Heyyyy everyone :) I hope y'all had a great Christmas! I went on a Grimm marathon (all episodes are available rn) and finished writing these recaps over the holidays....man...there are few things in life as satisfying as a bag of chips, dip and Hulu. Grimm was a lot better than I thought it would be actually. The people I talked to all said it was kind of boring and while I hardly think Grimm is boring, I think I get why OUAT is more popular. Even though Grimm is well-crafted in its own right, there's something missing in the series for me - I don't get the gotta know what happens next feeling and there is little emotional resonance for me. Not sure why :\ but let's just say the only character I feel much affection for is Monroe and we're already 7 episodes in. Detractors of OUAT say it's just Lost with fairy tales thrown in, but I never got into Lost (only saw a few episodes here and there), so I guess I have the luxury of just enjoying this series as an easily impressed newbie :}
This episode gives us a peek into Prince James' aka Prince Charming's back story. Although I'd already read the short preview synopsis, I think this episode was still surprising in the way it deftly intertwined various fairy tales and made Prince Charming even more lovable :)
Episode 6: The Shepard
|...I could do without all those awful lawn ornaments...|
Kathryn and David Nolan stand in front of their marital home and Kathryn probes him whether he remembers how much he disliked the house at first and the windmill they used to have on the front lawn (which isn't there anymore btw). He doesn't remember anything and braces himself for the welcome home party they are holding inside.
Dr. Whale, Emma, Henry and Regina are among the party guests. In the corner, Henry tells Emma that the reason the curse hasn't had a chance to plant "fake memories" in his mind yet is because he has amnesia. Emma is her usual skeptical self, but Henry insists that just a few more encounters with MMarg ought to do the trick. After all, that's what woke David up the first place ;) Henry's pretty cute when he says that cuz he's so darn smug ehehe
David strolls up, feeling a little lonely in the crowd of strangers. When David forks a carrot with a toothpick, Henry coyly asks him if he ever used a sword before. David asks Emma is MMarg is coming tonight but no, Emma says that she can't.
Regina overhears David is asking Emma where MMarg is and she quickly approaches Kathryn, encouraging her to be with husband. Kathryn confesses that David is so emotionally distant that she doesn't feel that she really has him back. Regina comforts her, telling her that she once lost someone too, but that there was no getting him back (her dad?). Kathryn has a second chance with David, so she should go to him. Kathryn is grateful for Regina's advice and thanks her for being such a good friend *sigh* Despite everything, Regina does moved by her genuine offer of friendship....
...is that real emotion besides anger/greed I see on her face? So hard to tell >.< As for Kathryn, when she goes looking for hubby, he has vanished and nobody knows where he is.
David lovingly watches MMarg (unsuccessfully) hanging a birdhouse. He hangs it for her and asks if she quit volunteering at the hospital because of his confession. He tells her that whoever married Kathryn is gone and that the person he is choosing to be with is her. Pretty damn romantic....;_; MMarg (with valiant effort) turns him away saying that he is getting romantic feelings mixed up with thankfulness that she saved his life.
Charming is fighting a huge brute and appears to have been KO'ed. However, just as the giant goes in for the last killing blow, Charming leaps up (he was playing dead) and tells enemy to "make sure I'm really dead next time" before stabbing him.
King Midas is suitably impressed and the king in red, King George, proudly says that his son has "killed the un-killable." We quickly hear that Charming's kingdom is on the verge of bankruptcy and King Midas is offering quite a bit of gold if Charming can slay a dragon that has been terrorizing the kingdom. Midas warms him that the dragon has killed every warrior that has attempted to slay it, but Charming is confident in his abilities.
As a "down-payment", Midas has one of his soldiers remove the glove from his right hand "Be careful, remember what happened to Friedrick" (I'm betting that Friedrick is adorning someone's garden as a statue now) and turns Charming's sword into gold. While everyone is awed by Midas' power, Charming shows that he's not intimidated and jokes, "Forgive me if I don't shake on it." While everyone is horrified by Charming's audacity (his dad particularly), Midas laughs heartily and it seems that he is more impressed with Charming's cheek than his fighting prowess. He walks away with Charming's father to discuss the details.
