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Emma: That bandit was Snow White. This was the moment my parents first met.
Hook: And because of us, now they didn't.

"Snow Drifts" is the twenty-first episode of Season Three of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman & Robert Hull and directed by Ron Underwood. It is sixty-fifth episode of the series overall, and premiered on May 11, 2014.

This episode is the first part of the season three finale.


While Mary Margaret and David celebrate the naming of their son at a coronation in Granny's Diner, Emma and Hook are pulled into Zelena's time portal and find themselves in the Enchanted Forest of the past. But in their quest to discover a way back, they must be careful not to change ANYTHING or risk altering the lives of their friends and family—as well as their very own existence.[2]


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

In the Characters' Past

In the past (our world) a young girl leaves with a couple in a car from an adoption agency, where a young Emma Swan is standing, looking upset that she'll never have a perfect family, but the foster manager comes up to her and tells Emma, "Don't worry, you'll find a home too, Emma."

In Storybrooke

In the present day, Emma looks happy and sees Mary Margaret holding her baby boy as she prepares for the upcoming coronation even though they haven't named him yet. Henry is looking for apartments and both Henry and Mary Margaret ask Emma what she thinks. Emma changes the subject and starts thinking why her parents are trying to expand the time they need to name the unnamed baby by using an age-old tradition. Meanwhile, Regina and Robin Hood are sharing some romantic time together. She tells him about how Tinker Bell told her about them being soulmates, how she saw the lion tattoo but didn't approach him in the pub. However, Robin is happy to hear that, saying it must be the right time for them now. Later on at Granny's, everyone is recalling or retelling stories of how Mary Margaret and David originally met back in the Enchanted Forest and how they kept running into one another and were destined to be together. When Emma reveals her desire to return to New York City with Henry in an attempt to leave Storybrooke behind, Regina and the others exclaim in protest. Suddenly Gold notices an orange beam rising in the distance, which he tells them is the time portal. As this starts to happen, Emma tells everyone that she wants to go back to New York City and everyone including Regina doesn't like the idea. Emma then walks out and Hook follows her, taking the fairytale book with him. Meanwhile, Regina, David, Belle, Gold, Robin, and Mary Margaret visit the jail to see if Zelena had died around the same time as the portal's opening. They see on the jail's surveillance video that she committed suicide, but are unaware that Gold altered the video to make it look like she killed herself.

As they stop by the park, Emma tells Hook that she is confused about going back to New York City. Hook then hands Emma the book, telling her Henry hoped it would remind her where they're from. The conversation is cut short when they notice the time-travel orange beam forming and Emma runs towards the barn, where the doors burst open. The beam pulls Emma towards the vortex, and Hook tries to hold her back by digging his hook into the ground with Emma holding onto his leg. Emma can't hold on and is immediately sucked into the portal. Hook says "One of these days I'm going to have to stop chasing this woman," and jumps in after her. The portal closes as her cellphone, which is left behind in the barnyard, is ringing with a call from David, who was trying to warn her.

In the Enchanted Forest's new past

Seconds later, both Emma and Hook land in the Enchanted Forest. It turns out that, while going through the portal, Emma was thinking of her parents' first meeting, which is how and where they ended up. The two then come across the wanted signs for Snow White from the past and then stumble onto a village, where they see Regina terrorizing the villagers demanding that they tell her where her stepdaughter is. Regina proves that she is not kidding by having a woman arrested for helping Snow. Emma wants to help the woman, but Hook warns her about changing the future so they can't save the woman, since the villagers that were threatened by the Evil Queen included Pinocchio, Geppetto, and Granny. Around the same time, both Prince Charming and Abigail are in the carriage in the moments before Snow and Charming are due to meet. Snow cuts a tree down to make her highway robbery, causing the carriage to stop as she is in a tree waiting. As Charming gets out the carriage to investigate, Emma makes the biggest mistake in altering the timeline by making an accidental noise and surprises Snow, who falls and runs away, empty handed without taking the jewels from the carriage, and preventing her parents from meeting for the first time. Emma discovers that she interfered the past and realizes that the only way to stop this altered timeline is by seeking out the only person capable of correcting this mistake, namely Rumplestiltskin. As the approach Rumplestiltskin's castle, Rumplestiltskin himself appears out of nowhere ready to kill Hook (as he still holds a grudge after Hook stole his wife, Milah, and took the magic bean Rumplestiltskin was going to use to find his son, Baelfire) but Emma then reveals to him that he will create the curse that he hopes will one day find his son Baelfire, and killing Hook will further destroy the timeline. As the pages in the book start to become blank, time is starting to run out for Emma to fix what she has done, and Rumplestiltskin tells her the only way to correct this is to go to the ball that will be held at King Midas' palace.

