- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.01: Pilot
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.02: The Thing You Love the Most
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.03: Snow Falls
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.04: The Price of Gold
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.05: That Still Small Voice
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.06: The Shepherd
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.07: The Heart is A Lonely Hunter
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.08: Desperate Souls
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.09: True North
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.10: 7:15 A.M.
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.11: Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.12: Skin Deep
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.13: Whatever Happened To Frederick
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.14: Dreamy
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.15: Red Handed
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.16: Heart of Darkness
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.17: Hat Trick
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.18: The Stable Boy
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.19: The Return
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.20: The Stranger
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.21: An Apple As Red As Blood
- Review: Once Upon a Time 1.22: A Land Without Magic (Season Finale)
By Heather S. Vina
Written by: Teleplay by Daniel T. Thomsen; story by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
Henry is on his way to school when he finds the new Stranger in town (Eion Bailey), fixing his motorcycle in front of the Mayor’s house. He starts quizzing the guy about what the wooden box on his motorcycle is and what he’s doing in town. The Man tells him that he’s just visiting; the box contains the thing he came there to do. When Henry points out that he said he was just visiting, the man tells him that it doesn’t mean he still doesn’t have something to do. The Stranger then asks Henry if it isn’t time for him to come to school; it looks like a storm is coming. Regina comes out and sees them talking. She rushes out, but the Stranger is done tinkering with his motorcycle and takes off.
Mary Margaret is rushing around the apartment, telling Emma that she overslept and will be late for school. She’s helping the kids with their science projects. However, instead of rushing to school she dashes into Granny’s Café, instead, and plops herself down at one of the tables with a book in front of her. She glances at the clock, which shows 7:15, and then starts reading when she hears the door open. Who should be there but David.
Oh, no. Is Mary a stalker, now?
Mary watches him longingly as Ruby gives him his regular order of two coffees. She looks away when David comes over and tells her good morning. She starts joking around with him about his work at the animal shelter. Since when did she get so comfortable with him, after she couldn’t get away from him fast enough a few episodes ago?
Anyways, the conversation is short and David leaves. Mary watches in pain as he goes outside and hands Kathryn a cup of coffee, before he kisses her goodbye on the cheek. Mary’s longing is interrupted by the arrival of Emma, who calls her on her stalking ways. Mary admits to Emma that she knows David’s every daily and weekly movement, which is a little creepy. Emma is a supportive friend-slash-secret daughter and encourages Mary to end her stalkery ways. Mary admits to Emma that “love’s the worst.” She wishes that there were a “magical cure” for it all.
Snow White is out in the forest, hunting, when she’s interrupted by the arrival of Red Riding Hood, whom she greets as an old friend. Red hands her a basket of fruit and asks Snow how she’s doing in the woods, all alone. Snow is upbeat and tells her that this is what she has wanted, the solitude, and she’s doing great. She casually asks Red how things are in the “real world”, but Red can see easily through her. She tells Snow to ask what she really wants to know. Snow breaks down and asks about Prince James (AKA Charming). Red admits that he’s getting married to King Midas’ daughter in two days’ time. Snow is sad to hear that and admits to her friend that she can’t get James out of her mind. She wishes that something could help her forget him. Red looks a little shifty when she tells her that there isn’t anything that can, but Snow catches on and asks her what she knows. Since she helped Red when she needed it, turnabout is only fair. Red breaks down and tells her that she has heard rumours of a man who can grant people even the most “unholy” of requests.
Hmm, I wonder who that could be!
It’s late at night and Snow is rowing a boat across a foggy lake. She gets to the dock, and starts to tie up the boat, when a voice comes out of the night. It’s Rumpelstiltskin, who has suddenly appeared in her boat. He wants to know how much her boat is, but she tells him that it’s not for sale. He tells her, of course it is, because no one comes to see him “without a deal in mind.” She realises who he is and he tells her that he’s been looking forward to meeting her, the “fairest of them all.” She admits that she wants to forget the man she loves, since they can never be together. Rump makes her a potion from the lake water and uses a lock of her hair to “personalise” it. He tells her that, as soon as she drinks the potion, she will no longer remember the man she loves. When she questions the amnesia part, he tells her that love is the strongest of magic and, to overcome it, you need something “extreme”. When she asks him what his price is, all he wants is the rest of the lock of her hair that he yanked from her. He encourages her by telling her that love is the worst killer of them all, and she finally agrees.
