"Lady of the Lake" is the third episode of Season Two of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg and directed by Milan Cheylov. It is the twenty-fifth episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 14, 2012.
Emma and Mary Margaret, with the aid of Mulan, Aurora and brave knight Lancelot, attempt to find a portal that will bring them back to Storybrooke. But a dark force threatens their safe return. And Henry Mills tries to talk Jefferson into reuniting with his daughter. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, on the eve of meeting Prince Charming's mother, King George poisons Snow White, and the only antidote lies within the waters of the Lady of the Lake.
In the Enchanted Forest, Red Riding Hood is seen running through a forest and into a camp site, where Prince Charming, Snow White, and two others are planning how they will take back the kingdoms. Red then divulges the news regarding King George's new general, who has been dubbed the "Leviathan." Snow White has just asked how near the army is to them, when an arrow, which has been shot into the tent, pierces the map they have been studying, suggesting that the King's army is quite close by. The group splits up. Prince Charming tells Snow White to go ahead without him, as she would have a better chance of escaping alone. He tells her to meet him at "the cabin", in two days. He adds, "I guess it's about time you met my mother." The Prince tells her this, before they kiss and part ways for the moment. The Leviathan sees them from afar and proceeds towards Snow White. The knight attacks Snow White by knocking her to the ground and introduces himself as Lancelot. "Of the Round Table?" Snow White asks. "Not anymore," the knight replies, before he abducts her.
In the present day Enchanted Forest, an unconscious Mary Margaret Blanchard is taken care of by Cora, while Emma Swan asks her where they are. Emma states that they should not be kept in the prison for long as they did not do anything wrong, to which Cora agrees. She eventually reveals to Emma that she is the mother of Regina Mills. Mary Margaret wakes up and is at once uneasy at seeing Cora again. Mary Margaret warns Emma that Cora is far worse than Regina. When Cora asks about her daughter, Emma spills some information about Henry. Soon after, the two are sent word to that the leader of the survivors wishes to speak with them.
Back in Storybrooke, David Nolan, and Henry Mills walk down the street, discussing a plan on how to get back Emma and Mary Margaret. Henry beings on a new operation dubbed "Operation Scorpion," but David cuts him off saying that it isn't safe for Henry to help. David makes Henry promise not to help, and leaves him at the school bus stop. Instead of going on the bus, Henry runs off.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Emma and Mary Margaret have a brief talk about why Mary Margaret followed her down the portal. Emma thinks that it was because Mary Margaret saw her as helpless, but Mary Margaret explains that she just wanted to be with her daughter. Just then, Lancelot comes out of a hut and immediately recognizes Snow White. The two share a quick hug, and Mary Margaret introduces Emma to him. From afar, Aurora, still bitter over Phillip's death, tells Mulan that she wants justice. Mulan, on the other hand, tells her "not to confuse vengeance with justice." Aurora tells Mulan that she understands, but, after Mulan leaves, she draws out a concealed dagger and looks back at Emma and Mary Margaret. Mary Margaret tells Lancelot that she thinks she knows were a portal is, but won't say as Cora is near and she is not taking any chances. Lancelot agrees to let them go, but only if she and Emma take Mulan for protection, to which they agree.
In the Enchanted Forest that was, Snow White is brought before King George who gets Lancelot to give Snow White some water. He then tells her that he had a true love of his own, but they could not have children, because his wife was enchanted by an infertility curse. He then reveals that he has used the same curse on Snow White. The water she drank has made her barren.
In present-day Enchanted Forest, Mulan is giving Emma and Mary Margaret a pep talk, and she tells to arm themselves, pick their weapons wisely. Emma gets back the gun that was taken from her, when she was captured. Mary Margaret reveals her plan is to go to the Castle and to see if the Magic Wardrobe is still there.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Henry has found Jefferson. Henry tries to find out from him if there is magic in Storybrooke and learns that Regina has brought her vault with her. He tells Jefferson to go and find his daughter, as not knowing is the worst thing.
Regina Mills is in the mayor's office, packing when her cell phone rings. She answers it and it is Henry Mills. She tells him that she is packing up her office as she has been asked to leave. She agrees to meet him at Granny's for lunch in ten minutes. She picks up her purse and quickly exits. Henry enters from an interior door and goes directly to a file cabinet which he opens and from which he removes a large set of keys.
On their quest in the present day Enchanted Forest, Mulan tells Emma and Mary Margaret that they will set up camp there. Emma asks why they are making a fire if there are ogres, to which Mary Margaret replies that ogres are blind and rely on hunting by sound and smell. She then asks Emma if she is okay, because she is out of her element and decides that is best for Emma to guard the big empty clearing, whilst she and Mulan go to get water and firewood, as it was the safest place for Emma.
Back in the past, Snow White realizes that she is being pursued. She ambushes Lancelot and knocks him off of his horse. She questions his desire to help her, after what he has done, but he insists that he did not know that the water was poisoned. He warns her that King George's men are on their way to the cabin where Prince Charming and Ruth are. At the cabin, Ruth is making it look beautiful, when Prince Charming hears something and tells his mother to go inside. Charming defeats the King's men. However, when she thinks he is in trouble, Ruth comes back out of the house and is shot by a poisoned arrow. Prince Charming tells her that everything is going to be okay, and Snow White arrives back with Lancelot, saying that she is sorry she came back too late.
