"A Land Without Magic" is the twenty-second and final episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz and directed by Dean White. It is the twenty-second episode of the series overall, and premiered on May 13, 2012.
Emma and Regina team together in order to find a way to save Henry's life. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Prince Charming attempts to escape from the Evil Queen's clutches in order to reunite with Snow White who, unbeknownst to him, has already taken a bite of the Queen's poison apple.
In Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming is trying to break out of his cell in the dungeon of the Dark Palace. A pair of guards arrive to escort him to his execution; however, he manages to escape while he is being moved, with help from another guard. This guard is revealed to be the Huntsman, who guides Prince Charming out of the castle and gives him his sword and some supplies.
In Storybrooke, Sheriff Emma Swan rushes to the hospital with Henry Mills. Dr. Whale asks what happened and Emma shows him the apple turn-over that Henry has eaten. Emma believes it was poisoned, but Dr. Whale dismisses this theory, saying Henry shows no visible signs of poisoning. Emma is distraught and demands an answer, but Dr. Whale does not have one for her. As Emma dumps open Henry's bag and sees his book, Dr. Whale says it is almost as if Henry has been struck by magic. Starting to believe, Emma picks up the book and the book flashes red - she witnesses a montage of events which occurred when she was a baby in the Enchanted Forest. Mayor Regina Mills arrives and Emma attacks her. She drags her to a storage closet, where she furiously accuses Regina of poisoning Henry. Distressed, Regina admits to the truth and Emma is further shocked. Regina adds that magic in this world is unpredictable and Emma questions what they should do. Regina says that they need help from the only other person who knows about magic. Emma alludes to Mr. Gold, and Regina responds that he is better known as Rumplestiltskin.
In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen paces back and forth as the Huntsman enters. She questions why the Huntsman let Prince Charming escape and the Huntsman says that he will find him. At the Queen's request, the Magic Mirror shows Prince Charming running through the forest and the Queen magically transports him to the Infinite Forest. While running, Charming meets Rumplestiltskin who informs him of where he is and that the forest is inescapable - however, he offers his help. Rumplestiltskin enchants Prince Charming's mother's ring so that it will glow bright as he gets closer to Snow White. Prince Charming, refusing to make a deal, and attempts to fight Rumplestiltskin for the ring, but Rumplestiltskin is able to heal himself and easily overpowers the prince. Rumplestiltskin says he wants Snow White and Prince Charming to be together, and that he will help him find her, on one condition.
In Storybrooke, David meets Mary Margaret by her car and apologizes for not believing in her, explaining that he does not understand why he does not make the right choices. David says he feels love for her and reveals that he is leaving Storybrooke to go to Boston, unless she can give him a reason not to. Mary Margaret, still hurt, cannot give him that reason and gets into her car.
In the Enchanted Forest, Rumplestiltskin shows Prince Charming the bottled true love potion, created from Snow White and Prince Charming's hair. He admits that he loved someone once a long time ago, but that she died, which he alludes to being why he seemingly wants to protect true love. Rumplestiltskin asks Prince Charming to hide it in the belly of the beast, for a "rainy day".
In Storybrooke, Regina and Emma visit Mr. Gold at his shop and ask for his help. He says that he has a bottle of true love that he smuggled from the Enchanted Forest. However, he warns them that retrieving it is the main problem and that it is Emma who must obtain the potion of true love. Mr. Gold asks Regina if their 'friend' is still in the basement because he hid it in her. To equip her for the quest, Mr. Gold gives Emma her father's sword.
Before retrieving the potion, Emma visits Henry, who is now in a coma. Emma apologizes to him for not believing. As she goes, she leaves the book with him for when he wakes up, and Regina walks in to say something. She cries and tells Henry she is sorry. Jefferson appears in the room but Regina tells him "now is not a good time". Regina says the deal was not completed as Emma did not eat the apple. Jefferson objects and, spitefully, Regina says she knows Jefferson cannot kill her and she leaves. Emma visits August, seeking help, but she discovers him, in his bed, slowly turning back to wood. August is happy that Emma finally believes. Emma tells him that she cannot save everyone without his help, but he believes that she can save Henry. August's transformation back to wood completes as Emma looks on helplessly.
