Sunday, December 11, 2011

Once Upon a Time, Ep 7: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Last week’s episode of Once Upon a Time was a little slow, but they made up for it with a brilliant outing this week. We finally get to the bottom of who Sheriff Graham really was, and where many were suggesting that perhaps he was the Big Bad Wolf, he turned out to be the huntsman with a heart who spares Snow’s life when the queen hires him to find her and kill her.

Emma is ticked with Graham because she’s found out he’s sleeping with the mayor, and when he tries to tell her that he actually loves her instead, he skips the small talk and kisses her… and he suddenly sees flashes of the fairytale world. His glimpse leads to dreams where he starts to see even more, and when he wakes he wanders off and sees a white wolf that accompanies him in the fairy-tale world, one with a red eye and black eye. He turns to Mary, because he’d seen a flash of Snow White in the memory, and he recognizes her as Mary. Mary laughs it off and thinks he’s been talking to Henry, and tells him about the book. He goes to Henry and finds out more about the book, and Henry identifies him as the huntsman who spared Snow and had his heart ripped out by the queen. Graham follows the wolf to a crypt that’s pictured in the book, and with Emma, he enters the crypt to find his heart. Regina shows up and she and Emma have a fight before Graham declares he doesn’t need her, because he needs to feel something, and that’s not with her. Emma looks at him with new eyes, and where he went to the crypt to find an actual heart, he finds it metaphorically instead. And, for the first time, Emma sees his heart, too.

Meanwhile, in the fairytale world we see how the queen orchestrated the death of her husband and then finds a huntsman who cries over his kills to take out Snow. He can’t pull off the murder after he reads a note she’s written to the queen (where she says she’ll welcome her death if it means the queen will rule with compassion). He returns to the queen with the heart of a stag, and she catches him in the ruse and reaches into his chest and pulls out one glowing, ET-like, neon heart, and tells him that he’s now under her rule, and should he try anything, she just needs to squeeze his heart and she’ll kill him. She directs the guards to take him to her bedchamber. Clearly, he’s going to be a domestic pet.

In Storybrooke, after Emma and Graham walk away triumphantly, Regina enters the crypt and descends the stairs to find the very chamber of hearts that she kept in the fairytale world (another suggestion that the fairytale world exists in some way under Storybrooke). Realizing that through his self-emancipation Graham will no longer be in her mayoral bedchamber (and also piecing together that his link with Emma has allowed him to remember to fairytale world, and he’s not allowed to), she squeezes the heart, turning it to dust… and killing Graham in Emma’s arms.

Moments before Graham dies, he kisses Emma and she kisses him back, and he remembers absolutely everything EXACTLY the same way the sideways characters remembered everything in the sideways world about their real lives on Lost. It was in this moment that it became clear to me that Storybrooke is a sort of flash-sideways. This isn’t their real life; time doesn’t quite exist here and is fluid; the memories they all have seem to be generated in their own minds and don’t mesh with each other; the people they were in their former lives inform who they are in this one; when they remember everything, they die.

Perhaps Once Upon a Time is simply an extended explanation to Lost fans of what that sideways world was all along, to correct all those who thought THEY DIED IN THE PLANE CRASH. (They did not.)

And to think, I was actually going to stop with the Lost analogies this week.

Did You Notice?:
• The title of this episode is the same as a 1940 novel by Carson McCullers, considered one of the best books of the 20th century. The novel’s longevity and deserving title of “classic” is due to the voices she gives to the people who usually don’t have voices, those on the margins of 1930s society in Georgia. The book was written when she was only 23 years old.
• The Evil Queen lives in the Fortress of Solitude!!!
• Mary tells Emma that the flowers she just trashed are actually hers, and Emma doesn’t apologize or rush to take them out of the garbage. Maybe manners or etiquette or just plain human decency weren’t taught in her various foster homes.
• The camera lingers on the huntsman fashioning a whistle out of a reed and telling Snow to blow it should she ever be in trouble, so I’m assuming it actually calls the wolf to her. So we’ll probably see the wolf in a future flashback.

Lost references:
• See above.
• The horrible CGI on the deer was reminiscent of Lost
• Graham tells Mary that he knows her from “another life.” He didn’t add, “Bruh-thah.”

