Josh Dallas in ONCE UPON A TIME - Season 1 - "Heart of Darkness" | ©2012 ABC/Jack Rowand

Josh Dallas in ONCE UPON A TIME - Season 1 - "Heart of Darkness" | ©2012 ABC/Jack Rowand

Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Raphael Sbarge
Writer:
Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg
Director:
Dean White
Network:
 ABC, Sunday nights, 8 p.m.
Original Telecast:
March 18, 2012

At last, we’re getting somewhere. Last week, I complained that ONCE UPON A TIME was getting bogged down in back stories. Not this week. In “Heart of Darkness,” we’re actually moving the plot along – to a very scary and odd place, admittedly. So maybe the writers haven’t written themselves into a corner, after all.

The episode starts with Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) on the run from King George, searching for Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). While back in Storybrooke, Maine, Snow’s modern counterpart Mary Margaret is getting booked by Emma (Jennifer Morrison) for the murder of David’s (aka Charming) wife Kathryn. Emma is insisting on playing by the book or Regina (Lana Parilla) will fire her and then Mary Margaret will be in real trouble.

Then back to the fairy tale world, where just as we’re about to gag on another Disney-ism – Snow humming “With a Smile and a Song” and reaching out to a blue bird – Snow suddenly whacks the bird with a broom! Turns out when Snow drank that potion from Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle), lo, these many episodes ago, to forget about Charming because he’s engaged to Abigail (Kathryn in the real world), Snow also forgot about being good and sweet and kind. When the dwarves stage an intervention, Snow decides it’s time to go kill the source of her problems – the Evil Queen (aka Regina).

And Regina is definitely up to her hips in something back in Storybrooke. First, she’s expounding on the nature of evil, first to Mary Margaret, then to David. Then she’s pushing Emma to find signs of a break in at the place Emma shares with Mary Margaret, because the evidence against Mary Margaret is stacking up and stacking up and if it’s a frame, then someone had to break into the apartment.

And an interesting tidbit is thrown our way in that August (Eion Bailey) tells young Henry (Jared Gilmore) that he knows the truth about Henry’s story book – that the stories are true –  and that August is there to convince Emma.

Then Mr. Gold (aka Rumpelstiltskin) offers to help Mary Margaret as her lawyer – says he’s invested in her future. Yeah, like we believe that one. But then Rumpel says the exact same thing to Snow when he hands her a bow and arrow that will not miss so that Snow can kill the Queen.

Snow takes off, but is quickly followed by Charming, who also goes by the name of James, just to confuse things, who trades his cloak to Rumpel for inf0rmation on where Snow went. Turns out Rumpel wants one of Charming’s hairs to put with Snow’s so that he can finally bottle True Love – after all, the man who can do that can do anything.

David, for his part, goes to Dr. Hopper (Raphael Sbarge) to recover his memory in the hopes of saving Mary Margaret. The problem is when Dr. Hopper hypnotizes him, he remembers Snow trying to kill the Queen, which doesn’t help Mary Margaret’s case. Especially when he confronts Mary Margaret, who is more than a little torqued that David doesn’t believe she’s being framed.

James, however, does stop Snow from killing the Queen and proves his love for her, which, in turn, restores her memory. Problem is, King George’s men finally catch up to him and the last we see of him is him being carted off and Snow swearing to find him.

Emma, thanks to Henry finding some skeleton keys in his Regina’s desk, finally believes that Regina is behind the set-up on Mary Margaret. Unfortunately, the heart they found last week really is Kathryn’s. What Emma doesn’t know is that that doesn’t mean Kathryn is dead – remember “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” So Emma turns to Mary Margaret’s lawyer, Mr. Gold, in desperation and utters his favorite words “I’ll do anything.”

Which we know is not a good place for anyone to be in, but as Emma notes, the only time she has won against Regina is when she had Gold’s help. Hmmmm. Gold, as we know, has no love for Regina and knows who they really are, so like this guy isn’t up to something?

This is the kind of episode that really makes this show. Yes, there’s still a lot to be revealed, but you feel like you’re getting closer to some real answers. Finally.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW

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Article: TV Review: ONCE UPON A TIME – Season 1 – “Heart of Darkness”

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