Recap: ONCE UPON A TIME Snow Returned Home And The Writers Should Be Ashamed


Episode 518 “Ruby Slippers”
Written by Andrew Chambliss and Bill Wolkoff
Directed by Eriq La Salle

I have not had the urge to slap the writers as much as I have after watching this episode. Ruby and Mulan have been such good characters. So why is it that they are now only being used when the writers try to shoehorn in something that doesn’t belong? Previously, it was the train wreck of a Merida story. This time, it’s “social relevance”.



In flashback to Oz, Mulan (Jamie Chung) was helping Ruby (Meghan Ory) look for her pack in order to try and fill a need in her life. That is where they came upon the crossbow wielding warrior Dorothy Gale (Teri Reeves). Ruby’s wolf nature scared Toto off. So the two helped Dorothy find Toto, who had been captured by Zelena (Rebecca Mader), wanting the Silver Slippers in exchange for the dog’s return. Dorothy refused to give up the slippers.

Fast forward a bit. Ruby and Dorothy were going to find Zelena while giving each other nicknames when flying monkeys attacked. Ruby wolfed out and saved Dorothy. Later, Ruby confided in Mulan that she had feelings for Dorothy.

Trying to protect Ruby from Zelena, Dorothy went into the Wicked Witch’s inner sanctum to stop her. Zelena responded by pricking Dorothy with a cursed needle, enacting yet another sleep spell requiring yet another true love’s kiss. Isn’t that topic a bit worn out already?

Clichés and stereotypes all around. (ABC/Jack Rowand)
Clichés and stereotypes all around. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

Back in the Underworld, Ruby went there to find Zelena in order to find out what she did with Dorothy. When the sleep spell in Oz was discovered, our intrepid heroes set out to find Auntie Em (Gina Stockdale) to bottle up true love’s kiss to use on Dorothy. They found her running a diner. But before she could bottle up a kiss for Dorothy, Hades (Greg Germann) turned her into a puddle of water as an example of what happens to those who help our heroes. He then sopped up the water with a towel and squeezed it into a jar. He later dumped Auntie Em’s remains into the River of Lost Souls.

Regina (Lana Parrilla) managed to talk Zelena out of the Silver Slippers in order for Ruby to be the one to deliver true love’s kiss. And since the phone booth that allowed Snow (Gennifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) to contact their baby was ordered taken out by Hades, they needed one of the two to return to Storybrooke for him. Killian (Colin O’Donoghue) crossed off Snow’s name from the grave stone and replaced it with David so that Snow could return with Ruby. This was the one piece of really decent writing in this entire episode.

Ruby ended up making it to Oz where Dorothy was lying on an altar surrounded by Munchkins (in a direct likeness to Snow White surrounded by the Seven Dwarfs in the animated classic). And dashing all hopes that Toto licking Dorothy’s face would be the true love’s kiss, Ruby woke Dorothy. The two then declared their love for each other and kissed again.

Silver Slippers can get a person around the TSA. (ABC/Jack Rowand)
Silver Slippers can get a person around the TSA. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

In talking to Zelena, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) realized that much like Dark Swan sped up Zelena’s pregnancy, Hades could take her baby at any time. Her solution was to prick her own finger with a cursed needle to self inflict (ugh) yet another sleep spell requiring yet another true love’s kiss to overcome. She didn’t expect Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) to become the man she needed him to be to bring her out of it. Instead, he would have to find Belle’s father to do the job. Maybe this could be the thing that brings Rumpel back to heroism. One can hope.

So in conclusion, the writers used the overused sleep spell requiring the overused kiss of true love to overcome it. And instead of Mulan being attracted to Dorothy, they made Ruby (who accidentally killed her first boyfriend) into a bisexual for the purposes of a single episode. And now Mulan (warrior) and Dorothy (warrior) are lesbians and the one who turns into a fierce beast is bi. Talk about stereotyping. Could they not figure out how to make them into truck drivers? It seems as if instead of providing a good episode, the writers pulled out overused cliches and stereotypes in order to shoehorn in lesbians kissing and hoping the classic Disney reference would hide the bad writing. Shame on you, writers. You’ve proven to be better than that.

Hopefully, the next episode will include more original writing and less clichés. Get back to the good stories and not awkward attempts as social relevancy.


Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.


Daniel C. Handley

Dan Handley was raised a Trekkie, fell in love with "Star Wars" at an early age, and became obsessed with comic book superheroes. He spent his youth dreaming of how to get real superpowers, starships, and so on.

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