Once Upon a Time Fall Finale Recap: 'A Heart I Shall Have!'

[The following contains major spoilers from Sunday’s fall finale of Once Upon a Time.]

Jennifer Morrison had told TVLine that the fall finale of ABC’s Once Upon a Time would feel “almost like a season finale, there is so much going on” — and she was right. In the course of the breakneck, over-too-soon hour, we witnessed Sheriff Graham begin to remember his “other life,” share a kiss (or two) with Emma, consult with Mary Margaret and Henry for clues on his hazy part, and then ultimately make a truly heart-wrenching decision, to break things off with Regina.

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Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was (as ABC likes to call it), we learned that the sheriff (as widely speculated) was in fact the Huntsman, and that the Evil Queen, in the wake of the death of her husband (aka Snow’s father), recruited him to dispatch with her “beloved” stepdaughter. The Huntsman, though, could not bring himself to do it — especially when the goodbye letter Snow tasked him with bringing the queen after her death brought a tear to his eye. Instead, he made an ill-fated attempt to pass of a stag’s heart as Snow’s.

But when that ticker failed to open a “deposit box” inside the queen’s vault of hearts, she called the mercenary on his bluff and promptly plucked his own pumper from his chest, assigning her governance over him “forever” — up to and including the decisive moment the Regina, scorned, retreated beneath her dead father’s mausoleum and squeezed the life out of her ex-love remotely. And she did so just as Graham acquired full lucidity over his fantastical past, but decided to go in for another Emma embrace before getting all exposition-y with her. Drat that.

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But wow, what an eventful episode, just as compelling as Morrison promised, starting with Graham’s very first flash upon kissing Emma early on. “I’m looking to feel something,” he explained. Graham’s flashes began with the image of a wolf — one eye “blood red, the other as black as night” — and we saw that the Huntsman, “raised by wolves” as he had been, had been befriended by said wolf back in the day. Egged on by Rumplestiltskin to ponder his possible other life, Graham first checked in with Mary Margaret, who also appeared in his flashes, and the most they could agree on was their odd inability to remember when it was that they met there in Storybrooke. Hmmm. Graham then went to ask Henry about his fairytale book — namely, “Am I in it?” There, he got the info dump about the Huntsman’s impossible assignment and grim fate.

In the end, the Storybrooke wolf led Graham and Emma to the mausoleum that matched his flash of the queen’s vault. Their initial investigation came up empty, but Regina sure found something — the two of them all cozy in the darkness. Graham then broke up with the mayor, explaining that feeling “nothing” was better than what he felt with her. (Ouch!) Regina tried to blame Emma, but Ms. Swan wasn’t having any of it. She instead brilliantly noted that Henry and now Graham both went running from her — wonder why? And… cue catfight-slugfest. Graham and Emma were back at the cop shop, tending to her scrapes, when his epiphany arrived, followed by the sweet kiss… and abrupt death.

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A few other notes ‘n’ quotes:

* Separately, the Evil Queen said of her beef with Snow, “They don’t know what she did to me” and “I shared a secret with her and she couldn’t keep it – and that betrayal cost me deeply.” What are your theories on what she is getting at? (Jennifer Morrison, who live-tweeted the East Coast airing, said that backstory would come at a later date.)

* It was a pretty sweet scene when Henry (who hereby falls under the “less is more” rule of screen time) noted that Emma basically owes Graham aka the Huntsman her life, since he spared her mother, Snow White.

* Regina did warn Emma to stay away from Graham, that she was ” putting thoughts in his head that will lead to his destruction.”

* “Graham, you are not fine. You just went to see a 10-year-old for help.”

* “The time for mourning is over. I simply found that black suits me.”

* Morrison tweeted that when Graham gave Regina the hook, and stood up for himself, was when Emma first started to fall hard for the guy. Sigh. Timing is everything.

What did you think of the Once Upon a Time fall finale?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Lary says:

    They REALLY need to bring Graham back!
    I don’t know how, but they HAVE to do this.

    • Dea says:

      I second that!

    • Nita says:

      Agreed!! Please bring him back..! I was just starting to love him and Emma together:((

    • Niko says:


    • dcmjlive says:

      How could they introduce chemistry so quickly and then kill it just when it was about to become something beautiful. Cursed writers, they should have at least made Regina win him back…

    • J says:

      I don’t know I feel like he’s still alive somehow. Its too early in the show to be killing off main characters

      • DC says:

        I am really hoping that they did not kill him. I HOPE that he had a heart attack and will realize that he is still under the Queen’s control and will have to act like he is with her. Please do not have killed him off… He was great!!

