Wait…. So…. Graham just…. died? Well, that was unexpected. Seriously, it took me a while before that final scene properly registered in my mind. The fact that they’d kill off a character so early in the game? Dang, show. You don’t mess around, do you? Even though Graham wasn’t a regular character, he was still a likable one, particular after seeing his Enchanted Forest backstory, which reveals he was the Huntsman who Evil Queen Regina hired to kill Snow White.
I am very much fascinated by the fact that Graham’s true memories are triggered upon kissing Emma. Henry’s theory for this is because he spared Snow White’s life during his life as the Huntsman, and if he hadn’t, Emma would never have been born, which meant that they shared a connection of sorts. That’s a good theory, but it probably didn’t hurt that Emma, as we’re told later, is The Product of True Love. And in this show’s reality, the whole True Love’s Kiss thing is a very potent curse-breaker. And before you ask, no, I’m not suggesting that Graham was Emma’s true love. If he had been, I’m fairly certain that their kiss would have restored everyone’s memories, not just Graham’s. However, notice that Emma seemed to be developing an interest in Graham, someone who we saw believed in the importance of having honor during his life as the Huntsman. For those of you who have seen the show in its entirety so far, what other character is rather big on being a man of honor? Could this count as indirect foreshadowing? I honestly do not know.
I might as well start addressing the big elephant in the room now. More specifically, the relationship between Graham and Regina. As I said before, that relationship is disturbing and uncomfortable in general. But after this episode, it’s even more so, as we see Regina literally had Graham’s heart in her possession. As we’re told in later episodes, possessing someone’s heart means you’re able to control that person. The person whose heart is being held captive must obey everything the person who holds the heart says. They have no choice. There’s only one conclusion to be made here. The trysts between these two were not even close to being consensual on Graham’s part. Yeah, there’s no other way to say it. Regina was raping Graham for practically thirty years. And that fact is made even more uncomfortable to process when you remember how, once Graham made an attempt to break away from this relationship, Regina goes off and kills him by crushing his heart. (Personally, I think Regina chose to do what she did not just because of Graham attempting to end things between them, but also because she realized that he was starting to regain his memories and she couldn’t afford to have him informing the other Storybrooke residents of the truth. Still, murder is murder, no matter which way you slice it.)
And this is probably the animal-lover in me; I also feel horrible for the Huntsman’s wolf friend. Just think about it for a minute. This wolf had been the Huntsman’s constant companion for who knows how long. It's even briefly hinted that they may have grown up together. When the curse hits, they’re obviously ripped away from one another. Once the curse is broken and everyone in Storybrooke finds a way to return to the Enchanted Forest, that wolf is never going to be reunited with his human friend. Just think about how many stories there are about dogs who mourn the passing of their human owners. In fact, over in Japan, there’s even a statue dedicated to a dog named Hachiko who waited faithfully at a train station for nine years, waiting for his owner to return home from the University of Tokyo where he worked as a professor. The poor dog never knew that his owner had died from a cerebral hemorrhage while at work. And the bond between the Huntsman and his wolf was clearly even stronger than that between a dog and his human owner. Ugh, that poor wolf!!!!!
One last question. Gold, what were you doing, digging around in the woods? We know you well enough to know you never do anything without there being a reason for it. Were you burying something? Were you trying to locate a specific item? Seriously, do they ever explain that, or is this one of the unsolved mysteries this show presents us with?