Tuesday, March 20, 2012
"Evil Doesn't Always Look Evil. Sometimes It's Staring Right at Us, and We Don't Even Realize It."
I never read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but I know the book is an exploration of just how much potential for evil resides in people. Dad told me way back in the beginning that we would wind up hating Snow White before this was all over; while she’s still very much one of the good guys, for more of this flashback she was pretty darn unpleasant. Of course, she was also under a curse, but one that she sought out in the first place. Surely she wouldn’t have opted for it, though, if she’d realized what she would become. It seems to have sucked out not only her love for James but all of her love, period.
It was very interesting to see this vindictive Snow White. The introduction to her was a hoot, with her singing With a Smile and a Song from the Disney movie and appearing to be so sweet, then violently lunging after the bird in her company in an attempt to kill it. Certainly not the behavior we’re used to from this endearing princess. Grumpy, who I think at this point is probably tied with Jiminy for my favorite character, broke my heart in this episode. He was like Sam in Return of the King, stalwartly refusing to leave the side of his beloved friend despite the sinister madness that had overtaken him. All of the dwarves were so sweet in this episode, but Grumpy especially.
It was also great to see the return of Jiminy Cricket – who Snow White almost pulverized. In both realities, he was the one who snapped James/David out of a sort of stupor, but the effects were opposite of each other. In Fairy Tale, his quiet advice inspired James to take the arrow intended for the queen, thereby proving his love for Snow White with actions rather than words. In Storybrooke, however, he had a misleading flashback to Fairy Tale that left him with the impression that Mary Margaret truly had killed Kathryn. His faith, it seems, is not as strong as hers. Then again, there is an awful lot of evidence against her.
So, the heart actually is Kathryn’s. Regina certainly would seem to be the one behind it all, but there’s still more to discover there. For instance, where is the rest of her? And is Kathryn actually dead, or did Regina do a nifty heart-stealing trick like she did with the huntsman? But what purpose would she have for keeping her alive? If anyone saw her, that would immediately expose the truth of Heny’s theory. Doesn’t seem like a risk Regina would want to take. And maybe she couldn’t perform that spell in Storybrooke, anyway.
The rattling knife in the grate reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart. Creepy. I thought the conversation between August and Henry was interesting and reminded me of the Man of Science / Man of Faith LOST debate. I’m still not sure what to make of this guy. There’s something slightly unsettling about him. Why does he know so much? Did he write the book himself, and now he’s trying to course correct so his story ends the way he wanted it to? That would be very meta, introducing an odd philosophical layer reminding me of the novel Sophie’s World. Perhaps August is sort of the voice of Adam and Eddy, in the way I imagined Daniel – especially at his most frazzled – being the voice of Damon and Carlton as they tried to re-exert control over a story that seemed to be spiraling away from them.
This wasn’t really an episode that made my heart go pitter-pat, aside from Snow White’s awakening moment in Fairy Tale, but it was certainly less violent than last week’s. Seeing what Snow could become was initially a bit comical but ultimately disturbing. See what a lack of love can do to a person? And haven’t we learned by now how dangerous it is to enter into a bargain with Rumple? I figured that he must have wanted Snow’s hair for some sort of potion; now that he’s combined it with the one he got from James, what will he do with it? Whose lives will he wreak havoc on by causing the wrong people to fall in love with each other?
My favorite part of the episode, though, was definitely the dynamic between Grumpy, and to a lesser extent the other six dwarves, and Snow White. For folks who are not supposed to be able to feel love, they most certainly do. And friendship can be just as powerful as romance – sometimes ever more so. The reconciliation at the end was beautiful. Snow White has one heck of a potent posse.