Once Upon a Time: Heart of Darkness

The saga of Snow White and Prince Charming continued in “Heart of Darkness”.

So how has Snow White been doing since she chugged the magic potion to forget her Prince Charming? Well … she’s kind of turned into a mega-bitch! Turns out there were some unfortunate side effects to burying true love. By sacrificing her deepest desires, Snow created a black hole in her heart that is swallowing her alive. All that’s left is a selfish, angry, rude be-yotch who makes everyone around her miserable.

There’s a hilarious nod to Disney as Snow White hums a beautiful tune while sweeping the cottage, attracting a blue bird, who flutters to her uplifted hand. And then she tries to brain it with her broom … VERMIN!!! That killed me. But it’s typical bad behavior for the new Snow who is driving her cute little dwarf roommates crazy. She’s ungrateful and snotty, she waves straw in poor Sneezy’s face, and she’s somehow managed to turn Happy into a raging ball of anger.

As a last-ditch effort, the dwarves call on Jiminy Cricket and stage an intervention to force Snow to realize how nasty she’s become. But instead of acknowledging her problem, Snow decides to refocus her anger and go straight for the source. It’s time for sweet little Snow White to kill the Evil Queen!

Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is still desperately trying to convince everyone that she’s NOT a killer, but the evidence keeps piling up against her. The heart-in-a-box with her fingerprints on it was buried at Mary Margaret and David’s favourite rendezvous spot, the box turns out to be Mary Margaret’s jewelry box, and Emma finds a hunting knife hidden in the heating vent in Mary Margaret’s bedroom. Emma still believes in her friend’s innocence but she has to proceed with the investigation in a neutral manner or Regina will have her thrown out of office and things could get worse for Mary Margaret.

The only – admittedly weak – explanation that Mary Margaret can offer is that she’s being set up. But she’s not the only one convinced of treachery. Henry believes his mother is behind everything and presses Emma to go after her. Emma rightfully points out that “The Evil Queen hates Snow White” which won’t exactly hold up in court. True, but it would be a really, really amusing trial! Feeling defeated and depressed, Henry drowns his sorrows in a large mug of hot chocolate. But he receives renewed hope from an unlikely source. Mysterious newcomer August sidles up to him and tells him he’ll find the answers to his problem “in the book in your bag.” Henry’s all ‘Wha? How do you know about my magic book?’ and August calls himself a believer and says he knows the book is full of stories that really happened. He reveals his true purpose to Henry – that he’s in town to make sure Emma becomes a believer. But someone as pragmatic as Emma is going to need proof. He leaves Henry to solve his current predicament on his own.

I pretty much figured that August was in town to bridge the gap between Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest somehow, but what exactly is his role in all of this? If he’s after Emma, he must know that she’s the only one who can break the curse. If all curses have loopholes, maybe he’s a creation of the curse itself – someone to ensure that Snow White’s daughter has a fighting chance? Is he a fairytale character, an ordinary human, or some kind of temporary being?

Henry and Emma aren’t the only ones trying to clear Mary Margaret’s name. David is distraught and desperately trying to find a way to help his love. For some reason he turns to Regina first. Does he think mayors can just wave murder charges away? He swears that Mary Margaret could never be capable of evil, but Regina just stares at him with her usual half concealed smirk face: “Evil isn’t born, it’s made.”

In the Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming is looking desperately for HIS love, unaware that she’s falling into darkness without him. He’s still on the run from King George’s knights and Red has been helping him track down Snow White. They find themselves surrounded by soldiers and Red decides to put her supernatural powers to good use. She tells Charming to ride off and find Snow White and looks up at the sky as the full moon emerges from behind the clouds. Ditching her red cloak she transforms into a wolf and bounds straight into the knights.

Great flow between the last episode and this one. I love that even though Red’s backstory was much further in the past (when Snow White was first on the run, before she met Charming) her wolfy revelation played right into this story.

Charming continues his search through the woods, but is disturbed by what he finds. He crosses paths with a naked, injured knight who is still reeling from an encounter with the princess. Snow White speared him through the leg with a pickaxe, threatened to skin him if he didn’t give up the Queen’s location, then stole his uniform. Charming is horrified that his fair maiden has turned cold and bloodthirsty.

Snow takes a slight detour from her murderous rampage when Grumpy catches up to her and convinces her to go see Rumpelstiltskin instead. Maybe he can restore her memories or at least change her personality back to what it once was. “He’s the most powerful man in the world, he can do anything!” She agrees to come with him, but isn’t interested in remembering her prince. She has her own agenda.

Rumpel tells them there’s no way to bring back true love. It can’t be bottled. Snow could care less but wants his help in killing the Queen. Rumpel gives her a bow that “always finds its target” and advises her to use it on the Queen while she’s out in the open, traveling to her summer palace. Shockingly he doesn’t even ask for anything in return. All he can say is that he’s ‘invested’ in her future. EWW… whatever that means, it is NOT GOOD!

