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I'm growing tired of this glass prison.

Sidney to Regina

"Breaking Glass" is the fifth episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Kalinda Vazquez & Scott Nimerfro, and directed by Alrick Riley. It is the seventy-first episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 26, 2014.


Regina reluctantly teams up with Emma to search for the Snow Queen after Sidney, who is once again Regina's prisoner in the mirror, discovers her whereabouts and agrees to lead her to the location. With Belle babysitting baby Neal, a nervous Mary Margaret and David prepare for their first date night away from their child and find themselves on a mission to track down Will Scarlet, who has escaped from the town jail, and Elsa sees Anna in the Storybrooke woods. Meanwhile, back in the past, young Emma finds herself a kindred spirit when she befriends a girl who, like her, is a runaway orphan.[2]


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

Deleted Scenes

"The Babysitter"

This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season.

An extended version of the scene where Belle babysits Neal. Belle comes to Mary Margaret's loft to look after the baby. Mary Margaret asks her who she must call first if something happens, and Belle answers that first she'll call her, then David, then Emma, then Dr. Whale and then emergency services. David encourages his wife, saying that Neal will be fine with Belle. After Mary Margaret re-checks her son's diapers, David asks Belle how marriage life is going, to which Belle replies that it's great. After Mary Margaret gives the crying baby to Belle's arms, he suddenly quiets, which makes David say that they need this timeout.[3]

"Friends Forever?"

This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season.

An extended version of the scene where Emma and Lily part ways. Emma approaches Lily's adoptive father and tries to explain that she didn't know that Lily actually had a family, but the man doesn't listen to her, rather warning Emma to never get close to Lily again. From inside the car, Lily apologizes to Emma and claims to feel as a real orphan, but the blonde ignores her and walks away.[4]

Gerda and King Arendelle

A scene with Gerda and her husband was cut from the episode. However, Pascale Hutton and Oliver Rise are still credited in the episode's press release.[2]



Guest Starring





Production Notes

  • ADDED RECAP FOOTAGE: The recap video at the beginning of the episode contains an excerpt from a deleted scene from "The Apprentice", where Regina is in her office, discussing Robin Hood's commitment to his wife with Mary Margaret. ("He's honor-bound to stay with her. Therefore, I have to save her.")
  • According to Adam Horowitz, the scene was added to "jog the memory" of viewers.[7]

Event Chronology

  • Note that some of the dialogue in this episode is rather misleading: When Emma comments on why she ran away from her group home, she refers to the events of "Snow Drifts" as if they happened recently: "This little girl from my home, Cecilia, got adopted. I watched her get in this station wagon with this perfect-looking couple. That's when I realized no one was ever gonna look at me the way those parents looked at her. I'm too old. I missed my chance. There was no point in me staying another day if I was just gonna keep feeling... Invisible?" Emma's words suggest that she ran way shortly after Cecilia was adopted, but since Cecilia was adopted in 1995, Emma actually waited a few years.

Episode Connections

  • How Sidney was trapped in the mirror was explored in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • Will was arrested in "The Apprentice".
  • Hook takes Henry sailing, which he first did in "It's Not Easy Being Green".
  • The set of photos that Sidney took of Emma and Henry first appeared in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
  • The photographs of Emma and Henry are from scenes in "The Thing You Love Most".
  • The picture of Emma and Henry leaving Archie's office[9] first appears in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".[10]
  • The picture of Emma in the Snow Queen's ice cream shop was taken during "Shattered Sight".
  • The reason why Emma doesn't remember the time she spent with the Snow Queen is explained in "Shattered Sight". Emma gets her memories back in the same episode.
  • Young Emma mentions a little girl from her group home, Cecilia, who was adopted, which was illustrated in "Snow Drifts".
  • Young Emma states that she realized no one would ever look at her the way Cecilia's adopted parents looked at her. However, Emma did eventually get to experience this when she was reunited with her parents in "Broken".
  • Regina's anger toward Emma is explained in "There's No Place Like Home".
  • Marian's affliction occurred in "Rocky Road".
  • Regina is looking at a photo of herself and Robin Hood,[11] which was taken between scenes in "A Curious Thing".
  • Regina makes a reference to the first time she trapped Sidney in a mirror during "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree".
  • Sidney's cell at the hospital, which Regina refers to, appears in "A Land Without Magic" and "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • The Snow Queen says that she has hundreds of mirrors. Some of these mirrors appeared in her ice cream shop in "White Out" and "Rocky Road".[12]
  • Lily's origin, and how she was adopted, is revealed in "Best Laid Plans".
  • After going their separate ways, Emma and Lily were reunited twice, something that is explored in "Lily".
  • Emma's box of keepsakes[13] first appears when she unpacks her things in "The Price of Gold".[14] In "Tougher Than the Rest", she is seen opening the same box to show August a set of pages from "The Ugly Duckling" fairytale.[15] In "The Song in Your Heart", she opens it to look though her possessions.[16]
  • Hook picks up glasses,[17] which Emma used to wear as a young adult, as established in "Tallahassee" and "There's No Place Like Home".
  • The ring that Hook picks up[18] is the one that teenage Emma got when she was at the funfair with Ingrid in "Shattered Sight".[19]
  • Emma picks up her baby blanket, which was knitted by Granny in "Pilot".
  • The photograph of Emma and Neal[20] was taken between scenes in "Tallahassee".
  • The Snow Queen's connection to Emma was first alluded to in "Rocky Road", and is explored in "Shattered Sight".
  • The video recording of Emma and the Snow Queen was made during "Shattered Sight", and is seen again in "Family Business".


