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When you were with the Merry Men, isn't that what you did? Stole from the rich and gave to the poor?

Anastasia to Will Scarlet src

The Merry Men is a group of characters featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. They début in the nineteenth episode of the second season of Once Upon a Time.

The Merry Men are based on the group of the same name from the Robin Hood ballads.


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Reason: "During Second Curse" summaries, "After Second Curse" 4x9&4x11

Before First Curse

The Merry Men are a band of thieves in the Enchanted Forest who are led by Robin of Locksley, who was a former petty thief until Marian helped to change his ways. At one point, Robin leaves the Merry Men to start a tavern business with Marian, in the hopes of living an honest life. Nonetheless, Friar Tuck attempts to convince him to join him on a heist to rob King Midas' royal carriage, but Robin refuses to go back to his old life. When the Sheriff of Nottingham threatens to shut down the tavern unless Robin's monetary debts are paid, the former Merry Men leader agrees to procure an elixir from Oz for the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, in exchange for golden arrows. Although Robin obtains the elixir, he ends up forfeiting it to Will, who he discovers needs the potion more than him. Forever changed from this encounter, Robin realizes there is good in giving to the needy, and that he can utilize his life as thief to steal from the rich to give to the poor. Upon his return to the Enchanted Forest, he and the rest of the Merry Men confront the Sheriff, taking all his gold, which Friar Tuck happily distributes to the peasants. Having not kept his part of the deal with Rumplestiltskin, Robin resolves to use a six leaf clover, which he took from Oz, to disguise himself if he and the Dark One ever cross paths again. Additionally, he renames himself as "Robin Hood". Marian, for the sake of love, stays with him as he resumes leading the Merry Men. ("The Snow Queen", "Heart of Gold")

After the Merry Men loot money from a wealthy man's carriage, they celebrate at their campsite, where Robin's old acquaintance Will arrives with a chest of treasure to prove himself worthy of joining their entourage. Robin welcomes him as a new Merry Men, to which Will suggests procuring riches from Maleficent's castle. Robin objects because it's dangerous, but since Maleficent is currently away, he agrees that they can go and pilfer enough good to feed the villagers. Unbeknownst to the Merry Men, Will's actual intent is to steal a looking glass from Maleficent's castle for himself and his lover so they can go to Wonderland Upon entering Maleficent's castle, Robin orders the Merry Men to take the gold only. Everyone obeys, except for Will, who secretly pockets the looking glass. In the aftermath, Maleficent's voice manifests at the Merry Men's campsite as she demands they return the stolen item. Disappointed at his prior orders being ignored, Robin calls the traitor to step out, but Will does not. That night, after realizing Will is the culprit, Robin confronts him as the latter is sneaking off. Will admits he stole because of a woman, but Robin allows him to leave, believing his retribution for stealing will come in the future. ("Forget Me Not")

To escape the pursuing Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin and a heavily pregnant Marian go on the run. The whereabouts of the other Merry Men, during this time, are not known. When Marian becomes very ill, Robin uses the six leaf clover to disguise himself as someone else in order to break into Rumplestiltskin's castle and steal a healing wand. Despite not recognizing him, Rumplestiltskin prevents Robin from escaping and then imprisons him in the castle to be tortured. Pitying his fate, Rumplestiltskin's maid, Belle, frees him. Robin manages to flee, taking the wand with him, but he leaves behind his bow. Rumplestiltskin, discovering his prisoner is gone, plans to kill him with the bow. With information provided by the Sheriff, Rumplestiltskin learns the thief is Robin and tracks him down. Robin heals Marian with the wand, and as they have a happy reunion, Rumplestiltskin prepares to shoot the thief. Upon seeing Marian is pregnant, Belle begs him to spare Robin so the couple's child won't grow up without a father. Reminded of how he made his own child fatherless, Rumplestiltskin allows the arrow to hit the carriage instead, which startle Robin and Marian into fleeing. ("Lacey")

After Marian gives birth to a son, Roland, she and Robin raise him together within the Merry Men group. Learning the whereabouts of the wanted bandit, Snow White, Marian is caught by the Evil Queen, but she refuses to divulge anything. For her noncompliance, the Queen sentences her to execution. The events after this are not known, but Robin blames himself for his wife's death by having "putting her in harm's way during the job". Friar Tuck, seeing his leader unable to move on from Marian's passing, suggests ingesting night root, however, Robin refuses to use magic to solve his problems. ("Quite a Common Fairy", "Witch Hunt", "Snow Drifts", "The Tower")

