"Red-Handed" is the 15th episode of Once Upon a Time.
After quitting Granny's Diner, and with her self-esteem at an all-time low, Ruby is hired by Emma to be her assistant, hoping to discover what it is in life that she's good at. Meanwhile, Emma continues questioning David about the disappearance - and possible murder - of Kathryn. In the fairytale land that was, Red Riding Hood yearns to run away with her true love. But she, along with her fellow townspeople, are virtual prisoners when a bloodthirsty wolf continues on its relentless killing spree.
Once upon a time, an Evil Queen banished every storybook character you've ever known...
Queen Regina unleashes her curse on the Enchanted Forest, taking relish in the flames. ("The Thing You Love Most") Hansel and Gretel walk together through the forest and turn to see the Evil Queen's carriage. ("True North") Red Riding Hood is shocked to see Charming. ("7:15 A.M.") Prince Charming and Snow White stand at the altar to say their vows to each other. ("Pilot")
To our world...
Who knows the truth?
And who can break the spell?
Emma stares forward. ("Pilot") August W. Booth steals Henry's storybook. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree") Henry and Emma sit in the former's "castle" and Henry tells his mother that you don't mess with the curse. ("Desperate Souls") Queen Regina sends out a ball of fire with her hand. ("The Thing You Love Most") Snow White is in the woods with the Huntsman; she's crying and asks if he's not going to kill her and he tells her to run. She obliges. ("The Heart is a Lonely Hunter") David washes the word "TRAMP" off of Mary Margaret's truck; later, Mary Margaret tells him that not only did he lie to Kathryn, but he lied to her, too. "What are you saying?" he asks. "That we shouldn't be together," she tells him. ("What Happened to Frederick") Regina tells Emma that it's been 24 hours since Kathryn went missing and asks her if she's found anything. Emma looks through phone records. ("Dreamy") Emma tells David that she has to take him into questioning regarding Kathryn's disappearance and takes him into the back of her sheriff's car. ("Dreamy")
ONCE UPON A TIME
David is questioned by Emma.
David is sitting in the sheriff's station, having been brought in for questioning, and Emma, the sheriff, hands him a cup of coffee. He thanks her, saying that it's nice to be somewhere warm as opposed to out in the cold, and Emma tells him that she thinks he needs to start worrying about himself more; his wife is missing, he's in love with Mary Margaret and there's an unexplained phone call which could implicate him. She lifts the phone records to show him and he tells her that he can't explain why it says what it says, for he didn't do anything to his wife. Emma stares him down, revealing that she's pretty good at spotting a liar, "and honestly, liars have better material." She adds that he can go home, to David's surprise and, as she opens the door to her office, she points out that they don't even know if there was a crime yet, so he should get some sleep.David thanks her and begins to leave, but, before he does, Emma suggests that he maybe get a lawyer. David looks at her blankly before finally going.
Ruby learns the wonders of lemurs.
It's nighttime in Storybrooke and, at Granny's Diner, Ruby is conversing with August W. Booth, the mysterious new writer in town. She's talking about how he's staying there without a roof over his head, but he assures her that one gets used to it, going on to say that he has a motorcycle, so, if he doesn't like a place, he can leave. Granny, who is watching the conversation from afar, calls out for Ruby, who ignores her. She tells the stranger that she's never been out of Storybrooke, then asking what his favorite place is. He replies that it's Nepal, and the waitress appears to be hanging on his every word; he goes on to say that the people in Nepal are the best and that they have these prayer temples carved into mountains that are overrun by lemurs. "What's a lemur?" Ruby asks curiously, before Granny calls out her name for a second time, this time angrily. "Give me a sec!" Ruby yells back, continuing to talk to August, and he explains that lemurs animals and that they have eyes that reflect light, so, at night, it looks like the glow. Ruby smiles, intrigued, until finally Granny yells out in frustration, "Ruby! Stop flirting and get over here!" She bangs her fist on the counter top.
Red Riding Hood and her true love, Peter, share a kiss.
A hand bangs on the window of a small cottage in the fairytale land that was, belonging to a young man. A girl from inside, sounding scared, asks who's there, and the boy asks her to let him in, opening the shutters. The girl, in a faux voice, exclaims that she's just a poor old widow and begs to be spared, to which the boy replies, "Let me in or I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow the-" Red Riding Hood, the girl, then opens the window, laughing. "You'll huff and puff?" she asks, smiling, and the boy - Peter - replies that he couldn't think of anything. She questions if he thought he could bring the house down with the power of his breath before leaning in to kiss him; she leans out before she does, and says that a case could be made. He laughs but Red shushes him, telling him that Granny's in the other room and he knows she doesn't like her opening the shutters. Peter takes this to mean that she doesn't like him, and Red sadly responds that that's what she meant. He begins to talk about what will happen when they get out of the village, and Red becomes touched that he'd be willing to leave everyone he knows just for her. He assures that he'd do anything for her and the his girlfriend blushes. Peter then asks her to come out for a minute but Red argues that it's already dark and her grandmother would never allow it. "Red, where are you, what are you doing?!" Granny calls from the other room and Red turns, startled, but Peter turns her back. She says she has to go but he asks for one kiss. Conceding, Red kisses Peter and, afterwards, closes the shutters and walks away, leaving the young man happy as well as his red-cloaked love. Peter runs down the hill and Red walks into the room containing her grandmother.
Red wants to hunt the big, bad wolf.