Regina and Emma meet outside the clock tower and enter the boarded up, locked building. Inside, Regina reveals an elevator hidden behind a wall and explains that she must operate it whilst Emma goes down. She also explains that she trapped a 'friend' as punishment, but in a different form. Emma unsheathes the sword and goes down in the elevator.
In the Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming confronts Maleficent in the Forbidden Fortress, demanding to know where the "beast that guards the castle" is. Maleficent quickly repels him away and magically extinguishes all the candles in the room, leaving Prince Charming swinging his sword wildly in the dark. She then transforms into a dragon and the two start to fight. Prince Charming looks for a way to get the dragon to eat the egg. He jumps on her back and implants the egg in her before jumping out a window into the lake far below.
Later, Prince Charming rejoins Rumplestiltskin, who is waiting on shore, and regains the ring from him. He declares that with the ring, he will find Snow White. Rumplestiltskin says something is missing and magically transforms the Prince's outfit into more regal attire.
In Storybrooke, Emma descends down the elevator shaft and exits into the mining tunnels deep underground, where she passes by Snow White's coffin. She backs up against a wall, when a giant green eye appears. The wall turns out to be a dragon and Emma backs away, briefly overwhelmed and frightened. She casts the sword aside and draws her gun, shooting at the dragon with no effect. The dragon slips down into a chasm and Emma thinks that she is gone but she reappears.
Mary Margaret reads the storybook to Henry as he lies comatose in the hospital. She sadly explains to him why she gave him the book - to help him understand that life does not always have a happy ending. Henry's heart rate starts to fall and doctors rush into the ward. A panicking Mary Margaret is escorted from the room. Amidst the rush, a man, revealed to be Jefferson, walks through a secured door, leading to the cell where Belle is confined. After drugging the duty nurse and releasing Belle, he instructs her to find Mr. Gold and tell him Regina locked her up.
Emma continues fighting the Dragon, to no avail. As the dragon rushes toward her, Emma takes the sword and hurls it at the dragon. Maleficent's dragon form is struck by the sword and destroyed, and amongst the ashy remains lies the egg.
In the Enchanted Forest, Prince Charming gallops on horse-back through the forest down a path and comes across Snow White's glass coffin, surrounded by dwarves, who are mourning her loss. They tell Charming that he is too late. He begs the dwarves to open the coffin, and they do. Charming gives Snow White one farewell kiss and magically, she awakens and they are reunited.
Later, Prince Charming and Snow White are walking along a beach overlooking King George's castle. Snow White asks Charming how he found her and he shows her the enchanted ring. Prince Charming proposes to Snow White and she joyfully accepts. Charming mentions that his father and her step-mother are still a problem, and Snow White suggests they take back the kingdom. When Charming asks how they will do that, she says they will do it together.
In Storybrooke, David begins the drive out of Storybrooke forever. Emma is on her way when the elevator stops and Mr. Gold appears. He tells her that Regina meant to trap her and has sabotaged the elevator, so she must throw the egg to him. He takes the egg from Emma and promises her that her boy will be fine. He departs, leaving Emma in the elevator. As she climbs out of the shaft, Emma discovers Regina, tied to a chair and gagged. Regina is freed and declares that Mr. Gold tricked them into retrieving the egg for him. Suddenly, both women's cell phones begin to ring. Emma answers hers and announces that it is the hospital. The two rush to the hospital, but are confronted with the news that Henry has died. Both women are visibly distraught, as Emma enters the ICU.
Mr. Gold is opening up the egg in his shop and removes the bottle of true love. He hears someone enter and quickly hides the bottle. It is Belle's counterpart, who, disheveled and seemingly confused, tells him that Regina locked her up. He is shocked, but clearly overjoyed that she is alive and promises her that he will protect her. Confused, she asks if she knows him, and he replies that she will.
