Saturday, December 29, 2012

TV BREAKDOWN "Once Upon a Time" -The Darcy Arc

Hat Trick. SeasonOne, Episode 17 Screenwriter: Bryan Gracia
"The Darcy Arc" by Nakeesha J. Seneb

In Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice, we all detest the dashingly handsome, but stuck up, Mr. Darcy in the beginning. After a poorly-contrived declaration of love at Rosings Park and an act of kindness that (ie paying off Wickam to marry the disgraced Lydia) conveniently covers up his own past mistakes, we all realize we’ve misjudged Mr. Darcy and fall madly in love with the sensitive, lovestruck gentleman. This is what I affectionately call The Darcy Arc. It has worked in The Twilight Saga with Edward and Bella, The Hunger Games with Peeta and Katnis, and even Sex in the City with Mr. Big and Carrie. And it almost worked here in this episode of Once Upon a Time when the Mad Hatter in the form of the mentally disturbed, but seriously hot, Jefferson comes on to the screen.

First A Recap...
In this episode, Emma, along with Mr. Gold and Henry, find out Mary Margaret has made a run for it after being arrested for Kathrine's murder. If Mary Margaret misses her arraignment, the authorities will get her. If she leaves Storybrooke, the curse will get her. Emma heads out after her. On the road, someone is stumbling along in the mist. Emma accidentally runs him off the road and injures his ankle. His name is Jefferson and she offers to take him home.

In the Fairy Tale world, the same man is running in the woods, only it’s with his daughter. Queen Regina turns up requesting his services, but he insists he’s “hung up his hat.” His name here is…Jefferson.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma and Jefferson have arrived at his huge manor-like home. He offers her a drink. Now, Emma is usually a cautious woman, but she takes this drink, and promptly blacks out.

In the Fairy Tale world the metaphorical, clues keep ‘a coming. Jefferson’s daughter, Grace, wants to buy a stuffed white rabbit for her tea party. Sadly, her father can’t afford it and the old sales woman, who turns out to be the Queen in disguise, is cruel about his lacking. Jefferson makes a patchwork rabbit for Grace. Looking at the sad substitute, he decides to take the job from the Queen so that he can provide better for his daughter.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma has freed herself from the bonds Jefferson tied her up with. She spies him across the hall, sharpening a huge pair of scissors, in sinister lighting that does wonders for his derrière. She sneaks down the hall. The house is full of rooms with so many doors to choose from. The one Emma ducks into has another prisoner. It’s Mary Margaret bound and gagged!

In the Fairy Tale world, the Queen assures Jefferson that once this job is done his daughter will want for nothing. Jefferson produces a hat –a mad looking hat- and spins it. A blue tornado envelopes the room and he and the Queen jump into the hat.

Emma and Mary Margaret attempt an escape, but are stopped by Jefferson who has traded in his shears for a gun. As he forces Emma to tie Mary Margaret up again, he assures Emma that he’s saving Mary Margaret’s life. He takes Emma into a room full of hats and tells her he has been stuck in here for twenty-eight years until she arrived, the town clock started ticking, and things started to change. He knows about the curse! He remembers his old life. He believes Emma has magic and he demands that she get his hat to work.

In the Fairy Tale world, Jefferson and the Queen arrive in a hall of mirrors. They approach one, but before they go in Jefferson warns the Queen that they must stick together. The hat demands that if two go in, two must come out. They step through the looking glass and enter...Wonderland.

Once in Wonderland, they head into the maze of the Queen of Hearts. After bursting through some shrub walls and taking down some cards, Queen Regina finds what she seeks: a box. She opens the box, tosses in a mushroom, and out pops her father. Back at the looking glass, Jefferson realizes too late that three’s a crowd. Queen Regina and her dad go through the mirror and leave him behind to be captured by the Cards of Hearts.

And then things get trippy. 

Jefferson stands before the Queen of Hearts who demands to know how he got there. She relieves his head from his body and demands he make another hat if he wants to get back home. Stuck in a workshop, Jefferson goes mad as he makes hat after hat that all have no magic.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma can’t get the hat to work either. Using a telescope, Jefferson shows her that Grace is here too. Only, she belongs to a different family, and like everyone else, has a different name. His daughter is happy with her new life, but he is cursed to remember. Like a good parent, he refuses to destroy her reality by revealing their past -because that would be crazy! Emma appears to be empathetic, until Jefferson turns his back and she cracks his skull with the telescope. Emma races off to free Mary Margaret, but before the girls can escape Jefferson resurfaces donning one of his hats. It’s a good look for him! A big fight ensues and ends with Mary Margaret kicking Jefferson out of the window. When they look out, all that remains is Jefferson’s hat.

Now that both are free, Emma gives Mary Margaret an option to run. But after Emma tells Mary Margaret that she is her only family and she would face this ordeal with her, Mary Margaret decides to stay. The clock chimes 8am, the time the arraignment is supposed to begin. Regina walks in the jail with a wicked smile on her face…and is shocked to see Mary Margaret behind bars. Regina turns her ire on Mr. Gold. It appears that those two are behind the key planting! Mr. Gold promises her he will get results. We’re left wondering for whom does he mean?

And Now its Time for a Breakdown...
This storyline was a testament to the fact that the Darcy arc doesn’t always work. Jefferson comes off as a homicidal maniac until we learn about his daughter. His story of loss pulls on our heart strings –especially since he’s a single dad wanting to give his daughter the world; a fairytale world. It would have been a perfect Darcy arc except when he tried to kill Emma and Mary Margaret in the end. Edward never bites Bella -well not intending harm anyway. Peeta only pretends to want Katnis dead in an effort to actually save her. But Jefferson actually meant to do harm to Emma and Mary Margaret, but was thwarted. Dude, that's not cute or endearing or Darcy-esque. I do hope he comes back, though. He was dashingly handsome!


  1. In your Hunger Games comparison, Katniss is Darcy right? Because I always loved Peeta, always!

  2., I was thinking Peeta was Darcy. But you have a good point. Katniss does come off unfeeling.