‘Once Upon A Time’ recap: ‘The Other Shoe’
This blog contains spoilers from “Once Upon A Time” Season 6, Ep. 3 “The Other Shoe”
Cinderella (Jessy Schram) made her return to “Once” in a re-telling of the classic tale we thought we knew. The show had already put a twist on Princess Ella’s story by making Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) the fairy godfather and having him try to take her baby. And now, with untold stories playing out all over Storybrooke, we learned that Cinderella has an untold story of her own.
The episode kicks off with Regina (Lana Parrilla), Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) carrying a casserole dish to visit Mr. Hyde (Sam Witwer). Evidently, Regina was hoping her lasagna was the key to getting Hyde to spill secrets on how to stop the Evil Queen.
“It’s hard to stay one step ahead of yourself. Isn’t it, Regina?” Hyde says as the trio enter the cell.
As it turns out, Regina is one step ahead of herself — Hyde is already dining by candlelight having already been visited by the Queen and he tells them the price for information has now escalated well beyond the cost of a home-cooked meal.
The next morning, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) and Henry (Jared Gilmore) are pouring over the list of arrivals from the Land of Untold Stories at Granny’s when Ashley (Cinderella’s Storybrooke alias) greets them. She asks to look over the list of new arrivals.
Flashback to the Enchanted Forest
A footman brings the invitation to the royal ball to the Tremaine household while Ella sweeps outside. One of her stepsisters, Clorinda, is especially rude to the man, fully living up to the “wicked stepsister” persona. Later, Ella asks if she too can attend the ball. After mocking this ridiculous notion, her stepmother balks at the rags she’s wearing. Ella says she does have one dress — given to her by her mother — as she pulls out the pink frock reminiscent of the first gown worn in the animated Disney classic. Prompted by Lady Tremaine, Clorinda throws the dress into the fire, which in turn leads to the sisters dubbing Ella “Cinderella” when she’s covered with cinders from the fire.
Trying to cheer her up, Gus the mouse pushes a key toward her that her mother once told her had magical powers that could transport you to a land of untold stories.
In Present-day Storybrooke
Emma goes to see Dr. Hopper (Raphael Sbarge) again after seeing how happy Ashley was with her daughter and husband. Faced with visions of her impending death and continually failing magic, Emma fears she can’t truly embrace happiness. Archie says that any day that he could get hit by a bus, but that doesn’t stop him from walking out the door.
“I’ve fought for everybody else’s happy endings and I don’t get mine,” she says.
“Maybe it’s not about how you end things, maybe it’s about how you live them,” Archie responds.
Thomas (Ashley’s husband) runs up to Emma as she’s leaving Archie’s office, saying Ashley is missing and left a note about Clorinda. His shotgun is also missing.
Emma says she’ll track down Cinderella the only way she knows how — with her shoe and magically produces one of Ashley’s Converse tennis shoes.
Regina, Snow and Charming are working with Dr. Jekyll (Hank Harris) to come up with a new serum to defeat the Evil Queen. Regina realizes to stay a step ahead of herself, that she needs to think like the Evil Queen, realizing she would attack cracks already in a family — her sister, Zelena (Rebecca Mader).
Snow expresses frustration with the constant cycle of “repeat and defeat” and wonders if things will ever resemble anything normal again. She tells Charming she misses times during the first curse when she was just a teacher and he agrees that she should go back to that once they stop the Evil Queen. After Jekyll laments the fact he doesn’t have proper equipment, Snow gets the idea to hook him up with Dr. Frankenstein’s (David Anders) lab.
Hook, Henry and Emma embark on Operation Cobra Part II — every shoe belongs to a foot — and set off to find Ashley.
Back in the Enchanted Forest
Cinderella makes it to the ball, immediately befriends Snow and dances with Prince Thomas who is obviously smitten. As he breaks to talk with Clorinda, Lady Tremaine tells Ella that they’re talking about her, that she’s a joke and everyone knows it and that Thomas is in love with Clorinda. Devastated, Ella runs from the ball, leaving her glass slipper, of course.
Once home, Ella considers trying her mother’s key to go the Land of Untold Stories. Just as she’s ready to step into the other realm, Clorinda rushes in. She tells Ella she’s got things all wrong — the prince loves Ella, not her and is searching the kingdom for her. Clorinda says the prince was only passing along a message — she is marrying the prince’s footman, Jacob. She knew Lady Tremaine would never approve of her marrying a servant, so she had to put on an act and she, too, has felt like a prisoner her whole life. She tells Ella she and Jacob are planning to go away together that night. Ella gives her the key before she leaves.
Later, Lady Tremaine confronts Ella demanding to know Clorinda’s whereabouts. She manipulates Ella by finding the glass slipper, knowing that’s her only physical proof that she’s the girl the prince seeks. Terrified of the slipper breaking, Ella reveals that Clorinda is meeting Jacob at the guard tower. Lady Tremaine then smugly drops the slipper anyway and it shatters.
She locks Ella in her room and sets off after Clorinda. Shortly after, Snow and Thomas pull up. Snow has tracked Ella to the house and even though it appears no one is home, she has a feeling that she is indeed still there. With Gus’ help, they free Ella and Thomas says she doesn’t need any proof — he loves her and proposes. The three hurry to find Clorinda and Jacob.
Lady Tremaine knocks Jacob unconscious and raises her staff, Ella runs up to tell them she’s now engaged to Thomas. Seething with rage at her perceived misfortune, Lady Tremaine uses the key to forcibly take Clorinda through the portal to the Land of Untold Stories, leaving Jacob and Ella behind.
Return to Storybrooke
Emma, Hook and Henry catch up with Ashley at the docks fearing that she’s going to hurt Clorinda. Ashley then reveals that she was the one who was wicked and that she’s trying to fix their story.
The heroes are confronted by the Evil Queen, who tells Emma she can’t save everyone and Cinderella’s story is not going to end well. She wants Emma to see what happens when happy endings turn to dust. She poofs the group to a dirt road, seemingly stopping them from helping Ashley. With her magic waning, Henry encourages Emma to use her other skills to track her down. Henry realizes he has the Land of Untold Stories book and consults it to find out how Clorinda’s story was supposed to play out.
At a pumpkin patch, Ashley rushes into a barn to find Clorinda bleeding. She bends down to help her, only to find the wound is a fake. Ashley begins to apologize, but Clorinda says she can’t forgive her and neither can Lady Tremaine, who appears holding the shotgun. However, Clorinda doesn’t know that Jacob has been in Storybrooke the whole time and that they’re actually on his farm until Tremaine drags him into the barn. She prepares to shoot him as Ashley steps in front. Tremaine admits a gun is a coward’s weapon, and for a split-second, seems to forgo her revenge, but then stabs Ashley in the stomach.
Emma, Henry and Hook arrive as Ashley is lying on the ground. With Henry’s encouragement, Emma is able to summon enough magic to heal Ashley’s wound and Tremaine is sent to the Storybrooke chain gang.
As the gang relishes the happy end to the day’s events, Emma takes a big leap of faith and finally asks Hook to move in with her.
“Sometimes you have to walk out the door and hope there’s not a bus,” she says.
After the Evil Queen told Charming last week his father’s death might not have been an accident, he went to Rumple to find proof. He discovered his father had been stabbed and wasn’t drunkenly killed in the cart accident. He is torn that his father’s killer could still be on the loose. Snow tries to convince him that their family — Emma, baby Neal — is worth more than a decades-old crime and vengeance. He says he is going to burn the record so he doesn’t have to think about it, but instead blows out the candle after Snow goes to bed.
The episode ends as the Evil Queen is commiserating with Hyde about her thwarted plans in his cell. He tells her he can’t do much good from inside the prison walls, and she magically evaporates his shackles and they stroll arm and arm down the hallway. Things are about to get real interesting in Storybrooke.