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Once Upon a Time Recap: "Heart of Darkness"


In another strong episode, OUAT explores the nature vs. nurture issue and takes the stand that “evil is not born, but made” when good people endure too much loss and misery.

Sure enough, the episode opens in FairyTale with Snow White so unhappy that she’s attempting to kill a defenceless songbird with her broom. Having had enough of Snow’s wretched personality change, the seven dwarves stage an Intervention, with Jiminy Cricket as the Interventionist.  Snow reveals she can’t contain her anger at the loss of her family and the life she used to lead. But instead of agreeing to alter her behavior, Snow instead decides to exact her revenge by killing the Evil Queen and sets out with a very large and lethal-looking axe.

She apparently also had a rope with her too, because while in the Forest she lassoes one of the Queen’s men.  Through a pretty convincing threat of death, the henchman reveals where the Queen is.  Snow steals his armor, intending to use it to break into the castle. But Grumpy intercepts her, proving he is a loyal friend, considering how badly Snow’s been treating him. He convinces her to see Rumplestiltskin, to find out if he can somehow undo the potion Snow drank that seemingly erased her memory. Let’s hope he can help her find her sunny disposition again too.

Unfortunately, Rumple tells Snow there is “no potion to bring back love”.  He does, however, offer her a magic arrow with which to kill the Evil Queen.  And although Rumple’s usual refrain is ‘all magic comes with a price’, this time he gives Snow the arrow at no charge, saying instead that he’s “invested in her future.”  Will that interest prove ominous or fortunate for Snow?

No sooner has Snow and Grumpy left Rumple’s rather shabby castle when Charming arrives, demanding Rumple tell him how to help Snow.  In exchange for Charming’s cloak, Rumple produces a map showing where Snow is heading.

James intercepts Snow and kisses her, thinking true love’s kiss will break the potion’s spell and restore Snow’s memory. But no such luck, as she winds up and clocks him instead.  Snow is proving to be a woman who can definitely take care of herself when men ambush her in the woods, as she proceeds to tie Charming up and leaves him in the forest.  Luckily for James, Jiminy Cricket appears and helps gnaw the ropes off Charming.  Proving most helpful, Jiminy also tells James that he must help Snow remember who she truly is, in order for the spell to break.

 James finds Snow just as she’s about to assassinate the Queen and jumps in front of the magic arrow. It painfully imbeds in his shoulder but he couldn’t allow Snow to sacrifice her future. Snow is stunned that anyone would care enough about her that much.  She kisses James and just like that she remembers who he is, and more importantly, who she is.  

Their reunion is cruelly short-lived as King George’s men, who have been hunting AWOL groom James, finally catch up to him and take him away. But Snow vows she will always find him.

Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret sits in a jail cell for the murder of Kathryn and things look pretty bleak for the schoolteacher. DNA tests on the heart are a match, and Emma and Henry also discovered a dagger hidden in Emma’s apartment. And the box containing the heart turned out to be Kathryn’s jewellery box (I’m no Columbo, but can someone say “set-up”?).

It seems Emma has the same thought, as she continues to reassure Mary Margaret she believes in her innocence and begs her to just have faith in Emma as she is determined to prove it’s actually Mayor Regina behind it all.

Unfortunately, David isn’t proving so loyal to Mary Margaret.  He visits therapist Archie Hopper to be hypnotized; hoping it will fill in the blanks of his black-out episodes. While under, David’s mind blends both his FairyTale and Storybrooke memories, and he remembers Snow White talking about murdering the Evil Queen.  But when he awakens, he mistakenly believes that memory is of Mary Margaret talking about killing Kathryn. 

He leaps off the shrink’s couch and heads to the jail to confront Mary Margaret.  She is heartbroken by his accusations. Again. She reminds him, tearfully, that she never doubted his innocence when everyone else though he had killed his wife and loyally stood by him. David just looks at her with a tear running down his cheek. Mary Margaret just stares at him and finally tells him to get out.

David is almost nothing like his FairyTale alter ego, Prince Charming. Charming/James is noble, strong, loyal, courageous and unwavering. He’s also quite funny. David is…..none of those things. He is proving to be such a disappointment.

As Mary Margaret tidies up her cell bed, a skeleton key drops. It fits into her jail door! Looks like our teacher is about to stage a jail break.  At the same time, Emma visits Mr. Gold, who has also become Mary Margaret’s attorney.  (A pawnbroker/lawyer combination seems odd, but this IS Storybrooke.)  Emma tells Gold she will do anything to save her friend.

Finally, back in FairyTale, Gold’s alter ego Rumple is combining the hair he once took as payment from Snow and a hair he just found on Charming’s cloak into a beaker. The two locks of hair join and a Disney-like chemical process begins happening; which leads me to believe Rumple has just found the elusive love potion…and that opens up a whole new can of worms.

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