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

  • Lily says that she likes to think of the star imprint on her arm as a symbol, "Like Harry Potter"; a reference to the title character of the famous book series by J. K. Rowling, and the scar on his forehead. The first book of the series was released in the U.S. in 1998 (more specifically, in September),[21] which is also the year where the flashback takes place.

Props Notes

  • MYSTERIOUS SYMBOLS: As Regina is looking through the spell book, we see a palmistry illustration of a hand, with astrological symbols for the mounts on the palm.[22] Mounts are the bumps of flesh on the palm, which are named after planets, and which play a very important role during a palmistry reading. Four astrological symbols can be seen on the illustration:[23]
  • Venus (♀), the mount by the thumb.
  • Jupiter (♃) is erroneously printed on the mound between the thumb and the index finger, which is where lower Mars should be.
  • Mars (♂) is erroneously printed on the mound beneath the index finger, which is actually Jupiter's mound.
  • Saturn (♄), the mount under the index finger.
  • Note that the mounts of Apollo (the sun) and Mercury, which are placed beneath the ring finger and the baby finger respectively, are obscured.

Set Dressing

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: The graffiti on a gate, which Emma and Lily pass as they run from Lily's father, has "Cora" written on it.[26]
  • As the girls hide inside the alley, graffiti on the building across the road says "always valiant".[27]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Many Storybrooke locations contain references to the Enchanted Forest (for more information, see the Set Notes trivia in the Storybrooke article). Although it is not actually in Storybrooke, the house where Emma and Lily crash for the night, follows the same pattern: There are two paintings depicting tree trunks in a forest are decorating the walls,[28] and when the girls are sleeping, the shadows against the curtains are reminiscent of leaf-covered branches and bushes in a forest.[29] This is a subtle reference to the world that Emma and Lily actually come from.

Costume Notes

  • BRAND INFO: Young Emma is wearing[31] a TNA Canvas Maverick Bomber Jacket[32] (no longer available). She wears it again in flashbacks from "Shattered Sight".[33]
  • USE IT AGAIN: It is seen more clearly when Belle wears it again in "Unforgiven".[42]
  • Elsa's purple cape was used in this episode for technical reasons because her scenes were filmed on a green background screen, and because she wore a blue dress, which is too similar of a color to the background screen, that would have made her body completely invisible on the special-effects camera.[43]
  • BRAND INFO: Mary Margaret is wearing[44] Lafayette 148 New York Women's Bi-Stretch McKenna Topper jacket[45] and a Band of Outsiders Panel Top With Leather Collar[46] (no longer available).