Mary is at the local drug store, gathering up some items – like a flashlight, batteries and a big chocolate bar – when she literally runs into Kathryn, who is shopping with Regina. Turns out Kathryn is there to buy a pregnancy test, something that Mary sees. Mary does her best to cover her discomfort and manages to fool Kathryn, but not Regina, who warns her to mind her own business.
At the castle, James is standing alone in a room when his “father”, King George, walks in, bringing him a gold crown from King Midas to wear during the wedding. James is more interested in the fact that it could feed the entire kingdom, but the King doesn’t care and tells him that he needs to “show some enthusiasm” for the wedding. James tells him that he has honoured his deal, but the King wants his heart to be in it. He recognises that James is in love with someone else. James admits that he met someone on a journey, but that he hasn’t seen her since. King George doesn’t care, and warns James that he “made his choice” and he has to honour it by forgetting Snow White. After a few more threats thrown around, King George storms out, leaving behind James, who decides to completely ignore his “father’s” threats and send a letter to Snow, using a carrier pigeon.
I think King George needs to revise his psychological warfare plans, here, because they have severely backfired!
Mary is out taking a hike when she hears the fearful coos of a bird. She finds it tangled up in some wire and rescues it, bringing it to the animal clinic where David works. The vet tells her that the dove is all right, but she’s a North Atlantic Dove, a type of migratory bird that forms strong, monogamous bonds. Mary realises that if she doesn’t return the dove to her flock, the bird will be alone forever. The vet leaves and David expresses some concern that Mary plans to try to return the dove to her flock up in the woods, with a storm coming on. Mary brushes aside his concern, telling him that the storm isn’t coming until the next day. She can’t let the dove be all alone, which is the worst fate she can imagine. He offers to drive her, but she refuses and rushes off, leaving behind a worried David.
Regina comes to Emma and demands that she investigate the Stranger in town. Emma balks and tells Regina that there’s no law that says a stranger can’t visit town, no matter how much Regina wishes there was. When Regina uses the trump card that the Stranger was in front of her house, talking to Henry, Emma agrees to look into him.
Snow receives Prince James’ letter to her, which basically says that he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her. If she feels the same way, she should come to him before the wedding. He won’t marry Abigail and they can be together, instead. If she doesn’t come to him, then he will know that she doesn’t feel the same way. Snow is crying happy tears.
Mary is driving into the woods when she encounters a roadblock. Trying to beat the storm and get the dove home, she gets out of the car and takes the cage and heads out on foot.
Snow manages to trick her way into the castle, and is just about to reveal herself to James, when she is captured by one of the King’s guards, who throws her into the dungeons. She’s not alone in the dungeons, though, as it turns out her prison mate is no other than Grumpy! They introduce themselves to each other and Grumpy informs a desperate Snow that there’s no way to escape the dungeon. Snow tells him that someone is out there waiting for her, someone she loves and wants to be with, and she won’t lose him. Grumpy commiserates with her by telling her his own sad love story about working in the diamond mines to save up and buy a diamond for the woman he loved. When he did, he ended up getting swindled with a stolen diamond. He took the blame for the theft and wound up in prison. Now, he’s trapped.
Ah, but not so fast! Another Dwarf appears, one that Grumpy calls “Stealthy”. Turns out he broke into the prison with the help of the other Dwarves, who are waiting for them. Stealthy releases Grumpy and the two are about to take off, when Snow sincerely wishes Grumpy luck in getting his lover back. Stealthy shakes his head no, but Grumpy feels obligated to save Snow, now. He goes back and releases her, too.
Mary hears the dove’s flock just over a rise, but when she rushes up the hill, all she finds on the other end is a huge cliff. No doves around. Could it be a trick? Could be, because as soon as Snow sets the dove’s cage down, she slips off the cliff and ends up dangling over the side, perilously hanging onto a root. She’s desperately trying to pull herself up, but failing, when David reaches over and grabs her hand, pulling her out. It seems he wasn’t about to let her go out there by herself.
Mary is still desperate to reunite the dove with her flock, but the sudden onset of the storm and David’s concern manage to convince her that they need to get out of the woods and find shelter.
