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Once Upon a Time 1-16: Heart of Darkness

After last week’s dark episode and the title of this one, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It thought it might be very dark. And while it wasn’t happy go lucky and was more in keeping with the darker tone of this half of the season, I definitely enjoyed it.

Plus we finally got back to amnesia Snow White. That really helped me enjoy the episode because I am so invested in Snow/James because of all the complications they’ve put in their way that we aren’t expecting.

In fact, let’s start there. Our first look at Fairy Tale was of Snow White working around the dwarfs’ cottage and whistling “With a Smile and a Song” from the Disney movie. There’s a blue bird in the room, and Snow reaches out her hand. The bird flies over to her finger. And then Snow tries to crush it with her broom. And the bird flies around the room, she keeps whacking at it. It’s chirping is too cheerful for her. Grumpy comes in and leads her to an intervention with the other dwarfs and Jiminy Cricket. Turns out that without her memories of James, Snow has become a very different person – a bitter, angry, vindictive person. As the dwarfs try to convince her she has changed (she’s even making Happy sad by breaking his mug), she decides that the way to regain her happiness and the life in a palace she deserves as a princess is to kill the Queen.

Now, we know that won’t happy because otherwise the curse would never have been enacted. But somehow I still got so caught up in this story that I couldn’t wait to see how she would be stopped.

Of course, it helps that James is out searching for her with Red. As the soldiers from the King start closing in on them, Red stays behind to give James a head start. It’s a full moon, and as she takes off her cape, we know what’s coming. Out last shot of her is as she is transforming into a wolf and leaping toward the soldiers.

Snow White has waylaid one of the Queen’s soldiers. She’s threatens his life until he confesses that the Queen is going to go from the winter to the summer palace tomorrow. (With the snow on the ground? Really?) So Snow decides she needs to break in and murder the Queen that night.

But then Grumpy shows up. He insists that they go see Rumplestiltskin. Grumpy is hoping for a potion that will help restore Snow’ memory. But Rumplestiltskin says that’s impossible because he has yet to make a potion for true love, the only thing that can help Snow. Sure enough, there is an empty spot on his shelf of potions where that would be.

Snow had an ulterior motive for being talked into going to see Rumplestiltskin, however. She wanted his help is killing the Queen. He offers her a bow and arrow that won’t miss so she can hide along the path the Queen will take and shoot her without being seen. She asks what he wants for it, remembering the fee for the forgetfulness potion, a lock of her hair. But he says nothing. “I am invested in your future.”

Meanwhile, James has learned somewhere that Snow went to see Rumplestiltskin, so he shows up as well. He learns that reminding Snow of their love will be enough to break the forgetfulness spell. And he learns Snow’s plan and location, but in exchange, he must give up his cape. (And am I crazy, but didn’t Rumplestiltskin say “Tweu lowve” ala Princess Bride during this scene?)

Sure enough, James finds Snow. He grabs and kisses her, but her memories don’t come back. When she asks how he found her, James says, “I will always find you.” Another Princess Bride reference? She knocks him out. When he comes to, he is tied to a tree. He pleads with Snow not to kill the Queen, but she says she prefers actions to words and takes off. Fortunately, Jiminy shows up to help James get free, and he heads out again to stop Snow.

It’s now the next morning, and Snow White is waiting by the path to kill the Queen. As she rides by, Snow releases the arrow. And just as it flies, James leaps in front of it and takes the arrow. And that act of love in action is enough to break the spell. As the two are passionately kissing, the King’s soldiers who are looking for James show up and cart him away. A weeping Snow declares, “I will always find you.”

She heads back to the dwarfs’ cottage where she apologizes for her past actions, even bringing Happy a new mug. They are ready to welcome her back, but she declares she must go free James. And they all volunteer to go with her.

But what about the cloak that Rumplestiltskin wanted? Actually, he didn’t want it. He wanted a hair from it. And as he plucks it off and puts it in a vial with one of Snow’s hairs, they start to dance together and glow. Cackling gleefully, he puts it on his shelf. Yes, he now has a true love potion.

If you are like me, you are also quite interested in what is happening to Mary Margaret over in Storybrooke. Well, she’s being processed for the murder of Kathryn after the grisly discovery from last week. Emma confides that she doesn’t think Mary Margaret is guilty, but she doesn’t have a choice but to follow the evidence and act on it or Regina will fire her.

