"What Happened to Frederick" is the 13th episode of Once Upon a Time.
With their love for each other growing stronger, David finally agrees to tell Kathryn about his relationship with Mary Margaret and put an end to his loveless marriage. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, while runaway groom Prince Charming searches for Snow White, he agrees to aid Abigail on a dangerous mission to recover something precious that was lost to her.
Once upon a time, an Evil Queen banished every storybook character you've ever known...
We see Regina relish in her curse being made as the large flames swirl upwards. She looks at it with an evil smirk as it lights up her face. ("The Thing You Love Most") Hansel and Gretel walk through the Enchanted Forest, lost, and looking for their father. ("True North") Red emerges from some bushes. ("7:15 A.M.") Snow White and Prince Charming stand at the alter during their wedding. ("Pilot") Mary Margaret and David take a romantic stroll together. ("That Still Small Voice")
To our world...
Regina clutches Henry's book and menacingly stares at herself in the mirror. ("Pilot")
Who knows the truth?
Mr. Gold walks across the street. ("The Thing You Love Most")
And who can break the spell?
Emma glares at Mr. Gold. ("The Price of Gold") August shows Emma his typewriter. ("7:15 A.M.") Henry warns Emma that you cannot "play with the curse". ("Pilot") Queen Regina sends out a fireball. ("The Thing You Love Most") Henry shows Emma where he keeps his storybook hidden. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree") Mary Margaret tells Emma if people are supposed to be together, then they'll find a way. ("Skin Deep") Regina watches from afar as Mary Margaret and David kiss. ("7:15 A.M.") Charming sends out a note to Snow White. ("7:15 A.M.") King George threatens Snow White, saying if she doesn't tell Charming that she doesn't love him, then he will have him killed. ("7:15 A.M.") Henry's book is stolen by August Booth. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree")
ONCE UPON A TIME
Abigail arrives for her wedding.
In the fairytale land, outside a beautiful palace in a luscious kingdom, a carriage rides down a dirt road and stops when it reaches King George and some guards, who are stood on the road. A guard opens, revealing Princess Abigail inside. George helps Abigail out, stating her beauty grows each day and it's an honor for her to join his family. As Abigail thanks his majesty, the guards nearby start shouting as if they are in a hurry and they gallop off on their horses. Abigail asks if everything is okay, which he assures her it is and his guards are just making sure that everything is safe for the royal wedding. He then excuses himself and angrily tells one of the guards to "find him", hinting that Prince Charming has gone missing for his wedding.
Charming escapes King George's guards.
Meanwhile, Charming is running away on his horse as he is being chased by multiple of the king's guards, who are also on horses. They fire crossbows at him, but all their shots miss. When Charming comes across a fallen tree, his horse successfully jumps over it, but the guards horses do not, giving him chance to escape. They run around the tree, but fail to find him so they split up. Charming watches from the bushes as the guards leave the area and then turns back around to escape. However, when he turns around two men in purple cloaks approach him and put a bag over his head, kidnapping him.
Kathryn wants to go to Law school in Boston.
In Storybrooke, at David and Kathryn's house, they are both sat at their dining table eating dinner in an awkward silence. David compliments the food, but Kathryn doesn't thank him as there appears to be something on her mind. She tells him they need to discuss something and then she reveals that she has applied to go to Law school. David is proud of Kathryn and asks why she never told him. She explains she never thought she could do it, but then shows him her letter of acceptance which arrived earlier in the day. David is shocked to see the school is in Boston. Kathryn admits things have been hard between them and suggests a fresh start may help them. She tells them they maybe should have been busy making new memories instead of remembering old ones. David seems uncomfortable about the concept of moving to Boston, so lets out a fake little smile and laugh to put Kathryn at ease.
Abigail offers to help Charming escape.
