We begin at Granny’s dinner, where a drunken Graham is throwing darts. Emma emerges from a back room, spots Graham, and makes a beeline for the exit, only stopping when Graham throws a dart in the door frame inches from her head. She tells him she doesn’t care what he does with the mayor.
He follows her out the door. Graham’s desperate to explain himself; Emma’s desperate to avoid this conversation. She finally asks why he cares what she thinks, and he kisses her. When he does, he has flashes of his former life. A rattled Graham tries to apologize, claiming he needs to feel something, but an equally rattled Emma counters he’s not getting it from her. Graham then heads to Regina’s, who is pleasantly surprised by his sudden display of passion.
In the Enchanted Forest, a not so evil-looking Evil Queen comforts her stepdaughter Snow at her father’s coffin. In her chambers, the Queen’s mirror congratulates her on her revenge; all that’s left is for Snow to die. The kingdom is still loyal to her, so the Queen needs someone else to do it. The mirror suggests a huntsman. We then cut to Graham as the Huntsman, tracking down a deer with his wolf companion.
Graham awakes suddenly in Regina’s bed, and proceeds to tell her about his dream with the wolf, which he claims felt more like a memory. He decides to leave, despite Regina’s effort to make him stay. When he goes to get his car at Granny’s, he drops his keys and comes face to face with the wolf from his “dream” before it trots off.
The next morning, Emma spots some flowers in the kitchen and dumps them in the trash. Ms. Blanchard weakly protests that they’re hers, courtesy of Dr. Whale. Emma is impressed, claiming that one-nighters are the way to go. Ms. Blanchard argues that Emma’s “wall” is keeping out love, specifically from Graham.
An ill-looking Graham is tearing through the woods looking for his wolf, when he comes across Mr. Gold doing “some gardening.” Graham reluctantly explains his wolf dream, and Mr. Gold suggests dreams may be memories of another life.
The Huntsman and his wolf stop at a pub. The locals get restless, muttering about how he was raised by wolves and might as well be an animal. A brief brawl ensues with the Huntsman as victor. Watching through her mirror, the Queen is impressed.
Graham finally catches up with his wolf, which comes to him when called. When he touches the wolf he gets more flashes – this time of his encounter with Snow. He then goes to Ms. Blanchard’s classroom, asking if they knew each other from another life.
The Huntsman is brought to the Queen. She wants him to kill someone, and offers a place in her court in return. He wonders why she chose him, and she says he won’t be blinded by compassion for someone beloved by all. He agrees to do it, in exchange for protections for the wolves.
Graham thinks it’s odd that he and Ms. Blanchard can’t remember when they met. He wonders about past lives, and she mentions Henry and his book. Graham’s looking increasingly unwell and she tells him to rest, and he leaves promising to do so.
Disguised as a knight, the Huntsman is escorting Snow through the woods. She is suspicious of his unknight-like behavior, and asks why he’s there. He replies that she knows why. Unaccustomed to his armor, she is able to knock him down and flee.
Emma is failing at darts at the station when Regina walks in. She knows about the kiss. Emma says it meant nothing, and Regina states it’s because the blonde is incapable of feeling. Regina warns her to stay away from Graham. Meanwhile, Graham is at the mayor’s house to ask Henry if he’s in his book.
The Huntsman catches up to Snow, who is writing a letter. She is prepared to die, but wants him to give her letter to the Queen afterwards. He takes the letter and reads it, and its contents convince him to spare her life.
The Enchanted Forest scene becomes an image on the page of Henry’s book. Based on what Graham tells him, Henry determines that he’s the Huntsman. After he spared Snow, the Queen took his heart and hid it her vault so he couldn’t feel. The wolf is trying to lead him to it.
Outside, Emma confronts Graham. He explains about the wolf and how his missing heart is preventing him from feeling. Emma places a hand on his chest to prove his heart is beating. He says it’s only the curse. Before she can convince him otherwise, she spots the wolf over his shoulder and they chase it to the vault in the cemetery. Despite Emma’s misgivings, they break in.
The Huntsman appears to give the fake heart to the Queen. He tries to give her the letter, but she makes him read it aloud instead. A voiceover from Snow apologies for depriving the Queen of love, and begs that her death be the end of her vengeance, asking her to be a gentle ruler. She ends with, “I’m sorry, and I forgive you.” The Queen throws the letter in the fire. The Huntsman asks why she’s so angry, and the Queen reveals that she shared a secret with Snow that cost her dearly. The Queen tries to put the heart in her vault and discovers his deception.
Emma and Graham are leaving the vault empty-handed when Regina shows up. Graham is looking sick and she tries to take him home. He ends it with her, claiming he’d rather have nothing than settle for less. Regina turns her wrath towards Emma, but Emma flips the blame back onto Regina for making everyone miserable. Regina punches Emma, and she punches right back before Graham pulls them apart.
At the station, Graham tends to Emma’s face. He apologizes for his crazy behavior, and they make eyes at each other. At the vault, Regina pushes aside her father’s coffin to reveal a secret staircase.
The Queen is enraged. She plunges her hand into the Huntsman’s chest and takes his heart. He is her pet now, and she squeezes his heart –making him writhe in pain on the floor – to demonstrate what will happen if he disobeys.
Emma has decided to tear down her wall, because she stands up and kisses Graham. He receives another flash.
In her vault, Regina takes a heart in her hand.
Graham looks overwhelmed. Emma asks what’s wrong, and he says, “I remember.” He stands up, takes her face in his hands and thanks her. He leans in to kiss her, but before he can, he collapses onto the floor.
Regina crushes the heart in her hand to dust. Emma cradles Graham in her arms and sobs.
That’s it until January 8th. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be locked up in my room crying over Graham until then.
What we know so far:
The writers are going to be cruel and give us a lot of false hope. Any time we think something will work out, or someone will come close to the truth, they’re going to snatch the rug out from under us. I can only handle so much of that. Curse you, writers!
We received ever more allusions to Snow’s alleged treachery, but still no real information on that front other than Snow can’t keep a secret. Considering the source I don’t know how accurate that is. We do know how the Queen rose to power – by snatching Snow’s kingdom out from under her. Rumpelstiltskin has names and deals to control people; the Queen snatches hearts. While the Queen’s brand of evil is fueled by rage, Rumpelstiltskin’s brand of evil is much more devious, and you get the feeling he’s holding all the cards – in both realities. The next new episode will cover his backstory, and I’m curious to see what he might know about the curse.
See you all in January!