by Jeremy Grossman
Sheriff Graham, we hardly knew ye, but if your death means an excellent episode of “Once Upon a Time,” then at least your death was not in vain.
There was never a doubt that Sheriff Graham was going to die. ABC promoted the death of a major character this episode, and no one is really more disposable than Sheriff Graham. It’s pretty impressive though, that by the end of this Graham-centric episode, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” when Regina reached into her filing cabinet of hearts, grabbed his heart, and coldly squashed it, I actually felt bad for him. This was a harsh, but effective, tactic that was prevalent on “Lost” — spend an entire episode making you sympathize with a character, and then in the last few seconds, have them die a cruel and sudden death.
Speaking of that ending, we now know the truth about Regina. She still has her memories of the fairy tale universe, and she is as evil as ever. We knew how nasty she could be we can add murderer to her list of evil deeds. Now that she is a cold-blooded killer, the most exciting would to push her even farther over the edge. Lana Parilla has been held back as Regina, playing merely the “nasty PTA mom,” albeit well, but now it’s time to let her character loose. Her fairy tale counterpart, the Evil Queen, is on a non-stop murderous rampage, so why can’t Regina give us a weekly dose of crazy?
Sheriff Graham’s fairy tale counterpart not being the Wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood,” or the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast,” but the Huntsman from “Snow White” provided another great revelation. The show needs to reserve its big name fairy tales for its less mortal characters, it would seem, but it’s really a shame that “Once” killed a man who was only just starting to become interesting. Since the writers knew he was going to die anyway, his relationship with Emma felt awkwardly forced (would a strong woman like Emma really kiss a guy a few hours after he slept with her nemesis?), but given more time, they could have developed into a sweet couple.
But I guess Graham’s sudden death is really what “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is all about. As Mary Margaret pointed out early in the episode, Emma needed to break down the wall she built for herself, and learn how to love. Once she finally did, it was sadly too late. Poor Emma learned the hardest lesson of all – love is something that must not be taken for granted, because it can easily be taken away from you. Now Emma is alone and without a love interest, but at least Graham’s death means she’ll probably be getting a promotion at the sheriff’s office.
Jeremy Grossman is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.