"Snow Falls" is the 3rd episode of Once Upon a Time.
At Henry's urging, Emma convinces Mary Margaret to pay a visit to a comatose John Doe in the hospital and to read to him from the storybook. But Mary Margaret is stunned at the outcome of her visit. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world, Prince Charming meets Snow White for the first time in a most unexpected way.
There is a town in Maine...
We see an overview of the streets of Storybrooke. ("Pilot") Emma enters Granny's Bed and Breakfast and requests a room for one, Granny welcomes her to Storybrooke. ("Pilot") Henry looks at his storybook at the page picturing the wedding of Snow White and Prince Charming. ("Pilot")
Where every storybook character you've ever known...
Is trapped between two worlds...
Mary Margaret Blanchard releases a blue bird out her classroom window, from her hand. ("Pilot") Snow White releases a blue bird from her castle's balcony, from her hand. ("Pilot") "The Evil Queen sent a bunch of fairytale characters here?" Emma asks her son. ("Pilot") The Evil Queen walks down the aisle at the royal wedding. ("Pilot") Regina Mills, the Evil Queen's counterpart, looks at Emma from her front door. ("Pilot") "And know they don't remember who they are," Henry says, in response to Emma's question. ("Pilot")
Victims of a powerful curse...
The Dark Curse envelops the castle. ("Pilot") The Evil Queen has crashed Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding and announces, "Everything you love, everything all of you love, will be taken from you." ("Pilot")
Only one knows the truth...
And only one can break her spell...
Emma talks to Regina from her front yard as the shot revolves around the blonde's head. ("Pilot") "It's your destiny, you're gonna bring back the happy endings," Henry tells Emma as they sit on his castle. ("Pilot") "Enjoy your stay," Mr. Gold tells Emma after she accepts a room at Granny's Bed & Breakfast. ("Pilot") The Storybrooke clock ticks. ("Pilot")
ONCE UPON A TIME
The Prince's ride with the Princess is interrupted.
In the fairytale land that was, in the woods, a deer is eating on the side of the road when a carriage is heard drawing nearer. The deer runs away as the horses canter down the road, dragging with them a royal carriage as they're ridden by knights. The Prince is seen sitting in the carriage, asking someone what they think of the view, the shot reveals a blonde woman, who says that she's seen better. Princess Abigail, fanning herself, goes on to complain that the journey is taking forever, having told her betrothed that the troll road would have been quicker; they hit another bump in the road and she adds, "And far less bumpy." The Prince pulls a leather pouch from his pocket and Abigail asks if he's even listening to her. The carriage stops and Abigail wonders what's going on now, at which the Prince steps out, leaving the pouch behind. He walks forward and tells his fiancée to worry not, as it's just a fallen tree blocking their path. The Prince inspects the trunk of the tree along with the knights when, suddenly, someone lands upon the carriage. Abigail becomes worried, while her and the Prince's armed escort asks his superior, who continues inspecting the trunk, what's wrong. "These markings," the Prince replies, "This tree didn't fall, it's been cut... it's an ambush." A hand then reaches into the carriage and grabs the pouch full of jewels that the Prince left behind. Abigail screams loudly as this robbery occurs, but the hooded bandit gets away; the Prince tries to chase this thief, but they quickly grab one of the dismounted horses and begin to ride away. The Prince does the same, and an epic chase on horseback begins. The two gallop down the road, with the royal gaining on the robber. He is soon riding alongside them and jumps from his horse, grabbing the robber and tackling them off of their own steed and making it so that he has them pinned to the ground. The Prince demands that the bandit show their face, calling them a coward before pulling back their hood and revealing: "You're a... girl," he realizes, surprised. "Woman," Snow White corrects, before grabbing a rock from the ground and hitting him around the face with it. She stands up and mounts her horse, beginning to gallop away as the Prince gets to his feet, loudly declaring, "You can't hide from me! Wherever you are, I will find you!" Snow looks back at him briefly, smiling before riding onward.
Mary Margaret's date with Dr. Whale is less than satisfactory.
In Storybrooke, Snow White's counterpart Mary Margaret Blanchard is sitting at a table in Granny's Diner, with Dr. Whale sitting opposite her. "So, where were we?" he asks his apparent date, "Something about you wanting fifteen kids?" Startled, Mary Margaret assures that she meant that there are fifteen kids in her class, who he'll be meeting tomorrow when they come to the local hospital as part of the "Volunteer Outreach Program". Ruby walks past them and begins to clean a nearby table in her signature red short shorts and a crop-top; Dr. Whale begins to ogle her, barely paying attention as he says that the program Mary Margaret just mentioned is a really good one. Mary Margaret goes on to say that she obviously doesn't want fifteen kids of her own, stating that she does want kids but not that many, as well as marriage and true love, but Whale just continues to stare at Ruby, completely ignoring his date. "But that of course is..." Mary Margaret, realizing that Whale is distracted, looks to where he is gazing and sees that he's objectifying Ruby, who walks past. "...completely inappropriate for me to discuss on a first date," she finishes. Whale, returning to the moment, asks what she just said, and Mary Margaret hastily asks Ruby for the check.
Emma and Mary Margaret share grievances.
