The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 7: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Graham starts to remember his previous life as the Huntsman.

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

Once Upon a Time

Season 1
Episode 7: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Enchanted Forest

The Evil Queen mourns the loss of her husband, who is Snow White’s father. She consults her Magic Mirror to find out how she can kill Snow, who is a threat to her own rule. The mirror instructs the Evil Queen to find a huntsman to kill Snow. The huntsman in question – who is the counterpart of Sheriff Graham – lives in the woods, along with his wolves, who he was raised with. In exchange for bringing the Evil Queen Snow’s heart, the Huntsman requests that all of the Enchanted Forest’s wolves are protected.

The Huntsman and Snow walk together through the forest, but she works out that he isn’t in fact one of her father’s knights, due to the way that he wears his armour, and correctly deduces that the Queen sent him to kill her. Snow immediately runs, and when the Huntsman finds her again, she is writing a letter, which she requests that the Huntsman deliver to the Queen after killing her. Instead of killing her, the Huntsman gives Snow a whistle that will summon help if she needs it, and instructs her to run.

The Huntsman gives the Queen a deer heart, pretending that it is Snow’s, before he reads her Snow’s letter. The letter contains an apology for all that Snow has done wrong to the Queen, and she requests that Regina rule the kingdom with compassion. In response, the Queen burns the letter, and goes to store the heart in her vaults. The vaults, however, do not open, proving that the Huntsman lied and the heart is not human. The Queen pulls the Huntsman’s heart out of his chest, and tells the Huntsman that he will now be her bet, and will do as she requests, else all she has to do is squeeze it and he will die.


Upon bumping into each other at Granny’s Café, Graham attempts to explain to Emma that he feels nothing for Regina, and kisses her. As he does so, he sees a vision of a wolf. As Emma storms away, Graham returns to Regina and has sex with her. During the night, he wakes from a vivid dream involving a deer and a wolf, and is adamant that it felt like a memory, instead of a dream. Regina attempts to pass it off as him being drunk, but Graham leaves. As he tries to get into his car, he sees the wolf from his vision and pursues it into the woods, where he stumbles upon Mr. Gold, who suggests that the dreams are memories from another life.

The next morning, Emma throws away some flowers, assuming that they are from Graham, though they are in fact flowers from Dr. Whale to Mary Margaret following their one night stand. Graham arrives at Mary Margaret’s classroom and tells her that he believes they know each other from another life. Mary Margaret assumes that Graham has been talking to Henry, which gives Graham the idea to speak to him about the storybook. Meanwhile, Regina warns Emma off Graham.

Graham pays Henry a visit, and Henry explains that Graham must be the queen’s Huntsman, who was hired by the Evil Queen to cut out Snow White’s heart. When the Huntsman tried to trick the Queen, she removed his heart. Graham tries to explain to Emma that he does not have any feelings for Regina because he does not have a heart, and the two encounter the wolf from Graham’s vision, who they follow to a vault in the graveyard, which contains the remains of Regina’s father.

Regina finds the two of them there when she is visiting to lay flowers at her father’s grave and is furious. She accuses Emma of stealing the sheriff, but Emma responds that if anybody has been pushed away it is because of Regina’s own actions and nobody else’s. Emma and Regina have a physical fight, which Graham breaks up, defending Emma. While Graham cleans Emma’s wounds, Regina enters a secret staircase in the vault. She finds a storage box and clutches Graham’s heart. As Emma and Graham profess their feelings for each other, and kiss, Regina crushes the heart into dust. Just before Graham collapses and dies, he says, “I remember! Thank you.”, Emma’s kiss having lifted him from the curse.


  • It’s nice to see the backstory for Graham, even though this is his last episode. His character had such brilliant potentially, and was matched really well with Emma.
  • It makes sense dramatically to kill off Graham. He’s an endearing enough character such that his heart sings, yet disposable enough that the narrative won’t suffer without him. There are other disposable characters in this show, but Archie suffering a similar fate wouldn’t hold the same emotional weight for the audience.
  • Poor Emma. She was just starting to open herself up and plant some roots. First the job, then moving in with Mary Margaret, and here she is ready to open her heart to Graham and it’s torn away from her.
  • We finally know that Regina remembers her life in the Enchanted Forest, with the revelation that she still holds all of her hearts.
  • Crucially, this episode reveals that the events that we have seen previously are real events, and not just ones imagined by Henry. While we have seen hints of this, especially with Mr. Gold and Regina, this is our first proper proof that everything that Henry is saying is real.
  • Snow White’s letter to the Evil Queen reveals that there was a secret that Snow revealed, which came at great cost to the Evil Queen, and is somehow linked to why the Evil Queen hates Snow so much.
  • I wonder whether Snow will ever use the Huntsman’s whistle.
  • I’m curious as to what significance the wolf has. We have seen the Huntsman grow up with the wolves in the past, but this is also not the first time that we have seen wolves wandering about, such as when Emma crashed her car in the pilot episode.
  • Mr. Gold hanging around in the woods and encountering Graham is suspiciously convenient. I wonder whether Gold planned this, somehow.
  • I’m shocked that Mary Margaret and Dr. Whale had a one-night stand! He’s a bit of a creep, if I’m honest, but I suppose that Mary Margaret was pretty crushed after David ended things so abruptly.

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