Great episode! Mary Margaret’s on the lam! David saw the past! Rumpelstiltskin collects hair!
In this Snow White centric episode, Ginnifer Goodwin acts her heart out in three distinctly different roles — Snow White under the spell, Snow White restored to herself, and Mary Margaret in a performance that broke my heart.
We pick up from a scene a few episodes back, when Prince Charming was running away from King George’s men, and he ran into Red in the woods. Red must have decided to embrace her inner werewolf, because she deliberately takes off her cloak so she can attack the King’s men, giving Prince C a chance to get away.
Meanwhile, Snow White is freaking out the dwarfs because Rumpelstiltskin’s magic potion not only took away her love for Charming, but it also turned her into a Mean Girl. Jiminy Cricket tells her not to be so mean to her friends, but this has the unintended consequence of giving her the idea to kill the Queen. She grabs a pickax and sets off.
After Snow stabs a knight in the leg (ouch!) and peels off his armor, Grumpy shows up to take her to Rumpelstiltskin, hoping to reverse the potion. Snow goes along because she hopes Rumpel will help her kill the Queen. It’s great to see Rumpel again, after he has been absent too long from our screens. He gives Snow a map of the Queen’s route and a bow and arrow.
Prince Charming shows up at Rumpelstiltskin’s mansion. Rumpel tells Prince C where Snow had gone, in exchange for Charming giving him his cloak. Rumpel tells him he better be quick, because if Snow kills the Queen, she will become as evil as the person she killed. Charming insists that Snow could never be so evil.
“Evil isn’t born, dearie,” Rumpel says, in a significant line, “it’s made.” That line echoes what Regina tells David in Storybrooke.
Charming finds Snow and gallantly stands between her and her target when she shoots her arrow, to prevent Snow from committing an act that will corrupt her and change her forever. The arrow lodges in his shoulder, sticking straight out in front of him.
Charming embraces Snow and gives her a restorative true-love’s kiss while the arrow is still stuck in him. If you’re shot with an arrow, aren’t you supposed to pull it out right away? That was all I could think about when watching what was supposed to be a romantic moment. And how did it not get in the way of the embrace?
The King’s men arrive, and one of them finally pulls out the arrow. Whew. Relief is short-lived, though, because they throw Charming in a cage and take him away. Snow returns to the dwarfs, who are thrilled she is no longer the Mean Girl, and they all take off together to go find and rescue Prince C. Heigh ho.
Rumpel plucks a hair out of David’s cloak and combines it with one of Snow White’s hairs to make a love potion — the one potion missing from his collection, and the most powerful potion of all.
Emma takes mug shots of Mary Margaret, who is all buttoned up again. Emma knows that Mary Margaret is innocent but says she has to go through with the arrest, or else Regina will put someone else in the Sheriff’s job, and then Mary Margaret would be in even worse trouble.
Regina insists on sitting in on the interrogation. The incriminating evidence piles up. We know that Regina must have planted it all, but Emma can’t figure out how.
August W. Booth, the Mysterious Stranger/writer/believer/Henry’s-book-tinkerer sits next to Henry in the cafe and tells Henry that he knows the stories in the book are real. He reveals why he came to town, but his explanation raises as many questions as it answers: he says he came to make Emma believe.
He tells Henry that Emma needs proof, and Henry thinks he finds it when he steals Regina’s keys and uses them to show that Regina was the one who broke into Mary Margaret and Emma’s apartment.
Mr. Gold shows up (yay!), says he’s a lawyer, and offers to help Mary Margaret. Despite Emma’s trepidations, Mary Margaret accepts the help. When she asks him why he is helping her, he tells her he is “invested in her future,” a line he repeats in FTL to Snow when he gives her the arrow. Not sure if his being invested in her future is a good or a bad thing.
David goes to see Regina, who does her best to plant seeds of doubt in his mind. David says Mary Margaret couldn’t have killed Katherine because she’s not evil — that’s not who she is. Regina says, echoing Rumpelstiltskin, “I always believe that evil isn’t born. It’s made.”
David has Archie hypnotize him, hoping he can clear Mary Margaret by finding out what happened during his blackouts. Instead, he has a memory flash of Snow White talking about killing the Queen in FTL, which he wrongly interprets as being Mary Margaret talking about killing Katherine.
He goes to see Mary Margaret in her jail cell. I think Ginnifer Goodwin’s performance in this scene is the best performance of the season. She tells David, “When everyone thought you killed Kathryn, I stood by you, I never once doubted you.” I feel her heartbreak in my own body. The acting is elegant, understated — her eyes are shining, but her voice is soft. You can feel her fighting for self-control. “Do you actually think I’m capable of that kind of evil?” she asks, and a single tear escapes her eye. “Get out,” she says in a whisper and turns around. Only after David leaves does she let herself cry. It’s a pitch-perfect performance.
Later, she finds a key under the mattress that will open her cell door. Emma tells her that the DNA test results show that the heart in the box is Katherine’s — but I have my doubts. I think Regina could have pulled strings at the DNA lab to get them to produce a phony report.
Emma tells Mary Margaret she believes that Regina framed her and she will do what it takes to expose Regina. Emma says, “I have faith in you. Now I need you to have faith in me. Can you do that?” Mary M says “Of course,” but she is taking no chances. Like Snow, Mary M cares more about actions than words. Emma’s actions — leaving MM in the cell — seem to speak louder than Emma’s words.
Mary Margaret doesn’t know that Emma is going to see Mr.Gold. The two make a pact to help Mary Margaret, with Emma promising to do whatever it takes — and more.
The final shot of the episode shows the cell, the door open, and Mary Margaret gone.
The Heart of Darkness is a classic 1902 novel by Joseph Conrad with the famous line “The horror. The horror.”
As is usual with OUAT titles, this one has multiple meanings. It refers to Katherine’s heart (or whoever’s heart is really in the box). It refers to the Evil Queen’s dark heart. It refers to going into a psychologically deep dark place, which I think is where Mary Margaret is now, with her best friend locking her up and David doubting her innocence.
The most interesting reference came in the interrogation scene in the police station. Regina takes Mary Margaret’s hand and with phony sympathy, says: “I know what you’re going through. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love, to be publicly humiliated. It put me in a very dark place. It changed me.”
Since, presumably, it’s Snow White’s fault that the Queen lost the person she loved and was humiliated, the irony here is thick enough to cut with a knife (or a diamond-cutting pickax).
The Evil Queen once again wears a smashing outfit.
One of my favorite episodes.
The director is Dean White, who previously directed Snow Falls, True North, and What Happened to Frederick. He will also be directing the upcoming episode The Stable Boy, which airs in two weeks.
The writers are Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg. They previously worked together writing The Shepherd and Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.
What did you think of the episode?
Do you think Katherine is really dead?
Where do you think Mary Margaret went?
We know a little more now about why August came to town — he wants to make Emma believe in the curse — but why? What is his motive?
Both Regina and Rumpelstiltskin say “Evil isn’t born — it’s made.” What’s the significance of that line?