Sunday, December 04, 2011

Once Upon a Time, Ep 6: The Shepherd

In this week’s episode we return to Prince Charming, and see what happened to him right before that first encounter with Snow White. Turns out… he’s not actually the prince, but the prince’s twin brother. The prince was given to the king by Rumpelstiltskin when the prince was just a baby, and Thomas’s parents desperately needed the money. Then he’s killed in battle, and the king gets Rumpelstiltskin to bring the other boy to him so he can slay King Midas’s dragon and bring untold riches to his land. Thomas actually DOES slay the dragon (in a rather lame battle), and Midas wants him to marry his daughter, the very woman we saw riding in the carriage with him when Snow first ambushed him. He has to leave his beloved mother (played by the wonderful Canadian character actress, Gabrielle Rose) and go be with her instead or his “dad” will destroy everything he loves.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, it’s a Henry-lite week where John Doe (actually David Nolan) comes home, but he doesn’t know his wife Kathryn or anything about this life. Nothing feels right except for Mary, and so he leaves his wife and tells Mary to meet him at the toll bridge so they can begin a new life together. Mary tries to convince herself not to do it, but she’s so drawn to him she goes down there. He, on the other hand, is ambushed by the Mayor and Mr. Gold, and they make him remember his previous life and the fact he actually did love Kathryn.

Did he really remember his real life? Or … is it possible that David has a twin brother in this world, too? Could Kathryn have actually been married to the twin, which is how it doesn’t feel right to David no matter how sure Kathryn is of him? Could he have memories of his twin’s? (You know that whole telepathy thing twins claim they have?) Or is he really meant to be with Kathryn? And how will things play out between Thomas and his betrothed? She looked about as thrilled to be with him as he was with her. Will she gladly be on her way so he can be with Snow?

Lost References:
• Widmore!! Charles returns as yet another powerful father, and while he seems kinder at the beginning, turns out he’s just as ruthless and cunning as the other one. And what would an episode with Widmore be without…
• McCutcheon whisky! If a mouthful of that is worth more than Desmond makes in a month, how the HELL Mary Margaret could afford it is beyond me.

Did You Notice?:
• I meant to mention this earlier, but the opening credits on Once Upon a Time are a lot like the ones on Lost. They alternate sides of the screen, and are in the same font. And I LOVE the end logo, with the little Space Invaders guy shooting the Kitsis/Horowitz names. ;)
• In the Nolan house, they have flowers on the walls but no trees.
• “The love I lost, there’s no bringing him back.” That sentence was vague enough that I think it once again suggests she lost a child.
• When Mary’s reading the newspaper, the headline is “Welcome home, John Doe!” and it reads: The as yet unidentified man in his early 30s who has become known only bye the moniker, John Doe, has finally gone home directly to a house right here in Storybrooke. “It is truly a miracle that he had survived at all,” said hospital volunteer and local schoolteacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard, on the day of his initial admittance to the Storybrooke Hospital. “It has been interesting nursing him back to health and we at [sic] all so glad he has pulled through. It is incredible to think how far he has progressed. Not only is he conscious, but he now he [sic] has a whole new life to live.” Two problems with that story (aside from the typos): Was Mary really at the hospital when he was first admitted? And how would they have had a quote from her from that long ago? Hasn’t he been there a bazillion years? And also, why does it say he’s “as yet unidentified?” He was identified as David Nolan as soon as he woke up.
• The stories across the top are: Comet Marley Makes Debut Appearance; Destinations (with a pic of what appears to be Notre Dame), Lyme Disease: A New Understanding; Capsaicin. I wonder if these will have any meaning in future episodes (capsaicin is the component in chili peppers that creates the burning sensation when you eat them). The other headline beside the John Doe one is “Remnants of Seventeeth Century Colonial Settlement Uncovered at Harestock Bridge.”
• The walls of Mary’s classroom are different than they were when we first saw them. They have trees, too, but they’re all dead with no foliage on them.
• The CGI in this episode isn’t as good as it’s been in previous episodes – when the giant falls at the beginning at Thomas’s twin’s hand, you can see he’s not even with the ground. When Midas’s daughter walks up to join him, you can see the green screen shimmer around her head as she takes his hand.
• The ring that Thomas’s mother gives him is the one he went to the troll bridge with Snow White to find.

