"An Untold Story" is the twenty-third and final episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, and directed by Dean White. It is the one-hundredth and eleventh episode of the series overall, and premiered on May 15, 2016.
This episode is the second part of the season five finale, and premiered immediately following "Only You".
With the possibility of magic being destroyed and the fate of Storybrooke hanging in the balance, it’s a race for Emma and Regina to track down Henry before Gold can find him first. Regina continues to struggle with her frustrations over her former evil-self and, elsewhere, Snow, David, Hook and Zelena are imprisoned and must contend with very two very disturbed individuals that may give Gold a run for his money.
In present-day Land of Untold Stories, the Groundsman awakens in a straightjacket. he notices a note on the table in front of him that reads, "You almost got free. Sorry it didn't work out. -H" As he stands, the Orderly, slumped over in a nearby chair, drops a flask. He speaks to Hyde in his reflection in a knife, telling him he's not as clever as he thinks.
In their cell, Zelena mocks Hook as he attempts to unlock their cage. David Nolan tells them to stop arguing, reminding them that the Groundsman promised to bring the wand back to them. The Groundsman approaches the cage, lamenting that he was only able to keep half his promise. He explains that he repaired the wand, but the Warden took it from him. He reveals the key to their cell and unlocks it. Mary Margaret asks if he knows where the Warden is. The Groundsman explains that he doesn't, but before the group finds him, they "must have a way to defeat him." He tells the group he may have a way, but it might be dangerous. Hook tells him that he's just been "to Hell and back, and that he's not afraid.
The Groundsman leads the group to a bazar full of many different people. Mary Margaret observes that it's like "all the realms at once" and the Groundsman explains that it's a refuge for people from many realms, fleeing their problems. He tells the group that this realm has been called "The Land of Untold Stories".
In New York City, Violet follows Henry Mills down a crowded street, reminding him that his mother told them to wait in the library. Agitated, Henry reminds her that Emma and Regina could already be in trouble, and that she already ran away with him and "liked about the Dark Grail. Violet takes his hand, telling him that she knows he's scared, and will help him. Henry thanks her. As they continue walking, Violet expresses her hope that Henry has a plan, as the pair do not have magic and they don't know where Henry's grandfather is. Henry stops, looking at a hotel in front of them with a storm cloud forming over it, saying "Actually, I think I do."
Inside the hotel, a room steward, bearing a cart, pauses in front of a room with glowing light emitting from the door. Apprehensively, he knocks on the door, and Mr. Gold opens it. Inside the room, the table, bearing the Olympian Crystal and three candles, in covered in inscriptions. The steward lifts the cover of the dinner tray, announcing the spaghetti Bolognese, yet revealing a steak with vegetables. He stammers out an apology, promising to fix the error right away. Mr. Gold tells him not to bother, that the meal is "irrelevant". He picks up the tray, dumping the plate of food onto the cart, asking if the steward if it is sterling silver. The steward assures him it is, and Mr. Gold tells him to leave. As the young man walks out, Mr. Gold stops him. He tips him with a one hundred dollar bill, saying "Things might get messy here." The steward leaves, and Mr. Gold closes the door, with the "Do not disturb" sign on the knob.
On the street outside, Emma and Regina look up at Mr. Gold's hotel. Regina remarks that Mr. Gold may have magic, but is not subtle. Emma observes that Henry has likely already disobeyed them, and takes out her cellphone, intending to call him and tell him to stay where he is. Regina reminds her that she "torched his phone." Looking at her phone, Emma tells Regina that Granny in Storybrooke has informed her that her parents, Hook and Zelena were pulled through a portal. Regina asks where they've gone, and Emma responds that all Granny knows is that the group vanished with the Sorcerer's Wand and never came back. Regina marches off toward the hotel. Emma hurries after her, exclaiming that their family members may be in danger, and they need to help them get home safely. Regina retorts that the only way to do that is to get back their magic from Gold. Emma stops her just outside the building's entrance, telling that they need a plan. Regina implies that she means to physically attack gold, and Emma shoots back that she wants to help her family too, but the pair need to be smart.
