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This article focuses on the Season Five episode.
For the Storybrooke character, see Ruby.
For the magical items, see silver slippers.

Ruby: Well, yeah, but I almost lost you.
Dorothy: You didn't. You came back for me.
Ruby: I always will.

"Ruby Slippers" is the eighteenth episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Bill Wolkoff, and directed by Eriq La Salle. It is the one hundred and sixth episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 17, 2016.


In flashbacks, Ruby and Mulan find themselves in Oz, where they meet Dorothy. After the three witness Zelena’s return to Oz, they look for a way to defeat her once and for all. However, Dorothy mysteriously disappears, and Ruby’s search for her new friend lands her in the Underworld. Reunited with the heroes, Ruby teams up with Emma, Regina and Snow to continue looking for Dorothy. Meanwhile, Snow and David struggle with not being able to be with their son, Neal, and devise a plan so that one of them can escape the Underworld.[2]


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

In the Underbrooke loft, While Ruby is still unconscious, Emma, Regina, Hook, Snow, David, and Henry help her recuperate by bringing her to the apartment. They speculate about where Ruby has been and why she might be in the Underworld. Emma finds a strip of blue and white stripped fabric as a clue.

In a flashback to the woods in Oz, Mulan asks Ruby about Oz, with Ruby admitting she only knows the movie version of Oz, which involved a lot of singing. Like many of her previous searches, Ruby tries to sniff out any wolves, but she finds no one. Upon hearing a growl from an unknown creature, the women prepare for a fight, only to see a dog scamper out, whom Ruby recognizes as Toto. She moves to pet him, but then, Dorothy stops her, questioning which of them is a witch, since Toto only barks at witches. Ruby admits she's part wolf, and she tries to pet Toto to prove she is harmless, but Toto runs off. Ruby confirms Toto went northwest, and as the trio head there, they see a cyclone that Dorothy realizes is the Wicked Witch's return.

At her Underbrooke home, Zelena is visited by Hades, who warns her about Ruby's recent appearance in the Underworld. Knowing Ruby is likely looking for Dorothy, she grows fearful that if Regina learns what she did to Dorothy, she'll be barred from ever seeing her daughter again. Zelena wants to leave the Underworld before this happens, and she worries if she stays, she will do something she'll eventually regret. Hades tries to draw her to his side, promising to give her whatever she wants, but she sticks to her decision. He then drops the subject, and before taking his leave, he vows that either way, he'll take care of Ruby for her.

At the pawnshop, Mr. Gold tries to persuade Belle to stop feeling guilty for Gaston's demise, but she regrets not doing what she once preached to Gaston about; having compassion and forgiving your enemies. She can't let go of her regret knowing Hades kept the contract, which has taught her what she did to Gaston was selfish and just to save Mr. Gold's life. He considers that they can now work together to fight Hades, but she splits from him, wanting to right things on her own, without making the same mistake again.

In the loft, Ruby is awake and tells her friends how she used a tracking spell to follow Zelena, in hopes of learning what happened to Dorothy. While in wolf form, Ruby was swept away in a cyclone to Zelena's current location, the Underworld.

David prepares to join everyone in confronting Zelena, but instead, Snow asks him to call Neal again. Since it's not safe to be alone, she presses him to take Hook and Henry with him too. When the trio of men approach the haunting booth, they see Claude, an associate of Cruella's, trying to destroy it. Cruella admits that she's just following Hades' orders, but if Henry revives her using his Author powers, she'll allow David to make one last phone call. David refuses, so Cruella orders Claude to finish the job, which he does.

When Zelena begins using the silver slippers to try to escape the Underworld, her escape is halted by Ruby, Regina, Emma, and Snow confronting her about Dorothy's disappearance.

In a flashback of her return to Oz, Zelena is approached by Toto, because he can tell she is a witch. When Ruby, Mulan and Dorothy show up, she quickly informs them that she wants no part in staying in Oz, and wishes to get back to her daughter as soon as possible. Zelena demands the silver slippers from Dorothy, and after the girl refuses, she unveils Toto in a basket, using the dog as leverage to force Dorothy's hand. Before poofing away, she gives Dorothy until sundown tomorrow to hand over the slippers, or Toto will pay the price.

