Selfless, Brave and True is the eighteenth episode of Season Two of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Kalinda Vazquez & Robert Hull and directed by Ralph Hemecker. It is the fortieth episode overall, and premiered on March 24, 2013.
While Mary Margaret goes off on her own in an attempt to come to grips with what she did to Cora and how her deed has affected her, she stumbles upon August, who has hidden himself away from the others and is completely made of wood—ashamed at the actions he has taken in life; and Emma is shocked when Neal invites his fiancée, Tamara, to come to Storybrooke. Meanwhile, before the curse was cast, August is introduced to a man of magic who may be able to prevent him from turning back into wood—but at a steep price.
October 24, 2011, on the island of Phuket. August Booth is asleep in bed with a woman named Isra. When his electronic clock reads, 8:15, he jumps up in pain. The pain is coming from his leg, which to him is now wooden, he shows it to the woman, who is unfazed, beckoning him back to bed. August tells her that he needs to go to the hospital. He stands up, declaring that he is turning back into his wooden form.
In Storybrooke, David brings a breakfast tray for Mary Margaret, who is still recuperating after she tricked Regina into killing Cora. Emma stops David, and tells him that he needs to stop giving Mary Margaret foot rubs and breakfast in bed. David insists that Cora's death has been hard on her, and that the breakfasts in bed are the least they can do to ensure Mary Margaret is okay. Emma believes that it is time to get Mary Margaret out of bed. Henry paces down the stairs to see if everything is alright. Emma says "Nothing", before walking out of the apartment with Henry. As soon as Henry and Emma leave, Mary Margaret pops up from behind the island in the kitchen. David asks her if she wants to go to Granny's Diner, but he notices that Mary Margaret is packing up. David asks her if she has plans, and she responds that she is going into the woods to think things through.
Henry and Emma enter Granny's Bed and Breakfast where Neal is waiting for them. Henry shows Neal his storybook and asks his father to tell him what life was really like in the Enchanted Forest. Neal tells Henry to go to Granny's Diner for some hot cocoa, and once he leaves, Neal tells Emma some very important information: Hook has escaped Neal's storage room and is now who knows where, and Neal's fiancée, Tamara, is on her way to Storybrooke. This worries Emma greatly that if Tamara sees some form of magic that could expose the truth about the town. She then questions him on whether or not Tamara knows Neal's identity as Baelfire, and advises him to tell her about it himself.
In the woods of Storybrooke, Mary Margaret is practicing her archery she hears a sound in the distance. She follows it to an old trailer. When inside, she sees August Booth, his entire body made of wood.
August Booth sits in a hospital in Hong Kong, waiting for his leg to be inspected. When he sees a doctor, he informs the doctor that his leg is turning into wood. Through the doctor's eyes his leg looks perfectly normal. The doctor tells August to leave. August tries to prove to the doctor that his leg is actually turning into wood by stabbing his leg with a scalpel. Immediately, the doctor calls for the orderlies to take August to the psychology ward. The orderlies chase August through the hospital, but he is taken into a restroom where a man tells him that he knows someone who can fix his problem; a man called The Dragon who can fix his leg for the right price.
In August's trailer, Mary Margaret asks him why the lifting of the curse didn't turn him back. August tells Mary Margaret that he stayed like this, even after the curse was broken, that this is his punishment. She says that the people of Storybrooke care about him, and that he does not need to hide like this. He asks her how his father is doing. Mary Margaret says that Marco misses him, she also updates him, telling him that Henry's father has come to Storybrooke. August asks her if they are back together, but Mary Margaret tells him that Neal is engaged to a woman from New York. When Mary Margaret tries to convince August to come back, he tells her that he cannot let people see him like this. He then asks her to leave, and not to tell anyone she has found him.
Tamara has reached Storybrooke and is now visiting with Neal, Emma and Henry. Henry asks Neal how him and Tamara met, but when he does not respond, Tamara answers instead. She tells Henry that she was on her way to work when they bumped into each other, causing her to spill her coffee all over her blouse, and Neal gave her his scarf to hide the stain. After this, she tells Henry that Neal gave her his number. Emma tells her that it is a good story, and says that she needs to go drop off Henry with his grandpa. As soon as Henry leaves, Tamara tells Neal that Henry seems like a good kid. Neal acknowledges this but changes the subject soon afterwords. He tells Tamara that he is from a place called the Enchanted Forest, showing Tamara Henry's book. She recognizes them as fairy tales. Neal points to a picture of Baelfire, telling Tamara that it is a picture of him. Tamara asks Neal what he is trying to do. He says he is trying to be honest with her, but Tamara says that she saw the way Emma and him looked at each other. She adds that he did not want Emma to hear the story of how they met. Tamara says that instead of forcing her away, he could have just told her if he wants to be with Emma. Neal denies this, but Tamara leaves anyway, saying that he can come find her when he is ready to be honest with her.
