For the operation, see Operation Mongoose (Operation).
"Operation Mongoose Part 1" is the twenty-first episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, and directed by Romeo Tirone. It is the eighty-seventh episode of the series overall, and premiered on May 10, 2015.
This episode is the first part of the season four finale.
The Author proves to be a formidable wild card and forges an alliance with Gold. Emma, her parents, Hook and Regina scramble to stop them, but when Gold and the Author turn the tables on heroes and villains alike, the prospect of any happy outcome appears worlds away. Henry discovers he has big shoes to fill as he steps up to save his family before the story's final page is turned. It's a race to the finish, and everything culminates with a shocking twist that will leave the residents of Storybrooke reeling.
On a December day in 1966, a couple is in a shopping for a television set. As the husband begins to ponder whether or not to purchase a color television, a salesman answering to the name of Isaac Heller appears and proclaims that the color television is nothing short of a wonder and it brings the complex nature of the universe directly into their living room. The couple is less than satisfied with the salesman's spiel and simply ask if it comes with a clicker. Isaac's boss,Hank, wins the day by showing off the remote control and informing them that the clicker is included in the price. The higher-up salesman's charisma wins over the customers. After they have made their purchase, Isaac's boss takes him into a corner of the store and tells Isaac that his anecdotes about the merchandise bore the shoppers. The higher-up salesman explains to Isaac that he hired Isaac in the first place because Isaac had always hoped to be a writer, but coldly tells the younger man that he is not a real writer because he does not tell stories that people want to hear. As Hank heads back to work, an offended Isaac takes a seat and reads his mail. To his surprise, there is a letter from Star Publishing Company, who would like to meet him as soon as possible.
At the Star Publishing Building, an old man whom Isaac believes to be the publisher is waiting for him. Much to Isaac's confusion, as opposed to signing a contract or getting to know what Isaac hopes to write about, the old man sets out an array of fountain pens and simply asks Isaac to choose one. While puzzled, Isaac follows through and picks up a slender black pen. No sooner is the writing utensil in his hand, however, does the pen give off a strange blue glow that prompts Isaac to drop it. The mysterious "publisher" identifies it as a sign and declares that it is time for the young man to stop selling televisions. He traces a rectangle in the air. Isaac turns around to find that there is now a door. The old man opens the door to reveal a lush forest. Isaac tells the old man that he doesn't believe his eyes, only for the other man to explain that the sheer fact that Isaac can see the door and the land behind it is proof enough—Isaac believes in magic, and is invited to find his destiny.
Decades later in present-day Storybrooke, Regina Mills, Robin Hood, Henry Mills, Emma Swan, Hook, David Nolan, and Mary Margaret Blanchard are gathered in the Sorcerer's Mansion, searching through the various blank books in hopes of finding a clue as to what Mr. Gold has tasked Isaac with writing, to no avail. Regina begins to lament the futility of their situation when August Booth enters. August explains that while in Phuket, he met the Apprentice, the man who gave Isaac his power as the author to begin with and shows a sketch of the old man to the other six. Instantly, Killian recognizes the old man, and declares that he also knows exactly where to find him.
At the Apprentice's house, Mother Superior takes the Apprentice's broom and uses it in a way not unlike how the Dark One Dagger was used to open the box in the first place, and the old man is freed from the hat. Realizing quickly what has transpired since the Dark One imprisoned him, the Apprentice declares that there is not a moment to lose: it is mandatory to return Isaac to his prison inside the illustration. Emma announces the plan—her parents, Henry, and Killian are to head back to the loft and get the page and key to lock away the Author, while she and the others go to Gold's shop, knowing there is a strong chance that the villains will go after the page too.