Back in the present, Regina talks her into redeeming herself by helping them, to which Zelena unveils in a mirror that Dorothy is currently under the sleeping curse in Oz. Only true love's kiss can break the curse, and Zelena believes it impossible, since Dorothy may have the love of the Ozians, but not true love. However, Ruby recalls the one person Dorothy loves is her deceased Auntie Em. In a private chat with Regina, Zelena continues to be smug about what she did to Dorothy until her sister tells her to drop the act. Regina persuades Zelena to break away from the path she is on now, starting by doing one good thing; giving up the slippers. Zelena forfeits the slippers, despite that she sees no value in Regina's pep talks, as she believes nothing will ever change for either of them.

In Oz, to regain Toto, Mulan makes a concoction to put Zelena to sleep, but she needs poppy dust to complete the brew. Ruby insists on joining Dorothy there, despite the latter's indifference. During the journey, Dorothy explains how her family abandoned her, and why Toto is so important to her. Ruby shares her experience of being forced out by her village after she accidentally killed her boyfriend. Despite learning to control her powers and gaining friends, Ruby still feels like something is missing in her life. Since Ruby doesn't know what that is, Dorothy advises her to figure it out.

In the underworld, Regina, Ruby, Snow, and Emma find Auntie Em’s headstone, which is neither tipped or cracked, meaning she's still in the Underworld. They then plan to have Auntie Em blow a kiss into a bottle, and for Ruby to deliver it to Dorothy in Oz. David relays the news of the booth to Snow, who becomes worried Hades is planning to attack Storybrooke. Emma advises that both her parents should go home because baby Neal needs them more than her, and they've already done enough for her by coming to the Underworld. She suggests they head to Oz with Ruby and the slippers, and from there, use the slippers to return to Storybrooke. Because Snow's name is on the headstone, making it impossible for her to leave, she prompts David to return home alone.

As Zelena consoles herself with drinks, Belle pleads for her to convince Hades to tear up the contract on her baby, but Zelena doubts Hades will listen. While Zelena is disillusioned about her own future, believing her happy ending is not with her daughter or Hades, Belle points out she hasn't given Hades a chance yet. Belle comes to fear Hades will speed up her pregnancy, but Zelena offers her temporary solution, the curse.

In the loft, David finds Hook looking through the storybook for information on Auntie Em, Dorothy's deceased aunt, who they need for waking a cursed Dorothy. David, unhappy that Snow can't be with her son, considers that neither of them should be in the Underworld. However, he regrets saying this, after realizing it sounds like he is blaming Hook for his troubles. Hook actually agrees, and he thanks David for giving up so much in order to rescue him, despite that he never wanted anyone to try. David insists it was his choice to follow Emma, and he lets it slip that he did it for Hook too, since he's grown fond of him.

In Oz, after their bonding moment, Dorothy apologizes for calling Ruby "wolfie" earlier, but Ruby likes it and chooses "Kansas" as Dorothy's nickname. At the poppy field, Dorothy cautions her not to sniff the flowers or she'll fall asleep. Upon picking a poppy, they are pursued by flying monkeys. With Dorothy's consent, Ruby morphs into a wolf and lets Dorothy climb on her back so she can outrun the monkeys. The pair return to Mulan, who finishes the brew with the poppies. Dorothy then goes to bed, lying about needing to rest, which Ruby mistakes as Dorothy's discomfort over seeing her in wolf form.

In the Underworld, Ruby, Emma, Regina, and Snow find Auntie Em at her diner and ask for her help in saving Dorothy. Auntie Em jumps at the chance to help Dorothy. As soon as Auntie Em uncaps the bottle, however, her whole body melts into a puddle, because Hades added liquid from the River of Lost Souls into it. Regina suspects Zelena put him up to the task since Dorothy is Zelena's sworn enemy, but he insists she knows nothing about this. Instead of it just being about Zelena, Hades clarifies that he is using Auntie Em's fate as an example of something else. Using a mason jar, he scoops up some of Auntie Em's liquid remains into it, declaring to the diner citizens that they will meet the same end if they try to help the heroes. As he walks out, he taunts Emma over her inability to save anyone since now no one wants to be saved.

In Oz, Ruby confides in Mulan about her growing feelings for Dorothy, and with her encouragement, she goes to confess her love, only to find Dorothy is gone. Dorothy has sneaked off to put Zelena to sleep, because she fears losing Ruby, who she has fallen in love with.

