"Ruby Slippers" is the 106th episode of Once Upon a Time.
In flashbacks, Ruby and Mulan meet Dorothy when they find themselves in Oz, and together they witness Zelena's return to her homeland and proceed to look for a way to defeat her once and for all. However, Dorothy mysteriously disappears and Ruby's search for her new friend lands her in the Underworld, where she teams up with Emma, Regina and Snow. The latter struggles alongside David with not being able to protect their son; as such, they devise a plan so that one of them can escape back to Storybrooke.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Mulan is about to be mauled by the big bad wolf, only for some stray magic to transform it back into Red Riding Hood. The two of them later form a friendship and Mulan decides to go with Ruby to help search for more werewolves. The latter points out that helping someone else find their path will help Mulan find her own. ("The Bear King") Regina uses the Apprentice's wand to create a magic cyclone to get rid of Zelena. The Wicked Witch vows that her sister will see her again as she's sucked into the tornado portal, only for Regina to tell her to enjoy Oz. ("Swan Song") Zelena receives a dead flower as a present from Hades; earlier, when Regina asked her what happened between her and Hades, Zelena revealed that Hades fell in love with her and vice versa. ("Her Handsome Hero") Emma and Regina stun a deadly creature roaming the woods, only for Snow to realize that it's actually Red in her wolf form. The cloak is used to return her to human but she remains unconscious. ("Her Handsome Hero")
ONCE UPON A TIME
What's Red been up to?
"Is she okay?!" Snow asks frantically as her best friend Ruby is laid down on her bed back at the Underworld version of the apartment, and David asks further why she's down there at all. Henry worries that she might be dead but Hook assures that she's still breathing, leading Snow to wonder how long Regina thinks the former waitress will stay knocked out. Regina isn't sure, for it was a pretty powerful blast she and Emma fired at her, and David brings up the question of where she's been since she left Storybrooke. Snow isn't sure, only knowing that she went to find her pack, and Regina surmises that unless Red's pack is all dead then she's probably sniffing in the wrong place. Hook queries if there's any explanation at all for what she's doing there, and Emma says, "Just this," as she leans over the unconscious woman to retrieve a scrap of gingham dress material she seems to have brought with her. It appears Ruby has spent some time with Dorothy; the shot lingers on her sleeping body as her memories are delved into...
OZ, Some time ago...
Ruby starts to lose hope.
Red and Mulan are running through the woods of the land of Oz in flashback, with the former using her enhanced sense of smell to help find what they're tracking. Mulan is right behind the girl in red, but then she, Red, stops, revealing that she lost the scent again. She appears dismayed but Mulan assures her that it's okay - that they'll find her pack - but Ruby points out that that's what she said yesterday and the day before. Slowly she is losing hope. It's now late and she wants to get moving; she hightails over a log and Mulan follows, sad for her friend. As the two of them continue to trek, Mulan orders Ruby to tell her everything she knows about this land. Ruby tells her that there's supposed to be a lot of singing, to Mulan's confusion, and she explains that that's how it was in the movie she saw in Storybrooke, which she believes was based on a book. Mulan points out that this isn't a book or a movie but Ruby says that whatever it is there's no trace of her pack's scent and she now thinks that they were never there to begin with. As such, Mulan says that they better start looking for a way back to the Enchanted Forest, but Ruby tells her to wait because she senses something. It's then that the growling of a great beast is heard and Mulan draws her sword while Red prepares to shed her cloak on the defense. They spin round, back to back, ready to face whatever monster may be awaiting them... only for a tiny terrier to emerge from a nearby bush. It runs up to them and Ruby smiles, assuring her friend that it's okay and that she thinks she might even know who this little guy is.
Zelena makes her return to Oz.
She addresses the dog as Toto, knowing him from the movie, but a sudden voice warns her not to try anything. It's Dorothy, and she's wielding a crossbow. Red and Mulan return to their defensive stances and Dorothy declares that Toto only barks for one reason - when he has sniffed out a witch. She demands to know which one of them it is but Ruby reveals that he's not barking because she's a witch, and then she's reluctant to say more. Mulan promises that it's okay and that she can tell her, and finally the red-cloaked girl admits to being part wolf. She makes clear that there's nothing to be scared of and tries to prove it by reaching out to Toto, but this only makes him run away into the dark woods. Dorothy tries summoning him back and goes running after him and Ruby demands that the girl in gingham let them help her. Said girl exclaims that they've done enough, at which Red tells her that she's going the wrong way. Dorothy is insulted that Red thinks she's more of an expert on Oz than she is, but Red is simply using her sense of smell again, able to say for certain that Toto is heading North-West, straight into the wind, through a juniper field into a valley of pines. This assures Dorothy of her legitimacy and she allows for them to help her find her pet. However, they are suddenly distracted by a large magical cyclone which hits the land, and Dorothy realizes that it contains the Wicked Witch. The newly formed trio move with haste.
Hades delivers some awkward news.
Zelena is sat in the Underworld version of her farmhouse where the dead flower Hades gave her has been placed in a glass in the center of the table. She is fiddling with the card which bore her name when suddenly Hades himself poofs into the room, asking if she'd prefer he send her chocolates next time. She says that if he's looking for a "thank you" then maybe he should try putting his name on the card next time, but he says in turn that he's afraid he did not come to woo her; in fact, he came to warn her. He turns the dead flower in its glass as she asks what he's warning her about, and he tells her that she has a visitor from Oz. This shocks her, not knowing who it could be, and Hades comments, "Let's just say a werewolf landed here. Feisty. Looks good in red." The Wicked Witch is shocked further, believing this to be impossible after what she did to Ruby. Hades believes that it must have been quite wicked for her to chase her all the way down to the Underworld, but Zelena reveals that "wicked" doesn't even begin to describe it, and all of the goodwill she's earned with Regina will evaporate the moment she learns the truth of what she did to their friend.
