In "Snow Falls," we find out how fairy tale couple Snow White and Prince Charming met. Hint: there was no ball involved.
We open in the fairy tale land, where a white carriage is going down a forest road. It's Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), traveling with a bitch in blue who insists that the "troll road would have been better, and not so bumpy." When he addresses her, we find out she is his fiancée and immediately take pity on him for being stuck with such a harpy.
The carriage stops, and Charming gets out to see what is the matter – there's a downed tree, but it's clearly been cut so it must be a trap! We see a cloaked figure land on the carriage, kidnap the blonde and the horses. Charming gives chase, and eventually tackles Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). She attacks Charming, Robin Hood style.
Cut to a café in Storybrooke, where Mary Margaret (Snow) is on a bad first date with a doctor (remember his douchebaggy ways, they appear later). After he cruelly makes her pay for her own coffee, she walks forlornly home and runs into Emma (Jennifer Morrison), who is sleeping in her incredibly yellow Volkswagen Beetle. They have some girl bonding over the elusive nature of true love, with Mary Margaret claiming "If true love was easy, we'd all have it." Mary Margaret invites Emma to stay in her spare room since she can't find a vacancy anywhere in Storybrooke, but Emma declines awkwardly by insisting she "doesn't do the roommate thing." Girl is going to need a chiropractor if she keeps sleeping in her car.
The next day, Mary Margaret takes her class to decorate a ward at the local hospital. Henry (Jared Gilmore), being the savant that he is, starts asking questions about "Mr. Doe." We learn that this unidentified man is a coma patient who has been in the ward for years – no one has come to claim him, or even called to ask about him. Henry, however, is sure that John Doe is really Prince Charming and the coma is caused by the Curse as a way of keeping true lovers apart.
Henry enlists Emma's help to convince Mary Margaret to read the story to John Doe. Emma knows that Mary Margaret is in kind of a vulnerable place – she's been hurt by a lot of men and hasn't had much luck on the dating scene. You can see her thinking that this is a bad idea, and she tells Henry that he can't get people's hopes up like that. In the end, Henry gets Emma to talk to Mary Margaret about the whole plan. Emma convinces Mary Margaret to carry out Henry's plan to read to John Doe – she doesn't want to hurt Henry's feelings, but she thinks it's crazy what he wants her to do. They agree that the best thing to do is go along with it, and if (in their minds, when) it doesn't work that will be a natural way to break Henry's delusions about the nature of Storybrooke.
In the hospital at night (creepy much?), Mary Margaret starts reading to John Doe. She's reading about how Prince Charming and Snow White met – not the traditional way in any sense of the word – and as the story reaches the troll bridge, John Doe grabs her hand. Mary Margaret gets the doctor, the douchebag from the previous night's date, but he just tries to convince her that she imagined the whole thing. When she leaves, he calls the Mayor per her request.
Then the story jumps back to the past/fairy tale land, where Snow is assembling her treasures and leaving her lair. She doesn't get more than ten feet before Charming's trap springs, like that scene in Return of the Jedi, and she's helpless. She asks how he tracked her down, and he says "No matter where you are, I'll always find you." They haggle over what she stole from him, she taunts him about his horrible fiancée (she has a point), and in general show that there is a ton of unresolved sexual tension. I have to say, Goodwin was downright charming in this scene – she has very good chemistry with Dallas. Because he threatens to turn her in to the Queen, Snow promises to help Charming get his mother's ring back from the trolls she sold it to.
In Storybrooke Emma, Henry and Mary Margaret meet in the diner to discuss what happened the night before. Emma is shocked to learn that John Doe reacted to the reading at all, and Mary Margaret is not-so cautiously hopeful that they could wake him up completely. It's odd to think that, if Henry is correct, then this is three generations of the same family plotting together. Mary Margaret looks good for a grandma. They immediately head to the hospital, but John Doe has disappeared and NO ONE FREAKING NOTICED ARE YOU SERIOUS. While John Doe might be missing, the evil Mayor (Lana Parrilla) has shown up with her insane amounts of lipstick to mess up things for everyone.
Henry accuses the Mayor of stealing John Doe away, but she insists that she saved him. She was the one who found him unconscious by the side of the road all those years ago, and she has been listed as his emergency contact since then. She takes Henry home and tells Mary Margaret and Emma to butt out, but they follow the incredibly sexy Sherriff (Jamie Dornan) to the security guard's office to watch the surveillance tapes. Showing that she's more competent than anyone in the room, Emma points out that they're watching the wrong video tape. On the correct one, John Doe can clearly be seen leaving the ward four hours previously by the door that leads to the woods. Because that's what every hospital needs – a door to the woods next to its ICU ward.
