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You are staying inside and you're keeping that hood on. You know red repels wolves.

Granny to Red Riding Hood

"Red-Handed" is the fifteenth episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the fifteenth episode of the series overall, and premiered on March 11, 2012.


After quitting Granny's diner, and with her self-esteem at an all-time low, Emma hires Ruby to be her assistant in order to help her discover what it is in life that she's good at. Emma continues questioning David about the disappearance - and possible murder - of Kathryn. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Red Riding Hood yearns to run away with her true love. But she, along with her fellow townspeople, are virtual prisoners when a bloodthirsty wolf continues on its relentless killing spree.[1]


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

Emma begins interviewing David about Kathryn's disappearance. After a few questions, she lets him go, as there is not enough evidence to press charges. At Granny's Diner, Ruby is talking to August, and he tells her about traveling the world when Granny calls her over and tells her to stop flirting and do the diner's paperwork. The two argue, and Ruby walks out, stating she quits.

In the Enchanted Forest, Peter meets with Red at her home. He comes to her window and threatens to "huff and puff and blow the house down", unless she opens it. Granny, her grandmother, calls Red to come into the other room, but the two steal a kiss before Peter leaves. A group of townspeople are at the door, saying they want to hunt the enormous wolf that has been in the area killing sheep. Red wants to go with them, but Widow Lucas refuses. She tells Red to bar the door and windows and keep her red cloak and hood on. The next morning Red is gathering eggs from the chicken coup, when she runs into Snow White, who is hiding in the corner. Still hiding from the Evil Queen, Snow White introduces herself to Red first as Frosty. Red is doubtful that this is her true name, and Snow White confesses that she is just hiding from someone. Then she says that Red can call her Margaret, but then she changes it to Mary. The two walk to the well to get water. They notice the water is crimson with blood, and there are multiple mangled bodies near the well. The bodies are those of the men who came to the cabin the night before.

Emma and Mary Margaret are walking down the street in Storybrooke when they run into Ruby talking to Dr. Whale. She has decided to leave town immediately, but they persuade her to come to their apartment for the time being so that she can figure things out. Later, Mary Margaret goes to the spot where Kathryn had disappeared. She runs into David who was looking for Kathryn. David just keeps saying repeatedly that he's looking for his wife, before he walks away leaving a confused Mary Margaret.

During a town meeting in the Enchanted Forest, Mayor Tomkins is telling the people that he could have slayed the wolf had he been there. Granny storms in stating that she knows that they would have died as well. The wolf is too dangerous to face, and they must hide from it. She tells them about her own experience with the wolf. Sixty years before the wolf attacked and killed her six brothers, and she survived, but still has the scars. She says that it cannot be killed. Red tells Snow White about Peter and that Granny won't let her leave the house to see him. Red says that they should go kill the wolf which Snow White is against.

While searching for the wolf, Red teaches Snow White about tracks and tracking, and they find the wolf's foot prints. They find tracks that change from wolf into human, making them wonder what they are really dealing with.

In Storybrooke, Henry helps Ruby look for a new job. Henry asks her about a possible job of delivering things to others as a courier using a basket. Ruby then answers the phone and takes messages, and an impressed Emma asks her to be her assistant. Mary Margaret tells Emma about her strange encounter with David. Ruby goes to Granny's to pick up lunch, and she tells her about her new job. Granny tells Ruby that she is doing the same job she was doing before.

In the Enchanted Forest, Red tells Snow White about a strange creature she has heard of that transforms from a human to a wolf, when the moon is full. They continue to follow the tracks, which lead to the cottage and Red's window. Red says that Peter came to her window the night before, and Snow White thinks that the wolf is Peter, which worries Red. Red convinces Snow White that she has to do something. Later, Red meets with Peter, and she tells him her theory that he is the wolf or the wolf is using his body. It is preventing him from remembering afterwards. Peter agrees that they should tie him up, and Red vows to stay with him.

In Storybrooke, Henry tells Emma that Ruby is Little Red Riding Hood, which Emma dismisses. Emma takes Ruby out with her to investigate the place where Kathryn disappeared into the woods. They are following tracks when Ruby is able to hear David. They find him unconscious. When he revives, he has no recollection of anything that has happened since the previous night.

At the hospital, Dr. Whale says David is having the same experience he had when he came out of his coma. He says he can refer him to Dr. Hopper for psychological assistance. David fears that this episode of memory loss occurred during his last moment with Kathryn. Still listed as David's emergency contact, Regina arrives and scolds Emma to go look for Kathryn. Ruby goes to the toll bridge upon Emma's instruction to see if she can find anything. She finds a box buried under a wooden plank and screams upon opening it.