Mary Margaret walks sadly through the streets of Storybrooke and notices something: Emma Swan reading a newspaper by torchlight in her yellow bug. The elementary school teacher makes her way over to the window, asking the blonde if she's okay, and Emma replies that, in the world of tight spots she's been in, crashing in her car doesn't even crack her top ten. Mary Margaret seems shocked that Emma's sleeping in a vehicle, but the latter assures that it's just until she finds a place. The teacher notes that she decided to stay for Henry, and Emma steps out of her car, mentioning that the town doesn't seem to have any vacancies. She asks if that's normal, and Mary Margaret jokes that it must be the curse, before Emma asks her what she's doing out so late. "Come on, I'm a teacher, not a nun. I had a date," Mary Margaret explains. Emma deduces that it didn't go very well, but Mary Margaret tells her that it went as well as they ever do. "Tell me he at least paid?" Emma asks, and Mary Margaret shakes her head, embarrassed. She proceeds to proclaim: "Well... I guess if true love was easy, we'd all have it." She then mentions to Emma that if things get too cramped for, she does have a spare room. Emma thanks her, but says that she's not really the roommate type; "It's just not my thing, I do better on my own." Mary Margaret bids Emma farewell and wishes her good luck with Henry. Emma watches as the teacher walks away.
Henry has boundary issues.
The next day, Mary Margaret is wandering the hospital with her class, who are there as a part of the earlier mentioned program. She places a vase of flowers next to someone's sickbed and sees that, in a private room, Henry is talking to the John Doe, an unnamed coma patient that Mary Margaret herself has been seen tending to (see "Pilot"). Henry reaches out his hand to touch the scar on the man's face just as Mary Margaret enters the room, telling her pupil that she and the other students could really use his hand on the decorations. Henry asks Miss Blanchard if "Mr. Doe" is going to be okay, and she corrects the child in saying that his name isn't John Doe: that's just what they call people when they don't know who they are. The child wonders if she knows who she is, clearly having an inkling, but she answers negatively, explaining that she just brings him flowers on her rounds. Henry asks further what's wrong with him and Mary Margaret says that she doesn't know and that he's been in the same state ever since she started volunteering. Henry has more questions about the man's family and friends but Mary Margaret shakes her head, telling him that no one's claimed the John Doe. "So, he's all alone..." Henry states, and Mary Margaret agrees that it's quite sad. Henry looks to the coma patient again and back to Mary Margaret; "You sure you don't know him?" he smiles, clearly recognizing him as the Prince Charming from his storybook. "Of course I'm sure," she replies, "Now come on, you shouldn't be in here." She proceeds to lead him out of the room as the shot settles on the comatose former prince.
Henry tells Emma that he found her birth father, Prince Charming.
"He's your father, Prince Charming," Henry is next seen telling Emma at his castle whilst showing her a picture of the Prince in his storybook. Emma seems unsure, but Henry proceeds to tell her that he's in the hospital, in a coma; he then turns the page and points to scar on Charming's face, revealing that the coma patient has one too. Emma points out that lots of people have scars but Henry points out in turn that they don't have them in the same place. He explains that Mary Margaret and the Prince are kept apart by the curse, but this is blocked by the coma. "They can't live without each other. We have to tell Miss Blanchard we found her Prince Charming," Henry declares. Emma assures her son that telling someone their "soulmate" is in a coma is not helpful, for not having a happy ending is bad enough but giving someone unrealistic hope is far worse. Henry says that he's right though, adding that he and Emma know who they are, so now they themselves have to know. Emma asks him how he intends to make that happen and Henry says he'll do it by reminding the coma patient of his past life; "We have to get her to read their story to John Doe. Then maybe he'll remember who he is." Emma leans in and finally gives him permission to proceed with his plan. Henry is shocked and Emma says that they can do it, but they'll do it her way; she requests to ask Mary Margaret herself.
Emma asks the teacher to play along.
Mary Margaret takes two hot chocolates with cinnamon from the counter in her apartment, where Emma is has come to visit her, having just explained everything. She seems surprised as she hands Emma her mug that she wants her to read to a coma patient, and Emma reiterates that Henry believes it will help him remember who he was. Mary Margaret wonders who that is, and Emma reveals that he's supposed to be Prince Charming. "And if I'm Snow White, he thinks... me... and him..." Mary Margaret figures out, and Emma says that he has a very active imagination, which is the point, because if she can't talk him out of his beliefs then they have to show him that they aren't real. She tells Mary Margaret to play along and do what he says and then maybe, just maybe, he'll realize: "That fairytales are just that. There's no such thing as love at first sight, or true love's kiss, he'll see reality," Mary Margaret concludes for her. Emma says it's something like that and the teacher tells her friend that, sadly, her plan is rather genius, and that they can't get Henry to see the truth without hurting him. Emma reveals that she told the boy they'd all meet tomorrow at Granny's Diner for breakfast, where his teacher will give a full report. She takes the book out from her bag, and Mary Margaret jokes that she'll go get ready for her "date", going on to say that she supposes that she'll have to do all of the talking.
Mary Margaret gets a bigger reaction than she foresaw...
That night, Mary Margaret sits at John Doe's bedside with the book open on her lap. She tells him that she realizes that this is ridiculous but that she's doing it for a good reason; she opens the book and begins to reads, "'As the Prince chased the thief on horseback through the treacherous forest, his betrothal crossed her arms and pouted, wondering how many dreadful, boring minutes it would take before they could resume their journey again. The thief also...'"
Time goes on, and Mary Margaret has reached a much further point in the story, "'...they didn't need words to describe what they felt in their hearts, for it was here, in the shadow of the Troll Bridge, that there love was born...'" the scene goes on...
"'...but they knew, no matter how they were separated, they would always-'" John Doe grabs Mary Margaret's hand. She is understandably shocked, looking to the sleeping man and then back down to his hand which now rests upon hers, gripping her tight.
Dr. Whale is a big fat liar.
