The Evil Queen’s finally got us.Snow
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, Rebecca Mader, and Robert Carlyle.
Episode 7: Heartless
Okay, yes, I’ll hold my hands up – I have been remiss with my reviewing of late. I’m very very close to the end of term, and, realistically, it’s pretty difficult energy-wise doing a review a day, especially when I’ve done over a hundred of these reviews at this point! So prepare yourselves for some erratic review posting as I attempt to catch up to where I’ve actually watched.
“Heartless” puts Snow and Charming’s relationship front and centre. They are the original couple of Once Upon a Time. Though pairings like Emma and Hook, and Regina and Robin, and Belle and Rumple, have had much more interesting storylines since then, it was Snow and Charming getting together that everybody was rooting for all the way back in Season 1. Back when they were interesting at least.
Now that’s not a statement against either Ginnifer Goodwin or Josh Dallas, who continue to be wonderful, and their chemistry is, understandably, off the charts. However, they are also the one couple who haven’t really had any tangible obstacles since they got together at the end of Season 1, and from then they’ve been remarkably stable. They’re really at their best when fate conspires to drive them apart. I don’t think we’ll ever get a better Snow than the one who ended up stranded in the Enchanted Forest with Emma at the beginning of Season 2. Resourceful, compassionate, fiery – she’s in every sense the natural evolution of where Snow should have been having emerged from the curse. Since then, honestly, she’s stagnated, and become more of a overly optimistic Ted Talker who rarely does anything of particular consequence.
Snow and Charming tend to spend most of their time talking about Emma, or Neal now, so they’ve definitely excited the “romance” stage we were all so invested in way back when. This episode goes some way to harken back to the Season 1 dynamic that the viewers are so fond of, not just through a typical Evil Queen plot to destroy them, but also through the flashback sequences, which are (blissfully) Evil Queen-less.
The flashback storyline, though we had the obvious foreknowledge that Snow and Charming would, ultimately, survive the encounter (always the problem with flashbacks) was thoroughly compelling – even though I am now far too invested in what on earth will happen to Charming’s dog who we have never before seen, and likely never will again. Was he happy, in the end?
The woodcutter was a suitably formidable foe, both for Snow and for Charming. It was nice to add new shades to their true love, and to learn that they were, in fact, destined to meet each other come hell or high water. It does slightly undercut their ultimate face-to-face encounter during the highway robbery, of course, but only minorly. It’s nice to see how the pair of them influenced the other, even without knowing it, and Snow continues to prove that she is full of compassion even for a complete stranger, saving David’s farm in the process.
In the present, the Evil Queen’s plan against Charming and Snow was also tense, as was the looming threat of the water being released upon Storybrooke. It was surprising that ultimately the Evil Queen managed to succeed in her plot. As for the matter of the curse, I appreciate the twist. It’s suitably cruel, and it’s nice that it’s not going to be as easily solved as true love’s kiss. What’s more, it serves to keep Charming and Snow separate, which, strangely, tends to bring out the best in them, provided they don’t spend all of their respective time awake complaining about not being able to spend time with the other.
Having said that, there were some overly convenient moments. Namely, the fact that the Blue Fairy just so happens to know of a weapon that can be used against the Evil Queen. Why does she only choose this precise moment to mention it? That’s unclear, as it would have been helpful when the Evil Queen first came to town, but I’ve never really trusted Blue to be that helpful. Once more, once the Evil Queen steals said weapon by using her characteristic magical poofing, nobody seemed to make any effort to stop her. Everybody seems to forget that you can just physically snatch something off someone if you want it. Or, alternatively, Regina, who routinely forgets that she has magical powers when it’s useful for the plot, could have just magically poofed it back. Sure, it would get slightly repetitive, but just standing around and watching while the villain destroys what the heroes need is getting very boring when it’s easily preventable.
Elsewhere, Regina manipulating Zelena against the Evil Queen by tricking her into finding The Evil Queen and Rumple kissing was very canny of her. While it’s mainly to drive a wedge between the Evil Queen and Zelena, and not in the interests of Regina and Zelena reconciling, it was still a nice development from Zelena, and great work by Rebecca Mader, as always.
In this same vein, this also draws Belle back into the storyline, as she confronts Rumple over getting the shears with the intention of using them on her son. It’s understandable that she should be livid, though I’m not sure entirely what she hopes to achieve by forbidding Rumple from using them. It’s just giving him another opportunity to completely ignore her as he usually does, but it’s nice that she is continuing to stand up to him and not take his usual excuses that worked so well before. I know that they have quite an ardent fan base, but I am loving the direction their storyline is taking, where Belle has simply stopped accepting all of his nonsense. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s monumentally satisfying, though I do feel like it could go even further than what is being shown.
This episode also had some pretty inventive visuals, such as the scene with Charming and Snow communicating on opposite sides of the door. It was really well done, as were the nice throwbacks to the first season, down to the glass coffin in a tree trunk in the wood.
Ultimately, “Heartless” gives us many fond memories of Season 1. The Evil Queen’s dastardly plan makes her seem like a genuine threat, and her actions against Snow and Charming feels impactful and like it will have long lasting consequences. Elsewhere, the show continues to balance its other storylines successfully, giving us meaningful development for both Belle and Zelena. Hopefully, the Evil Queen’s new curse gives Snow and Charming a decent development for the pair of them, who have never quite matched the giddy heights of their early years.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.