Who Is Once Upon a Time's Mystery Man? We Spy 12 Clues — Plus, Our Season Premiere Recap
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ABC’s Once Upon a Time opened Season 2 neither in Storybrooke nor in fairytale land. It wasn’t even Boston. Instead, the setting was… New York City?
Even more curious was the focus of those first two minutes — a character listed in the credits only as “Mysterious Man,” played by True Blood/Terriers alum Michael Raymond-James.
“People wondered if we were going to start in Storybrooke or fairytale land. We started in a third place,” series cocreator Eddy Kitis tells TVLine. “We wanted to start in a world nobody expected.”
What are viewers not named Desmond Hume to make of the jarring Season 2 opening and its enigmatic subject? “We’re very excited about the answer to who he is, and to reveal that sooner rather than later” — sometime within the first nine episodes, says cocreator Adam Horowitz.
Until “sooner” arrives, the show bosses hint that Mysterious Man’s apartment was not decorated in a vacuum. “We try to be meticulous with the production design, so… yes, there’s stuff in the apartment specific to the character,” says Horowitz. Adds Kitsis: “There’s one thing in there in particular … I’m not going to say what it is…. that has very significant meaning.”
Fine, twist our arm. TVLine paid ridiculously close attention to the opening sequence, and even freeze-framed for you both sides of the Mysterious Man’s digs, calling out possible clues to his identity. One item in particular raised a red flag for us. Here now the photos and the sum total of our observations. (Plus, our full recap can be found on Page 2.)
1 | Mysterious Man apparently works on the Upper West Side, cutting through Central Park on his way home — and then taking an odd detour to East 47th St. — before hopping on the N-line subway at the 5th Avenue station.
2 | Mysterious Man lives on Grand Street in Little Italy, across from the famous Piemonte Ravioli Co.
3 | Mysterious Man’s apartment is teeming with anachronisms including pocket watches and monocles (see letter A in photos below), radios and clocks (C), cameras (L) and desk microphones (K).
4 | His other vintage possessions include a “Cleaner & Hatters” sign (B), a corded rotary-dial phone (D), a cobbler’s wooden shoe forms (G) and a Berol Giant manual pencil sharpener (J). Is he an anachronism himself, something out of time and place?
That said, the music player/phone he watches tumble down the fire escape seems modern enough. (Also, he’s a better man than I, who would have openly wept if my Blackberry ever left my hand.)
5 | Speaking of music… the tune playing throughout is “Charley’s Girl,” a Lou Reed ditty that warns, “You better watch out” because “she’s gonna turn you in” — as a beautiful blonde bail bondsperson might?
6 | Dreamcatcher (H)! Women’s bowling trophy (E)!…?
7 | Speaking again of music, the Mysterious Man loves his wax — which he presumably spins on his Desmond-like record player (M) — and just album covers in general. One example (I) is a print of John Guliak’s 7 Stories & 13 Songs. (If that’s also an album cover hanging to the left of the doorway, my research came up empty in ID’ing it. Any help?)