Later, inside the hotel, Regina knocks on Mr. Gold's door. She tells him they need to talk, alone, and that "the Savior" doesn't know she's there. Allowing her in, Mr. Gold asks her why he would want to talk to her. Regina tells him that the storm clouds outside lead her to believe he has been unable to wake Belle, and, looking at the writing-covered table, guesses that it's "not for a lack of trying". She offers her help, calling herself his best student. With disdain, Mr. Gold tells her that his best student was a Queen, and that Regina has "buried under layers of tasteful cotton and good intentions." Regina tells him that she's ready to let "her" back out, that she is sick of losing the people she cares about. Mr. Gold asks her what's changed, and Regina tells him that Zelena is in trouble, because "the 'Heroes' convinced her to use the Sorcerer's Wand and they're trapped in another realm. Mr. Gold asks her why he would help Zelena, and Regina responds that he needs the help of the Evil Queen. She tells him that she doesn't want to lose anyone else she loves after what happened to Robin Hood. Mr. Gold accepts her help.
In the Land of Untold Stories, the Groundsman takes the group to the apartment he lived in when he was a doctor at the hospital. He picks up a vial of blue liquid, explaining that it's a serum he created to "separate the good from the evil in someone", and that's it what he intends to use to defeat the Warden. Hook observes that there doesn't seem to be any good in the Warden, and the Groundsman assures him that it's there, and that the good has been fighting to get out for a long time. He takes a flower out of his pocket, which David observes as being from his garden. The Groundsman cuts the stem, and adds liquid from it to his serum. As he swirls it, the blue liquid becomes red, and he observes that "he" didn't know it was being grown right under his nose. The Orderly bursts in, exclaiming that he did know. The Groundsman exclaims that he was passed out drunk, and the Orderly informs him that he allowed him to get away to finish the serum. He grabs the Groundsman, and, saying it's time to show the Warden what he's done, forces him to drink some blue liquid. The Groundsman tells the group to run as he transforms in the Warden. David and Mary Margaret realize what story the doctor is from, realizing that the Groundsman is Dr. Jekyll and the Warden is Mr. Hyde. Not understanding, Hook asks who Mr. Hyde is, and Zelena launches a fireball at him, which Mr. Hyde absorbs. The group runs. The Orderly begins to go after him, but Mr. Hyde stops him, gazing at the vial of red serum.In the hotel in New York City, Emma breaks into Mr. Gold's room using a keycard and her cellphone. She sneaks into the room as Regina and Mr. Gold share a drink. Regina asks Mr. Gold where Belle is, and he explains that his wife, inside Pandora's Box, was taken. When Regina asks how, Mr. Gold explains his theory that the Sorcerer's Wand was taken from Zelena and used to take Pandora's Box, which means that both are in the same realm. He tells Regina that she is going to help him find it just as Emma removes the Olympian Crystal from his jacket. It disappears from her hand and into Mr. Gold's, and he tells her to help herself to a drink. Regina laments that he knew, and Mr. Gold replies that he did, that Regina has changed and the loss of "one man" is not going to make her evil again. He calls her guilt-ridden and weak, and tells her that he only let her in to acquire a bit of her hair, which Regina realizes is connected to Zelena, and will assist him in finding his wife. He tells the women he has no use for either of them, and brandishes a fireball as Henry and Violet enter the room, telling him to stop. Regina tells them to leave, saying there is nothing Henry can do. Henry tells her there is, and reveals the Dark Grail, using it to suck up Mr. Gold's fireball. He points it at the Olympian Crystal and the Grail starts sucking it in. The clouds over the hotel dissipate, the magic is sucked from the Crystal, and a shockwave knocks everyone in the room backward. Emma asks what he's done, and Henry replies that he has destroyed magic.
- The title card features the logo on a flying dirigible.