She decides that she needs to leave before the heroes find her, at which Hades points out that it's easier said than done. Zelena points out in turn that she's very much alive and that she brought a way home, and Hades wonders if she's planning to just leave her daughter down there. Zelena says that she's the reason she's leaving, for if she stays and faces that wolf then she's just going to do something else that she'll regret, and then Regina will never let her see Baby Hood again. Hades assures that she certainly won't get her daughter back by running; he then picks up the flower and begs her to stay and face them. "Let me guess, with you?" she scoffs, and Hades says that they'd make quite a team, promising that she can trust him. He offers her the flower as he adds that he'll give her everything she wants. "Sorry Hades," she responds, rejecting his offer, "My time in the Underworld is over." Hades takes a few steps back in disappointment, telling her to do what she must because either way he's going to take care of Red. He then disappears in a swirl of blue flame and Zelena is left deeply conflicted.
Belle can't be dealing with Rumple no more.
The busted sign of Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer is shown before we see Belle in the backroom, flicking through Gaston's copy of Her Handsome Hero. When Rumple walks in on this, he advises his wife to stop torturing herself, but she says that she gave Gaston this book to teach him that a true hero needs to show his enemy compassion while, in the moment that she could have shown him mercy, she sent him to a fate worse than death. Rumple points out that she was trying to protect their child and she stipulates that if Hades had actually destroyed the contract then maybe she could live with what she did; "But he found a loophole and I darkened my soul, Rumple, just... just to save you." Rumple tries putting across that this means they can now free their child from Hades' grasp together, but Belle disagrees, believing that she needs to make this right on her own because if she leaves it up to him then he'll just make her do something else she'll regret. The Dark One appears saddened as Belle exits his shop in a huff.
Ruby explains her trip to the Underworld.
Ruby, meanwhile, has woken up and is sitting on Snow's bed as all her old friends gather round her, and she is shocked to discover that she's in the Underworld. She explains that she used a tracking spell so that a cyclone would bring her to Zelena and Emma reveals that the Wicked Witch is down there too. Hook wonders why the werewolf was looking for Zelena in the first place and Regina, who wonders to herself why she isn't surprised, demands to know what it is her sister did now. Red reveals that Zelena did something to her friend Dorothy, having wanted her magic slippers so that she could get back to her baby. Snow asks what it is exactly that Zelena did to her friend but Red doesn't know exactly; all she's aware is that Dorothy went to face the Wicked Witch and then she disappeared. She adds that Mulan and herself looked everywhere but they couldn't find her, and she proceeds to say to Snow that this is all her fault because none of this would have ever happened if she hadn't shown up in Oz.
Snow wants David to haunt their son for the both of them.
"Just one more life destroyed because of what I am." Snow insists that that's not true and she knows it, promising that they'll find out what happened to Dorothy; Emma points out that there's only one way they're going to do that - "It's time to talk to Zelena." Everyone gets up to go and face her, with Regina lamenting the fact that she actually thought they were getting somewhere with her sister, while Snow stops David to request that he do something while she's gone. He agrees, wondering what it is she wants him to do, and she says that Neal hasn't heard their voices in days and she's getting a little... "Yeah, me too," David nods, assuring that he'll call their son for the both of them, and Snow thanks him. She then adds that he should take Hook with him because the streets aren't safe for anyone to be alone right now and he promises to be careful, adding in turn that he will explain to Neal that the reason his mother is not on the line is because she's out doing what she does best: being a hero. He watches proudly as his wife heads out with the other women on their latest adventure.
David... is not happy.
Across town, Hook is warning Henry to be careful because Hades has eyes and ears everywhere; meanwhile, Regina's old Black Knight Claude is working on removing the telephone from the haunting booth, and the young Author proceeds to ask if the line is always this big. David, who realizes that this isn't merely a line, identifies that something's wrong and calls out to Cruella De Vil, for she is the one standing by Claude as he carries out this deed. She replies that she's fulfilling her mayoral responsibilities by supervising some municipal improvements, then ordering Claude to "get on with it" and rip the phone out. David begs the handyman brute to stop, exclaiming that this is the only chance these people have to contact their loved ones, but Cruella knows it to be his only opportunity to reach out and haunt his infant son. "Looks like Chiseled Chin, Jr. will just have to go to bed without what I can imagine are terribly dull bedtime stories." David demands to know why Cruella is doing this and Henry wonders if it's because he won't write her back to life.
Cruella tries and fails to get her way.
She denies this, revealing that she's not the one that ordered all the phones to be ripped out, and Hook realizes that it must have been Hades. Cruella points out that, with all the little heroes running around the place, the Lord of the Underworld feels there's a little too much hope bubbling up in his realm. David tells the fur-coated villainess to relay to her boss that it's going to take a lot more than ripping out some phones to discourage them, and she promises to do so... "But in the meantime, if you wanted to strike a deal, I could look the other way while you made one last call, and assuming I'd have the Author and his pen to write me back to life." She tries advancing on David softly as she proposes this, but he grabs her by the arm so as to push her away, enraged. He angrily refuses to make any deal of the sort with her and, as such, she orders Claude to do it. The former Black Knight rips out the machine's phone and walks away with it, with Cruella bidding the proclaimed darlings "ta-ta" and leaving them disheartened.
"I'll come back to you when the time's right, my little sweet pea," Zelena is saying as she exits her farmhouse with the silver slippers on her feet, "But, for now, you're with the people that can give you what you need." She proceeds to click her heals together once... twice... and then her legs are frozen together by magic, with Regina declaring that her sister's not going anywhere as she arrives on the scene along with Emma, Snow and Ruby. The four of them approach, crowding around the witch so as to get some answers out of her. Zelena, annoyed that she's been caught out by the heroes, asks how Regina expects her to become mother material if she won't leave her be, and Regina says that they were planning on it until someone she screwed over literally dropped out of the sky. In a no-nonsense yet also very worried manner, Red orders the Wicked Witch to tell her what she did to Dorothy.
The LGBTrio has an enemy to face.