Ruby Red: More red in this episode:
• Thomas’s father wears a scarlet velvet robe.
• Thomas’s blood on the sword.
• The places at the round table.
• Mary’s sweater when she’s at Granny’s diner.
• Regina’s blouse under her jacket.

Any Questions?:
• Why didn’t the dragon breathe fire on Thomas when he cornered it and it couldn’t reach him?
• Why would you ask someone to meet you for a romantic rendezvous at a place if you didn’t know its location?! David’s a bit of a dumbass.
• Will the unicorn mobile make its way into the fairytale stories? Was it the Evil Queen’s mobile for her baby? Or did a bunch of unicorns get turned into glass?
• Did you guys check out that VERY spoilery preview for next week?? Now I know who the sheriff was, and I’m assuming that’s supposed to be a big reveal next week.


Joanne said...

Hi Nikki,
The evil queen/Regina says to David "I hope you find what you're looking for". Didn't Bernard say that to Jack in LOST in the flashsideways world in his denist office?

Christina B said...

It wasn't the strongest episode, but in my eyes, this show can do no wrong, so I liked it.
I would have LOVED a happy ending, though! :(

Sadly, I'm pretty sure our dear Sheriff is a goner next week. I was obviously wrong about who he was in FTW (I thought he was the Big Bad Wolf)!

Becky said...

I just love this show to bits.. but man.. the terrible green screen graphics were really distracting!

Wasn't my favorite episode, but I found it kind of endearing that Regina was rather elated she has a 'friend' now. She seemed to really take it to heart.

I want to give Mary Marg a hug after that :-(

So now I'm convinced that Regina and Gold both know the truth.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Still enjoying the show, but I had a very hard time keeping focused on it this week. It was a slow episode for me. The first time I glanced at the clock it was only 8:20. Then it was 8:40. Then it was finally over. It wasn't GOOD glancing at the clock praying for more time either. It was more like, "when is this going to be over" glancing at the clock. Hope I'm more into it next week. But the "prince" is hawt. Also, I love Emma's makeup.

Becky said...

Oh.. and I was thinking that the Prince was actually the one that married Kathryn but when Mary Marg woke him up, he changed the pauper/charming.

The Question Mark said...

I didn't see the spoilery review for next week, so I have no idea yet what's going to happen. But I still think the Sheriff is the Big Bad Wolf.

@ NIKKI: I was watching this ep with my cousins, and we all laughed at Nolan at the same time for not knowing where the bridge was. It's like, D-UH!

I love how the prop department constantly plants seeds for upcoming storylines. I don't know if anybody else saw this, but when David Nolan/Charming was waltzing through the pawnshop, one of the items he passes was Aladdin's Lamp! I can't wait to see THAT story unfold!!!

Anonymous said...

The episode's theme? The following words were mentioned, in this order:


Anonymous said...

"McCutcheon whisky! If a mouthful of that is worth more than Desmond makes in a month, how the HELL Mary Margaret could afford it is beyond me."

Maybe it's Emma's. And wasn't Emma the one who poured a shot?

Anonymous said...

Near the end of the episode, is David remembering real or fake memories of his life with Kathryn?

If fake memories, has Kathryn also been given "fake memories"?

Mr. Gold seemed quite pleased that the windmill triggered "memories" in David. Is this part of a deal he had with the Mayor/Evil Queen?

Anonymous said...

Had Dr. Whale kept David in a drug-induced coma, using capsaicin and other ingredients to assist in implanting false memories?

A dynamic pattern of LTD and LTP occurring at many synapses provides a code for memory formation. Long-term depression and subsequent pruning of synapses with reduced activity is an important aspect of memory formation. In rat brain slices, activation of TRPV1 with heat or capsaicin induced LTD while capsazepine blocked capsaicin's ability to induce LTD.