The John Doe is still lying on his bed as Mary Margaret hurries toward him with Dr. Whale at her side, alerting the latter that the coma patient woke up and grabbed her hand. They make it into the room and Dr. Whale goes to check his heart monitor and his pulse through his wrist. He tells her that everything's steady, same as it's always been, and Mary Margaret becomes confused and disappointed. The doctor asks her what she was doing in there, to which she replies that she was just reading him a story. Whale suggests that perhaps she dozed off or imagined it, but she assures him that she didn't imagine anything; he adds that he can only tell her what he sees, which is nothing, then telling her that sometimes there are minor fluctuations in readings and that perhaps she heard one and misinterpreted it. "Look, why don't you go home, get some rest? If anything changes, I'll call you, okay?" Mary Margaret nods as he says this and grabs Henry's storybook from the patient's bedside table. She then then turns around to leave, and Dr. Whale turns to the chart again. Once Mary Margaret is gone, he picks up his cell phone and greets someone on the other line. "Yes?" asks Mayor Mills, and he tells her, "It's Dr. Whale. You told me to call you if there was ever a change in the John Doe... something's happened." In her office, Regina is seen on the phone; "What?" she asks, standing up, and Dr. Whale explains that one of their volunteers said he grabbed her, and there was some slight fluctuation in brain activity. Regina demands to know the identity of the volunteer, to which he replies: "Mary Margaret Blanchard." Regina grips her phone tightly out of anger.
The Prince and the scum.
Mary Margaret sits down on her bed with Henry's storybook in tow, opening it and beginning to read. She turns to a page containing a picture of Snow White carrying a lantern, and the shot moves in so that the page becomes the scene itself.
Elsewhere, in an underground hideout, Snow places the lantern next to the jewels she recently stole, placing them all into a small bag. She then takes a vial full of dust, which is on a necklace, and places it around her neck before equipping herself with the bag and pulling up the hood of her green traveling cloak so as to remain hidden. Snow takes her large sack and carries it over her back shoulder emerging from the entrance of the hideout which is situated within a hollowed tree trunk in the Enchanted Forest. She gives the entrance a glance before walking onward; however, a few steps later she squeals as she is lifted by a net and hung within it from the trees, trapped. She hears laughing as she tries to escape, and the Prince from earlier emerges from the surrounding woods, happy to have caught his thief. "I told you I'd find you. No matter what you do, I will always find you," he tells, walking closer to the net. She asks if this is the only way he can catch a woman - by entrapping her - and he retorts that it's the only way to catch thieving scum. "Oh, aren't you a real Prince Charming?" she retorts herself, sarcastically, and he tells her that he has a name. However, she doesn't care, believing that Charming suits him, and demands that he cut her down. He laughs again, promising to release her when she returns the leather pouch he stole containing his jewels, but she tells him that she's not the jewelry type, which he indeed noticed. She wonders what that's supposed to mean, asking Prince Charming if hes insulting her, and he points out that it's fair for him to insult the person who robbed him. He asks for his jewels once more, but she reveals that she sold them, to his shock. She proceeds to wonder why he cares, asking if he doesn't have a palace full of treasures somewhere.
"These were special. Among them was a ring that belonged to my mother; the ring I was about to give-" he is cut off: "To the nag with the bad attitude, that's what this is about?!" Snow laughs. He reveals that she's his fiancée and Snow holds back her laughter, wishing him luck; she says that he must be getting something impressive in exchange for that union. He appears offended, and she tells him that she knows how this works. True love doesn't exist; it's all arranged marriages and business transactions; there's no such thing as love at first sight, or first kiss. She then guesses that his fiancée's kingdom wants to take over his and this is a last-ditch effort to avoid war. Charming says that it's not a takeover, it's a merger, and quite frankly it's none of her business. He goes on to say what's going to happen: he's going to cut her down and she's going to take him to whoever has his jewels, and then she's going to get his ring back. Snow shakes her head, asking why she would do that, and he points out that she doesn't want him to tell anyone who she really is. He takes a piece of paper out of his pocket and it's revealed to be a wanted poster for, "Snow White," he addresses her, holding up the poster which implies that she's murderous, treasonous and treacherous. He threatens to turn her into the Evil Queen if she doesn't get him his ring back; "And I'm guessing the queen isn't quite as... Charming as I am." Snow says that she wouldn't want to stand in the way of him getting his true love, apparently agreeing to his terms out of fear, and Prince Charming draws his sword and cuts a rope next to him, causing the net to fall to the ground with the disgraced princess inside.
The news isn't what Emma expected to hear.
At Granny's Diner in Storybrooke, Emma emerges from the bathroom, having just changed her shirt, and goes to sit with Henry. She thanks him for the shirt, realizing it's his mother's, and he assures her that she'll never notice. Emma wonders where Regina thinks he is and he reveals that he told her he's playing whack-a-ole, going on to iterate upon Emma's questioning that the Mayor really bought that story that she wants to believe it and so she does. "Oh, imagine that," Emma comments, and Henry looks over to the door, excitedly announcing the arrival of Mary Margaret as she dashes into the diner and over to their table. Emma reminds her son not to get his hopes up as Mary Margaret sits next to him, revealing - to Emma's shock and Henry's further excitement - that John Doe woke up. She then reveals that he didn't "wake up wake up" but he grabbed her hand, and Henry takes this as a sign that he's remembering. Emma asks what the doctor said and Mary Margaret explains that he told her that she imagined it, but she knows that she didn't. "We have to go back! You have to read to him again!" Henry tells her. "Let's go," Mary Margaret nods in agreement and the teacher stands up with her student. Emma is confused, beginning to follow them out the door as she wonders what's going on, and Mary Margaret says that if she can get through to him - if they really made a connection - then maybe she can save him. "You don't believe...?" Emma begins to asks. "That he's Prince Charming? Of course not. But somehow, someway, I touched him," Mary Margaret says before leaving. Emma just remains in her bewildered state.
Henry is running to the John Doe's room, thinking that maybe he's waking up, with Mary Margaret and Emma not far behind him. He sees people crowding around the room, including Sheriff Graham, who suggests that he move back. "What's going on? Is it John Doe? Is he okay?" Mary Margaret asks. Graham pauses, revealing that the coma patient is missing. The three of them are stunned and look over to John Doe's empty bed, with Mayor Regina Mills standing sternly over it.