In flashback, the girls approach the destruction left behind by the cyclone and Dorothy begins to worriedly call out for Toto. Red states that there's nothing there, and Mulan adds, "Or here," as the search progresses through the area where the whirlwind touched down. Various artifacts can be seen strewn all around until finally a familiar voice calls out, "Looking for me?" It's Zelena, fresh from her banishment from Storybrooke, and as the trio aim their weapons at her she comments to Dorothy that she sees she picked up a few strays while she was gone. Ruby tells her to watch it while Mulan asks if the Wicked Witch really wishes to mess with them again, at which Dorothy exclaims that she's not welcome in Oz anymore. Zelena asks if she thinks she wants to be in "this emerald-tinted dump", explaining that she was banished there by - she looks to Ruby - "your friends". Ruby is certain that her friends had good reason and Zelena says that of course they did... to keep her from her newborn baby. Dorothy is skeptical but Zelena assures her that it's the truth, then saying that while Dorothy may have the love of Oz, she has something better: the love of her child.
Toto is held at ransom by the Wicked Witch.
She needs her mother, and so Dorothy is going to take her straight back to her right now. Zelena tries to magic the silver slippers off Dorothy's feet in order to accomplish this, only to then realize that they aren't there; she demands to know where they are and Dorothy reminds her that she gave them to her (see "Kansas") and she's not going to give them back. "Well then, maybe you'll think again when you see who I found sniffing through this rubble," Zelena suggests, picking up a nearby picnic basket and opening the lid to reveal the captured Toto to be inside. He whines, afraid, and Dorothy tries to make a move. However, Zelena hastily shuts the lid to prevent her from doing so, and Mulan holds her new friend back to avoid any harm coming to her pet. It is made clear by Zelena that Dorothy can have her mutt in exchange for the slippers. She adds that she has until sundown tomorrow to decide which she prefers, cackling wickedly before she vanishes in a flurry of green smoke, taking the poor captive terrier with her.
Dorothy's fate is revealed.
Zelena continues to be faced with Red, Emma, Snow and Regina outside her Underbrooke farmhouse and the latter implores her to tell them what she did to Dorothy - to fight her instincts and help them, for it's the only way she'll ever see her little girl again. "Trust me." Zelena refuses, being afraid that she can't fix this; she says that even she can't help Dorothy now, and Emma wonders why not. The Wicked Witch rolls her eyes before magicking an enchanted mirror into her hand. It depicts Dorothy laying lifeless atop a raised mattress, and Ruby worries that her friend might be dead. However, Zelena reveals that she didn't "quite" kill her. Instead, she took a page out of Regina's book and used a sleeping curse. Ruby orders her to wake Dorothy up but Zelena defends that that's what she's trying to tell her, she can't; Dorothy may have the love of the people of Oz but there's only one thing that can help her now, and that's true love's kiss. "No family, unmarried, unloved, all alone... there's no one that can give Dorothy what she needs. I'm afraid, sometimes... I'm just too clever." Ruby appears devastated as this news settles in.
The silver slippers are surrendered.
The silver slippers are sitting on the table inside the farmhouse and Zelena tells her sister that it's a simple trade really - the slippers for her daughter. Regina asks if the Wicked Witch really thinks she's in a position to bargain with her own child, pointing out that she trapped Dorothy in an unbreakable curse, and Zelena apologizes for being so good at what she does. Her sister orders her to stop hiding behind all that bluster because she's not really proud, she's caught, and she gets it; she did a terrible thing, but just because she made one bad move (or thirty) doesn't mean she can't make a good one now. The former Evil Queen takes a seat as she reassures Zelena that she can come back from this; "Trust me, I know." Zelena is able to crack a smile at this before returning to her gloomy demeanor, wondering if Regina really thinks so. The latter says that there's only one way to find out: if she tries. After a long hesitation, Zelena finally lifts up the magic slippers and passes them over to the side of good. She then stands up and tells Regina that she can keep her pep talks, for she has no delusions that anything will change. "Not you, and not me." She sits back down with a bottle and a glass, pouring herself an alcoholic beverage as she adds that she hopes they wake her and then, sarcastically, that she'll be right there if they need her. She takes a sip as Regina takes the slippers.
Red finds some reassurance.
Outside, Ruby is panicking that they have to do something since Dorothy is all alone back in Oz and she doesn't have anyone. Regina comments that that won't be the case for long as she emerges from her sister's house, revealing that she has the silver slippers in her purse. Snow is curious as to how her stepmother managed to get Zelena to hand those over to her and Regina replies that, believe it or not, all she did was ask. Ruby wonders what good the slippers are if there is no one back in Oz who can give Dorothy true love's kiss, and Snow asks if she's sure there isn't anyone, leading her friend to recall that Dorothy's family was awful to her and the only person that she has ever loved was her deceased Auntie Em. Emma points out that she might still be there in the Underworld, meaning all they'd have to do is find her, and Ruby smiles as finally she's instilled with some amount of hope.
The girls cook up a little something for Zelena.
A bubbling cauldron is seen brewing away back in time, and Mulan says that what's inside is the best chance they have of getting Toto back. Dorothy asks if they're sure it will work on Zelena and Red recalls that sleeping powder knocked the Wicked Witch out before (see "The Bear King") so she sees no reason why it shouldn't do so again. Mulan tells the other two that she just needs one more ingredient to give it its kick - poppies - and Dorothy knows exactly where to find some. "I'm coming with you. Mulan, keep the cauldron going," Ruby insists, but Dorothy assures that she can handle herself. At this, Red states that she wasn't asking her permission and Mulan senses a certain level of tension before the girl in gingham storms away. Ruby soon follows and the two of them are then shown trekking through the woods of Oz, with the former commenting based on Dorothy's icy manner that either she's still mad at her or she just doesn't like to talk. Dorothy wonders if Red really wants her to answer that while Red goes on to ponder that Toto is more than a pet to this girl. "You're right," Dorothy replies, "I don't like to talk."
Dorothy delves into her tragic backstory.