In the Enchanted Forest, Granny wakes up Red who is actually Snow White in disguise, in Red's bed wearing her red cloak and hood. Granny worries, and Snow White tells her to trust Red and that Peter is the wolf, but Red will be safe as Peter is tied up. Granny is even more upset by the fact that Peter is tied and helpless. The scene shifts to Peter tied up and screaming, "Red don't do this!" as Red, now the wolf, maliciously approaches him.

While walking through the forest, Granny tells Snow White about the history of their family's curse. She has kept the knowledge from Red, and Granny used to be a wolf herself, but lost much of the power to transform due to age. She can still track and tells Snow White the cloak is magical and stops Red from turning into the wolf, but she hardly wears it. They find Red eating the remains of Peter. Red lunges at them, and Granny fires a sliver tipped arrow at her, stopping her, and they quickly cover her in the red cloak. The cloak restores Red to her human form. As they hear the townspeople coming, Snow takes Red away, leaving Granny there alone.

In Storybrooke, Ruby shows Emma the contents of the box. She is still in shock by her discovery and questions being cut out for police work, and Emma, amazed with Ruby's tracking skills, comforts her. Ruby goes the diner and asks Granny if her arm is hurting her. Granny says it does every full moon, showing that the scars from the wolf attack in the enchanted forest the are still with her here in Storybrooke.

Ruby asks to come back and admits that the extra responsibilities Granny discussed earlier scared her. Granny says that she was so insistent on Ruby learning to run the diner, because she wants Ruby to own the place when she retires. She says that Ruby loves it as she does, and the two hug. Mary Margaret checks on David at his workplace, and Emma shows up. She tells them about the box and that there was a human heart inside it. There are fingerprints on the box. David wants to know if he is being arrested, but Emma says that they are not David's fingerprints; they belong to Mary Margaret.



Guest Starring




Production Notes

  • SOMETHING'S CHANGED: Previously, the storefront next to Granny's Diner was a business called Worthington's Haberdashery.[4] From this episode onward, this storefront has become the Storybrooke Pet Shelter.[5] Its exterior is barely glimpsed in this episode, but can be clearly seen in "The Stable Boy"[6]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections


Fairytales and Folklore

  • Whilst looking for jobs, Henry suggests to Ruby that she could be "taking things on foot to people in a little basket", which is a reference to "Little Red Riding Hood".
  • Red is revealed to be a werewolf. In European mythology, werewolves are men who turn into a wolf at night when the full moon is up and devour animals, people or corpses. They return to human form by day. Some are capable of shapeshifting at will, while others do so involuntarily, either because the condition is hereditary or because they were bitten by another werewolf.[14] On Once Upon a Time, both men and women can become werewolves. They are known to devour both animals and people, but not corpses. Some, like Red Riding Hood and her mother, inherited the condition from their parent, while others, such as Granny, were bitten. They automatically turn into a wolf when the full moon is up and cannot shapeshift at will; however, Red possesses an enchanted cloak which keeps her from shifting during the full moon.

Popular Culture

  • Granny says to Ruby, "For another thing, Liza, you dress like a drag queen during Fleet Week", which specifically refers to real life actress Liza Minnelli. Liza is a favorite among drag queens.
    • Ruby shoots back, "And you dress like Norman Bates when he dresses like Norman Bates' mother"; a reference to fictional characters Norman and Norma Bates from the American film Psycho.
  • The song playing when Ruby walks into the diner to get lunch for Emma is "Settling In" by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.

Props Notes

  • USE IT AGAIN: Emma brought both items into her new office after she was elected sheriff in "Desperate Souls".[16] Both items were previously sitting on the deputy's desk.[17]

Costume Notes

  • BRAND INFO: Ruby wears[30] a Forever 21 Pointelle Crochet Beret[31] and a Joyrich the Rider Plaid Jacket[32] (both are no longer available).
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: When Ruby is on the phone with Emma, she is wearing a ring with a wolf's head on it.[33]
  • BRAND INFO: When Ruby reconciles with her grandmother, she is wearing[34] a Checked Shirt from Zara[35] (no longer available).