"What's going on?" Red asks, noticing the huntsmen at the door. Granny tells her that it's nothing to concern herself with, just a bunch of fools trying to get themselves killed over a few dead sheep. The huntsmen's leader, Mayor Tomkins, reveals that the wolf took out a dozen last night, and Red comes to realize that, since this doesn't concern her, Granny called her into the room simply to keep her in sight. Tomkins explains that they're forming a hunting party and Red, excited that they're hunting the wolf, begins to say something. However, Granny quickly nips this excitement in the bud, telling her granddaughter that she'll be staying inside and keeping her hood on, for she knows red repels wolves. Red points out that the huntsmen aren't wearing red but Granny points out in turn that they're damned fools too, before turning around and telling the people that there's only a few nights left of wolf's time so they should just let it take a few sheep. She yells at them to go home before slamming the door in their faces and locking it, at which point Red exclaims that she hopes they kill that wold, saying that that would mean that she can have a life again. Granny states that she just wants to run around the woods with that wastrel Peter, but Red assures her grandmother that he's not a wastrel; he works hard and has plans. "Oh, I am sure he does! Now come on, you know what to do," Granny instructs her granddaughter. Red and Granny are next seen barricading the door, blocking the fireplace, shutting the window shutters and generally just locking down the house, making their small cottage into a fortress. Afterwards, Granny tells Red to go to sleep and she obliges, leaving up the stairs. Granny sits in her chair and pulls out a large crossbow, keeping it aimed at the door just in case.
Ruby is furious at her grandmother for humiliating her.
Back at Granny's Diner, Ruby is yelling at Granny over at the counter, unable to believe that she did what she just did as it was completely humiliating. Granny ignores her, saying that she wants her to start working Saturday nights, to which Ruby argues that she never agreed to work Saturdays. Granny tells her that she wants to train her to do the books and the reorders, for business is booming lately and with more money comes more paperwork. Ruby states that none of that sounds good but Granny exclaims that it's got to be done. Her granddaughter wonders if this is punishment for taling to August but Granny tells her that if she wanted to punish her then she'd have better reasons for one thing, she was late, "for another thing, Eliza, you dress like a drag queen during fleet week." "And you dress like Norman Bates when he dresses as Norman Bates' mother!" Ruby retorts. Granny reminds her employee that she's a grown woman and can't keep acting like some kid, to which Ruby exclaims that her grandmother just wants her to act like her until she turns into her, then pointing out that she's not a fossil yet and that she should be out there having adventures with lemurs. Granny exclaims in turn that as long as Ruby works there, she will listen to her, but Ruby yells that she didn't ask to work there. Granny, moving along the counter, asks Ruby what's keeping her, and her granddaughter shouts, "Nothing! I quit!" Granny stops, shocked, and Ruby takes off her apron, storming out of the diner.
Let there be light.
Red Riding Hood, hood-less, walks into her living room in the fairytale land that was to see Granny, still sitting there with her crossbow in tow. Red asks her grandmother if she slept, to which Granny replies that she'll sleep with the trolls in the afterlife. Red helps her up and is told, "I'll get the shutters, you go check if that wolf left the chickens alone." As Granny goes over to the windows, Red unlocks and opens the front door; however, before she can go through it, Granny forcefully reminds her to wear her hood. Red re-closes the door and heads back upstairs while Granny unlocks the window shutters.
Twas the beginning of a beautiful friendship...
Later, after hooding up, Red and her basket are checking on the chickens, as well as their eggs. Red collects some of said eggs and it is clear she is being spied on. She begins to leave the coop but suddenly stops and turns around, walking towards whatever she thinks is watching her. "I'm sorry, I can go!" Snow White exclaims as she steps out from where she is hiding, and egg in either hand, and Red asks the white-cloaked princess if she's stealing their eggs. Snow assures that she isn't, then admitting that she is, but not a lot, and tries handing the eggs back to Red, who tells her that it's alright. Snow thanks her, explaining that last night there was something out there; she heard howling and it was so cold, so she took shelter in their coop. She appears frightened and so Red tells her to come with her, telling her new friend that everyone calls her Red. "I'm Sn-... Frosty," Snow lies, not wanting to reveal her real name due to her being on the lam. "Frosty? Really?" Red questions, but Snow soon admits, "...no. It's just that someone's looking for me, so..." Red realizes that she doesn't trust her yet and says that she gets it; she just needs something to call her. "Uh... Margaret. Oh, no, uh... Mary. Mary." "Well, Mary, come on," Red tells her, and Snow puts the eggs in Red's basket as the two new friends exit the coop.
A gruesome discovery is made.
Snow White and Red Riding Hood walk down the hill from Red's cottage in the snow, and the former asks where they're going. Red assures her that it won't take too long and her new companion proceeds to ask what all that howling was last night. Red reveals that it's wolf's time and that there's a killer wolf out there, as pig as a pony but a lot more bloodthirsty. The two of them reach a well as Red begins to talk about the wolf, but she stops talking when the bucket to the well gets stuck as she's trying to pull it up, wanting fresh water. She asks Snow to pull the rope and she obliges; the bucket begins to move as Snow pours all of her strength into pulling, however, she is shocked by what she sees down the hill she is at the edge of. Red soon tells Mary to look at the water in the bucket, for it's rife with a thick red liquid, but Snow is too shocked to respond. Red lets the bucket drop and walks up to Snow, shocked too by the awfully mutilated members of the hunting party, their blood having been scattered across the snow, having contaminated the well. Red and Snow are disgusted by the gore and devastation brought on by the Big Bad Wolf.
Mary Margaret hounds Emma about David.