At their camp, Mary Margaret is making a fire, when Aurora appears with a knife and tries to kill her. She flips Aurora over and the two start to fight. Mulan intervenes and tells Mary Margaret that she will deal with Aurora. Emma appears and, seeing them all engaged in fighting, fires her gun into the air, to get their attention. She tells them to back away from Mary Margaret. However, an ogres cry rips through the air, and Emma realizes that the loud gunshot has unexpectedly summoned the ogre. The four women end up running away. They split up, but Emma trips over a log. She tries to shoot the ogre with her gun, but the ogre knocks it from her hand and crushes it. Mary Margaret whistles to catch the ogre's attention and kills it before telling Emma not to try that again.
The scene switches to Prince Charming being told by Lancelot that the arrow was poisoned. They decide to go to Lake Nostos to heal Ruth. Prince Charming asks Lancelot how he came to lose his place as a Knight of the Round Table, he replies, "The same reason as you. Because of a woman." Ruth and Snow White are talking. Ruth tells Snow White that she has an amulet that can tell what sex your first born baby would be, even if the person is not pregnant. Ruth attempts to try it on Snow White, but the necklace does not move. Ruth tries to make light of it, saying that it is just a superstition, but Snow White informs her about the infertility curse. Ruth tells Snow White that she can also drink of the healing water at Lake Nostos, and that Snow White will be an amazing mother.
As they approach the castle, Mulan tells Aurora to hurry up, and Emma gives her her jacket to keep her warm. Mulan then spots the castle and Mary Margaret announces that they are home.
At Lake Nostos, Prince Charming, Ruth, Snow White and Lancelot discover that the lake is bone dry.
Back in Storybrooke, Henry breaks into Regina's vault. There are many shelves that contain hearts, which thump loudly as he passes by them. He stumbles onto a box, but upon opening it, Agrabahn Viper spring out in attack. He is saved when David arrives in time to close the box. Henry tells David that he was just trying to get Emma and Mary Margaret back. David says that he understands, but Henry has to go to school, and he has to make sure that nobody else discovers the vault.
At the lake, Lancelot searches the lake bed trying to find any water that remained, but can only find a tiny bit in a seashell, only enough for a sip. Ruth tries to get Snow White to drink it to remove the curse, but Snow White says that she could not. Ruth reveals that she would rather sacrifice her own life for those of her children, and that Snow White would understand this some day. Prince Charming does not know about Snow White's curse and believes that their prayers have been answered, telling Ruth to drink the water. Ruth takes the vial from Lancelot and drinks, but she tells Snow White to have faith, and they will find another way. Snow White says maybe it is for the best since she never grew up with a mother, and cannot imagine herself as one.
At The Castle, Emma and Mary Margaret enter Emma's nursery. Mary Margaret reveals that she wanted to raise Emma here, but was unable to, and Emma tells her that they have a family back in Storybrooke that they have to get back to.
Back at the lake, Prince Charming is frustrated that Ruth is still dying. She tells him that it is okay and says that her only regret is that she wanted to see her son get married. Snow White asks Lancelot to perform a marriage service right there, and the knight agrees. Just after Prince Charming and Snow White get married, Ruth passes away.
Emma asks Mary Margaret how to activate the wardrobe, and Mary Margaret tells her that they will need to take it back to the island. Suddenly, Lancelot appears and offers to help them. However, he is more focused on the wardrobe than the girls and tells them it is, because he wants them to get back to Henry. This makes Snow White realize that it is not Lancelot, as Emma only told one person about Henry, and that was Cora. Cora turns back into herself and explains that she killed Lancelot and took his place a long time ago, as the survivors would not have otherwise followed her. Mary Margaret attacks, but Cora just uses her magic to put her aside, pinning her to the wall. Emma tries to attack, but Cora does the same thing to her. Luckily, Emma still has the gunpowder from her bullets and manages to burn the wardrobe, so that Cora can't get through it and become a menace to her daughter and to Henry. Mulan intervenes, and Cora disappears. When everyone is safe again, Emma announces that she has gotten rid of their only way home.
Back in the Enchanted Forest that was, Prince Charming is seen burning a candle in his mother's memory. Snow White says that she is sorry that he has no family left, but he tells her that he still has her, and one day they will have children. He then shows her the amulet and repeats the legend of its power. Snow White tries to refuse it, but once over her hand, to Snow White's surprise, the amulet starts swinging. Snow White is happy, but won't tell Charming which sex the amulet predicted. She then goes to Lancelot and says that she knows that Ruth had only pretended to drink the healing water so that Snow White could have it. She accuses him of putting the healing water in the cup she drank from in the wedding ceremony, but Lancelot says that he does not know what she is talking about. He then asks her what her baby will be, and Snow White reveals that it will be a girl.