With the casting of the curse, the Evil Queen sends herself and other Enchanted Forest inhabitants to a cursed town in another realm. Due to a barrier created by Cora over some parts of the Enchanted Forest, many remain unaffected by the Queen's curse; including the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. However, they become frozen for twenty-eight years until the savior breaks the curse. ("A Land Without Magic", "Queen of Hearts", "The Tower")

After First Curse
Once the first curse is broken, Robin Hood claims the abandoned castle of Rumplestiltskin as his own when two intruders, Mulan and Neal, enter. Robin is immediately on guard, but when Neal introduces himself as Rumplestiltskin's son, he allows him to search the castle for whatever he needs. From a secret chamber, Neal finds as crystal ball, using it to discover Emma is in Neverland. Desperate to travel realms to reach her, Neal causes some items to fall as he searches, which alerts Little John and several other Merry Men. They burst in to defend Robin, but they back down after Robin insists Neal and Mulan are not enemies. When Neal notices Robin's son, Roland, he suggests using the boy to summon the Shadow from Neverland. Robin eventually agrees after Neal suggests he is still in Rumplestiltskin's debt for sparing his life. After everyone assumes their positions, Roland recites the incantation, "I believe", which draws the Shadow into the castle. Mulan prevents the Shadow from taking Roland by cutting off one of its arms, to which Neal grabs onto the creature as it flies back to Neverland. Later, after putting Roland to bed, Robin tries to interest Mulan in joining the Merry Men. Mulan declines, but by nightfall, she arrives at the Merry Men camp, where she accepts Robin's offer to join them. ("Quite a Common Fairy")

Before Second Curse

With the first curse undone, everyone in Storybrooke, except Emma and Henry, return to their former lives in the Enchanted Forest. In the woods, Robin Hood and some of the Merry Men hear a commotion and arrive in time to save the Queen and Snow White from a flying monkey. Robin offers a hand to help the Queen up, but she refuses his assistance. When Little John questions why Snow White is with her stepmother, Regina retorts with an insult. Robin apologizes for Little John's behavior and then notes how often, before the curse, they had to run from her henchman. To this, Regina curtly remarks that they probably were deserving of it. As the two women rejoin their group, the Merry Men accompany them as everyone heads for the old royal palace. On the walk there, Robin catches up with Belle and Neal. Upon reaching the castle, Regina discovers someone already claimed it, so Robin Hood suggests they seek temporary shelter at Sherwood Forest. ("New York City Serenade")

As they make way for Sherwood Forest, Regina proposes to Prince Charming and Snow White that she sneak into the palace through an underground tunnel and bring down the barrier blocking them from going in. Suddenly, the same winged creature that attacked before returns to swoop down on Regina. Since Roland is nearby, the boy mistakenly believes the animal is after him and calls for his father, who is too far away to reach him. With a wave of magic, Regina protects Roland by transforming the beast into a toy, which she gifts him. To repay her kindness, Robin insists on going with her into the underground tunnel. Inside the castle, Regina briefly reminisces over losing Henry before secretly brewing a sleeping curse, in the hopes he can wake her up with true love's kiss one day. Robin, immobilized by magic, tries to talk her out of it, but she ignores him. Regina then disables the castle barrier, which signals everyone outside the castle to begin making their way in. As she prepares to make the curse, the Wicked Witch intervenes and announces her intentions of getting revenge on Regina, to which the Queen decides to live for the sake of destroying her new nemesis. ("Witch Hunt")

With the barrier broken and the Wicked Witch elsewhere, everyone assembles into the castle. For Robin's assistance, Regina gives him golden-tipped arrows. Having recently discovered Snow White is pregnant, Prince Charming dreads being a bad father since losing his first child, Emma. He relates his dilemma to Robin, who suggests getting rid of his fears by ingesting a magic plant called night root. Although Prince Charming takes the advice, he later owns up to his worries by talking to Snow White. ("The Tower")