Gone daddy gone.
Regina walks out of the John Doe's room and over to Emma, Mary Margaret and Henry who are still shocked at the patient's disappearance. She asks what the hell they're doing there as she pulls Henry toward her, having thought that he was at the arcade and scolding him for lying. Mary Margaret asks what happened to John Doe, fearing that someone may have taken him, but Graham tells her that they don't know yet; his IVs were ripped out but there's no sign that there was a struggle. Thinking he knows exactly who to blame, Henry demands to now what his adoptive mother did, and she is hurt that he thinks she had something to do with this. Emma points out that it's curious the Mayor is here, but she explains that she's the patient's emergency contact. Mary Margaret wonders if this means she knows him, and Regina reveals that she's the one who found him, on the side of the road, years ago, with no ID, and brought him there; Dr. Whale walks over to them, vouching that the Mayor saved his life. Mary Margaret wonders if John Doe will be okay, and Dr. Whale explains how the man's been on feeding tubes for years under constant supervision and that he needs to get back to hospital right away or could quite possibly die. "Okay, well let's quit yapping and start looking," Emma suggests, but Regina tells her that that's what they're doing, suggesting in turn that the blonde just stay out of this; "And since I clearly can't keep you away from my son, I'm just gonna have to keep my son away from you." She grabs Henry's hand and walks away, telling Emma before she does so to enjoy her shirt, because that's all she's getting. They leave after Regina tells Graham to find John Doe because, as Whale said, time is precious. Graham asks then the doctor when he last saw the John Doe and Whale says that it was twelve hours prior. Graham tells them that that's what they need to look for.
The surveillance team isn't up to par.
Sheriff Graham, Emma and Mary Margaret are next seen in the surveillance room of the hospital with Leroy, the janitor, and Walter, the security guard (and also Sleepy's counterpart). Graham says that they were the only two employees on the floor last night, surprised to have learned that they saw nothing, and Walter yawns, confirming this. Emma wonders if anyone waled by, but Leroy further iterates and he didn't see anything. Graham wonders if Miss Blanchard encountered anything unusual during her trip with her class, but she doesn't think so; Emma proceeds to stare curiously at the surveillance tape that's playing and walks over to it. "We're looking at the wrong tape," she realizes, "This is the ward where Henry's class put up decorations. If this was really the tape from last night, we'd see the banners the kids hung." "You fell asleep again," Leroy says to Walter, who seems annoyed that his co-worker is selling him out. Leroy exclaims that he's not getting fired for this, and Walter retorts that at least he doesn't drink on the job; however, Graham cuts the argument short and asks them where the real tape is.
Emma places the actual tape into the recorder and they see that John Doe walked across the decorated ward and out of the door. Mary Margaret notes that he escaped by himself and is okay, while Emma notes that this was four hours ago, asking the hospital employees where the doors leads. Leroy reveals that it leads to the woods, worrying the three investigators.
Prince Charming and Snow White trek through the woods.
In the woods of the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming are walking in silence to recover the latter's ring. The journey takes a long time, shown by the clear passage of hours and the amount of land we watch them cover together. Later, as they continue walking, Snow clutches the vial of dust on her necklace and Charming asks her what it is, recalling that she isn't the jewelry type. She tells him not to worry about it but he soon snatches it from around her neck; she demands that he give it back, for it's a weapon, but he is unconvinced, asking her what kind of weapon she can make out of dust. Snow makes clear that it's fairy dust, trying to grab it from his hand, but he says he thought fairy dust was supposed to be a good thing. She points out that that's only the case when it comes from a good fairy, while the stuff she has in her necklace is deadly because it transforms even the most fearsome of adversaries into a form that's easily squashed. Again she tries to grab it, but again he doesn't allow her to do so, merely wondering why she didn't use it on him as he pockets it. She assures the prince that he's not worth it and he laughs as they continue to trek she explains that it's very hard to come by and that she's saving it for a "special someone". Charming takes this to mean that it's intended for the Queen, deducing that she has a lot of anger there, and she proceeds to tell him, very sullenly, that the charges on her posters are lies, but it didn't stop her from sending a Huntsman to rip out her heart. Charming asks her what happened and she says that not everyone's a soulless royal; the Huntsman took pity on her and let her go (see "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter") and she's been hiding in the forest ever since, trying to mass enough fortune to leave this place and escape to another realm - somewhere isolated where she can never be hurt. Her unwanted travel companion points out that that sounds lonely, but she points out in turn that it's no lonelier than an arranged marriage, to which he retorts that at least he doesn't prey on the innocent. Snow tells him that, up until now, she's only stolen from the Queen; she thought his carriage was one of hers because no one else uses that road. He explains that he was taking a different route. "Lucky for me. All I'm doing, Charming, is what it takes to survive. She wants me dead." Snow begins to walk ahead and Charming follows her a little more slowly. He ends up asking what she did to incur so much wrath, and Snow reveals that the Queen blames her for ruining her life. "Did you?" asks Charming. After a pause, she replies with, "Yes," and they continue on.
Charming falls into the waters.
Snow and Charming later arrive at a lake and the former says that she's thirsty; the prince allows her to have a drink, but conditions that she make it quick, proceeding to approach it alongside her. Snow scoops up some of the water with her hand and drinks it, and Charming does the same, the both of them crouched beside the water. As Charming stands up, Snow suddenly knees Prince Charming in the stomach and pushes him in the lake. He's carried by the tide and Snow grabs the pouch of jewels from his sack, then running away from the lake and through the woods. She comes to a fork in the road and turns back another way, but then sees three of the Queen's soldiers coming down the road on their horses and panics. "Well, look who we found," says the lead knight, happily; Snow goes to grab her dust but realizes that it's with the prince. The knight dismounts his horse and tells her that there's nowhere to hide and that the Queen wants her dead. He draws his dagger as he advances on the bandit, saying that he wouldn't want to disappoint the Queen.