Anonymous said...

"And how will things play out between Thomas and his betrothed? She looked about as thrilled to be with him as he was with her."

I thought Thomas was the husband of Cinderella? Or is Thomas also the name of James' twin---who was raised by King George and killed battling the brute in front of Kings Midas and George?

David Nolan is Prince James, correct?

Coleman said...

Interesting that a lot of people felt this was a weak episode; I really liked it. When Kathryn mentions friendship to Regina - is it my imagination, or does Regina's heart maybe soften a tiny bit? Maybe not. But I like the hint that maybe there's hope for her. And as one of the "Anonymous" commenters pointed out, this episode was all about choice. In the restaurant scene at the end of the episode, MM considers the possibility of doing the unexpected. David is going to try to make things work with Kathryn. It makes me hopeful that the show will grapple with questions about whether or not these characters' storybook lives are their "destiny," or whether it's more complicated than that (whereas up to now it seems to have been pretty straightforward that the characters who are destined for each other really are destined for each other). I still hope MM and David do end up together, but I'm glad it (probably) won't be as simple as, "Oh, now I remember! Now let's get back to living happily ever after."

One minor complaint: I've liked a lot of the LOST references on the show, but the one tonight with the McCutcheon bothered me: the way the camera featured the label so prominently it seemed significant, and if I weren't a LOST fan I would've suspected it was going to play some important role in future episodes. Oh well - that's nitpicking.

Gillian Whitfield said...

At first, I thought that Regina's directions were going to send him to Kathryn. In a way her directions ultimately send him back to Kathryn.

I was SOOOOO unhappy with what happened with Mary Magaret and David! :( I know that if they got together now, it would be too soon, and blah blah blah, but I wanted it to happen, damn it! Still, wasn't Josh Dallas nice to look at in plaid? And the wig he wore as the Shepherd wasn't that bad (Michael Emerson as a younger Ben Linus, anyone?)

Emma was right about the Sheriff and Regina, ahem, doing the sideways tango when Henry was in the house. It's kind of extremely sick. But by the looks of things, though, it looks like the Sheriff is going to change his mind in next week's episode.

Other than David and MM NOT getting together (albeit prematurely if they had), it was a good episode, and I don't know what I'll do without it after next week's episode. January 8! That's four weeks! I'm not used to waiting any longer than a week between episodes

Fred said...

Not being Henry-centric this epsidoe seemed to have taken a turn to the more complicated nature of story-telling. After the surprise death of the Prince, I began to wonder if Henry’s belovedly clutched Book of Fairy Tales has this twist in it. But without the epsiode dominated by Henry’s presence, the story is allowed to drift from Henry’s point-of-view (or truth): “he’s the Prince” Henry tells Emma; no, he’s the shepherd. Which got me to thinking further, what else doesn’t Henry know or see about fairytales (or reality), and perhaps the darkside of this storyline (and who can’t imagine fairytales have a truly dark side) has already been hinted at, namely, Henry’s disillusionment which Jiminy and Emma have been preventing. Now that we have the concept of the series, as told to us incessantly by Henry, maybe in future epsiodes the “voice” of Storybrooke will step back to allow for others.

With the death of the Prince by the Ork-like warrior (on the worst CGI landscape its makes Lost’s submarine seem downright a piece of artistry) I’ve begun to think that maybe living in our world isn’t all that bad for these characters. Their world is becoming less “fairy” with fulfillment of wishes by fairy godmothers (reconsider Cinderella’s godmother, not a happy ending) and insect consciences (whose own conscience must be filled with considerable guilt). Are we moving back into the world of Lost in which we have to dust-off those metaphors of games of chess, destiny and fate, and see the forces behind the powers of this world as dangerous and cruel—need we echo Charlotte’s “This place is death.” (Oh, my God, is Henry the new Hugo. Now that might be a plot-point worth following). After all, Rumplestiltskin did tell the twin brother there is always a choice, and if so then is the fairy world about responsibility, as is ours.