- During the original airing, the two parts were separated by a different title card featuring no special background, and a different musical accompaniment. This title card also appears in the DVD and Blu-ray version of the episode. The same musical accompaniment was used for the original and DVD/Blu-ray version of "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on March 15, 2016.
- For Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, "an untold story means it hasn’t been finished yet. And it's been pushed pause on." They compare this situation to the one in the first season, saying it is "similar to when we met our characters in Storybrooke, they had untold stories, because many of them still had to find their happiness. The curse pushed pause."
- The computer-generated imagery model used for the exterior of Dr. Jekyll's house and the surrounding buildings, is recycled from the model created for the Darling House and the neighboring building in "Second Star to the Right". In the exterior shot in the Land of Untold Stories, the building in the middle and the one on the right, are almost identical to the London buildings.
- The city view from the top of Neal's apartment building is the same as the view seen from the top of Emma's apartment building in "New York City Serenade", indicating that the two buildings are located in the same neighborhood.
- Edward Kitsis described the scene with Mary Margaret and Regina on the roof as "phenomenal" and one of his favorites.
- Stock footage is used three times for the scene where Regina releases Storybrooke's magic from the Olympian Crystal:
- When everyone returns to Storybrooke, there is a shot of the streets of Storybrooke. It is the same shot as the one seen just before Merida is about to look through Henry's storybook in "Dreamcatcher. The only difference is the color hue and the time on the CGI clock tower.
- The shot where the wave of magic travels through the streets is stock footage from an establishing shot "Swan Song"; notice the identical cars in the street and the orange paint on the Storybrooke Cannery.
- When the magic is expelled from the crystal and spreads throughout Storybrooke, the shot overlooking the town with the wave of magic travelling towards the camera is the same shot from "A Land Without Magic" where Emma breaks the Dark Curse.
- The Land Without Magic events take place after "Only You" and before "The Savior". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Land of Untold Stories events take place after "Only You" and before "The Savior".
- Dr. Jekyll was forced by Poole in "Only You" to revert into Hyde.
- David, Hook, Mary Margaret and Zelena were transported to the Land of Untold Stories in taken prisoner by Mr. Hyde in "Only You".
- David mentions Jekyll promised to fix the broken wand that can take them home, which took place in "Only You".
- Hook says that he just went from hell and back, referring to events in "Swan Song" and "Last Rites".
- Henry and Violet arrived in "New York City" and were followed by Mr. Gold, Regina and Emma in "Only You".
- Granny's special lasagna is also referred to in "Child of the Moon", "Tiny", "Lacey", "The New Neverland", "It's Not Easy Being Green" and "Dreamcatcher".
- Regina references Robin Hood's death, which happened in "Last Rites".
- The purple flower Jekyll mixes into his own serum batch was first seen in "Only You".
- Mr. Gold obtained a piece of the Olympian Crystal in "Last Rites".
- Pandora's Box fell through a portal to another realm during "Only You".
- Mr. Gold doesn't believe Regina losing Robin to death is enough to push her over the edge "anymore". This references the first time Regina lost a man she loved in "The Stable Boy", and how she became dark as a result of the loss.
- Henry discovered the Holy Grail and its purpose for absorbing magic in "Only You".
- Regina worries Storybrooke has ceased to exist after Henry absorbs the crystal into the Holy Grail. Her fears are because Mr. Gold lied about Storybrooke not surviving without magic, which he told her in "Only You". However, Mr. Gold confirms that Storybrooke is fine as it survived 28 years without magic. Magic was brought to Storybrooke in "A Land Without Magic".
- Henry talks about when he and Emma lived together in New York City, which was shown in "Going Home" and "New York City Serenade".
- The Dragon met Tamara and August in "Selfless, Brave and True". His apparent "death" in the same episode at Tamara's hands is also mentioned by both himself and Mr. Gold.
- Henry talks about when Hook showed up in New York to bring him and Emma back to Storybrooke, where they were reunited with their family, referring to events in "Going Home" and "New York City Serenade".