In the fairy tale world, Snow and PC are walking along to meet the trolls. PC steals Snow's evil fairy dust, which can basically turn enemies into bugs. He asks why she didn't use it on him, and she tells him he wasn't important enough. She's saving it for her big enemy: the Queen. He asks how she survived this long, and she tells him that the Queen's Huntsman found her and took pity on her. Now her only goal is to escape somewhere far away. We still don't know what exactly Snow did to the Queen to create this enmity, which is good. Once Upon a Time is playing it very close to the chest, and I like that there are still some mysteries to unravel this season and possibly into the next if they order another season.
In the woods of Storybrooke, the Sherriff, Emma and Snow are searching for John Doe. The trail runs out, so they start chatting for a bit about how impossible it is that a four-year coma patient would just get up and leave the hospital. Mary Margaret asks Emma how she got into the business of finding people, and asks if not knowing her parents had anything to do with it. When asked if she ever found them, Emma replies "It depends who you ask." Timely as ever, Henry turns up and says that John Doe left the hospital because he's looking for Snow like he said he would. He also claims that he knows where to find John Doe, so they traipse off after him.
Back in the past, Snow and PC stop by a river; she attacks him and tries to make her escape. However, she is caught by some Huntsmen who are not quite as merciful, but luckily PC is there to stop them. Just as he has all of the Huntsmen beat, one of them starts to ride off with Snow on a horse. Luckily, PC is apparently part-Elf, as he channels Legolas and makes an impossible shot with his bow and arrow to save her. Snow clearly feels hopeful that he saved her because he wanted to, but he just did it to make sure he can get his jewels. Hurt, they journey on together talking about their definite futures.
In the present, Henry argues with Mary Margaret and Emma about his theory that John Doe is just trying to find Mary Margaret. But, clearly he's on the right trail because they find his blood-splattered bracelet on a leaf.
Charming and Snow have finally arrived at the troll bridge. The trolls are seriously ugly, with huge underbites and no brains, but they are incredibly suspicious. They go through Charming's things and find the wanted poster for Snow White – are you serious? They didn't recognize her at all? They're dumber than I thought. We get an awesome troll fight, where Charming seems to have the upper hand until he gets to the significantly floor-less part of the bridge. Snow uses her fairy powder to turn the trolls into bugs, and they walk back down the path with the gold and the jewels. Their conversation echoes back to the previous fight with the Huntsmen in a way that's totally cute (sorry men, I'm really buying this romance stuff). Also, we learn that Charming isn't his real name, it's James.
I was probably the only one who laughed when the toll bridge that our party in the woods comes to was graffitied to read "Troll Bridge", but I'll be the first to admit I love a good pun. They find John Doe in the river, half-drowned. Things aren't looking good until Mary Margaret does some CPR and finally kisses him. He miraculously comes back to life and Mary Margaret asks who he is, but he clearly has some form of amnesia because he doesn't remember. He's rushed to the hospital, and there we learn that John Doe is married to the bitchy fiancée from the carriage.
In the fairy tale land, Charming and Snow exchange gold and jewels. She tries on the ring in a very sweet moment, where you can see that both of them secretly wish things were that way. She declares a little too nonchalantly that it isn't her style, and gives it back to him. Before they part, he tells her that if she needs anything he'll find her. She says she almost believes that and they part. My reaction in my head: NO GET TOGETHER ALREADY YOU'RE MADE FOR EACH OTHER NO!! Considering I started watching this show last week and already have this strong of a feeling, I'd say that the writers and actors are doing their jobs. I don't think I can overstate how awesome I think Goodwin is in this episode. Snow White has never been one of my favorite Disney Princesses but she's totally badass here, and Goodwin brings a sweet strength to the role that really works.
Meanwhile, back in the hospital Emma gets the answer to the major question in the episode: if John Doe was married, then why did his wife never discover he was in the hospital? Apparently they had a fight and she thought he had left town – this still doesn't answer why they didn't figure out who he was until he woke up. Snow and Emma clearly don't buy it, especially because Doctor McDouchebag's says "His first instinct was to go find something or someone."
You just know that the Mayor/Queen was pulling the strings, but when Emma confronts her she has perfectly good explanations for everything. He had been talking about Katharine, his wife, in his sleep the whole time. The Mayor just happened to find her that day. The Queen is gracious enough to admit that Emma was helpful, but snidely undercuts her by saying that being alone is just the absolute worst.
Meanwhile, Mary Margaret is standing heartbroken outside of John Doe's room as his wife hugs him. He clearly still doesn't know who she is, because he's staring at Mary Margaret while she plays with the ring on her finger – the same ring she tried on as Snow in the fairy tale world.
At the end of the episode, the Mayor's words have clearly born fruit as Emma decides to take Mary Margaret up on her offer of staying in the spare room. But there are so many questions for next time: How did Snow and Charming end up together? What did Snow do to make the Queen hate her so? What happened to the fiancée after the attempted kidnapping? And is she working with the Queen to keep the lovers apart (she totally would, I think)? Guess we'll find out soon enough!
Written or Contributed by: Tricia Long