The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 6: The Shepherd

David grows increasingly close to Mary Margaret, while we learn the secrets of Prince Charming’s past.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared S. Gilmore, Raphael Sbarge, Jamie Dornan and Robert Carlyle

Once Upon a Time

Season 1
Episode 6: The Shepherd

The Enchanted Forest

Prince James Charming wins a battle, allowing him to slay a dragon at King Midas’ behest, as part of a deal between King Midas and Charming’s father, King George. After celebrating his victory, James is stabbed and dies. King George is concerned over his future, until Rumple visits him. Rumple reveals that James has a twin brother. Apparently, King George adopted James through Rumpelstiltskin to save his kingdom. In exchange for the whereabouts of the Fairy Godmother (who we saw Rumple kill a couple of episodes previously), Rumple agrees to bring the twin to the castle to pretend to be James.

A young goat herder, James’ twin brother, tends to his flock and disagrees with his mother’s plans to arrange a marriage for him, even though the dowry would be sufficient to save their farm. Rumple appears and reveals that, to save the farm previously, his mother traded away his twin brother. He tells the shepherd of George’s offer, and heads off on the mission to slay the dragon.

On the mission, the dragon kills the shepherd’s entourage, but the shepherd outwits the dragon by using his skills learnt from herding goats. Having returned the dragon’s head to King Midas, he is offered the hand of Midas’s daughter Abigail in marriage. King George threatens the shepherd, indicating that if he does not accept then he will murder him and his mother and take the farm, leaving the shepherd with no choice but to accept.

Reluctantly, the shepherd heads home and informs his mother that in order to keep up the pretence of being Prince James, he must never see her again. She gives him a ring that she hopes he will give to someone who he loves. Abigail and James ride off in a carriage, as King George proclaims, “You are on your way to true love”. Sure enough, the path they’re on has been seen before, and they are just about to be interrupted by Snow White’s roadblock, which we previously saw in Episode 3.


Kathryn tries to jog David’s memory with a party at his house. Henry is confident that David’s amnesia is preventing him from becoming cursed, which is why he doesn’t have any false memories yet. David tells Mary Margaret that he chooses her, and that he loves her. While Emma encourages Mary Margaret to give David time and space to figure things out, Regina tells Mary Margaret to stay away, revealing that David has left Kathryn.

David turns up at Mary Margaret’s school and tells her to meet him at the toll bridge where she found him on the night he woke up. While on his way later that evening, Regina gives David false directions, leading him instead to Mr. Gold’s shop. While there, he spots a small windmill that once used to belong to him, and regains his cursed memories. When he meets Mary Margaret at the toll bridge, he reveals that he remembers Kathryn and that he needs to try again with his wife. Heartbroken, Mary Margaret returns to the café and drinks with Dr. Whale.

Meanwhile, Emma covers Graham at the Sheriff’s office, to allow Graham to volunteer at an animal shelter. However, she then discovers a figure climbing out of the Mayor’s home. Thinking it’s an intruder, she pursues the individual, only to discover that it is Graham, who is having an affair with Regina. Angry, Emma instructs Graham to finish the shift and storms away.


  • Some nice continuity touches here. We already saw Rumple slay the Fairy Godmother in Episode 4, and we see here him getting her location. We also see Charming getting the ring that Snow had stolen from him in Episode 3, and propels this episode. Seeing the reasoning behind him getting this ring makes more sense, as well as his strong attachment to his mother.
  • Swapping around Prince Charming’s backstory, as Once tends to enjoy doing, and making it more akin to Prince and the Pauper is a wise move, as it makes Charming seem much more relatable and sincere, instead of vacuous and entitled. Perhaps an unfair association, but it’s nice to see how he has developed and where he derives his core values, especially considering the ideals of King George.
  • Poor Mary Margaret. She fought such a long time not to be pulled in by David, and then, when she finally lets down her guard and agrees to go for it, despite her initial judgment, he crushes her.
  • I wonder how Regina ensured that the windmill would trigger David’s memories. After all, Charming was on the brink of death when the curse was enacted, which is probably why he was in a coma in the first place. It’s also interesting as to whether Mr Gold knew that he was assisting Regina, but he probably sees the value in keeping the two of them apart, or at least his memories as Rumple would have told him how to play it. After all, Rumple needs the curse to be broken so that his magic can be restored.
  • I am choosing to see David’s decision to stay with Kathryn as an indication of his character being keen to do what is “right” and “honourable”, especially in light of the memories that he has acquired. I don’t think he bears any special feelings or attraction to her particularly. From the small glimpses we have had of her, both in the Enchanted realm and in the present day she does not come across as particularly likeable or redeemable.
  • It is a very funny and ironic turn of events seeing Emma coach her parents and encourage them to stay apart from each other, while David works out what he wants to do, and to be promptly ignored. It’s quite the role reversal of a typical parent-child relationship.
  • Emma is righteously irritated over Graham and Regina’s relationship. It’s a shame, because you could sense her starting to open up and have faith within her attraction to Graham, and now it is entirely scuppered and shattered due to his connection with Regina.

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