Once Upon a Time
Listen, I don’t make any pretense or denials over being a LOST fanatic and even now 2 seasons removed from its ending, seeing LOST related things pop up on TV makes me positively giddy. The fact that some of my favorite shows on TV come from various minds connected to the JJ Abrams juggernaut is no surprise. But, the first 10 minutes of tonight’s episode of Once Upon a Time was enough to make any LOSTie full on squee with joy. Just to be clear, in case you missed it, we had Charles Widmore (Alan Dale making his second LOST-related appearance on TV this week with his guest stint on Person of Interest earlier in the week), 60-year old MacCutcheon Whiskey (which follows on the heels of the Dharma Initiative candy of choice, Apollo Candy Bar, last week and a literal freaking Shepherd (shout out to protagonist Jack Shephard, a duh!). Okay, that’s it for me on the LOST stuff this week (except for the forthcoming Widmore references, King “George” just sounds so pedestrian and not nearly sinister enough for a King played by Charles freaking Widmore.
Tonight was a NotCharming Episode and not terribly involved, except for the recurring theme of choice and free will which pervades so much of this show’s mythology and backstory … but that’s for another post. Also, can we talk about the utter Mary Margaret heartbreak? Maybe its your haircut Mary Margaret and that you look like a boy? Let’s get to it, shall we?
Prince Charming is fighting a large brute of a man in front a medieval-like crowd. After getting tossed clear across the battlefield, Charming fakes like he is down, only to roll over and plunge his sword into the chest of the brute. He finishes him with the line, “next time, make sure I’m really dead.” (man, he’ll regret those words in a few minutes). Charming’s dad, King
George Widmore, boasts to his guest, King Midas, about Charming’s mad skillz that killz and goes on to say that Midas can have Charming slay whatever dragon, beast or other creature he needs in order to save his kingdom as long as Midas will float them some of that Midas gold. As a down payment on Charming’s services, Midas uses his legendary gold-making hand to changes Charming’s sword into solid gold. Nice alchemist party trick! After King Midas and King Widmore leave, Charming’s kinsmen want to celebrate but Charming quashes the fun; he tells his men that this win was only a test and just because he was able to easily slay this brute … well, we never get to hear the end of that sentence because the easily slayed brute just totally killed Charming with a sword through the back. Seriously, did none of his kinsmen see the Brute get up?!?
When we return, King Widmore is standing over his dead son and saying goodbye while the largest glycerin tears I have ever seen on TV roll down his cheeks. King Widmore’s Bossy Knight tells him there is no time to grieve because Midas will go elsewhere for his dragon slayer (and take his gold with him) if they cannot produce a Charming and a dragon’s head ASAP. King Widmore acknowledges the paramount importance of the kingdom’s survival and assures Bossy Knight that help is on the way.
Rumplestiltskin chimes in that help has arrived. I admit that really do love his cheery sing song, yet totally sinister nature. Rumple chastise King Widmore for not being more careful with his gifts. King Widmore protests that this was no gift, this was his son. Seems he was both as Rumple gave King Widmore and his barren wife this son. King Widmore asserts that it was a deal they made and Rumple did him no favors. Rumple sees it differently but there’s no reason to quibble, King Widmore wants to make a new deal. He proposes that he will pay Rumple’s price if he brings his dragon slaying son back to life. Rumple’s price is the whereabouts of a certain fairy godmother that patrons the King Widmore family and who has a certain magic wand that Rumple is interested in (YAY Show for continuity to the Cinderella episode!!!). King Widmore is all “deal,” now bring Charming back to life? Rumple clarifies the deal does not involve any kind of resurrection, Charming is dead and that’s not going to change; magic can do a lot but not that. When King Widmore sighs that hope for the kingdom is lost, Rumple acts offended; did he not say he could provide a dragon slaying son? I will bring you Charming’s Brother. Wait, did I never tell you that Charming had a brother; he Obi Wans that there is another. In the oddest cut ever done on this show, we cut to a smug looking shepherd standing in a field, eye fucking the fourth wall. Such a weird scene.
When we return to the shepherd field, NotCharming is chasing some sheep around when his mother (Ruth) returns from the market. Seems she got talking with the grain merchant and they were maybe talking about marrying off their kids for a sizeable dowry which would save the farm. Like a sullen teenager, NotCharming is all “moooom” and tells her that he’ll figure out a way to save the farm but who he loves is his choice. Momma Ruth assures him that he can’t have everything.