Grumpy, Snow and Stealthy are making their way through the tunnels in the prison. The group ends up going separate ways when Stealthy says they need to go one way and Snow says they should go another. Grumpy goes with Stealthy, who insists that the courtyard is free, while Snow goes another route. But the two men should have listened to Snow, as they end up getting caught in the courtyard by the guards and the King. Stealthy tries to run and gets an arrow in the back. Poor Stealthy. No wonder he wasn’t one of the Seven; he got killed too early!
The King doesn’t much care about either Dwarf. He’s more interested in where Snow is, but Grumpy refuses to tell him. Just as Grumpy is about to be killed, too, Snow appears with a torch in her hand. She demands that they let Grumpy go, or she will set a bale of hay on fire and the whole place will go up in flames. Go, Snow!
The King lets Grumpy go and a reluctant Grumpy leaves an insistent Snow behind. Snow releases the torch and the King’s men grab her. The King tells her that they need to talk.
Mary, David and the dove find shelter from the onslaught of the rain in an abandoned cabin. Mary finally tells David that she still has feelings for him, and she goes to Granny’s every morning just to see him. But it’s too painful to be around him because he choose Kathryn over her and that’s why she didn’t want him to come with her into the woods. David admits that the reason he goes to Granny’s at that time every morning is to see her, too. They are just about to kiss, but Mary pulls away and tells David that she knows that Kathryn thinks she’s pregnant. Seems David doesn’t know, though!
Emma finds the Stranger at Granny’s Café, drinking a coffee with his suitcase next to him. She tells him that they need to talk as he’s “suspicious”. He jokes about all the ways that he’s not doing anything suspicious then wonders what kind of hell he would have raised if he had ordered a doughnut with his coffee. I like the Stranger! He’s funny.
Anyways, Emma continues to call him on his “suspicious” behaviour, like talking to Henry and stopping in front of the Mayor’s house. Of course, he has good reasons for all of those things: Henry came out and asked him questions, not the other way around, and his motorcycle broke down in front of the house. Emma wants to know what’s in the box and the Stranger taunts her with leaving her dangling, never telling her what’s in the box, always leaving her hanging until the mystery and frustration grows. Or, she can agree to let him buy her a drink, sometime, and he will tell her right now. Emma agrees and the Stranger pulls the box out to reveal an old-fashioned typewriter. He’s a writer and he finds that Storybrooke provides inspiration. He starts to get up and leave, when Emma catches on to his word usage. She asks him if he’s been there before. He says he didn’t say that. He starts to walk out the door and Emma calls him, asking him about the drink. He says he didn’t say right then, and leaves.
Mary realises that David didn’t know about the possible pregnancy. David didn’t and admits that they weren’t trying to have a baby, as far as he knows. Mary stops him when she hears the sounds of birds cooing. She rushes out with the dove and David follows her. They manage to find the flock, who hadn’t left after all, and Mary happily releases the Dove, who flies off to join her family. David tries to hold Mary’s hand, but she pulls away and tells him it’s too painful; he chose Kathryn. He tells her that he still has feelings for her, and it’s like he has two conflicting lives, with memories of feelings for Kathryn and feelings for Mary. She tells him that she doesn’t know which one is real, but that they’re going to have to forget each other. Then she walks away from him.
Good job, Mary!
The King confronts Snow. He tells her that he knows all about her and James’ feelings for her. He orders her to go and tell James that she doesn’t love him, to break his heart, which will “cure” James of his love for Snow. Interestingly enough, he uses the same words as Rump in describing love as a “disease”. When Snow completes his threat that he will kill her if she doesn’t do what he says, he tells her no – he will kill James, instead. If he kills Snow, he will just make James love her more, leading to the destruction of the kingdom because James’ marriage to Abigail will dissolve. But if he has James killed by some assassin’s knife, than James will become a martyr that King Midas will laud and the merger will be complete. When Snow says in disgust that he would kill his own son, King George tells her that James isn’t his son.
Snow goes to see James in his room. James is thrilled to see her, but when he goes to kiss her, she tells him that it can’t happen. He tells her that it can. He has made plans and no one will be able to hurt them, now that he knows that she loves him, too…but she stops him and tells him that she doesn’t love him. She tells him that she came to tell him that and that he should move on from her. He should find someone who can love him the way that she never has and he should fill his heart with love for her, instead. He stands there, crying, as she hands his note back to him and walks out. And as she walks away, she starts to cry, too.