Back in the present, Snow suggests Ruby can give true love's kiss to Dorothy, Ruby has doubts about Dorothy reciprocating her feelings, and she is terrified of rejection. Despite these fears, Snow persuades her to try.

In the cemetery, Snow prepares to send off David with Ruby to Oz, with David making the trip from there back to their son in Storybrooke. Instead, David has Hook take Snow's name off the headstone that Hades branded and put his on there, allowing Snow to go with Ruby.

Zelena takes Belle's advice and goes to Hades. He shows her what he's done to Dorothy's Auntie Em, who could've woken her from the curse, as proof of his loyalty to her. Zelena still fears being disappointed by Hades but decides to accept him, stating it's a chance she has to take.

Meanwhile, in present day Oz, Mulan, Toto, and the munchkins stand watch over Dorothy. After reaching Oz, Ruby gives Dorothy true love's kiss, waking her from the curse. Dorothy explains what occurred the night of her disappearance, in which she feared losing Ruby so much that she decided to face Zelena alone, only to be cursed. The two women reconcile, with Ruby promising to always come back for her, before they kiss, as Mulan, Snow and the munchkins happily witness the blooming romance between the pair.

Once Snow reunites with her son, Henry records the story in the book with the quill, complete with a drawing of Snow with baby Neal, which he shows to David.

While Mr. Gold is researching some books, Belle returns, revealing her plan to undergo the sleeping curse to pause her pregnancy, giving him unlimited time to destroy the contract. She fears Mr. Gold might not break the contract in time, and that Hades could speed up her pregnancy. Mr. Gold moves to stop her from using the curse prick, but she forces him to stay back. He insists that this will only make things worse, and he can't give her true love's kiss, because he's done trying to be someone he's not. Belle agrees, suggesting that her father can wake her instead. Before pricking herself, she orders him to bring her back to her father at all costs, after he has voided the contract. Mr. Gold catches her when she passes out from the curse's effects, and then places her on a chaise, as he reacts with worry at her current state.

Deleted Scenes

A scene where Ruby and Mulan are standing next to a green and gold, pyramid-shaped portal on the ground in Oz,[3] was deleted from the episode.



Guest Starring





Production Notes

Event Chronology

  • The Oz flashbacks take place years after the flashback scenes from "Our Decay".
    • They also take place immediately after Zelena is banished to Oz in "Swan Song", and before she goes back to Storybrooke in the present day scenes in "Our Decay".
  • The Underworld events take place after "Her Handsome Hero" and before "Sisters".
  • The present Oz events take place not long after Zelena leaves in "Our Decay".

Episode Connections



  • Dorothy mentioned that she was committed to an asylum after telling her family about Oz. This is a reference to the 1985 Disney sequel film Return to Oz.

Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

  • This episode reveals that Dorothy is LGBT. "Friend of Dorothy" happens to be an LGBT term that started out as a euphemism for stating or asking if somebody was homosexual without others knowing, back when homosexual acts were illegal in the United States.

Props Notes

  • MYSTERIOUS WRITINGS: As Belle is flipping through Her Handsome Hero, one page contains text from Lorem ipsum,[19] a filler text commonly used as mock-content when testing a given page layout or font. Lorem ipsum consists of badly garbled Latin, based on sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of De finibus bonorum et malorum ("On the ends of good and evil"), a philosophical work by the Roman philosopher Cicero. Lorem isum is often used when previewing the layout of a document, as the use of more understandable text could easily distract the user from the layout being examined.[20] While many forms of Lorem ipsum exists, the show uses a version that can be found on several online websites, including this French page about typography.

so tangible and intoxicating to her, was merely in her
head. It was a thought that was too crushing to
bear, not to mention that it also meant Dorothy would
be doomed to lie on that dais forever. Ruby could hardly
take the pressure, and suddenly she needed someone by
her side to reassure her, someone who could instantly
put all this turmoil into perspective.
Fortunately Snow White was only a few feet away from
her. Dorothy turned to her uneasily, and Snow nodded
her on, as if to share a little of her own courage.
You can do it, Ruby", Snow said. "Go on."
[image begins] was enough to bolster Ruby, who turned back
[image begins]ing up the courage to say something
[image begins] toward anyone before. But
[image begins] to look at Dorothy in
[image begins]. Ruby's eyes
[image begins]ew she
[image ends]

