Season 3, Episode 12 (New York City Serenade)
After a three-month intermission, during which we were pleasantly occupied with Christmas, the Winter Olympics, and many snacks and toilet breaks, Once Upon a Time kicks off Act Two of the third season right where we left off in December.
Emma and Henry have false memories and have spent the past year in New York together. Emma is still a bail bondsperson (so it appears) and is dating a seemingly nice man who wants to marry her. She is not convinced, however, particularly as Captain Hook keeps popping up to insist that she needs to save her parents. Having Captain Hook, dashing rapscallion that he is, appear in one’s life would definitely have a woman reconsidering her boyfriend! Or her husband, for that matter – just ask Rumplestiltskin how that turned out for him.
On the other hand, the rest of the cast is still seen in flashback. Rather, we pick up right where we last saw them disappear into a purple-green cloud of magic: the main cast, along with Granny and the Seven Dwarves, appear in a clearing in the Enchanted Forest in the outfits that they were last wearing before they left for Storybrooke the first time. They interrupt Prince Philip and Aurora’s picnic lunch, although the reunions are mostly happy.
Snow White and Prince Charming, grieving the loss of their daughter and grandson, nonetheless reach out to Regina and insist that they will stay together. Regina, of course, is suicidal – Snow discovers her burying her own heart in the forest (to dull the pain of losing Henry) in a hole so shallow that it risked getting stomped on or eaten by a wild animal. Luckily, Snow convinces her to put her heart back so that she can put the pain behind her and find love again, as Henry would want for her.
Just then, they are attacked by flying monkeys and saved by Robin Hood, who takes an instant interest in Regina. Regina seems to return the interest, but she has put up her brave, guarded front again.
The castle (formerly Snow White’s and most recently Regina’s residence) that they intend to return to is soon discovered to have been taken over by someone else and thus the whole group ends the episode by camping out in the forest. The squatter turns out to be the Wicked Witch of the West, and she has a score to settle with Regina.
A year later, which is the present-day on the show, Hook convinces Emma to drink a memory potion so that she remembers her past. They drag Henry to Storybrooke, where everyone is back and no one has any recollection of how they returned, nor the year since they left. On the plus side, Emma discovers that she is going to be a big sister.
Now, it is Henry who has no idea who any of the characters are and who does not believe in the curse. This has certainly added a twist to the mystery. Will he get in the way? Step aside and spend much of the season playing video games? Try to help anyhow, even just to humour his mother? Get caught up in the fantasy of being a hero?
This episode is mostly questions to pique our interest after a long break. In of itself, this is the opening chapter with a lot of exposition and very little action. The most important character detail is how the relationship between Snow and Regina continues to mend. They started their relationship as friends, but by the time of the start of the series, they had turned into enemies. Nonetheless, Snow has always wanted them to be family and she continues to push this, even as Regina resists. In the past, Regina personified all of her pain, anger, and despair in Snow. She grew to hate her, and likely seeing her stepdaughter still reminds her of that past. Besides, Snow seemed to get everything that Regina ever wanted (inspiring jealousy) and was proof that Regina’s position in the Enchanted Forest was precarious. Snow was a real threat to her. But all of that emotional baggage aside, they are still working things out, and Regina is willing to accept living with her former enemies. Seeing as Snow and Charming are still very lovey-dovey with each other, that must take patience.
Season 7, Episode 15 (The Spy Who Came Up to the Cold)
At least once per season, Detective Murdoch encounters Agent Myers (of Canada) and Agent Clegg (of the United States) and has to solve a crime wherein the clues are manufactured, evidence is confiscated, suspects are detained/questioned/released without the police’s consent, and vital information is withheld in the name of national security. As this season is nearly over, it was only a matter of time before these spies showed up again.
This year, the President of the United States is assassinated and anarchists are blamed. Said anarchists flee to Canada and orders are to find the culprits. Nothing is quite as it seems except that it is obvious that Myers and Clegg are playing games with each other and with the constabulary. (In other news, Dr. Ogden considers risking her and Murdoch’s lives to tell him about the letter that she received from Gillies.)
What this show does well is incorporating pieces of actual history from the Edwardian era logically into the world of Murdoch. The assassination of President William McKinley is a real historical event that took place in 1901. Whether it actually involved anarchists who fled to Canada is another matter entirely, but also irrelevant to the enjoyment of this episode. From how the mystery unfolds, it is clear that it could have happened. The assassination is not the true focus of the story, but merely a catalyst for a case. Everyone knows who killed President McKinley. Despite being the opening scene, our heroes do not need to solve his murder. Nevertheless, this is an entertaining and intriguing episode that is both humourous and tragic.
Also, this episode is easily relatable to anyone who has ever worked in an office and had the unfortunate experience of losing a pen!