At this, Red asks if she shouldn't know what they're fighting for and Dorothy, annoyed, finally stops to explain it to her, saying how she was just a kid the first time she visited Oz (see "Kansas") and she wasn't there for long, but when she went back to Kansas... "What? They didn't believe you?" Red assumes, at which Dorothy reveals that her family tried to have her committed. They continue in their trek and the girl in red tries to say that she's sorry, only for Dorothy to tell her not to be because it showed her who her real family was. Her Auntie Em believed her and kept her from getting locked up. Ruby asks if she's still back in Kansas, but Dorothy reveals that she died not long after that, but, just before she did, she gave her Toto. "He's all you have left of her," Red understands and Dorothy confirms that he's the only one who understands her, leading Red to tell her not to worry because they're going to get him back. After a small pause, Red continues by saying that she understands what it's like to not belong anywhere, to which Dorothy brazenly asks, "Really, Wolfy? Your family try to have you committed?"
And Ruby delves into her own.
"No, my entire village ran me out of town," Red replies (see "Red-Handed"), then expanding that they did so with torches and pitchforks. The trek is halted once more as Dorothy asks if this happened because Ruby's a wolf; Ruby explains that she didn't always know she was and she certainly didn't back then for she wasn't in control, and one night she accidentally killed her boyfriend. Dorothy is amazed, then learning that her new acquaintance lived on the run after that, eventually learning to control her power (see "Child of the Moon") and making some friends along the way. She ended up in a town called Storybrooke but she still felt like there was something missing. Dorothy surmises that she came to Oz looking for answers and Ruby reveals that she came there looking for her pack because she thought maybe they were what was missing but, after searching for so long, she's not sure they're the answer anymore. "What are you looking for?" Dorothy is curious, but Red isn't sure, and then she's told that maybe that's the problem. Dorothy then says that the poppy field is up ahead and goes to approach it, leaving Red to contemplate a sudden rush of feelings before she's able to follow on.
Em's grave is discovered.
The name "Emily Brown" can be seen written on one of the tombstones of the Underworld as Ruby and the others approach it with haste. Ruby confirms that this is indeed who they're looking for - Dorothy's Auntie Em - and Snow sees that the grave is neither cracked nor tipped meaning she must still be down there somewhere. Red wonders what they're waiting for, wanting to go find her, but Regina tells her that it's not that simple because if she's dead then she can't just leave the Underworld to give Dorothy true love's kiss. Snow suggests that maybe she doesn't have to, recalling that the other day the Blind Witch bottled David's breath (see "Our Decay"). The others are shocked and wonder why but Snow doesn't even want the answer to that given that this woman roasted children in her previous life; the point is that maybe they can do the same thing with a kiss from Aunt Em. Emma realizes that Ruby could use the silver slippers to deliver it to Dorothy in Oz and Ruby nods in agreement, liking this plan.
Emma thinks it's time for her parents to go home.
Snow's name is then called out by David as he, Hook and Henry come running towards the group of girls, revealing that they've been looking everywhere for them. Snow wonders what's wrong, asking if her husband talked to Neal, but Hook breaks it to her that Hades had the phones ripped out, cutting them all off from Storybrooke. David tries to assure his now panicked wife that Neal is fine but she points out that they don't know that, saying that Hades could have done this for a reason like maybe he's making a move on Storybrooke or something now that they're trapped down there... but David says that this is exactly what the Lord of the Underworld wants, for all of them to lose hope. "Well it's hard not to when our child's life might be in danger!" Snow retorts, at which Emma tells her that she thinks it's time - time for the both of her parents to return home. Snow points out that they haven't completed their mission of defeating Hades but Emma assures her that they've done more for her than they know, as well as so many of the souls trapped down there.
David has to be the one to leave.
Snow assures that she meant what she said, that they came because they wanted to, and Emma says that it was because she needed them... but their other kid needs them more, and Storybrooke might to. David wonders about Hades, saying that they don't even know how to begin to fight him yet, and Hook declares that they'll just have to find a way to wage their war without the Charmings. David wonders further how they're supposed to just walk out and Emma says that they could use the slippers; "Go to Oz with Ruby. Once you help Dorothy, you can click your way back to Storybrooke." She holds their hands, addressing them as "mom" and "dad" as she tells them that they've done enough and that now they should go and take care of the rest of their family, for she's going to be okay. Regina then chimes in, pointing out that they all are forgetting something: Hades carved Snow's name on a tombstone and Emma couldn't remove it, so even with the slippers she can't leave. "I can't... but you can," Snow tells her husband. Judging by his reaction, he is far from a big fan of the idea.
Belle comes knocking on Zelena's door, hoping to swap some pregnancy stories.
Zelena answers her door to Belle, asking to what she owes the honor before wondering if she's there to tear her crying baby from her arms again. Belle exclaims that she needs Zelena's help and the Wicked Witch rolls her eyes, almost slamming her door in the beauty's face. She stops when Belle begs, then revealing that she's asking for this favor "mother to mother".
Inside the kitchen, Zelena is asking Belle what makes her think that Hades will listen to her and Belle reveals that she knows the Lord of the Underworld to be in love with the Wicked Witch. Zelena bemoans that her sister's got an even bigger mouth than she thought, then saying that Hades would never rip up one of his precious contracts - even if she asked. Belle begs her to try, pointing out that she knows what it's like to lose a child, but Zelena simply finds herself wondering why she's the one Belle's turned to when she's got the Dark One on her side. Belle explains that she can't really trust him right now and Zelena commends her on finally seeing the beast behind the man, then saying that maybe she can consequentially understand why she's not rushing to Hades with open arms.
Zelena references the Dark Swan and it makes Belle sick.
"I don't think it's because of me and Rumple," Belle opines, "I think it's because you're scared." "Of the Lord of Death?" Zelena smirks, "Please. I just know the truth. I'm never going to get my happy ending. Not with Hades, not with my daughter, not with anyone." Belle wonders how she knows that if she hasn't tried, but Zelena insists that she has tried, and look where she is: drinking with the bookworm. She takes a gulp of her alcoholic beverage and Belle finds herself gagging, at which Zelena comments that if she disgusts the brunette beauty that much then maybe she should just leave. Getting up to pour herself a glass of water, Belle assures that it's not that; "It's just morning sickness. You remember what that's like." Zelena reveals that actually she doesn't, not since the Dark Swan made sure her pregnancy lasted all of ten minutes (see "Birth"), and Belle comes to the realization that if Hades decides he wants her child now then he could speed up her pregnancy too. Zelena apologizes, saying that she'd love to tell her that he isn't capable of such a thing... but he is. This causes Belle to begin panicking now, having thought that she had time on her side but she guesses she doesn't. Zelena reveals that that might not necessarily be true; "There may be a way." Belle is intrigued.
