Saturday, January 5, 2013

Once Upon A Time (S1, Ep3): Snow Falls

It's a seemingly ordinary day and the prince and his fiance are riding in their carriage through the forest. Suddenly the carriage stops. The prince gets out of the carriage to investigate the trouble; leaving the door open and his bag behind. He and his party discover it's a fallen tree blocking the path. However, just as they notice that the tree had been cut (and that it was obviously a set-up) a thief descends upon the carriage; startling the princess and grabbing the prince's bag. The prince takes off in hot pursuit after the thief; jumping off his steed, tackling him, and falling to the ground. It's then that he discovers that the thief is a woman and she promptly grabs a rock and hits him with it. She takes off on her horse again and the prince shouts out that she can't hide; he'll find her wherever she is.

Later, the lady thief is preparing for a journey and puts a strange necklace on. She doesn't go far before she's trapped and caught up in a net. The prince emerges; chuckling and remarking that he told her that he'd find her. "Aren't you a real Prince Charming!" she remarks. She demands to be cut down and he tells her she'll be freed when she returns his pouch with the jewels in it. She tells him that she sold the jewels and inquires as to why it would matter when he probably has a palace full of them. He says that those particular ones were special and that among them, was a ring of his mother's that he was going to give to his fiance. She finds it hilarious that he would be engaged to "the nag with the bad attitude" and wishes him luck with that. She goes on to say how it's all arranged marriages and business and that true love doesn't exist. "There's no such thing as love at first sight or first kiss," she says. He says none of it is her business and that all he wants her to do is take her to whomever has his ring and jewels. She refuses, but he shows her the "wanted" poster which shows her as being Snow White. He threatens to turn her over to the Queen if she doesn't help him and jests that the Queen probably isn't as "charming" as he is.

Snow White goes with the prince to retrieve the jewels. It's not long before he notices the necklace she wears which he takes from her when she refuses to tell him about it. She cautions him to be careful because it's special bad fairy dust that will turn your enemy into a form that can be easily squashed. He asks her why she didn't use it on him and she replies that he wasn't worth it and that she's saving it for someone special (which he guesses is the Queen). He holds onto the necklace and remarks that she has a lot of anger. Snow White tells him that the Queen sent her huntsman to rip out her heart. However, he took pity on her and let her go and now she has been hiding out in the forest ever since. She says she only steals from the Queen and had thought his carriage was one of hers. She explains she is trying to acquire enough fortune to escape to another realm; somewhere isolated where she can never be hurt. The prince notes that it sounds very lonely and asks why the Queen wants her dead. Snow White tells him it's because the Queen blames her for ruining her life; to which Snow admits that she did.

They stop at a stream to have a drink and Snow knocks him down and pushes him into the water. She runs into the Queen's guards as she's in the process of escaping. As they restrain her and prepare to cut out her heart for the Queen, they are thwarted by the prince who begins fighting them off. Snow White tries to escape on one of the horses, but is picked up and taken by a guard on his own horse. The prince grabs a bow and a quiver of arrows that he finds with one of the guard's horses and takes off through the forest. He spots the guard, and Snow, and takes careful aim. He fires, hits the guard, and he falls off. Snow pulls herself upright and slows down the horse just as the prince catches up to her. She expresses her shock at him saving her; to which he remarks that it seemed like the honorable thing to do. Then, he asks her if she's ready to continue on the quest for his jewels. She tells him that the trolls she sold them to are at the Troll Bridge nearby; and to beware of them.

They reach the bridge and Snow White puts some gold coins on the bridge which draws them up from below. She explains to them that she wants to make another trade and they question her about the man that is accompanying her. She says he's no one and asks to buy back the jewels she sold them. The trolls ignore her and continue to demand to know who he is. She says not to worry about it and that she'll give them back all the money if she can just have the ring; and that they can keep everything else. The prince begins to take the ring and thanks them, but they exclaim that he's too eager. They declare that he's a royal and that it's all a setup. They grab Snow and tell her the deals are done. They begin searching the prince and one of them finds Snow's necklace, but discards it on the ground. They also find the "wanted" poster and realize that there's quite a reward. The prince grabs his sword from the ground and begins fighting them off as Snow grabs her necklace and the pouch and takes off. She turns back when she realizes that the prince isn't running right behind her and saves him using the bad fairy dust before they can kill him. He thanks her for saving him and she says it was the "honorable thing to do." She also says she'd think of something else when he asks her about the bad fairy dust she used up on him. They pick up their stuff and leave before more trolls have the chance to show up.