In Hong Kong, August Booth is taken by the man from the hospital to see The Dragon. He walks up some stairs to find a room full of people waiting to see The Dragon. He notices one woman dropped her wallet, so he stands up to give it to her. When this woman turns around, it is revealed that she is Tamara.
At Granny's Diner, Regina introduces herself to Greg Mendell. He remembers her as the mother of Henry Mills, the little boy he found wandering in the woods. She thanks him for calling her when he found Henry in the woods, and he says he has a soft spot for little kids in trouble. Regina asks him if they have met before. Greg feigns not remembering her, telling her that unless she has spent time in Carlisle, Pennsylvania then they probably have not met. She then leaves, offering her assistance if he needs anything. On Regina's way out of the diner, she bumps into Mary Margaret, proceeding to slam her, saying she should try the fish special—blackened sole. After this, Mary Margaret passes Regina to tell Emma and Marco that she found August in a trailer in the woods. Marco is enthralled to hear that his son is alive, but Mary Margaret tells him that August has turned completely into wood. Mary Margaret tells Emma that they cannot help him, but Mother Superior probably can. Marco tells them that she saved him once before as the Blue Fairy, so she can do it again. They soon leave the restaurant, unaware that Tamara has eavesdropped on their conversation.
Tamara exits from her session with The Dragon, and tells August that it is his turn to see him, wishing him good luck. He enters the Dragon's abode, sitting before him. The Dragon asks August why he has come to see him, August rolls up his pant leg to show The Dragon. Immediately The Dragon sees that he is turning into wood, calling him by his former name--Pinocchio. August asks this man how he knows his name, and if he is from the Enchanted Forest. The Dragon says that it does not matter, and that he can help August, but there are conditions. First, The Dragon needs and item of great value, pointing to August's neck. August pulls a necklace out. The Dragon knows that the string of the necklace is the string his father used to animate him, extending his hand for the payment. The Dragon then tells him that along with the necklace, he needs ten thousand dollars, and if it is brought by tonight he will never turn into wood again.
Mother Superior is approached by Marco, Emma and Mary Margaret. She tells them that shortly after the curse was broken, August came to her and asked her if she could return him to his former self. Mother Superior addresses Marco, telling him that when she initially turned Pinocchio into a real boy it was his duty to remain truthful, brave and unselfish, but he did not. Mary Margaret asks her why he should not get another chance. Mother Superior tells them that August cannot be forced on the path of redemption, for that would not be true. Mary Margaret turns to Marco and tells him that there is still hope for August.
August looks through this wallet to find payment for The Dragon, but does not have sufficient funds. He is outside a bar in Hong Kong, and Tamara greets him, and invites him to sit with her. When he sits next to her she pulls out her purse, which contains a big stack of one hundred dollar bills. The bartender gives August a beer, and him and Tamara toast to second chances. He asks her why she is seeing The Dragon. She tells August that she had a rare form of cancer, and was sure to die. Discovering that she had cancer, she searched the world looking for a doctor or a healer to help her. August tells her that he came to The Dragon because of a skin condition. Tamara asks if it is acne, and August agrees, but he tells her that once it spreads he will be done for. Tamara then asks him why they would need to bring a personal item, and that she gave The Dragon a photo of her and her grandmother. She then leaves because of a phone call. August agrees to keep an eye on her purse for her, but when she has her back turned he takes a stack of bills out of the purse and leaves the bar.
In August's trailer, there is a knock at the door. He thinks Mary Margaret has returned, but discovers Tamara instead.
August runs back to The Dragon. He shows August a vial with some kind of magic in it, before he gives it to August, he asks for the money. August takes the money he stole from Tamara and nearly gives it to The Dragon. When he looks down at the table, he sees a picture of Tamara and her grandmother, and begins to feel pain in his leg. The Dragon says that the body has strange ways of sending us signals. August asks if The Dragon is sure that what is in the bottle can cure him. The Dragon cryptically tells him that it will stop him from turning into wood, but that is only a symptom, adding that only August can truly cure himself. The two exchange the money for the cure. Later, August unwrapped the vial, but Tamara tells him that it's not his. August runs, but Tamara chases him, and eventually he drops the bottle onto the ground. Tamara picks it up, and tells him that he deserves whatever he has. Leaving August crying in the middle of the street.
