Story Line for Pilot
The story opens with Prince Charming racing through the woods to find Snow White in her glass coffin after eating the poison apple. Awakening her with a kiss, the spell is lifted and they get married. This part of the story is common among everyone who has read the story of Snow White.
At the wedding of Snow and Charming the evil queen arrives after the “I Do’s,” sinisterly dressed in black. Snow White grabs Prince Charming’s’ sword but he stops her before she uses it. The Queen comes with a warning to everyone in the magical kingdom revealing her plans of destroying everyone’s ‘happy endings’. She then disappears in a cloud of black smoke after Prince Charming hurls a sword in her direction.
This story which is found in a compilation of fairy tales called, “Once Upon A Time” is being read by a little boy on a bus. At this moment, the little boy though unidentified at that exact moment, is just as important to the story as the fairy tales he was reading. The young boy is heading to Boston, though the reason why is not yet revealed. With credit card in hand the little boy hops into a taxi.
The elevator doors open and out walks a tall blonde woman, in what appears to be a trendy restaurant; the young woman, Emma seems to be on a blind date with a man she recently met on the internet. Moments of idle chit chat reveal that today is her birthday; she has no family and is a ‘loner’. The man she sits with describes her as a sexy friendless orphan. It is later revealed that Emma is not on a date but a recovery mission, as a bail bonds woman, the man she met at the restaurant is a bail jumper who she needed to bring back. She tracks the man to his car which is booted, and it is inferred that she takes him back to jail.
Heading back to her apartment, Emma kicks of her shoes adds a candle to a cupcake and makes a wish as she’s making a wish and blowing out her candle the doorbell rings and the little boy from the bus is there on her doorstep. Henry turns out to be Emma’s son. (Henry is the little boy if you haven’t guessed) Apparently 10 years ago, Emma gave him up for adoption.
Henry asks Emma to return home with him and after a witty back and forth she agrees to take him home, to Storybrooke, Maine.
Back in the Enchanted Forest of fairytale land, a pregnant Snow White stares sorrowfully off of her balcony as a blue bird rests on her finger. Prince Charming checking on his troubled wife attempts to convince her that the Evil Queen’s threat of a terrible curse is simply that. Snow however, cannot be calmed and in an act of desperation Prince Charming agrees to take her to see Rumpelstiltskin the only one with the power of foresight to relieve Snow White’s fears.
During the conversation between Snow White and Prince Charming, Snow White mentions the poison apple from the classical fairy tale here, she states “She poisoned an apple because she thought I was prettier than her,” an allusion to the childhood fairytale.
While driving Henry home, he and Emma discuss the book and Henry tells her that every story in the book is true. He also tells her that she is in the book.
In the fairytale world, Snow White and Prince Charming are going to see Rumpelstiltskin, they are completely covered to hide who they are and the guard warns them to stay in the shadows and not to tell him their names, because, “If he knows your name he will have power over you.” Interestingly enough Rumpelstiltskin knows exactly who they are and asks that they remove the cloaks and step into the light.
Snow White and Prince Charming demand Rumpelstiltskin tell them about the queen’s curse, in return he gets to know the name of their unborn child. Rumpelstiltskin tells them of the Queen’s plans, to unleash a curse that will trap them in time. Removing all the Happy Endings, the only hope to break the curse will be the unborn baby growing inside of Snow White, the baby, on its 28th birthday is said to return to them and fight a “final battle” against the queen. The baby which is revealed to be a little girl is named Emma, the same Emma who is driving little Henry back to Storybrooke.
Emma and Henry arrive at Storybrooke and Henry refuses to give her the address of his house. Emma slams on the breaks and gets out of the car; they’ve stopped in the town square where the giant clock is frozen on 8:15. Henry tells her that the clock hasn’t moved his entire life and that time there is frozen because of the curse. Emma who doesn’t believe him asks why the people of Storybrooke don’t leave. He tells her that if they try to leave bad things will happen to them. Henry and Emma are met by Archie, (Henry’s therapist) who tells them Henry’s address. Henry lives with the Mayor, and tells Emma that Archie is Jiminy Cricket. Henry also tells Emma that no one knows who they really are.
Back in fairytale land before the curse was cast, Prince Charming and the other fairytale characters are having a meeting. Jiminy Cricket is telling Prince Charming that fighting is not the answer, reciting what Archie had just told Henry, “Giving in to one’s dark side never accomplishes anything.” Snow White who has basically given up hope is sitting while everyone else discusses Rumpelstiltskin’s reliability. The blue fairy comes in with a giant tree stump, the “enchanted tree stump” is to be made into a vessel that will be able to protect whoever’s in it from the curse. Unfortunately, the tree can only able to protect one person.