At Mr. Gold Pawnbroker and Antiquities Dealer, Isaac is putting the final touches on the new version of the story. Gold asks the Author why he is helping the dying Dark One. Isaac explains that he sees himself in the other man—both have gone through life with great power, but never any true happiness for themselves, instead watching those around them live happily ever after. Declaring that he is fed up with it, he is creating the inverse of the world they know, a land where villains can get a happy ending. He also asks for one last detail from Mr. Gold—Baelfire. Believing the Author is having a cruel laugh at his expense, Gold explains that not even the Author's power can raise the dead, it can only change the past that was written by that particular Author. Isaac admits that since he did not write Neal Cassidy's death, he can only alter memories of Baelfire, and suggests that he take away Gold's memories of his son. Gold vetoes this option, instead asking for a life where he remembers Baelfire, but where he does right by his son and Baelfire sees his father as a hero, right to the end. At that last detail, Isaac has finished and writes "The End" onto the page. A series of magical blue blasts emanate from the page, rewriting the story.
Henry awakens with the key to Isaac's prison in his hand and runs downstairs, only to find no sign of his grandparents, Hook, or baby Neal in the apartment. For that matter, when Henry leaves the apartment, he no one except himself in the entire town of Storybrooke. He spots a car and, using what his grandfather taught him, drives out of the ghost town and to a diner. There, he lays out pictures of Regina, Mary Margaret, David, and Emma in front of the hostess and asks her if she has seen them. She asks him to wait so she can "ask some of the others", but he realizes she does not intend to help him, believing him to be a runaway, and prepares to take off when he notices the book rack, among the books a fantasy novel called Heroes and Villains written by Isaac Heller.
Isaac Heller, a successful bestselling novelist, is giving a speech at the New York City stop on the tour of his book, Heroes and Villains. He recalls once being told that he did not write stories people wanted, and is glad to see that this is not the case. He tells the audience of fans that he was inspired to write the book after growing tired of the classic fairy tales where the heroes always win the day and decided to create a new one where the villains live happily ever after, earning himself another round of applause. The scene cuts to a long line of fans hoping to get their copies of the book signed, among them a girl who identifies herself as an avid fan of the character Regina and hands her favorite author a "token of love" for the story—a pin reading "Long Live Regina" before leaving. Next in line, to Isaac's surprise, is Henry Mills holding both the key and the illustration of the door. Henry demands to know what Isaac has done with his family, threatening to put Isaac back into the page if he does not give answers immediately.
Frightened by Henry's ultimatum and to the chagrin of Isaac's publicist, Isaac explains that his book has created an alternate reality that all of Storybrooke's former residents in it, their lives "rewritten" into a story that Isaac saw fit, giving everyone the ending he felt they deserve and has written Emma out of the story. Henry demands that he undo it, but Isaac explains that he is no longer the Author. The most important rule of the Authors is to never write your own happy ending, but Isaac broke that rule to make himself a wealthy and popular writer, reducing the quill to nothing more than a fountain pen and his book beyond undoing. He further taunts Henry by claiming there is nothing Henry can do to save his family either from the miserable world Isaac has placed them in. As Isaac walks away, a furious Henry charges at the original copy of the book and flips through the pages in search on an illustration to use the key to enter. Upon realizing what Henry intends to do, Isaac tries to stop him, but is too late as Henry turns the key, sending them both into the world of the book.
Isaac quickly knocks Henry out and ties him to an overturned wagon. When Henry comes to, Isaac again derides Henry by telling him he has entered his story, a world where no hero gets a happy ending. Unfortunately, this allows Henry to piece together that is exactly what Isaac is afraid of, as it would undo the book. It is of no concern to Isaac, however, as he plans to have Henry dead soon enough anyway. He explains that they have entered the last part of the story, which concludes with the loud sound of wedding bells, ending the book and keeping everything exactly as Isaac wrote it. At that, the chapter's inciting incident begins—an ogre attack, and Isaac dashes off, leaving Henry to be destroyed by the beast. He is rescued, however, by a knight in golden armor who uses light magic to slay the monster. Henry is understandably shocked to see that his rescuer was none other than Rumplestiltskin, who sets him free and advises the boy to return home to his family as the Light One has another village to save.
