Last night Snow White and Prince James' love story took center stage after Margaret (Snow White) read their love story from the Storybook to the comatose John Doe (Prince Charming) and it woke him up!
I was sure the Prince wouldn't wake up until maybe the season finale. The fact that he's awake three episodes in, yet still separated form Snow, means Once Upon a Time's pacing can stay engaging without the series running out of material. With one twist, the obvious problems have become just the beginning of the possibilities waiting for our characters. My mind started shooting sparks after this episode, because while right now it seems the main obstacle is the amnesia, that could be resolved in the first season and the characters would still have to figure out how to break the time-prison element of the curse, confront Regina to do so, and then Emma would have to decide if she wants to leave the modern world. That’s several seasons' worth of issues right there!
But before I write a fanfic fourth season, let's talk about Episode 3, "Snow Falls," because this is ABC's fairytale barbecue and it tastes good.
The show had hinted that the very delicate and submissive Margaret was putting all her emotional eggs in the basket of thorns that is loving a man in a coma. We've all been there, ladies! While You Were Sleeping. Henry insisted to Emma that Margaret should read the Storybook to the snoozing dreamboat, and Emma encouraged her to do so, because then when presumably nothing happened, Henry would realize he was wrong, they could call BS on his sanity and prescribe him those pills that make kids good these days. (Xanax? Lithium? I don't babysit anymore)
Last week, a couple commenters addressed the paradoxical nature of the Storybook, and it need discussing. Who wrote, illustrated, and hand-bound this thing? It's a true history of a curse of widespread amnesia, but Regina had never seen it before, so maybe it was Rumpelstiltskin? Did he give it to Margaret? And more importantly, why didn't ABC hire a real illustrator to create the prop? The network could paid an amazing artist and created a really cool tie-in book to sell during the holidays. Do you understand what children's book illustrators feed their children? Old shoe leather, ABC, boiled in tears. For shame!
The fairy tale flashback was a rollicking stand-alone adventure in which the writers impressed on us that Snow White was hella feisty. She stole the Prince's purse, brained him with a rock, and was totally down with trolls. She's Bruce Willis in corset-tie khakis, basically, and bitch got warrants.
The Prince needed to get a ring back from his purse to propose to a snooty lady he clearly had no chemistry with, and while he and Snow adventured together to recover the ring, taking turns saving each other's lives via knifing people and tossing fairy dust, it became very clear that one day with Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Snow White was more fun than twenty snooty blonde ladies at a water park (with beer for water). The romance was cute, if exposition-heavy. The most key piece development: Snow White agreed that she'd ruined the Evil Queen's life. Before they parted ways, Snow White tried on the ring meant for his bride to be, and it was a moment as warm and as sweet as cookies shaped like the letters S, E, and X.
Meanwhile, in the real world, Margaret's hand got CLENCHED by the dreambound beefcake, and when she alerted the doctor he basically told her she had dreamed it, then called Regina and urgently whispered the news. By the way she squeezed the phone after hearing it, I'm guessing she wanted to squeeze the words right out of her ears, but come on: Regina remembers who she is or she would not be this angry! It's official.
After the newly awakened John Doe disappeared from the hospital, Emma had to sleuth through some switched security tapes to discover he'd walked out on his own. Then Emma, Margaret, Henry, and the Sheriff set out on an old-fashioned manhunt in the forest, where they finally found the Prince face-down in a riverbed—with, we have to assume, the back of his hospital gown blowing completely open. Margaret gave him some medical kisses to revive him, and they triumphantly returned him to the hospital, where Regina was waiting with his—GASP!—wife!
Seriously, you did not want to be my pillow at this part of the show, because after thirty minutes of being squashed you would have been flying across the room. The angst on Margaret's face as they made contact over his "wife's" shoulder, we've all been there, right ladies? Something Borrowed. I mean, being a single school teacher is a far cry from hell on earth, but the contrast between Rock 'Em Sock 'Em stomp-a-troll Snow White and Margaret's subdued misery was a better illustration of the effects of the curse, and it hit home, especially when Margaret was left playing with the ring we had seen earlier. Yet things still ended on a high note: Emma is moving in with her trapped-in-time mom/new BFF! They're like the Judds, except both of them get to be the hot one.
I'm very excited about Margaret's next run-in with the Prince, and I'm eager to find out what his real-world persona will be. I love that Emma and Margaret are together, and that Henry's theory already has a little credibility. And here's my hunch: By the end of the first season everybody will have their memories back and it will only make life and breaking the curse that much harder.
… The Sheriff said the forest was his world as they were tracking John Doe. Wolf or huntsman, which theory does that support?
… Have you ever had a crush on someone in a coma?
… Who created the Storybook, and how did it get to Snow White?
… Do you feel bad for those five actors who probably waited their whole lives to be on TV, but their families, friends, and directors scouting for talent couldn't recognize them because they were wearing giant troll masks?
… Do you prefer Snow White as a sexy robin hood who poos in the woods or as a pie-making surrogate mother to several dwarves?
... Snow White said she ruined the Queen's life, but HOW?! Who'd she kill?