- When the Dragon says, "There is magic everywhere if you are willing to see it", Emma recalls August once told her the same phrase. This event occurred in "A Land Without Magic".
- Mary Margaret's habit of drinking hot cocoa and cinnamon was first noted in "The Thing You Love Most".
- Mary Margaret says that she kind of helped bring the Evil Queen into the world, referring to events in "The Stable Boy".
- The Evil Queen drifts away in a cloud of dust, and then reappears somewhere else, just like Zelena did in "Heart of Gold".
- Henry apologizes to Violet for making her and her father miss their trip back to Camelot. This is in reference to the portal trip that some Camelot residents took in "Only You" in order to return home.
- Hook asks Emma if she still feels guilty about his return, which refers to events in "Last Rites".
- Emma talks about all the things she and Hook have been through; "Darkness, Hades, separated by realms", referring to events that began in "Operation Mongoose Part 2", "Swan Song" and "Only You" respectively.
- When magic is released from the Olympian Crystal, the view of Storybrooke is the same view glimpsed from Jefferson's house in the morning in "Hat Trick", and when Emma awoke Henry with true love's kiss in "A Land Without Magic".
- Emma points out her habit for declaring her love for Hook when they were facing battle or one of them was facing certain death. This was seen in "Operation Mongoose Part 2", "Nimue", "Broken Heart" and "Swan Song".
- The "friends" that Mr. Hyde brought to Storybrooke, arrive in "The Savior".
- The reason why Regina's evil half didn't die when Regina crushed her heart, is revealed in "Strange Case".
- Regina is reunited with her evil half in "A Bitter Draught".
- The Dragon's fate is revealed in "I'll Be Your Mirror".
- One of the Three Musketeers is wearing a sash decorated with crosses bottony (furnished with knobs or buttons at the end of the arms).
- In the opening shot of the scene everyone returns to Storybrooke, an advertisement for computers with the Encom logo from Tron can be seen on the street.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, the Evil Queen from the Snow White fairytale, the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz story, Hank's daughter from the novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde and Mr. Poole from the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story.
- As Jekyll and the others are walking through the marketplace, as Mary Margaret asks, "Forced to flee from what?", the Three Musketeers touch their swords together on the left hand side of the screen.
- Violet's father, Sir Morgan, is revealed to be Hank Morgan from Mark Twain's novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
- The server listens to "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield on his headphones, while on his way to Mr. Gold's hotel room.
- As Violet and Henry are walking through New York in the beginning of the episode, a Metro New York vending machine and a USA Today vending machine can be seen on the street.
- As Hook leads the other into the alley in the marketplace, they walk past a Frontiersman dressed like Davy Crockett.
- While a wishing fountain is present in front of the show's version of the New York Public Library's Midtown Manhattan building, the real-life library location does not have one.
- The big syringe that Mr. Hyde uses to inject himself with separation serum is the same prop that was used for Dr. Lydgate's syringe in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Down the Rabbit Hole", and Jafar's syringe in "Bad Blood".
- Among the symbols etched into the table in Mr. Gold's hotel suite are:
- Elder Futhark runes.
- Pentagrams. The pentagram has historically been used by occult faiths and magicians, and is today used as a symbol for Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism.
- Alchemical signs for the elements fire (upward-pointing triangle), water (downward-pointing triangle), earth (downward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line), and spirit, also known as aether (circle).
- The Vancouver Art Gallery doubles as the New York Public Library for this episode.
- The Dragon's herbal shop was doubled by "Guo Hua Enterprise", a herbal shop located at 512 Main St, Vancouver. The location can be deduced from the episode, which shows the shops across the street from the Dragon's shop, as "Golden Garden Vietnamese Cuisine" and a pharmacy with a blue paravent.
|French||"Des Histoires Secrètes"||"Of Secret Stories"|
|Italian||"Una storia mai raccontata"||"An Untold Story"|