Rumple appears on the farm just then and says that maybe NotCharming can … and then he giggles and shimmies the way Rumple does. We learn that Momma Ruth and the dead dad gave away NotCharming’s brother to Rumple in exchange for enough money to save the farm (though apparently not in perpetuity). Momma Ruth tells NotCharming that his father regretted until the day he died. When Rumple, who has been hitting the sauce in a flask, pipes up that they need to get a move on, NotCharming sends Momma Ruth into the house. Rumple tells NotCharming that his king needs a dragon slayer and while yes, you are not a dragon slayer, your brother was. All NotCharming has to do is play a part and your kinsmen will kill the dragon. Rumple is not so keen to discuss what’s in it for him but rather, wants to talk about what’s in it for NotCharming. Your mom’s farm will be saved and you’ll be a conquering hero. NotCharming feels like he doesn’t have a choice but Rumple reminds him (like he does everyone) that everyone’s got a choice, just make sure its the right one.
NotCharming is in armor when King Midas comes out to give him the old pre-dragon slaying pep talk. NotCharming unsheathes his sword and Midas tells him that he’ll be a legend if he completes this task. After he takes his leave. Bossy Knight comes over to correct how NotCharming buckled his suit of armor and he also takes his golden sword. So there is no mistaking anything, Bossy Knight informs NotCharming that while he may have the title of “hero,” he certainly does not have the job of one. At the Dragon’s cave, NotCharming is left outside with 2
babysitters soldiers. One of the soldiers tells NotCharming that his brother was the bravest man he ever knew … as if NotCharming wasn’t already feeling bad about himself. When the “being massacred by the Dragon” screams start, NotCharming gets all heroic and breaks free of his babysitters soldiers to rush to the mouth of the cave. Before he has a chance to enter, he pulls a severely wounded soldier to safety; amidst crazy dragon fire, he finds his two babysitters soldiers have been toasted and the available swords are too hot to hold. When the Dragon comes around for some NotCharming nom noms, NotCharming runs him into a pass whereby he is able to trap the dragon in a too narrow rock formation. He takes no small pleasure in chopping off the Dragon’s head as he taunts the dragon (no one likes a gloater NotCharming ).
Sometime later, King Widmore is presenting the dragon’s head to Midas and Midas is wetting himself over praise of NotCharming’s bravery and mad dragon slaying skillz. King Widmore appreciates the praise but would like Midas’s gold just as much, if not more. Midas is more than willing to pay but also wants to sweeten the pot, you see he was looking for more than a dragon-slayer, he was looking for a good man to marry his daughter Abigail … and NotCharming is his guy! As NotCharming goes to turn him down, King Widmore excuses is “son’s” humility and whisper threatens that if NotCharming says anything other than yes to Midas, NotCharming will destroy everyone’s life in the kingdom and to boot, King Widmore promises him that he’ll not only kill NotCharming but he’ll also kill his Momma Ruth and turn their farm to ash. Understand? Well, when you put it that way …
NotCharming returns to the farm and his Momma Ruth is mightily impressed at how princely he looks. Funny story Momma Ruth. Remember how you said I can’t have it all, you were totally right. I am being forced to accept King Midas’s daughter’s hand in marriage lest everyone get killed, the farm turned to ash and the kingdom fall to pieces and I didn’t come for your advice, but rather, just to say goodbye … ok? Ok. Bye! Before he goes, Momma Ruth gives him her ring and tells him that true love follows it wherever it goes so I know you’ll always be okay as long as you have it.
Wrap Ups. King Midas and King Widmore watch as NotCharming takes Abigail’s hand and Midas sends them to his palace to await their kick ass wedding celebration. King Widmore tells NotCharming that he’s glad he made the right ‘decision “son”. He gets a, “thank you ‘father’” in return. Abigail is already starting with the bitching and whines that’s she tired of waiting and wants to go. A gem this one is. NotCharming mentions he thought they’d take the scenic route … and hey, that sounds vaguely familiar. King Widmore assures him he’s the road to true love. Well, on that road, we get the scene immediately preceding Snow White’s ambush of the royal carriage so, I guess he was right after a fashion.
Query, since he is not King Widmore’s real son, how does he eventually finagle out of marrying Abigail and uniting the kingdoms in order to run away with Snow White? Clearly, King Widmore can’t reveal NotCharming as, well, Not Charming but, you think he would do some more whisper threatening to keep him in line. Obviously, there is more to this story we haven’t seen yet … or else the writers left a huge plot hole, large enough to drive a royal carriage through.