Henry takes his own copy of Heroes and Villains out of his coat pocket and looks for anything that might be helpful. He finds a description of the bandit Regina's hideaway, using the details in the description to avoid the traps set to protect Regina's forest home. He turns to the hollow tree she had made a dwelling place out of and calls for her, only to find her standing right behind him, demanding to know who he is and how he found her. Henry's honest answer, that he is her son, takes Regina greatly by surprise.
Back at the village, Isaac returns to the wagon he tied Henry to and realized that Rumplestiltskin must have arrived sooner than Isaac had expected, meaning Henry is still very much alive and a threat to Isaac's story. He then heads into the woods in hopes of finding and killing the boy.
Henry tries to explain the situation to Regina, but she stubbornly remains in a state of disbelief to the point that she thinks he may be one of the malevolent queen's spies. Henry tries to explain that he is trying to help Regina find her happiness, something they dubbed "Operation Mongoose" in the real world. At that, Regina cannot help but laugh at they silly name, but Henry insists that he is telling the truth. He tries to prove it by showing her his copy of Heroes and Villains, but all this does is frighten her when the book accurately predicts what she plans to do today—rob a royal tax carriage to buy passage out of the kingdom. Deciding she wants no part in this twisted magic, she throws the book into the fireplace.
Still, Henry refuses to give up on his mother, much to Regina's increasing aggravation. He tells her that he thinks the way to escape the book is for her to share true love's kiss with her beloved. Henry tries to explain that the man's name is Robin Hood, but this just earns a laugh from Regina, who replies that if her path ever crosses with Robin Hood, the only thing she intends to give him is a broken nose. As fate—or rather, Isaac Heller—would have it, Robin and his Merry Men are Regina's competition as thieves. Every time Regina plans a heist to steal something, Robin Hood beats her to it and therefore keeping her stuck in the kingdom, something that has caused her a great deal of misery. She once again tries to send away this seemingly crazy boy, telling him that the Queen wants her dead, believing Regina responsible for ruining her life, something she does not deny she did. She suggests that if he is looking for happy endings, he has come to the wrong place.
Elsewhere in the forest, Isaac is looking for Henry, but is quickly captured by the Queen's thugs, the Seven Dwarves, who also find his "Long Live Regina" pin. They take him before Queen Snow White, who ponders how to torture this mysterious trespasser and traitor. Isaac tries to reason with the Queen, claiming to be on her side, but she does not believe a word. She takes out a heart and orders her lover, Charming, to come forward and remove the traitor's head. At the last possible moment, Isaac obtains the Queen's attention by saying he knows who she truly loves. He tells the story he wrote for her, claiming it to be from a magical book that he read, in which Snow White fell in love with Charming's twin brother, James, until tragedy struck. Because of the foolish girl Regina, James died, and Snow White took the heart of his brother, Charming, forcing him to be hers, but it never satisfied her. He assures her that there is still a chance for Regina to pay for what she did, and he tells her that Regina will rob from a royal carriage later in the day. In return for the Queen having her vengeance, he warns her of a young boy, Henry, who has just arrived in this land, fancying himself a hero and intending to do everything in his power to help Regina. Isaac asks the Queen to kill them both, to which she gladly agrees.
Back in the forest, a carriage drives by when a well-aimed hit from Regina's slingshot knocks the driver off his mount. Sprinting into action, the bandit opens the carriage door, but to her surprise, she does not find taxes or gold, but the Queen and her huntsman. Regina attempts to appeal to her, insisting that she was only a child and had no idea her actions would lead to James' demise and was only trying to help. She further tells her stepmother that she only wants this feud to end, as all it will do in the long run is create more misery for her, leaving a void in her heart. The Queen, however, only sees the situation as justice for Regina's poor judgement and broken promise. She plunges her hand into Regina's chest, but Charming quickly stops her, asking about the boy. When Regina offers no answer and tries to reason with Snow White again, the Queen declares that Regina knows nothing of her happiness and summons a fireball. She prepares to throw it, but an arrow flies through the carriage door, knocking the Queen out cold. Regina spots where the arrow came from—a man riding on horseback. Seeing a means of escape, Regina quickly disarms Charming and leaps onto the back of the man's horse. Though she insists the situation was under control, her mysterious rescuer tells her a simple thank-you would suffice.
