. She asks her knight the location of Snow White, and he informs her that she is on her way to meet with Prince Charming. The Evil Queen commands that she does not care how many lives are lost, Snow White is to be kept away from Prince Charming, until she can meet with her. Snow White is running through the woods when she trips on a rock and Regina approaches. She offers the Queen parley, a chance to negotiate a surrender. When the Evil Queen states that she asks for Snow White's death, Snow White calls upon the Blue Fairy who descends from the sky and throws fairy dust on Regina, paralyzing her and rendering her powerless. Prince Charming comes out of hiding and tells the Queen that because of her blood lust, she has lost her position as Queen and the kingdom now belongs to himself and Snow White.
The town gathers at Granny's Diner to celebrate the return of Mary Margaret and Emma. Regina Mills walks in with lasagna, apologizing that she is late. Everyone wonders why she is there and Emma explains to her parents that Regina is trying to change and she has invited her for Henry's sake. Several of the party guests are suspicious of her presence, but Emma defends her because Regina has saved her and Mary Margaret's lives. Henry is able to spend some time with his adoptive mother, and he tells her that he is glad she came.
Regina leaves, but Emma follows her to let her know she is welcome to stay. Emma tells Regina that she is glad that Regina got to spend time with Henry. Since she feels she is changing, Regina asks that she be allowed to see Henry more often, that she has his room ready for him to come home. Emma tells her that she does not think that is best, and the two begin to argue. Regina tells Emma that she knows nothing of parenting, that she should talk to David who has taken care of Henry while Emma was away, just like she has. Emma turns to walk away, and Regina apologizes for yelling at her. Emma accepts Regina's apology, and tells her that she has spoken with Archie Hopper, who has told her that Regina is trying to change. She thanks Emma for inviting her to the party, then leaves. As she is walking home, Cora and Hook watch. Hook asks the Queen of Hearts if her daughter is broken, and she replies that she has not lost everything yet.
The next day, at the docks, Archie is walking his dog Pongo when he runs into Regina. Regina is angry at him because he has told Emma about their sessions. When Ruby approaches them, Regina says that this is a private talk and tells her to go away. Just before Regina leaves, she says to Archie that he is lucky that she has changed.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, the War Council is discussing the Evil Queen. Jiminy Cricket says that he has a fear that the Queen will never change. Grumpy offers a quick and violent death for the Queen. Granny suggests that they banish the queen to another realm, but Red Riding Hood says that the queen is their problem and it is unjust to inflict Regina on another realm. Prince Charming says that as long as the Evil Queen lives, the kingdom is in danger and decides that they must kill her. After the meeting is dismissed, Snow White asks Prince Charming if killing the Evil Queen is the right thing to do. Again, Prince Charming says that as long as the Evil Queen lives, she will keep trying to kill Snow.
Back in Storybrooke, it is late at night and what seems to be Regina is walking towards Archie's office. Ruby sees her walk into the office and she seems a bit suspicious. When Regina knocks on Archie's door, she says that she wants to have a talk. As Archie is getting Regina's file out of his cabinet, Regina suddenly appears behind Archie. Then she chokes Archie and immobilizes Pongo. She then sucks the life out of Archie. When she leaves the office, she walks in an alleyway, and she transforms back into her true self, Cora.
The next day, Emma and Henry are having breakfast at Granny's Diner and discussing what it is like in the Enchanted Forest. Outside the diner, Emma and Henry run into Pongo who barks repeatedly. Then Ruby comes out and says that something is wrong. As Henry walks off to school, Pongo runs to Archie's office and Emma and Ruby follow him. When they reach Archie's office, they find what appears to be Archie's body on the ground. Emma asks who would do such a thing, and Ruby replies that she thinks she knows who would.
In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen is visited by her father who says that he has failed her as a father. He asks for forgiveness to which the Evil Queen replies that there is no need. She says that he is the thing she loves most. Her father begs her to show Snow White and Prince Charming that she can change, saying she could be spared.