Back in the real world Emma is taking Henry back home as he begs her not to do so. Henry tells Emma that his mother is evil and that she doesn’t love him, as Emma tries to convince him of otherwise, the door swings open and out runs the Mayor (Regina Mills).
She looks strikingly similar to the evil queen that’s plaguing the fairy tale world. Although she is happy to see Henry, she’s not pleased at all to see who he’s brought home with him and over drinks makes a clear point that she does not want Emma any where around. Emma not wanting to be there in the first place sees this as her cue to leave, however, the town has other plans for our little lady and as she’s driving down the rode on her way out of the town a mysterious wolf appears in the middle of the road.
Not wanting to harm the animal she swerves to avoid it, unfortunately swerving into the “Welcome to Storybrooke” sign. This “wolfy” roadblock disappears as quickly as he showed up leaving Emma unconscious in her front seat. She wakes up the next morning in the drunk tank at the county jail, the sheriff a man named Graham, claims to have found her on the side of the road leaving town. In the middle of their discussion, Regina arrives revealing that Henry has once again gone missing. Emma agrees to help search for him looking around town in places he would normally be, (not many places because Henry is really quiet and kind of weird). When Henry’s teacher miss Mary Margaret who bares an interesting resemblance to fairytale lands Snow White; tells Emma that Henry is probably hiding at his “Castle”, she heads over to find the young runaway.
Back in Fairytale land, the evil queen has made good on her threat and the evil curse destined to rip away everyone’s happy endings is spreading throughout the land. Snow who had been trying to get to the magic tree stump with Prince Charming goes into labor early and has baby Emma (that’s right, real world’s Emma) before making it to the safe haven. The Queen, lays siege to the castle trying to find the newborn infant forcing Snow and Charming to choose between saving their kingdom in the distant future or having their child grow up without a parent. While Prince Charming does his best to fend off the evil Queen’s heavily armed henchman, he fights his way to the wardrobe that will transport baby Emma to safety. He goes down fighting but manages to get Emma into the tree and away from the curse.
Snow moments after giving birth stumbles to the room with the wardrobe and find Prince Charming, bleeding and unconscious on the floor. As the Queen bursts in prepared to revel in victory she discovers that the two were able to save Emma. Despite the set back, the curse is fast approaching the castle, the final place in fairytale land that had yet to be taken over by the dark magic. The Queen rejoices anyway, having managed to separate the infant thus temporarily blocking her from achieving her destiny. Snow White coddles a wounded Prince Charming as the swirling portal the curse has created spins around everything, fearfully she asks, “Where are we going?” to which the Queen maniacally replies, “Somewhere horrible. Absolutely horrible. A place where the only happy ending will be mine.” With this final sinister line the darkness devours fairytale land.
In the real world, Emma who has been searching for Henry discovers that his castle is an old playground set at what appears to be by the beach by the water. It is clear that he is upset by the unmoving clock tower. It is revealed that he expected immediate change upon Emma’s return. He plays on her grief from putting him up for adoption after she grows annoyed with his talk of fairytales. Henry explains that he understand why she did it.
Emma agrees that she did want more for him and that she believes it’s not with her. He insists she stay in town and break the curse, but she still doesn’t believe in his fairytale theory and smiling takes him home. Henry who clearly does not like his adopted mother rushes straight past Regina and into his room.
Regina once again half heartedly thanks Emma for returning her son and begins another hapless attempt at intimidating her. Regina insists that Henry is her son because Emma abandoned him when he was born, she then threatens to destroy her if she doesn’t leave town. Emma who has a keen sense of when someone is lying, she tests this by asking Regina if she loves Henry. They silently challenge each other and Regina breaks the stare by slamming the door. It is not revealed whether Regina is lying or not. Perhaps they’ll reveal it later in the season.
Later that evening we find Mary Margaret the timid school teacher placing flowers by the patients bed. There is an unidentified coma patient and as the camera slowly pans out it is revealed that John Doe is really Prince Charming. As Mary Margaret goes about her task she barely blinks as she walks away from her true love.
After the confrontation with Regina, Emma decides that she will stay in town for a bit and heads to Granny’s Bed and Breakfast. (That‘s right Granny from Little Red Riding Hood). As she is checking into her room she bumps into Mr. Gold the “owner” of the town and a polished version of Rumpelstiltskin. His demeanor is more menacing now than in the fairytale world. When asked about her plans in Storybrooke she says she is only going to be in town for a week. As Emma heads to her room, the camera whisks you to Henry transfixed on the clock tower he can see from his bedroom window.
As the anticipation swells suddenly the hands on the clock tower begin to move and Henry optimistic about what is to come smiles from ear to ear.