The pair ride off to a tavern in Sherwood Forest, where Regina finally sees the face of her rescuer—Robin Hood. He tends to her injured hand and they take a seat as the tavern maid comes by with drinks. He tells her that while this is their first time meeting, he has always admired her talents, and asks her if she would be willing to take his place as leader of the Merry Men, as he intends to retire from a life of thievery. Regina is flattered, but explains she has no intentions of staying in the kingdom for long since the Queen is hunting for her day and night, but cannot help but ask what is sending him out of the business. He replies with another question, "Have you ever met someone who you would change your entire world for? Someone whose eyes you just knew you were born to gaze into?" For a moment, Regina looks almost hopeful, but this is cut short as Robin tells her that he has, and that is why he wants to leave a life of stealing behind as it would not be fair to his bride-to-be. At that, his fiancée enters the tavern—a woman named Zelena.
Regina is visibly upset by this news, but pretends to be happy for her the couple. She attempts to leave, but not before Zelena invites her to the wedding later today. Regina says a faint good-bye to Robin, genuinely thanking him for saving her life. As she leaves the tavern, she is surprised to be greeted by Henry, who hopes that she and Robin have made a connection. Frustrated and bitter at the ironic knife-twist, Regina shoves Henry out of her way to show him that not only has Robin already found his soulmate, they are going to get married today. Henry is shocked by the what he sees, and rushes to catch up with his mother to tell her that Isaac must have rewritten the story to give Zelena, who is apparently Regina's sister, her happy ending. Believing to have been abandoned by her mother as an infant, Regina declares that she has heard more than enough. She angrily berates Henry for giving her the worst thing anyone can receive, hope, and now only wants to leave the realm before she must endure the sound on Robin and Zelena's wedding bells. Recalling what Isaac told him when he first entered the book, Henry realizes that the wedding is their last chance to undo the book's spell and once again tries to persuade his mother to help him. She tries to put him down nicely, remembering his claim that she was his mother through adoption and suggesting that he find his birth mother for help. Henry explains that he couldn't find her and fears the Author may have written her out of the story. He tells her that if his biological mother, Emma, were in the book, Regina would know. He tells her that Emma is a very powerful sorceress with the strongest of light magic to the point that in his world, she was referred to as "the savior". Instantly recognizing that his mother is lying when she claims to have never heard of her, Regina concedes to reveal that there were once rumors of a woman who called herself the savior. Henry is ecstatic to learn that there is a chance Emma is alive, but Regina continues the legend. Queen Snow White captured and locked this woman away a long time ago. No one has laid eyes on her since being sent to her impenetrable prison in the top of a tower in the middle of the Bottomless Sea, forever struggling against her bewitched chains.
"Empty Chairs at Empty Diners"
This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season.
- The title card features Emma's tower.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on March 13, 2015.
- Benjamin Wilkinson, who plays Isaac's boss, also plays the White Knight in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episodes "Dirty Little Secrets" and "And They Lived...".
- Sarah Ann Hayward, who plays the Villager, also plays the Villager in the episode "The Broken Kingdom", and Townsperson #1 in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Trust Me".
- According to the sign, the restaurant that Henry visits is called the Clarette's Family Restaurant and is located in Connecticut.
- Isaac's book signing takes place in New York City, which can be seen from the NYPD police car which passes in front of the building.
