"The Garden of Forking Paths" is the third episode of Season Seven of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Brigitte Hales, and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the one hundred and thirty-sixth episode of the series overall and premiered on October 20, 2017.
When Cinderella finds herself staring danger in the eye, she receives help from an unlikely source. Her rescue leads to an alliance that could aid in the defeat of Lady Tremaine's rule and reveals a dark secret from Cinderella's past. In Hyperion Heights, Jacinda goes to extreme measures to stop Victoria Belfrey from destroying Lucy's beloved community garden, while Lucy tries to convince Henry that Victoria is after more than just a plot of land. Meanwhile, Victoria makes a discovery that could alter everyone's fate.
Cinderella arrives at the location of her broken carriage and calls for Henry. She is attacked by castle guards who think she is a murderer, but rescued by a woman in a dress who we saw in the previous episode at the ball, who says her name is Tiana.
In the present day, Jacinda comes into her living room as she opens a letter from Lucy. She tells her roommate that she and Lucy have been leaving letters in the community garden.
At Roni's bar, Henry arrives with donuts to meet with Rogers and Roni for their bring-down-Victoria-Belfry club. Roni has a lead thanks to a drunk building commissioner from the previous night claiming he was going to make money off of Victoria Belfry. Rogers plans a stakeout and asks Henry to do some research.
Jacinda arrives in the community garden, where hyacinths are growing, with a letter. We flashback to the clearing, where Tiana announces she is part of a resistance trying to overthrow the Prince and Cinderella's stepmother. She recruits Cinderella, but Cinderella leaves behind a shoe as they leave on the motorcycle. In the present day, Jacinda kisses her letter to Lucy as Victoria arrives with a construction crew to demolish the community garden and build condos on top of it.
At the police station, Rogers prints a document on Hyperion Heights. Weaver arrives asking Rogers to tag an envelope as evidence, but Rogers lies that he has a court date to get to. In the next sequence, he sits on a bench reading a newspaper and watching a man out of the corner of his eye, who Victoria Belfry comes up to and hands a small package. Rogers makes a phone call as we see that Weaver is watching the whole scene.
Jacinda walks into Roni's bar asking for help stopping the demolition of the community garden. Roni puts together that the money Victoria gave to the building commissioner was for expedited permits. She looks in her building code manual for a way to stop the construction, and the three of them decide to start a petition to stop the building project in the name of the community garden being essential for the public good.
In the past at the resistance camp, Tiana tells Cinderella that her stepmother has been moving magical objects from the king's vault to her manor, as if preparing to fight a war. She asks Cinderella to identify an object from a drawing, which Cinderella seems disturbed by, but denies recognizing. Henry, Regina, and wish-Hook arrive in the camp. Tiana asks Regina to help the cause with magic.
In the present, Lucy comes into Roni's bar excited about all the signatures on the petition. She tells Henry that her mother is starting to wake up, and the the destruction of the garden is really about something magical hidden underneath it that Victoria must want. She and Henry go to the garden, where the construction crew hit an entrance to an underground space. Lucy goes down to find whatever is hidden, and Henry follows her.
At a fancy restaurant, Rogers confronts the building commissioner, who tries to bribe him, but Rogers arrests him.
Henry follows Lucy through the underground tunnels, warning her how dangerous it is. They argue about whether his memories are fake or not, discussing the cemetery he has not found.
On the streets, people are lining up to sign Jacinda's petition.
At the resistance camp in the past, Tiana, Cinderella, Henry, and wish-Hook plan their attack. As they disperse, Henry asks Cinderella if something is wrong, but she just says they need to get some rest. That night, she comes out of her tent and leaves camp.
In the underground tunnels in the present, Henry and Lucy come to a dead-end. Henry tries to get her to give up, but she finds a piece of glass that she says must have come from her mom's slipper.
In the past, Cinderella confronts her stepmother about killing her father. Lady Tremaine reveals that she has kept a girl named Anastasia magically preserved in a coffin until she could find a pure heart to bring her back to life. She tells Cinderella to get Henry's heart or everyone in the resistance camp will pay the price.
In the present, Jacinda is still getting signatures on the street when Victoria arrives to offer her a deal—a free condo she can live in with Lucy if she burns the petitions. Jacinda takes Victoria's offered lighter and lights the petitions on fire, then drops them into a trash can as Lucy walks up. Lucy says that if this is what it takes for them to be together, she doesn't want to be.
At the police station, Weaver is letting the building commissioner go, which Rogers is upset about. But Weaver says that now the building commissioner is going to report back to Weaver about Victoria.
In the resistance camp, Cinderella cannot bring herself to take Henry's heart, and goes to take another man's heart, but Regina stops her.
In the present, at the bar, Roni gives Jacinda a pep talk about the petition-burning fiasco.
On the street, Henry catches up to Lucy. She is upset about what her mom, did but as they round the corner, they see Jacinda talking to a crowd and asking them to sign the petition again and plant the garden.
In the past, Cinderella loads her things into saddle bags on a horse. Regina finds her and talks her out of leaving. Cinderella comes back to camp and announces she is just going by "Ella" now, and that they can't storm the manor because it is a trap.
In the present, Jacinda, Lucy, and Henry walk down the street together. As they say goodbye, Lucy gives Henry the piece of glass slipper, because her mom doesn't need it anymore and he does. But Henry then finally finds the cemetery that has headstones for his wife and daughter who died in a fire in his fake memories.
In a loading bay, some workers drop off a coffin-shaped load with Victoria, who takes it upstairs to a room where has a woman chained. She orders the woman to help her bring Anastasia back to life, but she refuses.