Seeing that Snow wants passage after failing to secure one from Blackbeard, they hatch a plan to have her steal the ring for passage out of the forest by using Hook’s ship, which means they have to pay a visit to the tavern to distract a past version of Killian Jones, so Hook sends Emma to distract past Hook while he's drinking with his mates. Future Hook suddenly becomes jealous of past Hook for flirting with Emma, as she keeps past Hook occupied while future Hook offers Snow a deal, but things get out of hand when Smee first becomes confused by the difference in his captain, and second when past Hook shows up while future Hook is still there. Emma orders him to leave, and Hook looks on jealously as the past Hook comes on and kisses her. Future Hook then taps his previous life on the shoulder and punches him. Hook replies that he was asking for it, saying that he'll blame the rum for his actions.

Later that night at Midas' palace, Emma and Hook watch to see what happens when Rumplestiltskin appears. He gives them an invitation and alters their looks so they can blend in. As they enter the palace, Emma gives them the aliases "Princess Leia" and "Prince Charles" in front of King Midas, and as they take a waltz together they see Charming and Abigail together but she doesn't want to dance with Charming. The Evil Queen arrives at the palace to ask Midas to search the place just in time for Snow to show up and take the ring. As expected, Charming captures Snow, altering the timeline of the first time they met (and she hits him, this time with a jewelry box instead of a rock). As she makes her escape, Emma sees her running and Charming yelling at her to stop and saying that he'll find her (another altered timeline in their encounter), only to have Emma (who finds the ring left behind by Snow and hides it from plain view) get caught by Regina and arrested. The story continues in the following episode.

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Guest Starring



*Only in archive footage.



Production Notes

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: When Emma says, "As soon as we get out of here, the better", an extra (a little girl) smiles as the Evil Queen walks by.[10]
  • The scars featured on Jennifer Morrison's chest in the Enchanted Forest tavern scene[13] are a direct result of the actress herself having multiple moles removed.[14]
  • At a fan convention in 2017, when asked about his most awkward scene with Jennifer Morrison, Colin O'Donoghue picked the scene where he knocks himself out: The scene was filmed with Colin and his stunt double, and his stunt double had to act out lots of the action. "He had to kiss her, I had to kiss her". It was a funny, awkward situation.[17]
  • The show creators have said that they view Captain Hook as their version of Han Solo from the Star Wars franchise.[18] Emma's alias in the Enchanted Forest is Princess Leia, Han Solo's love interest.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections


  • When Hook is pondering where and when in the past Enchanted Forest he and Emma have landed, he briefly mentions the belly of a whale; referencing the biblical story of Jonah.


Fairytales and Folkore

  • There is also an excerpt from the fairytale of "The Golden Bird".[24]
  • The same text of both fairytales appears in several episodes; read the trivia section in the article for Henry's storybook for more information and a transcript.

Popular Culture

  • Commenting on Zelena]'s fate, Leroy says, "Ding Dong!", and Granny asks, "She's really..?", a reference to The Wizard of Oz song "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead".
  • David mentions that the security video tape is Betamax.
  • Emma makes references to Marty McFly and the 1985 movie Back to the Future.
    • As seen in this episode and "There's No Place Like Home", there are several similarities between Back to the Future and this story, such as the family scene where the story of how the parents met is retold, the child interfering with the parents' first meeting by causing one of them to fall from a tree while a "vehicle" approaches, seeking out a "wizard" to help return to the present (a similarity Emma points out), the visual of the family brought back disappearing after the future is rewritten and reappearing after being set back on course, Star Wars identities being used due to the unfamiliarity of the characters from those in the past, a dance being used as an opportunity to bring the parents together, one parent's enemy disrupting that plan, and keeping the future from those who know of the time travel, but ultimately informing them of a death.
  • Black Beard is based on the character of the same name from popular culture.
  • Hook's alias in the Enchanted Forest is Prince Charles; a reference to the current Prince of Wales, who is currently first in line for the British throne.