Speaking of whom, guess who wants to sit in on the interrogation to make sure Emma does it by the book. Yep, there’s Regina. The interview starts well as Mary Margaret denies things. But then Emma pulls out the box the heart was found in. (Was it just me, or did it look different this week? Plainer?) Mary Margaret gasps. “That’s my jewelry box.” Regina pounces on her, but Emma pulls her out of the room and reminds her that Regina was only supposed to observe and not say anything. Regina asks if Mary Margaret is so innocent, why haven’t they found signs of a break in at their apartment.

So Emma takes the bait and heads home to investigate. While she’s doing that, Henry shows up. They can’t find anything, but then the heat comes on, and Emma hears a rattling in the vent. There’s the knife that must have been used to kill Kathryn. Henry still insists that Mary Margaret is innocent, saying that Regina is framing her because the Queen hates Snow White. Emma is not only not buying that but insists it won’t hold up in court, which is certainly true.

A distraught Henry tries to drown his sorrows in a cup of hot chocolate down at the diner. As he’s sitting there staring at it, August shows up. (BTW, anyone else notice that he’s now one of the main credits cast and not a guest star? I first noticed it last week.) As they talk, August not only tells Henry that he believes the stories in Henry’s book are real but he’s in town to help others believe the stories are real – specifically Emma. Finally, August leaves Henry to try to find the answers in his book.

Meanwhile, Mary Margaret gets a lawyer in the form of Mr. Gold. Concerned about the fee, Mary Margaret starts to protest. Mr. Gold says he’s not interested in money. “I am invested in your future.”

A discouraged Emma heads home to find Henry waiting for her with Regina’s keys. He claims those keys will open any door in Storybrooke. She doesn’t think there’s a key there that will work on their door, but he starts trying them. Insisting they try one more, he picks it out and hands it to Emma. The door opens. Not a surprise at all to me since my first thought when Regina brought up the break in idea was her keyring.

Meanwhile, David is trying to fill in his memory gaps to try to help Mary Margaret. He talks to Regina trying to get help, but Regina is insisting that evil isn’t born but is made and the evidence against Mary Margaret must be true. So he goes to Dr. Hopper. (About time they brought him back!) The first memory he uncovers is of Kathryn calling him and saying what was in the letter – while she is hurt by their marriage ending, she wishes he and Mary Margaret well. But then he flashes back further. Much further. He’s in a snowy forest pleading with Snow White not to kill “her.” Yep, he’s flashed back to a scene we’d just seen in Fairy Tale. The way they covered Snow’s hair and blurred the image, you can’t see her long hair, so you could buy that he thought it was Mary Margaret. Upset, he leaves and goes to the jail where he confronts Mary Margaret. She’s hurt that he didn’t believe in her innocence the way she believed in his, and she turns her back on him and orders him to leave.

As Mary Margaret is spreading a sheet on the bed in her cell, a key falls out. She tries it, and it opens her door. She quickly relocks it as Emma comes in. She’s gotten the DNA results back on the heart. It’s definitely Kathryn. But Emma is quick to reassure Mary Margaret that she doesn’t believe it. She even says she thinks that Regina is behind it. But she is going to move carefully because she wants to prove it once and for all.

Along those lines, she goes to Mr. Gold and asks for his help. After all, the only time she’s beat Regina was when Mr. Gold was helping. In response to his question, she vows she is ready to go further then necessary to win.

And the episode ends with a shot of the open cell of the jail. Mary Margaret has used the key to get out. That’s not going to go well for her or Emma.

So, why is Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold so invested in Snow/Mary? He told her in both worlds that he was invested in her future. What does he mean by that? Could it have anything to do with the fact that he was in prison when the spell was cast?

I’m really beginning to wonder just exactly why Snow wound up back at the dwarfs’ cottage to fall victim to the poison apple like we saw in the pilot. I’m as interested in the Snow/James story as I am the Storybrooke story.

And I’m wondering how that could be Kathryn’s heart in the box. Is she dead? Did Regina take it at some point in Fairy Tale? I’m doubting that she’s dead, but I’m at a loss for any other explanation.

It sure looked to me like the key Mary Margaret got was the same key that opened the door to her apartment. So, is that a magic key that opens any lock? If so, who gave it to her? Was it Regina wanting her to look even guiltier? Or someone else who thinks their helping?

So, what did I miss? What other theories are out there?

Looks like next week we get a trip through Wonderland. Should be lots of fun.