Ruby Red:
• Graham’s darts
• Ruby’s skirt
• Graham’s tie
• Red rose petals on Snow’s father’s grave
• Queen’s wine-coloured skirt on that FABULOUS outfit she was wearing (oh, if I had anything I could actually wear that to, what I would give for it…)
• One of the wolf’s eyes is red
• The queen’s full outfit when she’s talking to the huntsman, that I WISH I could wear. Her wardrobe was to die for in this episode.
• The door to Regina’s crypt
• Regina’s turtleneck when she shows up
• The huntsman’s very glowy heart

Any Questions?:
• What was the “spot of gardening” that Rumpelstitskin was doing? Is he secretly growing pot in the forest?
• In the letter, Snow recognizes that the queen is acting out of vengeance and says she knows the queen will never find other love because of her. What does that mean? (Still thinking it has something to do with a child…) The queen says, “I shared a secret with her, and she couldn’t keep it.” What does that mean? Did she tell Snow she was incapable of having children, and Snow said something to her father out of sympathy and her father denounced her to the kingdom or something, so now she’s untouchable?
• What are the other hearts the queen has in there? Does she have everyone’s? Can she kill anyone except for Emma?


Dusk said...

This was the best one yet. Finally in show confirmation Reginia is aware of everything, I know some who still though she was in the dark.

Was anyone else hlad to see Emma smack the Mayor?

I feel horrible for Graham but since magic is a part of this world I'm holding out hope he'll come back.

You know Henry will see the link to his death and Mom, that will lessen his innocence I expect.

I know it's a little obvious but does anyone think the wolf went on to be Mr. Big Bad after Graham got entangled by Queenie?

Did not expect them to go the stepmother route with Snow and Queenie. I'm wondering who the husband was, it has to be someone signifigant...

Was anyone else mildly surprised Mary actually had a night with Dr. Whale? And it was an akward scene since we know who Emma really is to Mary.

I doubt Reginia has access to every heart or she would have already killed Archie to throw off Henry delving deeper into the truth.

Also I wonder what happened to all the other cillians in or world? We've barely seen any at all..if their a jail the Mayor can lock them up in.

Dusk said...

"villians in our world" Although since they would be Reginia's citizens, I guess cillians could work as a group name.

The Question Mark said...

@ DUSK: I actually sat up and gave a loud exclamation when Regina punched Emma, yelling something along the lines of, "Oh no she di'int!" But seeing Emma tag her back was pretty damn satisfying.

The Evil Queen did indeed look pretty shmexy in the scene where she hired the huntsman. But at the same time (and I don't know if anyone else feels this way), she gave off a very icy Kardashian-esque vibe, leading me to ponder whether or not the Kardashian sisters' business deals also end with murder plots and threats to remove hearts from bodies.

@ NIKKI: The parallels between Storybrooke & the Sideways-world are legion. I think Kitsis & Horowitz definitely found their inspiration while working on Season 6. Oh, and I was talking to my cousin last week (who is a fan of both OUAT and LOST), and he STILL thinks they all died in the plane crash!!! I've given up on trying to explain it to him. LMAO

Great episode overall, though. the ending was super-powerful. I'm still looking forward to an Aladdin episode.
P.S.- I'll be the first to admit: I'm developing a huge crush on Ruby :S

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't Henry figured out who Mr. Gold is? This seems to be Henry's one blind spot.

Did Gold/Rumpel put a spell on infant Henry (before he gave him to Regina) so that Henry would be prevented from recognizing him as Rumpel? If so, perhaps this spell will only be broken when Emma tells Henry she loves him/Henry calls her "mom".

The Question Mark said...

Oh, and as for Mr. Gold's "spot of gardening" money's on a beanstalk.

Anonymous said...

Wicked Witch in "The Wizard of Oz": "Fool that I am. I should have remembered. Those slippers will never come off, as long as you're alive. But that's not what's worrying me. It's how to do it. These things must be done delicately or you hurt the spell."


Evil Queen to Magic Mirror: "We must be delicate in this next phase."

Anonymous said...

I hate to say I was highly disappointed in this episode. It got kind of silly towards the end, and then to kill off a major character this early seemed really cheap, especially when it's a character just beginning to remember things. I expected better.

Dusk said...

@Question Mark: Get him FL S6 as a gift this year then!

Page48 said...

Mr. Gold gardens in a suit and tie.

He hopes Graham finds what he's looking for, echoing the Mayor's words from last week.

This week's episode of "Merlin" was "The Hunter's Heart".

Anonymous said...

One thing we learned from LOST was that things/people aren't always as they seem.

Is Mr. Gold actually "one of the good guys", helping people to remember who they are?

Christina B said...

Welp, I called the Sheriff's death last week....but now I'm so sad he's gone because last night, I fell in LOVE with him! :(

Gillian Whitfield said...

Well, my whole, "It's not gonna be Graham, it's too obvious" theory was WRONG. Seriously, though, the synopsis of the episode was slightly very misleading: "The residents of Storybrooke mourn the loss of one of their members while someone else remembers their past." To me, that should be Graham remembering while everyone else is mourning the loss of someone like Kathryn. Oh, well, c'est la vie!

Jennifer Morrison (Emma) said on Twitter last night that when Graham died in her arms, that was the most vulnerable Emma has ever been. I agree with that: she's finally letting down her wall and letting herself begin to have a real relationship and then her love interest DIES in her arms.