They exchange their goods on the road. He gives her some gold and she gives him his pouch. He takes out the ring and she looks at it; it's a silver ring with a green stone. She takes it and puts it on her finger and admires it but then says it's not her style. She smiles and says his fiance will love it and hands it back to him. Then, seemingly reluctant, they part ways; looking back as they go.

Now, looking forward, we come to Mary Margaret in Storybrooke. She is on a dinner date with Dr.Whale at Granny's diner; talking about the kids she teaches as well as her desire for true love, marriage, and family. As she's speaking, she catches him heavily eyeing Ruby and decides that the date is over.

As she walks home, she notices Emma sitting in her car outside and stops to talk to her. Emma is apparently roughing it out in her car until she can find someplace to stay. Mary Margaret invites Emma to stay with her, but she declines; citing she isn't the "roommate type."

The next day, Mary Margaret and her class are visiting the hospital patients. She notices that Henry is sitting with an unconscious John Doe. Henry asks if he'll be alright. Mary Margaret says that she doesn't know and that he's been like that ever since she'd been volunteering. Henry asks if SHE knows who he is. Mary Margaret says she doesn't know him at all. He asks if he has any family or friends and she explains that no one has claimed him. She tells him he shouldn't be in that area and gently escorts him out as he asks her again if she's SURE she doesn't know him.

Later, Henry shows Emma his book at his castle playground. He says that her father, Prince Charming, is currently in a coma. He points him out to her in his book and says that they need to tell Mary Margaret the truth about the sleeping stranger in the hospital. Henry says that they need to get Mary Margaret to read him their story in hopes that he'll remember who he is and that they'll be together again. Emma decides to go along with it and tells him she'll be the one to ask Mary Margaret.

Emma explains the situation to Mary Margaret and that Henry believes that the coma patient is her Prince Charming. She agrees to read to him that night and give a report to them the next morning at Granny's when they have breakfast. She and Emma are hoping to gently prove to Henry that his fairy tale ideas aren't the reality that he thinks they are. However, nothing goes the way they planned. That's because when Mary Margaret starts reading to the patient, he grabs her hand. She rushes to get Dr. Whale, but when he comes to check on the patient, he tells her that he sees no changes and suggests that maybe she imagined it. Mary Margaret insists that she didn't, but he advises her to go home and rest; promising her that he'll call her if there are any new developments. Confused and disheartened, she leaves. Dr. Whale then makes a prompt call to Regina and tells her that as requested, he's letting her know of any changes regarding the John Doe. He tells her that there had been a minor fluctuation in brain activity and that the volunteer, Mary Margaret Blanchard, said that he grabbed her. Regina is obviously disturbed by the news and clutches the phone in her hand; a mixture of emotions on her face.

The next morning, Mary Margaret joins Emma and Henry for breakfast and tells them that he woke up. Emma is shocked, but Henry is thrilled and insists that he's remembering. Mary Margaret says that even though she was told she only imagined it, she knows that it happened. He wasn't FULLY awake, but he DID grab her. Henry insists that she go back and read to him some more. Mary Margaret doesn't hesitate and tells Emma that while of COURSE he's not Prince Charming, she "touched him" somehow and that connection has been made.

Unfortunately, when the three of them arrive at the hospital, Sheriff Graham is already there and tells them that John Doe is missing. Regina is there as well and she asks Emma what she's doing there. She's also angry with Henry when she sees that he's lied and is with them instead of at the arcade. Henry fires back; asking her what she did with John Doe. Dr. Whale explains that Regina is the one who found the patient years ago and brought him there; saving his life. Therefore, she was listed as the emergency contact. Given that he's been under constant care and supervision for so long, he needed to be found immediately and brought back. Regina takes Henry and leaves, but Emma and Mary Margaret stay with the sheriff as he begins questioning security and starts viewing surveillance footage. They see him on the tape walking around by himself and exiting through a door that leads towards the woods.

Graham begins tracking John Doe through the woods as Mary Margaret asks Emma about her knack for tracking as well and how she got into it. Emma says that finding people is just something she's always done and Mary Margaret guesses that it started with her parents. She admits that Henry told her about how he and Emma had similar situations and asks if she ever found her parents. "Depends on who you ask," she replies. Suddenly, Henry shows up and tells the women that he knows where John Doe is going. He explains that he's looking for Mary Margaret and that he loves her. Just then, Graham calls out to them and they see that he's found John Doe's hospital bracelet with traces of blood on it. They keep searching and they finally find him at the old Toll Bridge. Mary Margaret begins administering CPR. He gasps, coughs up water, and thanks her for saving him. She asks him who he is and he tells her he doesn't know.