- The establishing shot of the building used for Isaac's book signing is stock footage of a New York City theater from the website Getty Images.
- The same footage was used in the 2004 superhero film Spider-Man 2, the How I Met Your Mother episode "Little Boys" and the 2017 Christmas romantic-drama film Christmas Inheritance (the signage was digitally altered for Once Upon a Time).
- Jiminy Cricket was originally going to appear in the episode, but had to be written out due to the budget and time constraints. In the episode script, he lands on Snow White's shoulder during Isaac's interrogation, and advises her not to kill Isaac immediately, but torture him for information first. Snow White remarks that this is why she always listens to her conscience.
- The Land Without Magic flashbacks take place in December 1966, many decades after "Second Star to the Right", and 16 years before "Smash the Mirror". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The magic door created by the Apprentice is the same as the door leading out of Glinda's winter garden in "A Curious Thing", and the door that is conjured by Zelena in "Only You".
- The Sorcerer's Mansion was first visited in "A Tale of Two Sisters" and Henry discovered the room filled with potential storybooks in "Heroes and Villains".
- Hook has suspicions that Mr. Gold will have the Author write an unpleasant fate for him. The complicated history and ongoing fight between Hook and the Dark One began in "The Crocodile".
- August's time spent in Phuket has previously been mentioned in "The Stranger", "Tallahassee", "Selfless, Brave and True", and "Enter the Dragon".
- Hook trapped The Apprentice in the Sorcerer's Hat in "The Apprentice", which also introduced the Apprentice's broom.
- Mother Superior, along with most of Storybrooke's nuns, were imprisoned in the Sorcerer's Hat in "Fall" and was released in "Darkness on the Edge of Town".
- Isaac was incarcerated in the page of the book in the Enchanted Forest events of 'Best Laid Plans" and released in the Storybrooke-set events of the same episode.
- Isaac began rewriting the story in "Mother".
- Mr. Gold discovered his heart was darkening to a fatal degree in "Heart of Gold".
- Isaac mentions how Rumplestiltskin became the Dark One, which happened in "Desperate Souls"
- Neal's death occurred in "Quiet Minds".
- Henry learned how to drive in "The Jolly Roger".
- This is not the first time Henry has been perceived as a runaway; Emma believed him to be one when she first met him in "Pilot".
- Isaac strikes a nerve with Henry when he claims to have written Emma out of the story, or, in other words, killed her and taken away everyone's memories of her, something Regina threatened to do to Zelena in "Mother".
- Henry's place of both birth and conception being this land has prevented him from going to the Enchanted Forest before in "Going Home".
- Henry first voiced a desire to be a hero in "Into the Deep".
- Isaac taunts Henry for being nothing more than a defenseless child who needs rescuing, which is rooted in some truth. Henry has found himself in situations where his loved one have had to save him in episodes such as "That Still Small Voice", "An Apple Red as Blood", "And Straight On 'Til Morning", "Think Lovely Thoughts", "Save Henry", "A Curious Thing", and "Sympathy for the De Vil".
- In Isaac's alternate reality, Rumplestiltskin is an honored hero and ogre slayer, turning around his actual cowardice on the battlefield in the Ogre Wars in "Manhattan".
- Rumplestiltskin tells the villagers he saves that his heroic deeds come at no price, a reversal of his iconic line, "All magic comes with a price!", which he first learned of in "Desperate Souls".
- Regina's bandit outfit is identical to the one Snow White wore when she was on the run, which first appeared in "Snow Falls".
- Henry and Regina's first meeting mirrors his first meeting with Emma in the "Pilot", with him even repeating his line, "My name's Henry, and I'm your son."
- Regina cannot fathom the events Henry recalls to her in an effort to jog her memories, which include events first seen in "Welcome to Storybrooke", "The Heart of the Truest Believer", and "Save Henry".
- Operation Mongoose began in "Rocky Road".