Back at the hospital, Regina looks on Henry's lifeless body and breaks down crying on Dr. Whale's shoulder. Emma, still shocked, slowly approaches Henry's body, silently weeping, and says she loves him. She bends over and kisses him gently on the forehead. As her tears fall on Henry, a wave of magical light radiates out from them, similar to what occurred with Snow White when she was kissed by Prince Charming. Henry then wakes up, much to the amazement of those gathered. The wave of magic spreads out through all of Storybrooke, affecting Mary Margaret, Ruby and her Granny, Archie Hopper, and David, who stops his truck before the city limits. Henry tells Emma that she has broken the curse, much to Regina's dismay. Everyone in the room looks at Regina and Mother Superior advises 'Her Majesty' to hide. Before she leaves, Regina tells Henry that she really does love him. David returns to Storybrooke and he and Mary Margaret call to each other on the street by their true names, "Snow" and "Charming". The two then kiss.
Meanwhile, an upset Regina is crying in Henry's bedroom, into his pillow. Belle and Mr. Gold are walking in the forest and she abruptly tells him to wait, using his true name Rumplestiltskin. She says she remembers everything and that she loves him. Mr. Gold replies that he loves her too, but there will be "plenty of time for that." The two hug and they then continue to walk. They arrive at the wishing well. Mr. Gold drops the bottle of true love down into its waters, which can return that which was lost. A purple mist begins to spew forth from the well, it quickly spreads out into the town. Everyone in Storybrooke takes notice, as the mist begins to come to Storybrooke. When asked by Emma, Henry refers to it as "something bad". Mr. Gold explains to Belle's counterpart that magic is coming to Storybrooke. She questions why he would want that, and he replies "because magic is power."
Regina looks out of Henry's window and smiles wickedly as she sees the purple mist approaching and spreading over Storybrooke. The final scene zooms in on the town clock as it ticks for a final time, striking 8:15, before it is engulfed by the mist.
*: Only in archive footage
- The title card features the Dark Curse. This is the first title card not to be accompanied by the usual opening music.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on March 20, 2012.
- During the filming of the brief fight scene between Emma and Regina, Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla both suffered bruises from the way they slammed each other into the walls.
- In the episode script, the scenes where Emma and her father fight the dragon Maleficent, were written as two separate scenes. The inter-cutting between the two fights, was the editor's idea.
- Emma shouting "Hey" to the dragon before she attacks, like her father did, was Jennifer Morrison's idea.
- The shot overlooking Storybrooke with the wave of magic travelling towards the camera is reused for the scene where where Regina releases Storybrooke's magic from the Olympian Crystal in "An Untold Story".
- Many fans were onset for the filming of Snow White and Prince Charming's reunion after the curse is broken. Since the director did not want fans to be aware the curse was broken, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas decided to say words which rhymed with Snow and Charming so they could dub over in ADR. At the San Diego Comic Con, Dallas stated he shouted, "Joe!" while Goodwin said, "Farming".
- The smoke that pours out of the well and sweeps through Storybrooke was originally going to be green to match the mist that consumed the Enchanted Forest in "Pilot". However, it was changed to purple to be "more symbolic and magical".
- This is the only season finale not to feature Granny's Diner.
- The Land Without Magic events take place after "An Apple Red as Blood" and before "Broken". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Enchanted Forest events occur immediately after "An Apple Red as Blood" and before "Lost Girl". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- Henry is in hospital room R2 42; the same Kathryn stayed in during "The Return". The same number is in the supply room where Dr. Whale and the others go to discuss the Greg Mendell's situation in "In the Name of the Brother".
- When Emma touches the book, flashbacks from "Pilot" occur.
- The reason for Maleficent being underneath the library is revealed in "The Evil Queen". This episode also explains what happened to her after she turned to dust.
- The secret elevator in the library appears again in "The Outsider" and "The Evil Queen".
- Emma mentions battling Maleficent in "Lady of the Lake" and "The Heart of the Truest Believer".
- Emma throwing her father's sword over her head at Maleficent is reminiscent of a scene in "Pilot" where Charming throws his sword in a similar fashion at the Evil Queen when she interrupts his wedding to Snow White.