Charming's band of loyal soldiers cheer over his victory but Charming tells them that this little fight was merely a test and that bringing the dragon's head to Midas is still crucial to saving the kingdom. Just as he smirks and says that it won't be as easy as killing that brute....
...the brute that he SHOULD HAVE MADE SURE WAS DEAD stabs him through the heart. Well...he did have it coming after what he said.
There is no timing for mourning, however, and everyone fears that Midas will pull his (monetary) support when he finds out James is dead. His body is removed quickly and King George has already recruited help in the form of a familiar face.
We find out that King George's son was the result of a deal with Rumple since the royal couple could not conceive. We do not find out what King George gave Rumple in the bargain, which I'm sure will be a nice surprise later :P. The queen has already passed away, unfortunately, so "conceiving" another son is out of the question. King George says he will give anything to have his son brought back. Rumple says in return for his dragon-slaying son, he wants to know the location of a fairy godmother that is a patron to King George. I wonder if this is the Blue Fairy or Cinderella's fairy godmother, who he killed in Episode 4. I suspect it would be Cinderella's fairy godmother....I'm guessing Rumple wanted a way to deepen his hold on a royal family aka have a royal child for himself/Cinderella's child.
Anyway, the King accepts and Rumple toys with him a little, revealing that "magic has its limits" and that he said "nothing about resurrection." After a bit more teasing, he finally reveals that his son had a brother - a twin.
...and we get a glimpse at the "real" Prince Charming we know and love (the other was a little too cocky for my taste), living a bucolic life as a shepherd.
MMarg is furiously washing dishes to distract herself from thoughts of David. Emma guesses what's on her mind and reminds her that David is still married.
Also she needs to stop washing dishes...she needs a drink :) Emma tells her to stay strong and that if something feels wrong, it usually is.
At home, David is going through photos of his previous life trying to jog his memory. Kathryn tells him that she's going to bed and that he's welcome to join her. Sensitive to his discomfort, she says they can just sleep by each other's side or you know...*winkwink* To her disappointment, he says he'd rather talk.
She pulls him in for a kiss, but after a few moments he awkwardly pulls away, asking. "This...is it right?"
Charming is busy herding sheep when his mom comes home from the market. His mom tells him that the grain merchant's daughter is ready for marriage - and she has a dowry that could save the farm. Though you can tell Charming loves his mother, he is steadfast in his desire to marry for love. They will save the farm another way. She tenderly berates him, "When are you going to learn, you can't have everything."
"Or perhaps he can."
Charming finds out that they traded his twin brother back when they were poor(er). Their father had regretted the decision till the day he died. They never told him because the deal forbade it.
Rumple tells Charming that pretending to be his royal twin brother could be the farm's salvation. He wouldn't have to do any fighting, all he has to do is deliver the dragon's head to Midas after King George's soldiers kill it. He also slickly refuses to reveal what's in it for him and instead changes to the subject to how his mother will never want for anything again if he goes along with the plan. A brief flash of concern flickers over Rumple's face when Charming does not immediately agree. But in the end, he agrees, feeling that he has no choice.
|While I was screencaping, the column to the right caught my eye - "Remnants of Seventeeth Century Colonial Settlment Uncovered at Harestock Bridge." Out of curiosity, I googled it and lord...I thought I was being so observant about these things but I guess not. That Easter Egg section is stuffed with bits of trivia...affirmation that I have delusional ideas about my observational skills and that there is no detail too small for a rabid fan to ferret out xD|
|Glowing clock = moon?|
Dr. Whale swans up to MMarg, asking if she quit the hospital because of how he didn't call after their date. MMarg is dumbstruck, Whale-boy is ridiculous in his confidence, and I am barfing over what a slimy piece of work Whale is. Nonetheless, he somewhat nobly apologizes for being his actions and says that if she wants her position back, she knows where to find him *rolls eyes*.
As soon as he leaves, Regina sweeps in. She tells MMarg that David left Kathryn and is somewhat surprised to see that MMarg knew nothing of it. In any case, she tells her to back off as she is "this close to wrecking multiple lives." MMarg is not having a good morning.