Henry catches up with the rescue group.
In the woods of Storybrooke, at night time, Sheriff Graham leads the search party, composed of him, Emma and Mary Margaret, for John Doe. Graham notices something on the forest floor and Mary Margaret asks him what it is; he says that the trail ends where they are and Emma asks if he's sure, having thought that tracking was one of the sheriff's skills. He tells her to give him a sec, for this is his world, and Emma apologizes, leading Mary Margaret to wonder what Graham means by this being his "world", because she thought finding people was Emma's thing too. Graham has gone ahead now, and Emma tells her friend that finding people is her thing, but the people she tracks normally run places like Vegas - not a lot hit the woods. Mary Margaret supposes that finding people is an interesting job and wonders how the blonde fell into it. Emma says that looking for people is just what she's done for as long as she can remember, and Mary Margaret wonders what made her start, going on to ask if it was because of her parents. Emma turns to her in shock and Mary Margaret explains that Henry told her she was in a similar situation to his own, curious as to whether or not she ever found them. Emma tells her that it depends who she asks and, before Mary Margaret can react, the girls hear a twig snap; they turn to the source and Henry runs to the scene. They are surprised to see him and ask him what he's doing there, but he just asks if they found John Doe yet. Emma answers negatively and tells her son that he shouldn't be there, but Henry professes that he can help, saying that he knows where he's going. "And where's that?" Mary Margaret wonders. "He's looking for you," Henry tells his teacher.
Snow finds herself in peril.
In the Enchanted Forest, Snow's head is slammed against the trunk of a tree as one of the Queen's black knights holds her in position by her hair, with the lead knight approaching her with his dagger. He requests that his comrades hold the bandit still as he lifts his weapon, ready to plunge it into her heart; suddenly, however, he is hit by something and falls to the floor. A knife is then seen in his back and Prince Charming is seen to be the culprit who put it there. He then draws his sword and the knight holding Snow draws his own and advances on the prince. Snow looks at the knife in the soldier's back and then to the vacant horse he dismounted; as Charming battles the knight, with the other just turning on his horse, Snow makes a run for the horse with no rider. But, the spare soldier is alert, and he moves his horse in her direction. Just as she is about to mount the other one, the knight lifts her off the ground by her hair and rides with her in his hand, carrying her onto his horse. Charming cuts the down the knight he's fighting and notices that one of them is riding away with Snow. He then spots a bow and quiver of arrows on the saddle of another vacant horse and grabs the weapon and one arrow. He then runs after the horse on foot, taking a shortcut through the trees, and sees it riding on the nearby road. He readies his bow and arrow and waits in position, eventually letting go and allowing the arrow to fly straight through the trees and into the knight holding the bandit princess captive, causing him to fall from his horse, dead. As the horse gallops off, Snow manages to re-position herself and gain control over the animal, riding the it along the forest road and stopping when she meets Charming, who's made his way towards her. She dismounts the horse and Charming asks her if she's alright. "You... you saved me," she states, surprised. "Seemed like the honorable thing to do," he replies, and he asks her if she's ready. "She wonders what for and he reminds her that they still have to get his jewels. Snow then recalls that he's got a wedding to get to, and says that the trolls she sold them too are just beyond the next trench, but they need to be careful. "What, of trolls?" he asks, leading Snow to realize that he clearly hasn't met one. He asks if they aren't just little people, but she points out that he's thinking of dwarfs; trolls have no respect and will cut your hand off sooner than they'll shake it. Charming suggests that, as such, they should get this over with, and Snow agrees, saying that they both have places to be. He makes clear that she has her lonely little corner of solitude to find and she says that he has his ring-less fiancée to meet. They walk on, now with the knight's horse in their possession.
John Doe's tag...
Back in Storybrooke's forest, Graham, Emma, Mary Margaret and now Henry continue to search for the John Doe, and Henry still thinks that it's all centered around Mary Margaret, saying that she's the last one he saw and exclaiming that he wants to find her. Mary Margaret assures him that she's wrong; that the John Doe is just lost and confused after having been in a coma for a long time, but Henry argues that he loves her, suggesting that they stop chasing him and simply let him find her. Emma suggests in turn that he get home, wondering where his mother is before fearing that she'll kill her, and then him, and then her again. Henry reveals that she dropped him at the house and then went out again which, to Emma, means that they have to get him back there immediately. Henry refuses completely, and the argument ends when Graham calls for them from afar; the three of them thusly come running his way, finding him crouched on the ground and staring at something via torchlight. It's a hospital tag reading "JOHN DOE" and giving substantial information; it is splattered with something. "Is that...?" Mary Margaret begins. "Blood." Emma confirms. The four of them are shocked and worried.
Snow tries to retrieve Charming's ring.
