Recently on the good ol’ Netflix I’ve been getting into the new series Once Upon a Time. For those unfamiliar with Once, the idea is that the evil queen from Snow White cast a powerful curse on fairy tale land, transporting them to our world where they live their lives stuck in a boring Maine town where they can never have happy endings. The series merges what happened before the curse in fairy tale land and what’s happening current day.
Ahem, SPOILER ALERT.
There, you’ve been warned, although I don’t know that this particular spoiler will ruin the whole series for you. But as I said, you’ve been warned.
So going into about the seventh or so episode, one of the more prominent characters dies. And guess what? I didn’t care. It’s not that it wasn’t sad or that I didn’t believe this would have some kind of impact on anyone, it’s just that the writers hadn’t bothered to make me really care about this character before giving him the axe.
For those who haven’t seen the show… **LAST SPOILER ALERT WARNING**
Our heroine, Dr. Cam—er, Emma, is a stranger to the town of Storybrooke. For reasons you can discover going and watching the series, she ends up a deputy to the Sheriff named Graham. Prior to this episode I’m guessing Emma and Graham had about 2 minutes total what-could-be-conceived-as-romantic screen time. Most of the series up to this point is heavily focused on Emma’s relationship with her son and outwitting Ms. Villain.
I figured at some point she’d have a thing with Graham because he seemed like the only available guy in town. But just because someone is available doesn’t automatically equate love, nor does it equate a good love story.
Despite Emma clearly demonstrating her lack of interest in Graham other than as a colleague fighting against evil, and also discovering Graham is sleeping regularly with Ms. Villain, the writers decided they wanted to go there. When Emma finds out Graham is with Ms. Villain, we have even more reason to believe any and all romantic inclinations toward Graham are probably gone. Graham tries to explain things, clearly showing he had an interest in Emma, but Emma seems more disgusted he’s with Ms. Villain than worried that he’s involved with anyone.
So then, using a quick cheap way fix relationships you haven’t bothered to fully establish, they hand lines to characters who know Emma to establish that yeah, despite our better judgement I guess she liked him. I mean, it’s obvious, and if you have someone say it’s obvious, who are your viewers/readers to say differently?
So now that the audience has been informed Emma obviously likes Graham, they go off on an adventure together, with Emma still not invested in liking Graham anymore than friends, but hey, someone told us it was obvious… After a confrontation with Ms. Villain (where we still don’t really get anything to make us believe Emma is interested in Graham that way), Emma and Graham are back at the office fixing wounds. This is the very first time a real scene happens between these two that might hint at realistic romance—unfortunately the episode is 5 minutes from over and Ms. Villain decides to kill Graham via magic.