'Once Upon A Time' Recap: 'The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter'
In this episode, the Evil Queen finally makes her reappearance; we learn more about Snow White’s backstory; Emma and Regina get into a cat fight; and one Storybrooke resident begins to remember too much, costing him his life.
Author’s note: Lines between paragraphs indicate scene changes between Fairy Tale Land and Storybrooke/present day.
In Granny's Diner, Sheriff Graham and the Sydney, editor of Storybrooke’s Daily Mirror, down shots as Graham throws darts. Emma appears in the diner and Graham lobs a dart in her direction, nearly hitting her. She storms out; Graham runs after her. He begs Emma to understand about his situation with Regina: he feels nothing when he's with her. Graham kisses Emma and experiences a flashback to Fairy Tale Land: a white wolf with one red eye and one black eye (identical to the one that stopped Emma from leaving Storybrooke in episode one). Emma tells him off and leaves.
Graham goes to Regina's house and kisses her violently, trying to feel something. This time, Regina flashes back to Fairy Tale Land, in the Evil Queen's lair. (Yay! She's back!).
In Fairy Tale Land, Snow White mourns at her father's coffin, displayed in the castle. The Evil Queen (EQ) says she's sorry and seem to genuinely comfort Snow.
Later, the Magic Mirror congratulates EQ on completing her revenge. EQ reveals that she was responsible for Snow's father's passing. She mocks Snow for seeking comfort in her and tells the Mirror that they must be careful in the "next phase" of their plot. The Mirror suggests a huntsman.
In the forest, we see the Huntsman, who looks just like Sheriff Graham (called it!), hunting deer. He weeps as he claims his kill. A wolf with one red eye and one black eye meets him; he appears to be some kind of pet.
Graham wakes up suddenly in a sweat next to Regina and tells her of his dream, saying it felt like a memory rather than a dream. Graham hurriedly leaves Regina's house, claiming he needs to go find his police car. As he finds it, a white wolf identical to the one from Fairy Tale Land finds him, then runs off.
Dr. Whale has left Mary Margaret flowers after a one-night stand. Mary Margaret tells Emma everyone thinks she has feelings for Graham. Emma denies this.
In the woods, Graham runs into Mr. Gold who says he is "gardening." Gold asks Graham why he is seeking a wolf, since there are none in Storybrooke. Graham explains about his dream and Gold says he hasn't seen any. "They say that dreams are memories...memories of another life." Gold leaves, and Graham goes deeper into the forest.
The Huntsman follows the wolf into a pub, where he is mocked by the other patrons for crying over his kills. The Huntsman says animals are pure and honorable, unlike humans, which his why he mourns them. The wolf begins to growl menacingly. A fight breaks out, during which the Huntsman breaks a mirror. EQ's Magic Mirror is able to see through this and EQ demands the Huntsman for her task.
Graham finds the wolf in Storybrooke Forest and whistles to it. The wolf comes over to him like a dog. As he pets the wolf, Graham gets flashes into his part of the Snow White story; in it, he recognizes Mary Margaret’s face. When he comes out of the flashback, the wolf is gone. Graham goes to Mary Margaret's school, saying he thinks they know each other from another life.
The Huntsman is brought to EQ's castle. She asks him to kill Snow White for her, offering him a place at her court as her official huntsman. She wants someone without compassion who can bring Snow White's heart for her "collection". She asks what he wants for his task. The Huntsman, who was raised by wolves, requests that wolves no longer be hunted in Fairy Tale Land; he wants them to be protected.
Graham asks Mary Margaret if she remembers when they met. They realize that neither of them can remember meeting anyone they know in Storybrooke. He asks her if she believes in other lives, like past lives. Mary Margaret thinks he's been talking to Henry, with his book of stories of fairy tale characters who don't remember who they are. Mary Margaret finds that Graham is burning up with fever and she tells him to go home and rest.
In Fairy Tale Land, the Huntsman, dressed as a knight, and Snow walk through the forest. The Huntsman removes his helmet, and Snow offers him an apple. She realizes he is not a knight, since all of them have offered her condolences on her father's passing but him. He admits that he is not, and Snow realizes that he has been chosen by EQ to kill her. She pushes him to the ground and runs off; with his heavy armor, he cannot follow as quickly.
Regina confronts Emma at the police station, telling her to stay away from Graham because she’s leading him on a path to self-destruction.
Graham rings Regina's doorbell and Henry answers. He asks Henry to show him his fairy tale book.
The Huntsman finds Snow White, who has stopped her escape to compose a letter. She asks the Huntsman to give it to EQ after killing her, saying she means every word. The Huntsman lets Snow go and kills a doe instead.
Graham discusses his flashbacks with Henry, who explains the reason that Graham's flashbacks started when he kissed Emma is because he and Emma share a special connection: he saved Snow White's life in Fairy Tale Land, thus enabling Emma to be born. He tells Graham that after the Huntsman spared Snow White, EQ ripped out his heart instead and put it in her vault; she didn't want him to be able to feel ever again. Graham realizes that he's seen the vault before, and that the wolf wants him to find the it.
Emma finds Graham, who explains that he needs to find his heart by following the wolf from his dreams. He really believes Henry. Emma, trying to prove that Graham has a heart, shows him that his is beating, but Graham believes it's the curse beating inside him. Just then the wolf shows up, and Emma sees it too. They give chase, winding up in a cemetery. One of the mausoleums has the EQ's symbol of entwined thorns in the pediment above the door. Graham insists on getting into the mausoleum. He and Emma break in.
The Huntsman is escorted to EQ's lair, where he hands her the letter Snow gave him. In it, Snow writes that she hopes her death satisfies EQ’s need for revenge. The last words of the letter are "I am sorry, and I forgive you." This enrages EQ.
The Huntsman asks why EQ hates Snow, and EQ says it is because she shared a secret which Snow betrayed. EQ takes Snow's "heart" into her vault, where she puts it into a cask and takes it to a wall of small compartments, one of which should open when presented with the box. When the compartment doesn't open, she knows it is not a human heart and is furious.
Regina finds Graham and Emma inside the mausoleum, claiming she is there to bring flowers to her father's grave as she does every Wednesday. She asks Graham to come home with her, but he refuses because he doesn't feel anything with her. He says it's not because of Emma but because of himself -- he needs to feel something again and ends their relationship right there. Regina grows angry with Emma, claiming she is coming after everything Regina holds dear. Emma tells Regina to think about the fact that Henry came to find her, and Graham is the one who kissed her, not the other way around. Regina punches Emma; Emma reciprocates. Emma and Graham walk away, leaving Regina at the mausoleum.
At the police station, Graham tends to Emma's injuries. "Not feeling anything is an attractive option when what you feel sucks," Emma says.
In the mausoleum, Regina leaves flowers on her father's coffin. She then pushes it aside to reveal an underground staircase.
In the Fairy Tale Land vault, EQ rips out the Huntsman's heart, telling him he is now her caged pet and has to do everything she says. If he disobeys or tries to run away, all EQ has to do is squeeze his heart to death. She orders her guards to take him to her bedchamber.
Regina descends the staircase to find her wall of hearts. She removes the cask containing Graham's heart.
In the police station, Emma kisses Graham, who sees more flashes from Fairy Tale Land. He says he now remembers everything. Just then, Regina squeezes his heart into a fine powder. Graham collapses on the floor of the police station, dead.
An ongoing list of questions that hopefully will be answered in future episodes.
-What was the secret with which the Evil Queen entrusted Snow White?
-How did the Evil Queen cause her husband’s death?
-Is there any way to bring Graham back?
-Did Graham make any kind of deal with Mr. Gold before his death?