And then she leaned down and kissed Dorothy. For her,
it was the kiss of a lifetime. She felt a jolt of electricity
pass from her lips to Dorothy's. And just as she was
[shot ends]

  • ABANDONED IDEAS: According to a photograph from an online prop auction, an unseen page reads:[28]

The normally bustling Munchkin
was unusually quiet. In
fact, it had been quiet for quite
some time, ever since the tragic
day an armor-plated female war-
rior had brought the Munchkins
the somnolent body of Dorothy
Gale, along with Dorothy's dependent Cairn Terrier
Toto. This was brave and loyal Mulan, who had
sworn to Dorothy after she discovered her friend
had fallen victim to a sleeping curse at the virescent
hands of the Wicked Witch of the West. And protect
Dorothy she did, placing her on a dais in the middle of
town, and watching over her in a silent vigil, day by
day. And the normally jovial Munchkins stood by her,
day by day also, their jovial spirits drained by the sight
of their beloved Dorothy gripped in an eternal slumber.
And Toto stood by them also, loyal to the very last, his
snout forever bowed at the feet of his fallen master.
The streets of Oz had never before seen such a tableau
of tragedy and despair, and yet here it was every day,
with not a soul in the realm able to do a single thing to
help Dorothy.

And so this tableau repeated every day, until one day, a
miracle happened.
Right smack dab in the middle of a particularly long
bout of silent, mournful meditation, Toto started bark-
ing. The yapping came so fast and furious that for a
brief moment, Mulan thought it was another of Zelena's
destructive cyclones, and she immediately drew her
sword, ready to take the Wicked Witch on with her
trusty blade. But there was no cyclone. No Wicked
Witch. In fact there was... nothing. Toto was barking
at thin air.
"What is it, Toto," Mulan said. The poor little dog
didn't answer back, he just kept on barking. Only it
wasn't an angry, defensive barking. It was an excited
barking, a barking of recognition. Mulan half expected
the little ball of fur to hop up on his hand legs and do a
dance of joy when finally she and the Munchkins saw
what Toto had been able to detect moments before them.
In a great whirling poof of magic two people suddenly
appeared on the street. One of the people Mulan had hoped
to see. Even expected to see. And there she was in her
bright red cloak.
"Ruby?" Mulan said.

Set Dressing

Costume Notes

Filming Locations


International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (April 19, 2016). Sunday final ratings: ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘The Good Wife’ adjust up; ‘Little Big Shots’ and ‘Crowded’ adjust down. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (...) 3.76”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, April 17, 2016. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#518) "Ruby Slippers".”
  3. InstagramIcon.png officialmeghanory (Meghan Ory). May 30, 2016. "That time we were almost in Oz" (archive copy)
  4. File:518Title.png
  5. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (January 27, 2016). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya March 6th when #OnceTurns100 !" (screenshot)
  6. 6.0 6.1 File:518Underbrooke.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 File:102Storybrooke.png
  8. 8.0 8.1 File:309WhoIsThis.png
  9. File:419ImGoingAfterGold.png
  10. InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). April 19, 2016. (archive copy)
  11. Whitney, Alyse (May 6, 2016). 'Once Upon a Time': Who Will Die in Season 5's Penultimate Episode?. Hollywood Reporter. “One person who won’t be affected in this finale is Belle, who will be in a sleeping curse until next season so the actress could go on maternity leave. But Kitsis notes she still will play a "pivotal role."”
  12. File:5x18 - Ruby Slippers - Promo
  13. File:518LoveWithYou.png
  14. Lindemans, Micha F. Moloch. Encyclopedia Mythica. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017.
  15. 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.”
  16. File:518SomethingsWrong.png
  17. Dove, Steve (February 13, 2012). Storybrooke Secrets: Skin Deep. ABC. “"Dark Star Pharmacy" is a reference to the Grateful Dead staple "Dark Star."”
  18. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (August 7, 2012). Once Upon a Times Adam Horowitz's and Edward Kitsis's Weeks in Pop-Culture Consumption. Vulture. “Long day in the room and I need to let my mind wander. Tonight's playlist is all Grateful Dead. Yes, I'm a Deadhead. I look for something from my favorite year, 1973, when they were gooey and jazzy and just all around in the zone.”

