"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" is the seventh episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and directed by David M. Barrett. It is the seventh episode of the series overall, and premiered on December 11, 2011.
One of the town's residents begins to remember their fairytale past, and Storybrooke mourns the loss of one of their own. Meanwhile, in the fairytale world that was, the Evil Queen attempts to find a heartless assassin to murder Snow White.
In Granny's Diner, Sheriff Graham throws darts at a picture of a deer very accurately. Emma arrives but leaves immediately because she has not forgiven him for hiding his relationship with Regina. Emma attempts to avoid conversation, but Graham is insistent on explaining to her he feels nothing for Regina. He kisses Emma and suddenly sees a vision of a wolf, only to have Emma push him away. Frustrated by Emma's lack of understanding, Graham, drunk, later has sex with Regina. In the middle of the night, he awakens abruptly from a dream of a deer and a wolf. When Graham tells Regina that the dream felt like a memory, Regina tries to convince him to stay, telling him that he's still drunk, but Graham leaves. As Graham attempts to get to his car, the wolf from his visions appears next to him, startling him before it leaves. As he tries to find the wolf in the woods, he runs into Mr. Gold. Graham tells him about the wolf, and Mr. Gold suggests to him that dreams are memories from another life.
The following morning, Emma discovers flowers on the table and throws them out, assuming they are from Graham, but Mary Margaret says that they were hers from Dr. Whale, with whom she had a one-night stand. Emma is glad to hear that Mary Margaret appears to be getting over David. Mary Margaret tells Emma that it is obvious that she has feelings for Graham, but does not acknowledge them because she is putting up a "wall" to keep herself from getting hurt.
The sheriff finds the wolf in the woods, and when he whistles, the wolf goes to him. As he pets the wolf's head, he sees himself holding a knife, about to hurt the woman he only knows as Mary Margaret. Graham pays a visit to her classroom, telling her that he believes they know each other from another life, before Storybrooke. Mary Margaret assumes that the sheriff has been talking to Henry, and while this is not the case, this gives Graham the idea to consult Henry about his book. Meanwhile, at the sheriff's office, Regina shows up and warns Emma to stay away from Graham, apparently jealous of his connection with Emma.
Graham visits Henry and describes his visions, to which Henry replies that he must be the queen's Huntsman. The Huntsman was hired by the Evil Queen's to remove Snow White's heart and bring it back to her, but when he did not do so, she removed his heart. Graham later attempts to explain to Emma that he could not feel anything with Regina because he does not have a heart. Graham and Emma then encounter the wolf from Graham's visions, and follow it to a graveyard and vault marked with a symbol Graham saw in his visions and in Henry's book. Looking for his heart, Graham fervently searches the vault, which turns out to be the tomb of Regina's father. Regina arrives to place flowers on her father's grave and is furious to find them there.
Regina accuses Emma of stealing the sheriff from her, and Emma responds that Regina has chased everyone away. Graham defends Emma, and the women exchange blows. Later, while Graham cleans Emma's wounds, Regina pushes aside the coffin inside the vault, which turns out not to be a tomb after all; the coffin reveals a staircase. Emma realizes her feelings for Graham and the two kiss just as Regina opens a storage box in the hidden room and clutches Graham's heart, crushing it to dust, showing that she remembers being the Evil Queen. Before he collapses and dies, Graham's last words to Emma are "I remember! Thank you."
In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen mourns the death of her husband, Snow White's father, although she herself is responsible for his death. Snow and the queen seemingly comfort each other over the loss. The queen consults her Magic Mirror to ask how she can kill Snow, who is beloved by the people but a threat to her bid for the throne. She says that the king's knights will not kill his daughter, and the mirror tells her that she needs a huntsman. As Graham saw in his flashbacks, the Huntsman and his wolf seem to enjoy living a peaceful life in the woods. The Huntsman kills only for himself to live, and has no compassion for humans, who do not understand the wild. As the Huntsman and his wolf enter a tavern, the other patrons begin harassing him, prompting him to successfully defend himself. His performance is viewed in the Magic Mirror by the Queen, who is greatly impressed. She summons the Huntsman to offer him anything he wants on the condition that he brings her Snow's heart. He agrees to this deal, in return asking for the protection of all the wolves in the Enchanted Forest.
Snow and the Huntsman walk together in the forest, and she sees through his disguise and correctly guesses that he was sent by the queen to kill her. Snow flees, but as the Huntsman catches up with her, he finds her writing a letter, which she requests he deliver to the queen after she is killed. The Huntsman takes out his knife, but instead of killing her, he fashions a whistle out of a bamboo stick, telling her that it will summon help and then telling her to run. The Huntsman then returns to the queen with a deer heart, hoping that she will not know the difference. The queen asks him to read her the letter, which is an apology for past wrongs as well as a request from Snow that her stepmother rule the kingdom with compassion. The queen burns the letter and takes the box with the heart in it to store in her vault. When she cannot open one of her storage safes, it proves that the Huntsman lied to her; the heart is not human. The queen has her guards drag him to her chamber and she yanks his glowing heart out of his body. She tells the Huntsman that from now on he will be her pet and will do her bidding forever. She orders the guards to take him to her bed chamber, warning him that if he ever betrays her, all she has to do is squeeze his heart.