Snow White and Prince Charming are riding the horse they took through the Enchanted Forest, hoping to find the trolls with Charming's jewels. They trot up to an entrance way to a bridge which seems secluded and unfriendly, and Snow dismounts the horse followed by Charming, then spooking the creature on purpose so as to make it run away to safety. She reveals that trolls don't like horses, then beckoning the prince to follow her, for they walk from there. The two of them approach the Troll Bridge and walk a small way across it before Charming asks where the actual trolls her. Snow simply walks over to the bridge's edge, assuring him that they're there, and places a small pile of gold coins on the ledge. The shot moves down to the steamy underbelly of the bridge and a figure is soon seen climbing up it. Said figure climbs fast and has long hair with a beaten, wrinkled, gray face and a tattered robe; it leaps onto the bridge's path behind the prince and the princess, momentarily startling them as they turn to face it. Two more of the creatures emerge, and the original one asks in a grunting voice why they're there. Snow reassures the prince that it's okay, for she knows them, and the head troll angrily recalls that he thought they were done. Snow says that she came back because she wanted to make another trade, but all the troll is able to focus on is Charming, demanding to know just who he is. Snow tells him that he's with her, but the troll seems very disturbed by the presence of another person, despite Snow assuring him that he's no one; "Look, I wanna buy back the jewels I sold you." The head troll once again demands to know who the prince is, but Snow reminds him that she said not to worry about it, then saying that she'll give him all his money back if she just gives her back the ring she sold; they can keep everything else. The head troll looks to his peers, and another troll begins to hand back the pouch containing the ring. Charming thanks him; however, the troll soon pulls the pouch from the prince's hand and the head troll concludes that this is a setup. Snow exclaims that it's not, but the troll has deduced that Charming's a royal and he grows enraged, grabbing Snow and drawing his sword. He pulls her into him, threatening her with the weapon.
The Prince tries to defend himself.
"Back away from her!" Charming orders, drawing his own sword before being restrained by the two other trolls. One of them bangs down on his blade with its own crude version, causing it to drop to the floor while its brethren pins the prince up to the wall of the bridge, holding him there, ready to push him over the edge. Snow implores them to trust her, for if she wanted to set them up then she would have, and she begs them not to hurt him. The head troll, still with a grip on her neck with his arm, refuses to let her go or acquiesce to her request. He tells her that their deal is done and orders his peers to search the prince; the one ready to throw him begins to search him whereas the other pours out the contents of his travelling sack. The one now searching him pulls the necklace containing the vial of dark fairy dust and inspects it, before throwing it to his master as he slams Charming against the wall. The head troll then releases, Snow who too also flung into the wall, and another troll then seizes her by the arm and holds a sword to her throat. One of the trolls pulls Snow's wanted poster from Charming's bag and laughs, handing it to the head troll who has a likewise reaction. "Snow White," he grumbles, "What a reward... take her!" His two minions advance on Snow and Charming looks at his sword on the ground of the bridge, making a grab for it; he is successful and then runs at the trolls, hitting one of their blades against his own and causing it to back away a little from Snow. One then tries to strike him and so he elbows it in the face; all three soon begin to come for him so he twirls within their surroundings, striking them all with his blade. He tells Snow that they're leaving and so she grabs the pouch containing the prince's ring and begins to run. However, a troll runs up behind them with its sword. Charming matches the sword with his own and fights the troll as Snow grabs the dark fairy dust and continues running.
Snow uses her magic powder on the trolls.
Charming is now battling all three trolls at once and the upper-hand appears to be shifting. One troll rolls away from Charming but Charming kicks the beast in the chest and the troll plummets off the bridge to its death. Charming tries to walk along the bridge but his ankle is grabbed by one of the trolls, tripping him; his other leg is then grabbed by the other troll - with a new one having arrived on the scene - and he is dragged back along the bridge by them. "Follow me! They don't know the forest like I... do," Snow says, running through the trees, under the impression that Charming is following her; however, she turns back to the bridge to see him being attacked on the floor by the trolls. She looks back and forth between her way to freedom and her Prince Charming. The latter is ransacked by the three beasts, and two grab his arms and hold him still as the head troll holds a sword to his neck. He is about to viciously strike down on Charming's neck, thus beheading him, when there is a sudden bright flash. The head troll is reduced magically to a cockroach in a sudden spin of smoke and Snow is seen standing behind him, having just used her fairy dust to save the prince. Snow takes some more of the dust from the palm of her hand and throws it at one troll and then the other, reducing them both to the same state as their leader. Charming looks up at the three sniveling cockroaches on the floor of the bridge and then up to Snow. He stands up and repeats her earlier line: "You... you saved me." "It was the honorable thing to do," she tells him, doing the same, and she proceeds to remove her necklace. He asks about her special someone, but Snow assures that she'll think of something else, throwing the vial onto the floor. Charming then thanks the princess and the two of them retrieve their dropped possessions that fell in the fight, with Charming returning his to his sack. "Besides, how could I let Prince Charming die?" she says, helping him retrieve his items. He reminds her that he has a name, revealing it to be James, and she tells him, "It's nice to meet you, James." She then says that they should go, for there may be more trolls coming, and Charming lifts his sack over his shoulder before the two begin to walk away. As they do so, Charming both retrieves Snow's gold coins from the bridge wall and steps on one of the cockroaches, killing it in a violent yet satisfying splatter.
The patient is revived by Mary Margaret.
Near the Toll Bridge of Storybrooke, Emma, Mary Margaret, Henry and Graham trudge through the wet forest, still searching for the John Doe. The shot moves over Toll Bridge's sign, where someone has strategically inked in an 'R', and over to the search party. They shine their torches around the waters and Mary Margaret comes across an unconscious figure across the stream; she runs over to him, throwing her torch to the floor and panicking at the John Doe lying on the shore. Emma and Henry run to him too and, by walkie, Graham requests an ambulance. Graham, Mary Margaret and Emma work together to pull him out of the stream and onto land as Henry watches. "No, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, I found you! You're gonna be okay!" Mary Margaret exclaims over his unconscious body, and Henry asks if he's going to be okay; he begins to panic and Emma rushes to his aid, hugging him and hiding his view; she tells him not to look. "Come on! Come back to us! Come back to me," Mary Margaret whispers the last part as she listens for the patient's breath. Then, with both hands, the elementary school teacher beats down on the man's chest five times; she opens his mouth and puts her lips onto his, trying to resuscitate him. The mouth-to-mouth becomes more like a kiss and the John Doe suddenly coughs up a puddle of water. The group is shocked and John Doe breathes heavily, looking at Mary Margaret and uttering his first words in 28 years, "You saved me..." Mary Margaret smiles at him, and Henry seems happy that she woke up her Prince Charming; Emma agrees, surprised to have witnessed such a thing, and the John Doe proceeds to thank his rescuer before she asks who he is. "...I don't know," he tells her, but she assures that it's all going to be okay as the ambulance sirens draw closer, ready to pick up the escaped patient.
