Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 7: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

After the last episode, Emma learned that the Sheriff, Graham, was boffing the mayor. And we have the complicated scene now with the Sheriff explaining himself To Emma, Emma saying he doesn’t need to explain himself to her – why does he care what she thinks of his relationship and him worrying because he feels he’s lost his respect – all with lots of oozing sexual tension until we have a kiss. To which Emma very firmly sets him down (I love Emma, did I mention). Desperate “to feel something” (my mind keeps translating that to “I’m sooo horny!”) he turns to Madam Mayor for some action.

In fairyland we look at the Evil Witch (Madam Mayor) in her evil castle (you can see it’s evil, spikes are totally in among the evil set) is grieving with Snow White over Snow’s dead father – and the Evil Witch’s dead husband (yes, we have an evil step-mother, of course we do). Naturally, among the tears and sobbing it’s clear that Witchy was the one behind the father’s death (of course) and she is plotting merrily to kill Snow as well (in revenge for something apparently – which I’m still curious about). She plots with her magic mirror (the token black character) to find a heartless murderer completely bereft of mercy to take out snow (hey, she’s looking in a mirror – and she can’t see one?) Why! What she needs is a huntsman!

To the woods! And we find a hunter (our Sherriff Graham) killing a deer – and crying over it and promising to feed his puppy (ok wolf). If this is the guy they end up hiring to be the heartless killer, they totally need to sack their Human Resources department.

Yes, the Evil!Witch!Queen decides he’s perfect after seeing him kill a man who insulted his wolf – and we learn he has been raised by wolves. Ok, I take it back, Queen, you need to hire yourself a Human Resources department. See, this is why evil always fails in these shows – no good staff. The Queen thinks he’s heartless and cruel because he was raised by wolves – definitely need to check resumes more carefully. In exchange for outlawing the hunting of wolves, the Huntsman agrees to fetch Snow White’s heart

He’s escorting Snow White along the path, all alone, but no, this is Snow White in fairy land, who is smart and crafty and kicks arse, not the wet lettuce Mary Margaret. She quickly spots what he’s up to and gives him a good belt with a tree branch. Unfortunately rather than flee, Snow stops to write a letter – recognising flight as not helping since she’s being chased by a tracker. The letter is for the Evil!Witch!Queen – the contents of which cause the Weepy Huntsman to cry and let Snow go.

Huntsmen returns to the Evil!Witch!Queen (wearing black leather that really suits him) with a letter that is full of Snow White’s kindness and nobility and compassion (and Wet Lettuceness) and a fake heart. Which the Evil!Witch!Queen sees through – and punishes him by taking his heart and turning him into her slave. And since kisses and bedchambers are involved, this clearly means raped sex slave

Meanwhile in the real world – Sheriff Graham is dreaming of being a hunter with a wolf – and that worries Madam Mayor. Her curse victims are starting to remember. He goes to get his car – and runs into the wolf from his dream. He chases it until he runs into… Mr. Gold (rumplestiltskin). Someone really needs to kill that man. But he does suggest Graham’s wolf dream is a memory – what game is Rumplestiltskin playing now?

Graham continues to chase the large predator into the woods (don’t try this at home) until the wolf comes to heel and sniffs him (seeing if he’s good to eat) and allows Graham to pet it (false sense of security before dinner). And more memory flash backs – that curse is really unravelling after which the wolf has disappeared.
And Snow and Emma are excellent house mates, Snow is feeling guilty over her one night stand with the good doctor, thankfully Emma is there to both correct her on her definition of a “one night stand” and to make it clear there’s nothing wrong with one night stands. This could be a fierce and wonderful. Except Snow turns it round into Emma walling out all men and keeping out pain and love – and Emma retreating to the defensive . I really wish these hadn’t been put together - talking about Emma pushing guys away love at the same time as Emma telling Snow there’s no need for her to feel guilty about having sex. Now Emma’s “you don’t need to feel guilty” speech is completely undermined.

And then the mayor shows up at the police station to further shame Emma – and to say that Emma is totally putting bad thoughts into the mind of her man! (Corrupting her man you hussy! But it does seem that Emma is the catalyst to memories returning) You think she’d have learned by now that the minute you tell Emma not to do something, she’ll crawl over broken glass to do it.

Graham goes seeking Snow White because he’s seen her before – in another life. Yes I have a feeling the Sherriff may lose the confidence of the town if he keeps this up. But Mary Margaret (Snow White) is a wet lettuce so is happy to talk it out with him – and they both discover they have holes in their memories – he doesn’t remember meeting anyone. But Mary does tell him about Henry’s fairy tale book and theory. So off he goes to Henry and tell the kid about his dangerous delusions of murdering Henry’s teacher (in what universe is this even remotely considered a good thing!)

Henry confirms the Huntsman’s place in the story – and that the Evil!Witch!Queen stole his heart – which is why he can’t feel anything (but he hasn’t bled messily to death). This makes Graham the first character to completely embrace Henry’s story as true. Emma thinks it’s all kind of ridiculous (which, honestly, if the local sheriff decided he was actually the heartless servant of an Evil!Queen, I think I’d be vaguely perturbed as well) until she sees the wolf (and she’s quite willing to see “yikes! Large predator!) The wolf leads Graham to the vault he’s seen in his dreams – so Emma and he go exploring.

Alas, they don’t find anything – but Graham does have a confrontation with the Mayor. He is feeling nothing with the Mayor, so breaks up with her. Ok, y’know, I could have been 10 times happier with this message if it hadn’t come in the same episode of Mary Margaret telling Emma about her one night stands being defence against love. I’m not happy with the undercurrent of shaming casual sex we’re getting here – especially since the Huntsman’s relationship with the Evil!Witch!Queen isn’t casual sex – it’s rape.

Madam Mayor blames it all on Emma - thankfully Emma is not a wet lettuce and is happy to slap that down – verbally and otherwise. Madam Mayor is most irritated and tries to up the ante – but Emma again throws awesome everywhere and slaps that down as well. Freeing Emma and Graham to get all googly eyes over each other

Madam Mayor isn’t taking that very well. She enters a secret chamber under the vault where she keeps the hearts she’s collected. I think this is the first time when it’s perfectly clear that the Mayor remembers everything. I think it's also the first real proof that Henry is right about everything. With Graham’s heart in hand – she crushes it. This somewhat interrupts the googly eyes, and his continued breathing.

Metaplot development! Yes, I love it – the overarching plot of this series is advancing nicely and we actually have a character seeing through the curse. And for a character other than Mary Wet Lettuce. The curse actually weakening, major developments, characters remembering the fairy tale. Definitely one of the good ones – I can’t wait for next week

Ok things I’m not happy with. I’m not happy with the anti-casual sex messaging, especially since this is a show that has a history of giving us good, nuanced moral messages, it leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth. I also think the Evil!Witch!Queen’s rape of the Huntsman was brushed over – especially when you consider what that means for the foundation of their sex lives in Storybrook. The lack of analysis of that felt brushed aside and left something pretty major out.
Despite that, one of the better episodes with a lot of great, juicy lot and minimal amounts of Wet Lettuce.