    Monica (October 21, 2013). Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis Talk New Seasons of OUAT and OUATIW. CableTV.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2019. “I was a deadhead, loved The Grateful Dead. When you are a deadhead it becomes less about the music and more about the community…”
  19. File:518FlippingThroughBook.png
  20. Lorem Ipsum. lipsum.com. Retrieved on August 25, 2018.
  21. File:517TurningPage3.png
  22. File:518AppearingInOz.png
  23. File:201WhatHappened.png
  24. File:301IsHeWell.png
  25. 25.0 25.1 File:518AsleepForever.png
  26. 26.0 26.1 File:518AppearingInOz.png
  27. File:518HenryText.png
  28. Once Upon a Time - Set of Storybook Pages (3141). iCollector. Archived from the original on May 6, 2019. Retrieved on May 7, 2019. (Photograph)
  29. File:518LetThatHappen.png
  30. File:418DeadDarling.png
  31. File:511Rumple.png
  32. File:518ToMakeMe.png
  33. File:316TheseSlippers.png
  34. File:518SimpleTrade.png
  35. FacebookIcon.png americanduchess (American Duchess). April 19, 2016.  "Glittered "Pompadours" appear on "Once Upon a Time" as Dorothy Gale's silver slippers in Episode 18, Season 5" (archive copy)
    "Pompadour" French Court Shoes (White) (1680-1760). American Duchess. Retrieved on January 27, 2019.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Stowell, Lauren (September 23, 2013). 8 Reasons to Love the New American Duchess Pompadour 18th Century French Court Shoes. “Pompadours have been sent to production companies all over the world, from Film Afrika in South Africa, to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Our particular favorite was the appearance Pompadours made in NBC's "Smash," on the feet of lead actress Megan Hilty. Smash, Season 2, Episode 6 - a pair of pink painted Pompadours makes a rather bold appearance on actress Megan Hilty
  37. Isberg, Allison (April 19, 2016). OUTLANDER Gets a Dose of Culture Shock. And THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER Gets a Dose of Spoilers.. SciFi4Me. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. “Season Two, Episode Two: "Not in Scotland Anymore" (....) And special shout-out goes to Lauren Stowell at American Duchess for her fabulous Pompadour shoe, featured in the opening credits.” (Note that the source erroneously states that the shoes are featured in the opening credits, but they actually appear in the opening scene, immediately after the credits.)
    Screenshot from Outlander: "Not in Scotland Anymore"
  38. Gittins, Susan (February 6, 2016). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Films Ruby Slippers in Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery with Meghan Ory. Hollywood North Buzz. “Once Upon a Time filmed three nights in Vancouver's Everett Crowley Park for this episode, where fans saw Mulan (Jamie Chung).”
    TwitterLogo.svg @BastardSonVan (Larry Andreutti) on Twitter (February 15, 2016). "Photo set from #OnceUponATime filming taken on January 28, 2016 in Everett Crowley Park, Vancouver, BC (FTL)" (screenshot)
    FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. Once Upon A Time January 27, 2016 (January 27, 2016).  "Once Upon a Time set photos from Everett Crowley Park, Vancouver, BC (Fairy Tale Land) taken on January 27, 2016."
  39. InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). May 25, 2018. "Teri and Jamie back in the land of Oz." (archive copy)
    TwitterLogo.svg @EriqLaSalle23 (Eriq La Salle) on Twitter (February 5, 2016). "Working with Mulan--an original badass warrior." (screenshot)
  40. File:107NotRunningAway.png
  41. File:512IImagine.png
  42. Milbrand, Lisa. Why You Might Not Have Morning Sickness. Parents.com. Retrieved on August 25, 2018. “"Some women may experience morning sickness, and some women may not; some women have it in one pregnancy and not the next," says Marra Francis, M.D., an ob-gyn in Woodlands, Texas, and a contributing author to the Mommy MD Guides. "Not everyone experiences morning sickness, just like not everyone gets motion sickness."”
  43. When does morning sickness start?. BabyCentre. Retrieved on August 25, 2018. “Morning sickness usually starts when you're five weeks or six weeks pregnant. Some women may start to feel queasy as early as four weeks. If you don't feel queasy in the early weeks, you may miss morning sickness altogether.”