We open on David and Kathryn standing outside their house where a “Welcome Home David” banner signifies a party going on inside. David clearly remembers exactly nothing of this life and is super uncomfortable inside, making small talk with these people he doesn’t know. And to top it off, weasely Dr. Whale is there too. Emma and Henry are couched in the corner talking about how David doesn’t remember this life because the curse hasn’t hit him (yet). Henry’s theory is that he’s primed to have his memory jogged re: the whole Prince Charming business but Emma says his lack of memory is probably due to amnesia and also, didn’t they just try to jog his memory? Henry quite rightly replies to this cynicism that the last time they tried, they woke him up from years long coma. So, why the hate Emma? I wish we would get to the point in the season where Emma is a believer and just accepts Henry’s nutso theories as truth and move on. David finds them and asks if Mary Margaret is coming. She’s not and David has a sad. In the kitchen Regina is counseling Kathryn on moving forward with recovered David and for her to do what she has to do to keep her man this time. She also references a lost love but its not clear if she means her dad she patricided or someone else? Kathryn thanks Regina for being such a good friend and says she’s not used to having anyone. Regina says she’s not either and Kathryn assures her she has a friend in her. Left alone, Regina looks like she might hurl at all of the emotions of goodwill. When Kathryn comes out, she finds that David has left … his own welcome home party. That’s just rude. Of course, he has headed over to Mary Margaret’s house where he finds her in her yard trying to hang a blue birdhouse … in the middle of the night? David heard she resigned from the hospital and asks if it was because his confessed feelings for her? Not really waiting for an answer, he plows on that he knows she feels something too. Her rational response to this is that he’s married and so there shouldn’t be any feeling of anything. David is of the position that some other guy married Kathryn, not him. He choo choo chooses Mary Margaret. And, I know you feel it too. Mary Margaret tells him that he only thinks he feels something for her because she is the one that saved his life and let’s leave it at that, shall we? Sure sister, whatever you need to get through the cold, lonely night.
Later that night, Emma returns home to find Mary Margaret scrubbing the shit out of a dish. Emma’s super sleuth skills tells her she is preoccupied with David thoughts and advise she stop cleaning and start drinking. ALWAYS good advice! She goes on to say that while she doesn’t know much about relationships, she knows that if you think some thing you want to do is wrong, it probably is so you know, stay strong and let David figure out his life. Cheers. Over at David’s house, he’s pouring through old pictures when Kathryn comes in and explains the subtle differences in his looks from then to now and also, she’s got some lovin’ on her mind (she was listening to Regina it seems). Faced with knockin’ boots with this stranger, he opts to just keep talking. Never to take no for an answer, I guess, she goes in for the long, passionate, prelude to sex kiss, and he pushes away, all “this isn’t right.” I know you were in a coma for awhile buddy but this is NOT what girls like to hear when they are trying to get their swerve on.
At Ruby’s the next day, Dr. Whale is creeping on Mary Margaret and thinks that maybe she resigned because he never called her back after their one day where he stared at Ruby’s ass the entire time. He leaves and the quality of guests goes further down hill with the appearance of Regina. Regina is looking to talk about Kathryn, David and Mary Margaret and play the age old Sesame Street game of which one of these things is not like the other, which one of these things doesn’t belong. In case you can’t guess, she thinks Mary Margaret and David don’t belong together; he’s taken so find someone else (the “hussy” is unspoken). Regina reveals that David left Kathryn last night and its obvious Mary Margaret didn’t know this information. Regina cautions her to stay away because she is very close to wrecking multiple lives; semi-echoing Emma from the night before, she tells Mary Margaret to let David remember who he was … though you know she means that in a much more sinister way than Emma did.
At Mary Margaret’s classroom,
Stalker David shows up and again confesses his feelings. Mary Margaret is breaking but trying to hold it together. He pleads for her to meet him tonight … at the t roll bridge where they found him dying a few episodes back (how romantically creepy to meet in an abandoned foresty swamp area). He tells her that if she chooses “this”, chooses them, then she’ll know where he’ll be.