At the Storybrooke Sheriff Department, Emma and David are interrogating Regina about the death of Archie. She is both upset and angry. Upset that Archie is dead and angry that she is being accused of this crime. She asks them why she would kill Archie after everything she has done to change. David says that she has been caught before. He also says that she has been given the chance to change once before, and he asks why this time should be any different.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, it is the day of the Evil Queen's execution. As she walks out, there are many people, including Rumplestiltskin, who have come to watch the execution. After a guard ties her up, Jiminy Cricket approaches her and asks her if she has any last words. She says that in the future, she wants people to know what she felt in her last moment. Regret. Regret that she could not cause more pain, inflict more misery. And most of she regrets that she has not been able to kill Snow White. Prince Charming the guards to take their aim and fire. Just after the guards fired their arrows, Snow White yells "Stop!". It is too late for the guards to stop the arrows, but the Blue Fairy magically stops the arrows with her wand. Snow White says that killing the queen is not the way to punish her and then walks off. Prince Charming orders the guards to release the queen and take her back to her cell. As she is being escorted back to the cell, she has an evil smirk on her face.
Outside the interrogation room in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret asks Emma and David what they should do. David suggests that they should lock her up. But Emma will not let David, because she cannot prove Regina is guilty. David asks what to do, and Emma convinces both of them to let Regina go.
In the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming are talking in the War Council Meeting Room. Prince Charming is upset with Snow White, because she has not gone through with what they have planned. Snow White tells Prince Charming that Regina can change back and that she can become a better person again. All that she needs is the chance. Prince Charming still is not convinced, but he says that what Snow White wants will happen.
Snow White is roaming the execution site at night when she meets Rumplestiltskin. Inquiring as to why he is there, he replies that he has been disappointed by the lack of an execution. Snow White says that she will not apologize for sparing the queen's life. Rumplestiltskin says that Regina changing will not be easy. He asks how she is going to accomplish this task. She says she does not even know if it is possible. Rumplestiltskin offers to make a deal. A deal to truly see if the Evil Queen can change.
In Storybrooke, Emma, Mary Margaret and David are in Archie's office searching for evidence when David finds Regina's file and it is empty. When he tells Mary Margaret and Emma, Mary Margaret is convinced that Regina indeed killed Archie. However, Emma still believes in Regina. David reminds her of all the evidence against Regina, and Emma says that maybe that is a key. There is too much evidence. They say that she is obviously being framed, and Mary Margaret says that there is a long list of suspects who would want to do this. But Emma says that there is one person on that list who would resort to killing to get what he wants.
Mr. Gold thanks Belle for bringing him a picnic basket. The two prepare to eat some sandwiches, but are interrupted by David, Mary Margaret and Emma. Mr. Gold smiles and says "nothing better than a family reunited." Emma completely ignores this and accuses him of murdering Archie. Emma tells them that it looks as if someone framed Regina. Belle and Mr. Gold believe it is Regina. Mr. Gold then says that they could ask the witness, Pongo. David brings Pongo over to Mr. Gold. Belle tells him that she was unaware that Mr. Gold was a dog person. He tells her that he has spent time with sheepdogs. Emma cuts to the chase, by asking how they will find out what he knows. Mr. Gold responds by saying that they cannot communicate, but can extract his memories. Emma does not want to do this, because she believes Mr. Gold could trick them with his Magic. Then he says that Emma will be the one using magic, because she has it within her. Mr. Gold goes over to a cupboard and pulls out something Emma recognizes as a dreamcatcher. Mr. Gold tells her that it can "catch so much more." When he strokes it along Pongo's head, it retains a jumble of memories. He hands it to Emma. At first she is unsure of how to use it, but eventually she is able to see Pongo's memories of "Regina" killing Archie.
David and Mary Margaret follow an angry Emma towards the home of Regina Mills. They stop her and tell her that going after her without a plan is a mistake. The two then remember the new batch of Fairy Dust that Leroy told them about. They plan to get her the same way they did last time.