Hook and David have a bonding moment.
Hook is flicking through the storybook back at the apartment when he decides his search is fruitless and slams it shut on the table. David then emerges from the lavatory wondering if the pirate has found anything but all Hook is able to say for certain is that Auntie Em died in Kansas - other than that, he hasn't a clue. David removes his jacket and leans it against a chair as he states how he can't believe it has to be him, adding that Snow should be the one to go home to their boy. He finally takes a seat as he bemoans that his wife missed this time with Emma and now it's happening all over again. "We shouldn't be here!" he exclaims as he slams his hand on the table, and Hook doesn't quite no what to say to this since his death is what brought them all to the Underworld in the first place. David tries apologizing but is told that he's right; "You shouldn't be here. I realize that I haven't said it yet, but... thank you. I didn't want Emma to do this, let alone drag everyone along." David makes clear that they made their own choices, to which the pirate responds that he didn't know the prince cared. David makes further clear that he did it for Emma, which Hook figured, and then he adds, "I guess you've... grown on me a bit." Hook, delighted, says that he tends to have that effect on people and David tells him not to push it. The pirate continues in saying that David's name isn't on the headstone, meaning he can go; Ruby is his ticket out of there and he has to take it. Charming wishes it didn't have to be like this but concedes that Killian is right, and now he just hopes that they can help Ruby.
Wolfy and Kansas nickname each other.
"The poppy field," Dorothy announces as she and Ruby finally arrive at the clearing full of red flowers in flashback. The former adds that this is Zelena's territory, meaning they have to be very careful, and Red heeds this as the two of them move forward with caution. Dorothy then says that she's sorry, to Ruby's confusion, for calling her "Wolfy" earlier; if she'd known of the subject's sensitivity then she never would have spoken so presumptuously about it, but Ruby doesn't mind, actually kind of liking it. However, she does think it's only fair that she gets to give Dorothy a nickname too, proceeding to suggest "Kansas". Dorothy laughs, announcing, "Alright, Wolfy. Kansas it is," then grabbing Red's arm when she tries to pick one of the poppies from the ground. There is an awkward pause as this small amount of physical contact runs its course, and she tells her to be careful because one sniff will have her snoozing all night. She picks the poppy herself and Ruby thanks her. Dorothy then offers it to the girl in red who takes it and stores it in her belt, round about the same time that a hideous screech is heard emanating from the skies.
Dorothy escapes on wolfback.
The two girls look up in shock to see that two flying monkeys are headed their way, and Dorothy realizes that Zelena must know they're there. Ruby deduces that there are more on the way and attempts to sprint through the poppy field, only to stop when Dorothy tells her that they'll never outrun the creatures. "Sure we can," she insists, to Dorothy's confusion, and she proceeds to ask the girl in gingham if she trusts her. "Yes," Dorothy finally replies after looking back at the impending monkeys, and then Ruby's eyes glow yellow as she removes her iconic red cloak. It drops to the ground and she begins to transform; the full moon takes its effect and a fully-fledged wolf is soon standing where Ruby just was. Dorothy is astounded despite being cautious, and she slowly picks the red cloak up off the ground as she prepares to escape along with her canine friend. The flying monkeys are shown to be closer the next time we see them, and Dorothy is clinging to Red's back as she, in her wolf form, runs the course of the poppy fields, heading back to the woods of Oz. Once they're immersed in the forest, the monkeys give up, and the wolf is able to get Dorothy to safety.
The full moon remains in the sky as Mulan is seen tending to the cauldron she and the girls set up earlier. She is surprised to see the two of them returning in the manner that they are, especially since Red is still in her wolf form, and she demands to know what happened while they were out collecting poppies. Dorothy, who's carrying the cloak, reveals that Zelena clocked onto them and almost made them into flying monkey ciao. She and Red then stop where the campfire is prepared and the former drapes the cloak over the wolf's back, allowing her to return to her human form. When Ruby gets to her feet, she is breathing heavily and asks if Dorothy's okay. However, Dorothy appears to be in a very awkward place and is unable to bring herself to say anything in response. Instead, she simply starts to walk away. "Dorothy...?" Red tries, and the warrior replies, quite perversely, "Yeah, just... tired." She suggests that maybe it was all the poppies and decides that she's going to go get some shut-eye. Ruby seems both hurt and disappointed to watch her walk away after reacting in such a standoffish fashion.
The Blind Witch is threatened into giving info.
A plate moves by in the Underworld version of Granny's Diner as Ruby is seen entering it in the present, backed by her posse of Regina, Emma and Snow. She takes a moment to absorb this demented version of her old stomping grounds before parking herself at the counter; the Blind Witch proceeds to sniff her way along and, when she finally gets around to serving her newest customer, she says, "Sorry. No dogs allowed." Ruby refuses to let anyone talk to her like that in her diner, but the Blind Witch points out that it's not hers - not yet. Emma cuts to the chase by saying that there's a tombstone in the cemetery belonging to Emily Brown. She suggests that the Blind Witch make this easy by telling them where to find her, but she simply wonders what she gets out of it. Regina says that the wolf will keep her cloak on, unless she wants to start putting her customers on the menu, and the Blind Witch declares, "Fine! I know her." Regina wants more and the Blind Witch adds that she hates that Auntie Em. When Snow inquires as to why, it is revealed that she's "the competition".
Bad things happen to those who help the heroes.
