Time is how we mark our lives. Whether it’s for the mundane like when our dentist appointment is, or for the monumental like the exact time someone we love passes, human nature demands we take note of time. Maybe we do it to find some order in otherwise uncontrollable events, like both Snow/Mary Margaret and James/David do in Episode 10 of Once Upon a Time.
It’s 7:10 am in Storybrooke and Mary Margaret is uncharacteristically flustered, as she flits about her apartment, frantically brushing her teeth in the kitchen. (Eww.) When asked by Emma where the fire is, MM claims she needs to meet some students early. In reality, she’s rushing to get to the diner by 7:15, when she knows David will wander in for his morning caffeine fix. After a brief and awkward hello/how are you exchange with David, MM admits to Emma that she’s borderline stalking the man she cannot have and wishes there were a magic cure for love. (And cue the foreshadowing music, sound department, please.)
Later, MM runs into David’s wife Katherine at the drug store and notices she has a pregnancy test in her shopping basket. MM is shattered, and feels her last hope of being with David vanish. After that, MM must have felt the need to clear her head (or the editing was a bit shoddy) because the next thing we know she’s walking in a simply stunning forest (Holla, Beautiful B.C.) and stumbles upon a dove trapped in some netting. She rushes him to the local vet who assures her the bird is physically fine, but if not reunited with its flock it will be destined to live alone forever. Clearly, the dove is a metaphor disguised as an anvil, dropped on our heads.
Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Mayor Regina insists Sheriff Emma investigate the motorcycle hottie/stranger in town that’s hanging with Henry. The good Sheriff finds him in the cafe, along with a rather large box at his side. Curious, Emma asks him what’s in the box. The stranger, whom I already adore because he took one look at all of Emma’s earnestness and essentially laughed in her face, tells Emma he is going to make her wait a very long time before revealing what’s in the box. Unless, of course, she agrees to go out with him. Emma, overcome with curiosity and probably some lust, agrees. So hunky stranger opens the box to reveal……an ancient typewriter? That’s just weird. He doesn’t have a laptop? An iPad? Where does one even find parts for a typewriter that old? It’s just too ridiculous in the 21st century, so maybe the typewriter is a clue. To what, I have no idea, but I still think it’s a clue. Time will tell.
After the vet visit, MM returns to the forest, determined to find the poor dove’s flock. However, a storm is brewing and she slips over a cliff/ravine, but manages to grab onto a root. Thankfully, David was following her and pulls her to safety. By now, it’s teeming with rain, so the pair finds shelter in a deserted cabin. It’s the perfect setting for the two to finally talk and MM admits she still has feelings for David. The two come a hair breadth’s away from kissing (SIGH) but at the last second, MM pulls away and tells David she knows Katherine is pregnant. David, shocked, tells MM he had no idea his wife was trying to conceive. Soap Opera Heaven!
Hearing the rain has stopped, MM runs out of the cabin and finds the flock after all. She releases the dove and laughs in her joy. As pure Disney as this scene is, it’s still a lovely little snippet and Ginnifer Goodwin has a really infectious laugh, to boot.
David is feeling the joy too, and tries to grab MM’s hand. But she pulls away, again, and tells David they have to find a way to forget each other because this is simply too painful.
But that declaration only lasts until the next day, when MM and David again run into each other. David tells MM that he’s spoken with Katherine and the wife is not pregnant. (He neglects, however, to tell her that he did promise his wife he’d work on their marriage.) But for MM, the news gives her some kind of green light, because she and David finally kiss. Shippers rejoice! But Mayor Regina is doing some stalking of her own, and is spying on them from her car. She doesn’t look too happy, either, so there’s bound to be some trouble for the lovebirds.
In FairyTale, Snow and James are also the focus. While on some sort of walkabout, to clear the Prince from her mind and heart, Snow is visited by Red Riding Hood. Red tells her that Prince James is getting married in only two days. Snow responds by saying she wishes there were some way to get James out of her head for good. Red tells her there is a man who can do just that.
Next thing we know, Snow is rowing a boat to a fog-shrouded dock. And sure enough, there is Rumplestiltskin, promising Snow he can give her a potion that will make her forget her Prince. Emitting a very creepy, Pillsbury Doughboy-like giggle, Rumple pulls a lock of Snow’s hair from her head and tells her that’s the only payment he needs. Another clue for down the road because you just know he wants that hair for some no-good purpose.
Meanwhile, Prince James is deep in conversation with his psuedo-father, the King. The King, eager to receive the bounty King Midas will bestow upon his kingdom once his “son” marries, tells James he must get Snow out of his head, or else. Defiant, James instead writes to Snow and asks her to come to him. In keeping with the episode’s bird theme, he sends the note via carrier pigeon.
Thrilled, Snow sneaks into the castle, but is captured by the King and his men. He takes James’s note from her, and banishes her to the dungeon. Here she meets a short man named Grumpy. This actually made me chuckle out loud and was one of the better moments of the episode and a clever way for Snow to meet her dwarves. After a philosophical discussion about love between the two, a determined Snow tries unsuccessfully to break out of the cell. Just then, another dwarf named Stealthy appears, with keys to the cell in hand. Stealthy? I’ve never heard of Stealthy the Dwarf. And really, how did Stealthy get himself the keys? And past all the guards? Again, a continuity/editing issue that is a bit jarring.
In any event, Stealthy lets Grumpy out of the dungeon, who in turn frees Snow. Unfortunately, Stealthy is then arrowed dead by the King’s guards and I suppose that’s why none of us have ever heard of Stealthy the Dwarf before now.
With Snow and the remaining Dwarf re-captured, the King commands Snow to go to James and tell him she does not love him. If she refuses, the King will kill James, because after all, he’s not even his real son. Seeing no other choice, Snow does as the King ordered and tells a broken-hearted and crying James she does not love him and he needs to find someone who does. This was actually a very well-done scene. The Prince/Snow White storyline ranks right up there with pretty much anything Rumple or The Evil Queen do as the best parts of this show.
As a despondent Snow leaves the castle, she runs into Grumpy and the other surviving Dwarves. Grump insists Snow come and live with them. She agrees, and the next day Prince James is frantically trying to find her, having called off the wedding. Grumpy, upon hearing this, runs home to tell Snow the good news. But after he tells Snow her prince has come for her, she merely replies, “Who?” OH NO, SHE DIDN’T! But she did. Snow consumed Rumple’s potion and has clearly forgotten her true love! It’s a neat little twist to end the episode, and as any soap fan knows, you have to keep your SuperCouple apart for as long as possible and what better way than by amnesia. Additionally, how appropriate to have a brain wiped clean factor into an episode devoted to how people mark time. It fits.