In August's trailer, August asks Tamara if she believes in magic. She asks him why she would chase down a man called The Dragon if she did not believe. He asks her why she is in Storybrooke, but she tells him that it does not concern him. Tamara tells him that after what he did in Hong Kong, he owes her a favor—leaving Storybrooke. He asks her if she is like him. Tamara responds that she is not magical, but changes the subject to her cancer being cured by the bottle Th Dragon offered her. She tells him that the bottle is in her apartment in New York, and that August can go get it and use it to cure his own affliction. In exchange for this, Tamara asks him to leave Storybrooke and never return. He puts two and two together, realizing she is Neal's fiancée. August then asks her if her and Neal are planning to take the magic from Storybrooke. Tamara admits that Neal is not a part of any of this. August says he cannot leave without knowing her plans, but Tamara says that the August she met in Hong Kong would do anything to save himself, and she is offering salvation.
Greg Mendell comes back to Granny's Bed and Breakfast, only to discover Regina Mills waiting for him. He tells her that he has enough towels, if that is what she came for, but she came for other reasons. She tells Greg that she realizes why he looks so familiar to her—they met years ago, when he was still called Owen. Regina shows him the lanyard keychain he gave her, telling him that she kept it all these years to remind her of their time together. Regina says that he looks different now that he is all grown up, but Greg says Regina looks exactly the same. She praises a monthly juice cleanse for her perceived agelessness. She asks him why he is here. Greg admits that he is in Storybrooke to locate his father. Regina tells Greg that his father left the town not long after he did, and she never saw him again. Greg does not believe Regina, but she maintains that it is the truth. He says that people cannot just disappear. Regina tells him that scared little boys have overactive imaginations, but Greg says that he is not a scared little boy and he is not leaving without his father. Regina says he is leaving without his father, tomorrow. He asks her what will happen if he does not. Regina says that contrary to what he might believe people can just disappear.
While on their way to August's trailer, Marco reveals to Emma and Mary Margaret that Emma did not travel through the Magic Wardrobe alone. Marco tells Mary Margaret the truth about how he sent his son through the wardrobe and made the Blue Fairy lie to them about the Magic Wardrobe's capacity. He begins to apologize to her, but she slaps him instead. Emma stops Mary Margaret, and she apologizes to Marco, saying that she is not herself, and she would have done the same if it were her child. They find August's trailer shortly after this, but he is nowhere to be found in his trailer. In actuality, August is driving Tamara's car out of Storybrooke as quickly as possible.
Back in Hong Kong, Tamara tries to get the truth from The Dragon. He tells Tamara that it is bizarre to try to get him to tell the truth, when she is the one who lied about having cancer. Tamara admits to this, but says that she has been searching for magic, a rare commodity in this world, for a long time, and finally found it in The Dragon. Showing him the bottle of magic he gave her, she tells The Dragon that even with the most sophisticated technology on this earth, no elements on the periodic table were found in the substance. The Dragon says that it is not from this world, because he provides cures for afflictions not of this world. He accuses Tamara of stealing it, but she argues that she is the one paid for this bottle. Tamara pulls out her taser, telling The Dragon that she cannot risk anyone finding him. Smoke exits The Dragon's nostrils, and he magically glides towards Tamara, telling her that she hasn't met the real him. He levitates above the ground, but Tamara's taser electrocutes him until he drops dead.
August is driving Tamara's car when he hits a bump in the road. This bump causes the photo of Tamara and her grandmother she previously gave to The Dragon to fall onto the seat next to August. Upon seeing the photo, August turns the car back around. He returns to Storybrooke, and he goes into the Storybrooke Sheriff Department looking for someone to help him. Using the phone there, he calls Emma who is out in the woods. She is relieved to hear that it is August, but just as he is about to warn her, Tamara stops August. He tells Tamara that he knows what she did to The Dragon. He recalls that a few days after he left, he went back to The Dragon, only to find him dead, but according to August he was too wrapped up in himself to wonder what had happened. August shows her the photo of her and her grandmother. Now he realizes that she killed The Dragon. Tamara tells August that he should have left, but August maintains that only he can cure his dishonesty. After telling this to Tamara, he leaves to warn the people of Storybrooke about Tamara. Before he can do this, Tamara uses her taser to electrocute him.