"Welcome to Auntie's!" an elderly woman's voice is heard exclaiming as we are taken over to another diner across town: Auntie's Chicken & Waffles. Ruby and the others are seen inside as Auntie Em continues in saying that the pot-pie's her own family recipe but they do a good roast chicken too, rotisserie or any way they want. She then starts talking about the soup as she ladles a serving of it into a mug, saying that it's to die for... unless you're already dead. As she sips some of it for herself, Emma interrupts by quickly exclaiming that she and her friends are trying to help Dorothy, and Em begins to grow worried that her niece is down in the Underworld. The girls assure her otherwise, with Ruby saying that she's alive but in need of her aunt's help, and Emma adds that she needs true love's kiss. She offers Em a bottle, instructing her to blow a kiss into it, while Snow points out that Dorothy could be the old woman's unfinished business, meaning if she helps her now then she could move on. Auntie Em uncorks the bottle given to her by Emma, wanting to help, but suddenly some escaped magic begins to have an odd effect on her. A blue burst of light spreads around her body as she's turned to solid water. Snow wonders what Emma did but Emma swears that she didn't so anything. Ruby begs someone to help her friend's aunt but it's too late; she drips water until finally she's nothing but a puddle on the floor. Ruby is devastated while Regina is simply left wondering what the hell that was, and Hades comments from his nearby booth that he doesn't think the soup agreed with her.
Hades throws some shade Emma's way.
Emma deduces that he did this and he smiles as he confesses, standing up as he explains that a little water from the River of Lost Souls gives the soup a little something special. Snow wonders why he would hurt a sweet old lady and Hades asks if it's not obvious: "Because you're trying to help her." "And Dorothy," Regina adds, "Who happens to be Zelena's sworn enemy. Did she put you up to this?" Hades assures that Zelena has no idea he's there, for this is about so much more than just Regina's sister. He decides to call it a teachable moment and Emma, angry, points out that he wouldn't be there unless he was scared that they might actually win this fight. The Lord of the Underworld just laughs at this as he walks past the savior, then dropping a dishcloth onto the puddle that once was Auntie Em and using his foot to mop up her remains. He adds that he doesn't think Dorothy's dear old aunt agrees with her, and then he lifts the dish cloth up and he rings it out into a mason jar. He announces that this is what's going to happen to any of his citizens who associate the so-called "heroes", and the diner's customers all remain silent when he asks who's next in line for their help. "It's hard to be a savior when no one wants you to save them," Hades whispers to Emma, then finally leaving with what's left of Dorothy's aunt in tow.
Red finally realizes what she's been looking for.
In flashback, Red is sitting alone, thinking about the earlier events of the night. Mulan soon approaches, explaining that she gave the vial of powder to Dorothy and that they should be attacking at first light, but all Ruby's able to say is, "Good." Mulan points out that that doesn't sound like a very convincing battle cry and she proceeds to sit down beside her friend as she asks her what's going on. After a pause, Ruby reveals that, during the trek, Dorothy asked her what she's been looking for this whole time and she told her that she didn't know. Mulan asks if she in fact does know, and Ruby takes another pause, finally replying with, "I think - I think that... I've been looking for someone like her." She is taken aback by her own words, but all Mulan can do is smile. Red adds that she knows she and Dorothy just met, but she has never felt this way about anyone before, and Mulan assures her that that's great, wondering what's wrong. "You saw how she looked at me when I transformed," Ruby recounts, "She could barely bring herself to say anything."
But she's too late to do anything about it.
Mulan suggests that maybe she was feeling exactly what Red was; maybe she didn't know how to put it into words. Red suggests in turn that maybe she was just freaked out, maybe it was all too much for her, but Mulan begs her not to make the same mistake that she did, saying that you shouldn't wait until it's too late to tell someone how you feel (see "Quite a Common Fairy"). Ruby sighs, asking Mulan if she really thinks she should, and the war hero nods. The next we see Ruby, she is bursting through the door to Dorothy's nearby hideout house, ready to tell her possible true love exactly how she feels about her... but she can't. Not due to nerves, but for the simple fact that Dorothy is nowhere to be found; she isn't in the house and there are no signs of where she's gone, save for the minor scrap of gingham which has been left behind on her bedside table. Ruby finds herself picking up the checkered material and caressing it with her gloved hands as she contemplates, devastated, where Oz's most beloved warrior would possibly have vanished to.
Ruby comes out of the closet.
Ruby is clinging to the same scrap of gingham in the present as she stands staring out of the backroom window of Granny's Diner. Snow soon approaches, wondering what her friend is doing in a place so unsafe, and Ruby sadly states that they're too late. Snow disagrees, pointing out that it's never too late and that they always find a way to fix things, but Red exclaims that no one can wake Dorothy up now, at which her friend coyly expresses that she doesn't think that's entirely true. Ruby wonders who else can give her true love's kiss and Snow, taking a moment to sit down, lies by saying that she doesn't know, then finally suggesting, "Maybe, um... you?" Red is deflective, but just makes Snow smile; she reminds the former waitress that she's her best friend and she knows her, and she sees how worried she is, assuring that she can tell her. Fiddling with the gingham, Ruby admits that Snow is right: she is in love with Dorothy... which begs the question of why she's standing there as opposed to being on the way to Oz.
And decides to give true love a chance.
Ruby reminds her that true love is a two-way street and she isn't so sure that Dorothy feels the same way about her. Snow wonders what makes her think that and Red reveals that she kind of bailed on her back in Oz, leading her friend to explain how love is a funny thing, recalling that when she first met Charming she hit him in the face (see "Snow Falls" and "Snow Drifts"). She uses this as an example to say that people in love hurt each other all the time, and while Ruby accepts this, she's never been so scared about anything before. "That's a great sign!" Snow guarantees, both of them smiling and tearful at the same time, "Because love is freaking scary. I'm about to say goodbye to David for what might be a really, really long time, and you know why I'm okay with it? Because what you get back when you love someone far outweighs the risk." She takes a moment to allow this final piece of wisdom to sink in and, finally, with her friend's words allowing to her overcome her many fears and reservations, Red agrees to give it a try. Snow smiles, ever so happy for her closest ally.
The headstone is overwritten.
