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Eventually, everyone turns on people like us. Even friends. Even family. They're just waiting for a reason.

"Rocky Road" is the third episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz and directed by Morgan Beggs. It is the sixty-ninth episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 12, 2014.


When an icy spell is cast on Marian, which will ultimately freeze her heart and kill her, the Storybrooke residents place the blame on Elsa. But unbeknownst to anyone, a mysterious woman who runs the town’s ice cream parlor has the same powers as Elsa and is trying to frame her. Emma and David find former Merry Men member Will Scarlet rummaging through Robin Hood’s tent, Regina teams up with Henry to try and discover who the author of the fairy tale book is, Mary Margaret is having trouble balancing her duties as leader of Storybrooke and mother to young Prince Neal, and Hook begins to suspect that Mr. Gold is still in control of the dagger that calls upon him to be the Dark One. Meanwhile, in Arendelle of the past, Elsa and Kristoff set off to stop Hans from attempting to take control of the kingdom.[2]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

The episode starts out with the Hood family walking through Storybrooke. Robin Hood is attempting to explain things to Marian while Roland begs his mother for ice cream. The trio goes into Any Given Sundae where the Snow Queen serves Robin and Roland some rocky road ice cream and serves Marian vanilla ice cream on a cone with sprinkles, which she secretly curses before giving it to her. In the next scene, Emma, Hook, and Elsa interrogate Mr. Gold. Belle uses the dagger on him and proves to the trio that he's not lying.

In the next scene, Mary Margaret is holding a town meeting while also taking care of Neal. The town is upset over Elsa's mayhem while Mary Margaret, David, and the Hood family defend her. As they speak, a strand of white begins to frost into Marian's hair and she collapses, causing a panic.

At Granny's Diner, Henry is sipping on a mug of hot chocolate when Regina comes in and puts down some comic books for him. He is happy over her gift, to which Regina remarks that she wasn't sure which kind he liked anymore, so she got a bunch. As Henry begins flipping through one, Regina questions him about the writer of his storybook. He inquiries why she is asking. At first, Regina says she wants to force the storybook author, before changing her wording, and explaining she wants to ask the author to rewrite a happy ending for her. Henry agrees to help her find him, and the two decide on the name of the mission to be "Operation Mongoose". Robin bursts in to the diner and requests that Regina help Marian. Henry, Regina, and Robin rush to town hall where Regina observes Marian. Emma and Elsa later come too. Elsa states there is only one way to save Marian, which Regina knows painfully, is true love's kiss. Robin then kisses Marian, hoping it will cure the curse, however, nothing happens.

Emma and Killian set off to find who has hurt Marian.

Deleted Scenes

"Unnamed Scene"

Mr. Gold, Belle, Elsa, Emma and Hook approach the farmhouse in order to help Elsa understand her origins in Storybrooke. Gold collects ashes from the urn and explains that magic can never be destroyed, only change. Emma then assures Elsa that they will find her sister.[3]