Props Notes

[image begins]oneome
[image begins]bits and other
[image begins]s. He discovered
[image begins]nd most importantly
[image begins]cks of a person living
[image begins]o a woman. He followed the
[image begins]ent oak trees where they suddenly
[image begins]or a moment he was bewildered and
[image begins] sort of magic this woman-bandit could
[image begins] Prince searched til nightfall when hope of
[image begins]g his family's treasures finally began to leave
[image begins] Until he spotted something strange. A light. Small,
[image begins]ickering, unnatural. The lights seeped between the bark
of an oak tree, making it seem as if there might be fire
inside it. But there was no smoke. No great heat from
the massive trunk. He realized this must be it. The
perfect hiding place for a bandit − almost in plain sight.
But the pack also contained rope and netting for setting
traps. And if the Prince worked carefully and used his
material properly. For a moment he was bewildered
and wondered what sort of magic this woman-bandit could posses.

  • Next to an illustration of the Dark Curse, there is a scene from "Snow Falls". Curiously, the scene's ending appears before the start of the scene.[30]

[image begins] into his
[image begins] Snow eyes
[image begins] her. "Only one
[image begins] his hand and slips
[image begins] perfect fit and for a mo-
[image begins] Yeah. Not me at all," and
[image begins] inside her stomach.

[image begins]ginger and hands it to him.
[image begins] if you need me, I'll find
[image begins]Snow wants to
[image begins]w replies.
[image begins]Snow White
[image begins]looks back.

[image begins] offers, "always." And Snow wants
[image begins]odbye Prince Charming," Snow re
-[image begins]ing grins, "I told you. It's James." Snow
[image begins]urns to leave, "I like Charming better." She
[image begins] back over her shoulder and they stare into each
[image begins] other's eyes, they didn't need words to express
they felt in their hearts. For it was here, in the shadow
of the Troll Bridge, that their love was born. Where
they knew, no matter how they were separated, they would always
find each other, and true love. Evil Queen
said she was. [sic] Holding out the bag of gold he mutters
"So... You probably want this." Snow turns to him with
the jewels, "And you can't get married without this."
He spills the jewels into his palm. The wedding ring
glistens in his hand. Snow eyes it. "Not your style?"
the Prince chides her. "Only one way to find out."
Snow takes it from his hand and slips it on her finger.
It glistens. A perfect fit and for a moment she thinks...
but no. "Yeah. Not me at all," and she dismisses the
butterflies inside her stomach. The Prince, grateful that
she returned to save his life now knew that Snow White
could never be what the Evil Queen said she was. Hold-
ing onto the bag of gold he mutters, "So...You probably
want this. "So... You probably want this." [sic] Snow turns
to him with the jewels.

  • Several artworks by the famous English book illustrator Arthur Rackham can be seen in Henry's storybook:
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: While past Hook is gambling at the tavern, the dice do not have the traditional dots. Instead, they bear the traditional playing card suits: Spades (♠), hearts (♥), diamonds (♦) and clubs (♣).[35]
  • PAUSE AND READ: According to the label, the bottle sitting on past Hook's table contains "Fine Old Rum" from "Langtree & Sons".[35]
  • PAUSE AND READ: The invitation to the ball procured by Rumplestiltskin reads:[36]

His Majesty King Midas
humbly requests the pleasure of your company
as he celebrates the engagement of his daughter
Princess Abigail
Prince James
with dinner and dancing at
The Palace