- Rumplestiltskin wears the cloak that Prince Charming gave him in "Heart of Darkness".
- The origin of the marionettes in Mr. Gold's pawnshop is explored in "That Still Small Voice".
- Rumplestiltskin mentions Belle's death; a lie the Evil Queen told him in "Skin Deep".
- The locator spell is used again in "We Are Both", "The Jolly Roger" and "Smash the Mirror".
- The name "S. Glass" appears on a name plate outside a room in the psychiatric ward of Storybrooke General Hospital. Sidney is eventually released from the psychiatric ward in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
- When the curse is broken, the view of Storybrooke is the same view glimpsed from Jefferson's house in the morning in "Hat Trick".
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the Snow White fairytale, focusing on Prince Charming's journey to rescue Snow White and awaken her with true love's kiss.
- This episode features Rumplestiltskin from the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale as well as the Wicked Fairy from the Sleeping Beauty fairytale.
- Regina refers to Mr. Gold as a "twisted little imp", referencing the original Rumpelstiltskin fairytale.
- Issue 1 of the Marvel comic Avengers vs. X-Men, is in Henry's backpack. The first issue was released in April 2012, the month before the episode aired.
- This episode features Nurse Ratched from the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The man sweeping the floor at the psychiatric ward looks like Chief Bromden from the 1975 movie of the same name.
- The date on the monitor screen over Henry's hospital bed is "10 Nov 08", but "Selfless, Brave and True" establishes that the "Pilot" episode takes place in October 2011.
- When Jefferson releases Belle from her cell, his neck scar from the side and back is missing.
- When David and Mary Margaret are reunited after the curse is broken, "The Rabbit Hole" sign is missing from the entrance to the pub.
- Regina cries while clutching Henry's bed pillow. In the next scene, the pillow is gone.
- The case Mr. Gold opens to unveil Prince Charming's sword to Emma and Regina was a guitar case that the show's property master Bill Burd had owned. It was his idea to use the case as an in-show prop for storing the sword.
- According to the monitor screen over Henry's hospital bed, his condition worsens at 01:46 A.M. The date, however, is incorrect: It says "10 Nov 08", but "Selfless, Brave and True" establishes that the "Pilot" episode takes place in October 2011. The screen also describes the patient as an adult.
- The Mad Hatter's hat box is on a shelf in Mr. Gold's office.
- A poster pinned to the wall inside the library, contains an illustration of Titania and Nick Bottom from William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- The same poster can be seen on a billboard outside the town hall in "Desperate Souls".
- Another poster is about a boat for a sale, while a third poster shows an illustration of a house. The latter is also seen in close-up in "Broken Heart", where the headline is revealed to be "Learn how to Protect your Home...". Both posters also appear on the town hall's billboard in "Desperate Souls".
- Henry's room is filled with cut-outs of fairytale illustrations. While most of them have already appeared in "Pilot", "The Thing You Love Most", "The Stranger", "The Stable Boy" and "An Apple Red as Blood", there are also some new ones, including:
- An engraving by the nineteenth century French artist Gustave Doré, from Les Contes de Perrault an 1867 edition of the seventeenth century French author Charles Perrault's fairy tales. It depicts a scene from "Cinderella", where the prince lets the titular character try on the glass slipper.
- "Red Riding Hood", a watercolor painting by the freelance illustrator Medusa Lemieux, from the 2009 Student Scholarship Competition at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design.
- The clock's minute hand stops at eight fifteen in the final scene, which gives exactly the same time of 8:15 when Emma first arrived to town in "Pilot".
|Finnish||"Taikaa vailla"||"Devoid of Magic"|
|French||"Le Véritable Amour"||"The True Love"|
|German||"Ein Land ohne Magie"||"A Land Without Magic"|
|Hungarian||"Egy varázslat nélküli világ"||"A Land Without Magic"|
|Italian||"Un mondo senza magia"||"A Land Without Magic"|
|Portuguese||"Uma Terra sem Magia"||"A Land without Magic"|