The small patterned piece of Dorothy's dress is placed with the tombstone of Emily Brown, which is now cracked thanks to her being condemned to the River of Lost Souls. Ruby, having set the gingham down, states that she's ready, and Regina proceeds to hand her the silver slippers, telling her to put them on, think of where she wants to go and click her heals three times. She then turns to David, saying that he should take the werewolf's hand and hold tight, and Snow looks sad to have to see her husband go. He comments that he guesses this is goodbye and she embraces him, with him pointing out that they have done this before and they can do it again. Snow tells him that when he gets home he is to tell Neal that she will be there as fast as she can, but David was actually hoping that she could tell him that for him. She reminds him that she can't leave, but he tells her that now she can, to her confusion. Hook reveals that he removed her name from the headstone and Regina asks if she's missing something, for Emma already tried that. "Yeah, and it didn't work," the savior remembers, and David explains that it's because she tried to erase the names; the rule down there is simple, a life for a life, and as such he traded his for Snow's He leads them all to the grave and we see that the name "Snow White" has been scratched out, and the name "David Nolan" has been etched roughly underneath.
A bittersweet goodbye...
Snow is shocked while David tells her that if one of them gets to go home and see their son then it should be her. Emma asks how Hook was even able to do this and the pirate says that it was simple because Hades overlooked one thing during his escape: he enchanted his hand to carve these markers in the first place. He can't erase the names, but he can change them. Emma smiles, hugging her boyfriend, while David encourages his wife to get back to their boy. She still thinks he should be the one to go but he is insistent that it's better this way; she can look after him, and if Storybrooke's in trouble then there's no better leader than Snow White. She asks if he's sure and he tells her to go to their son, to go home, and he'll be back before she knows it. Emma then approaches her mom and says that she's not very good at goodbyes, and Snow hugs her daughter as she comments that it runs in the family. Regina requests that, while Snow's up there, she look in on Roland for Robin Hood, knowing that he'd want her to ask. Snow agrees to do so, telling Regina to tell him not to worry, and then she gives David one last passionate kiss before preparing to bid him and the rest of her family in the Underworld goodbye. She cries as she asks Ruby if she's ready, and the latter says, "Let's go find Dorothy," as she takes her friend's hand and proceeds to click her heels together three times. Everyone smiles a bittersweet smile before the two of them disappear in a flurry of silver mist. The three graves remain, and Emma comforts her father.
Zelena returns to Hades' side.
Hades stands over the River of Lost Souls within his underground lair, still holding the mason jar which contains Auntie Em. He proceeds to unscrew the lid and have a sniff, enjoying the scent of her eternal suffering before he prepares to pour her into the river... but's he's interrupted. Zelena greets Hades as she steps foot in the Underworld's under-library and the Lord of Death is made very happy by her arrival. He says that she's the last person he would have expected to show up there but she tells him that a little chat with the bookworm made her realize that maybe she hasn't been giving him a fair chance. He tells her that he's just in time to see "this", showing her the jar in his hand and telling her who it contains, "freshly bottled today". Zelena wonders why he went to so much trouble to punish one moldy old aunt and Hades explains that, with the old lady gone, Dorothy has no one - and he knows how much he hates that girl. Zelena snarls with rage just thinking about her.
She came to my chamber. She tried to make me take a nap...
We flash back to Dorothy ripping down the curtain in Zelena's chamber, proceeding to run at all the magical artifacts in search of a way to free her beloved Toto before turning around and being faced with the Wicked Witch.
So I did something much worse.
Dorothy is put under a sleeping curse.
Before Dorothy can use the sleeping powder, Zelena uses her magic to freeze her and proceeds to take a needle from nearby and prick her with it, thus causing her to collapse under the effects of a sleeping curse right next to the cage where her mutt remains in captivity. Zelena cackles victoriously.
In the present, she surmises that Dorothy's going to be asleep forever and wonders what it is that Hades gets out of it. In response, he finally pours Auntie Em into the River of Lost Souls, causing her to drift amid the rest of the forgotten spirits of the Underworld. Other than Zelena's happiness, he insists that he gets nothing, and she appears touched that this was all for her. He understands that this is hard for her to believe; he places the empty jar on a tray as he approaches, continuing to insist that that's why he did it - to show her it's possible to be selfless. "You're scared I'm going to disappoint you, aren't you?" he deduces, and she admits that she's terrified of such a prospect... but she thinks that's a chance she's just going to have to take. "Let's start by toasting to Dorothy's eternal slumber," Hades suggests, handing his love a glass and clinking it against his own. She smiles, and the two of them drink.
Ruby to the rescue.
Dorothy continues to lie atop her raised mattress in the land of Oz as Mulan and the munchkins stand beside her, mourning for her eternal slumber. Toto sits at the girl's feet, which have long since been stripped of the silver slippers, but soon starts to growl and bark as he senses the presence of a fellow canine coming through. Mulan notices the dog's reaction and wonders what the matter is, only for him to leap from his owner's bedside and run through the crowd, clearing a path within the munchkins and allowing everyone to witness to arrival of Red and Snow in a flurry of silver smoke. Mulan is both relieved and surprised to see them both, while Ruby is relieved in turn that her comrade was able to find Dorothy. The war hero explains that she's been waiting for her to get back, beginning to explain that Dorothy's under a sleeping curse, but Red already knows, thanking Mulan for taking care of her. "I've had some experience with this sort of thing," Mulan reveals, in reference to Aurora, and Snow smiles as she too recalls the experience. But then attention is returned to Dorothy, and Ruby appears deeply nervous about what's to come next. Snow assures her that she can do this, encouraging her to go, and the werewolf smiles at her best friend before finally approaching her sleeping love.
A new version of True love's kiss.
