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TV Review: Once Upon a Time – “7:15”

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It’s the stuff of novels, Broadway musicals, Oscar-winning movies: love is painful. And in last night’s Once Upon a Time episode “7:15,” there is enough love-inspired anguish to go around in spades.

The main story thread concerns the evolving relationship between David (Josh Dallas) and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), and their alter egos Snow White and Prince Charming (also known as Prince James). In Storybrooke, Mary Margaret tries to deal with her love of the married David, although she’s practically stalking him, as Emma (Jennifer Morrison) notes. Avoidance might be the best option for her, but that, too, fails, since neither Mary Margaret nor David can seem to sever the cord that connects their hearts. Ultimately, they give in to the inevitable as they must, but complications are very likely to ensue as Mayor Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) witnesses a stolen kiss. And she will not let this turn of events stand.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow White is also trying to deal with her angst over Prince James’ imminent marriage to Midas’ daughter. Directed to Rumple, Snow is truly desperate to cure her lovesick heart. And we know that Rumple simply salivates to get his magic on the truly desperate. Robert Carlyle seems especially creepy in “7:15.” Perhaps it’s because I watched Ravenous last night, in which Carlyle’s character makes Rumple seem tame and sweet.

Anyway, Rumple knows a thing or two about the bitter after-effects of love (“Desperate Souls”), and his advice is to forget the Prince and start anew. And he has just the potion for it. Rumple’s speech to Snow suggests (especially in light of “Desperate Souls”) that he is driven much by love and loss, and even as deranged as he becomes (I’m assuming long after the events of “Desperate Souls”), these are items still very much in his heart and on his mind.

Snow intends not to use the potion, instead seeking out the prince after she receives a note delivered by a love letter-bearing dove. Captured by James’ pseudo father, she is locked away in an underground prison where she meets the cynical and , well, grumpy Grumpy and his colleague Stealthy. Stealthy is murdered while trying to free his friend (which is why there are only seven dwarves, when the Brothers Grimm introduce them to us).

Grumpy unlocks Snow from her cell and flees into the arms of her beloved Charming. Except, on the way she encounters the king, who informs warns her not to interfere with James’ marriage, for if she does, he will assassinate him. The end will justify means, which is to empower and enrich his kingdom; James is just a convenient pawn in the chess match.

So Snow meets with James, lying to him that she no longer loves him, leaving him bereft, but with no impediment to his marriage. Snow goes off with the seven dwarves, fully intending now to forget James with Rumple’s magic potion. Grumpy intervenes, telling her that however painful it is, heartbreak should not be forgotten. “I need my pain, it makes me who I am—it makes me ‘Grumpy,’” is his wise advice. And she should have listened to it, because word goes out all over the realm that Prince James has jilted his bride-to-be. He goes out in search of his true beloved, but it’s too late! Failing to heed Grumpty, Snow has taken the forgetting drug and she has no idea who this “James” fellow might be. Oops. Roll credits.

Well, somehow this story’s got to change, because in the pilot episode we see Snow and Prince getting hitched, which then triggers the Evil Queen’s evil. So, I guess this might be a good time to talk about Mystery Man on a Motorbike.

So, who is this dark and mysterious stranger wandered into Storybrooke at the end of last week’s episode? We know that those not “in” the story, aren’t supposed to enter, and if you’re in Storybrooke, you can’t leave without something bad happening to you!

Regina is concerned enough to insist that Sheriff Emma check him out. He has with him a big old valise, which arouses Emma’s curiosity and suspicion. What’s in yon big old box? It’s an old fashioned manual typewriter. Turns out, he’s a writer.

Want to hear my take on this new development? Thanks for playing!

Well, only the writer can change the story, right? I’m reminded of a great episode of The X-Files called “Postmodern Prometheus” in which Mulder and Scully investigate the Frankenstein-like creation of a mad scientist, culled from the pages of a graphic novel. The story ends badly for the monster, who’s really not a bad fellow. Mulder hates this unhappy ending and calls for the writer to change it. “This isn’t the way the story is supposed to end,” he complains. “I want the writer!”

So, I wonder, since Storybrooke is a land of endings not the way they’re supposed to be, if Storybrooke’s “writer” is an avatar for Grimm? Is his purpose, now that Emma’s in Storybrooke, is to return the characters back to the way they’re supposed to be? If that’s so, he’s a huge threat to Regina! Can it be a coincidence that in the last episode, we observe Mr. Gold rubbing the genie’s lamp? Has Mr. Gold summoned this writer to do some rewriting?

What do you think?

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Just an FYI – writer Jane Espenson will be joining me for a LiveChat following her February 12 episode “Skin Deep.” So please spread the word.

  • Action Kate

    Hubby and I thought he was one of the Brothers Grimm as well. Although he could also just be a Grimm, as in Nick Burkhardt, from the other show. 😀

    Hubby also commented that Alan Dale (King George) needs to slow down his delivery if he’s really going to be menacing, but that could be a function of the director, or the amount of time the show has. It would be kind of cool to take an entire episode in Fairyland, and then an entire ep in Storybrooke, just to let the plots breathe and not anvil all over each other.

    I’m surprised Snow took the potion; she seemed stronger than that. I guess there will be some reversal potion? Or they just fall in love all over again? And that’s an amusing reversal of the Storybrooke plot, isn’t it? Where David has amnesia but Mary Margaret remembers, but Snow has “amnesia” and James remembers?

    BTW, Anna, the names are “Pinocchio” and “Geppetto.” 😉

  • Anna

    I think the stranger is Pinoccio. I have seen else where that some people think the stranger is Mr. Golds son…but the time line for that doesn’t add up. His son HAS to be at least as old as Japedo if not older. Anyway my theory is that Pinoccio hid in the wardrope and came through with Emma. So he would know the pilot story (which is what the book is) and also the prediction. He wrote the book. Not all of the stories they are depicting are Grimm stories…i think we will see some Arabian nights tales and Hans Christen Anderson tales as well. So I am sticking with Pinoccio being the stranger…anyone think that Gold’s son is somebody’s father? Like maybe Snow’s or the Evil Queen’s?

  • The idea suddenly dawned on me when he opened the box to the antique typewriter. I immediately thought of that line in The X-Files

  • Ah, what a great theory about the stranger! I had suspected that he is the boy who found Emma originally and perhaps had seen her come through the wardrobe, thereby connecting him with magic. If he had witnessed something so spectacular as a child, it makes sense that he would be interested in the fairytale stories as an adult. I think he may have written Henry’s book. And I love the idea that he may be there to finish the story!