“Snow Falls” represents a leap forward for Once Upon A Time although the majority of the episode is revealed through a flashback of sorts.
In the present, Henry convinces Mary Margaret Blanchard to read to coma patient “John Doe” from The Book detailing the story of Snow White and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas.) It’s not the least bit surprising to the audience when he responds to the tale. The surprise is the contrast between mild-mannered, mousy Mary Margaret Blanchard vs. Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and even more so between this Snow White and the one we’re used to seeing. This is not a heroine waiting to be rescued, but an outlaw bent on rescuing herself from the Queen’s machinations.
It’s refreshing and funny, and it shows off Goodwin’s capacity to be both winsome and snarky. Snow White as a brigand stealing from and mocking the Prince who is in the middle of a royal, “Merger,” as such weddings can often be described, makes a nice change from the pale echo Mary Margaret represents.
Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore) is bent on convincing both Emma and Mary Margaret that this is Prince Charming, and he’s searching for Snow once John Doe escapes the hospital confines. Unsurprisingly, Mayor Regina Mills (Lana Parilla) has her own reasons for wanting John Doe to remain in a coma and when that fails, there’s a surprise, “Wife,”(Anastasia Griffith) who turns up out of the blue.
Liz Tigelaar’s script for “Snow Falls” does something that should have happened in the Pilot episode: it makes us care about Snow and Charming because they’re people and not just fairy tale characters. By taking them, “Off-book,” Tigelaar has breathed life into them and indicated that this series might just be more than the sum of its tropes.