- Regina plans to rob a royal carriage to buy passage out of the kingdom, much like Snow White in "Snow Falls" and "Snow Drifts".
- In Isaac's story, Regina is visibly afraid of magic, as opposed to the near-addiction to it she had in reality, which began in "We Are Both".
- Robin Hood and Regina were first identified as soul mates in "Quite a Common Fairy".
- Regina tells Henry that the Queen believes Regina ruined her happiness, paralleling an exchange between Snow White and Prince Charming when they met in "Snow Falls" and again in "There's No Place Like Home".
- Prince Charming tells Snow White that he will always find her, their iconic phrase dating back to when they met in "Snow Falls" and again in "Snow Drifts", though this time it has a much darker connotation.
- Prince Charming's twin brother, Prince James, was introduced in "The Shepherd".
- The story Isaac crafted for Queen Snow White is very similar to how Regina began down her dark path in "The Stable Boy".
- In the alternate reality, Prince Charming is in a situation similar to that of the Huntsman, who made his debut in "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter".
- When Robin Hood saves Regina, she bluntly responds that he did not need to save her, to which he replies that simply saying thank you would work, much like another conversation between these two in "A Curious Thing".
- Regina and Zelena's relationship as maternal half-sisters was made known in "Witch Hunt".
- In Isaac's story, Regina claims to have been abandoned by her mother as a newborn. In the real world, Cora abandoned Zelena, which occurred in "Bleeding Through" and first became known to Zelena in "It's Not Easy Being Green" and Regina in "Witch Hunt".
- Regina has always been known to be cynical regarding hope, but slowly began giving it a chance in "Fall" through a heart-to-heart with Mary Margaret, who has been known to support the idea of hope since her introduction in "Pilot".
- The "special magic" Henry tells Regina that Emma is capable of is due Emma to being born the product of the truest love in all the lands, something that was established in "Queen of Hearts".
- This is not the first time Emma has been imprisoned by an evil Queen; this previously happened in "There's No Place Like Home".
- August Booth mentioned Walt as a previous Author in "Best Laid Plans". Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, the same date on the letter the Apprentice sent to Isaac. The Apprentice mentions how the last Author just passed away.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode features Snow White, Prince Charming, the Evil Queen, and the Seven Dwarves from the Snow White fairytale, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, Rumplestiltskin from the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale, Robin Hood from the Robin Hood ballad, the Apprentice from The Sorcerer's Apprentice and the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz story.
- One of Isaac's fans is dressed up like Red Riding Hood.
- One of the TVs in the electronics shop advertises "Vibracolor", a parody of Technicolor, an early color motion picture process.
- 1966 was the year color television really became a viable consumer option in the United States, thanks to an industry wide push to broadcast half of all programming in color and the introduction of the first "portable" color television.
- "Jingle Bell Rock", a popular Christmas song first released by Bobby Helms in 1957, is playing in the television shop where Isaac works in 1966.
- The man who buys a television was a member of the American 25th Infantry Division, and has the insignia tattooed on his arm. Isaac's boss was a member of the American 187th Infantry Regiment.
- Isaac's boss at the beginning of the episodes mentions Gimbels, which was a New York Department store until 1981.
- When Henry walks down the stairs in the Blanchard Loft, an X-men comic can be seen in his room.
- When Henry looks for his family inside the Blanchard Loft, two Pee-Chee All Season Portfolios can be seen among the content that was dumped from his backpack previously. This was a common American stationery item in the second half of the 20th century, commonly used by students for storing school papers.
- According to the paperback edition, Isaac's book is a "New York Ledger bestseller". In addition, on of the reviews quoted, is from New York Ledger. New York Ledger was a weekly story paper published in New York City, from 1855 to 1898.
- One of the reviews quoted on the back of the Heroes and Villains paperback, is from "New York Bugle". This is a reference to the Daily Bugle, a fictional New York City tabloid newspaper that is a regular fixture in the Marvel Universe, most prominently in Spider-Man comic titles.