From Storybrooke's clock tower, the shot moves down to Main Street, where Emma is walking along the sidewalk and Mary Margaret manages up to her. She asks her roommate if David's okay and Emma says that he's a little shaken-up, but he's heading home; he fine. Mary Margaret then asks if there's any news on Kathryn but Emma tells her that there's nothing new. Mary Margaret wonders if she checked with Boston again, seeming hopeful, but Emma assures her that Kathryn isn't there. Mary Margaret asks further if there's anything that they do know, and Emma says that all they know is that Kathryn found out about David and Mary Margaret's affair, gave the latter a well-deserved slap and ten disappeared. Hurt, Mary Margaret stops, asking her friend if she really believes that the assault was well-deserved. Emma turns around to face her, answering negatively and defending that she's just preparing her for what everyone else is going to think; she and David are going to look bad until this thing is figured out. Mary Margaret comes to realize that people are going to saying that in order to be with her, David did something to his wife, to which Emma informs her that some people already are saying that. Emma asks if there's anything she can give her to help pin down David's whereabouts on the night of Kathryn's disappearance (see "What Happened to Frederick"), but Mary Margaret says that he wasn't with her because they were through.
Ruby can't seem to shake Dr. Whale.
Mary Margaret and Emma continue walking and see Ruby at the bus stop, talking to Dr. Whale. He keeps asking her questions and not letting up and the two girls walk over to the scene. "Dr. Whale?" Mary Margaret says, interrupting the conversation, and he replies, "Mary Margaret, Emma. Hello there. I was just having a talk with Ruby here and I should, um..." he tries. "Yeah, yeah you should," Emma tells him, rather bluntly, and Dr. Whale crosses the street, leaving. Mary Margaret asks Ruby if he was bothering her but the ex-waitress says that the day she can't handle a lech is the day she leaves town... which this is. Emma seems surprised that she's leaving and Ruby reveals that she had a fight with Granny and quit her job. Mary Margaret is shocked that she actually quit before asking the young woman where she's going. Ruby admits that she doesn't know, simply wanting to be far away, but Emma informs her that buses out of town don't really happen and that she should think about finding a place to stay first. Ruby seems saddened, and Mary Margaret tells her that if she wants a place to come figure things out then she could always come stay with she and Emma. Emma seems reluctant to extend the offer, but agrees, and Ruby is grateful, walking ahead with Mary Margaret with Emma dawdling behind them.
A town meeting ensues.
In the fairytale land that was, the people of Red's village are raging over the deaths of the hunting party, brought on by the wolf. Mayor Tomkins assures the group, who are gathered in some sort of village hall, that the previous night was the very last massacre they're going to stand for, adding that had he stayed with the party for another two minutes then he too would be among the dead. Granny is seen entering, with Red and "Mary" not far behind her, as the mayor babbles on about how he could have killed the wolf. Granny walks further into the room, and Red smiles at Peter who is among the rest of the villagers. Tomkins finishes by saying that maybe he would have been able to slay the creature, but Granny exclaims loudly that he would not, to which the mayor, annoyed, greets her as, "Widow Lucas..." She assures him that this creature is more powerful than he could imagine and that he wouldn't stand a chance; she warns the villagers to stay inside, hide their children and forget their livestock. She is reminded that she's said all of this before but Granny reminds the people in turn that she hasn't said how she knows.
Granny reveals her mark of the moon.
"I was a child with six older brothers, big as oak trees, all of them veterans of the second Ogres War. And my father, the biggest of them all. Come one wolf's time, he decided to come out and actually take on the wolf; different wolf back then, of course, but... just as fearsome. They went out there to protect me. I was supposed to be asleep, but I crawled out on the roof to watch, down on thatch. They had the beast surrounded, all of them, with spears all pointed in at it, and then it started. It was lunging; not at the men, at the spears, grabbing with its teeth, breaking the shafts. They stabbed it with the splintered end, but it didn't matter. It tore their throats so fast... that not one of them got a chance to scream... or pray... or say 'goodbye'. When my father died, I had tumbled from the roof, and I landed in the blood right in front of the wolf. I felt its breath on my face, and it clamped its hard jaw on my arm... and I rolled away." Granny finally lifts her sleeve to reveal the large bite marks on her right arm. The crowd gasps, and she continues, "Then it looked at me with eyes so black, they weren't even there... And it walked away. You ever seen a wild animal just turn its back and walk away like you don't even matter? If this wolf is like that one, there is no defeating it! It's already won just by existing in our world. Don't kill it... just hide."
Snow and Red discuss love.
"So, your Granny's kind of intense..." Snow tells Red later in the cottage, and the latter agrees, saying that she feels like a rat in a trap before looking over at her Granny, who's knitting. Snow wonders if this trap is keeping her from being with someone, and Red wonders how she knew. Snow explains that she saw some looks exchanged back at the village meeting and, she hates to break it to her friend, but they weren't subtle. The two of them laugh and Red reveals her boyfriend to be Peter, saying how they've been friends forever but now things are changing. Snow says that that must be nice and Red nods, proceeding to ask Snow if she has someone of her own. Snow White, with unintentional irony, replies that she's not sure that's in her future and tells Red that she's lucky. Red knows this, having been talking with Peter about going away together, but she laments not getting to spend any time with him because Granny's too afraid of the wolf to let her out alone; "You saw what the wolf did. Sometimes I wonder if she's right." "Oh, she's right about the wolf," Snow assures, intriguing Red; she adds, "But she's wrong to use it to keep you from love." Red asks if she thinks that's what her Granny's doing and there is a moment of awkward silence. Suddenly, Red states that they should kill the wolf, and Snow is rather taken aback, telling her new friend to hang on. Red points out that they could be heroes but Snow points out that teams have trained to do this and hundreds of them have been killed. "But they go at night when it's got the advantage; if we go now, we could find it slumbering in its den and kill it in its sleep," Red suggests, grabbing her red riding cloak. Snow says that she's unsure but Red says in turn that she's going with or without Snow, because she's right: she can't let her Granny keep her trapped forever. She stands up off the bed and leaves, and Snow is speechless.