Snow White goes to Regina's cell, and countermands Prince Charming's orders to the guards. Regina asks Snow White if she is having problems with Prince Charming, but Snow White changes the subject. She tells Regina about the time Regina saved her life and how the good person she used to be is still inside her. Regina denies this. Snow White tries to help the Evil Queen leave behind her evil way of life, by releasing her from her cell. Whilst walking out of her cell, Regina pins Snow White to the wall and chokes her. Snow White gets out a knife, but Regina grabs it away from her. She smiles, as she plunges the knife into Snow. To her surprise Snow White is not injured in the slightest. Snow then tells her that it's magic. Prince Charming then appears with his guards and tells Regina that the blade was enchanted by Rumplestiltskin. Regina says that she was tricked, but Snow White says that it was a test. This experience prompts Snow White to banish Regina to live alone. Before Regina is escorted by the guards, Snow White tells her that, though she can no longer harm them, she will kill her if she ever harms someone else in her kingdom again
In Storybrooke, they arrive at Regina's home, and she tells them that she did not kill Archie. She believes that Mr. Gold is faking the evidence against her, using his magic, and of being the real murderer. Mary Margaret tells her that it was Emma who used magic. Regina then tells her that she will have to pay a price for using magic, and Emma counters by saying that telling Henry what happened to Archie is both of their prices. Emma then walks off. Regina tells her that Henry must hear her side of the story. Emma calls on Mother Superior, who throws Fairy Dust at Regina in an attempt to paralyze her once again. Regina is able to thwart this attempt and then uses her magic to throw Emma across the yard. She asks Emma if she intends to use her newfound magic against her, but Emma tells her that she doesn't need to, because Henry will never trust her again. She then tells Regina that they all know what she is and always will be; the evil queen. Regina then disappears into smoke.
Emma waits for Henry at the bus stop. She asks David and Mary Margaret how she will tell him about what happened and whether or not she is competent enough to be his parent. They assure her that it will be okay and that they have each other. When Henry walks off the bus Emma walks down the street with him telling him the news of Archie's death. Unbeknownst to them, Regina is sitting in her car watching them. As Henry and Emma hug, Regina starts to cry.
In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen sits in her palace. Her father comes in and tells her of a visitor. From behind her Rumplestiltskin appears and asks what other friends does she have to which the queen replies that he is not her friend. Rumplestiltskin tells her that it is Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding today. The Queen tells him that this is useless information to her. He then tells her that if she wishes to harm them she could always bring them to another land. She smiles at this, and he tells her that he is her friend,before disappearing into smoke. The Queen then calls her father to summon the carriage, because "she has a wedding to get to."
In Storybrooke, a smiling Cora approaches Hook and tells him that her daughter has now lost everything. Hook asks Cora when he will be able to get revenge on Rumplestiltskin. Cora tells him that she has started on it and brings him down into his ship, where she shows him the "gift" she procured for him. The gift is revealed to be Archie, who is tied and gagged. She tells Hook that he knows many secrets of Storybrooke and that "this cricket will chirp."
- The title card features Pongo.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on November 23, 2012.
- This episode marks the first appearance of several Enchanted Forest characters in the second season, such as the Blue Fairy, Jiminy Cricket, Granny, Sneezy, and Grumpy.
- Concept artist John Gallagher created concept art of a burning, four-legged armored creature known as a "guardian fire lion", for the episode, but this idea did not make it onto the screen.
- The two swans gathered by Hook's ship in the beginning of the episode are a reference to Emma's last name and a subtle foreshadowing of things to come.
- Nick Hunnings, who portrays the Prison Guard, also portrays Jack in the Season Six episode "Changelings".
- The majority of the Enchanted Forest flashbacks occur after "Lady of the Lake" and before "A Bitter Draught".
- The Storybrooke events occur after "Queen of Hearts and prior to "The Outsider". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The banner used for the welcome home party is the same one used in "The Return".
- A photograph from the welcome home party is shown in "Smash the Mirror".
