Once Upon a Time’s standalone episodes can occasionally go off the rails (see: the Dr. Frankenstein episode a few weeks ago). Other times the episodes don’t necessarily advance the story, but are still quite enjoyable. This week’s Ruby-centric episode fell into the second camp, although the ending did move the mythological plot forward slightly. Or backwards, depending on how you look at it.
Cursed Again. The first full moon since the curse had broken in Storybrooke finally arrived and, with it, Ruby’s fear of her wolf. David pointed out that she had gained control over her wolf long ago (more on that soon), but since she hadn’t changed in 28 years while the curse was in effect, she was concerned about it now. Unfortunately, during the night she broke out of the cage she and Granny had built inside of the diner and Billy – a nice former-mouse from Cinderella’s home – had ended up dead. When Granny and David found Ruby in the woods instead of the cage her worst fears were brought to life and she believed she had killed Billy.
Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold. As it turns out, Ruby’s killing spree wasn’t real and was a plan concocted solely by Spencer/King George. Earlier in the episode, Spencer confronted David and told him that he had every intention of exposing David as a fraud, not worthy to be a prince or a sheriff. David was confident in his abilities, reminding Spencer that he had bested him once and would be happy to do so again. David seemed quite surprised to see Spencer in town, making me wonder how he and Snow White managed to defeat King George in the fairytale world. Did they kill him? Lock him up in a dungeon? We know they didn’t kill the Evil Queen when they managed to re-take the kingdom, but how did they defeat George? That’s still unknown. As David tried to find a way to convince Ruby she wasn’t guilty, Spencer decided to rile up the townspeople, telling them that Ruby was a killer and David was harboring her.
Torches and Pitchforks. The townsfolk took to the streets, determined to track Ruby down when it became clear she was no longer in the police station where David had been hiding her. Instead, she was trying to hide out with Belle, but she eventually decided to face the mob, telling her new friend that their justice was nothing less than what she deserved. Meanwhile, Granny and David discovered that Spencer was the person who had killed the man and framed Ruby for it, along with stealing Ruby’s cloak. As Spencer and his mob cornered the wolf, David appeared in the nick of time with her cloak and managed to convince everyone that Ruby shouldn’t be harmed. Convincing Ruby took a bit longer, but she eventually changed back into a human and, when she and David realized that Spencer had run, she joined her friend in tracking him.
Plan B. As it turns out, Spencer had a back-up plan when his quest to discredit David failed. At the beginning of the episode the dwarves finally discovered diamonds in the mines and the Blue Fairy told them and David that they could have fairy dust as soon as the next day, thus allowing them to add magic back to Jefferson’s hat and, hopefully, opening a portal to retrieve Emma and Mary Margaret. While the Fairy instructed David to hide the hat, Spencer somehow got his hands on it and burned it when Ruby and David finally caught up with him, destroying their chances of using the hat to open a portal. Devastated, David wondered how he would tell Henry about the lost hat, but Ruby was hopefully he would find another way to get Mary Margaret and Emma back.
Strange Dreams. As it turns out, Henry had some other problems to deal with when we finally got a look at that strange mutual dream he and Aurora are sharing. While Henry slept, we saw him and Aurora trapped inside a burning room, but this time he awoke to find Regina by his bedside and a burn on his hand. Regina immediately called Mr. Gold, who explained that people who had been put under a sleeping curse often traveled back to a sort of “in between place” while their souls had previously resided. Mr. Gold gave him a necklace that would allow him to control his journey in these dreams. Later, we saw him manage to stop the fire and speak directly with Aurora, who woke up in the fairytale world and told Mary Margaret and Emma that the other person she had been seeing in her dreams was a boy named Henry.
Embracing the Wolf. We also got additional backstory on Ruby in the fairytale land that took place when we saw her and Snow running from Queen’s men. The two split up and she happened upon a man who immediately identified her as a fellow werewolf. He took her to their pack’s den and revealed none other than her mother. It turns out Anita had not been killed by hunters as Granny had told Red all those years ago, but had embraced her wolf and now led a pack of werewolves. She taught Red how to do the same and this gave Red a newfound control over her wolf. But trouble began when Snow managed to track her friend down. After hearing about Red’s mother and her new control over the wolf, Snow was prepared to let her friend remain behind with her new pack and continue traveling on her own, but the Queen’s soldiers had followed Snow. When a member of the pack died because of the soliders, Anita ordered Red to kill Snow, telling her daughter that danger always followed humans. Red refused and so Anita changed into a wolf to do it here, but Red’s wolf attacked her mother and accidentally killed her. Despite Red’s tearful apology, Anita brushed off her daughter in her final moments. Later, Red and Snow buried Anita and headed off again together.
Once Upon a Time will be on hiatus next week but will return with an all new episode on November 25th. Watch a preview.