Back in the fairytale world, Charming is knocked down to his kneels with his hands bound. One of the cloaked men removes the prince's hood and he starts asking them who they are. The other man pulls out a long dagger and points it menacingly at Charming. The man just stands and looks at Charming for a short while, so Charming asks what he's waiting for, stating his lack of fear. The man with the knife leans towards Charming and then cuts his binds. He steps to the side, revealing Princess Abigail stood behind him. Charming is shocked to see Abigail and asks what she is doing. She tells him she wanted to get her hands on him before King George "ripped him to shreds". He asks how she knew he was going to run, so she explains she has ears in the King's Court. She then reveals she knows of Charming's love for Snow White, telling Charming he has no intention of getting married. Charming says he'd rather be killed than marry someone he doesn't love, so Abigail comforts him and says she wanted to help him escape, not kill him. He asks why he'd want to help her, so she tells him she doesn't want to marry him either.
David and Mary Margaret don't want to lie anymore.
Back in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and David have met up in the street for a walk. Mary asks David what he told Kathryn, so he explains that he said he needed to go for a walk to clear his head. Mary Margaret presumes he didn't say the walk would be with her; he confirms this. Clearly upset, she asks why their default is to lie. She states that they aren't being honest and she tells David they must tell Kathryn the truth about their affair. David seems worried by this idea and he tells Mary Margaret that he doesn't think he can do that. She tells him he has to, stating if they can't be honest with other people then they can't be honest with each other. David asks if it's the best plan, so Mary asks what his plan is. He says he doesn't know, so she asks if it is to move to Boston. He quickly says "no". Mary tells David the only way nobody will be hurt is if they don't want to be together. She asks if that's what he wants, but he firmly tells her "no". Mary repeats that they have to tell Kathryn as it's better coming from him than someone else. After saying he chooses to be with Mary, she tells him it's time to tell Kathryn, which is eventually agrees to. However, as Mary Margaret continues the walk, David stays back a few seconds, filled with fear.
Emma learns the stranger's name.
The next morning, as Emma walks to Granny's Diner, she notices the stranger's motorcycle parked on the road outside. As she heads inside, he comes outside, telling Emma he had hoped to bump into her so they could maybe get the drink she promised him. She asks if he is asking her out, so he tells if if putting a label on it makes her more comfortable, then it's a date. Emma reminds him that he came to Storybrooke write and find inspiration. He tells her than he is optimistic about their date. She tells him that she has a policy; not to date any man who doesn't tell her his name. As she walks away, saying it was nice talking to him, he tells her his name is "August W. Booth". Emma mocks the middle initial, so he tells her it stands for "Wayne". He tells Emma she now has no reason to not meet him at the diner after work for her date and then he walks away.
Meanwhile, inside Granny's Diner, Mary Margaret is sat at a table drinking coffee, watching Emma enter the building after her encounter with August Booth. Emma sits down at Mary Margaret's table and is asked curiously who the man was. Emma responds by saying she doesn't know yet. Mary Margaret notices the choice of word "yet", and asks if that means she's going to find out. Emma tells her it's nothing, but Mary Margaret tells Emma that nothing to her means something, because if it was nothing, she wouldn't be talking about it. Emma tells Mary Margaret that she called her to talk about Mary's issues, not her own. Mary tells her talking about Emma is easier than herself right now, so Emma asks what is going on. Mary Margaret whispers her a confession to Emma, that she didn't stay away from David. Emma says she knows, shocking Mary Margaret. When asked how, Emma explains she noticed things, such as a change in dress sense, more perfume etc. She asks why Emma never said anything, so Emma tells her she isn't her mother. Mary Margaret understands, and then jokingly says that she is Emma's mother according to Henry. Emma figured Mary would tell her when it's time, and assume it's the time now. Mary explains that David will tell Kathryn about everything.
Kathryn and David break up.
