"Murder Most Foul" is the twelfth episode of Season Six of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jerome Schwartz & Jane Espenson, and directed by Morgan Beggs. It is the one hundred and twenty-third episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 12, 2017.
Before Hook takes the next step in his relationship with Emma, he wants to make sure David sees him as more than just a pirate. So when David asks Hook to help him uncover the truth about his father’s death, Hook agrees. Meanwhile, Regina works to acclimate Robin to life in Storybrooke, but soon discovers he has a dark side that makes the task much more complicated than she anticipated.
Originally, donkeys wearing hats were set to appear in the episode, a reference to The Adventures of Pinocchio and its Disney adaptation, where all boys sent to the Land of Toys (renamed Pleasure Island for the Disney film) are turned into donkeys. The donkeys were brought in for the episode, dressed up in headgear and everything and filmed in an enclosure in front of a green-screen, but this ended up being cut from the episode.
- The title card features Pleasure Island's ferris wheel.
- The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on November 1, 2016.
- The episode's title is a phrase from Act 1, Scene 5 of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, where the Ghost of Prince Hamlet's father comments about his own death, saying "Murder most foul as in the best it is: But this most foul, strange and unnatural."
- A wanted poster for young Prince James was created for this episode, but it wasn't used on-screen.
- In the episode script, when Hook is trying to keep Emma from entering the garden shed, Emma says, "Hook. You forgot about something." In the actual episode, she says, "Hang on! You're forgetting something."
- Footage from the filming of the establishing shot of Storybrooke after the scene with Hook and David at the docks is re-used for the scene where Gideon is inside the clock tower in "Mother's Little Helper". The shot from "Mother's Little Helper" does not have any people in it (the original shot shows two extras walking past the clock tower), indicating that the new shot was created from cut footage from before or after the extras walked down on the street.
- The Enchanted Forest flashbacks take place after "The Doctor", where Rumplestiltskin acquired the crystal ball that he uses in this episode, and years before "White Out". (For more details, see the Enchanted Forest timeline)
- They also occur many years before "The Stranger".
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Tougher Than the Rest" and before "Ill-Boding Patterns". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- This episode depicts how Ruth and Robert were forced to give up their son James, an event that was referred to in "The Shepherd".
- Prince James' life with King George is further explored in "The Shepherd" and "Tiny".
- Emma defeated Gideon in "Tougher Than the Rest".
- Mary Margaret and David had the Sleeping Curse placed on them in "Heartless".
- The Evil Queen gave David his father's coin in "A Bitter Draught".
- Hook proposes to Emma in "Ill-Boding Patterns". They get married in "The Song in Your Heart".
- Regina brought Robin back from the Wish Realm in "Tougher Than the Rest".
- Robin refers to Regina's alarm clock as a "demon box", similar to the way Aurora referred to a CD player at the inn as a "devil's box" in "The Snow Queen".
- Mary Margaret mentions how she once kissed David's twin brother, which happened in "Souls of the Departed".
- This episode explores the events surrounding the death of David's father, an event first referred to in "The Shepherd", and further elaborated on in "White Out", "A Bitter Draught" and "The Other Shoe".
- The garden shed where David finds Emma's spell book and potion ingredients, is the same shed where Emma kept the dreamcatchers in "Dreamcatcher", and where Hook hid the magic shears in "Dark Waters".
- Rumplestiltskin says to himself, "Someday may we all be reunited with our sons", a reference to how he was separated from Baelfire in "The Return". Mr. Gold is reunited with his son in "Manhattan".
- Pinocchio's fate is revealed in "The Stranger".
- According to August, he ripped out a few pages from Henry's storybook. The book was in August's possession between "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" and "What Happened to Frederick".
- David finds out who really killed his father in "A Wondrous Place".
- Pleasure Island is the name of the amusement park in Disney's Pinocchio.
- While he is on Pleasure Island, Prince James is wearing a similar outfit to the Prince's from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of The Prince and the Pauper story, with the pauper, the prince, the king, and the pauper's mother and father, and The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, with Prince Hamlet, King Hamlet/Ghost, Claudius, Francisco and Queen Gertrude.
- This episode features the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale, Captain Hook from the Peter Pan story, Robin Hood from the ballads, Rumplestiltskin from the "Rumplestiltskin" fairytale, and the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz story.
- The bulletin board that David puts together, is full of notes, including:
- "First or last stop depending whether entering or leaving"
- "Everett Gibson"
- "The bea[two obscured characters]e made note of these escape attempts x2 times"
- "The Tuffet"
- "Jameson Irving"
- "Hirco ceruus" (Latin for "goat stag")
- "The Vale"
- "No body [sic] saw him on his [obscured] through broad"
- "The Crooked Fox"
- "The celebrations ended at dawn"
- "Harriet Haywood"
- "He was there all afternoon"
- "Edith Thorne"
- "Taver [sic] the bend"
- "East Riding"
- "High street"
- The information card for David's good luck charm is pinned to the bottom of the board
- One of the tavern signs that are pictured on the board is the sign on the tavern that Queen Regina and Tinker Bell dined at in the Season Three episode "Quite a Common Fairy", and where Snow White rallied the villagers many years later in the Season Three episode "Lost Girl".
- Also pictured is the sign that was seen outside the tavern where Queen Regina found her soulmate in "Quite a Common Fairy", and the tavern Robin Hood brought her to in Isaac's storybook in the Season Four episode "Operation Mongoose Part 1". The same sign was used on a village building when Snow White and her friends were "celebrating" the Evil Queen's birthday in the Season Five episode "Souls of the Departed" and on the Wish Realm tavern where Robin of Locksley is drinking in "Tougher Than the Rest" and "Page 23".