After learning from Belle about Rumplestiltskin's resurrection at the cost of Neal's life, Snow White finds herself under threat by the Wicked Witch Zelena, who is conspiring to steal her unborn child. In a roundtable discussion, Robin Hood is included as everyone discusses how to counterattack the Wicked Witch. Regina disapproves of the Merry Man's presence on the council, but he strongly asserts that his help is needed. Deciding Rumplestiltskin can provide a solution, the group attempt to a break-in at his castle. Before Regina can use magic on the sealed entrance, Robin Hood fires an arrow to trigger a trap explosion. Inside, Rumplestiltskin leads them to the banished Good Witch of the South, Glinda, who provides answers to Snow White and Prince Charming of Zelena's weakness—light magic—a criteria Emma fits. With Emma being their only hope of defeating Zelena, Snow White casts another curse to reach Emma, but before it takes effect, the Wicked Witch adds potion to erase everyone's memories of the last year in the Enchanted Forest. Of the many affected, the Merry Men are whisked off to Storybrooke. ("A Curious Thing")

During Second Curse

Now residents of Storybrooke because of the Dark Curse, the Merry Men are in the woods one day as Little John is showing off his new crossbow to his friends. Robin Hood wonders where he got it from, and Little John reluctantly admits he stole it and insists it's fine since the proprietor looked rich. Little John spots a wild turkey and attempts to shoot it, but his aim is terrible, making the other Merry Men laugh at his bad skills. He then stubbornly chases after the turkey as the others trail after him. Little John makes it as far as past the town line, however, it is there that he is suddenly grabbed by a flying monkey and kidnapped. The Merry Men, in shock over their friend's capture, alerts the sheriff, Emma, so she can investigate. David and Hook help the Merry Men comb the woods for Little John, and they find him unconscious with an animal bite. Upon taking him to the hospital to be looked at by Dr. Whale, Little John's body forms a tail, throwing back everyone in the vicinity, as he transforms into a full-fledged flying monkey and takes off. ("Witch Hunt")

As news in town spreads about the Wicked Witch Zelena being responsible for casting the curse, Robin goes to the witch's farmhouse, where he accidentally looses an arrow at Regina, whom he mistook for Zelena. Since Regina also wants to look inside the house, she joins him but warns him not to get in her way. Robin replies that he wouldn't dream of it, a phrase that sounds oddly familiar to Regina, which, unknown to both of them as they do not remember, they had a similar verbal exchange during the year in the Enchanted Forest. While searching the premises of the farmhouse, Robin expresses surprise that Regina isn't as evil as her past title made her out to be. The two lock eyes, and it seems Robin is moving in to kiss her, only to refocus his attention on reaching behind a shelf to pick up a bottle of whiskey. Robin suggests they share a drink, however, when he rolls up his sleeve, Regina is stunned to see a lion tattoo on his arm as she realizes he was her destined love that Tinker Bell once told her of. Regina abruptly leaves and later secretly observes Robin spending time with his son and the Merry Men in the forest. ("Quiet Minds")

After Robin attends Neal's funeral, he sees Regina at the diner, where he also meets Tinker Bell for the first time. Zelena gives Regina the revelation about their shared sisterhood, but a skeptical Regina digs up one of her mother's old letters to find proof of the witch's claims. While Robin is patrolling the woods, he comes across Regina reading the letter, and with her permission, reads it. Regina opens up to him about the letter's contents mean to her, as she always thought it was talking about her as Cora's firstborn, when in fact it was referencing Zelena all along. Later, Robin is entrusted by Regina to keep her heart safe from Zelena's grasp. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")

Although Robin follows through with Regina's request, he is forced to forfeit the heart to Mr. Gold after the man threatens Roland's life. Later when Regina finds out from Zelena about what happened, she comes to see Robin, who assures her no one was hurt. Nearby at the campsite, Roland is being taken care of by one of the Merry Men, Friar Tuck. That night, Regina returns again to kiss Robin. As the romance between them heats up, Robin affirms to Regina that he believes their relationship is a second chance for both of them. ("Bleeding Through", "A Curious Thing")

After Second Curse

After Regina breaks the Dark Curse by giving true love's kiss to Henry, she introduces him to Robin Hood. Mary Margaret suddenly goes into labor, and at the hospital, Robin and the remaining Merry Men attempt to prevent Zelena from getting in, but they are no match for her magic. Zelena steals Mary Margaret's newborn son for her time spell, however, Robin persuades Regina to try to fight her sister with light magic. This succeeds, with Zelena being stripped out of her magic, which allows Little John to transform back into human from his flying monkey form. ("A Curious Thing", "Kansas")