At Kathryn and David's house, Kathryn is sat at her laptop looking at some websites. As David comes through the door she tells him to come look at some apartments she has found, but she isn't sure on which neighborhood. She asks David if he's ever been to Boston, but he tells her he hasn't. Kathryn suggests asking Emma because she is from Boston. Davis stops Kathryn talking and then he tells her that he cannot go to Boston with her. Seeming like she expected this to happen, she asks if he "can't" or "won't" go with her. David ignores the question and apologizes to Kathryn. He tells her that he doesn't know what to say, so Kathryn asks for the truth, if something else is going on that she doesn't know about. After a very long pause, he simply says "no". He tells Kathryn that something happened that stopped him from being able to connect with her, stating it isn't fair on her to be with him. David admits that Kathryn does need a fresh start...just not with him. Kathryn breaks down into tears over the now certain end of her marriage.
Abigail confesses her love for Frederick.
Back in the fairytale world, the two hooded guards lead the way on their horses as Charming and Princess Abigail follow behind, also riding horses. She tells Charming that they've reached her father's realm, so should be safe here. They all get off their horses and Abigail tells Charming she has provisions waiting for him. She gives him a bag, but he refuses to take it until she tells him what's really going on. He asks why she is showing him any kindness when she claimed to have no feelings for him. He asks what she hasn't told him. Abigail says it isn't about him, but her, for her hearts belongs to another, Frederick, whom she was to wed. Charming asks what happened, so Abigail responds saying everyone has their own tragedies, and a lost love is the worst. She explains reuniting Charming with his love might give her consolation. Charming tells Abigail that he cannot help her there, as his love claimed to not feel for him the way he does for her. Charming concludes that as being his tragedy, but Abigail scoffs, saying that isn't a tragedy. She then takes Charming's hand and kindly asks him to follow her.
Charming offers to save Frederick.
She takes the prince to a gazebo in the middle of the forest which has an apparent statue made of gold in the shape of a knight. She tells Charming that it's the place that Frederick sacrificed his life. Charming apologizes for her loss. He asks if Frederick died in battle, so Abigail explains that they were traveling in a carriage when they were ambushed. She goes on to say that he defended them and died saving her father's life. Charming admires the statue, complimenting the detail. Abigail explains it looks so life-like because it is actually Frederick. She tells him that Frederick threw himself in front of King Midas to defend him, but was accidentally turned to gold in the process. Charming tells her that all curses can be broken and suggests true loves kiss. However, Abigail explains that she tried it until her lips bled. Charming tries to think of something else, so Abigail tells him of a legend; Lake Nostros. Its waters can apparently return something to you which was once lost. Charming asks if she has tried it, to which Abigail explains she obviously has. She tells him that the lake is guarded by a creature which has killed all the men she sent down there to get the water. Charming tells Abigail he will face the guardian and collect the water to save Frederick. Abigail reminds him none have succeeded. However, Charming states one of them should have their happiness, and if he succeeds, she will. If he fails, then he will be freed from his pain.
August replicates the book.
In a dark room somewhere in Storybrooke, August Booth has taken Henry's story book apart and he is cloning the pages to make a copy for himself. After soaking some pages in chemicals, he hangs them onto a line in the room to dry with some other soaked pages. He dries off his fingers and then moves further down the line to some pages which are now dry. He takes one of them off and heads towards a pile of papers. He then starts to sew the book pages back together with a thread, very skillfully, thus making it seem like nothing ever happened to the story book.
Regina apologizes to Henry.
In Storybrooke, over at the mayor's office, Henry and Regina are sit ting on a couch together and the former is holding a present in his hands. His mother cheerfully tells him to open it. Henry asks what the occasion is, so Regina tells him it's because she loves him. He doesn't seem to eager to open the present. When he does, he pulls out a portable video game device. Regina understands Henry misses his book, but explains that with this toy he can do the heroics, save the princesses and be the hero. When he doesn't seem too happy with his gift, Regina asks him to understand that when she tore down the playground she did it for his safety. She asks him not to be upset with her as she really didn't mean to destroy his book. Henry explains the reason he is upset isn't just because of the book, but he misses Emma too.
Regina reveals David's affair to Kathryn.
