"Best Laid Plans" is the sixteenth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Kalinda Vazquez & Jane Espenson, and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the eighty-second episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 29, 2015.
Hook tells Emma that her fate is at stake in Gold’s plan while Regina leads the villains on a wild goose chase. Henry makes a breakthrough in his search to find the Author, but Mary Margaret and David need a moment to reconsider the best course of action. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, Snow and Charming search for a way to ensure their child will grow-up to be a hero. When a travelling peddler directs them to visit a kindly old hermit, Snow and Charming are presented with a choice that could secure their child’s goodness, but at a price that will haunt them for years to come.
- The title card features a running unicorn.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on January 14, 2015.
- The episode title is an egg-based pun.
- The overhead view of the Infinite Forest is stock footage from "True North", but with a different color hue.
- This episode is inconsistent in its placement of Mary Margaret's apartment:
- When Hook sees the sleeping spell approach, the pawnshop is visible through the window, on the other side of the street.
- However, after leaving the apartment, David and Mary Margaret are shown to be walking away from the white picket fence next to the post office and across Main Street in the direction of Storybrooke Country Bread. Additionally, Mr. Gold, Cruella, Maleficent and Regina are also shown leaving the apartment from the picket fence. This fence is located at the other end of Main Street from the pawnshop, a couple blocks down from Granny's Diner.
- According to Jane Espenson, the Author was only controlling the Apprentice. Snow White and Prince Charming were still responsible for their own actions.
- In the episode promo, Maleficent uses her staff to throw a fireball at Snow White and Prince Charming. In the actual episode, it is a purple blast of magic.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks take place after "Unforgiven" and before the first flashback scene of "Lily". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Poor Unfortunate Soul" and before "Heart of Gold". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Land Without Magic quick-scene occurs a few months before Emma and Pinocchio's arrival in "The Stranger". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The title card is the same as the episode "The Thing You Love Most".
- Prince Charming and Snow White first learned about their child's potential for darkness in "Unforgiven".
- In her vision, Snow White sees the Idyllic Garden from inside the Vault of the Dark One from "The Broken Kingdom".
- Maleficent's pregnancy was first established in "Unforgiven".
- Regina and Emma discovered the Author is trapped inside the door illustration in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- August was rescued during "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- Mother Superior notes August's body has been changed many times by magic. As a wooden puppet, he became human in "The Stranger", began turning back into wood during the flashbacks of "Selfless, Brave and True" and became a human boy later in the same episode, and was restored to his adult self in "Enter the Dragon". Additionally, he was forced to ingest a magic lie detector in "Poor Unfortunate Soul" that caused his nose to grow every time he lied.
- Regina began her undercover mission in "Enter the Dragon", and she was sent by the villains to retrieve the door illustration in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- Ursula told Hook about the villains' plans for Emma in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- Emma recalls showing Hook the video of herself and Lily in "Breaking Glass".
- Maleficent first cast a sleeping spell to affect multiple people at the same time during "Unforgiven".
- The reason why Cruella is unable to kill Emma is revealed in "Sympathy for the De Vil".
- Maleficent mentions Ursula leaving in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
- Mary Margaret feels guilty about lying to Emma ever since Cruella and Ursula arrived. Cruella and Ursula came to Storybrooke in "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and Mary Margaret and David lied to Emma in "Unforgiven".
- Snow White, Henry and David were all affected by the sleeping curse at different intervals. Snow White and Henry were cursed in "An Apple Red as Blood" and David was afflicted during "Into the Deep".
- After arriving in the Land Without Magic, Cruella and Ursula use the dragon egg to keep themselves from aging. Cruella leaves the baby in the woods to die as explained in "Sympathy for the De Vil".
- The fate of Maleficent's child, when she has grown to be a teenager, is explored in "Breaking Glass" and "Lily".
- Mary Margaret remembers giving Henry the storybook to inspire hope in him, which transpired in "Going Home". She also recounts telling Regina the secret about Maleficent's child in "Unforgiven".
- Emma sensed her parents were lying to her about something in "Unforgiven".
- Emma eventually forgives her parents in "Mother".
- The unicorn mobile first appeared in "Pilot".
- Mr. Gold mentions having something that will make Regina do his bidding. This secret is revealed in "Heart of Gold".
- The reason why Maleficent believed her daughter to be dead is revealed in "Sympathy for the De Vil".
- Maleficent's daughter is found in "Lily". Mother and daughter are reunited in "Mother".
- Two paintings of the Virgin Mary are inside the Convent of the Sisters of Saint Meissa.
- A shield lying on the floor in Maleficent's cave is emblazoned with a cross pattée.
- August Booth names one man who held the position of Author as Walt. This is a direct reference to Walt Disney, the famed American cartoonist, animator, film producer, and the co-founder of The Walt Disney Company.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Snow White and Prince Charming from the Snow White fairytale, the Wicked Fairy from the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, the Sea Witch from the Little Mermaid fairytale, Cruella De Vil from the Hundred and One Dalmatians story, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, and the Sorcerer's Apprentice from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".
- There is a close-up of Snow White and Prince Charming's eye when they touch the unicorn's horn. This is a recurring theme from Lost.
- August states that the job of the Author "goes back eons from the man who watched shadows dance across cave walls and developed an entire philosophy". This is a reference to the Greek philosopher Plato, and his Allegory of the Cave.
- When August lists the previous Authors, he mentions "playwrights who tell tales in poetry". This is a reference to William Shakespeare, who used iambic pentameter in his plays and sonnets.
- The Apprentice's Wand prop was previously used as a wand on display in the pawnshop in Mr. Gold's dream in "Lacey", and one of the wands in Rumplestiltskin's castle in "The Heart of the Truest Believer" and "Quite a Common Fairy".
- The final page that the Author was transcribing, says:
and [illegible word], could not be burdened by
such a cursory thing, and walked right through it. "There
was no way we could have known. The Apprentice hid
the truth from us," the prince tried once again to assure
her. Inside, he felt as she did, but pangs of helplessness
at the sight of his love so forlorn compelled him to comfort her.
She was about to reply when a bluebird settled on a
branch up ahead. The princess averted her gaze. She
imagined its whispers of judgment in her ear echoing her
own disappointment in her actions and was relieved when
the bird flew off rather than perch on her shoulder. She
had thought before that she had known true depths of
sorrow with the heinousness of the evil queen's betrayal of
her family. But in that moment the princess knew that
the greatest betrayal of all is that of a hero [blurred word]
- Prince Charming's royal crest is printed on the label on the bottle of brandy that the prince gives to the Author.
- The white baby cap Emma wears in Prince Charming's vision is the same cap worn by her little brother Neal in "The Final Battle Part 1" and "The Final Battle Part 2".
- Emma is wearing an Oscar de la Renta Diamond Quilted Cardigan (no longer available). Emma continues to wear the jacket as the story continues in the next episode, "Heart of Gold".
- Belle is wearing a BCBGMAXAZRIA Cindee Short-Sleeve Lace Peplum Top.
- Maleficent is wearing a Babaton Bryan Wool Coat (no longer available). She wears the same coat in "Mother".
|Finnish||"Valheessa vara parempi"||"Better Off with a Lie"|
|French||"La Licorne"||"The Unicorn"|
|German||"Fürchte die gute Absicht"||"Fear the Good Intention"|
|Italian||"Azioni e reazioni"||"Actions and Reactions"|
|Portuguese||"Os melhores planos"||"The best plans"|