‘Once Upon A Time’ S1 Ep 7 recap: The Huntsman became the Hunted

S1 Ep7
Regina is a real heartbreaker! (Photo credit: ABC)

This week’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” left fans wanting more as we watched how Snow White’s Huntsman with a conscience stayed true to his heart, even when he had lost it.

Fairytale Land: The Hunter who cries over his kills

While Snow White grieves over her father’s death, her step-mother, the Evil Queen, plots her revenge. In the privacy of her chambers, she confesses to killing her husband and insists that Snow White’s “demise must be handled with care,” just like the king’s murder. With caution in mind, she sets out to find the perfect assassin.

The Huntsman’s reputation precedes him; he is a skilled killer with seemingly no heart, yet he cries over his kills. He was raised by wolves after being abandoned by his parents and although he kills animals, he holds them in high regard for they are “pure of heart” (the guy even thanks a dead deer for being his meal- seriously, what’s ruthless about that?).

Naturally, EQ thinks he’s perfect for the job; she commands him to kill Snow White and bring back her heart. He escorts SW through the woods disguised as a knight, but our smart Snow can see through his poor charade. Before he kills her, she hands him a letter to give to the Queen. After reading her kindhearted note urging the Queen to rule with compassion and seeing this murder as a sacrifice for her kingdom rather than an act of vengeance, the Huntsman lets Snow go.

He returns to EQ with the letter, a heart and a question- why does she want Snow dead? Apparently Snow White did not keep the Evil Queen’s secret and it cost her big time (hopefully we will learn what the secret is and what it cost soon after the show returns in January). Unmoved by SW’s letter, EQ takes the heart to store in her wall of heart deposit boxes, but the door doesn’t open. Knowing it is not Snow’s heart the Queen turns on the Huntsman for disobeying her orders. She literally rips his heart out of his chest, with it beating in her grasp she tells him, “Your life is in my hands forever.”

Storybrooke: “Nothing is better than what we have.”

It all begins with a kiss. Once again Emma plays a pivotal role in breaking the curse because when Sheriff Graham plants one on her, he sees flashbacks of his fairytale past along with a friendly red and black-eyed wolf. He freaks out and starts reaching out to people for answers.

He first runs to Regina and kisses her to see if it jogs any memories, but it doesn’t. Then he sees Mr. Gold, who explains how dreams can be memories of a past life. Which prompts a visit to Mary; he explains seeing her in a memory-like vision and insists how strange it is that they never remember actually meeting each other in Storybrooke. She simply thinks he is feverish and needs to rest because he is talking like Henry. Finally he meets with Henry, as they go through the story book everything starts making sense and Graham knows he was the Huntsman.

According to the tale, Graham thinks he must find his hidden heart in order to feel again. He and Emma follow the wolf and find a crypt in the cemetery that matches a picture in the story book. As fate would have it, the tomb belongs to Henry Mills and Regina happens to be paying her late father a visit, conveniently catching Emma and Graham as they search the crypt.

When Regina confronts them, he tells her about his change of heart. Graham confesses that he feels nothing for her and now realizes that it is Regina who makes him feel so empty. He dumps her, so that he can finally think clearly for himself. Regina then turns on Emma for taking away everything she holds dear, but Emma suggests she “take a look in the mirror” because Regina is driving everyone away. A lady throw-down ensues until Graham quickly breaks it up and walks away with Emma.

Later at the police station, while Graham tends to Emma’s wound, we see Regina opening her father’s coffin to reveal a secret level beneath the tomb. Her wall of heart deposit boxes is still intact; she takes out Graham’s heart and watches the final beats. Emma kisses Graham and a tear rolls down his cheek as he remembers everything clearly from his haunting past life. As he leans in to kiss Emma back, Regina crushes his heart, pulverizing it to dust, causing him to shockingly die in Emma’s arms.

What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised by the big reveals or did you see them coming? What do you think Snow did to the Queen? How did the Queen kill Snow’s father? Will we ever see the Sheriff again? What happens when someone dies in Storybrooke? Share your thoughts below!

Don’t fear! You haven’t seen the last of Jamie Dornan’s Huntsman. In an interview with E!Online’s Tierney Bricker, he had this to say about a possible return: “Yeah, that’s been discussed definitely. I mean, my fairy-tale character doesn’t die, so there’s always that option. There’s so much that can happen.”


  • Love the transitions through their eyes going from Fairytale to Storybrooke.
  • Jamie Dornan nailed the gently tearful man-cry in this episode – well done!
  • Mr. Gold didn’t seem so evil when he helped Graham realize he was having memories, not random visions or daydreams – maybe Rumpy wants to get back to his fairytale life.
  • Hate Mary’s one night stand with Dr. Whale – it better not turn into anything more – Ew!

New episodes return Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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