There's a sudden knock at the office door and Kathryn enters, looking for Regina. She sees she has interrupted a moment with her and Henry, so she apologizes. Regina tells Kathryn not to worry and then she suggests Henry go home and do his homework, promising she'll be there in a bit for dinner. As Henry leaves, Kathryn bursts into tears, so Regina asks what's wrong. Kathryn sadly explains that David is leaving her, forcing Regina to mutter "that little home-wrecker" under her breath. Confused, Kathryn asks what Regina meant, so Regina says "she" couldn't stay away. Kathryn asks who she is talking about, so Regina explains she's talking about Mary Margaret, assuming she knew. Kathryn angrily asks what Mary Margaret has to do with the situation, so Regina tells her David was having an affair with her. Kathryn is utterly shocked and cries even more. Kathryn asks Regina how she knew, so Regina explains that she saw pictures from Sidney, but she decided to keep them hidden. Despite Regina's warning, Kathryn demands to see the pictures. After collecting then from her desk, Regina shows Kathryn pictures of Mary Margaret and David kissing. Feeling betrayed, Kathryn asks why Regina didn't tell her, so she explains that she thought they were working their problems out, stating she wants them to be together. Kathryn asks why she would care and Regina explains she is her friend. However, Kathryn tells Regina a friend wouldn't lie, telling her she always lies. She then leaves the office crying.
Charming goes on without Abigail.
Back in the fairytale world, it's late at night as Abigail and Charming arrive at a shrine, lit with candles, in the middle of the forest. Charming asks what it is, so Abigail explains that it is a shrine for the guardian of the lake. She tells him that every man that goes to the lake visits the shrine and leaves an offering, in hopes that it will have mercy on him. Charming scoffs quietly. He then tells Abigail that he will continue on his own, but she protests. Charming refuses to let her join him, stating he only wants to look after his own life. Abigail reluctantly agrees and then wishes him luck. She looks at the shrine and tells him not to forget to use it, but Charming disrespectfully throws a helmet he was holding onto the shrine, mocking the luck it gave the other men. He then continues down to the lake on his own.
Kathryn confronts Mary Margaret about the affair.
In Storybrooke, at his house, David is sat on his sofa looking at photographs or Kathryn. He puts them down and then calls Mary Margaret using his cell phone. She answers whilst walking around the corridors of her school. She asks if he told Kathryn, and he tells her he did, giving her a sigh of relief. He tells her it was bad, so she apologizes. Mary Margaret tells him that because he told the truth they can now pick up the pieces and start from a "real place". He tells her he wants to see her, and asks if he can see her after school. She tells him he can, and then reminds him that he did the right thing telling Kathryn. David then looks down the phone with extreme guilt, as he didn't actually tell Kathryn. They both hang up, and with that, Kathryn comes walking down the halls, barging into a gym teacher without apologizing. She storms towards Mary Margaret with a furious glare. Mary Margaret is shocked to see her and then she apologizes. Kathryn slaps Mary Margaret across the face and the whole school, in shock, stares at the two women. Mary Margaret explains that she understands that Kathryn is upset, so Kathryn sarcastically thanks her for that insight. Mary asks if they could talk in private, but Kathryn refuses to give her any consideration, as she gave none to her. Mary Margaret explains that they've been completely honest and didn't lie. Kathryn tells her all the reasons why they did lie, and Mary Margaret realizes David didn't tell her the full truth. She tells Kathryn that David promised to tell her, so Kathryn explains he lied to her too. She then coldly wishes Mary luck making it work with David, stating they deserve each other.
Meet the guardian.
Back in the fairytale world, Charming emerges from the trees upon a large lake. He stares into the still water, looking for any signs of the guardian as he removes his cloak. He pulls out a canteen to collect the water, and when he places it into the lake, it creates ripples in the water. A bright blue light appears in the water for a short while, but no guardian appears. Charming stands back up and asks where the guardian is and then demands it make itself known to him. He draws his sword and tells the "beast" to show itself. With that, in the middle of the lake, water begins to bubble and the blue light returns. Charming watches it with anticipation of danger, readying his sword. A beautiful blonde haired woman in wearing a tiara and long, thin, glittering dress floats from underneath and hovers on the top of the water. She smiles at the prince standing before her and says "here I am". Charming stares at her, shocked by the beauty.