      • Ron says:

        What about the whistle he gave her… that must mean something…

      • Michael says:

        This is still a fairy tale world with magic even though they’ve all been transplanted into our world. If they want to bring him back, they can. I just don’t see how they could allow a character with true knowledge of the old world to run freely in the currect one. It will cause too many problems. Graham is smokin’ and I like the idea of his character, but I don’t suspect that we are going to see him again, outside of flashbacks, any time soon. Bummer.

    • bp says:

      So this episode tells us a few things.

      1. It is possible for the population of storybrook to remember thier past life.
      2. Regina still remembers it.
      3. Magic does exist in Storybrook, giving Rumplestilskin and Regina a major advantage.

      I wonder the following. Regina’s end game is the continued suffering of everybody. What is Mr. Gold’s end game. I got a feeling he is the true puppet master here.

      • Musica1 says:

        Yeah, I thought they had said early on that the only person who would remember anything after the curse was the person whose curse it was, which would mean only Rumplestilskin.

    • Cy says:

      YES!!!! I always liked Graham and thought he had so much potential as a character & love interest for Emma… how could they kill him?? (especially after they made him look so EXTRA HOT in this ep in all the leather and capes, etc~ XD)

      Speaking of extra hot… best line of the episode must’ve been “TAKE HIM TO MY BEDCHAMBER.” XDDDDDD OMG, Regina… she’s so awesomely evil!!!

      • rgamgee says:

        Regina sort of grosses me out for some reason.. But then, “TAKE HIM TO MY BEDCHAMBER.” daaaaaaammnn gurrrl! Take him to MY bedchamber.

    • Melody says:

      I hate to see a great character wasted. It felt like this was the episode where we really got to see him and know him. I’d have like a better arch for him over the season. I agree, he needs to come back.

    • It’s Storybook so my vote is also to bring Graham back!!!!!!

    • Eli says:

      I don’t think he died,remember that scene where Emma made him touch his chest and well she felt his heart beating? she broke the curse, he has another heart

  2. kt says:

    RIP Sheriff Graham. Oh, how I will miss your hipster vests…

  3. JJ says:

    The kid’s name is Henry, not Charlie (like Regina/Queen’s father)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      This has been fixed, everyone. (If you kept the channel on ABC, you’ll understand where my “slip” came from…) :)

  4. Jackie says:

    Tonight’s episode was great, though I do wish before he died he at least got out a “Henry was right”!

  5. Heather says:

    I love this show so much and am so heartbroken for Emma. She’s been through so much in her life and she was finally starting to break down her emotional wall when Graham was taken away from her by the evil queen. Such a sad ending but it does open up even more ways this show could go in the new year. Hopefully Emma keeps bringing her wall down from time to time. Love the catfight! Regina started it but Emma wasn’t having any of that garbage! Really great fall finale and I cannot WAIT for the show to be back in January! =)

  6. Joy says:

    Predictable death but was sucked into the episode. Engrossing.

  7. Missy says:

    It is way to soon for him to be dead!!! This sucks!! There has to be a way to bring him back. It’s a fairy-tale show after all.

    • Ray says:

      My thoughts exactly. There’s got to be a way to undo what Regina did. I love this Show but kinda mad they killed off the Sheriff . Nobody is going to be able to replace him now.

  8. Megan says:

    Say it ain’t so!!! While it was a great episode, I am so sad about the ending!!!

  9. tvaddict says:

    So sad! I knew there would be a death in this episode and as soon as he started remembering, I knew he was a goner. Still very sad!

  10. kn says:

    Couldn’t Jennifer Morrison (I mean, Emma) do anything to help Sheriff Graham? Doesn’t she remember anything from her days at Princeton Plainsboro ;)

    • Gen says:

      Haha, that’s exactly what I was thinking! I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t trying to save him and then I was like oh, wrong show.

  11. heath47 says:

    ughhhhh, he cannot be gone forever. THey need to bring sheriff graham back ASAP! Ughhhhh

  12. Lucas says:

    Great episode, great performance by Lana Parrilla.

  13. C says:

    I think the producers left themselves wiggle room to use Graham again, at least in fairy tale world flashbacks. They had him give Snow White that reed whistle or whatever for a reason.

    • Alice says:

      It might summon him, or wolves, or 7seven little people. The Snow White he let go had to learn her foresty skills somewhere.

      • jennrae says:

        Speaking of wolves, all I kept thinking was “Why does Alcide keep chasing after Graham?” and “I hope at some point he returns to his human form so maybe we’ll see some of Alcide’s posterior.”

  14. Jonbua says:

    The evil Regina crushed Graham’s heart and left the viewers heartbroken. I loved this Fall Finale, truly centered on the Huntsman/Sheriff, no scene of Charming, but there was Rumpel.. Neat! I agree on Henry’s screen time being cut in a major way since the first episodes.