Hot on Snow’s trail, Charming visits Rumpel soon after she departs. Rumpel has very different advice for him. Maybe there IS a way to bring back true love and it involves a simple kiss on the lips. But to kiss the girl, you gotta know where she is and that information does come at a price. Rumpel makes Charming hand over his cloak and warns him that if Snow White kills the Queen, “She’ll becomes as evil as the woman whose life she takes”

Charming rushes off to save Snow from herself but when he finds her and forcibly pulls her into an embrace, she just knocks him out cold. So much for that plan! Snow still has no memory of her prince. She ties him to a tree and goes after the Queen while he screams at her that she can’t kill her. Snow just replies, “Watch me.” Jiminy Cricket rescues Charming from his bonds and tells him to keep trying. If Snow has lost sight of herself, how can she remember her true love? He needs to break through her walls.

In Storybrooke, David turns to Dr. Hopper for help unlocking his lost memories from the night Katherine was killed. Maybe he knows something that will clear Mary Margaret’s name. He goes under hypnosis and remembers calling Katherine on the night she disappeared. She told him she was leaving to start a new life and that he should be with Mary Margaret if it made him happy. Then he sees Mary Margaret in his memory – only he doesn’t realize he’s actually seeing Snow White. He’s in the woods with her and he’s begging her not to ‘kill her’. She says, “Watch me.” Dr. Hopper pulls David out of his hypnotic state and he runs off in a panic.

I think this is the first time that a Storybrooke character has remembered their past … aside from the Sheriff. It’s a great plot twist to have David confuse his memories of Snow White with his memories of Mary Margaret and shake his faith in the woman he loves. I hate to nit-pick, but I did wonder why David didn’t stop to wonder why Mary Margaret was wearing a long cloak and her hair was suddenly down past her shoulders. But it was probably all a big haze, so I’ll let it go.

Henry rifles through his mother’s things and finds her creepy key ring. Convinced it will open any door in Storybrooke, he tells Emma to use it on Mary Margaret’s front door. If Regina could get into her place, she could plant evidence without any sign of a break-in. Emma watches with an ‘awww, poor confused boy’ look as Henry tries several keys on the ring with no luck. But she humours him and gives it a shot herself. It opens. Maybe only the curse breaker has the special touch to work Regina’s skeevy magical key ring? There’s no useable proof, but it’s enough to convince Emma that Regina is behind the whole thing. She turns to the only person devious enough to help her catch Regina off guard – Mr. Gold.

Mary Margaret is growing increasingly depressed and desperate as she sits in the Sheriff’s cell. She even hires Mr. Gold as her lawyer; unsure whether Emma will be able to clear her name, but rock bottom comes with a visit from David. He tells her about his confusing memories and wants to know if she was involved in Katherine’s death. Mary Margaret is utterly heartbroken. Even when David was the prime suspect, when the whole town thought he was a murderer, she stood by him. How could he even entertain the possibility that she’s capable of that kind of evil? She screams at him to GET OUT.

Prince Charming isn’t willing to give up on HIS sweetheart that easily. As Snow White stalks the Queen’s travelling party from a cliff side, he is still trying to stop her. As she takes aim, he jumps in front of her bow and it gets him through the shoulder. Snow is furious but Charming just keeps professing his love and telling her he would rather die than let her fill her heart with darkness. Something about his devotion finally touches Snow. Her face softens and she starts to tear up. She moves in to kiss Charming and as their lips meet she remembers everything. Their blissful happiness is short-lived because King George’s army breaks up the party and takes Charming prisoner. Snow screams after him that she’ll always find him.

Snow goes back to apologize to the dwarves and they’re ecstatic to have their sweet maiden back! They insist on accompanying her as she goes to rescue Prince Charming. “Let’s show that king what Snow White and the Seven Dwarves can really do.”

While Charming is on his way back to the King and Snow is plotting out a rescue plan, Rumpelstiltskin is creating something he once though impossible: a love potion. True love in a bottle had eluded him forever, but he finally has something he can use to create it. By plucking a stray hair off of Charming’s cloak and entwining it in a glass bottle with the lock of Snow White’s hair that he took earlier, he creates a magical reaction. I have to wonder that if the bow he gave Snow always hits its target, was it never supposed to hit the Queen? Maybe Rumpel was just setting a bigger plan in motion … starting with his love potion.

Feeling lost and utterly alone, Mary Margaret stumbles on a weird-looking key when she’s making the bed in her cell. (Okay seriously, that deserves at least a mention right? Who makes their bed in PRISON???) She discovers that it unlocks the door to her cell and uses it to escape while Emma is away from the station.

Overall Impressions:

I’m really enjoying the Mary Margaret murder storyline. It’s getting the whole town involved in interesting ways and I love that there’s no easy solution. Emma can’t exactly expose Regina this early in the series, but Mary Margaret can’t go down for murder either … can she? Escaping from prison is a nice twist, but where is she going to hide in Storybrooke? We know she can’t exactly leave town.

I’m also hooked on August and his secret plans. How is he going to make Emma a believer and just how exactly does he have so much information about the curse?

Favourite Line:

I love how the show keeps making fun of the whole ‘Prince Charming’ thing. When Charming tracks Snow down and tries to convince her that she knows him, he’s all ‘It’s me … Charming.’ and she replies incredulously, “Charming?! I’m beginning to see why I drank that potion.”

Photo Courtesy of ABC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *