The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 16: Heart of Darkness

Mary Margaret finds herself in the frame for Kathryn’s disappearance, while Charming tries to stop Snow from turning to evil as she strives to destroy the Evil Queen once and for all.

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

Season 1
Episode 16: Heart of Darkness

The Enchanted Forest

With the help of Red Riding Hood, Charming succeeds in escaping from King George’s men. Red, previously horrified and new at turning into a wolf, now seems far more experienced, whipping off her cloak in front of the full moon and attacking the men who are pursuing them.

Meanwhile, Snow is not her usual self. After having taken the potion that was given to her by Rumpelstiltskin, Snow is irritable and combative. With the help of Jiminy Cricket, the dwarves hold an intervention for Snow, and she realises that her resentment does not lie with them, but rather with the Queen. With this in mind, she resolves to kill the Queen, and promptly sets off to do so. Beating up one of the Queen’s men, Snow demands to know the whereabouts of the Queen, and discovers that she is travelling to her Summer Palace. She steals the man’s armour and sets off to ambush the Queen on her journey. Grumpy confronts her, and tells Snow that he wants to help her by taking her to Rumple as he is the most powerful in the land and will be able to break whatever spell she is under. Snow has no intention of reversing the potion that she took, but she is interested in getting help from Rumple in killing the Queen.

Elsewhere, Charming begins to catch up with Snow, finding the naked guard, who informs him that Snow attacked him, alerting Charming to the fact that something is not quite right.

Rumple gives Snow White a bow to help her kill the Queen, just before Charming also finds him, who demands to know what he did to change Snow. Rumple responds that it was Charming’s actions that drove Snow towards taking the potion, not Rumple’s. Rumple gives Charming the information to find Snow, and encourages Rumple to stop Snow using True Love’s Kiss before she kills the Queen, as this will send her upon the path to evil. As Rumple explains, evil is not born, but it is made, and even somebody like Snow White can be turned.

Charming manages to catch up to Snow, and kisses her passionately, but Snow still does not remember him so she knocks him out and ties him to a tree so that she can despatch the Queen. Jiminy arrives to free Charming (why Jiminy? Because they paid for his character for the episode, so they might as well use him however tenuous his inclusion in a scene may inevitably be), and points out that Snow cannot possibly remember him if she does not remember herself. Which is delightfully philosophical. And also dreadfully unhelpful. Thanks Jiminy.

As the Queen journeys through the forest, Snow readies herself in the trees with her bow and arrow, but when she looses the arrow, Charming jumps in the way, taking the hit in his shoulder. Charming tells Snow that he loves her, and that he would rather die than let her heart go dark. She realises that nobody has ever done anything like that for her before. They kiss once more, and Snow remembers. At that moment, King George’s men arrive and take Charming away. They leave Snow, who promises that she will find Charming (She will always find him). Snow returns to the dwarves to apologise, but then she reveals that she is going to rescue Charming from death at King George’s hand. Grumpy and the dwarves promise to accompany her on this quest.

Meanwhile, Rumple combines the hair that he took from Snow in exchange for the forgetting potion with a hair from Charming’s cloak. The hairs begin to glow and spiral around each other, and Rumple labels it “True Love”. (Crucially, earlier, Rumple claimed that “if you can bottle love, you can do anything.”)


Emma is left with no choice but to arrest Mary Margaret, though she is very open about the fact that she knows her to be innocent, but she must follow the process so that she can actually help Mary Margaret in the long run. Regina insists upon sitting in on the interview about Kathryn’s disappearance, and we discover that the box that Kathryn’s supposed heart was found in is Mary Margaret’s jewellery box. Regina tries to trick Mary Margaret into admitting how hurt she must have been after splitting with David, which angers Emma, who demands to speak to Regina separately. Regina tries to sew doubt in Emma’s mind by questioning whether there had been a break-in at Emma and Mary Margaret’s flat in order for somebody to steal the jewellery box.

Emma heads back to the apartment to ascertain just that, whereupon she and Henry find a hunting knife in the heating vent in Mary Margaret’s room. The discovery makes Henry doubt in the existence of fairytales, but, cryptically, August tells Henry that the book is real, calling himself a “true believer”. After Emma reveals the evidence to Mary Margaret, she hires Mr. Gold as a lawyer, despite Emma’s reticence. Henry believes that Regina is framing Mary Margaret and used a ring of keys that he found in her office to get into the apartment without it seeming like a break-in. Emma is sceptical, but when Henry gives her the keys, the first one that she tries opens the door.

Elsewhere, David is conflicted about the situation with Mary Margaret. He cannot believe that she would do such a thing to Kathryn, but Regina tells him that sometimes evil is tricky to spot and can hind even in plain sight. At her suggestion, David goes to Archie to have the memories from when he blacked out unlocked, at which point he remembers details of his interaction with Snow in the forest, where she is aggressively trying to kill The Queen, while Charming is trying to stop her. Helpfully, he remembers telling her “You can’t kill her”, and Snow responding, “Watch me”, which David interprets as a conversation that he and Mary Margaret must have had before she killed Kathryn. He tells Mary Margaret about this vision and asks her whether she had anything to do with Kathryn’s disappearance. Mary Margaret firmly tells him to leave, as she never doubted David’s innocence even when the evidence pointed his way, but he lacks the same faith in her. While making her bed, Mary Margaret finds a key, which opens the door to her cell. Emma tells Mary Margaret that DNA tests on the heart have revealed that it does belong to Kathryn and that it is now a murder investigation. Emma now has no choice but to move forward with the investigation, but she confesses to Mary Margaret that she believes Regina is framing her, but that she cannot go against Regina too soon, as that has always failed before. She asks Mary Margaret to have faith in what she is doing. While Emma goes to Mr. Gold for help against Regina, Mary Margaret uses the key and escapes her cell.


  • Let’s play Where’s Raphael Sbarge this week? Oh…oh he’s here. Well, that’s good I suppose. Good on him. As you were.
  • The interlocking theme this week is the concept that evil is made. Regina makes the comment in Storybrooke, and it’s what motivates Charming to keep Snow from killing The Evil Queen. It’s also an interesting foreshadowing, I suppose; after all, if evil is manufactured, then what were the events that led to Regina becoming tarnished in the same way? We’ve already a hint of the same path for Gold, but it hasn’t fully been unearthed yet.
  • Rumple/Mr Gold also has a bit of symmetry between his storylines, telling both Snow and Mary Margaret, “I’m invested in your future.” I wonder whether that is still the same future, or whether Gold needs Mary Margaret for something to bring down Regina that is yet to come.
  • I am now confident that August must be some sort of fairytale character who somehow managed to escape the effects of the curse. He speaks about the events in the book with a great authority, so that’s what I’m hedging my bets on here.
  • I do love the recurring “I will always find you” thing that Snow and Charming have going on, but I do hope that it doesn’t become overused. They keep on shouting it at each other.
  • I loved the reference to the original Snow White in the beginning of the episode, with Snow singing around the room while sweeping, only to turn it on its head when she starts trying to destroy the bird. Wonderful misdirection there, and also a lovely reference to the fact that this version of Snow is absolutely nothing like the girl in the fairy tale.
  • I can’t help but feel like Jiminy was just sort of shoehorned into this episode so that he had something to do? It added incredibly little of value.
  • I’m still slightly uncertain as to what is happening to David during his blackouts. Has Regina manufactured them in some way? Very confusing.
  • When you chart the story of Snow and Charming chronologically, it seems an awful lot of it is spent being captured and then rescuing each other? It’s a wonder neither of them are particularly traumatised once everything’s working out well again. I’d be jumping at every loud noise.
  • Will Rumple’s True Love potion be significant? Is it perhaps the key to breaking the curse? Assuming, of course, that he managed to retain this possession.
  • I was thoroughly behind Mary Margaret telling David to go away when he doubted her, but I can also understand why he was confused. That’s precisely what Regina would want, obviously. That woman must do precious little actual Mayor work, mind you, with all of the ridiculous scheming she manages to get up to.

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