Meet Mrs. John Doe.
The John Doe is rushed through the hospital on a gurney led by Dr. Whale, who steadies it. The gurney stops next to a series of machines meant to stabilize the patient, and Mary Margaret, Emma, Henry and Graham run up to the doors of the ER and watch as the John Doe is saved. All are worried but he seems all right. A blonde woman suddenly runs through the halls and into the John Doe's room, exclaiming, "David! David! David, is that you?!" Whale tells the woman, who seems happy to see "David", that she can't be in there, proceeding to pull her away as she continually addresses the John Doe. "Who is that?" Mary Margaret asks, to which Regina, arriving on the scene, smugly reveals, "His wife." The four of them, particularly Mary Margaret, are stunned.
Snow tries on Charming's mother's ring.
In the fairytale land that was, Charming and Snow are going back through the Enchanted Forest when the latter stops a little and the prince turns to her; she laughs, an he says that she'll probably be wanting "this", pulling the pouch of Snow's gold coins from his inside pocket. She takes it and thanks him, tying it to her belt, before commenting that he can't get married without "this", handing him the pouch containing his jewels, including his mother's ring. He takes out said ring and stares at it, smiling. He figures that it's not her style, but she says there's only one way to find out, taking the ring and placing it upon her left ring finger. She gazes at it - a perfect fit - and there is a moment of silence as Charming realizes that he never wants to see that ring on anyone else's finger. Snow breaks the moment by lying that he was right: the ring isn't her at all, and she takes it off, handing it back to him and assuring him that his fiancée will love it. Charming smiles and takes the green jewel, placing it back into his pouch and saying that, if she needs more, she can have the rest, because the ring is all he requires. Snow refuses, saying she couldn't do that, and points out that they both got what they wanted. He warns her to be careful, wherever she's going; "If you need anything..." he starts. "You'll find me," Snow finishes for him, and he assures her, "Always." "I almost believe that," the princess tells him. There is another moment of silence before Snow retrieves her sack. They bid each other farewell, with him calling her Snow White and her calling him Prince Charming. He reminds her that it's James, but she says she still likes "Charming" better, and she proceeds to walk away from the prince. He watches her longingly as she does so, before turning around himself and beginning to walk away in the opposite direction. It is at this point that Snow stops and turns, watching him with the same amount of longing as they're forced to part ways - but neither of them want to.
Kathryn thanks Mary Margaret.
In Storybrooke's hospital, Mary Margaret looks at the John Doe, apparently David, as he talks to his wife in his room. "David Nolan, and that's his wife, Kathryn. And the joy on her face; well... it's put me in quite the forgiving mood," Regina explains, looking towards Emma. She then tells Henry that they'll talk about his insubordination later; she asks him if he knows what insubordination means and he shakes his head, leading her to tell him that it means he's grounded. Mary Margaret is about to say something when Kathryn emerges from David's room, thanking the teacher for finding her husband. Mary Margaret says that she doesn't understand, wondering how she didn't know he was there in a coma, and Kathryn explains, "A few years ago, David and I were... not getting along. It was my fault, not that he'd know that now. I was difficult and unsupportive. I told him that if he didn't like things, he could leave, and he did. And I didn't stop him. It was the worst mistake I ever made." Emma is curious as to why she didn't go looking for him and she says she assumed he had left town by this time, but now she knows why she never heard from him and gets to do what she's wanted to do forever: say she's sorry. "Now we get a second chance." Holding back tears, Mary Margaret tells her that that's wonderful, and Dr. Whale proceeds to walk out of David's room, telling them that it's been something of a miracle. Kathryn asks if her husband's okay and Whale informs her that, physically, he's on the mend, but his memory may take some time to return assuming it returns at all. Mary Margaret asks what brought him back and Whale says that there's no indication; something just clicked him. "He just got up and decided to go for a stroll?" Emma asks, disbelieving, and Whale explains that he woke up delirious and his first instinct was supposedly to go and find something. Henry amends him to say that David was looking for someone, and both Mary Margaret and Regina turn to him before letting the comment go. Kathryn asks Dr. Whale if she can see David and he allows it, opening the door for her; she walks on through it and Regina sternly tells her son that it's time to go. He gets up and begins to follow her; however, he tells her to wait because he forgot his backpack. Henry grabs the bag and whispers to Mary Margaret: "Don't believe them, you're the one he was looking for." "Henry..." she tries, but the boy explains that he was heading for the Troll Bridge like at the end of the story. Mary Margaret assumes he was going there because it was the last thing she read to him, but the boy insists that it's because they belong together, and this statement gets to Mary Margaret. Regina calls for Henry and he goes with his mother, but Emma turns her head, not liking this situation one bit.
Emma is suspicious...