Someone broke David.
Back in Storybrooke, we are treated to a shot of the leaving sign before a truck pulls up beside it with the the washed-away but still view-able "TRAMP" written on the side. Mary Margaret steps out with her umbrella and walks into the woods. All is silent but she soon hears stirring. She becomes frightened and follows the sound of the rustling leaves, cautiously walking towards it to discover that it's none other than David, and she is relieved. "It's you," she says as David walks up to her, but he seems is a daze and Mary Margaret asks him if he's okay, wondering if he too is looking for Kathryn. She offers her umbrella and he utters that he's looking, still seeming odd and looking around a lot. Mary Margaret assures her lover that Emma knows he didn't do anything, for she can tell when people are lying. She adds that she herself will stand with him and tell everyone that the accusations made are impossible, then assuring that Kathryn's going to turn up somewhere. "That's why you're out here, right?" she asks. David seems odd, "simply repeating that he's "looking". Mary Margaret seems confused and he turns to her, before retracting. She tries to stop him but he heads off in a different direction, further into the woods. The teacher calls out for him as he runs away, and she is left deeply concerned.
Red and Snow go looking for the wolf.
In the fairytale land that was, Snow White and Red Riding Hood are walking through the snow-covered forest of the latter's village, searching for the sleeping wolf. Snow summons her new friend over to where she is, having spotted a footprint, but Red tells her that that is a rabbit's, reminding her that what they're looking for will be huge. She goes on to reiterate its bigness, giving an example of it being eight inches across with long, sharp claws. "Like this..." Snow says, looking worriedly at the ground. Again, Red walks up next to her, and there is a rather large paw print in the ground. Snow seems worried at her discovery but Red looks further ahead, "And those..." she says. Snow turns to where Red is looking and they see another paw print many feet away. Red wonders just how big this thing is, and Snow is shocked that the prints they're seeing document the course of a single stride. "From here... to there," she says, looking from one paw print all the way to the other one. Red tells her to come on, walking ahead with a reluctant Snow trailing behind her. Red gives directions and Snow tells her that she's good at what she's doing. Red says that when there's something she wants she's good at tracking it down, speeding up and walking more determinedly. The girls venture forward.
Ruby finds something she's good at.
At the sheriff's station of Storybrooke, Henry is on the computer looking up job opportunities in the town for Ruby, who's lazily sitting there. He asks her if she wants to be a bike messenger, explaining that it's about taking things to people in a basket, but she turns down the offer, saying that she's not too good at bike riding. He suggests that she take things on foot to people, in a little basket (clearly referencing her tale), but she isn't sure that that's a real job. The phone on the desk rings but the sound soon ceases, and Ruby asks Henry why it keeps doing that. Henry explains that the non-emergency calls go to the machine when Emma's busy; the phone begins to ring again and Ruby decides to answer it, introducing herself as the sheriff's station and asking how she may help the person on the other line. She ends up telling them that she'll get the sheriff to return to her, then ending the conversation with a "thank you". The phone continues to ring so Ruby answers the call again, this time to Miss Ginger; she assures the elderly woman that what she's describing isn't a prowler, but rather Archie's dog Pongo, then telling her to throw him a vanilla wafer and he'll quiet down. She asks if she still wants to talk to Emma but Miss Ginger seems fine, and Ruby is happy to have been able to help. She smiles as she puts the phone down and Emma takes off her coat, having walked in and seen Ruby handle the phones. She asks Ruby and Henry how's it going and Ruby says it's going great, except that she can't do anything. Emma tells her that she's sure that's not true, revealing that she just saw her on the phone and that that was good.
Mary Margaret tells Emma that David's in the woods.
Ruby sighs after assuring that it was nothing, but Emma assures her in turn that it's not, going on to say that she actually has some money in the budget if Ruby wants to help around the office. Ruby happily accepts the offer, leaping out of her seat and thanking the Sheriff, iterating that she could answer the phones and help out and "... is there anything else that you need done? Organized? Filed? Cleaning up? Please, I wanna be useful." Emma explains she she is swamped with the Kathryn Nolan thing and that if Ruby would like to grab lunch then she would never say no to a grilled cheese. An all-too-eager Ruby decides to oblige and asks Henry if he wants anything as she grabs her coat. He tells her that he wants two chocolate-chip cookies, a half a pie, and a hot dog, and Ruby smiles before heading for the door, just as Mary Margaret walks into the station. Ruby wonders if she wants some lunch but Mary Margaret turns down the offer, allowing the ex-waitress to leave. Mary Margaret then grabs Emma's attention, exclaiming that David's in the woods; she is clearly still shaken after having seen him. She explains that there's something wrong with him and that he looked right through her, like he was a different person. Emma looks to Mary Margaret, then to Henry, then back to Mary Margaret, who worriedly sighs.
Snow and Red discover that the creature is part wolf... part man.
