Season 3 Episode 3

Once Upon a Time

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Oct 19, 2000 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
336 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

With Piper growing more concerned that Leo will never return, Prue and Phoebe try to save a little girl and a fairy princess from evil Trolls. When Prue and Phoebe need Piper's help, her concern with Leo causes a spell to backfire, placing the girl in danger.moreless

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  • I don't mind the story line. But don't like the production.

    Ok straight off, why call Phoebe to tell her about the dream when she was all of 5 minutes away from home... Just ask her how far away she is? Seems like a conversation to have face to face anyway.

    I found the dream sequence with Piper kinda sad. I liked that Leo did what he could to say goodbye though and I found her 'protest' quite well written and acted. She does her overly emotional scenes well.

    I didn't like how much Piper was willing to not believe though (you're witches who fight demons but it's ridiculous to believe in fairies?). And the first time they lose their keys is because of the fairies in this instance, even though they're helping the girl with their princess so why not help them?

    I don't mind having fairies, I mean they deal with the supernatural, so even if people think it's too 'childish' and not like Supernatural where they deal with dark creatures, I like that they're willing to expand to all forms of the supernatural. Later on it can get a bit ridiculous but I found this story ok.

    I do agree with others though, I hated the Prue and Phoebe childish scene. Especially the baby voices. If they had of done all they did with their normal voices it would've been alright, they would be acting like kids. But just talking like you're talking to a baby isn't really the same...

    I like Cole's story line. I think we found out a bit too soon personally that he's supernatural, but i like that he isn't doing anything over the top to warrant attention and that they're taking their time with him. If you're going to plant a mole, you wouldn't just get him to blow his cover on day one.moreless
  • Once Upon a Time

    Once Upon a Time was a perfect episode of Charmed and I really liked watching this episode because it had fairies, trolls and a big scary demon, oh my! The story was fun and brought back memories of the magic of childhood. There was some great character development and plot progression as Cole works his way into the Halliwell residence and we see his true demon face. Piper is discontent after Leo disappears for over a week while Prue and Phoebe reconnect with their inner child in order to see what a little girl they are helping sees. There was suspense, intrigue and magic of course and a few good laughs as well as some scary scenes. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Piper shows no respect to her Elders and the little girl with the troll problem...

    Unlike most things in Charmed, Season 3 actually took its time getting Cole close enough to the sisters, and Phoebe, before launching into his story line as Belthazar.

    With that still developing, the second and third episodes of the season focus more on Piper's continued frustrations with Leo and the rules that keep them apart, coupled, of course, with your weekly supernatural bad to be dealt with.

    Last episode the conflict revolved around a story ripped from Ladyhawk. This episode involves a conflict at least partially ripped from Cat's Eye, where once again we have a young girl terrorized by diminutive trolls. In the movie, the troll was after the little girl, who was protected by a cat; here the troll is after a fairy who is protected by the little girl. In the midst of this, some fairy dust gets involved, and we have Phoebe and Prue momentarily converted, at least mentally, into their grammar school selves, as again Charmed mixes comedy with horror elements. The trolls v. fairies is a somewhat convoluted subplot that frankly I'm not sure I cared enough about to follow along properly. Fortunately, Holly absolutely carried this episode with her boiling point frustration over the loss of Leo. The opening dream sequence and the tremendous scene in the parking lot where she demanded Leo be returned to her make this episode worth seeing. In fact, her snappy dourness is very reminiscent, or pre-niscent if you will, of her mood once Leo is taken from her again in the latter half of Season 8. I was surprised they brought back Leo so quickly, basically ending that conflict, but again, this is Charmed, where few conflicts last long before being wrapped up.moreless
  • The Kids Aren't Alright...

    The general consensus regarding season three is that it's one of the stronger season's from this witchly series, an example of the show in its prime. Hmm. Three episodes in and I'm already finding the standards to be appalling, embarrassing even. While similar shows like Buffy have shaky beginnings, there's always a hint of the arc to come and, of course, all of the givens that come with the supernatural show (strong acting, writing, directing); but with Charmed it seems as though the big-wigs believe their target audience happen to be lil' toddlers and so we have yet another offering tailored for such an audience, ghastly stuff!

    Of course the three leading ladies give it their all despite a script only a mother could love. And while Piper has some good moments, they're so jarring when juxtaposed to Phoebe and Prue's shenanigans that you can't take anything that occurs within this hour seriously.

    Final Vanquish: Ya know what's worse than working with kids & animals? Watching 30-something actors pretend they're children....although Alyssa has a lot more fun with the premise in season 7. Skip it unless you're in desperate need of a Charmed fix, in which case I urge you to get help.moreless
  • Never Act with Animals or Kids #4

    And they wonder why Shannen called Charmed childish after she left the show?? I found it difficult to watch this episode as it was probably the most mind-numbingly awful episode EVER!

    Once Upon a Time has Prue and Phoebe turning themselves into their child selves so they can rescue a young girl and her pet fairy princess from a group of demonic trolls.

    The most embarrassing moments from this episode are when Phoebe and Prue start acting like children, which Alyssa and Shannen believe they can put across by putting on lame, phoney accents and acting like they've just been pumped full of novocaine. The whole troll storyline is pathetic. Alyssa Milano is particularly irritating throughout the episode, putting on a baby-talk voice even more extreme than normal, something which makes you want to take a shower with a toaster oven.

    Like Magic Hour, do the writers think we would be interested about some 8 year old at the mercy of some bad special effects trolls? Piper's storyline is the only thing keeping Charmed alive. You really feel sorry for her and Holly Marie Combs works wonders with some awful material.

    Director: Joel J Feigenbaum

    Writer: Krista Vernoff

    Rating: Fmoreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (13)

    • When Piper is in the parking lot of P3, she falls into a perfectly circular light shining from the light post. The light fixture was not circular and also the light shining onto the asphalt would not have a sharp defined shape.

    • Phoebe was going to go get Kate's jacket but her parents left without it.

    • When Cole transforms in the attic, one sees only his face and it stays on the same height during the entire transformation, yet in later episodes one can see that Cole's demonic form is at least a head higher than his human form.

    • TRIVIA: This episode features Paul Van Dyk's song Tell Me Why.

    • TRIVIA: This episode reveals that Prue was born in 1971 (but the month/day was not mentioned), Piper was born August 7, 1973 and Phoebe was born November 2, 1975.

    • In this episode, Piper claims she cannot freeze the trolls because they are moving too fast. Yet in two previous episodes she has frozen bullets in mid air. Surely she would remember this?

    • In this episode, Phoebe says she will not be out-stubborned by a Gemini referring to Piper. However, in the episode Pardon My Past, the family tree shows Piper's date of birth as August 7, 1973, which would make her a Leo not a Gemini.

    • TRIVIA: Piper mentions the Tooth Fairy in this episode. The Tooth Fairy is a fictional character in modern Western culture said to give children a small amount of money (or sometimes a gift) in exchange for a deciduous tooth when it comes out of a child's mouth.

    • TRIVIA: Phoebe says to Cole Turner over the telephone, "Piper likes to tease me. I like to get the mail a lot." This is a pun and refers to Alyssa's romantic life.

    • When Thistle turns Kate into a person again (just before she is hit with the dust) she is facing away from the girls, but when she is human she is facing towards them.

    • Phoebe says that at midnight the world itself becomes an "in-between" - but that is not true because of the different time zones around the world, the whole world is not experiencing midnight at the same moment.

    • When Phoebe levitates in the forest, in the shot where she says "Prue, a little help here!" You can see that her pants are all bunched up from the harness they used.

    • When Piper gets attacked by trolls in the car park of P3, she falls over and her handbag is thrown outside of the circle, but in the next shot the bag is in the circle with Piper.

  • QUOTES (35)

    • Cole: Can I use the bathroom?
      Phoebe: Number one, or number two?
      Prue (giggling): He needs to make a poopie!
      Cole: Excuse me?

    • Leo: They had forbidden me from ever seeing you again. But now... I don't know what you said or did, but they said you showed great courage and great faith. Enough to make them reconsider.
      Phoebe: Does that mean you guys could get married now? (Prue gives her a bump) What? I wanna know.
      Leo: Not yet. It means they're giving us a chance to prove we can make it work.
      Phoebe: What do you mean, like probation?

    • Phoebe (to Piper): You are being a big, big, big, extra, extra, double big jerk right now!

    • Cole: Course we could always have dinner instead.
      Phoebe: Are you asking me out, counsellor?
      Cole: Guilty.

    • Piper (about the Elders): Why are they doing this to us? It's like destroying lives is how they amuse themselves.
      Prue: Piper, watch what you say.
      Piper: Why? What are they gonna do to me? They couldn't hurt me more than they already have.

    • (Talking about falling down the stairs)
      Cole: You two seem different.
      Phoebe: Different?
      Cole: I mean, I thought maybe you were, I don't know drunk or something before. Now you seem...
      Prue: Sober. (Cole raises his eyebrows) (Prue hesitantly and slowly) Stairs can be... sobering.
      Phoebe: Right, ok, um, I'm really sorry about our plans there, Cole. I really am.
      Cole: No worries. I'll keep trying.
      Phoebe (Mocking sarcastically): Stairs can be sobering?!
      Prue: Ok, what was I supposed to say? That some unknown demon came in to steal our magic book and little trolls came and pushed us down the stairs?
      Phoebe (Sarcastic): Right.

    • Piper: What are they doing?
      Prue: Looks like they're trying to start a fire, although I don't really think that it's for roasting marshmallows.

    • Piper: First troll I see is in really big trouble.

    • Prue (talking about Piper): She said that she was coming, right?
      Phoebe: What, did you think I just made that part up?

    • Phoebe (to Prue): That's why you're the older sister, you are always thinking.

    • Phoebe: Did you not look at those drawings?
      Piper: They're cute, yes.
      Phoebe: Cute? Cute? We all had the same invisible fairy friend, Piper. That is proof that fairies exist.
      Piper: Or... it proves that one of us had a really fertile imagination and the other two were really good copycats.

    • Phoebe: You really gotta lay off the rhyming, Prue.

    • Piper: (calling) Phoebe, phone. (Phoebe comes and takes the phone.) It's your little lawyer boyfriend.
      Phoebe: So there. And he is not my boyfriend.
      Piper: Weird.
      Phoebe (into the phone): Hello?
      Cole: Who's not your boyfriend?
      Phoebe: Um... the mailman. Sometimes Piper likes to tease me because I like to get the mail...a lot.

    • (on the phone)
      Cole: Turner.
      Phoebe: Hi. Cole. What are you doing in the office at 2 in the morning?
      Cole: What are you doing calling my office at 2 in the morning?
      Phoebe: I was just gonna leave you a message. Save you the trouble of having to talk to me.
      Cole: Why would I ever not wanna talk to you?
      Phoebe: I... I don't know, you know. Just in case you thought I was a drunk or a lunatic or a drunk lunatic.
      Cole: I think I'm gonna go with "mystery". One I'm looking forward to figuring out.
      Phoebe: Okay. I'm gonna go then and be mysterious.
      Cole: I'll call you.
      Phoebe: I will answer.

    • Phoebe: Prue, that was a very, very big troll.
      Prue: That's not a troll, it was a demon!

    • Prue: I want to see the fairy.

    • Phoebe (about the little girl): I gotta go to the car and get her jacket. (she walks over to the key hook.) Uh, keys?
      Prue: What?
      Phoebe: You know, silver shiny things that go jingle jingle.

    • Cole: Do you think I could use your rest room?
      Phoebe (rolling her eyes): Number 1 or number 2?
      Prue (giggling): He has to go tootie.

    • Prue: Do you think trolls know about doorbells?

    • Phoebe: Ow.
      Piper: Yep.
      Prue: Ice?
      Phoebe: Bed.

    • Prue (right after the trolls ran through the fire and burst into flames): Oh, now that is just the way I like my trolls, medium well.

    • Piper: Fairy dust?
      Phoebe: Yep.
      Piper: Okay, great, so you can go home now and reverse it, Tinkerbell.

    • (Prue and Phoebe are on stage singing the song If You're Happy And You Know It at P3 when Piper walks in) Piper: What the hell is going on? Abby: You think this is bad? You should've been here for Frere Jacques.

    • Kate (about Thistle): The trolls are gonna kill her unless her parents hand over the kingdom.
      Phoebe (to Prue): It's a miniature coup d'état.

    • Piper: And after what they did to Leo, I'm not really all that motivated to go dig up demons for them.
      Phoebe: Trolls.
      Piper: Whatever.

    • Phoebe (to Piper): I don't wanna be out-stubborned by a Gemini.

    • (Piper and Phoebe are arguing about what attacked Kate)
      Prue (stepping in between them): Okay. So, it's kinda late, and, ummm, we're all a little bit tired so how about we finish this up tomorrow?
      Phoebe (to Piper): Now look what you did, you went and turned Prue into the middle child.

    • Piper: Why are you being so stubborn about this?
      Phoebe: Because I'm a Scorpio, what's your excuse?

    • Prue (on the phone): Hey, uh, it's me.
      Phoebe: It's amazing how much stress you can project with so few words, Prue.

    • Piper: The tooth fairy is going to come and harass us all for not flossing?

    • Piper: Come on, Phoebe, trolls and fairies? You don't believe that stuff.
      Phoebe: Sure, why not?
      Piper: Well, maybe it's time we tell her about Santa...

    • Piper: The Powers That Be haven't done anything but ruin my life so, therefore, I'm not gonna do anything for them anymore, okay? I'm going now. Excuse me, I'm going now.
      (Piper pushes past them and leaves)
      Prue (under her breath): Ow.
      Phoebe (sighing): I think she's on strike.

    • Piper: Okay, what ass-backward spell did you guys cast?

    • Phoebe: Are you worried?
      Prue: When are you going to learn? I am always worried.

    • Piper: You better run while you can, you little rodents. I bet you guys think this is real funny, don't you?Haven't you taken enough from me? You have to send trolls to kick me while I'm down? I had a nice normal life once. And you took that from me. You took my boyfriend, you took my life, the least you could do is leave me my freaking car keys!

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Episode Titles: Czech Republic: Bylo - nebylo (Once Upon a Time) France: Il était une fois... (Once upon a time...) Italy: C'era una volta (Once upon a time) Germany: Von Feen und Trollen (Fairies and trolls)

    • For this episode, Rachel David (Kate) was nominated for the 2001 Young Artist Award for "Best Performance in a TV Drama Series-Guest Starring Young Actress".

    • This episode scored 5.4 million viewers.


    • Piper (in total exasperation with her sisters, to Phoebe): Go home and reverse the spell, Tinkerbell.

      This is a reference to the novel Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and was later turned into numerous films and musicals. Tinkerbell was the fairy that was Peter Pan's sidekick.

    • Title: Once Upon a Time

      This is a reference to the commonly used in fairy tales phrase "Once upon a time, in a land far far away...".