Filming Locations

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

  • The morning after Kathryn disappears, Emma organizes a manhunt. "What [seems] like the whole town" shows up, and they comb the woods, but the search turns up nothing. David and Mary Margaret are there, but stay far away from each other.[38]
  • After Snow White is released by the Huntsman, she lives hand-to-mouth and sleeps in the woods for weeks, scavenging and begging for food, sometimes finding a peasant who'd let her sleep in the barn.[39]
  • Snow White finds shelter in the chicken coop on a cold winter's night, and sees Peter and Red Riding Hood together.[40]
  • Snow White remembers her father taking her to the shore to play castle on the rock after her mother died.[41]
  • While asleep in the chicken coop, Snow White has a nightmare about her parents' deaths.[41]
  • When Red finds Snow White hiding in the chicken coop, she offers to let Snow White stay with her and Granny. Granny welcomes Snow White into the cottage "with a tough-minded generosity".[42]
  • It is implied that Granny, in order to protect Red Riding Hood from the approaching hunting party, shapeshifted into a wolf and slaughtered them.[43]

International Titles



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, March 11, 2012. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#115) "Red-Handed"”
  2. TV Ratings Broadcast Top 25: ‘The Voice,’ ‘American Idol,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’ Top Week 25 Ratings. TV by the Numbers (March 13, 2012). “ONCE UPON A TIME. ABC. 9,289.”
  3. File:115Title.png
  4. File:104BackToGrannys.png
  5. File:115FullMoon.png
  6. File:118ConfusingAndHorrible.png
  7. Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic – Page 84. London: Titan Books, October 2013
  8. File:115ThroughTheBrush.png
  9. File:722SnowPrison3.png
  10. File:115BeABikeMessenger.png
  11. Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic, London, Titan Books, October 2013, p. 132
  12. Troll. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on November 23, 2021. “troll, in early Scandinavian folklore, giant, monstrous being, sometimes possessing magic powers.”
  13. Ogre. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on October 13, 2021. “The word gained popularity from its use in the late 17th century by Charles Perrault, the author of Contes de ma mère l'oye (Tales of Mother Goose). Since then, ogres have appeared in many works, including "Tom Thumb"; "Hansel and Gretel," where the witch is a type of ogre because she intends to eat the children; and "Little Red Riding Hood," where the wolf resembles an ogre.”
  14. Werewolf. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on November 23, 2021. “werewolf, in European folklore, a man who turns into a wolf at night and devours animals, people, or corpses but returns to human form by day. Some werewolves change shape at will; others, in whom the condition is hereditary or acquired by having been bitten by a werewolf, change shape involuntarily, under the influence of a full moon.”
  15. File:115GoHome.png
  16. File:108ANewSheriff.png
  17. File:108BeenTwoWeeks.png
  18. File:115Corpses.png
  19. 19.0 19.1 File:217GoThroughUs.png
  20. File:104EllaAtTheWell.png
  21. File:108Noooooo!.png
  22. File:117CarriageIsThat.png
  23. File:203Corpses.png
  24. File:320Glinda!Glinda!.png
  25. File:504NoLongerTheBrokenKingdom.png
  26. File:507MerlinAndNimueWalkOff.png
  27. File:602ArrivingAtVillage.png
  28. File:701ThrowingThat.png
  29. File:722BelleAppears.png
  30. File:115CantDoAnything.png
  31. Forever 21 Pointelle Crochet Beret. Coolspotters. Archived from the original on May 21, 2015.
  32. Joyrich the Rider Plaid Jacket. Coolspotters. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017.
  33. File:115IDontKnow.png
  34. File:115Happy.png
  35. Checked Shirt. Polyvore. Archived from the original on November 22, 2013.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Regal Con Exclusive - A Chat with Beverley Elliot. Once Upon A Fan (December 5, 2015). Archived from the original on April 11, 2017. “Zach - That was real snow you were filming in that day, correct? Beverley: Yes, it was beautiful. We were up on Mount Seymour.”
  37. Once Upon A Time Interview - Meghan Ory & Beverley Elliott. YouTube (May 25, 2014).

    Reid, Michael D. (April 6, 2012). Meghan Ory's fairy tale (PressReader). Times Colonist. “"We were shooting at the top of Mount Seymour with our capes flowing, and it was just so beautiful," she said, recalling a scene she just did with Goodwin.” (back-up copy)

    TwitterLogo.svg @yvrshoots (YVRshoots) on Twitter (January 5, 2012). "Confirmed #OnceUponaTime filming on Mt Seymour today (Jan 5) in dense fog & sleet but outside not in @Reel_Cabin where it's dry." (screenshot)
  38. Beane, Odette, Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York, Hyperion, 2013, p. 205
  39. Beane, Odette, Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York: Hyperion, 2013, pp. 209 – 2010
  40. Beane, Odette, Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York, Hyperion, 2013, p. 2010
  41. 41.0 41.1 Beane, Odette, Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York, Hyperion, 2013, p. 211
  42. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, Odette Beane, New York, Hyperion, 2013, pp. 213, 215
  43. Beane, Odette, Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York, Hyperion, 2013, p. 230