Archie Hopper serves an essential role in the Once Upon a Time world: He's one of the few characters who has a strong conscience, but is willing to work with anyone who wants to improve themselves. He's exactly the kind of therapist a crazy town like Storybrooke needs, and nowhere has that been clearer than his interactions with Regina (Lana Parrilla) in Season 2.
Wetpaint Entertainment had a chance to chat with Raphael Sbarge, who plays Archie/Jiminy Cricket, about the season. In this first part of our interview, he delves into that Archie-Regina relationship, hints at what's to come for everyone's favorite Evil(ish) Queen, and dished on whether or not we can expect to see more of Henry (Jared Gilmore) "in the chair."
Wetpaint Entertainment: One of the most surprising and interesting developments this season has been Regina beginning to head down the road to redemption, and especially the part Archie has played in that. What was your reaction to finding out about that story?
Raphael Sbarge: I love that we've gotten to get into it. It's interesting. By breaking the curse after the first year, which a lot of people were like — "What?! You did what?" I think a lot of people were prepared for the long haul with the curse, that it was just going to be the status quo. And with doing this, [the writers] do what they do best — they keep you on your toes and continually do the unexpected, which is really cool.
When the curse got broken, and everyone became aware, Archie's first reaction was to run. You know — "I'm getting the hell out of here. This is stupid. Why are we living this way? It's not going to get any better. I hate this. [Regina]'s evil. We gotta get out of here." And obviously then [he] was turned back at the gates.
When he was challenged and ultimately decided to stay, what he did at that point was essentially turn and face the thing he was most frightened of, which was her. And then, in so doing, to try and go and speak to her. To essentially try to speak to the better — the angel of her higher nature, saying, "I know its in there," and to try and help facilitate really making a difference. Trying to help to give her a chance at redemption.
This is what has been so interesting, and this is what has been so great about the show, that they continue to take characters who are so evil, or seemingly bad, and then give them this whole other spin, where we suddenly find ourselves rooting for them to make a turn, or find their way. It's been so interesting, and unexpected, yet again. Always unexpected.
Obviously, [with the creators’] years on Lost, they learned a couple of things — continually giving you just enough information, you know. It's like they give you just enough heroin that you feel good, but then they take it all away and you go "No, I want more!" [Laughs] I don't know if that's an appropriate Disney reference, but they seem to have us engaged.
We've been seeing Regina take one step forward, two steps back. Will that continue to be the pattern, or do you think she will really make a permanent change for the better?
Well, I could tell you the answer to that question, but then I would give away the story! [Laughs] But what I think that you've seen is they're laying tracks for her to try and stop using magic, and to try and do the right thing. And what they have also done is try to find a way by which she could go back to understand the seed that set her [off] — what that thing is that set her in motion.
There are a lot of characters, obviously, that we're being introduced to this year. And so much that we're dealing with — not one, not two, but three different worlds. That is, this new world, and then Storybrooke and Fairytale. So there's a lot of different forces converging here. What I can tease you with is that there's a huge crescendo that is very shocking and dramatic, that will be ahead as we move forward.
Something we've seen less of this season is Archie's relationship with Henry. Will we get more of that in the future?
What's happened is that there's a lot of work that's been done with Archie and Henry — that we've seen, anyway — at a distance. He's working with each of [Henry's] mothers, or he's working to try and help Henry indirectly. And that has manifested as not a lot of time in the chair, as it were. I've been told that that is actually coming. We haven't shot it yet, but I agree with you that we want to see some time together with them.
I mean, there's a whole bunch of time that they've all been together as a group — that is the core group of us — but Henry, obviously, has been our way into the show. His journey, with going and getting Emma [Jennifer Morrison], and then bringing her back, and that leading to the end of the curse — it's been a huge part of how this works. What I think that we'll see here now is opportunities for [Archie] and Henry to come back together and have some sorting through time.
That would be good. Poor Henry needs someone to help him deal with everything that's happened!
He's got a lot pulling at him, here! The one thing one can say is [that in] this town of Storybrooke, with being the only therapist, and one of the few people who has a conscience, as it were, in all of this, I would say that there is job security ahead for Archibald Hopper!
For more from Raphael, you can follow him on Twitter @RaphaelSbarge.
And remember to check back next Thursday and Friday for Parts Two and Three of our interview, where Raphael talks about Archie's love life, his place in the expanding cast, and what makes OUAT so unique in today's TV landscape.
Catch the next new episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, November 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.
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