Midas tells James that if he kills the dragon, he will be a legend. This "new" James is markedly less confident than his dead twin (for obvious reasons). One of King George's soldiers fixes his armor, which he put on wrong, and tells him that he need not worry about fighting. He's told to stay out of the cave and keep out of the way. All he needs to do is stay alive to deliver the dragon's head. "You may have the title of hero, but not the job." It's obvious that James isn't the only one who has little confidence in his dragon-slaying skills.
While trekking up the mountain to the dragon, we see the carnage of his previous victims. As planned, James is told to wait outside the cave. However, when he hears the screams of the soldiers inside the cave, even the two soldiers left to stay with him can't him from rushing to the aid of an injured soldier - the one that told him to stay out of the way no less.
|Am I the only one who doesn't get why the bloody dragon didn't just breathe fire at him here?! Charming is friggin right in front of him! He just snaps at him for 5 minutes letting Charming take his jolly time chopping his head off...|
A couple more soldiers get burned to a crisp as the dragon circles them breathing fire. I tried really hard to get a screencap of this, but failed. Basically, Charming leads the dragon into a narrow gap, forcing him to poke his head through the gap and getting stuck in the process.
With a single sweep of his golden sword, Charming slices off the head. Victory!
Speaking of, pure gold is pretty soft...so I dunno how a gold sword could make much of an effective weapon. Either that or Midas's hand doesn't create pure gold as much as gold mixed with alloy. But I digress ^^;;
MMarg is slicing open an envelope with a gold letter opener when David shows up all...charming...as usual. He declares his love for her again, but understanding where her refusal is coming from, he asks her to just think about it until 8pm tonight. If she wants to be with him, she'll find him where she saved him, if she doesn't show, he will never bother her again. He begs her think about it and tells her, "If you choose this, if you choose us - you know where to find me."....yup, that sounds a lot more romantic coming from David :)
Over at the police station, Graham comes bearing a
MMarg comes running in, seeking advice from Emma on what to do. To her surprise, Emma tells her to go to him. After all, it's one thing to say he wants to be with her and quite another to actually take the initiative to do so. The fact that it would annoy Regina is just a bonus ;) Despite everything, you can tell MMarg is thrilled at the idea of choosing to be with him ^_^
At Granny's inn at 15 before 8, David prepares to leave for Toll Bridge. As he looks at the clock, he absently twirls his wedding ring.
Midas has quite suitably turned the dragon's head into gold and has it sent away to be placed in his garden. He congratulates James on his success and even bows his head to him, saying that he is the noblest prince he has ever met, but....
King Midas: I did not get to where I am by thinking small. I stand before you now because I dare to dream big. I was not just looking for a dragon slayer, I was looking for the strongest man in the land, a hero, someone who could unite the kingdoms, someone who I could be proud to call family. Bring her!
Gentlemen, may I present my daughter, Abigail. Beyond gold, beyond anything, I value her most. I promised her that I would only give her hand in marriage when I could find a companion worthy of her. And now I have.
Abigail: He killed the dragon? [insert haughtiest look in the world] I guess he'll do.
James just wants to go home to the farm but King George (who I'm starting to dislike more with each passing second) whispers that if he does not accept the marriage proposal, he will be bringing about the downfall of the entire kingdom. Also he will kill him, his mom, and burn the farm for good measure.
David is trying to find his way to the Toll Bridge when he bumps into Regina. He asks for directions and states that he has made his choice. Regina doesn't seem fazed by this at all and tells him to go to the fork in the road by Mr. Gold's Pawnshop, the left one will take him to the bridge. She sends him off with the cryptic phrase, "I hope you find what you're looking for."
When David gets to the pawnshop, there's no fork in the road so he heads into the hoarder's paradise. Go here for an obsessively detailed look into the many oddities David sees in the shop. He is drawn to the mobile that once hung over Emma's crib but Mr. Gold interrupts, remarking on the "charming" nature of the mobile. Mr. Gold doesn't seem surprised to hear he's lost and remarks that "she's has led you astray."
He gives him the correct directions but as David heads out, a windmill catches his eye. Mr. Gold says, "That old thing! That's been collecting dust forever." But as he watches the sails spin, David claims to remember once owning it. dun dun dun....