August picks Emma up.
In Storybrooke, outside Granny's Diner, August pulls up on the side of the road on his motorcycle and waits there. Emma, who is being observed by Granny and Ruby, asks if he is going to come inside for the drink he wanted. He tells her he does want the drink, but he didn't say at Granny's. He tells Emma to "hop on" She asks if he wants her to get on the bike, so he mockingly tells her that is what "hop on" means. Emma suggests going somewhere that she can drive, so August suggests Emma stop controlling everything and take a leap of faith. Emma rolls her eyes. August states she owes him a drink so tells him to hop on. He tells her he knows a good watering hole. Emma seems reluctant, so Granny, who is watching from afar, jokingly tells Emma if she doesn't go she can take her place. August gets a helmet ready and Emma finally agrees to get on the bike. She sits down, wrapping her arms around August and the two drive away, with Granny smiling at them both.
August reveals his belief in magic.
A while later, the two arrive at a well in the middle of a forest. They both get off the bike and Emma laughs that August was being literal when he said they were going to a watering hole. August states he always tells the truth. Emma explains she was expecting wine or whiskey, so August asks if she wants her to get him drunk. Smiling, she says "no", so he promises to next time; Emma calls him optimistic. He grabs two cups and then tells Emma that the well is supposedly special, even having a legend. He tells Emma that the well is fed by water from an underground lake and the lake has magical properties. Noticing the word "magic", Emma tells August he sounds like Henry. August calls him a smart kid. August continues to tell the legend by explaining if you drink the water, something you lost will supposedly return to you. Emma tells August he knows a lot about Storybrooke for a stranger, so he tells Emma that she knows very little being the sheriff. Emma asks how he knows so much, thinking he has visited before. He tells Emma that he knows all the information for one reason. After a suspenseful pause, he states he read the plaque, looking at a plaque for the well. Emma looks at the plaque for the "wishing well" and she asks if he actually believes it. He explains he has to have an open mind as he is a writer. Emma agrees, but thinks magic is too much to believe. August tells Emma the power of water and explains if anything is to be magical, it would be water. Emma explains it's a lot to belief on faith, so August tells her if she needs evidence to believe anything, she'll be stuck in one place a long time. Emma states that could also means she finds the truth before anyone else. August then tells Emma a fact, the water is good, and they both drink.
Mary Margaret is upset over being judged.
Meanwhile, Mary Margaret is walking down the streets of Storybrooke. She walks towards two women, who are walking in her direction. When the two girls notice Mary Margaret they avoid looking at her whilst they whisper secretively into each others ears, presumably gossiping about her. She then crosses the street and this time a couple seem to look at her, judging her. Horrified and slightly paranoid, Mary Margaret looks around to see if anybody else is looking at her. Suddenly, she walks right into Granny, who is looking through her purse and also doesn't see Mary. They both apologize to each other quickly, but Granny's apologetic expression turns into a scowl. Granny is shocked to see Mary and tells her that she should be ashamed of herself. She then continues walking, leaving Mary Margaret in utter horror, almost crying, as everyone in town now seems to hate her.
The Siren seduces Charming in the form of Snow.