Back in the present day, the four women are discussing Cora's treachery and how brave Lancelot was before. Mary Margaret tells Mulan that they need to tell the survivors that Lancelot died a heroic death, and Mulan suggests that Mary Margaret becomes their leader. When Mary Margaret tells her that she cannot, because she has to get back to Storybroooke, Mulan and Aurora say that they will help them. Emma and Mary Margaret then talk about the past, their regrets that Emma had to grow up alone, and their bond as mother and daughter. Mary Margaret tells Emma to start believing that she has someone looking out for her. After they have left the nursery, Cora reappears and puts some of the ashes of the wardrobe into a small bottle.
In Storybrooke, Jefferson waits for Paige at the school bus stop. He calls to her, and they are both overjoyed to be reunited. They share a massive embrace. Meanwhile, David finds Henry in Emma's car and tells him that he needs Henry's help in finding Emma and Mary Margaret. He then gives Henry a wooden sword and they start to practice sword fighting. Albert Spencer is in his car, spying on the two and looking angry.
- The title card features a walking Lancelot.
- "We Are Both" and "Lady of the Lake" were filmed at the same time.
- The ogre featured in this episode was computer generated from an on-set visual effect tool of a paper ogre head on a stick. The stick acts as a stand-in to give the actors in the filming scene appropriate eye level visually, and also allows the CGI team to accurately create the CG character in the correct spot.
- The Storybrooke events take place after "We Are Both" and before "The Crocodile", and the week after "A Land Without Magic".(For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The past Enchanted Forest events occur after "Lost Girl" and before "The Cricket Game".
- The present-day Enchanted Forest events take place after "We Are Both" and before "The Crocodile".(For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- Emma mentions battling a dragon, which is an event shown in "A Land Without Magic".
- The backstory of the man Prince Charming mentions freeing from the curse of the golden touch is shown in "What Happened to Frederick" as well as the introduction of Lake Nostos and death of the Siren.
- This episode explains why Prince Charming thinks their first child will be boy and why Snow White knows their child will be a girl in "Pilot".
- Ruth's pendant was first seen in "The Shepherd". She can also be seen wearing it in "White Out".
- Mary Margaret talks about the dreams she had of sending Emma to her first ball. She eventually gets to send Emma to a ball in "The Price".
- The reason Cora collected the magic wardrobe's ashes is explained in "The Crocodile" and becomes a source of conflict between Cora, Mary Margaret and Emma that is resolved in "Queen of Hearts".
- This episode marks the early days of Snow White and Prince Charming's "taking back the kingdom", which concludes in "The Cricket Game".
- How Lancelot was banished from Camelot is explained in "The Broken Kingdom".
- The matter of Prince Phillip's death, as well as why Mulan and Aurora believe Emma and Mary Margaret to be responsible, is revealed in "Broken".
- Infertility Potions are used again in "Mother".
- Lancelot speaks of a legend from his kingdom, about a cup that has the power to grant eternal life. This refers to the Holy Grail, whose story is explored in "Nimue".
- Lancelot's "death" is debunked in "Siege Perilous", where he and Mary Margaret are reunited.
- Lancelot's mother is mentioned again in "Broken Heart".
- Mulan tells Emma and Mary Margaret, "You might survive", which is a line from the song "I'll Make a Man Out of You" in Disney's 1998 film Mulan.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Snow White and Prince Charming from the Snow White fairytale, Princess Aurora from the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, Mulan from the Mulan legend, the miller's daughter from the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale as well as Lancelot from The Lady of Shalott ballad and Arthurian legend.
- This episode's title is the name of a critical supporting character in Arthurian legend. However, the actual Lady of the Lake does not appear in the episode, receiving only an indirect mention when Lancelot says he was raised by a lake and Charming refers to how he killed the Siren.
- At the Safe Haven, the group has chimera for dinner. The chimera is a fire-breathing monster from Greek mythology.
- Lancelot says that he's fallen from grace because of a woman, a reference to the character of Guinevere from Arthurian Legend.
- Lancelot says the line, "God in his mercy, lend her grace", which is directly from the Alfred Tennyson's Victorian ballad The Lady of Shalott.
- When Emma asks about ogres with the line, "As in Fee Fi Fo Fum", it is a reference to the fairytale "Jack and the Beanstalk".
- An excerpt from the fairytale of "The Golden Bird" can be seen next to an illustration of the Evil Queen in Henry's storybook.
- After Snow White is poisoned by King George, she is disposed of on the side of the road. At the shot from her backside as she falls from the impact of being thrown, the upper right back part of her clothing is barely smudged with a light imprint of dirt. The camera angle switches to the front and then to the back again, to show the upper right back part of her clothing is now deeply coated in a heavier amount of dirt.
|Finnish||"Lumottu vaatekaappi"||"The Magic Wardrobe"|
|German||"Muttergefühle"||"A Mother's Feelings"|
|Hungarian||"A tó hölgye"||"The Lady of the Lake"|
|Italian||"Il lago"||"The Lake"|
|Portuguese||"A Dama do Lago"||"The Lady of the Lake"|