Jeepers H. Christmas, Once Upon a Time, I can’t believe you had the balls to do what you said you were going to do! When promo monkeys go “and someone’s going to diiiie,” no one ever really dies! Someone gets maimed, maybe. Beaten down a little bit. A supporting character whose name we’ve never even known takes a bullet in the head. But literally squashing the literal heart of the the hottest dude on the show in the prime hour of his like/ship-ablility? Way to take it to eleven, Lost writers.
“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is a really dude-centric episode of TV, which doesn’t really rate very high on the AE-baitometer on account of there are so many dude-centric episodes of TV walloping is in the face parts every week. But I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best episode of Once Upon a Time to date. The plot was swift, the dialogue wasn’t nearly as clunky as usual, the visuals weren’t corny, the chemistry between everyone was awesome, and killing off an already beloved Graham (at least in the Storybrooke portion of the story) proved that there are actually some stakes to this game Emma Swan is playing. Also, we finally got for really real confirmation that Regina knows she’s the Evil Queen and is working out her masterplan on both sides of the storytime-continuum. Not exactly AE bait from a lesbian standpoint, but AE bait from a gays-like-good-narrative-standpoint.
Also, Jennifer Morrison continues her quest to slay us with her tank top collection.
FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS!
The tricky thing about killing off TV characters is that even if writers have an organic, non-contrived reason to do it, people (shippers, mostly) still lose their minds. Look, there have been some really dumb TV deaths that still piss me off to think about. Ianto from Torchwood. Tara from Buffy. Freddie from Skins. But in a with villains as sinsiter as Evil Queen and Rumpelstiltskin are meant to be, the writers are almost forced to rip out the heart of a beloved character so the audience understands the price of the story. I wasn’t heartbroken over Graham’s death or anything; I barely knew him. But he was easily the most lovable male character on the show; he was the first one to make the connection between FairyVille and Storybrooke; and he seemed like a crucial storytelling link for Snow White, the Evil Queen and Emma. So mostly I was just edge-of-my-chair shocked that Regina actually murdered him. I think it was smart, even though it was painful. And now Emma is going to burn some shit down.
With the exception of swashbuckling Snow White, Graham had the best backstory of any character so far — and I’m not just saying that because I’m a giant sucker for people who love animals more than people. OK, fine: That’s part of the reason I’m saying that. One of the fun things about Graham’s breadcrumb trail was the urgency. The story was pressuring him from the FairyVille side and pressuring him from the Storybrooke side, and his hormones were pressuring him from every side, so it’s no wonder he had a fever of like 111 the whole episode. I mean, if JeMo and Lana Parilla were looking at you the way they were looking at him, you’d need to lie down with an ice pack too. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Graham in FairyVille, and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Graham’s wolf in either world. Surely I’m not the only one who would like to see more wolf and less Henry in the back half of the season?
The episode’s other breadcrumb trail was another hint about that pesky little thing Snow White did to the Evil Queen that made her blow up the whole world. So the Evil Queen was her stepmom and her dad died and they hugged and cried and it was all very lovely — until the Queen hired ol’ Graham to axe murder her out in the woods.
I AM THE SWAN QUEEN
Sometimes sexual tension manifests itself in stolen glances and bemused gazes. Sometimes sexual tension manifests itself in misplaced anger and chainsawed apple trees. And sometimes sexual tension manifests itself in a fisticuffs of jaw-dropping proportions. (Ask Faberry.)
So, at first, Emma’s like, “What Regina does with you is her business, Graham! I don’t care that she’s sleeping with you and not me! I mean, you’re sleeping with her and not me! I mean, WHATEVER I’VE GOT TO GO WEAR ALL MY LEATHER JACKETS!” And then Mary Margaret is like, “You seem grumpy, honey.” And Emma is like, “Well, it’s not because I get emotional over men, I’ll tell you that right now!” And then Regina is like, “Oh hi, Emma. You and Graham are getting cozy in the graveyard, I see. Not that I’m so jealous that I’m going to gouge out his heart with my fingernails so he’ll never look at you again.” And then she gouges out his heart with her fingernails so he’ll never look at her again.
What a bloodbath this thing is going to turn into if these two don’t make out soon.
What did you think of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”?