Regina and Henry are walking through the hospital halls as Emma runs after them, calling after the Mayor as she catches up. Regina tells her son to wait by the car and he obliges by leaving, and she proceeds to tell "Miss Swan" that she let her off the hook back there, then advising her not to press it. Emma apologizes, but says that Mrs. Nolan's story sounds like a "bunch of crap", for all this time there was John Doe lying in a coma and nobody puts it in the news or goes looking; something's not right with that. Regina tilts her head, asking Emma what would make sense to her. She questions why Mrs. Nolan would lie, then joking that maybe the blonde thinks she cast a spell on her. "I think it's rather strange you've been his emergency contact all these years... and you only found her now," Emma notes, and Regina assures her that this town is bigger than she knows; it's entirely possible to get lost there, and entirely possible for bad things to happen. "Just when you manage to solve the mystery..." Emma says and, to her confusion, Regina says that it was thanks to her. She explains that the tape Emma found was a stroke of genius; so, she went back and looked at past tapes, and it turns out "Mr. Doe" has been talking in his sleep, calling out for a Kathryn. After that, it wasn't hard for her to put the pieces together, and here she thought Emma and Mary Margaret would be pleased because true love won out. "So bask in the moment, dear. Were it not for you two, they would have lived their lives completely alone. That's why I'm willing to forgive your incessant rudeness... because, all this has reminded me of something oh so very important: how grateful I am to have Henry, because not having someone, well... that's the worst curse imaginable."
Mary Margaret welcomes her new roommate.
In his room, David hugs Kathryn as Mary Margaret watches through the glass, he suddenly turns his attention away from his loving wife and to the woman who found him. They stare at each other, into one another's eyes. Mary Margaret looks sad and down to a ring on her finger which she begins to slip off... Charming's mother's ring.
Later, in her apartment, Mary Margaret is fiddling with the ring in her hand when there is a knock at her door and she goes to answer it. It's Emma. "Sorry to bother you so late. Is that spare room still available?" she asks. Mary Margaret smiles and nods, beckoning Emma inside. Emma walks into the apartment and her new roommate closes the door.
In the hospital's surveillance room, Mary Margaret, Emma, Graham, Leroy and Walter are all watching tapes which show John Doe exiting the hospital. Mary Margaret is pleased that the patient walked out alone and is therefore safe. Emma asks where the door he walks out of the hospital leads to. "The woods," Leroy tells her. Graham looks at him, surprised. "Let's go," he says, pulling his radio from his jacket and speaking into it, explaining the situation to back-up. Emma and Mary Margaret also ready themselves and leave the surveillance room.
Mary Margaret wants to accompany the rescuers.
Emma, Graham and Mary Margaret walk down the hospital stairs, ready to go and find the John Doe. Emma tells Mary Margaret that she should wait there and that they will call her as soon as they know anything. They reach the bottom of the stairs and Mary Margaret tells Emma that she refuses to sit by the phone. Emma tries to reason with her but Mary Margaret firmly tells her that she's tagging along. "Ladies, we don't have time to argue," Graham reminds them, nearer the hospital's exit. Mary Margaret says that if anyone should be out there, it's her, as she started all of this. Emma argues that it was actually her that started all of it as she never should have asked Mary Margaret to read that book to him. Graham checks his watch. "Well, I did. And, all due respect, but it's my hand he grabbed... he was reaching out to me. And I should have stayed there with him, but I didn't, and you heard what that doctor said... if anything happens to him... it's on me. So you have one of two choices: you can either let me come with you, or I go out there alone." Emma says that she guesses she's going with them, and Mary Margaret is pleased with this, saying that they should go find him and walking towards the exit. Emma looks to her friend and follows.
- The title card features a troll.
- Although credited, Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket) and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin) are absent from this episode.
- Charming reveals his name to be "James" in this episode. However, in episode 1.06 we learn James was his twin brother's name. In 2.13 we learn that Charming's real name is actually "David".
During the filming of the scene in which Snow White is captured by the Queen's henchmen, actress Ginnifer Goodwin was injured by a horse that ran right into her, sending her flying and causing her to injure her hand and face. Goodwin also commented that co-star Jennifer Morrison taught her to perform CPR during a scene with Josh Dallas, as Morrison learned the procedure while she was a regular on House M.D.
Despite being off 5% from the second airing, as well as the only ABC program to retain its double digit lead, the episode continued the series' dominance in the Sunday night 8 P.M. timeslot, placing a 3.7 among 18-49s and a 6.6/10 overall, with approximately 11.4 million viewers tuning in. It ranked second in its timeslot behind Football Night in America on NBC, but ahead of The Simpsons on FOX and The Amazing Race on CBS.
- Shaunna Murphy of EW.com was positively critical of this episode, writing "This week's Once Upon A Time continued down its fortunate path of of getting better each week, giving us a healthy mix of mythology (badass Snow White!) and plot-of-the-week fun.", and particularly praising Ginnifer Goodwin's dual performance as Snow White/Mary Margaret. 
- Christine Orlando of TVFanatic.com praised the episode for its portrayal of the character of Snow White, and its deviation from her origins as a dainty damsel in distress. She rated the episode 4.7/5, and the average rating by users adds up to 4.6/5. 
- Andrea Reiher of Zap2It.com commented that this episode replaced the pilot as her favorite of the series at that point, adding "If they continue to be this good, this show should be in for a long run." Goodwin's performance was, again, praised: "she really knows how to make me cry. First in the premiere, now in this episode. She's a wonderful, captivating actress." 
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Ginnifer Goodwin tweet, November 6, 2011.
- ↑ Ginnifer Goodwin tweet, November 6, 2011.
- ↑ "TV ratings: 'Once Upon a Time' solid again Sunday, NFL scores for NBC", by Rick Porter, Zap2It.com, November 7, 2011.
- ↑ "TV Ratings Sunday: 'Once Upon a Time' Falls, But Not Far; Ravens-Steelers Dominates Night", by Robert Seidman, Zap2It.com, November 7, 2011.
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time' recap: The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, And Deep", by Shaunna Murphy, EW.com, November 7, 2011.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time Review: A Snow White Worth Fighting For",by Christine Orlando, TVFanatic.com, November 6, 2011.
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time': Snow falls in love, by Andrea Reiher, Zap2It.com, November 6, 2011.