Back in the fairytale world, the guardian walks seductively towards Prince Charming and asks for his name. He doesn't reply, so she asks if he wants to know her name as she can be anyone he wants. Charming points his sword at the guardian and tells her to stop. He claims to know what she is, a siren, and she will deceive him to lure him to his death. The Siren pushes Charming's sword to the side and assures him that she would never hurt such a brave and powerful man. She then strokes his body, explaining there are other things they could do. Charming pushes her away and tells her he shall not fall prey to her deceptions. The Siren scoffs at this remark, asking if he is immune to her. She then steps back and pours water from the lake over herself, causing her to take the form of his beloved Snow White. Charming stares at her with awe, and she asks if he likes her more now, calling him "Charming". Charming insists it is an illusion, but the Siren supposes illusions are sometimes better than the truth, as she can give him what he can't have. She begins to stroke his body seductively, and he seems to enjoy it. She tells him to kiss her, as he knows he wants to. Charming tries to resist, but he finally gives in and the two lock lips.
The Siren is killed by Charming.
The Siren tries to lure Charming out further into the water, but he states he wants reality or nothing. The Siren kisses Charming and asks if it doesn't feel real. The Siren tells Charming that she loves him, but he understands that it is not real, as he has felt love, and claims this doesn't feel like it. The Siren congratulates Charming, saying he's the first. He looks at her with confusion before she suddenly pounces on him and drags him down to the bottom of the lake. She lets go of him for a moment and at the bed of the lake he sees the corpses of past men who have fallen victim to the Siren. He tries to escape by swimming to the surface, but some weeds controlled by the Siren reach out and grab Charming's leg. They drag him back down and he struggles to escape. The Siren swiftly returns and heads towards Charming to finish off the job. All hope seems lost for the prince until he sees something that could help save him, a knife on the bed of the lake. He picks it up and when the Siren arrives, she begins to kiss him again. However, she suddenly stops. She has been stabbed in the stomach. Her dead body floats away and changes back into its original form. Charming cuts the weed wrapped around his leg and then swims to the surface, overjoyed to get his breath back.
David and Mary Margaret break up.
In Storybrooke, David is standing at Mary Margaret's car, washing off red paint that spells out "TRAMP". She comes up behind him and angrily asks who did it. He tells her he doesn't know and apologizes, explaining he didn't know how it happened. She angrily asks him if he really doesn't know, so he takes her to the side and says he cannot control what other people do. She agrees, but tells him he can control what he does. She tells David she knows he lied, claiming everyone is now calling her a "tramp". After a slight pause, David asks who told Kathryn, traumatizing Mary Margaret. She tells him "That is exactly the wrong question. The real question is why didn't you do what we discussed? Why didn't you tell her?". He tells her he thought they could spare her feelings, so Mary tells him that he thought that, but they didn't think that. He tells her he didn't want to hurt Kathryn, but Mary Margaret tells him that everybody is hurt now. She tells him they had an agreement, and he didn't only lie to Kathryn, but he lied to her as well. David begs Mary Margaret to pick up the pieces and move on to see if what they have is love. However, Mary tells him what they have isn't love, but it is destructive, stating it has to stop. They are both clearly upset. David tries to stroke Mary's face, but she pulls away in disgust. David asks what she's saying, so she tells him they shouldn't be together. Upset, David agrees, holding back his tears.
Emma finds Henry's book.
In Storybrooke, Emma walks up to her car to find it covered in leaves. She wipes them off of the bonnet of the car and then she moves around to the back to wipe them off there. Whilst at the back of her car, she notices something in a deep puddle on the floor; a metal box. She pulls it out with her foot and looks inquisitively at it. She opens the box and lets out a little smile when she sees that it is Henry's story book. She picks up the book and then looks around the area to see how it could have possibly got there, but she cannot seem to figure it out. Meanwhile, at the other side of the street, August watches Emma finding the book, indicating that he placed it there for Emma to find.
Kathryn says goodbye to Regina.
