Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TV: Once Upon A Time (ep. 7)

It is week seven for ABC's Once Upon a Time, and the last episode of 2011. What a way to end up before the break! This one made me wanting more - now!

This week's episode was entitled "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", which focuses on Sheriff Graham who suddenly starts remembering that he was the Huntsman in another lifetime.

Let's get to the episode breakdown, shall we?

Starting over on Fairytale side, we begin with a scene with Snow White and the Evil Queen. Turns out her father is dead and the Queen consoles Snow, her step-daughter. However, when she (looking truly the fairest of them all) talks to her Magic Mirror, we later learn that the King's death was just part one of the Queen's wicked plans. Part two is to get rid of the beloved Princess Snow, and to do that she needs someone who can kill without remorse. She needs a huntsman.

We meet the Huntsman as he kills a deer. Though he is remorseful for doing so, he does it to feed himself and a wolf (one with a unique look - one red eye, one black eye). This Huntsman is not liked by his kind for they seek him as too weak and compassionate. He has a heart. We also learn that the wolf is not a pet - he is family. He was raised by wolves when his birth parents abandoned him. When the Queen hires him to do a deed for her, his only payment is that she declare wolves a protected species.

Later, Snow is walking with him and realizes he is not a knight. She can tell he has been assigned to her to kill him. But she shows her resourceful side and escapes him. When the Huntsman finds her, she is writng a note to give to the Queen. Upon reading the note, he spares her life and gives her a special whistle to use in times of distress.

The Huntsman brings the Queen a deer's heart instead. When she uses it, thinking it is Snow's, to open a secret passage it fails. She realizes she has been duped. So she takes the Huntsman's heart instead and stores it in a box. Now he will be hers to control forever. That was a very nice twist.

That's a lot of story, but we're not half done. Time for the Storybrooke side of things.

Graham has been drinking a lot since Emma caught him sneaking out of Regina's window (last episode). He tells Emma he feels nothing for Regina, that he feels nothing at all. Then, he kisses Emma - and suddenly images from his past life as the Huntsman come rushing back. That's a great touch. In fairy tales, kisses often break spells and here Emma's kiss can cut through the curse. Nice.

When Emma reject him, Graham rushes back to Regina. After sex, he falls asleep and dreams of events of his life as the Huntsman. He tells Regina it felt more like a memory and leaves her to wander the streets. There he sees the wolf from his dream, the one with the red and black eyes.

Emma, meanwhile, mistakes flowers on the counter to be from Graham. Turns out that they were in fact for Mary-Margaret, a gift from Dr. Whale after a one-night stand with him. Whoa! Sweet Mary-Margaret slept with Dr. Whale? That's a shocker. Mary-Margaret tells Emma that perhaps she puts up walls to not allow anyone to get close, and that maybe Emma needs to let Graham in.

Graham searches the woods around town for the wolf. He runs into Mr. Gold instead, who is dressed in a suit and some leather apron and boots, carrying a shovel. What is Gold up to? He says "gardening" We never learn what he really is up to though. Gold suggests that dreams are memories. After that, Graham does find the wolf, pets it and suddenly more memories.

Graham goes to see Mary-Margaret, suggesting he knew her in another life. He asks her when they first met in Storybrooke. She cannot recall exactly. The curse in effect. She mentions Henry's storybook so Graham goes to see the boy. "Am I in your book?" he asks. Henry determines that he is the Huntsman and that the Evil Queen has his heart. When Graham points to building shown in the book, Henry says that is the vault where his heart is kept, according to the story.

Graham runs into Emma while searching for the Storybrook place to match the vault. They both see the wolf who leads them to the Mills family crypt. Once inside, they find nothing but urns. Regina catches them and demands an explanation. Graham refuses to go with her. She blames Emma. Emma suggest that maybe Regina is the reason that everyone in her life (Henry, now Graham) want to get away from her. Regina punches Emma. Emma fights back. Punches thrown until Graham breaks them up. He and Emma leave.

Graham tends to Emma's cuts while Regina enters the crypt. Regina moves her father's casket aside to reveal a hidden set of stairs. She goes to a wall of boxes similar to that the Evil Queen had and takes one. She opens it to reveal a heart. Graham kisses Emma once more and remembers it all, his entire past life. He starts to tell her "I remember...". That is when Regina pulls his heart out of the box and squeezes. Graham falls to a heart attack. Is he dead? We have to wait until the new year to find out.

But, this is a major revelation. Clearly there is no doubt that Regina remembers the Fairy Tale land. She knows about the captive hearts. She knows their power. She knows that Graham was her Huntsman. That means she has to know other things too. The only thing she does not know is how Emma fits into all of this (for those pages were missing from the book when she looked at it in episode 1).

This was by far the most key episode to date. I will miss Graham if he is truly gone but I understand that when you make a beautiful omelette you have to break a few eggs. His death was very key though to the unfolding of the tale, and for that I applaud the writers.

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