Back in the snow-covered forest, Snow and Red are still tracking the wolf through its large paw prints. Red finds the next one and Snow is managing, only just, to keep up with her. The red-cloaked girl becomes stunned at the shape of the upcoming prints, saying that it looks like it belongs to something that's half wolf, half man. Snow recognizes a boot print, stating that wolves don't wear boots. She then notices that the prints continue as though it's a man. "Like it's a man... and a wolf," Red utters. "What kind of monster is this?" Snow wonders, turning to Red who is as clueless as she is.
"Who's gone to your window, Red?"
After their discovery, Snow and Red continue to walk through the snow. Red starts to say how the wolf comes out once a month on the full moon and that there was a story she heard once about a creature; however, she is cut off by Snow, who realizes upon looking at their surroundings that they're awfully close to the cottage. Red notices this and, as the girls walk onward, they see that the footprints lead right up to Red's house. The girls are stunned. "Who's gone to your window, Red?" Snow asks, exacting the end of the footprints. Red becomes shocked and worried and Snow turns to her, noticing her terrible reaction. She asks if it was Peter, wondering he he's been at her window, and she is silent for a while, before revealing that he was there last night before the killings, and he never joined the guys to hunt the wolf. Snow tries to assure both herself and her new friend that Peter wouldn't have killed them, and Red agrees that he wouldn't, but worries what would happen when the wolf takes over. Snow asks about that night's wolf-hunt and Red realizes that they're going to kill her boyfriend. She's slightly hysterical, before realizing further that he might kill them. Snow tells her that it doesn't have to be that way but Red wonders what they can do. "Tell him!" Snow suggests, "If he doesn't know, tell him; stop him. If he'll listen to anyone, if he'll believe anyone, it's you." Red asks if Snow thinks she can save him, and Snow assures the red-cloaked girl that she thinks she can save everyone. Red points out that it's going to be dark soon and that Granny will be out of her mind with worry if they're not home, and she'll go out there and endanger herself. Snow instructs Red to do something. "Okay..." Red says, "I have to."
Ruby's looking smug.
In Storybrooke, Ruby cheerily walks up to Granny's Diner to get lunch, but, as soon as she looks at the old place, her facial expression becomes sad... and then determined; she walks inside. Ruby strolls through the diner and up to Granny, who's at the counter. She places her order, saying that she needs a couple of grilled cheeses before revealing that she's working over at the sheriff's station, sort of like a deputy; she supposes sometimes your fate finds toy. Granny just writes down the order before commenting that it sounds like Ruby's doing the same thing she's always done, handing over the order. Ruby pauses, assuring that she's doing so much more. "Those'll be right up," Granny tells her. "Yeah..." Ruby utters, now a little more depressed. Granny asks if she wants her to unwrap the cheese slices but her granddaughter doesn't have a response, and so comes out with, "I solve crimes," accompanied by a smile. Granny nods and walks closer to her. "I'm sure you do," she says in an almost sarcastic tone, "...I hope you're finding what you're looking for." "...I am," Ruby says, seeming upset by Granny's subtle words of disparagement.
Red tells Peter of his affliction.
In the fairytale land that was, Red Riding Hood is talking to Peter in the snowy forest with a fire nearby, dressed in Snow's white cloak. He is reluctant to believe that he's the supposed wolf-man, telling Red that she knows him, but all she says is that she knows the wolf's not really him... but she thinks it's using his body. He points out that he would know if he woke up in the woods, or at least remember something, but Red suggests that maybe it makes you forget. Peter then begins to comes to grips with the fact that he may be a murderer, referring to the men who died, and he seems shaken. "Forget the past. Think of the future. We can go now, Peter. Have lives. All we need to do is tie you up during wolf's time and... I know where to get rope," she says, hoping that everything's solved, but he tells her "no", to her confusion. He soon reveals that he needs something stronger than rope, and takings out some chains that were lying at his feet. He tells her that it's just in case she's right and holds the sad girl's hand; he offers to show her how to rig it up so that he can't get out. "And you need to get away from me," he adds. However, she refuses, promising to stay with him all night, and for all the nights to come. He appears to be touched, and she goes on to repeat his earlier line, that she'd do anything for him. She then leans into Peter's face sadly.
Lunch ends early.
In the sheriff's station, Henry takes his storybook off of the desk and places it into a drawer, before closing it. Emma, emerging from the office then tells her son that she doesn't mean to kick him out but she's got to go see if David's in some kind of trouble out in the woods. She throws him her keys and he tells her that it's okay, for he's supposed to meet his mom; he locks the book in the drawer before handing his other mother back her keys, and, as he leaves, he tells her mother that Ruby can do more that what she's been assigned because she's Little Red Riding Hood. "With the little basket? Yeah, she seems like a badass," Emma laughs, and Henry says that she is but she just doesn't remember how cool she is or what she can do. As Henry leaves, Ruby walks into the office, saying that she's got their grilled cheeses. She halfheartedly puts the food down on the desk and Emma thanks her before retrieving her toasted sandwich, then asking Ruby if she's alright. She points out that fetching people food is something she knows how to do, "so... yay!" she exclaims sarcastically before taking a sip of her soda. "Okay, let's pack these back up and we can eat them in the car," Emma says, putting the food back in the brown paper bag from whence it came and adding that she needs to do a little wilderness search and needs Ruby's help. Ruby says that she'll just screw it up - with flair of course, but still - but Emma assures her that she won't, handing her back the meal. "You can do this," the blonde assures, and Ruby seems to be growing more eager.
Ruby hears David in the woods.