Meanwhile, Regina is in her office watering an orchid when Kathryn quietly enters. She compliments the flower and tells Regina she didn't know she was good with plants. Regina jokingly says she's apparently better with them than with people. Regina asks what Kathryn is doing here, so Kathryn tells her she wanted to apologize. Regina tries to stop her, but Kathryn explains she was just angry and confused, so she snapped. She tells Regina she's been fighting to hard to hold onto David without stopping and thinking why. Regina tells her they love each other as they always have. Kathryn tells Regina they don't and tells her David never looked at her the way he looks as Mary Margaret. Regina tells Kathryn not to give up so easily because relationships take work. Kathryn asks if Regina has ever been in love, so she tells her she has, once. Kathryn explains that she has never been in love like David and Mary Margaret are. She tells Regina she wants true love, so she will go out there and find it. Regina asks what she means, so Kathryn explains she's sticking to her plan and moving to Boston, alone. Regina asks what will happen to David, so Kathryn explains she left a letter, telling him and Mary Margaret to be together, angering Regina. Kathryn then hugs her friend goodbye, saying she has been a good friend. Regina asks if Kathryn is really going, so she says she is, despite a fear she's always had of leaving. Regina admits change is frightening. In a cold tone, Regina then tells Kathryn that leaving may be what she needs and she might find what she is looking for. Kathryn smiles, unaware of Regina's anger.
Abigail and Frederick are reunited.
Back in the fairytale world, Abigail is stood waiting beside Frederick, who is still trapped in his golden form. She hears Charming arrive back from the lake and when she sees him, she is overjoyed. He gives Abigail the water from Lake Nostos, and she asks how he managed to slay the guardian. Charming explains her true love was at stake, so it wasn't a battle he could afford to lose. Abigail pours the water over Frederick's golden body and slowly, the gold begins to melt off. When he starts to move, Abigail smiles. Frederick falls to the floor so Abigail removes his helmet and she joyfully kisses him. Confused, Frederick asks what happened to him. She tells him he was trapped, but now he is free. The look lovingly into each others eyes and then kiss again, warming Charming's heart. Frederick notices Charming stood nearby, so Abigail introduces him as the man who freed him. The two shake hands and Frederick expresses his eternal debt to Charming. Looking at Abigail, Charming tells Frederick to pay him back by walking down the aisle with someone he truly loves. He also asks for a horse and supplies for a journey, Frederick complies. Abigail thanks Charming for his help and then asks where he will go. The prince says he shall find Snow White, pleasing Abigail. Charming tells the couple true love is worth fighting for, because when you find it, it can never be replaced. As Charming sets off, Abigail asks how he will find her. He tells her a bird once helped track her down, so he hopes it can again. Abigail wishes him luck and then tells him to make haste, as King George will stop at nothing to kill him now the Union of the Kingdoms has been ruined. Understanding this, Charming continues his journey.
Regina takes Kathryn's letter.
In Storybrooke, Regina arrives at a house with a collection of many antique styled keys with a skull design on them. She takes one of the keys and uses it to open the front door to the house. She slowly and quietly enters the house and then closes the door behind her. Once inside, she walks down a short corridor into a kitchen, where there is a letter marked for "David". It is then clear that this is David and Kathryn's house, and the letter is the one Kathryn left for him, telling him to be with Mary Margaret. Regina picks up the letter and then looks at it to confirm that it is the right one. Smiling evilly, she then places the letter into her handbag and makes her way out of the house.
Emma returns Henry's book.
At Storybrooke Elementary School, as the school bell rings and all the children head home, Henry sits on a bench outside, playing with his new portable games console. Emma comes up beside him, telling him she loves the game his is playing, Space Paranoids. He tells Emma that Regina bought it for him. Scared they'll be caught together, Henry explains his mother will be picking him up in five minutes. Emma tells him she'll be quick then, and hands him his storybook. He is overjoyed to see it and asks where she found it. She tells him it was in a gutter, confusing them both. Emma suggests a crazy explanation as to how it got there, saying there is no other explanation. Henry sees this as a sign that their luck is changing and announces that Operation Cobra is back on. He tells Emma that things will get better, and she hopes they do. She then says she has to go, leaving Henry very happy with his newly returned book. He opens one of the pages, revealing a picture of Prince Charming on a horse.
Red assures Charming that Snow loves him.