Set Dressing

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: During the celebration at the diner, the Daily Specials board, which normally offers a dish of choice,[37] depicts a stork wearing a crown and carrying the new baby, who is swaddled in a cloth with Prince Charming's crest on it. The caption says "WELCOME TO THE ROYAL BABY!"[38]

Costume Notes

  • ABANDONED IDEAS: Marian's dress was supposed to be a "beautiful" gown, but it wasn't used for this episode.[62]
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: In the Enchanted Forest, Emma has her two necklaces,[67] including the swan necklace,[68] tied around her left wrist alongside her wrist strap.
  • BRAND INFO: For the "princess" scenes, Jennifer Morrison wore a pair of sandals with a crocodile motif,[69] a reference to Rumplestiltskin. The shoes, however, do not appear on-screen. The sandals are Giuseppe Zanotti 20th Anniversary T-Strap Alligator Sandals[70] (no longer available).

Filming Locations


  • David mistakenly calls his son's announcement ceremony a "coronation". This mistake is also present in the episode synopsis released by ABC.
  • When Emma is keeping past Hook occupied, while future Hook is skulking around the room, there is a wide shot where future Hook can be seen in the background, sneaking past a corner, and you can see the face of Colin O'Donoghue's body double.[107]

International Titles



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  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, May 11, 2014. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-10:01 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#321/322) "Snow Drifts / There's No Place Like Home".”
  3. MORGAN TANNER - ACTRA, - UBCP/ACTRA. da Costa Talent. Retrieved on December 27, 2018. “Once Upon A Time-Eps. 321 – Dancer”
  4. KEVIN TOOKEY - ACTRA, - CAEA. da Costa Talent. Retrieved on December 25, 2018. “Once Upon A Time-Eps. 321 – Dancer”
  5. File:321Title.png
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (March 13, 2014). "How about our penultimate S3 #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler? All new ep Sunday! Hope to see ya then!" (screenshot)
  7. TwitterLogo.svg @CarrieLynne2323 (Carrie Lynne) on Twitter (March 25, 2017). "Jen and Colin's fav thing to film was the CS movie and Jen even called it a "Captain Swan" movie." (screenshot)
  8. File:321Storybrooke.png
  9. File:622Storybrooke.png
  10. File:321WeNeedToFindRumple.png
  11. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (July 19, 2014). "mixture of reshoots and old footage. it was one of the trickiest eps ever on a tech level" (screenshot)
  12. File:321ItsSoGold.png
  13. File:321Playing.png
  14. Simpson, Leah (April 17, 2013). Not afraid to show some skin! Jennifer Morrison displays plenty of flesh in a sheer coral gown ... after THAT naked photo shoot. Daily Mail. “Confessing her favorite body part is her abs, Jennifer says she has a lot of scars, due to having moles removed. 'I have anywhere between 15 and 20 scars on my body,' she says. 'I go to my doctor every six months to make sure.'”
  15. File:101LessCalm.png
  16. File:102YourMove.png
  17. TwitterLogo.svg @captnswansource (Captain Swan Source) on Twitter (June 10, 2017). "Most awkward scene with Jen:When he knocks himself out. W/ his stunt dbl. He had to kiss her I had to kiss her. It was awkward lol #OUATCHI" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo.svg @jmoftkstew (dani) on Twitter (June 11, 2017). "Colin talking about the most awkward scene to shot with Jen (I'm gonna shut up about him being adorable now lol) #OUATCHI"
    OUAT Chicago 2017 - Colin O'donoghue Part1. YouTube (June 13, 2017).
  18. Scneticer, Mark (May 28, 2014). Season Finale Awards: 'Once Upon a Time' creators dish on Hook, Elsa. Entertainment Weekly. “For us, we kind of look at Captain Hook as our Han Solo. We say he's Han Solo with guyliner.”