  15. *lg* says:

    ……..AND there goes the main reason I watched this show. *sigh*

  16. jenny says:

    Now, I am going to speculate here. They showed him die, true, but at the end, before they could show an ambulance or anything. So…yes, he is dead…but Emma is there to break the curse. Maybe one of the curses is Graham’s missing heart. Also, did you notice that in the previews there are no funeral scenes? Keep watching, you might be surprised.

    • janie says:

      fairytales always have ways to bring people back… maybe she could shed a a tear and that true love’s tear will bring him back

  17. Julie says:

    Totally shed a “this cannot be over for a month” tear… Well couple of tears at the end of the episode! Glad that we got forward into the story and the intense tension between Regina and Emma is getting to a fierce heat! I missed Prince Charming though haha but more reasons to be excited for what’s ahead in January!!! This show’s the best thing this season (and yes even with the low bugeted special effects land that was!) :D Hope we get juicy spoilers during the holidays!!!!

  18. Valery says:

    NOOO! Cute hipster sheriff. Argh, I hate that he’s gone

  19. Whit says:

    He is still listed in being 22 episodes at imdb. I wonder how that will work…

  20. Shelli says:


    • fiona says:

      Chill, this is only the start of the series. If everyone was supposed to get their happily ever afters right away then the series would end really fast.

      Snow and the Prince: they’ll probably go through a roller coaster of a romance before finally ending back together again with a little help from their fairy goddaughter

      Sheriff: I knew this was happening but it doesn’t make it any less devestating. But this is what makes for a good story though. As heartwrenching as it may be. The tale was amazing.

    • Whaa says:

      I’m really hoping you’re 12 years old with that comment, yikes.

      Also, just to comment in general. The fight between Regina and Emma wasn’t really a “cat fight”, more like an all out fist fight.

  21. Bendreaux says:

    Perhaps my expectations for this show have been too high, but I am disappointed with it so far. I am glad that they didn’t have li’l Henry on much since he drives me nuts. I’m just having problems getting into this show and have just had it on since there’s nothing else on at that time…perhaps I will just go back to reading.

  22. Ross says:

    So is Sheriff Graham AKA The Huntsman gone for good? Will he appear again in flashback??

    • sara says:

      There are still a possibility will he appear again in fairy tales. Jamie Dornan said he is still involved on the show, he is a recurring carachters, he always was a guest star, not series regular.

  23. sara says:

    Calm! Jamie Dornan is a guest star so it’s obviously his role would be over soon, it’s sad but that’s it.

  24. Cort says:

    Okay, lets all remember that he is still alive in the fairytale world and we’re only a short way into that story. There’s still a good chance he’ll appear, just not in Storybrook.

  25. Kari says:

    i’ll miss his sexy accent :(

  26. AT says:

    It was a great episode that finally started to sell me on this show. He actually had a good back-story. While everything was extremely predictable in the episode, it was the best one. THAT ALL SAID, Graham was one of the main reasons I was still watching this show. I thought his character was the best part about it. With him gone, I probably won’t feel the need to watch every episode. I’ll watch the episodes with fairy tale stories that interest me. While not as heartbreaking as Doyle’s death from Angel (R.I.P. Glenn Quinn) it took me years to finish watching that show after they killed him off. There was just something about the chemistry between Doyle, Cordelia and Angel that WORKED. Similarly, I think Emma and Graham had a good chemistry that worked. I guess I’ll have to wait and see if his death kind of puts me off from watching the show for a while. And I say that with out any complaint. If that’s their choice, it’s their choice. But I only watch what I’m interested in, so…

    • Alice says:

      I stopped waching Angel after Doyle died too! It wasn’t until Spike showed up that I began to occasionally tune in. Must be the accents. I am interested in other characters in Once, so I will still watch, but in the back of my mind will always be the furtive hope that somehow Emma’s curse breaking voodoo lets her end up with some version of the Hipster Sheriff/Huntsman, because that needs to happen.

    • Tia says:

      You have no idea how much I love you for mentioning Doyle. That was one man who needs some recognition (I second the R.I.P. for Glenn…). Although, I gotta say that Angel was still good after losing Glenn and gaining Alexis Denisof. Different, but good. =]

  27. Mehvash says:

    I’m really bummed that the writers and producers decided now was a good time to kill off this character. he was one of the most interesting characters on this show…I really think that TPTB made a huge miscalculation here. i guess i’ll be fast forwarding more if i come back after the break.

  28. Makenzie says:

    I swear, this is just like Boone’s death all over again! Why must they do this to us?!

  29. kim says:

    SO SO SO SO SO SAD ABOUT HOT HIPSTER SHERIFF! I really hope they find some way to bring him back? who will love Emma now? Jamie Dornan was just stunning tonight in his portrayal of everything. Too bad he had to be Lost’s Boone to Once Upon a Time. Maybe he can go on to play a vampire or something haha. That worked out pretty sweet for Ian Somerhalder!

