Monday, November 07, 2011

Once Upon a Time Ep 3: Snow Falls

Sorry for the lateness of this; I was hoping to post my reviews of Once Upon a Time the night they aired, but I was away this weekend and didn’t get back home until late. We’ve had a lot of discussions this week, and I’ve received several notes on my Facebook page and personal emails, and a couple of things came up more than once: people wondered if the flashbacks would continue now that we’d caught up to the Queen’s curse, and one person mentioned that many websites were referring to Snow White’s alternate character as “Sister” Mary Margaret and he wondered if she was a nun.

I believe the flashbacks are essential to this show, and predicted they’d keep moving back and would begin to incorporate other characters so we could see simultaneous points of view, and it appears to be the way they’re going to do it. As to the second comment, that was answered this week when she said to Emma, “I’m a teacher, not a nun.” I don’t know where people got that idea from, other than the fact Mary Margaret has a very religious name, and was wearing a cross in her first episode (a fact that makes her religious in my books, not a nun). I’m also wondering if the fact she works at a Catholic school lends itself to her being called Sister (I didn’t attend a Catholic school but perhaps anyone who did could enlighten me: were the teachers all called “Sister” even if they weren’t nuns?)

Like many sci-fi/genre shows, Once Upon a Time is filmed in Vancouver and surrounding British Columbia. Usually that setting lends itself to the gloomy atmosphere that’s being generated for darker sci-fi shows, like Battlestar Galactica, Fringe, The X-Files, Supernatural, and many other shows that call BC home. But for Once Upon a Time, the bright, sunny forests in BC are transformed into a fairytale land, and it’s hard to believe these are the same rainy forests that Mulder and Scully were constantly running through, or that they doubled as other planets on BSG. That is one amazing province.

So! In this episode Mary Margaret is out on a date with SARK!! from Alias who, either because of his weird hair or because he’s playing a dick, didn’t seem as attractive to me as he was on Alias. As he stares at Ruby’s ass, Mary realizes that maybe he’s not the one. The poor girl comes off as a spinster simply because her soul is tied to one person and one person only, and until she finds him she’ll never find true love.

In the flashback, we see how Snow and Prince Charming (called so ironically by Snow… his real name is James) first met, when she was actually a roadside thief who was trying to steal enough things to barter her way to another realm and get away from the Evil Queen, who was trying to kill her. We see the two of them slowly learn to trust each other, while she forces him to rethink his contractual marriage to a royal dullard (played by Anastasia Griffith, who I knew as the sister from season 1’s Damages). He saves her from the Queen’s men, while she saves him from trolls. We all know how this will end, but it doesn’t stop the scenes from being suspenseful and electrifying.

Meanwhile, in the real world John Doe (Prince Charming) wakes up when Mary Margaret reads to him, and because of his amnesiatic state he moves instinctively through the forest to find the woman from his other life. It’s interesting that he’s the guy with amnesia who has enough trace memory to get himself to the toll bridge (as opposed to the troll bridge, ha!) yet everyone else in Storybrooke has amnesia that’s so bad they can’t remember anything.

• John Doe grabbing Mary Margaret’s hand.
• The trolls. CREEPY!!!
• Mary Margaret’s kiss bringing John Doe back to life.

Did You Notice?
• Sark’s name is Dr. Whale. In the other world, is he the whale who swallowed Pinocchio? If Jiminy Cricket can become a real person, couldn’t a whale?
• Snow White loves cinnamon in her hot chocolate. Cinnamon used to be a gift that would be brought overseas and given to monarchs. It’s taken from the bark of trees, which is interesting given Snow’s link to the forests.
• I’m not sure what accent David Anders (Dr. Whale) is going for here. He’s actually an American who often plays Brits, and he seems to be flipping back and forth from scene to scene.
• So, how many Lost fans snickered when Snow White got “caught in a net”? ;)
• I liked tough-chick Snow White a LOT, and it’s interesting how innocent and pure and chaste she is when the show opens and she’s in the coffin, as opposed to the opinionated badass she is in the woods.
• That forest wallpaper is in the diner, too. I think the local Far Far Away wallpaper store had a sale.
• On the walls in the hospital are the same butterflies and flowers that were in Hurley’s mental institution.
• Leroy, the angry bearded guy who is the janitor at the hospital, was Grumpy in the Fairy Tale World.
• Walter, the security guard at the hospital, was Sleepy in the FTW (hence the joke that he was sleeping on the job).
• When Snow White and Charming got to the troll bridge, I was really hoping someone would be standing there and would ask, “What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow??”
• The troll is clearly a Kenny Rogers fan: at one point he says, “The time for dealin’ is done.” Which means now it’s time for counting!
• Storybook James is Storybrooke David. Both are names of kings associated with the bible.