I loved the part when Regina and Emma finally have a real fight. It was pretty awesome.

I had the WORST case of the hiccups during the opening scene.

If Emma ever finds out that Regina killed Graham, all hell is going to break loose.

It looks like the next episode (in January) will be a good one. I can't wait to see it.

Suzanne said...

@Christina B., my feelings exactly! It got to me when I saw him cry after shooting the deer. I sure hope some kind of magic brings him back. Where is Willow when we need her. ;)

Anonymous said...

ABC is airing a Once Upon a Time mini-marathon on New Year’s Day. Four episodes will air consecutively beginning at 7/6c, though they are not the four most recent installments; the Jiminy Cricket-centric hour is not in the lineup.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne said: "I sure hope some kind of magic brings him back."

Well, if enough people write to ABC/writers, maybe we'll learn the sheriff has a twin brother. 8-)

Or, as Emma is in many ways a Christ figure,

(as are Buffy and Aslan the lion Christ figures) maybe Emma will eventually learn about the Deeper Magic:

“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge only goes back to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

Fred said...

Of course it was a kiss that awakened Graham's memories, just as it is a kiss that awakens Snow White (as well, Sleeping Beauty). But what I loved was the red colouring of the heart, which reminded me of the apples in Regina's garden. Symbolically, apples represent knowledge (as in Adam and Eve), and in Fairy Tales they come to represent deceit by an evil power. If love, symbolized by a kiss, breaks the spell of the evil Queen, then that spell may be an awakening to memories.

It is interesting that Mr. Gold, acting as a quasi-psychoanalyst presents a key link between dreams and memories for Graham (why did he do this, we might ask?). Following the line of thought from Mr. Gold, once memories are detached, feelings quickly vanish. None of the towns inhabitants know who they really are, as Graham talking with Mary clarifies they have no idea when they first met. This sort of fugue state of all the inhabitants undermines their possibility of living a full life, as it does Graham, who recognizes he has no feelings (perhaps that is why we see a lot of black and white symbolism). Even, Emma, we learn, is cut off from her feelings, something Mary makes all too clear to her after the flower dumping incident. No wonder time had stopped in the series beginning, and now with the first stirring of emotions time begins to move once more. The symbolism works much like colour did in the movie Pleasantville.

Efthymia said...

Sheriff Graham should have been introduced in Season 2. When Hot Guy with an Accent is introduced in Season 2, he doesn't get killed off, he gets great storylines (see Spike, Desmond).

@The Question Mark: Maybe your cousin is just messing with you. I had a friend who wouldn't admit to her brother that a cartoon he remembered from his childhood really existed and she tried to make him believe that he had made it up.

Anonymous said...

I thought the heart/hart thing was kind of clever with the antler insignia, but I didn't really get why he cried when he killed the deer - I was expecting a deer corpse in the mausoleum or something.

Also, he was a terrible sheriff - why didn't he ask why Mr. gold was in the woods with a shovel? Or did I miss that part?

Anonymous said...

Did you notice how many heart vaults there were?

9 rows across X 12 rows down = 108

You need to look at 2 photos to determine this:

plus at least 12 larger vaults (containing bodies?)

and what looks like Roman numerals on the circle parts:

LT McDi said...

A very good episode, ratcheted up the stakes.

I'm going to argue that as hot as he was, as pivotal in Snow's story as he was ...Graham was not a major character like Emma, Snow, Mr. Gold , Henry. I saw someone compare his death to Boone's ...nada.
The risk with Once is that it might come across like a Disney story...where the only people who die to show us who's evil are the redshirts. With the risk that "so who's cares ... he/she is a redshirt"
I commend the actor and writing team for creating a character we cared about enough to mourn after only knowing him a brief time. A character who's death we gave rat's backside about and that demonstrated that Regina is one nasty piece of work.
If I was going to compare, I'd put Graham's demise on par with Jenny Calender's murder by Angelus which Whedon I recall described as done in part to demonstrate clearly... Angelus is a bad bad vampire. So don't forget it.

Some characters are for us to love but only for short time.

Anonymous said...

There is another LOST reference this week. When Graham is explaining the wolf thing, Regina (or Emma - I can't remember anymore) says it was a dream.
He says, it felt more like a memory.
That's what Desmond said in Season 5 when Faraday told him to go find Hawking. When he woke up on the boat with Penny, she told him he was having a dream. He said it wasn't a dream - it was a memory.

JavaChick said...

Gah. So my PVR messed up when this originally aired and it didn't record. I kept waiting for it to re-run, finally gave in downloaded on iTunes. And I just had to come and finally read this post and also say that I'm so upset about Graham! I hope that he can somehow come back.

Agree about Regina-as-the-Queen's wardrobe in this episode - killer!