THE SHOW: Once Upon a Time
THE PAIRING: Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Sheriff Graham/The Huntsman (Jamie Dornan)
THE EPISODE: “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”
THE MOMENT: Sheriff Graham kisses Emma in a tragic moment.
Since the Fall season is soon approaching, I thought I’d flash back to a moment from season 1 of Once Upon a Time. For sure, the jury is still split on this show, you either love it, hate it or are stuck in the middle, but I think most of us can find common ground in the quality of the moment I’m about to discuss.
This particular scene is one of the most wonderful and heartbreaking romantic moments I have seen on television to date. It marked a turning point for fans of the series everywhere. Some fans turned away from Once Upon a Time in a fit of rage or disappointment. Others held onto hope the outcome would be undone with the magic of a Disney-fied fairy-tale press of the button. Then there were others still who were perfectly happy with the outcome.
RELATED: Take a look at Autumn’s Top 20 Fairy Tale Films.
Perhaps you wonder why I’m writing about something that made some turn away from the show (and in an episode that happened almost two years ago) but hold on for just one more minute and trust me on this one.
We all (or most of us, anyway) were rooting for the pairing of Sheriff Graham (who turned out to be the Huntsman of the Snow White tale) and Emma (Snow White’s daughter who is stuck in the real world). They had great chemistry, are both attractive, and who can resist an Irish accent? Well, we got our wish…but it came with a price. The writers joined Emma with Graham, but only for a few brief moments. After the tension building over the previous episodes, we were finally treated to a kiss.
Then the writers did the unthinkable! They ripped our figurative and poor Sheriff Graham’s literal heart out. It would be like offing Sawyer from Lost after only seven episodes. While it was a fantastic episode, there remained a resounding WHY at the end.
Yet despite the why hanging in the minds of the audience, it was a truly passionate scene.
What I love about this moment is the rare glimpse we get of Emma’s vulnerable side. She looks scared and a little sad right before she takes the leap to kiss Graham. Jennifer Morrison did an excellent job portraying the character’s difficulty with intimacy and trusting people. The huge step she takes in trusting her heart to Graham is evident in her still wary and nervous expression even as she’s going in for the kill. Even before this moment, the tension between the characters in the room alone together is palpable. And before Emma approaches Graham to kiss him you can almost see the thoughts racing through her mind; her indecision about whether she should choose to trust him or not.
Jamie Dornan is also brilliant in this scene. His gentleness toward Emma is touching. He really is like a huntsman trying to be still and quiet, afraid he might scare the fragile deer away. In this scene, unlike most of their other scenes together, he treats her with kid gloves, letting her approach him rather than vice versa. He’s clearly aware of Emma’s vulnerability and her fear in this situation. His tenderness is definitely swoon-worthy.
So, there you have it. This scene and Graham’s following death may be one of the most wonderful and yet tragic moments in recent television history. I know I was truly upset at the aftermath. But, at least we were able to enjoy it while it lasted.
Did you also like this romantic scene? What were some of your favorite aspects about it? Were you also devastated with Graham’s passing? Any other romantic moments you want to share? Sound off below…
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