Ruby says that this place is huge, in reference to the woods of Storybrooke, as she and Emma search for David. She wonders how they're supposed to find one guy but Emma shushes her, hearing something. Ruby points out that they won't be able to hear him, since the woods are massive, but Emma reveals that she's following the path because there are boot prints, telling her new assistant to stay close. Ruby tells her that she shouldn't even be there because she's just gonna screw everything up - "Oh wait!" she suddenly exclaims, stopping, making Emma walk into her. She soon reveals that she hears him, to Emma's surprise, and proceeds to follow her inkling, assuring that she knows where he is. She speeds away and Emma follows her under a tree trunk ad through a bush. She asks the ex-waitress what she's doing and soon hears her say that David's over where she is. Emma calls after her as she struggles to follow, turning a corner and finally seeing Ruby, standing over the man they're trying to find; he is unconscious. The blonde rushes over to him, stunned, and tries her best to revive him, begging him to wake up. His eyes soon open and he realizes who they are, in a haze. Emma asks him if he remembers where he is and, as he sits up, he reveals that he doesn't, recalling that he was just in her office. He wonders if she brought him out into the woods, while Emma is concerned that he doesn't remember anything since he was in her office the previous night. She turns to Ruby, wide-eyed, as David confirms that he doesn't, still a little disoriented.
David is inspected by Dr. Whale.
At Storybrooke's hospital, Dr. Whale is examining David with Emma close by. The doctor soon says that David's experienced bruising, dehydration and more, and he asks Emma what she expected. She points out that he's got a cut on his head but Whale assures her that it's merely superficial, going on to say that he can refer him to Dr. Hopper for a psych evaluation but it is his opinion that David experienced a similar black out to what happened to him when he was in his coma and disappeared (see "Snow Falls"). "Moving around, acting out, not remembering it later," Whale adds, and Emma assures David that they will figure it out. He sighs, stating that it's so strange and that he can't even believe that it happened, and Emma wonders how functional he could be during one of these episodes, for he talked to someone. Whale explains that people in similar states, even under sleep medication, do all sorts of things, such as cooking, talking or driving a car. David begins to wonder what other things he could have done and asks Emma if he could have kidnapped Kathryn in his blackout state, or even killed her. Dr. Whale tells him to take it easy but David points out that it could explain why it didn't seem as though he was lying, because he wouldn't know.
Look who's here. What a surprise...
Regina enters the hospital room and orders him to stop talking, asking Emma what she's going there before going on to say that David doesn't have a lawyer present. She asks if the Sheriff has even read him his rights but Emma answers negatively because he's not under arrest; they're just talking. Regina is suspicious of this and Emma proceeds to ask the Mayor what she's doing there, at which Dr. Whale informs her that Mayor Mills is still Mr. Nolan's emergency contact. Emma exclaims that he has to be kidding her, with David having thought it changed to Kathryn, but Regina points out that Kathryn is currently unavailable - some people haven't found her yet. She looks to Emma, going on to tell her to stop trying to place blame and just find her. Emma retorts that there's a whole lot of Maine to search, to which Regina fires back, "Well you've covered this room. I suggest you branch out." Emma walks away, annoyed, and the shot moves over to David, who shakes his head.
Ruby has doubt in herself.
It's now evening and, over at the sheriff's station, Ruby answers the phone yet again, introducing herself as the sheriff's station and thanking her caller, wondering how she may direct their call. However, it's Emma, who tells her new assistant that the last time David went for a sleepwalk he went to the Toll Bridge (see "Snow Falls"), asking her if she knows the one. She thinks so, and Emma, standing in the hospital halls, says that it's a crazy hunch but she wants Ruby to take her bug and go see if he went there. Ruby suggests getting someone else to do it, but Emma reminds her of how great she was out there, adding that she still doesn't know how she found him before assuring her that she can do this. Ruby still has doubts, but Emma exclaims that it's going to be dark out soon and David's going to be let out; if there's some evidence there then they have to get there first and they don't have time to argue. Ruby tears up a little and Emma, frustrated, just asks if she can do this. The ex-waitress hesitates.
Ruby is horrified by the contents of the box.
Soon, Emma's car is driving down the road with Ruby driving; it comes to a stop at the Toll Bridge, and Ruby steps out into the damp weather, asking Emma over the phone what she's even looking for. Emma tells her to search for anything out of the ordinary or which looks like it doesn't belong there. Ruby walks down to the bank at the edge of the bridge and asks Emma what she would do if she were to find something, and Emma tells her to just follow her instincts. Ruby kneels down by a large wooden square on the bank, placing her cell phone on a nearby rock as she cautiously flips it over, revealing nothing but dirt underneath. She looks around briefly and grabs a large stick, and, with it, she begins to poke the ground and dig up the area that had previously been covered. She soon hits something hard and begins to dig faster, uncovering the dirt from around the object and unearthing it fully: it's a small box. Ruby uses her hands to wipe away the final pieces of dirt and begins to lift the box from the ground. Ruby asks if Emma can't give her a clue what she's looking for, and Emma tells her that she's searching for anything of Kathryn's, still listening in. Ruby manages to finally pluck the box from the earth and lifts it toward herself. "Ruby? What's going on? Did you find something?!" Emma asks as Ruby silently cleans the lid of the small, wooden box with her gloved hand. The girl takes a deep breath and quickly opens the lid of the box, and this action is followed by a loud scream which is then followed by the dropping of the box. Ruby is clearly shaken by its contents. "Ruby?! Ruby?!" Emma calls as Ruby begins to have what seems like a panic attack based on what she has just seen.
