This week our family fairytale show turns its attention back to Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David Nolan (Josh Dallas), aka Snow and Charming. After last week’s lackluster outing focusing on Emma (Jennifer Morrison), I was simply happy to shift the focus onto someone else. Plus: metaphors, metaphors everywhere!
Let’s bitch it out…
We start off with the stranger (Eion Bailey) who came to town at the end of last week talking to Henry (Jared Gilmore). Obviously there are tons of questions that beg to be addressed. Number one of which is “What’s in the box?” that the stranger carries on his motorcycle. Number two is “Is this scene more Something Wicked This Way Comes or Stephen King’s Needful Things?” Either way, the ominous proclamation that a “storm is coming” is interesting, not for its literal interpretation (since there literally is a storm approaching). No, the line is interesting because of its figurative meaning. Although by the end of the episode we’ve learned that he’s a writer who came to town with his typewriter (apparently he came from the past?), there’s still a lot of mystery behind this guy. We still don’t know his name, how he knows Storybrooke inspires his writing, or why the Mayor (Lana Parilla) seems to recognize him. So he’s basically the former Sheriff, only less modelesque? Still interesting…but why did we kill the hot guy again?
The main crux of the episode is on Mary Margaret and David. In Fairy Tale, James is due to marry and Snow has taken to the woods to ease her pain over their separation. Putting this flashback into context, we know that this takes place after Snow and James’ first meeting in the woods and before last week’s flashback when Snow and Lee Arenberg’s Grumpy were glimpsed in the magic mirror. In just a few scenes, Arenberg manages to build a lot goodwill and the conclusion – which saw Snow join up with the dwarves only to drink Rumple’s (Robert Carlyle) memory-erasing potion – has a lot of potential. Put your hand up if you thought that the potion would put her in the glass coffin (even though we know it’ll be the poisonous apple that does it). If they’re going to draw out the Fairy Tale love affair, is amnesia really the best way to play it? I guess we can only hope that when Charming finds his lady love and has to convince her they’re in love – it’ll involves wacky zoo animals and Hawaii (What? No Adam Sandler 50 First Dates fans?!)
In the real world, the bond between Mary Margaret and David is represented by the former’s attachment to a dove that must be returned to its flock or end its days alone. The metaphor a little too on-the-nose for my tastes, but this is par for the course at this point. If nothing else, the wounded animal provides story fodder for Mary Margaret and David to spend time together (since he works at the animal shelter and because she needs rescuing as the storm commences). While I inwardly groan at the obviousness of some portions of the show, I 100% buy the romance between these two characters. The actors can easily sell me on cutesy scenes of letting loose doves and rescuing each other from ill-timed slips over cliffs.
Initially, it seemed as though the Fairy Tale and Storybrooke stories would mirror each other with “I-want-you-but-we-can’t-be-together” storylines, so it was pleasantly surprising to see Mary Margaret and David go all in at the episode’s end. I know that I wasn’t the only one worried that the Moonlighting curse (partnering up romantic couples too early = death) was being employed, so it’s nice that the show proved me wrong. Mary Margaret and David’s decision to commit to a PDA right in front of the Mayor (Lana Parilla), however, might just spell their doom.
- I guess now we know why there’s no mention of a dwarf named Stealthy in any of the other fairytales (RIP). This is a significantly stronger example of good revisionist storytelling that was so absent in last week’s episode: Snow is badass, the dwarves aren’t simply little men living in the woods and James’ Parent Trap shenanigans impersonating his dead brother continues to address interesting (if hardly subtle) themes about personal sacrifice for the good of the kingdom. Plus it nabs us great guests like Alan Dale’s deliciously mean King.
- Emma to the stranger: “We need to talk.” Stranger: “Why?” Emma: “Because you’re suspicious.” -> Worst. Sheriff. Ever. The stranger’s soliloquy about the strangeness of the box is kinda like a metaphor for the show. Despite my occasional protests, Once… continues to tantalize as it carts its mysteries to strange locations.
- How many references to love as a disease to be overcome or an illness to be cured were there? Three? Five? And all the “live your life without me” stuff? Clearly someone is not gearing up for a happy Valentine’s Day with this kind of writing…
- Can we all agree that a cheer is in order now that Kathyrn (Anastia Grifftih) isn’t pregnant? Sitting through that storyline would have felt about as pleasurable as bamboo under the fingernails.
- As much as I make fun of Emma’s all weather leather jacket collection, I won’t protest the use of leather pants on either Goodwin or Dallas. Feel free to discuss the appropriate and inappropriate use of leather as a costuming device in the comments. David’s plaid shirt collection, on the other hand, is a little too “sponsored by American Eagle/Hollister” for me.
- Finally, how nice of the writers to give Red/Ruby (Meghan Ory) a few lines of dialogue? Don’t worry, girl, your storyline will get its due soon!
So what did you think, readers? A definite improvement over last week or are you still playing the “character development” card (p.s. still not buying it). Are you excited for a Mary Margaret and David romance? Interested in the stranger and his propensity for outdated writing technology? Not enough Evil Queen/Regina for you? Sound off in the comments below!