- One of the books on the rack where Henry finds Isaac's novel is a New York Times bestseller.
- Isaac refers to the television he is trying to sell, as a Zenith Marseille color TV. However, the actual real-life version of this model has a different design.
- The "space commander" remote that comes with the television, is a Zenith Space Commander Six Hundred, an early television remote control. The design seen in the episode, was offered between the years 1965 through 1972. Zenith Electronics was the inventor of the modern remote control.
- According to the envelope, Isaac's address is 968 East 14th Street, Brooklyn NY, 11230, the childhood home of the famous actor and director Woody Allen. Show creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis were both inspired by Woody Allen at young ages.
- According to Isaac's letter, the address of Star Publishing is 302 West 37th Street, New York, NY (the postal code is illegible). This is the address of the Actors Movement Studio, a teaching facility for actors in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City.
- The magic door created by the Apprentice is the same as the door to Glinda's winter garden in the Season Three episode "A Curious Thing", but painted in a different color. However, the door leading out of Glinda's dimension is the same as the Apprentice's.
- One of the photographs which Henry shows the hostess, which shows Henry with Regina, is the same photo that Roni finds in Belfrey Towers in the Season Seven episodes "Greenbacks" and "Wake Up Call", but with a different background.
- The reviewers quoted in the book blurb for Heroes and Villains are Once Upon a Time graphic designer and productions staff member Neil Westlake, art director Cheryl Marion and conceptual designer Keith Lau:
his writing is sharp, and his characters are alive on the page.
A sophisticated and meaningful book.”
- Neil Westlake, Hudson Bay Herald
“Heller takes attack or be beaten ideologies to new heights in
this heavy-hitting first work. I had the sense that I had learned
something new about the fight against evil...”
- Keith Lau, Daily Bugle
- Neil Westlake is also listed as a complainant in a police report in the Season One episode "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter", and is credited as a land surveyor on a document in the Season One episode "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", a photographer on the front page of the Storybrooke Daily Mirror in the Season One episode "The Stable Boy", and as a former entrepreneur from Storybrooke on a sign by the town hall in the Season Five episode "Last Rites". It is also the name of the author on the cover of book Robin Hood: Myth and Legend from the part one of the Season Five finale, "Only You".
- The reviews quoted, are directly adapted from four real-life reviews used to promote the novel Poison Pill (2013) by Glenn Kaplan. The original reviews read thus:
and his characters come alive on the page. A sophisticated and thoughtful
thriller.” —Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author
“Great reading… ranges from Russian oligarchs to the American worlds of drug
research and the equity markets, all of it in a mode of high suspense.” —Scott
Turow, New York Times bestselling author
“Kaplan takes kill-or-be-killed business ideologies to psychopathic new levels in
this deftly plotted corporate thriller.… It's Donald Trump meets Hannibal Lecter,
with highly engaging results.” —Publishers Weekly on Evil, Inc.
“A fine thriller ripped out of today's Enron-like headlines. When I finished Evil,
Inc., I had a sense that I'd really learned something about corporate America and
the men and women who run the show.” —David Hagberg, USA Today bestselling
author of Dance With the Dragon on Evil, Inc.
- An excerpt from the fairy tale of "The Golden Bird" can be glimpsed when Henry flips through the "Heroes and Villains" storybook.
- The accompanying illustration is a picture by the famous English book illustrator Arthur Rackham, from a 1922 edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's children's book A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys. It depicts a scene from the story "The Paradise of Children".
- The same excerpt, with the same illustration, is in the Once Upon a Time storybook in the Season One episode "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" and the Season Three episode "The New Neverland"; indicating that the same prop was used for the inside of the book.
- In Isaac's alternate reality, Snow White chained Emma up inside a prison tower. Interestingly, the symbol on Snow White's wagon (the one that Regina tries to rob) is a tower with a circle of chains around it.