- CAST NOTES: This is the last episode to credit Jamie Dornan as series regular.
- CAST NOTES: This is the first episode in which Josh Dallas does not appear.
- ABANDONED IDEAS: Originally, there were plans for a future story about Snow White using the whistle that the Huntsman made for her. The show creators "had something fun planned for that", but it never came to pass.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks occur after "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" and before "Red-Handed". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Storybrooke events of this episode occur after "The Shepherd" and two weeks before "Desperate Souls". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The events surrounding the death of King Leopold are explored in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
- The Huntsman's fate following the ripping out of his heart is shown in "A Land Without Magic".
- The Huntsman's failed attempt at killing Snow White is mentioned again in "The Evil Queen".
- Sheriff Graham's life during the first week after the casting of the curse is explored in "Welcome to Storybrooke".
- What Mr. Gold was burying in the woods is revealed in "The Return".
- The school classroom where Graham comes to see Mary Margaret is the same classroom where David came to see her in "The Shepherd".
- Graham asks Mary Margaret if she believes in other lives. She replies, "Like heaven?".
- A cross-shaped headstone can be seen in the Storybrooke graveyard, while a cross is etched into the grave of an "Olson, Anthony".
- The evil queen sends the huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her ripped out heart as proof, but he is unable to do so.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the "Snow White" fairytale, focusing on the evil queen's attempted assassination of Snow White by giving a huntsman the job of killing her.
- Also included is the magic mirror from the same fairytale.
- This episode features the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale.
- The sensual and flirtatious depiction of Ruby is based on the traditional fairytale of "Little Red Riding Hood", which is filled with sexual innuendos and meant to serve as a cautionary tale for young girls not to fall prey to lecherous men.
- 🍎 APPLES: Snow White offers the Huntsman an apple and eats one herself, a reference to the fruit she was poisoned with in the fairytale.
- STORYBOOK CONTENT: Excerpts from the fairytale of "The Golden Bird" and "Snow-White and Rose-Red" can be seen when Henry flips through the storybook.
- The same excerpts appear in many episodes; read the trivia section in the article for Henry's storybook for more information and a transcript.
- BRAND INFO: The teapot that Mary Margaret uses to pour herself a cup of tea in the morning is a vintage Enesco "Tea for Two" owl teapot.
- STORYBOOK CONTENT: When Henry flips through the storybook, a description of the scene where the Evil Queen interrupts Snow White and Prince Charming in "Pilot", can be seen next to an illustration of the Huntsman, and a different illustration of the Evil Queen (note that some of the text is illegible or off-screen, but appears in a photograph from an online prop auction, albeit with a different layout; this text is set in fuchsia):
The Queen paced back and forth, filling the spectators
with fear as she declared her evil intentions for the king-
dom. "Soon, everything you love, everything all of you
love, will be taken from you. And from your
suffering, will rise my victory." The Queen then turned
to face Charming and Snow. I shall destroy your happi-
ness if it is the last thing I do.
Having made her wows, the Queen turned and began
to walk away. But Charming, unwilling to let the
Queen's threat go unanswered, grabbed his sword and
threw it at the evil woman. Before the sword could hit
her, however, the Queen vanished into a dark puff of
smoke. The sword hit the ground with a clatter, and the
Queen was gone.
- ARTWORKS: Three illustrations by the famous English book illustrator Arthur Rackham can be seen in the book:
- "The Meeting of Oberon and Titania", a 1908 artwork created for (but ultimately not used in) a 1908 edition of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- "The Paradise of Children", a watercolor painting from 1922, based on a drawing of the same name from a 1922 edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's children's book A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (link to page). It depicts a scene from the story "The Paradise of Children".
- "He played until the room was entirely filled with gnomes.", from the fairytale collection Little Brother & Little Sister and Other Tales By The Brothers Grimm (1917) (link to page). It depicts a scene from the Brothers Grimm fairytale "The Gnome".
- ARTWORKS: One of the pictures on the wall is an alternate version of Rosa indica Fragrans. Rosier des Indes odorant., by the famous nineteenth century Belgian painter and botanist Pierre-Joseph Redouté. The original version was published in the first volume of his work Les Roses (The Roses) from 1817 (link to page). Rosa indica is a synonym for Rosa chinensis, more commonly known as China rose.
- PAUSE AND READ: On the billboard at the sheriff's station, there is a police report describing the events leading up to the death of Dory Zimmer, the mother Ava and Nicholas Zimmer from "True North". However, this is just a fake document fabricated by the curse:
[image begins]RATIVE − [three illegible words] Sun 10/14 11:22 − [illegible word] 03 – 10 – 0742
[image begins]ARY PLACEMENT − [illegible word] Dorris Zimmer [sic]
[image begins]. Sheriff Graham responded to the area of Franklin Drive in
[image begins] our vehicle parked in the woods. The explainant, Neil Westlake,
[image begins]gar one parked in the woods and is wounded like [illegible word] was
[image begins] woods. Upon Graham's arrival, he found a white [illegible word], early 90's
[image begins]s. He made contact with the driver, Dorris Zimmer [sic], 01/01/02.