• As we’ve been discussing, this show is clearly going to turn many of the traditional fairytales on their heads. What did Snow do to the Queen? As I said in the comments last week, I wonder if it had something to do with a child?
• The sheriff says “this is my world” when he’s in the forest. Is this a hint of who he could be in the other world? Is he the Big Bad Wolf? (He tracked Little Red Riding Hood in the forest.) Could he be the huntsman who spared Snow’s life? Was he a tree?
• I’m surprised more people aren’t questioning the weirdness of the Mayor’s actions… as Emma says, she just happened to find the wife at this very moment? And in a town where the population appears to be about 570, how is it possible that a man went “missing” for this long without his wife looking for him? She didn’t even THINK to look through hospitals in all that time? Sorry… I don’t buy that everyone else would buy that.


Page48 said...

"She didn’t even THINK to look through hospitals in all that time?"

Ha, in a town of 570, she'd be lucky to have even ONE hospital to check. Apparently she didn't check in with Barney Fife, either.

Sark was definitely rocking the bad hair. And, yeah, I was expecting his "Bob" accent, but he was certainly experiencing accent-drift.

Christina B said...

"Was he a tree?" LOL!

I *believe* the reason some websites and message boards refer to Mary Margaret as 'sister' is because, before anyone knew anything about the show, most fans and spoiler sites were convinced Mary would be a nun because of her name.
Apparently the nun joke in this episode was a shout out to those fans. ;)


I loved this episode. I truly adore FTW and every single scene that takes place there.
I loved learning more about Snow and Charming.

And I completely agree about Catherine (Kathryn? Katherine?). She's so obviously a fake and I want to scratch Regina's eyes out.
Er...did I say that out loud? ;)

As for the Sheriff, I'm in the Big Bad Wolf corner...although he's not yet very bad, is he?

Next week's Cinderella tale looks freakin' amazing!

It's SO NICE to be this excited about a show again!!

(vw-Hopit: Cousins of the Hobbit that hop on their furry feet instead of walking.)

Missy said...

Just wanted to say I'm really enjoying your paragraphes on this show,It sounds awesome.
(not to mention it stars afew of my fav actors)

And I'm really hoping it starts airing here(australia)on normal tv and not cable because I'd really LOOOOOVE to watch it.
We recently got American Horror Story(I got through the first 15mins of the pilot and couldn't continue,I've been told to give it another go.but OUaT sounds waaay better)

Nikki Stafford said...

How much do I love that the acronym for the Fairy Tale World looks like For The Win every time I read it? ;)

Lisa(until further notice) said...

When Snow White and Charming got to the troll bridge, I was really hoping someone would be standing there and would ask, “What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow??”

Ha ha, Nikki. We just went and saw Spamalot two fridays ago and it was just as good, if not better than the movie. Have you seen it? We rented the movie a week before the show so my daughter would be aware of it, and we were rolling with laughter at the musical.

Danny Perschonok said...

Do you know who is doing the music for this show? There are several times I keep hearing hints of LOST themes sprinkled within.

Nikki Stafford said...

Danny: No kidding! I was thinking that specifically this week in many scenes. The composer is Mark Isham, who I've long admired. He wrote this really stark music for a movie called Mrs. Soffel back in 1984 and that was when I first heard his stuff (I heard it years later, but I was drawn to it the moment I did) and I was THRILLED when I saw his name pop up in the first week.

Becky M said...

I'm torn because I love fairy tales and I love Lost but I'm not completely sold yet. Snow getting caught in a net was a plus but I thought the masks for the trolls look painfully amateur and instead of enjoying Snow White being a badass, I see way too much Kate Austen in her. I hope the writers are not just recycling Kate and make Snow a new character and not just Kate 2.0 the OUaT version. I will continue to tune in, it's so fun to share my love of fairy tales and Lost rolled into one with my 8 year old daughter

Fred said...