At the Sherriff’s department, Scruffy Graham brings Emma some doughnuts as a bribe. Seems even though he had told her she wouldn’t have to work nights (nice gig for a cop), he needs her to cover tonight because he has to do an emergency shift at the dog shelter where he volunteers. She accepts on account of the Bear Claw just as Mary Margaret runs in looking to chat. She waits about 3 seconds before spilling the David details. She’s super hyper/excited and Emma tells her to go meet him; it was one thing while he was making up his mind but if he’s made a decision, why should she keep fighting her feelings? When Mary Margaret mentions that Regina won’t be happy, Emma sees that as all the more reason to go. And Mary Margaret is in. Later that night, at 7:45 (we’ve missed you clock tower!), we see David pacing nervously in his room at Granny’s, getting ready for his rendezvous.
Sometime shortly later, David is walking the dangerous streets of Storyb
rooke reading a map when Regina startles him. She asks if he’s lost (Regina always speaks in coded double meanings)? When he says he is looking for the t roll bridge where he is meeting someone, Regina doesn’t’ miss a beat on that meaning and asks/states that he’s made his choice. Regina gives in too easy and gives some directions which involve going past Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop so … this won’t end well. As he departs, she says that she hopes he finds what he’s looking for. We see Mary Margaret waiting for her prince to come as David passes Mr. Gold’s shop. Figuring out that Regina gave some bad directions (shocker), he wanders into the shop and passes the strange collection (complete with creepy Geppetto parent dolls!) and stops to admire a hanging mobile. Mr. Gold interrupts his inspection by starting off his sentence with “Charming” (ahh, another character who speaks with the double meanings!). He covers that he is referring to the mobile and when he proposes he pull it down for closer inspection, David begs off that he’s simply looking for correct directions to the t roll bridge since the freaking Mayor doesn’t know her city (dude, that’s a red fla/ warning bell, no?). As David turns to leave with his new directions, he is stopped by a windmill (which he and Kathryn had discussed earlier). The change over David is palpable as he seems almost entranced by the spinning arms and then he says he not only recognizes the windmill but that it belongs to him. Mr. Gold, who has been standing behind him back at the counter with a satisfied look on his face, asks if he is sure. David, completely hypnotized or bamboozled or whatever, says, “Yes, I remember.” Mr. Gold seems super pleased with himself. Uh-oh!
When we return, Mary Margaret is turning her ring over on her finger when David jogs up. He says “you came” with a hint of disappointment in his voice, which Mary Margaret picks up on. David says he remembers Kathryn and everything else about his old life. With this remembrance, he now feels he needs to stay with Kathryn and try to honor his marriage. He tells Mary Margaret that he knows he once loved Kathryn and now, is not sure what he feels. He assures her that his feelings for her are also true. When Mary Margaret finally realizes this is his long-winded way of saying he’s going back to Kathryn, he confirms that and says, “its the right thing to do.” From where she is standing, Mary Margaret thinks the right thing to do would have been to not lead her on. She leaves and says that she guesses it wasn’t meant to be.
Elsewhere in town, while cruising the mean streets on night patrol, Emma spies someone sneaking out of Regina’s second floor window. Not knowing who it is, she ambushes the perp and is fairly surprised and disgusted to find its Scruffy Graham now laying doubled over on the floor. She snarks that this is his “volunteering” (is that what the kids are calling it these days?). He pathetically attempts to keep up the lie and says that his plans changed, Regina needed him to … “sleep with her” Emma finishes for him. Oooh Burn! When she asks why he’s sneaking out the window, its because Regina doesn’t want Henry to know. Emma, who is now almost physically ill and shocked that they would do this with Henry in the house, says she is finishing her shift but never doing nights again. Scruffy Graham pathetically offers that he really does work at an animal shelter. Graham is just so pathetic in this scene, it really makes you not like him.
In the Wrap Ups, David returns home to Kathryn. She asks him how much he remembers and he acknowledges he knows that they weren’t in a good place when he left and had the accident; however, he assures her that he was never going to leave her, he just needed time. The coma provided more time than he ever thought he’d have. They both apologize to each other. David says that they have work to do but wants to see what happens. She’s game.
Back at Ruby’s, Dr. Whale finds Mary Margaret sitting forlorn and alone. Even though she doesn’t feel like talking, he charms her into talking about how she feels stupid for doing stuff she knows will only end up hurting her. He says he never does what’s expected of him so he doesn’t really have that problem. In possibly her worst judgment choice ever, she accepts not only one but two drinks from the Whale. Oh noes Mary Margaret, don’t sleep with the Whale!!! Don’t do it, you’ll hate yourself in the morning!!!!