For weeks, Once Upon A Time has been meandering about with small-time plots about little-known fairy tale characters. Well, no more. Last night "Fables Light" went dark, showing us all who is the bitchiest of them all.
Spoiler-filled recap ahead...
Last night was all about our scruffy, vest-loving Sheriff. No real surprise here — the stubbled Irishman of Storybrooke was none other than the Queen's Hunstman. But why was he "the Queen's"? Turns out the Queen "owns him," due to the fact that she's been holding his heart in a box and raping him every night, under threat of death! But more on that later.
This episode moved at a lightning pace, starting off with a drunken Graham expertly plunging dart after dart into the heart or face of a deer bullseye. Pissed off that he was busted by his current deputy and hot crush, Emma, for plundering the Mayor's unmentionables.
"We're all adults here," wails Emma (methinks stripper Red Riding Hood would disagree, with her over-the-top ensemble and present need to eye-bang the crap out of everyone in the diner/bar she works at — but, OK... adults we are). Graham responds by planting a big wet one right on Emma's lips, YAY! Right.... Yay? I mean, I was cheering, the kiss made me happy, but I'm not exactly sure why. Graham and Emma aren't quite the star-crossed lovers that Snow and Charming are, but together they look like the 30-something newbie Brooklyn parents, with perfectly distressed leather jackets, matching wayfarers and an "it's a rescue" dog. They look good together, although I'm not sure why they go together.
After the magical kiss between Emma and Graham, the Sheriff starts flashbacking to his life before, as cold-hearted hunter who was raised by wolves. RAISED BY WOLVES! So cold, he cries over every kill! Seriously everyone kept lamenting about how hard the Huntsman was, but I think we saw Graham cry 15 times in this one episode, the effect was like crossing streams Ghostbusters style inside my brain.
Graham the crying hard-ass is hired by the Evil Queen to kill Snow White. Whom we saw earlier, crying on mean old Queenie's shoulder at the funeral for her father and the Queen's husband. Anyone else sad we didn't get more of these two together? The slow burn reveal of exactly what Snow did to incur the Queen's wrath is at a lovely simmer, can't wait. Plus Queeny and Snow feed off each other pretty wonderfully on screen.
Meanwhile, real-life Graham is running around, trying to piece together his flashbacks and slowly realizing that he was the real life Huntsman. But not before stumbling into Mr. Gold "gardening" in a full suit with a shovel and an apron (who did you kill, Robert?????) Mr. Gold then tells Graham that his, "dreams are just memories of another life," lighting the powder keg of what the hell inside Graham's mind.
So what does this mean — does Mr. Gold want people to find out that they're all banished from fairy land? What angle is he playing? Where does Rumpelstiltskin fit in with all this, is he just naturally going to play both sides of the coin? Is he hedging his bets for when Emma breaks the curse (which he knows is inevitable)? Fingers crossed for an excellent showdown between Emma and Mr. Gold (remember, she owes him a favor).
Graham continues his journey all over Storybrooke trying to piece together the bits of brain he's picking up along the way. He even reaches out to the real life Snow telling her, "I can't remember when I met you or when I met anyone." She brushes it off, because this is all just building up towards the big fat climax.
Eventually, Graham heads off to the secret vault of the Queen/Mayor. You see, once he refused to slay Snow in the fairyland, the Evil Queen ripped out the Huntsman's heart and then locked him in her bedchamber making him be her sex pet for all eternity (and much like in the real world). A crazed Graham sets off in the real world, desperately seeking the heart taken from him in fantasyland. This leads to the eventual showdown in the Mayor's family mausoleum between Emma, Graham and the Mayor herself. It actually comes to brief blows between the two ladies!
Graham dumps the Mayor and heads back to the Tombstone prison with Emma.
But it's a doomed night for the two new lovers. Not about to lose her sex toy and a battle to Emma, the Mayor reveals her hidden heart vault and pulls out the Huntsman's glowing organ. Slowly she crushes his heart to dust in her hands, thus causing Graham to drop dead in the arms of Emma. Good show evil lady! The whole clip is up top. After a couple episodes that had the Mayor riding the pine on the "team evil" bench, I'm certainly glad they finally let her go. What an evil so-and-so, right? Can't wait to find out what made her so ridiculously bitter that she'd rather kill the vested law dog of Storybrooke than let him sex up Emma (also well done on channeling the crazypants Lana Parrilla, it almost made us forget about your oddly placed bang strands). How many other hearts does she have in her heart vault? And does having someone's heart automatically mean you get to have sex with them?
All in all Once kicked it up right in the balls this week. It was fun to watch this vaseline-lensed series wallow in a little darkness for a change. Now let's just see if they can do it to a character I have a bit more emotional attachment to, besides, "Oh, he looks nice with no clothes on." But in Graham's defense, he really does! I'm sad to see the Sheriff go, since this was the first real night we got to test out his acting range. And watching him spiral into a scared child at the feet of storyteller Henry was a lot of fun. Goodbye Graham — may you exit, knowing your death elevated the crazy in this world just a little bit more.
Some images taken from Once Upon A Time Fans.