[image begins]he was suffering from clinical depression and that she was not
[image begins]ed and checked the area. She was largely incoherent and is
[image begins] [illegible]. This prompted the Sheriff to further inspect the vehicle,
[image begins] ran taped to the tall pipe of the vehicle. At this [illegible word],
[image begins] and taken into custody under the [illegible word] of the Baker Act.
[image begins]he no longer wants to live. She also keeps stating that she was
[image begins]le." She admitted that she had been institutionalized two times
[image begins] suicide.
[image begins] background check, it was [illegible word] that Zimmer had a previ-
[image begins] incident during the New Year festivities in Storybrooke Park.
[image begins]re called and Zimmer was transferred to the Storybrooke Mental
[image begins]is point, the Clinical Psychiatrist on duty alerted the Special
[image begins] [illegible word] in the presence of her two children, Nicholas and Ava (both 4
[image begins]fed and the children were found alone at the Zimmer
[image begins]is Boulevard, since − without a primary caregiver present. The
[image begins] into short-term foster care while while Zimmer underwent further
[image begins]sted this file was S.B. Edwards who is responsible through the
[image begins] and impounded at the municipal premises on Will Road.
- CREW NAMES ON PROPS: Neil Westlake is a graphic designer and production staff member on the show, whose name appears on several props throughout the series:
- As a land surveyor on a document in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
- As a photographer on the front page of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror in "The Stable Boy".
- As one of the reviewers quoted in the book blurb for Isaac's novel Heroes and Villains in the Season Four episode "Operation Mongoose Part 1".
- As a Storybrooke entrepreneur on a sign by the town hall in the Season Five episode "Last Rites".
- As the author of book Robin Hood: Myth and Legend in the Season Five episode "Only You" and the Season Seven episode "The Girl in the Tower".
- HIDDEN DETAILS: Next to the police report, there is a report about an 8 year old boy named Billy Mason from Seattle, Washington. According to the report, he disappeared on on March 1, 2002, and was possibly kidnapped by his babysitter, a 16 year old boy named David. David is described as having a birth mark on his left shoulder, wore a gold watch, and his clothes were made by The Ridge Clothing Co. He was last seen at the house of a man named Greg Mason, where he "was babysitting for his [sic]". According to the report, "David disappeared along with his 8 year old charge Billy Mason. The time of disappearance is between 8:000 and 12:30 on March 1. 2002. Billy Mason's parents arrived home at 12:30 am to find the back door wide open and the house empty". The incident was reported by Srgt. Kelly, and the investigating officer is called Det. Bradshaw. The report contains an officer's signature, but it is unreadable.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: Below the report is a document carrying the Storybrooke Sheriff's Department seal. A website address is printed on it: www.kawther.info. This is the personal website of Kawther Salam, a Palestinian journalist who reported on human rights abuses by the Israeli military and filed legal complaints against them. Fittingly enough, the document is written in Hebrew.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: One of the gravestones in the Storybrooke graveyard says:
January 12, 1937 – July 17, 1999
Born in Brooklyn, New York
- Another gravestone says "Olson", "Anthony"
- HIDDEN DETAILS: The insignia on the Mills mausoleum shows interlocking deer antlers, a reference to the stag heart which the Evil Queen received from the Huntsman.
- SECONDHAND CLOTHING: Mr. Gold wears a red tie that is the same tie that Henry chooses to go with the suit he'll be wearing as Mr. Gold's apprentice in the Season Four episode "The Snow Queen".
- When the wolf walks way from Graham, a window pane in the background says "Pacific Net & Twine", the real name of the Steveston business which doubles as Atlantic Twine & Net on the show.
- After Regina's scuffle with Emma, there is blood on the lower left corner of her lip. For the rest of the episode, the wound keeps changing appearance and position.
- When Emma is pressing a pack of ice against her wound, her flower wrist tattoo is missing.
- Emma finds the vase containing Mary Margaret's flowers from Dr. Whale. Mistakenly believing they are from Graham, she hurls it across the room, shattering it.
- Snow White states she "watched (her father) fall in love with Regina".
- As Graham is dying, he says to Emma that he loves her.
- After his death, Graham's body is put on a stretcher and carried away by paramedics.
|French||"Le Cœur du Chasseur"||"The Heart of the Huntsman"|
|German||"Das Herz ist ein einsamer Jäger"||"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"|
|Hungarian||"Magányos vadász a szív"||"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"|
|Italian||"Il cacciatore"||"The Huntsman"|
|Polish||"Serce to samotny myśliwy"||"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"|
|Portuguese||"Coração é um caçador solitário"||"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"|
|Spanish||"El Corazón es un Cazador Solitario"||"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"|