The munchkins clear an even bigger path for her to get through, and Red takes a deep breath as she stands staring down at Dorothy, preparing herself to do what must be done as those in attendance watch apprehensively. She uses her gloved hand to gently brush the hair out of Dorothy's face, and then, lips quivering, she anxiously leans in to give her a kiss of true love. The usual shock-wave of magic emanates from the point where their lips meet, encompassing all of Oz and bringing joy to all those therein. Dorothy proceeds to take a large intake of breath as she wakes up, and Ruby is overjoyed to see that her kiss worked. "Wolfy...?" the formerly sleeping damsel utters upon her awakening, and she is met with a relieved sigh of, "Kansas..." Toto barks happily over where Snow and Mulan are spectating the romantic scene, watching along with everyone as Dorothy sits up, a little dazed, and is told by her apparent true love that she left without saying anything. She explains that she was afraid of losing her to Zelena, and Ruby is touched by this, though she does point out that she almost lost her in the process. "You didn't," Dorothy points out in turn, "You came back for me." "I always will," Red promises, and then, with a slow build-up, they kiss again. Snow and Mulan both smile for their friends as the camera pulls out on Ruby and Dorothy's second kiss.
Snow made it home safe.
The scene of Ruby and Dorothy transfers to an illustration in Henry's storybook as he writes about what we just witnessed, using the magic quill to describe true love's kiss and the events that took place after.
Downstairs in the apartment, Emma is saying that they have to hit back hard against Hades after what he did and Hook agrees, but he wonders how. The discussion is interrupted when Henry descends the stairs with the new pages in tow, immediately delivering them to his grandfather. David looks at the illustration of Red and Dorothy kissing but then lifts it to see the page underneath which depicts Snow standing in front of the real Granny's Diner with Prince Neal in her arms. Henry happily announces that his grandmother made it back to Storybrooke, and no one is more happy about this than her husband. He says that they should now go and figure out how to join them and Emma wonders what's on the page. David hands it over to her, explaining that Snow made it home safe, and Emma is made deeply relieved by Henry's illustration of her mother.
Could Once Upon a Time be about to make its biggest mistake since 5.11...?
Gold can be seen moving some books around in the Underworld version of his shop when Belle is heard entering, proceeding to meet her husband in the backroom. He demands to know where she's been, apparently having been worried sick, and she explains that she's been trying to find a way to fix his mistake. "So have I," he reveals, turning to a page in one of the books as he says that this is going to take some time, but Belle says in turn that that's exactly what they don't have. She points out that Hades can take their baby whenever he wants to just like Emma did to Zelena, but Gold assures that he won't let that happen. However, Belle can't take the chance that her husband will stop him in time - not when there's a way that she can pause everything, even her pregnancy. She then reveals that she's holding a needle-prick full of sleeping curse - the same one Zelena used on Dorothy - and Rumple, realizing what it is and slamming the book shut, demands to know where she got it. "From Zelena," Belle replies, "But don't worry. The sleeping curse, it will halt everything."
K, bye Bellicia.
When Rumple tries making a move, Belle makes clear that she can prick her finger quicker than he can stop her; as long as she's asleep, Hades can't get her baby and Rumple will have all the time he needs to destroy the contract. Rumple says that she's only going to make things worse but she is under the impression that she's doing what she needs to to protect their child. He tells her that there's only one way out of a sleeping curse - true love's kiss - but she knows already, and he figures that this is some ploy to force him to become the man she wants him to be, to go back to the light, just to wake her up, even though he already told her that he's not that man. She knows this too, and she reveals that he's not the one who's going to wake her: her father is. Gold begs her not to do this but she just orders that, after he destroys the contract, he does whatever it takes to get her back to him. And then, finally, she pricks her finger, collapsing almost instantly. Gold catches her before she hits the ground, moving her to the bed, but he's still devastated by what she's just decided to do. Belle lies there, sleeping, her pregnancy now in stasis.
- The title card of this episode features Red Riding Hood in the forest amid the red skies of the Underworld.
- Although credited, Sean Maguire (Robin Hood) is absent from this episode.
- The title of this episode is derived from the ruby slippers featured in the original Wizard of Oz film; in the books they were silver like in the show, but the filmmakers wanted to take advantage of the new technicolor process. In this instance, the word "Ruby" is used to refer to the character of Ruby/Red Riding Hood, around whom this episode is centered. "Ruby Slippers" also became the fan-designated "ship name" for Ruby and Dorothy as a couple.
- This is the first episode of the fifth season to not feature a teaser.
- When Red mentions the concept of a movie to Mulan, she does not question what it is despite never having lived in a land with technology. This is because Neal Cassidy/Baelfire explained to her what a movie was back in the third season's premiere episode.
- This episode reveals Dorothy Gale to be a lesbian and Ruby to be bisexual; the phrase "Friend of Dorothy" used to be used to identify LGBT individuals in the times when the practice of homosexuality and gay marriage was illegal, with the character of Dorothy Gale, the actress who played her and the Wizard of Oz film in general being major gay icons of the LGBT movement.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on January 27, 2016.
- This episode marks the twenty-second writing credit for Andrew Chambliss and the first for Bill Wolkoff, as well as the first directing credit for Eriq La Salle.
This episode garnered 3.76 million viewers, showing an ever-so-slight increase from the previous week.
The episode was met with good reviews with much of the praise going towards the performances of Meghan Ory and Teri Reeves, and for including a LGBT romance in the story line despite the fact that some critics felt Ruby and Dorothy's relationship was too rushed.
- Nick Roman of Ricky.org said: "Once Upon a Time has dealt with LGBT romance before, but never with as much depth as we get here with “Ruby Slippers”. While you could make the argument that the show should be focusing more on the Hades story at this late stage of the season rather than a one-off story about Ruby's romance with Dorothy. But I think this episode illustrates why not every one-off story has to feel like filler."
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly praised the episode: "Hello, happy endings! I know Once has teased the appearance of an LGBT relationship throughout the series, especially with Mulan and Aurora. But I'll give them kudos for how they handled tonight's reveal of Ruby and Dorothy's feelings and subsequent kiss. It was respectfully handled, emotional, and well done."
- Gwen Inhat of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "LGBT Romance Highlight Ruby Slippers", by Nick Roman, Rickey.org (April 17, 2016)
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: 'Ruby Slippers'", by Andrea Towers, Entertainment Weekly (April 17, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Finally Gets Its Same Sex Couple, by Gwen Inhat, The A.V. Club (April 18, 2016)