While I love this show, I for one hope the references to Lost will soon end. I want this show to be its own show, and not some adjunct to an earlier show. That said, I will make this show an adjunct in one way, not to Lost, but to House. The choice of Jennifer Morrison, formerly Dr. Allison Cameron, allows us to see Once Upon a Time as a show of healing.

It is Jungian at heart, with the universal unconsciousness of the town's inhabitants who have lost connection with that unconscious. Through the actions of Emma Swan and Henry they are beginning to remember (okay, here is a Lost connection: think Haroun and the Sea of Stories). Okay I won't say anymore than that. The show is coming into its own, and I hope will only grow more fascinating with each episode.

Loved the way the trolls were turned into bugs, writhing on their backs. When I looked up "troll" on wikipedia, there is so much more to them. I hope we get to see more of them in later episodes, and that they become more than just symbolic beings of "greed" and "brutality". But it is neat, the series is developing a topography: Prince Charming's kingdom, the evil Queen's kingdom complete with forest, and now the trolls' land. Soon we'll need a map--will the town be a microcosm of the fairtale land?

Gillian Whitfield said...

This episode was FAN.TAS.TIC. Wow, it was so good.

"Was he a tree?" HA! My thoughts exactly!

I totally think that Regina set the whole Kathryn showing up thing. I don't buy her story at all. That's not to say that Kathryn isn't innocent. I think that she isn't innocent, but much like Lost, I'm probably wrong about my theory. :P

I really wanted Prince James and Snow to go back to each other at the end of the flashback, and admit their love for each other. But sadly, they don't listen when viewers yell at the TV to, "GO BACK AND KISS HER, YOU FOOL!"

Snow was so badass. I love it. She's so different from the "damsel-in-distress" stereotype. It's awesome.

Am I the only one who didn't understand a THING that the trolls said?

Continuing to be the best new show!

Dusk said...

I watch the repeats on the weekend so I haven't seen this ep yet, but I like the show and say Emilie de Ravin has been cast as Belle from Beauty and the Beast!

Anonymous said...

Some questions spotted on another website:


How does it really work with no one aging? Henry himself is an outsider. We know he’s from the real world because Emma gave birth to him and he’s aged normally. So when he arrived in town as a baby, did he start to notice as he grew up that no one else was getting any older. Does he keep advancing grades while the other kids in his class stay the same age? And speaking of children, can people in Storybrooke have them or did all the other children in town already exist in fairy tales?

Anonymous said...

There were a few LOST fan sites that had transcripts of every episode.

Has anyone found a website or blog containing Once Upon a Time episode transcripts?

Anonymous said...

On Henry's school sweater, what's the object at the top of the crest-- a lighthouse? another open book? a crown with a cross?

Go to:

then click on image to enlarge.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I'm not sure yet if I like the show, but I'm warming to it.

I did like it when Henry said "We have to go back."

The actress who plays the wicked queen still bugs the heck out of me - can we say scenery chewing?

Nikki, James is only a king associated with the bible in that he financed a translation. I think that might be stretching things.

Are the people in that town from every story book, or just the ones adapted by Disney?

Anonymous said...

In the New Testament, James (in Hebrew: Jacob) is the name of several people, including two apostles and a half-brother of Jesus.

The prince's first name in our world is David, which is Hebrew for "beloved". Recall David, the Goliath Slayer, who became King of Israel.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I know, Anonymous, but not a king.

Now I'm thinking of Into the Woods and the two jerky Charmings. I guess the same name is less of a coincidence if they're nicknames.

Nikki Stafford said...

Colleen: That's why I said "associated with" very distinctly, and not "in." The King James Bible has become the go-to term, and many people use that (incorrectly) as an overarching term to refer to the bible. I never claimed he was a king in the bible, but I think King James has a very, very strong association WITH the Bible. And when you think of biblical kings, David is probably the first to jump to mind.

And honestly, it was a throwaway line in my review, and not something I was hinging the entire week's analysis on. ;)

Anonymous said...

Envisioning Disney's Snow White in "real life":

Anonymous said...

A few more Disney characters in "real life":