The jewelry box belonging to MM.
ReviewsTelevision & Film

ONCE UPON A TIME There Was a Shiny Arrow and a Key

Episode 1.16 “Heart of Darkness”

[Photos: Jack Rowand/ABC  Sreen caps:]

OK. This is late. Prepping for Planet Comicon through me a little behind. But we’ll be back on track this week.

Onward! Spoilers ahead!

We begin our week in Fairy Tale Land, chronologically sometime after Red has fully embraced her ability to transform into a Big Bad Wolf. It’s interesting that she follows the same path as Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk – aiming the monster instead of trying to get rid of it. At least that way the damage is done to those who have it coming, right?

Red takes a walk on the wild side.

A WANTED poster with Snow’s image leads us to Storybrooke, where Mary Margaret is getting her mug shots. And her “I’d never hurt anyone.” takes us right back to FTL, where a musical Snow White tries to smash a bluebird?

And so we get an intervention!

Jiminy leads an intervention.

In the aftermath of Snow White’s imbibing the “forget me some Prince” potion from Rumplestiltskin, Snow is now bitter and angry. The dwarves bring in Jiminy Cricket, who accidentally gives her the idea that she should get her revenge on the Evil Queen.

But whose axe does she take?

The jewelry box belonging to MM.

It’s interesting that during the interrogation of Mary Margaret, Mayor Regina asks to be present as an objective third party. How is she objective, when she claims the alleged victim as her friend? Regina is hardly impartial. And of course, Regina tries to sabotage the interrogation by making it about Emma missing any signs of a break-in at the house. Because remember, the accused is roommates with the sheriff. Awkward?

So, Snow White ambushes one of the Queen’s soldiers (and why is he traveling alone?), only to ask him where the Queen is. Well, where else would she be but the castle? This scene seems a bit superfluous, only in place to show Snow getting darker and grittier. The back half of this scene – Grumpy showing up to say he’s taking her back to Rumpelstiltskin – could stand alone without the ambush.

SB: Emma is searching for signs of a break-in (and shouldn’t she be wearing gloves in case she finds anything?), only there’s nothing (of course) – nothing, that is, except the big hunting knife in the floor!

Could August be an older Henry?

At the diner, Henry gets pearls of wisdom from August. And August gives us a hint that he knows more about the book than he should.

Henry: “It’s just a book.”
August: “Is it?”
Henry: “Yeah.”
August: “I think we both know that’s just not the case.”

So Henry looks into the book, which takes us into Fairy Tale Land: Charming finds the knight and learns of Snow White’s plot to kill the queen.

At the Mayor’s office, David tries to get Regina to see reason. When the mayor says evil isn’t born, but made, to which David replies, “All due respect, Regina, I don’t think you know much about evil.” The writers are making David look like an idiot on purpose. I know there’s a plan here…

Line: “I don’t think ‘She hates Snow White’ is going to hold up in court, Henry.”

Regina: “Evil doesn’t always look evil. Sometimes it’s staring right at us, and we don’t even realize it.”

While Mary Margaret is having a little freak out moment, Mr. Gold offers his services as a lawyer (adept at contracts, remember). Of course, Mary Margaret knows this is going to cost, and he says “Let’s just say I’m invested in your future.” Which is what he says to her when she (as Snow White) and Grumpy come to him (as Rumpelstiltskin) to fetch a solution to their problems. Of course, the solution to Grumpy’s problem isn’t the same as Snow’s. Snow ends up with a bow and arrow and a map. Grumpy ends up with – well, more grumpiness. Because the hole in Snow White’s heart can’t be undone except with true love’s kiss.

James confronts Rumpelstiltskin, finding out Snow White doesn’t have much time.

That’s what Rumpelstiltskin tells Charming in their confrontation. Only Rumpelstiltskin does his impression of the Impressive Clergyman with “twoo wuv” (always fun hearing that).

Charming finds Snow waiting in ambush on the Queen’s highway. (What is it with Snow White and ambushes in this show?) Only kissing her doesn’t get him the results he’s after. Not unless you count a log to the head. Oops.

Back in Storybrooke, Henry has used August’s advice and gone through the book for an answer – Regina’s skeleton keys. One of which opens the door to Mary Margaret’s apartment. Thus, Henry has a Wesley Crusher moment and gets to be right.

Charming wakes up tied to a tree (at least he still has his clothes). And Snow dashes off to kill the Queen, with Charming yelling after her to stop. Jiminy Cricket shows up to free Charming, telling the prince that Snow needs to remember who she is before she can remember who he is. (There’s a parallel being set up here. Do you see it?)

The yelling “Don’t kill her” is the memory David has while Archie has him under hypnosis. David now wonders if Mary Margaret is capable of something like murder. Uh-oh.

Charming finds Snow, taking the arrow meant for the Queen. The whole “I’d die for you.” moment finally awakens enough melty heart feelings in Snow that she kisses Charming back, and poof! Everything’s all right with the world again. Except for the whole capture by King George’s knights who just happen to be on the same hillside at just the right moment. He gets snagged, but the knights leave Snow White, the other wanted fugitive? Huh?

David goes to the jail to confront Mary Margaret with the memories he has, or thinks he has, but really has, only they’re memories from another life and he doesn’t know it (confused yet?). Of course, MM kicks him out for not believing in her when she stood by him in the face of overwhelming suspicion that he did it…

Snow comes back to the cottage, makes nice with the dwarves, who decide they’re going to help her get James back. At this point, it’s starting to get a little silly how much Snow and Charming keep getting ripped away from each other. It’s got to end soon.

Back in the jail, MM is making her cot when she finds a skeleton key, and lookee! It opens the cell. How convenient! Emma tells her the DNA tests came back. The heart is Kathryn’s, so the assumption is that she’s dead. (But remember: Graham was still alive after losing his heart, so…) Now, the sheriff tells the suspect “You’re being railroaded.” Which, I think, is kind of against the rules, right? But it’s all a plot to keep Regina in charge, so a little rule-breaking is OK, right? Others have pointed out how Emma’s police work is shoddy, and it’s becoming even more so as we move along in the case.

Emma goes to Gold, asking for help in figuring out how to beat Regina. Even though she doesn’t approve of his methods, he gets results. And her friend (mother?) is more important than her job. Gold tells her she may have more power than she realizes. Well, duh…

FTL: Rumpelstiltskin plucks a hair from James’ cloak and puts it in a jar with another hair – Snow White’s – and they do a little glowy showy dance, and Rumpelstiltskin puts the bottle on a shelf with a heart label on it. Has he found a way to duplicate true love in a magic spell?

Won’t find out in this episode because it’s the end of the hour, and Mary Margaret has escaped!

So, the questions raised in this episode:

  1. Who is August? Is he an older Henry?
  2. What does he mean by “help others see the light”? Is that a clue about his FTL identity, if he has one?

[Official Show Site at ABC]     [Previous recap: “Red-Handed”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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