Back in the fairytale world, Prince Charming emerges from a forest into a large open field with a small cottage in the distance. He shouts out for Snow White, asking if she is there. However, despite his many calls, she does not respond. Red Riding Hood, hearing his shouting, emerges from some shrubs and tells him she isn't here, claiming she never returned after leaving to find him. Charming insists that he will find her then, as he will always find her. Red smiles. He states he will convince Snow they belong together and he will fight for their love. Red explains that there won't be much of a fight because Snow wants to be with him more than anything. Charming asks Red not to mock him and he tells her what Snow said to him. However, Red explains Snow left to break up the wedding because she loves him. Charming then realizes that King George forced Snow to change her mind on the way. With that, King George and his men gallop towards Red and Charming, wanting his head. Charming gets on his horse with Red and then they both escape, narrowly avoiding arrows that are being fired at them.
Emma comforts Mary Margaret.
In Storybrooke, at Emma and Mary Margaret's apartment, Emma comes into Mary Margaret's room to find the latter lying on her bed, cuddling a large pink pillow, mourning the loss of her relationship with David. Emma tentatively asks Mary if she feels like talking about "it". Mary simply responds by saying "nope". Emma asks Mary Margaret if she wants to be alone, so Mary responds again by saying "nope". Emma then lays down on the bed beside Mary Margaret, keeping her company and ready to comfort her.
Regina is back in control.
Over at Regina's office, Regina opens up a drawer in a filing cabinet and takes out the letter that Kathryn had written for David. Also in the drawer is a can of red spray pain that has recently been used, revealing that she's the one who wrote "TRAMP" on Mary Margaret's car. As she walks away with the letter, she picks up a lighter from a table. Meanwhile, Kathryn is in her car, ready to leave Storybrooke. Whilst the car is stopped at a red light, she seems scared to continue the journey. However, she quickly snaps out of it and smiles, realizing it is for the best, and she continues driving. Back in Regina's office, she sets the letter on fire with the lighter. Kathryn approaches the exit of Storybrooke as the letter burns more and more. Regina then throws it in the fireplace. The gym teacher from the school, who is driving down the same road as Kathryn notices a car on the side of the road. He gets out of his car and opens the driver side door of Kathryn's car, but there is nobody there. He begins to panic and looks around for the driver of the vehicle. In the office, Regina smiles evilly as the letter burns, and everything seems to be going to plan for her.
- The title card features Frederick, preserved as a gold statue, standing within a gazebo.
- Although credited, Raphael Sbarge (Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket) and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin) are absent from this episode. However, Sbarge was featured in promotional stills, so it is assumed his scenes were cut.
- This marks the third writing credit for David-Paul Grove, and marks the third directing credit for Dean White.
Ratings and viewership for this episode were up from the previous episode. It had an 18-49 rating of 3.1 and was seen by 9.84 million viewers, up 9 percent, and although it was still down from "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" it was able to win its timeslot for the night.
In Canada, the episode finished in eighteenth place for the week with an estimated 1.497 million viewers, a decrease from the 1.55 million of the previous episode.
This episode garnered generally positive reviews from critics.
- Hilary Busis of Entertainment Weekly displayed excitement for what this episode meant for the plot of the season, finishing with, "After using her giant ring o’keys to get into David and Kathryn’s house, Regina snatches up the letter Kathryn wrote for her husband. She then brings the letter to her office and burns it. Kathryn, meanwhile, happily drives out of town – but she doesn’t get far. At the end of the episode, Gym Teacher discovers that her car’s been abandoned by the side of the road. Though the airbag has been deployed, Kathryn – or at least Kathryn’s body – is nowhere to be seen. Who’s ready for a murder mystery?"
- Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club gave the episode a highly positive review, appreciating the turnaround of the series; she began her review by saying, "A few episodes ago, I would have thought Once Upon A Time was an unsalvageable series, but after “What Happened To Frederick,” I’m beginning to see the potential in the show’s concept." She went on to express disappointment over the departure of Kathryn.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.