Guest Starring





Production Notes

  • The opening shot of the Storybrooke library[6] is re-used for an establishing shot of the library in "Family Business".[7] Note that the time on the CGI clock tower is different.
  • For at least one filming day, Christie Laing was ill with food poisoning, so it was a reprieve for her to lay down during the scenes where her character is supposed to be a frozen ice statue.[8]
  • The Snow Queen is barefoot as she walks, which was Elizabeth Mitchell's decision. She described herself as a "gazelle in galoshes", and otherwise, she would be "tripping over everything."[9]
  • For the scene where the Snow Queen freezes Hans, Tyler Jacob Moore had to be 3D modeled, and stand with his hands up and a frozen look on his face.[10]
  • Henry and Regina's mission, Operation Mongoose, references the real-life carnivorous animal of the same name. Mongooses feed on cobras in the wild,[11] and are usually unaffected by cobra venom at low doses.[12] This is ironic considering Emma and Henry's first mission together was named Operation Cobra.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • The ice cream shop, Any Given Sundae, was first featured in "White Out".
  • Emma informs Mr. Gold that Elsa was trapped inside an urn he stored in his vault. She saw this relic in "There's No Place Like Home".
  • Mr. Gold insists he is a changed man since losing a son and gaining a wife. These events occurred in "Quiet Minds" and "There's No Place Like Home".
  • Emma warns that she can tell when someone is lying by using her superpower. She first noted this in "Pilot".
  • Mary Margaret welcomes townspeople into her office since becoming mayor, a role she first took on in "White Out".
  • The ice wall surrounding the town was created in "White Out".
  • Leroy mentions Elsa freezing his car in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • Granny's recollection of Elsa creating the snow monster and the creature attacking Marian are events from "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • Marian's affliction is cured in "Heroes and Villains".
  • Regina conceived the plan to change Henry's storybook in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • At Henry's suggestion they undertake a mission together, Regina recalls "Operation Cobra" that he had with Emma, which began in "The Thing You Love Most".
  • When Robin Hood fails to wake his wife with true love's kiss, David remembers Frederick, a knight, who was accidentally turned into golden statue. Frederick's fate is further explored in "What Happened to Frederick".
  • Breaking into Any Given Sundae, Emma once again performs a lock-picking trick, which she used to escape the Evil Queen's dungeon in "There's No Place Like Home". How Neal taught her the trick is also featured in the same episode.
  • The reason behind Any Given Sundae's missing cooling system is explained in "White Out".
  • Elsa says that she should have destroyed the urn when she had the chance, which she eventually does in "There's No Place Like Home".
  • How Snow Queen ended up inside the urn, and why Elsa has never heard of her aunt, is revealed in "The Snow Queen".
  • How Elsa herself was trapped inside the urn, and how it ended up in Rumplestiltskin's vault, is revealed in "Smash the Mirror".
  • The real reason why Anna's necklace came into Mr. Gold's possession is explained in "Smash the Mirror".
  • How the Snow Queen knows Emma is first revealed in "Breaking Glass", and further explored in "Shattered Sight".
  • Why Emma has no memory of the Snow Queen is explained in "Shattered Sight". Emma gets her memories back in the same episode.
  • Graham and Neal's deaths occurred in "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" and "Quiet Minds". Walsh's death occurred in "New York City Serenade".
  • Emma's reason for distancing herself from Hook is revealed in this episode, and was previously alluded to in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • Hook claims to be good at surviving. Pan described him the same way in "Good Form", and Hook himself used those words for the first time in "The Evil Queen".
  • Hook refers to what he says to Emma in "Heroes and Villains".


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • When Elsa touches the magic urn, strange characters appear.[15] Elsa recognizes the inscription as "ancient Futhark runes", but is unable to read them. However, two of the characters are Elder Futhark runes:
    • Laguz (ᛚ, meaning L), which means "water" or "lake"
    • Isaz (ᛁ, meaning I), which means "ice"

Set Dressing

Costume Notes

Filming Locations

International Titles



  2. 2.0 2.1
  4. File:403Title.png
  6. File:403ClockTower.png
  7. File:406ClockTower.png
  12. Mongooses: Their Natural History and Behavior, H. E. Hinton and A. M. S. Dunn, University of California Press, 1967, page 17. Facsimile by Google Books.
  13. File:403InkAndPaper.png
  14. File:403IsntItFunny.png
  15. File:403UrnWriting.PNG
  16. File:401OpeningDiary.png
  18. File:403Hii.png
  19. File:513MovingCouch.png
  20. File:403AndIceCream.png
  21. (note that the garment that is pictured has a different color)
  22. File:403DiscoveredSomething.png
  23. File:212IDidIt.png
  24. File:212IPurchasedYouACommission.png
  25. File:417OffWithHisHat.png
  26. File:516OzGuard.png
  27. File:618ToRemindThem.png
  28. File:606YourLifeFamily.png
  29. File:614GiveThatOrder.png
  30. File:615FromThoseBeasts.png
  31. File:407DiplomaticMission.png
  32. File:407WelcomeToMyKingdom.png
  33. File:403MissSwan.png
  35. File:403See.png
  37. 37.0 37.1 File:403LookAtThat.png
  39. 39.0 39.1

Start a Discussion Discussions about Rocky Road

  • Zelena/Marian's heart in Rocky Road.

    7 messages
    • Jdg98 wrote:How did Regina take the heart when, according to Zelena, she placed a protection spell over it "eons ago"? Well, ...
    • Only time she coulda done it was during 4x11. I bet they'd say "protection spells don't work under glamors" or someth...
  • Deleted Scenes

    3 messages
    • Because we did not have the time to add them yet? You know, we're all busy people with a lot of things to do in our lives. So yeah, we ...
    • Lady Junky wrote:Because we did not have the time to add them yet? You know, we're all busy people with a lot of things to do in our liv...