August bumbles out of the Sheriff Department, looking for someone to help. A group of citizens including Marco, Emma, Henry, David and Mary Margaret find him lying on the ground. Marco immediately comforts his dying son. With his last words, August tries to warn Emma about Tamara, but dies in Marco's arms before he can tell her. Suddenly, Neal appears, and asks what has happened to August. Emma tells him that someone killed August. Henry recalls "Selfless, Brave and True", the words the Blue Fairy used to describe what Pinocchio must do to remain a real boy. He says that they need the Blue Fairy, and Mother Superior runs towards August to save the day. She tells that she saved Pinocchio after he sacrificed his life for his father's, so she should be able to do the same now. Marco begs for his son's life, and sure enough, Mother Superior's wand reverts August back into a real boy. Pinocchio and his father rejoice, and Tamara approaches from behind Neal, after witnessing the transformation. Emma asks Pinocchio if he can remember what he was going to tell her before Mother Superior turned him into a little boy. Pinocchio cannot remember what he was going to tell Emma, and says that he wants to be truthful. Neal asks Tamara if she still wants to be with him after what she has seen today. Tamara says that she loves him. Neal remarks that he cannot believe how lucky he was to have met her, and Tamara responds that they were both lucky.
In 2011 New York, August tells Neal that he is back from Hong Kong, is turning into wood, and that he must see Emma in Storybrooke. August adds that in order to stop turning back into wood, he must get Emma to break the curse. Neal is opposed to this, because the breaking of the curse will send his father searching for him. August on the other hand, points out that he will at least get to see Emma again, but Neal is unsure if Emma will want to see him. August gets ready to leave, but tells Neal that he will send him a postcard when the curse is broken. During this whole conversation, Tamara is spying on them using a mirror. After witnessing this, she walks over to Neal, purposefully bumping into Neal, causing her to spill her coffee all over herself. Neal then offers his scarf over to Tamara, showing exactly how they met.
Later, in Storybrooke, Emma apologizes to Henry for lying to him about his father, emulating Pinocchio's honesty. The two embrace, leaving Mary Margaret and David alone downstairs. David asks Mary Margaret what is going on. Before she is able to tell him what is going on, she makes him promise not to get mad. He makes that promise, but when he hears that Mary Margaret went to Regina's house in order to be killed by Regina, he is visibly upset. She tells David that when Regina ripped her heart out, it was starting to blacken, but she did not tell David because she wanted to find a way to stop it. He tells her that they will find another way, putting his hand on her heart.
Meanwhile, Greg Mendell receives a call from the infamous "Her". He answers his phone and asks her why she has not called him back. There is then a knock at his door, and Tamara answers with her cell phone in her hand, apologizing for being late. She tells Greg that she only has a few minutes, so the two kiss before she must return to her fiancé, Neal.
- The title card features August's trailer.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on January 31, 2013.
- This episode establishes that time started moving in Storybrooke on October 23. 2011, the same date that the show premiered. This is proven when August's wooden state is triggered in Phuket, Thailand at 8:15 A.M. on October 24. - the very same moment that Emma accepts the room key at 8:15 P.M. (the time zone in Phuket is 12 hours ahead of Maine's timezone).
- For the scenes with a wooden August, Eion Bailey wore a green SFX hood and motion capture dots on his face.
- Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz admitted their biggest Season Two regret was the tasing of August. As the episode was being written, they thought Tamara needed to use a real world weapon, so they picked a taser. Eddy explains that they "figured the audience assumed it wasn't a taser... but they didn't", so fans began to give them history lessons about wood and conducting electricity.
- The Storybrooke events take place the week after "Welcome to Storybrooke", and before "Lacey"
- The opening Land Without Magic flashback scene in Phuket take place in October 2011, concurrently with the end of "Pilot". August's scenes in Hong Kong take place in October 2011, shortly afterward. The New York City events with August and Neal Cassidy take place in November 2011, before August arrives in Storybrooke in "True North".(For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- August's stay in Phuket was referred to in "The Stranger" and "Tallahassee".
- As explained in "The Stranger", August began turning into wood at the exact moment that Emma decided to stay in Storybrooke, an event explored in "Pilot".
- Tamara was introduced as Neal's fiancée in "The Queen Is Dead".
- This episode reveals what happened to August after his disappearance in "We Are Both".
- August's arrival in Storybrooke occurs in "True North".
- Henry's storybook remains in Neal's room until Emma retrieves it in "The New Neverland".
- Pinocchio is turned back into his adult self in "Enter the Dragon".
- The Dragon tells Tamara that she hasn't met his real self. His true form is revealed in "I'll Be Your Mirror".