- Regina says "Sorry, I'm late" just the way the Evil Queen says in "Pilot".
- Regina mentions her therapy sessions with Dr. Hopper, which began in "The Doctor".
- Emma's reference to Regina having "already poisoned Henry" is an implication of the events of "An Apple Red as Blood".
- Snow White mentions Regina saving her in "The Stable Boy".
- Prince Charming as well as Snow White mention her attempted assassination of the Evil Queen in "Heart of Darkness".
- Regina's special lasagna was first made in "The Stranger". It makes a reappearance in "Welcome to Storybrooke" and "The Other Shoe".
- Mr. Gold says that Emma has her mother's chin; echoing a comment made by Mary Margaret in "True North".
- The next time Emma uses magic is in "The Miller's Daughter" when she casts a protection spell on Mr. Gold's shop.
- In the opening scene, Hook is shown from behind, standing on a yard while holding on to it with his left appendage, and looking at the town while the camera zooms in on him. The camera then zooms in on his face as his hair is blowing in the wind. Hook then grabs a rope that was next to the mast, hangs on to it and jumps to the deck below. This is exactly the same as Captain Jack Sparrow's introduction in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
- At the party, Dopey is wearing a Geronimo Jackson shirt. Geronimo Jackson is a fictional band on Lost.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features the Evil Queen, Snow White, Prince Charming and the Seven Dwarves from the Snow White fairytale, the Talking Cricket and Fairy with the Turquoise Hair from The Adventures of Pinocchio, Red Riding Hood and her grandmother from the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story as well as Rumplestiltskin and the miller's daughter from the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale.
- The song featured in one of the episode promos, known under the title "Timeless Love", is "Timeless" by The Airborne Toxic Event.
- Framed illustrations by the renowned German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel are hanging on the wall in the corridor outside Archie's office. The pictures are from Haeckel's book Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature), first published between 1899 and 1904 in separate installments, and collectively in 1904. From left to right:
- Emma is wearing an Etoile Isabel Marant Odrys Cardigan (no longer available).
- The Evil Queen's battle outfit is the same outfit worn by her serum counterpart when the latter attacks Zelena in the Season Six episode "Changelings".
- The dress worn by the Evil Queen when she is imprisoned is the same dress that Emma wears when she emerges from the Vault of the Dark One in the Season Five premiere "The Dark Swan", but with a different cloak. In addition, when Emma is Queen Snow's prisoner in the Season Three finale "There's No Place Like Home", she is wearing a lightened version of the same dress.
- The black coat worn by Regina at the docks, which Cora wears a replica of when she impersonates Regina, is a Zara Coat With Buckles (no longer available). Regina wears the same coat in "Tiny".
- Emma's gray leather jacket is a Supple Leather Jacket from Helmut Lang.
- When Regina is interrogated at the sheriff's station, she's wearing a Pixel Suit Jacket from Helmut Lang (no longer available). She also wears this garment in "In the Name of the Brother", "And Straight On 'Til Morning"  and the Season Six episode "Ill-Boding Patterns".
- The dress worn by the Evil Queen when she talks with Rumplestiltskin about Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding is the same dress that she wore when the Magic Mirror became trapped in the Season One episode "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree". The same dress is later worn by her serum counterpart when talking with Mr. Gold at the end of the Season Six episode "I'll Be Your Mirror" and later when she is residing at the Evil Queen's Palace in the Season Six finale "The Final Battle Part 2".
|Finnish||"Salaisuuksien haltija"||"The Holder of Secrets"|
|French||"Le Chant du Criquet"||"The Cricket Song"|
|German||"Das Spiel der Grille"||"The Cricket Game"|
|Hungarian||"Tücsökciripelés"||"The Cricket Song"|
|Italian||"Il gioco del grillo"||"The Cricket Game"|
|Polish||"Podstęp ze świerszczem"||"The Trick with the Cricket"|
|Portuguese||"A Trama do Grilo"||"The Plot of the Cricket"|