Filming Locations

International Titles



  1. Bibel, Sara (October 28, 2014). Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon A Time' & 'The Good Wife' Adjusted Up; '60 Minutes' Adjusted Down & Final Sports Numbers. TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. “Once Upon a Time (...) 6.87”
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, October 26, 2014. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#405) "Breaking Glass".”
  3. S4 Deleted Scene The Babysitter. Dailymotion (August 11, 2015).
  4. Once Upon a Time - Season 4 - Deleted Scenes *Updated*. SpoilerTV (August 28, 2015).
  5. File:405Title.png
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (August 23, 2014). "How about another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler? Hope to see y'all for season 4 starting 9/28!" (screenshot)
  7. TwitterLogo.svg @kmkeirns (Katherine Keirns) on Twitter (August 16, 2016). "I'm curious about a practice that I've seen you do (once). Using deleted scenes in previously on's (you did it in 4.05). 1" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @kmkeirns (Katherine Keirns) on Twitter (August 16, 2016). "scene where Regina is talking to Snow about Robin and "Marion" [sic]. The scene appeared in a previously on but never aired. 2" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (August 16, 2016). "generally previously ons are designed to "jog memory" as opposed to give info. They should tell you what bits to keep in mind" (screenshot)
  8. Nguyen, Hanh (February 26, 2015). Once Upon a Time Scoop: Why Is Emma's Relationship with Hook Threatened. TVGuide. “Why does everybody end up in New York? Kitsis: It's between that and Boston. It's writer's pick that it's in New York. Adam's from Manhattan. And it's the same reason why Emma spent foster home time in Minnesota because that's where I'm from. So sometimes it's just giving a shout-out to those you love.”
  9. File:405HotCocoa.png
  10. File:111SheKnewAbout.png
  11. 11.0 11.1 File:405FramedPhoto.png
  12. File:403HearNothing.png
  13. File:405Box.png
  14. File:104WhatDoYouMean.png
  15. File:611EmmaBox.png
  16. File:620OpeningBox.png
  17. File:405Glasses.png
  18. File:405Ring.png
  19. File:410Ring.png
  20. 20.0 20.1 File:405Polaroid.png
  21. MEET AUTHOR J.K. ROWLING. Scholastic. Archived from the original on May 17, 2018. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic in September 1998.”
  22. File:405ISuppose.png
  23. Palmistry Mounts. Psychic Library. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
    Mounts of Mars. Psychic Library. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  24. File:319TenderMoment.png
  25. File:206IKnowICan.png
  26. File:405TrustMe.png
  27. File:405Graffiti.png
  28. File:405NotTooShabby.png
  29. File:405Nighttime.png
  30. File:405StorybrookeWildernessPark.png
  31. File:405TrustMe.png
  32. TNA Canvas Maverick Bomber Jacket. Coolspotters. Archived from the original on July 14, 2019. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  33. File:410DontLookAtMe.png
  34. TNA Maverick Bomber Jacket aso Bella Swan Twilight. Postmark. Archived from the original on October 26, 2021.
  35. Andy McNally and TNA Canvas Maverick Bomber Jacket. Coolspotters. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019.
  36. Olivia Dunham and TNA Canvas Maverick Bomber Jacket. Coolspotters. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019.
  37. File:405SnuckOut.png
  38. Talula EDO JACKET. Pradux. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
    Edo Jacket Cropped Denim Jacketa. Aritzia. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  39. File:419JustWrong.png
  40. File:405GoingToBeFine.png
  41. Ruffled Placket Stripe Poplin Blouse. Nordstrom. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  42. File:413HopOutOfHere.png
  43. InstagramIcon.png xivents (Xivents). June 21, 2015. "Remember Elsa's purple cape? They only used it because they were shooting with the green screen and she was wearing blue. We basically would have seen her face. Just her face. @GeorginaHaig sharing a panel with @jenmorrisonlive and @victoriasmurfit" (archive copy)
  44. File:405HomeWithNeal.png
  45. Lafayette 148 New York, Sizes 14-24 Women's Bi-Stretch McKenna Topper (July 11, 2015). Archived from the original on February 17, 2017.
  46. Band of Outsiders PANEL TOP WITH LEATHER COLLAR. Pradux. Retrieved on February 3, 2019.
  47. File:415MissedYouToo3.png
  48. TwitterLogo.svg @BastardSonVan (Larry Andreutti) on Twitter (August 22, 2015). "Yeah, it's a cemetery in North Van; the scene with Gold and Bae's grave and when Elsa sees Anna's spirit" (screenshot)
  49. 413 Garden Dr Vancouver, British Columbia (Alley way view of market). Google Maps (May 2016). (The name of the convenience store can be seen on a price tag behind Emma (File:405WannaGoShopping.png). The alley way behind the market (seen in the Google Maps view above) matches the alley way behind the convenience store as Lily's father chases after them (File:405Heey!.png).)
  50. Screenshot from The X-Files: "Fire" (in the The X-Files episode "Fire", Deerholme doubles as the Marsden house, according to this page)
    File:405NotTooShabby.png (note the identical cabinets on either side of the fireplace and the columns leading into the room)
  51. Deerholme. Canada's Historic Places. Retrieved on August 28, 2019. “Deerholme, the Townley Estate, is located on a lake front property on the north shore of Deer Lake Park. (...) Deerholme was built as the retirement estate of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Owen Townley (1862-1935) and his wife, Frances M. Townley. Townley was a pioneer resident of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia: he served as a lawyer, Registrar of Land Titles for New Westminster District and Mayor of Vancouver for one term in 1901. Built in 1913, this is one of the most significant of the Deer Lake estate houses and was the last of grand Edwardian era mansions built on the lots surrounding the lake.”
  52. Movies Filmed at Deerholme. MovieMaps. Retrieved on August 28, 2019.
    Photo of Deerholme. MovieMaps. Retrieved on August 28, 2019.
    File:215Johanna.png (note the identical window designs and window shutters)
  53. Screenshot from The X-Files: "Fire"
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 Movies Filmed at Deerholme. MovieMaps. Retrieved on August 28, 2019.
  55. Screenshots from The Flash: "There Will Be Blood"