Come on, Snow, be brave. Turn back!
It’s morning, and David is getting dressed when Kathryn walks into the bedroom. He hints about something going on with her, and she admits to her frustration that he’s there but not really there. She admits that she wants to have a family with him, someday, but she thought she was pregnant and, when the test came back negative, she was relieved because they aren’t ready to have a family. Things are too messed up between them. David agrees with her and says that he knows they are supposed to be in love; he wants to try and fix it. She suggests seeing Archie and he agrees, much to her relief. She points out that it’s almost 7:15. If he wants to get his morning coffee before work, they have to leave now. He tells her no, that they should stay home and have breakfast together, instead. Once again, choosing Kathryn over Mary.
A broken-hearted Snow is leaving the castle when she ends up surrounded by the Dwarves. Grumpy asks her if she found her love and she says she found worse – she lost him. He takes her hand and tries to comfort her, telling her that she will come home with them. They all lost someone today. Doc tells her that they are now seven. Snow tells them that the only thing worth protecting has been shattered: her heart. He tells her that it will get better. She agrees with him and pulls out Rump’s potion. She tells Grumpy that it will get better, because this will make her forget all of her pain and love. But Grumpy stops her and tells her not to take it. When she asks him why, wouldn’t he want to get rid of all of the pain he feels over his lost love, he tells her no. His pain and his feelings are what makes him him. He tells her that she’s not alone, anymore, she has them, and if her pain gets to be too much to handle, then she can take it, but for today, put it away and come with them. She agrees and takes his hand. They all walk down the road together.
That was a truly awesome scene. The Dwarves rule! No wonder Grumpy (and the others) remained a strong friend to Snow later on, after she married James. Tragic circumstances bonded them together in bonds so strong that they were forever.
Emma and Mary are sitting at the breakfast table, Emma eating and Mary just sitting there, sadly looking at the clock. Emma looks over and sees that it’s 7:16. Silently commiserating with Mary, she holds Mary’s hand and smiles at her comfortingly.
James is riding to the same edge of the forest where Snow was living, calling for her. Instead, he finds Red, who tells her that Snow hasn’t returned since she first went to see James. He tells her it’s okay. He will find Snow; he will always find her.
Grumpy comes running into the Dwarf house, shouting for Snow. He comes rushing in to find her lying on the bed and happily tells her that the royal wedding has been called off. Her Prince Charming isn’t getting married, after all. But Snow has no idea who he’s talking about and Grumpy looks over in shock to see that the bottle of Rump’s potion is empty.
It’s 7:45a.m. Mary has made her way to Granny’s and is getting a cup of coffee to go from Ruby, when David walks in. Shocked, he walks back out again and Mary runs after him, stopping him on the sidewalk and asking him what he’s doing. He tells her that he was trying not to see her, which is why he came to the café later, and she tells him that she was trying to do the same thing. But apparently, they can’t stop running into each other, so what are they going to do? David blurts out to Mary that Kathryn isn’t pregnant and Mary stands there, stunned. At the same time, the two move in and kiss each other passionately, while across the street, a fuming Regina watches from her car.
Review: I liked this episode, though I found the melodramatic romantic angst to be a bit much with David and Mary Margaret. It’s amazing how different the real-world characters are from their fairy tale counterparts in so many ways. In the fairy tale world, James is honourable and true-hearted and determined, knowing what he wants and willing to stand up for it. In the real world, he’s kind of wishy-washy. He can’t make up his mind with whom he wants to be with and stick with it. I really like James, a lot. But David, not so much. Ever since he broke Mary’s heart and now keeps toying with her, while believing that he’s married to another woman and trying to make a life with her, I have a hard time finding him very rootable. Josh Dallas is a good actor and he’s trying his best, but if it weren’t for the fact that, underneath the curse, David is James, I wouldn’t be rooting for him at all. As it is, it’s kind of hard when he’s sleeping with his wife, and still pining for Mary and making moves on her. I don’t find that admirable.
With Mary, even though I’m not fond of her stalking ways, I’ve seen more to like of her in the way that she interacts with Henry and Emma, and how she’s so lonely and miserable, which makes it a bit easier for me to overlook her bordering-on-obsession with a married man.