They rush him back to the hospital where they all watch and wait to see what happens. Suddenly, a woman runs towards him calling, "David!" The medical staff escort her out for the moment and everyone wonders who she is. Regina shows up and reveals that the woman is his wife, Kathryn Nolan. She thanks Mary Margaret for finding David and Mary Margaret asks her how she didn't know he was there in a coma. Kathryn explains that a few years ago, they weren't getting along and David left. She assumed he left town and that that was why she had never heard from him again. Now that she knows why, she could finally have the chance to make amends with him.

Dr. Whale says that David is on the mend but that his memory would take some time to recover (if at all). He said that when David woke up, he was delirious and that his first instinct was to apparently go looking for something. Henry pointed out, "someone." He encourages Mary Margaret not to be discouraged and that he was going to the Toll Bridge; like in the story. Mary Margaret reasons that it's because it was the last thing she read to him but Henry insists it's because they belong together. Regina tells Henry it's time to go and tells him to wait by the car after Emma stops her to talk. Emma says she finds it odd that Regina would be an emergency contact all these years and only NOW finds Mrs. Nolan at such a convenient moment. Regina said that Emma's work with the security tapes was genius because they looked at past tapes and said that he had been calling out in his sleep for a "Kathryn". So, it was rather easy to figure it out after that. She also tells Emma that she thought she and Mary Margaret would be pleased by the fact that "true love won out." She points out that had it not been for them, David and Kathryn would have never been reunited and would have remained alone. She also remarks that the whole thing has made her so grateful to have Henry because "not having someone, well, that's the worst curse imaginable."

Regina's words must have given Emma something to think about because she goes to Mary Margaret's place to ask if the spare room is still available. Mary Margaret had been sitting there alone; twirling her green stone silver ring around her finger (as she had been earlier at the hospital when she watched David embrace his wife). She brightens up when Emma arrives at her door and eagerly welcomes her into her home.

*****

Loneliness. It's defined as a feeling of "bleakness or desolation." It's a state in which one feels (or is) cut off from others. You are isolated and have no human contact. It's a sad and depressing feeling. Just looking at (or thinking of) the word is enough to trigger unpleasant memories and emotions of when one has ever been in that position.

Being alone is awful. As Regina remarked, "not having someone, well, that's the worst curse imaginable." So, it should come as no surprise that God sees, knows, and understands that it's not good to be alone (Genesis 2:18). He created Adam for fellowship with Himself; just as He saw to it to create Eve as a companion for Adam.

Fellowship and companionship is a deep need inside all of us. We aren't meant to be hermits and loners. We are created to connect with God and with others; to love and be loved. Is it any wonder, then, that love is the parallel theme in the episode detailed above? In order to combat loneliness, one seeks to fill that empty feeling with something or someone to love. Think about it. If you're all by yourself, how long does that usually last? Typically, it doesn't take long to find SOMETHING or someone to busy one's self with (especially in this day and age). With so much bombardment and stimulation in the world, how could anyone be lonely anymore? Yet, we are. It is in those times of solitude that we are supposed to turn to God. Jesus modeled that for us (Luke 5:16). Isn't it ironic how he chose a LONELY place so He could BE with someone? Yes, he surrounded himself with (or was surrounded by) his disciples as well as other people more often that not. However, he knew that it was important to take time for His Father; not JUST when he was lonely, but CHOOSING to be alone. In that stillness, He could meet with God. If only we could un-busy ourselves too and embrace loneliness as an opportunity for togetherness with God as well!

It's a wonder to think of how, like most things, there's a silver lining. While loneliness is usually a negative thing, it can be (as noted) a positive thing. Loneliness can actually be the path that helps us find true love. That is, if we take the right/pure path. Sure, there are other paths that will take us to false forms of love that will not last. One could seize a moment of loneliness and decide to love food, sleep, alcohol, or some other form of filling ourselves and dulling our senses to the loneliness. But, that's not love; other than the selfish love of one's self. It doesn't bring us closer to God or to others. In fact, those things can be the driving wedges between ourselves and God/others which, in turn, causes even more loneliness and the cycle to repeat. What one needs to do is recognize that the void that needs to be filled isn't something that will be filled by love of self, but by loving God and others. That requires sacrifice and servanthood. It involves purpose and action; reaching outwardly rather than retreating inwardly. If we truly understand and learn how to do that, the love we give will also be the love we receive as we pursue pure ventures.

Grace and peace be with you as you connect with God and others! May the love and joy that flows from a servant's heart be the everlasting peace that drives away all loneliness!! God bless you!