When being killed by Mr. Gold as revenge for causing Neal's death, Zelena's time spell is triggered while Zelena herself follows both Emma and Hook into the portal to the past Enchanted Forest, where she kills Robin Hood's wife Marian and assumes her identity. Emma and Hook, not knowing of the switch, take Marian with them to present-day Storybrooke. There, Marian reunites with Robin, who, in conflict with his morals, breaks up with Regina in order to honor his marriage to Marian. During a snow monster's rampage throughout the town, Little John joins Robin and Marian in the forest to hunt it down. Little John shoots an arrow at it, but it does little good. Regina eventually saves them by using her magic to obliterate the monster. ("Snow Drifts", "There's No Place Like Home", "A Tale of Two Sisters", "Heart of Gold")

Will, a former Merry Man, somehow returns to Storybrooke and resumes his life as a thief by breaking into Any Given Sundae during a blackout. While there, he notices the ice cream within the store is still frozen solid despite that the town has been without electricity for hours. ("White Out")

As Ingrid stirs up trouble by casting a freezing spell on Marian, Robin seeks Regina's help to undo it. Robin tries true love's kiss but nothing happens, to which Regina gets his permission to take out Marian's heart to keep her from freezing completely until she can find a cure. Meanwhile, Will is caught red-handed by Emma and David as he is rummaging through Robin's tent at the Merry Men campsite in the woods. He provides them with information of what he saw in Any Given Sundae and also takes them to the shop to prove something weird is going on there, but as the two sheriffs are distracted, he loots all the money from the cash register and flees. Later, Will encounters Emma again when he spots her at the same bar as him before promptly taking off to prevent her from arresting him. He is still drunk by the time he breaks into the library later that evening, where he finds the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and rips out a page with an illustration of the Red Queen, his true love. In the morning, Emma comes to haul Will to the sheriff's station after Belle calls her about finding him asleep in the library. ("Rocky Road")

Despite Robin confession that the one he loves is her, Regina pushes him away, insisting he needs to fall in love with Marian again in order to save her with true love's kiss. Will manages to break out of the station, which Mary Margaret mistakenly believes was set up by David to give her motivation to become her old self again and accidentally gives him a pardon for breaking into the library. Later, Robin talks to Will about his conflict over doing the right thing for Marian or following his heart to Regina. Will advises him by recalling an old conversation he once had with Marian, who told him that true love is worth the trouble of fighting for. After getting back together with Regina, Robin obtains Will's help to search the library for clues about the origin of the storybook. Under the control of Ingrid's Spell of Shattered Sight, Will pickpockets from a man on the street, while Robin Hood and the other Merry Men's whereabouts are unknown. ("Family Business", "Breaking Glass", "The Snow Queen")

After Ingrid sacrifices her life to end the Spell of Shattered Sight, Regina is able to restore Marian because the latter's magic no longer has a hold on her. Marian acknowledges Robin's feelings for Regina are real, and even Robin expresses hopes to Regina that they can be together. This possibility is eliminated when Marian collapses from the residual magic of Ingrid's that is still inside her, and at Regina's urging, Robin must make the heart-wrenching choice to leave town with his wife to ensure her survival in the Land Without Magic. At the town line, Will and the other Merry Men bid Robin a final farewell, as those who leave Storybrooke can never re-enter. ("Heroes and Villains")

In the alternate reality created by Isaac within the book Heroes and Villains, Robin Hood has plans to marry Zelena and tries to interest Regina into becoming the new leader of the Merry Men once he leaves. During the wedding, the Merry Men are present, and after the ceremony commences, everyone walks out of the church, where Robin notices Regina is dying and runs to her side out of concern for her. As the Merry Men and other guests gather around to see what is going on, Zelena expresses jealousy towards Regina, before turning green and running off angrily. ("Operation Mongoose Part 2")

Before Third Curse
Eventually coming callous and cold because of the pain from her unrequited love, Mulan at some point strikes out on her own to become a debt collector, though it's unclear if she actually quit from the Merry Men group.

Known Merry Men


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.