- Among the fictional book titles on the rack where Henry finds the Heroes and Villains bestseller, are:
- Hidden Informant by Klaus Jandermann
- The Marzipan Rose
- A book by Stanley Lipsberg ("author of the New York Times bestseller The Undiscovered")
- Shadow Precinct by Bill Burd; a reference to the property master on the show
- A book by Earl Ruperdeen Jr.
- Olivia Marque's Funeral by Americus Van Reese (the last name is blurred but it can be seen more clearly in the bestseller list that Isaac is reading in "Operation Mongoose Part 2")
- Americus Van Reese's name also appears on a headstone prop created for the Hyperion Heights Cemetery in the Season Seven episode "Is This Henry Mills?". The headstone, however, does not appear on-screen.
- Hidden Informant, The Marzipan Rose and Olivia Marque's Funeral' are also listed in the bestseller list in the newspaper that Isaac is reading in "Operation Mongoose Part 2", along with another book by Bill Burd: Two Punks In Paris.
- Concept art by Keith Lau reveals that the book by Stanley Lipsberg is called Shipwrecked Dutchman, a title which also appeared on the bestseller list (the author's name is illegible in the newspaper), and that the book by Earl Ruberdin Jr is called The Killing of Tyrone Ellis.
- Lau created concept art for additional books which were not used in the episode: Dorothy's Wish by Morgan Beggs (an episode director on the show), Broken by Emett Blakestone, The Undiscovered by Jason Kent, The Ladder by Doug McLean (a production staff member on the show), Princess Myoko by Mary Finterglass and Lamentable Fires by Michael Lundgren.
- During Isaac's speech, the wall behind him says "Ars longa, vita brevis", a Latin phrase meaning, "Art is long, life is short".
- The sign outside the tavern that Regina and Robin Hood visit in Isaac's story (a face made of leaves), is the same one seen outside the tavern Regina finds her soulmate in the Season Three episode "Quite a Common Fairy". However, it is not the same tavern, as the architecture outside is different. The same sign is used on a building when Snow White and her friends are celebrating in the Season Five episode "Souls of the Departed".
- The bandit outfit Regina is wearing in the alternate reality is the same outfit Snow White wears in the Season One episodes Snow Falls, "7:15 A.M.", "Heart of Darkness" and "An Apple Red as Blood", the Season Two episode "The Evil Queen" and the Season Three episodes "Snow Drifts" and "There's No Place Like Home".
- Snow White's earrings in Isaac's alternate reality were later worn by Wish Cruella in the Season Seven episode "Homecoming".
- The vest Robin Hood is wearing in the alternate reality is the same vest his Wish Realm counterpart, Robin of Locksley, wears in the Season Six episodes "Wish You Were Here", "Tougher Than the Rest" and "Page 23".
- Robin Hood also wears the same vest in the Season Two episode "Lacey", the Season Three episodes "Quite a Common Fairy", "New York City Serenade", "Witch Hunt", "The Tower", and "A Curious Thing", and the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episode "Forget Me Not".
- The vest is also worn by Jack in the Season Seven episode "The Eighth Witch".
- The scene where Isaac is recruited by the Apprentice was filmed in the Dancey Ballroom & Dance Studio in downtown Vancouver.
- Isaac's speech and book signing was filmed inside the Orpheum theater in Vancouver.
|Finnish||"Operaatio Mungo, osa 1"||"Operation Mongoose, part 1"|
|French||"Opération Mangouste"||"Operation Mongoose"|
|German||"Das gute Böse (1)"||"Good Evil (1)"|
|Italian||"Operazione mangusta (1ª parte)"||"Operation Mongoose (1st Part)"|
|Portuguese||"Operação Mangusto - Parte 1"||"Operation Mongoose - Part 1"|
|Spanish||"Operación Mangosta Parte 1"||"Operation Mongoose Part 1"|