Snow poses as Red.
In Red Riding Hood's bedroom, Snow is lying awake in Red's bed with the red riding cloak draped over her; she's clearly posing as her friend. The bedroom door opens and Snow seems worried, pretending to sleep. Granny walks in and sees her "granddaughter" sleeping in her bed, asking where "Mary" is and telling "Red" to wake up. Snow pulls the hood over her face and Granny comments that if Mary's not back by now then she'll have to take her chances. She then rolls Snow over to see her face, realizing that her granddaughter is not where she should be. Granny is shocked, but Snow assures her that Red is in no danger. Granny demands to know what she's done, horrified, but Snow continues to assure her that it's okay. Again, Granny demands to know where Red is, and Snow says that she's with Peter and that although Granny doesn't like him that shouldn't matter. "You stupid, careless, ridiculous girl!" Granny exclaims. "No... you don't understand... Peter isn't, oh, this is going to be difficult to accept, you just have to trust me... he's the wolf," Snow explains. "You think Peter is the wolf?" Granny asks. "Yes, this terrible creature... is also human. It's okay though, he won't hurt her, she's got him tied up," Snow says. "He's tied up?!" Granny yells, and Snow nods. "Oh, that poor boy!" Granny cries, before running out of the door.
Elsewhere, Peter is chained to a tree and desperately trying to escape, seeming panicked, "Red, no! Red, it's me! Don't!" he cries, and the shot turns to reveal the Big Bad Wolf is gaining on him. Red Riding Hood... is the wolf. "Please! No! Red! No! Red!" he continues to scream in fear and call out her name, trying to escape the chains as fast as he can but to no avail. "Red! No," he finally says, and Red, the wolf, pounces.
Emma is shown the box.
In the sheriff's station, Ruby and Emma are staring into the box that Ruby found at the Toll Bridge; its contents still a mystery to us. Ruby asks if it is what she thinks it is, still a little freaked out, and Emma confirms it, seeming disgusted herself. Ruby tells her new boss that she cannot look and walks away from it, causing Emma to close the lid with a latex glove adorning her hand as she snaps it shut. She ass if Ruby's okay, walking closer to the clearly panicked ex-waitress who says that she doesn't know what she is. Emma assures her that it's going to be alright, for now they can figure out what happened. Ruby exhales, nodding, and Emma tells her that she did good. "This is doing good?" Ruby asks, still a little teary-eyed, and Emma says that it's amazing, pointing out that first she found David and now... this. "I know you say you don't know what you are, but whatever it is, I gotta say, I'm impressed," she finishes. Ruby smiles and wipes away the tears, "Don't be, I was scared out of my mind." Emma reminds her that she did it anyway, and smiles at Ruby, who reciprocates.
Granny tells Snow the truth about Red.
In the snowy forest in the past, Snow White and Granny are tracking through it with lanterns, looking for Red and Peter. Snow is shocked that Granny knew her granddaughter was a werewolf, and Granny exclaims that of course she did, explaining that Red's mother was one too until a hunting party killed her. She thought maybe Red didn't get it, but when she was thirteen, it started. The two of them walk hurriedly as Granny explains that she paid a wizard for that red cloak; it keeps her from turning, but she doesn't wear it. Snow asks why Granny didn't tell her and Granny says that she didn't want her to have that terrible burden. "That story you told..." Snow starts, and Granny reveals, "That was her grandfather. He marked me that night, and came back, found me, turned me." Granny explains further. "Turned? You're a-" Snow realizes, and the two women stop when they hear a wolf's howl. Snow asks how Granny's tracking Red and the old woman reveals that she's doing it by smell, for she still has that even though the rest of it has faded away. She then condemns herself as a fool for thinking she could hide this from her, pointing out that she's cost so many lives, but Snow assures her that she didn't mean to and that that's the main thing. The two are startled by a second howl. Snow hands Granny her crossbow and Granny points it forward, moving more cautiously now. Snow whines and Granny hushes her, saying that approaching from downwind will give them a chance. She aims the cross bow carefully and making her way forward, Snow not far behind.
Red eats Peter.
Under the light of the full moon, Red Riding Hood, the wolf, is finishing off her meal: her true love Peter. Granny approaches her with the crossbow from behind, and Snow seems utterly worried by the unwinding events. Snow steps on a twig and gasps, making the wolf turn to them and growl, realizing they're there. The wolf steadies itself and pounces and so Granny fires her crossbow, causing the creature to whimper and fall to the floor at her feet. "Cloak!" Granny instructs, dropping the bow, and Snow removes Red's riding cloak and lays it over the wounded animal. The two stand up and, under the influence of the magic hood, the wolf becomes a woman again: Red. "It's too late," Snow says, noticing the blood and scraps coming from the area with the chains, noting that Peter is dead. "He's gone," she says. A weary Red asks who's gone as she stands up from under the cloak, keeping it draped over herself.
"He wasn't the wolf..."
Granny tells her granddaughter to get up and get ready to run, but Red just wonders what's going on. Snow cries out for her friend and Granny asks if they can hear "them", noticing the angered villagers heading their way, hunting the wolf. Snow says that they have to run but Red doesn't understand. Snow says that she'll explain it all later but Red remains confused, demanding to know what's happening as she's rushed around by her friend and grandmother. She turns to the empty chains and wonders where Peter is, at which Snow sorrowfully reveals, "He wasn't the wolf..." Red becomes shocked and stumbles. She turns to her Granny, who admits that she was wrong to keep it from her, but now she has to go in order to escape the villagers. "Me?!" Red exclaims; the villagers' torches become visible through the trees and Red begins to come to terms with what just happened, how she killed her true love. Red begins to cry and break down and her Granny, once again, tells her that she has to go. Red blubbers and Snow tries to assure her that it's going to be okay. Snow huddles with Red and the two of them begin to flee. Granny stays behind, seeing the hunting party emerge.