I loved the tip to Widmore (Alan Dale) with the McCutcheon’s, and even the title of the episode referencing Jack (the Shepherd) and the slaying of the dragon (Smoke Monster). An additional tip to the former show of both writers is the theme of twins (recall Bad Twin) and Jacob and his twin brother. If Once Upon a Time follows its heritage, then what other twins might appear—say Regina (oh, that would be fitting, and might make sense within the story). We also get a sense of what Rumpelstitlskin is doing with all these children he acquires, how they are integral to the wishes and needs of the well-to-do King George, and who knows who else. And we’ve seen Rumplestiltskin’s fascination with twins when Cinderella told him she might be having twins.

I had hoped when Regina confronted Mary Margaret to leave David alone, she would have agreed with the mayor and then said she was leaving town for good. Like the island (hopefully this is the last reference) no one seems able to leave Storybrooke, except Henry, but I just want one of the characters to respond to the Mayor’s accusations with, “If that’s the way you see it, then I’m outta here!” Whenever their together on the screen, David and Mary Margaret just set it aglow like in the old movies—you can see her pulling back from him in the garden scene, where she is hanging the bird house, and yet she wants to be with him. I kept wondering why Emma didn’t see this coming in the same way Regina did. You’d think she’d take the side of her new friend, and, being the bounty hunter whose seen the worst of people, have a serious chat with David about what amounts to near stalking. Hey, she’s got the badge.

Of course, even with the ending were David returns to Kathryn, we know that fate will not keep the two lovers apart. We see Mary Margaret twisting the ring, supposedly the same one David’s mother in Fairyland gave him. (We may be as blind to reality as Henry, in our wished for happy endings, and certianly Kitsis and Horowitz have forewarned us—even the Prince may die).

Anonymous said...

Gillian said: "Other than David and MM NOT getting together (albeit prematurely if they had), it was a good episode, and I don't know what I'll do without it after next week's episode. January 8!"

You could get your "fix" by listening to the OUAT podcasts:

Once Upon a Time Podcast

Secrets of Once Upon a Time

Paul said...

This episode could also be described as: Regina discovers that Friendship is Magic.

As for the dragon not blowing fire while its head was trapped in a confined space, well... It was a dumb dragon, but not that dumb.

Jessica said...

RE: Nikki's questions about which twin might have what memories, etc. in Storybrooke

I think there isn't any question about the validity of Kathryn's "memories" and that they would be in reference to the right twin. It’s likely that Kathryn and David were never actually even together in Storeybrooke because the Prince/John Doe/David came through the Giant Donkey Wheel half dead and came through to Tunisia in a coma. The only reason David didn’t have them until now was because his coma delayed the curse from implanting those false memories.
In Fairytale land, Prince Charming (Snow White's husband, not the original) was alive and in the position of Prince because his twin had passed. I don't think there has been any indication that people who were definitely dead (as opposed to mostly dead) in Fairytale land get to come back to life in Storeybrook. I think the curse would just be in effect for characters that were actually alive at the time. Otherwise, the town would be overrun by reincarnated characters.
Therefore, the memories that were implanted into Kathryn and the David Nolan we know do in fact "belong" to them.

Anonymous said "Near the end of the episode, is David remembering real or fake memories of his life with Kathryn?"
Well technically they are all "fake" memories as they are created by the curse. And having Kathryn's husband be missing, is a fitting curse/counterpoint to her fairytale life where she thought she had a husband (fake Prince)but then he was gone (thanks to Snow in Fairytale and thanks to a coma in Storybrooke.)

Whew... now I need a nap!

Anonymous said...

I wonder who named the first son [James] that was raised by King George and his wife. Did they name him, or was that the name given to him by his birth parents?

Then the second twin assumes the name James. Snow White knew him as James, but I wonder what his real name is?

Diana Dee said...

I also love this show, primarily because I've been a fairy tale fanatic since childhood. The Lost references are such a treat--the writers are genius for keeping Lost in our minds as we negotiate the twists and turns of OUAT. I miss Lost SO much, but watching this show helps me to "move on"!