Sunday, 19 August 2012

Once Upon a Time: A Still Small Voice / The Shepherd / The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Once Upon a Time episodes 5, 6 and 7

And now for your next Once Upon a Time digest in three manageable bites. Another four? five? episodes are being aired today as I type, so I figured that I should probably finish these round-ups before watching them. Here we go.

Episode 5: A Still Small Voice

We finally get to see Archie’s greater role in the fairytale world. We’ve already seen that he is Henry’s shrink and obeys Regina’s every demand, but we haven’t seen a glimpse of him in the other world. Henry has already told us matter-of-factly that his alter-ego is Jiminy Cricket and this episode explores his life before he becomes a cricket.

Archie still lives with his parents, helping them with great reluctance to con honest people out of their money and possessions. He’s sick of it, but has nowhere else to go. As we see is the case with every person who wants help in fairytale-land, Archie heads for Rumpelstiltskin who gives him a potion that guarantees to get rid of his parents for good. After all, Rumpelstiltskin has a reputation to consider. A little mishap takes place which sees Archie overloaded with guilt and his greatest wish fulfilled as he escapes his parents and is transformed into Jiminy Cricket, not to mention some even more confusing links between characters as if the show wasn’t turned on its head enough already.

The revelations we see of Archie are similarly echoed in Storybrooke. He’s sick of following Regina’s orders but does so anyway because she’s the Mayor and pretty damn scary. An earthquake in town uncovers some underground mineshafts that Henry is convinced will be the turning point in Operation Cobra – his codename for their mission to free the fairytale characters from Storybrooke. When Henry ventures down them alone, Archie knows that it is his fault for ignoring his conscience and instead obeying Regina’s orders and follows him down. They get trapped and then the whole town turns up to bust them out.

The end of this episode sees some pretty big events both for Storybrooke and with regard to the overall story. There’s the return of the crickets where they had never been heard in Storybrooke before – a tribute to Archie for following his conscience and standing up to Regina once and for all. This follows Emma’s arrival in Storybrooke where no stranger has never come before, and the re-ticking of the village clock which had been forever broken until Emma came into town. The curse is starting to disintegrate before Regina’s eyes. Then we see Regina throwing a crucial piece of evidence down into the mine to be lost forever – Henry was right in thinking that the mines had something to do with fairyland and now we’ll never know. And thirdly, though it was revealed earlier in the episode, Archie’s dog is called Pongo! It would be good if the 101 Dalmatians (though not strictly fairytale characters) had some role to play.

Episode 6: The Shepherd

This is a huge shocker episode, so don’t read on if you don’t want everything I’ve already said to be turned on its head.

It turns out the James who married Snow in the pilot isn’t really James at all. Or at least, his name isn’t James (don’t know what it is) and he wasn’t always a prince. The King had had twin sons and the other had been given away at birth. This James (who I’ll call Real James despite the fact that he isn’t) is a shepherd in some rural village, trying to make ends meet with his mother. When the royal one dies, Real James is sent for to take his place and slay a great dragon so that King Midas can be placated and provide the Kingdom with the funds that it so desperately needs. Reluctantly, Real James agrees because the King threatens his mother’s life, but he doesn’t realise that Midas also intends for James to marry his daughter, Abigail, who also happens to be Kathryn in Storybrooke.

Considering that we’ve already seen in episode 3 that James is about to marry Abigail when he meets Snow, the whole palava that is OUaT is just shaken up again and you have absolutely no idea where you stand. This is seriously the most brilliantly fucked up show I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

Definitely a heartbreaker!
In Storybrooke, David has finally been allowed to go home and finds a welcome-home party waiting for him. Unfortunately, the one person he wants to see is avoiding him so that he can make his marriage work. David leaves Kathryn and confronts MM at school, arguing that his gut tells him that they should be together. When Emma tells MM to go and get him, MM goes to meet David only to find that his memory is back intact and he wants to try and patch things up with his wife. The bastard! I don’t know why MM hasn’t slapped some sense into him already!

Episode 7: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

We finally get to focus on Graham, the hot Irish Sheriff of Storybrooke. We discovered several episodes ago that he’s sleeping with the Mayor and Emma has avoided him like the plague ever since. Despite that he’s consorting with the enemy, I love him anyway.

The resemblance to Henry Cavill is remarkable
In fairytaleland, Snow’s father has just died and the Evil Queen is pretending to be heartbroken too. [What did I say about this show being messed up? There’s ping-ponging between fairytaleland and Storybrooke, and fairytaleland and past-fairytaleland like you wouldn’t believe. I swear, none of what I ramble on about can make sense unless you actually watch the show.] Instead, she’s plotting her revenge against Snow and decides that the Huntsman is the perfect man for the job. The Huntsman is not your ordinary guy: he was abandoned as a child and raised by the wolves. As a result, he has a special affinity with wolves and other animals and is mocked by his peers for shedding a tear or two when he kills them. If he brings the Queen Snow’s heart, she promises to make him her official huntsman. She needs “someone without compassion, someone without qualms with carving a heart out and bringing it back for [her] collection.” The Huntsman agrees and to cut a long story short, he shows himself to be a man of compassion, letting Snow run away and presenting the Evil Queen with an animal heart instead. When she realises this and the Huntsman confesses, she rips out his heart - leaving him still alive because this is fairytaleland, after all – thereby making him her servant forever.

When Emma confronts Graham about his relationship with Regina back in Storybrooke, he kisses her! He’s some messed up guy, confessing to believing that he doesn’t have a heart because he doesn’t feel anything when he is with Regina. He starts seeing a wolf following him and like any other normal person would, starts going a little crazy. A dream about MM prompts him to ask her if they had known each other before – and demonstrates that no one in Storybrooke remembers much about their own histories – and she sends him to Henry and his book. This is the strange part: why is Graham of all the people in Storybrooke the only person to believe Henry’s theories?

Anyway, Graham and Emma make their way to the cemetery (because cemetery visits always end well) and stop off at the Mills family crypt when Graham recognises the symbol from his dream. Did I mention that Regina’s surname is Mills? Regina storms in on the pair of them snooping around her father’s grave and shoos them off. When Graham and Emma are safely back at the sheriff’s office, we see that the grave isn’t all that it seems as Regina reveals a trap door and secret vault. The pair are just about to kiss when Regina opens a drawer, takes out a heart and squeezes the life out of Graham – literally. This show demonstrates once again that fairytales are definitely not for kids.

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