- "Rinconete and Cortadillo", a short story by Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote; from the 1612 novella collection Novelas ejemplares ("Exemplary Novels"). The exact same text appears on two different pages. The English translation is taken from The Exemplary Novels of Cervantes, an English edition published by George Bell and Sons in 1881. The storybook excerpt, which is blurred and very difficult to read, reads (text set in fuchsia is off-screen):
respect to this of yours; we are now in the first country
of the world, and without doubt the customs of the place
must be in the highest degree judicious. Wherefore your
worship may be pleased to conduct us to the place where
this gentleman of whom you have spoken is to be found.
I cannot but suppose, from what you say, that he is
much honoured, of great power and influence, of very
generous nature, and, above all, highly accomplished in
"Truly, Sir," rejoined Rincon, "all this is Hebrew to us;
we know no more about it than we do of flying."
"Let us be jogging, then," replied the new-comer, "and
on the way I will explain to you these and other things,
which it is requisite you should know as pat as bread to
mouth;" and, accordingly, he explained to them a whole
vocabulary of that thieves' Latin which they call Germ-
anesco, or Gerigonza, and which their guide used in
the course of his lecture,--by no means a short one, for
the distance they had to traverse was of considerable
- On Pleasure Island, statues of a griffin and a winged lion can be seen among the gargoyles that children throw bottles at. A griffin is a legendary creature which has the front half of an eagle and the hind half of a lion, while the winged lion is a mythological creature that resembles a lion with bird-like wings.
- The same griffin statue appeared on top of the Underworld grave that Hook, Emma and Mary Margaret were hiding behind in the in the Season Five episode "Her Handsome Hero". It also appears, painted in a different color, in Gothel's garden in the Season Seven episode "Eloise Gardener".
- A stuffed tiger can be seen sitting next to the gargoyles. The same tiger can be seen in Emma's nursery room in the Season One episode "Pilot" and the Season Three episodes "Going Home" and "The Tower". The Underworld version of the tiger can be seen in the Underbrooke Swan house in the Season Five episodes "Devil's Due" and "The Brothers Jones".
- The dagger David is using to threaten Albert Spencer is the same dagger his original counterpart is wielding in the Season Three episode "The Tower". The weapon is also used by Belle in the Season Two episode "The Outsider" and by Alice in several episodes of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
- The dagger Albert Spencer is using against David is the same dagger Lizard is wielding in the Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episodes "The Serpent" and "Nothing to Fear".
- Two illustrations by the eighteenth century German botanist Johann Wilhelm Weinmann are hanging on the wall in Regina's dining room. The first one is Apocynum seu Fritillaria crassa monstrosa and is from the first volume of Weinmann's florilegium Phytanthoza iconographia (link to page), published in eight volumes between 1737 and 1745. Fritillaria crassa is an old name for the plant Orbea variegata, a type of carrion flower. The other one is an illustration of a group of cocklebur plants, from volume 4 of Phytanthoza iconographia (link to page).
- Apocynum seu Fritillaria crassa monstrosa can also be seen in Regina's hallway in the Season One premiere "Pilot" and in Regina's kitchen in the Season One episode "An Apple Red as Blood".
- The illustration of the cocklebur plants could also be seen next to Regina's bedroom window when she woke up in Storybrooke for the first time in the Season Two episode "Welcome to Storybrooke", but it could only be seen from far away and not very clearly.
- In Regina's living room, there is an illustration called "Ghiandaia nucifraga, volgarm: Nocciolaia. = Pica nucifraga; Caryocatactes Willug", from the second volume of Storia Naturale degli Uccelli Trattata con Metodo e Adornata di Figure Intagliate in Rame e Miniate al Naturale. Ornithologia methodice digesta atque iconibus aeneis ad vivum illuminatis ornate (Natural History of the Birds Treated Systematically and Adorned with Copperplate Engraving Illustrations, in Miniature and Life-Size) (link to page), a work by the eighteenth-century Italian physician and ornithologist Saverio Manetti. It was published in five volumes between 1767 and 1776 and was illustrated by Violante Vanni and Lorenzo Lorenzi. Nucifraga caryocatactes is the scientific name of the spotted nutcracker.
- The same picture appeared in Regina's bedroom when she woke up in Storybrooke for the first time in the Season Two episode "Welcome to Storybrooke".
- A Royal Albert Val D'Or coffee pot and creamer are sitting on Regina's coffee table during her conversation with Robin of Locksley. The teacups and saucers are from the same series.
- Emma's engagement ring was picked out by Colin O'Donoghue himself, because the show creators felt that nobody knows the character of Hook better than him.
- Regina is wearing a Ted Baker Tarala dress in Rhubarb (no longer available).
- Emma is wearing a Zara Faux Fur Check Coat (no longer available). She wears the same coat in "Page 23", "A Wondrous Place" and "Mother's Little Helper".
- While at the Mills house, Mary Margaret is wearing a Theory Damaris Summer Silk Blouse in Pearl Pink At the end of the episode, she is wearing a Theory Livilla Top in Pearl Pink. (Both are longer available.)
- Hook is wearing a Scotch and Soda Long Sleeve Circle Print Shirt (no longer available).
- The expiration date on Emma's license plate says 2009, even though it said December 2011 in "Pilot" (which takes place in 2011), and 2014 in "Lily".
- By the end of the episode, while under the sleeping curse, David has been seen taking deep breaths, even though it is said that one cannot show any sign of life under that curse. ("An Apple Red as Blood")
|French||"Le Vrai Meurtrier"||"The Real Murderer"|
|German||"Mord ist das Geheimnis"||"Murder is the Mystery"|
|Italian||"Un assassinio scellerato"||"Murder Most Foul"|
|Portuguese||"Crime Sujo"||"Dirty Crime"|