- There is a honey neon sign for a pub called "Winnie's"; alluding to Disney's adaptation of the character Winnie-the-Pooh.
Fairytales and Folklore
- August's prized possession is a necklace that bears the image of a whale, referencing the "Terrible Dogfish" from The Adventures of Pinocchio.
- While practicing archery in the woods, Mary Margaret listens to Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation".
- During Greg and Regina's chat in the diner, "Got It" by Gabriela plays in the background.
- As August is talking to Neal in New York City, a New York Banner vending machine can be seen on the street. This is a fictional newspaper in Ayn Rand's bestselling novel The Fountainhead.
- A Stussy No. 4 clothing store can be seen behind Neal during his conversation with August in New York.
- The tray David carries is an IKEA Romantisk Tray in White.
- David puts a small vase of snowdrops on Mary Margaret's breakfast tray. The same flower was used as decorations on Snow White's birthday in "The Queen Is Dead", and Mary Margaret plants the same flowers on Johanna's grave in this episode. The flower that Prince Charming gives to Snow White in "A Curious Thing" is also a snowdrop.
- Tamara brought bagels from Zabar's, a real food store on Broadway, New York, the city where Neal and Tamara used to live.
- An excerpt from the fairy tale of "The Golden Bird" is visible when Tamara flips through the storybook.
- The accompanying illustration is "When He Heard Peter's Voice He Popped in Alarm Behind a Tulip, one of Arthur Rackham's illustrations from J.M. Barrie's book Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906).
- On the opposite page, another illustration by Rackham can be seen: "What Did She Find There But Real Ripe Strawberries", from Little Brother & Little Sister and Other Tales By The Brothers Grimm (1917). This image depicts a scene from the fairy tale of "The Three Little Men in the Wood".
- When Tamara opens the book, a 1909 illustration by Rackham, from the fairy tale of "Little Red Riding Hood", can be glimpsed.
- Neal has the page with the illustration of himself bookmarked.
- The label on a bottle of lager on August's nightstand as he wakes up, has an illustration of a dragon.
- The lounge at the inn has Toile Cottage Prints VC50904 wallpaper from Wallquest. Greg's room has Damask Cottage Prints VC50207 wallpaper from the same company.
- The black, seaweed-resembling wallpaper on one of the walls in The Dragon's clinic, can also be seen in Ursula's apartment in New York in "Darkness on the Edge of Town".
- The fruits on the Dragon's table are pitayas, also known as dragonfruit.
- There is a Rowe/AMI MM1 jukebox from 1965 at the bar in Hong Kong.
- In Greg's room at the inn, there are three pictures by the nineteenth century American ornithologist and painter John James Audubon, from his book The Birds of America, first published as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838. From left to right:
- Emma is wearing a Color Block Baseball Sweater by Co-Op Barneys New York (no longer available).
- Mary Margaret is wearing a white jacket from Geox (no longer available).
- In the Hong Kong flashback, Tamara is wearing a Free People 'New Romantics Stole My Heart' Dress (no longer available). In the New York City flashback, she is wearing a Banana Republic Orange Belted Trench (also no longer available).
- When Tamara opens the envelope of cash, the words "motion picture use only" are printed on the dollar bills, proving that they are prop money, and not real banknotes.
- August phones Emma from the sheriff's station before being cut off and electrocuted by Tamara. However, he later stumbles out of the town hall and collapses, not the sheriff's station.
- Some of the Hong Kong scenes were filmed in Port Metroin Vancouver, Canada, where production for Once Upon a Time is based.
- The scenes at the Storybrooke Town Hall were filmed in Fort Langley, British Colombia, where the Fort Langley Community Hall doubles as the Storybrooke Town Hall for exterior scenes. When the group finds August in front of the town hall, two real life businesses across the street from the Fort Langley Community Hall, Jim's Pizza and Fort Fish & Chips, is in the background.
- The New York City flashback with Neal, August and Tamara were filmed on Colombia Street and Powell Street in Gastown, Vancouver.
|Finnish||"Puinen sydän"||"Wooden Heart"|
|French||"Sincère, Altruiste et Courageux"||"True, Selfless and Brave"|
|German||"Bátor, igaz és önzetlen"||"Selfless, Brave and Loyal"|
|Hungarian||"Bátor, igaz és önzetlen"||"Brave, True and Selfless"|
|Italian||"Impavido, sincero e altruista"||"Brave, True and Selfless"|
|Portuguese||"Altruísta, Corajoso e Sincero"||"Selfless, Courageous and Sincere"|