  30. Sherrif Graham says:

    But wait i am confused does the evil queen/regina know about the fairytale world?

  31. Tivochick says:

    Graham will be back, just as people came back in Lost. That was’t his real heart that was squqeezed anyway. It came from a magic spell. Brilliant writing and acting.

  32. Daniel says:

    I hope this isn’t the end of Graham.

  33. Andrea says:

    I love, love this show. However, I thought tonight’s episode was a bit silly (and too literal). When Emma held her hand over Graham’s chest to “find his heart” I actually cringed. I liked the stuff about the wolves and I hope that we will see him again in fairytale land.

    • ACB says:

      I think that was the point. If, in real life, someone came up to you and said they have no heart, the first thing you would probably do is feel their literal, actual heart. Emma’s not a believer yet, so she was reacting pragmatically, not romantically. She most likely assumed Graham meant he literally had no heart.

  34. Desi says:

    I think the Evil Queen knew as soon as Graham had the dream she would have to kill him to keep the secret quiet, Emma was just a good excuse for her.

    As for Graham, its never atcually shown that he is official dead.. and he didn’t die in fairy tale world, so I hoping he will still be popping up in the fairy tale world!

  35. lea says:

    nooo!! im sobbing!!! please bring sheriff graham back!!!

  36. Kim says:

    If he’s really dead in the current time frame I hope we still see him in flashes back to Fairytale Land. I’m still disappointed and the ending made me almost scream, “Nooooooooooo!”

  37. Hailey says:

    Please tell me this isn’t then end for graham?!?! I can’t deal with losing my favorite character on the show

  38. Kelly says:

    Amazing episode. JD did a great job. I loved Graham and loved that he was the huntsman. Great backstory and love the parallel between Graham/Emma and huntsman saving Snow. Predictable and annoying that Graham died. This isn’t Lost. They don’t have to follow that annoying playbook that says “character death/who dies next/show them in flashbacks only” is great storytelling. Lost got annoying with that gimmick. I rather stick with characters I am attached to/interested in then watch another death of the week show.

    • Mike says:

      While the writers have taken notes and used their experience from their LOST days, I think it’s a bit soon to say they’re following the LOST playbook verbatum. My advice? Take it easy, it’s just a TV show. Let’s see what they have planned. :-)

  39. alex says:

    My heart can’t take this..after such a beautiful scene with Emma and Graham..why would they kill him off…

  40. elena says:

    noo:( im done with this show..can’t handle the sheriff really being gone for good

  41. P Morgan says:

    I thought I heard Henry tell Graham that snow white was his (Grahams) mother, but so is Emma’s snow whites kid. Wouldn’t Graham and Emma be brother and sister?

  42. Haley R. says:

    OMFG!!! I ran to the nearest computer as soon as the episode ended to find things out about Graham. I thank all of you for your comments because you have given me hope that Graham will come back. I also stop watching or reading things when my favorite character is gone and i hope that some day he will come back. Maybe he’ll just be hospitalized until the time is right cause no one in the movie officially said that he was dead. I hope that is the case because i was really starting to love this show and i don’t want another character for Emma because Graham is the right guy for her and maybe the wolf will have some part in all of this. I just really like Graham and i hope that when they bring him back that they will tell us his full name. And of course that he gets with Emma.

  43. Ti says:

    OMG!! Please bring Graham back!!! he’s so handsome and makes a great couple with Emma… so please, please, please, don’t let him be dead

  44. kylie says:

    i hate this!!! the writers must be really stupid to kill of the best character on the show who also happens to be the hottest guy on the show…stupid writers!!

  45. Nina says:

    NOOO! Graham can’t be dead!!! i swear i will stop watching if he’s dead!!! is there hope for him to still be alive or come back st some point down the road??? If not, i will not watch the show anymore!!!!

  46. lauren says:

    please bring him back somehow!!!!!

  47. Maddy says:

    Graham getting flashes when he kissed Emma reminded me of the first season of Roswell. Whenever Liz kissed Max, she would get flashes of the Roswell spaceship crash.

  48. shirell says:

    Couldn’t believe the Em & Graham fell for “I”m always visit my father’s grave/tomb on Wednesdays.” i think the final showdown will be between Regina/evil queen and Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin. They are the only ones besides Henry that knows the truth.

  49. We were disappointed (but not surprised) that it was Graham. Too bad because he was definitely a great addition to the cast. Here’s hoping that he can return in some flashbacks in the future.

    Lots of questions about what comes next, including that secret past of Snow and Queen that they keep referring to. And what was Gold planting in the woods? Interesting questions.

    Check out our full recap on bitchstolemyremote.com here http://wp.me/p1VQBq-cw.