James comes to see his mother but the happy reunion comes to a jarring end when he tells her that Midas wants to unite the kingdoms and to keep the ruse up, mother and son can never see each other again :( The mother tells him to run away and essentially offers to die, at least then she'll know her son would be happy elsewhere.
Charming tells her he already accepted the offer, after all, "you can't have everything." His mum gives him her ring, which he should give to the one he loves, because "true love follows wherever this ring goes."
David runs up and MMarg, looking cute as a button, is thrilled to see him. However, he seems almost disappointed to see her and tells her that he remembers everything, particularly how much he once loved Kathryn. Even though David admits that he still has feelings for MMarg, the right thing to do is to go back to his wife. MMarg tells the right thing to do was to NOT lead her on but whatever, he's made his choice and "it just wasn't meant to be." (NOOOO)
While cruising around town during the night shift, Emma sees a dark figure coming out the window of the Mayor's house. She trips the guy as he comes around the corner -
- tis Graham :\! Clearly, not at the animal shelter. Emma quickly deduces that he is sleeping with Regina and is thoroughly disgusted when he tells her that he was going out the window because Regina doesn't want Henry to know. It's rather moving, though terribly pathetic, when Graham weakly adds that he does actually volunteer at an animal shelter :( But Emma is understandably having none of it and tells him to finish the shift - she's done working nights. She strides away with what looks suspiciously like a heartbroken look on her face :( :( :(
David goes back home and tells Kathryn he remembers enough to come back. He tells her that he never intended to leave her in the first place (before he got amnesia), he'd just needed some time to think. Basically, they kiss and makeup :|
|Glaring at King George crowing over "mutual prosperity."|
King George & Midas celebrate the union of the two kingdoms - George more delighted at the idea of "mutual prosperity" than anything else. Midas tells the couple to go on ahead to their new castle, the kings will follow shortly after they've arranged the financial particulars. Princess Abigail does seem to have a soft spot in her frigid heart for her daddy and as they part tenderly, George makes a small acknowledgement of the sacrifice the "new" James is making by thanking him and calling him "son." Somewhat resigned, the Shepard officially becomes "James" as he thanks his "father" :|
Abigail: Come, I'm tired of waiting.
James: Then our journey shall begin! I thought we might take the scenic route.
King George: Smile, son. You're on the road to true love.
*sigh* Not sure if George is trying to comfort the boy or just has a very loose definition of "true love."
Now we cut to scene we saw at the beginning of Episode 3, but this time we see the cloaked figure as well, smirking as she overhears Abigail haranguing James.
MMarg sits alone at the bar, twirling her ring. Dr. Whale joins her and offers her a friendly ear, "sometimes it's easier to talk to someone when you don't give a crap what they think."
MMarg: You ever walk into a situation when you know exactly what's going to happen?And then you go into anyway. And then when what you're afraid of happens, you kick yourself because you should have known better. But that's just who you are. So you keep punishing yourself.
Dr. Whale: No.
MMarg: How do you do that?
Dr. Whale: By never doing what's expected. Keeps life interesting. Can I buy you a drink?
MMarg: ...You can buy me two.
EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Don't blame MMarg for living a little but meh, Dr. Whale weirds me out. Also I wonder if the Whale is buying her a drink cuz he likes MMarg now, knows how to hone onto a sad woman for a quick roll in the sack, or Regina put him up to it.
Overall, another solid episode! It added a nice layer of complexity to Charming and the silver ring; and it clears up why Snow and Charming are so particularly suited for each other. Though both are royalty, both have also lived as regular people and know money ain't everything.
Speaking of money, King Midas was a pretty cool king :) I like how they showed that the power of his kingdom wasn't (solely) based on his golden hand, but how he's a canny leader as well. I'd actually like to see more of Midas in the future. He seems like a smart guy who loves his daughter and I wonder how that will put him a odds with gold-spinning Rumple (surely the gold thing can't be a coincidence). Or perhaps Midas' golden hand is a result of a deal from Rumple!? Hmmmmmmmmmmm....^_^
The only things that somewhat irritated me in this episode werethe special effects and the stupidity of the dragon! I can live with the clunky special effects since they didn't detract from the story, however, that stupid dragon! Why did it suddenly stop breathing fire when Charming was 2 feet in front of his mouth?!