Ruby returns, de-sluttified.
At Granny's Diner in Storybrooke, Granny is at the counter when Ruby walks into the diner, less adorned and more conservative than usual. In an attempt at small talk, Granny tells her that she looks good, and Ruby thanks her as she hangs her back. Granny asks her if something happened with Sheriff Swan, but Ruby denies it, removing her coat. Granny closes the till which snaps shut and she wails briefly. Ruby asks her if she's okay and Granny tells her that it's the same as every full moon, cradling her wolf-bitten arm. She then asks her granddaughter what she's doing there, wondering if she wants to tell her more about her fine new job. Ruby reveals that she wants to come back, smiling and walking towards the other side of the counter. Granny wonders why, recalling how mad she looked, and Ruby tells her that she wasn't mad. Granny says that it looked like mad from where she was standing, and Ruby explains, "Here's the thing... you were talking about having me do all this stuff, and... I... wasn't sure. I-I said that... you wanted me to turn into you, but... what I meant was... I don't know how to be you. You're a tough act to follow."
Granny and Ruby make amends.
"Oh..." Granny says after a pause, and Ruby adds that she got scared when asked to take on all this extra responsibility. Granny tells her that she shouldn't but, but she is, and she says that it's okay because she can do it anyway; "I sort of found something in myself that was more than I expected." Clearly she is taking Emma's words to heart, and Granny asks her about the adventure that she wants - the lemurs - but Ruby says that Emma was her lemur, and she found out that she could do all of that... but also that she doesn't want to. She doesn't want a job where a good day means ruining someone's life. She wants to do something that makes her happy, somewhere she loves. She runs her hand along the counter of the diner as she says this. "But... just so you know... I wanted you to do the books and everything so you can take over when I retire... Own the whole place," Granny informs her. Ruby is shocked but Granny asks her who else she would give it to but someone who loves her back. Ruby hugs her grandmother, touched by the sentiment of her gesture. They smile at each other and as Granny walks away, she mumbles something ("I'm proud of you"). "What was that?" Ruby asks. "You heard me," Granny tells her, and Ruby looks lovingly at the diner.
Could Mary Margaret be guilty?
At the Storybrooke Pet Shelter, David is nervously pacing, thinking that he killed Kathryn, but Mary Margaret tells him that it's going to be okay. He's unsure, saying that he honestly can't say anything about his actions anymore, but the teacher states that there has to be an explanation. David calms down and sits, telling her that she's right, but the problem is, he doesn't think it's a good one. Mary Margaret is about to respond when Emma hurriedly enters the shelter. She's silent, and David asks what it is, wondering if she found his wife. He stands up, and Emma reveals that they found a box. David asks her what that means, and gets, "We think it... we think that she..." Emma is unable to get the words out, and David asks her what it is. "There was a human heart inside it," Emma finally reveals, shocking both he and Mary Margaret. David begins to cry, sure that he is guilty, and Emma says that they're going to run some tests but... there aren't any other missing people." Mary Margaret crouches by David's side and puts a comforting arm around him, at which Emma says that there's more. "What?" David asks, already crying, and Emma further reveals that there were fingerprints inside the lid of the box and she ran them through the records of everyone in town; there was a match. David and Mary Margaret are both still shocked even more, and the former orders Emma to arrest him. However, she soon tells him that the fingerprints weren't his... "They were Mary Margaret's." Mary Margaret turns to her friend, completely stunned, and David turns to his love with the same expression. Mary Margaret looks from her friend to her lover, not knowing how what happened, happened.
- The title card features a hooded figure, possibly Red, walking through the woods.
- Although credited, Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket) does not appear in this episode.
- This marks the fourth writing credit for Jane Espenson, and marks the first directing credit for Ron Underwood.
The episode first aired on March 11, 2012. The episode's ratings and viewership decreased from the previous week, possibly due to Daylight Savings Time in the United States. It had an 18-49 rating of 2.9/8 and was watched by 9.81 million viewers. It was also tied for first in its timeslot with The Amazing Race on CBS while at the same was ahead of The Simpsons on FOX and Harry's Law on NBC. In Canada, the episode finished in twelfth place for the week with an estimated 1.512 million viewers, an increase from the 1.44 million of the previous episode.
This episode garnered generally positive reviews from critics.
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN gave a highly positive review, starting with "After the train wreck that was last week's episode, Once Upon a Time made an impressive recovery last night. The spotlight was on Ruby and her fairytale alter ego, Red Riding Hood (played by Meghan Ory). It turns out Granny keeps her under lock and key and for a darn good reason. Though I was prepared for the standard tale about the girl with the hood and the basket, I was caught off guard with the biggest twist of the episode: Red is the Big Bad Wolf."
- Christine Orlando of TV Fanatic gave the episode a highly positive review; she began her review by saying, "I've been waiting a long time to get the back story on Ruby, the infamous Red Riding Hood's counterpart in Storybrooke. Finally, "Red-Handed" revealed a Red we'd never seen before. Once Upon a Time is fascinating in that it takes a world we thought we knew and makes it more than we ever dreamed." 
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.