As described by Mekia Cox, Sabine uses a dating app where you swipe if it's a frog or if it's a prince (a reference to the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog), and goes on a date with an unnamed person.
Rogers and Sabine
Roni and Lucy
- The title card features an excavator.
- The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on July 24, 2017.
- The title of this episode is a reference to the short story of the same name by Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges.
- The Seattle events take place in October 2017, after "A Pirate's Life" and before "Beauty". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The New Enchanted Forest flashback scenes where Cinderella meets Tiana take place between scenes in "Hyperion Heights", after Cinderella flees the ball and before Henry finds her glass slipper in the same episode. The rest of the flashback scenes take place after "A Pirate's Life" and before "Wake Up Call".
- Cinderella was framed for the murder of the Prince in "Hyperion Heights".
- Jacinda previously lost custody to Lucy in "Hyperion Heights".
- Lucy wanted to restore the Community Gardens during "Hyperion Heights".
- Sabine works for Louie, who Jacinda got into an argument with in "Hyperion Heights".
- Jacinda wonders if she really is cursed. "The Eighth Witch" shows the Dark Curse being cast before she, then known as Cinderella, was affected by it.
- Roni, Rogers and Henry agreed to work together to take Lady Tremaine down in "A Pirate's Life".
- Tiana was at the ball in "Hyperion Heights".
- Why Tiana decided to form a Resistance is explained in "Greenbacks".
- Cinderella's father, and his history with Lady Tremaine, is detailed in "One Little Tear".
- Cinderella stole Henry's motorcycle in "Hyperion Heights".
- Henry found Cinderella's glass slipper in "Hyperion Heights".
- Rogers and Weaver became detective partners in "Hyperion Heights".
- Henry is reunited with Regina and is joined by Hook in "A Pirate's Life".
- The identity of Henry's father was revealed in "Tallahassee" and further explored in "Manhattan".
- Lucy mentions the time Henry led Archie into the Storybrooke Mines, an event which happened in "That Still Small Voice".
- During "Hyperion Heights", Henry attempted to visit the cemetery where his deceased family is buried, only to find there was no existing cemetery. His search for where his family is buried continued in "A Pirate's Life" when he asked Rogers to help him locate nearby cemeteries in Seattle.
- Why Lady Tremaine holds a grudge against Cinderella for Anastasia's death is revealed in "One Little Tear". Her obsession with resurrecting Anastasia also began in the same episode.
- Henry's backstory as the heart of the truest believer was explored in "The Heart of the Truest Believer" and "Think Lovely Thoughts".
- Lady Tremaine obtained the Fairy Godmother's wand in "Hyperion Heights". In the same episode, she used the wand's magic for the first time to kill the Fairy Godmother. She used it a second time in "A Pirate's Life" to make Wish Realm Hook youthful so he could masquerade as the other Hook.
- The Witch's cursed identity is made known in "Eloise Gardener". Her New Enchanted Forest counterpart is also seen for the first time in the same episode.
- The animosity Victoria has towards the Witch is expanded upon in flashbacks in "One Little Tear".
- Tiana is named after the character from The Princess and the Frog. (Tiana first appeared in "Hyperion Heights", but this is the first episode where she is named on-screen.)
- Cinderella's other stepsister is named Anastasia, just like in the Disney film Cinderella.
- Roni looks up section 8 in the Hyperion Heights Building Codes, a reference to the second Lost number.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the Cinderella fairytale, with Cinderella and the Wicked Stepmother. Also appearing is Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story.
- Eloise is kept prisoner in a tower, a reference to the Rapunzel fairytale, where Rapunzel is a prisoner in the witch's tower.
- The couch in Jacinda and Sabine's apartment is the same couch that was sitting in the lounge of Granny's Bed and Breakfast in the Season Two episode "Selfless, Brave and True", and the Season Three episodes "Witch Hunt" and "A Curious Thing".
- If you look at Henry's laptop while Lucy shows him her mother's petition, you can see that he was reading a web page about how to "Build Ties With Local Police".
- Jacinda's petition includes signatures from Amanda Stone, Ariane Gardner, Pamela Drake, Matthew Martin, Amy MacDonald, Kelly Allen, Tim Ramsey and James Green.
- A framed picture seen in the restaurant where Rogers meets Michael Griffiths can also be seen in Regina's living room in the Season Three episode "Bleeding Through".
- The machinery seen in the top level of Belfrey Towers (the room where Eloise Gardener is kept) is the same prop used in the control room of Storybrooke Power Inc.
- Burnaby's Central Park doubles as the New Enchanted Forest for the opening scenes with Tiana and Cinderella in the woods.
- The resistance camp scenes were filmed on a camp set built in Vancouver's Stanley Park, at the north end of Pipeline Road.
- The scene with Rogers on the bench was filmed in New Westminster's Hyack Square. A deleted scene where Sabine is sitting next to him was filmed in the same location.
- The restaurant where Rogers confronts Michael Griffiths is a redressed version of the set for Henry's apartment. Notice how the doors, which were changed for the restaurant, are in exactly the same spots for both locations, and the wall with the cut-out by the doors is the same, as is the alcove in the wall that runs parallel to one of the doors (Henry has a bookshelf in his).
- The scene with Henry at the Hyperion Heights Cemetery was filmed at a cemetery set built by the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Westminster, behind Columbia station.
- The scene outside Belfrey Towers at the end of the episode, where the construction workers deliver Anastasia's coffin to Victoria Belfrey, was filmed in the rear loading bay of the Anvil Centre in New Westminster.
|Italian||"Il giardino dei sentieri biforcati"||"The Garden of Forking Paths"|
|Portuguese||"O Jardim de Caminhos Que se Bifurcam"||"The Garden of Forking Paths"|