A fine episode of “Once Upon a Time” leaves us with quite the major ending. Don’t keep reading this if you haven’t watched the episode yet. And apologies for the length of this recap, but there was a lot happening this week.
In Fairytale Land, the Evil Queen and Snow are burying Snow’s father, who was the Evil Queen’s husband. She killed him and is now plotting Snow’s death. Sheriff Graham is the huntsman she dispatches to kill Snow.
He is a noble huntsman, though, and a great white wolf is his friend/companion. He was raised by them, actually. In exchange for killing Snow White, he wants the Queen to outlaw the hunting of wolves, protect them.
As they travel, smart Snow figures out what’s going on and runs from the huntsman, but she knows it’s hopeless to escape him, so she stops to write a letter to the Queen and gives it to the huntsman. He reads it and decides to spare her.
When he returns with the heart of a deer, he reads Snow’s letter aloud to the Queen. Snow apologizes and forgives the Queen, asking her to rule the kingdom with compassion. The huntsman wants to know what Snow did to her and the Queen says Snow spilled a secret the Queen trusted her with. But what, we do not yet know.
He hands over the heart and the Queen takes it to her vault, but it won’t open for the heart, so she knows it’s fake. So she just punches right into Graham’s chest and pulls his magical glowing heart out, then kisses him, declaring him hers. She tells him if he ever disobeys or ever tries to run away, she only has to squeeze his heart.
In Storybrooke, the Sheriff is desperate to get Emma to understand he doesn’t feel anything for Regina. It’s because he’s liiiiikes her. When he kisses her, he starts flashing to his Fairytale life. She shoots him down, though, so he goes to Regina’s house. He just needs to feel something.
After he leaves, he sees the wolf from Fairytale Land. He looks for it in the woods and runs into Mr. Gold, who tells him that some people say dreams are memories of another life. Sheriff Graham eventually finds the wolf, who clearly knows him. When he touches the wolf, he flashes on to Snow White.
This brings him to Mary Margaret, who tells him about Henry and the book. She also notices he has a terrible fever, but Graham goes to see Henry about the tales. Henry is wonderfully understanding and clinical about it – “When did your flashes begin?” – and he informs Graham about Snow and the huntsman. He figures out he is supposed to find her “vault of hearts” because that’s where the Queen is storing Graham’s heart, which she ripped out when he spared Snow White. He tells Emma and she, of course, thinks he’s kind of crazy.
The wolf shows up and they give chase into a cemetery, to a great mausoleum with the Queen’s symbol on it. They go inside, but the Mayor shows up. She tries to take him home and he refuses, saying he’s leaving her for himself. It’s his “I choose me” moment!
Emma piles on, saying that Regina makes Henry and Graham miserable and they both sought her out and ran away from Regina. Then they fight, which is awesome. It’s not a lame chick fight, either, which would have been disappointing.
Back at the department, Graham patches up Emma’s bump from her fight with the Mayor and they have a moment, leading to a kiss, which gives him even more flashbacks to Fairytale Land. He remembers it all, but just as he goes to tell her –
Meanwhile, Regina goes into the mausoleum, which she claimed to Graham she comes to every Wednesday to put flowers on her father’s grave. But she instead opens the crypt, revealing a set of stairs.
Down below is her vault of hearts. She gets Graham’s out and crushes it to dust, killing him.
Thoughts & Tidbits
- The real-heart-as-metaphor-for-love device was well executed, I thought. It skirted the edge of heavy-handed, but I think it stayed on the right side of the line.
- Henry’s one little scene this week was priceless – “You kissed my mom?!”
- I loved the little moment where Emma kicked open the mausoleum. You go, Buffy.
- So – are you surprised the show killed off a fairly main character so soon? The executive producers tell Zap2it that they wanted to show that the stakes are real. They also tell us who the focus is of the first episode when the show returns!
What did you think of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “OUAT” fans?