  19. Confirmed by dialogue from a few weeks earlier in "The Tower", which takes place in 2013. In this episode, David states that it's been almost 30 years since Emma was born. This means that Emma, who was born in October 1983, has not turned 30 yet. The flashback takes place 18 years earlier, meaning 1995.
  20. File:321DontSeeMyFamily.png
  21. File:321BellyOfAWhale2.png
  22. File:321ItsMickey.png
  23. File:321AttackOnTheTrollBridge.png
  24. 24.0 24.1 File:321IWasNever.png
  25. File:321ReturnOfYourHeart.png
  26. File:318Magic2.png
  27. File:318Promo8.jpg
  28. File:508NotAnymore.png
  29. File:321ItsNotMe.png
  30. File:321OpensBook.png
  31. 31.0 31.1 File:321BellyOfAWhaleFlipped.png (flipped image)
    File:321BellyOfAWhale.png (original image)
  32. File:413GoldenBird.png
  33. File:321AllGone.png
  34. File:321AllGone2.png
  35. 35.0 35.1 File:321Rum.png
  36. File:321WatchOutForHer.png
  37. File:219IGotThis.png
  38. File:321Diner.png
  39. File:321SkulkingAround.png
  40. File:322UrnShaking.png
  41. File:202Push.png
  42. File:205TakeYourPick.png
  43. File:212SomethingForBoth.png
  44. File:W105BTS16.jpg
  45. File:321IDontWantIt.png
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  47. File:322TheArrival.png
  48. File:321TheScar.png
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  50. File:322ToOurSon.png
  51. File:401YourMagic.png
  52. File:403IfYouNeedHelp.png
  53. File:405Kiss.png
  54. File:411GoodbyeHug.png
  55. File:412CarStarts.png
  56. File:413OnlyWay.png
  57. File:414DeadSilence.png
  58. File:515ItWasCruella.png
  59. File:516ABooth.png
  60. File:713IDoLikeMochi.png
  61. File:714YesterdayAtAll.png
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  63. File:321MakeOver.png
  64. File:719ExploringHouse.png
    InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). September 21, 2018. "Scrambling to get to the next location for blocking we pass this doorway.... always time for a quick photo with Emma 😂" (archive copy)
    It's witches' time. SociView (June 2018).
  65. File:321Occupied.png
  66. File:603Jacob.png
  67. File:321AFewDrinks.png
  68. File:321Run.png
  69. Jennifer Morrison (August 28, 2014). These sneaky crocodiles were hiding under this dress ... Edwardo Castro and Kelli Dunsmore imagined this fairytale look into being.. Instagram. Archived from the original on February 3, 2020. (archive copy)
  70. Giuseppe Zanotti 20th Anniversary T-Strap Alligator Sandal, Nero. Neiman Marcus. Retrieved on September 22, 2018.
  71. File:321NotGoingAnywhere.png
  72. File:314MeToo.png
  73. File:321MyLord2.png
  74. Screenshot from The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
  75. File:104AndIHope.png
  76. File:216Personage.png
  77. File:W102Drumming.png
  78. File:W105ReleasingBanner.png
  79. File:603CinderellaAndGusEnter.png
  80. File:610EmmaWalksAroundTable3.png
  81. File:701EllaArrivesAtTheBall.png
  82. File:710LuckyWeAre.png
  83. File:722CameToAnEnd.png
  84. File:321ChoppingWood.png
  85. File:322ISuppose.png
  86. File:421Promo27.jpg
  87. File:422Promo3.jpg
  88. File:103Promo15.jpg
  89. File:110HasIt.png
  90. File:116Dont.png
  91. File:121HelloRegina2.png
  92. File:220Hero.png
  93. File:2PromoGroup7.jpg
  94. File:321Car.png
    Photo of Overlynn Mansion. MovieMaps. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. (Notice the identical carport and the windows above it.)
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  95. Gittins, Susan (January 15, 2015). SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Cheats on UBC's Cecil Green Park House with Burnaby's OverLynn Mansion. Hollywood North Buzz.
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  101. Screenshot from The Magicians: "The Writing Room"
  102. Screenshot from Arrow: "Vigilante"
  103. Screenshot from iZombie: "Zombie Bro"
  104. Screenshot from Legends of Tomorrow: "The Justice Society of America"
  105. Screenshot from Timeless: "Party at Castle Varlar"
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  107. File:321MakeOutSession2.png