I get that the curse is about keeping people apart, and what better way for Regina to wreak havoc on the one couple she would truly not want together than to have David end up married to the woman that he almost married in the fairytale world, to be apart from his true wife? But the melodramatic angst is a bit more than I like. Not fond of it.
Which leads me to Snow White and James…the angst in there was bordering on the same heightened drama, but it was a bit more just-plain-angsty to me, rather than the soap-opera melodrama of married men and hidden love affairs that we are getting with David and Mary, which made it easier to take. Snow taking the potion at the end was a bit much, but not surprising, since they have to string out the romance. I appreciate the fact that they didn’t do it with James going through with the marriage with Abigail, so I’m willing to overlook the huge angst factor of her forgetting him.
I wonder what Rump wanted with Snow’s hair, though….
And I guess these two fell madly and passionately in love all based on the one troll adventure? I wish we’d had more between then and now, for us to believe in the all-passionate strength of their love, but since it’s a fairy-tale story, and since we know their love is true-love based on what we have already seen, I’m willing to go with it. But it still would have been nice to have had something in between.
Love the way that Snow met the Dwarves (R.I.P. Number Eight, Stealthy!)! I loved them and Grumpy’s stuff with Snow after she left James was beautiful. That scene has to be one of my top five of the series so far. Just lovely, sympathetic and well done. I can see that I’m going to enjoy the relationship between the Dwarves and Snow!
I also liked what we saw of the friendship between Red and Snow. Their friendship seems more realistic to me than the one between Snow and Cinderella. Red and Snow seem to be more contemporaries and women that I could see hanging out together. I hope we see more of the friendship between them.
Speaking of relationships, despite my enjoyment of the romance between Snow and James, my favourite relationships in this show really have to be the familial ones. Mary and Emma, and Emma and Henry. I loved seeing Emma being nonjudgmental and supportive of Mary. The way that the two women have bonded is really lovely. I know that they don’t know that they really are mother and daughter, yet, but I like that it hasn’t stopped them from being best friends.
The one thing that continues to nag at me at me, though, is that for everyone who claimed in this episode that “love is the strongest magic of all,” the show hasn’t proven that that’s true, yet. David continues to be wishy-washy and to not really choose Mary, who is his true wife. Shouldn’t the love between them have him choosing her above Kathryn? Why is the curse so strong that it allows him to believe that another woman is his wife, that he sleeps with that false wife and chooses her over his true wife, and continues to do so? Where is the strength of that love?
And where was the strength of Snow’s love for her daughter, when Mary didn’t even have a real moment of recognition with Emma’s baby blanket last week?
I want Show to start showing me that love is the strongest magic of all, instead of telling me. Because right now, it seems like Regina’s evil and hatred are the strongest magic of all and that’s still frustrating me way more than is comfortable.
I think I am going to quite enjoy the Stranger. Yep, I do believe I am. He was funny and interesting and mysterious but not with that annoying taint of being one of the cursed ones under the evil power of Regina. I am really curious about his backstory and I think he knows a lot more than he is letting on. And the fact that he has been there before, and he’s carrying an old-fashioned typewriter, has led me to think that he’s either one of the Brothers Grimm, a descendent of Grimm, and/or the writer of the book of fairy tales. It would be a perfect explanation of why he was there before and why he is carrying a typewriter. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him, and I hope we get more of him with Henry and Emma. I liked his interactions with both.
Next Week: We discover a little bit more of Snow White and the Evil Queen’s past with each other, and meet Snow’s father and Regina’s husband, King Leopold.
This week’s Fairy Tale Characters Who Make Appearances In Both Worlds Are:
Snow White, AKA Mary Margaret
Prince Charming, AKA David
Red Riding Hood, AKA Ruby
Rumpelstiltskin, AKA Mr. Gold (only appeared in Fairytale Land)
Grumpy, AKA Leroy (only appeared in Fairytale Land)
Sneezy, AKA Mr. Clark (only appeared in Fairytale Land)
Evil Queen, AKA the Mayor Regina (only appeared in Storybrooke)
Kathryn, AKA Abigail (only appeared in Storybrooke)
Still Missing In Storybrooke: