Once Upon a Time

Season 1 Episode 20

The Stranger

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Apr 29, 2012 on ABC

Episode Recap

August goes to Emma and Mary Margaret's apartment and puts in a new lock to keep Regina out. Mary Margaret heads off for school for the first time since she's been out of jail, and suggests that they need to worry about Emma now that she's threatened to take Henry back. Emma explains that she's hired Gold to start proceedings. Henry calls Emma and says that they have an Operation Cobra emergency and asks her to meet him at the diner. As Emma leaves, August tells her that she needs to see the big picture if she's going to fight Regina. He asks her to take a leap of faith, take the day off, and come with her, but Emma insists that her kid needs her and walks away.

At the diner, Henry shows Emma that there's a new incomplete story in his storybook, and figured that the person wanted to tell them something about the curse. The story is about Pinocchio and Henry figures that maybe there's more to it then they know.


Gepetto and Pinocchio are at sea in a raft in the middle of a storm as the whale catches up to them. They realize that they have to abandon ship and Gepetto gives his son a float. Pinocchio insists that he can float but Gepetto insists on giving it to him. As the whale attacks them, Pinocchio dives overboard and tells his father to save himself.

The next morning, Gepetto wakes up on the shore and realizes that his son gave him the float to save him. He sees Pinocchio lying on the beach, seemingly dead, and runs to his side. When he wishes that he could have saved him, the Blue Fairy appears and says that they still can. She waves her wand and transforms Pinocchio into a real boy. Gepetto thanks her and the Blue Fairy tells them to live their life together as a family. As they go, the Blue Fairy tells Pinocchio to remain brave, true, and unselfish, and as long as he does then he'll be a real boy.


August is at his apartment and finally calls Gold and says that they need to meet about Emma. He warns the pawnbroker that there's a problem. As August gets up to go, his legs bother him again. When he pulls back his pants legs, he reveals that his legs are made of wood.

Mary Margaret arrives at school and Regina is waiting for her. She asks about Henry and Mary Margaret says that she's with his biological mother. When Regina wonders what is wrong, Mary Margaret points out that someone went to a great deal of trouble to frame her, and tells Regina that she forgives her. The teacher says that Regina must be lonely if her only joy comes from ruining other people, and warns her that it won't make her happy no matter how many lives she ruins. As Henry shows up, Mary Margaret walks away and Regina tells her son that he forgot his lunchbox. The mayor then says that it's time for a change and suggests that they transfer him to another Henry asks why she framed Mary Margaret and says that she's the Evil Queen, but Regina says that the teacher should be grateful she doesn't have her fired. Her son stands up, says that Snow White will win and the curse will be ended no matter what, and walks away.

August arrives at the pawnshop and finds Marco there offering to repair a clock to Gold. Marco looks at August for a moment and then leaves, walking past him. Gold then asks August why a man who is dying is afraid of telling his father who he really is, but August insists that it's his business. The pawnbroker then asks how August is doing at convincing Emma to break the curse, and August admits that it's slow going. He says that he needs help from Gold since Emma is coming to him for legal advice, and Gold agrees to provide a gentle nudge to get Emma in the right direction.


Gepetto shows Pinocchio how to repair clocks and discovers that his son has tricked Jiminy into the clock. Jiminy says that it's okay, and the Blue Fairy arrives and says that she has bad news. Once Jiminy takes Pinocchio to his room, the Blue Fairy tells Gepetto that the Evil Queen has threatened the kingdom with a curse. The only thing they can do is have Gepetto save Snow White's child by protecting her from the curse. He needs to carve a vessel from a magic tree, but Gepetto refuses to lose his boy. The Blue Fairy tells him to build the wardrobe to save them all.


Emma meets with Gold and says that she has to get Henry back. However, Gold refuses to take the case, warning that Henry would suffer in the drawn-out legal fight. Emma begs him to change his mind but Gold refuses and she leaves as Gold smiles in triumphant. She then goes to August's apartment and asks him to show her the big picture like he said.

David is leaving work and sees Regina across the street having trouble with her car. He offers to help and offers her a ride home when he discovers that her battery is dead. David drives her home and takes her groceries in for her, and she invites him to stay for dinner. He begs off and she has him set the bags down inside. There's a note from Henry that Regina planted in advance, and she tells David that her son is avoiding her by having dinner with Archie after his session. David takes pity on her and agrees to stay for supper.


Gepetto, Pinocchio, and Jiminy go into the woods to find the magic tree. The Blue Fairy explains that it is the last enchanted tree in the kingdom and it contains enough magic to protect two people. The plan is that Snow and Prince Charming will enter the wardrobe, go to a land without magic, and give birth to the savior that will save them in the child's 28th year. Gepetto wonders if Pinocchio will become a puppet again when the curse strikes, and says that he will only build the wardrobe if Pinocchio is assured the second spot. Jiminy warns that he can't bargain with the kingdom's safety at stake, but Gepetto reminds him that he was the one who condemned Gepetto's parents and tells him to stay out of it. The Blue Fairy wonders what they will tell Prince Charming and Snow, and Gepetto says to tell them that the tree only has enough magic to protect one.

Later, The Blue Fairy addresses the council and she and Gepetto both say that it can only protect one. Jiminy remains silent.


August drives Emma past the town's borders and tells her that he's going to tell her his story.

David finishes dinner with Regina and offers to do the dishes. He asks the story about how she found him and Regina explains that she working later in the winter and drove home, but turned around when she realized that she forgot her cell phone. Regina saw David on the side of the road, frozen almost to death. David thinks that it was like a miracle, and Regina kisses him briefly. He draws back and hopes that she didn't misunderstand him, but says that what they have is great. Once David leaves, Regina turns to the mirror and then smashes it.


As the curse draws closer, the Blue Fairy goes to Gepetto and tells him that Snow is giving birth earlier and she must accompany her daughter to protect the child in a land without magic. The Blue Fairy asks Gepetto to tell Snow for she has preparations to make with the other fairies, and tells him that they must have faith that the savior will restore everything that they lose. Once she loses, Gepetto tells Pinocchio to get into the wardrobe. With Jiminy objects, Gepetto says that Pinocchio will be the one who protects the child and help her fulfill her destiny. When Pinocchio says that Gepetto told him to be honest, his father says that sometimes they must lie to protect the ones they love. He tells Pinocchio to protect the child and make sure that in twenty-eight years he makes the savior believe in her destiny. Pinocchio agrees and Jiminy tells him that as long as he remains brave, truthful, and selfless then he won't fail. As Pinocchio enters the wardrobe, Gepetto tells his son that he will be a great man and that he'll look upon him with pride when they meet again. The carver closes the doors briefly and when he opens them again, Pinocchio has disappeared.


That night, August takes Emma to a diner and she demands to know what he's doing. He tells her that she's been there before and explains that when she was found as a baby, she was taken to the diner. When Emma asks what it has to do with August's story, August says that he was the seven-year-old boy who found her.


Pinocchio finds himself in the real world by a tree and cowers in fear as a plane flies overhead. When he tries to go back into the wardrobe, a force repels him back and knocks him unconscious. When he wakes up, sees waves of energy spreading out from the tree and finds Snow and Charming's baby inside, crying.


August takes Emma to the forest where the tree is, and tries to explain that he lied about where he found her. When Emma doesn't believe him, August tells her about the blanket and the note, things that nobody else would know. Emma asks why he lied and August says that he did so to protect her. He shows her the tree and says that they both came into the world through the tree. Emma realizes that he was the one who put the story in Henry's book and asks how it ends, and August tells her that it ends with her believing.

When she starts to walk away, August goes after her but collapses in pain. Emma asks is what his wrong with his legs and August says that he failed. She thinks that he's trying to make her feel sorry for him, but August says that he's sick. August says that he was on the island of Phuket trying to lose himself in pleasure when Emma decided to stay in Storybrooke. That was when he woke up with a shooting pain because time moved forward in Storybrooke. August admits that he was supposed to be there for her and wasn't because he had strayed. He then pulls up his pant leg and shows her his wooden leg. However, Emma sees it as a normal human leg and sees nothing unusual. August realizes that her denial is more powerful than he thought and she doesn't want to believe. He tells Emma that everyone in town needs her but Emma doesn't want the responsibility. August points out that she didn't want Henry at first but now she does, and Emma tells him that it's all she can handle and she's not doing a good job of that. He tells Emma that none of that changes the truth and she's their only hope. Emma tells him that they're screwed and walks away.


At a foster home, Pinocchio tries to comfort baby Emma and gets her to stop crying. When he borrows some tools to fix Emma's crib, the owner, Mr. Raskind, catches him at it and tells him never to touch the tools again. Once Raskind leaves, one of the boys, Gordie, tells Pinocchio that he's stolen enough money to buy them all bus tickets. He asks Pinocchio if he wants to go but warns that they can't take Emma with him. After a moment, Pinocchio turns to Emma and says goodbye.


August goes to Marco's home and sees him working in the garage. He tells Marco how to fix the clock, and Marco wonders how taught him that. August says that his father taught him but admits that he didn't become the man that his father wanted him to be. He explains that he made a promise but by the time he got around to making good on it, it was too late. Marco says that the important thing is that August made a mistake but tried to fix it, and says that if he had a son that would be enough for him. After a moment, August asks if he would take on an assistant. Marco warns that he can't pay him and August says that he just feels like fixing things. Marco ushers him in and has him start working

Emma calls a sleeping Henry on his radio and says that she needs to talk to him. She has Henry come downstairs and asks him if he wants to get away from Regina. Henry says that he wants that more than anything and Emma starts up the car and starts to drive out of Storybrooke.

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