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This article focuses on the Season Two episode, "The Outsider".
For the Land Without Magic character known as the Outsider, see Greg Mendell.

There's a whole world full of people beyond the town line that don't know who, or what, we are. Ever think of what might happen if one of them were to come pay us a visit?

Leroy to Mary Margaret and Emma

"The Outsider" is the eleventh episode of Season Two of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian Goldberg and directed by David Solomon. It is the thirty-third episode of the series overall, and premiered on January 13, 2013.


Mr. Gold finds an unwilling test subject to see if a spell he has concocted will allow him to cross the border of Storybrooke—without losing his memory—and go in search of his son, Baelfire; Belle stumbles upon a vengeful Hook in the Storybrooke harbor whose main goal is to eradicate Rumplestiltskin; and Mary Margaret and David go house hunting in search of a bigger place to live. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Belle meets Mulan as the two set out to slay a fearsome beast called the Yaoguai, who has been ravaging the land.[1]


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

Mr. Gold drives his car down the street and stops just short of the Storybrooke border. He opens the trunk and William Smee is tied up in it. After Mr. Gold releases him, he takes Smee's red hat and asks him why he wears it so often. William Smee tells him that it has been made by his grandmother, which prompts Mr. Gold to pour a potion over it. He puts the hat back on William Smee's head and kicks him over the town line. Remarkably, he still remembers his past. Smee leaves, and Mr. Gold says that he now has a trip to plan.

The people of Storybrooke gather to lay what they think is Archie Hopper to rest. Mary Margaret Blanchard gives a touching eulogy as the town residents console each other. Marco gives his old friend a personal goodbye.

In his ship, Hook is interrogating the true Dr. Hopper. Hook asks him about the dagger, but Archie claims he knows nothing of a dagger, and Hook believes him. He then asks him of Mr. Gold's weakness, but Archie will not tell him, so Hook threatens him with physical violence. Fearing for his life, Archie then tells Hook what he may be able to do to get his revenge against Mr. Gold.

Belle walks into Mr. Gold's shop after being called by Mr. Gold. He tells her that he has developed a potion that when poured over the object he holds most dear will enable him to leave town so he can search for his son. He tells her the object he holds most dear is Baelfire's shawl, the only thing that remains of his boy. She asks if she may accompany him, but he replies that he only has enough magic left for one, and that this is a journey he must embark on his own.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle is sitting in a pub while a group of men discuss slaying a fearsome creature in a far away land called the Yaoguai. While she is there, she is approached by Dreamy. He has come to thank her for her advice on love. He tells her that he and Nova plan to run away together. Dreamy encourages her to go with the group of men on the adventure she has been dreaming of. Before she leaves, he gives her a vial of fairy dust, insisting that she take it for fairy dust is used to bring about good.

In Storybrooke, Belle goes into the library where Hook is waiting for her. She recognizes him as the man who has broken into her cell at the Evil Queen's palace. A fight ensues, and Hook ends up trapped under a bookcase. She hides in the elevator, where she calls Mr. Gold, but the signal is broken up and he cannot understand her clearly.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle is traveling with the group of men from the pub to the far off land to slay the Yaoguai; while on their journey, they tease her for reading. The book she is reading is in another language that contains information concerning the Yaoguai. She tells them that the beast will be near a lake, which is a lie, and they kick her off their wagon and head to their false destination. Belle heads to the correct location of the creature, the mountains.

She arrives at the cave illustrated in her book where the Yaoguai resides. She reads that the Yaoguai hibernates by day, so as it is daytime she attempts to enter the cave to slay the creature. The beast is awakened when Belle accidentally steps on a wooden branch, alerting the creature. It comes charging out of its dwelling and a warrior attempts to shoot it with an arrow. However, the beast is not hit and flees. Belle is left with the warrior who is revealed to be Mulan. Belle thanks Mulan for saving her life, but Mulan blames Belle for ruining her hunt. Mulan is upset because it had taken her weeks to find the Yaoguai, but Belle responds that she has found it in a day. Mulan believes that Belle was just lucky, however, Belle shows her the book and tells he she has used knowledge from it to track down the Yaoguai. She offers to help Mulan find the beast again, but Mulan rejects her offer and tells her to stay out of her way.

In Storybrooke, Belle is still trapped in the elevator in the library where she is rescued by Mr. Gold. Hook has since fled the scene.

In Mary Margaret's apartment, Emma Swan tries to offer food to a despondent Henry, but he is not interested. Emma discusses Henry's sadness with Mary Margaret. The residents of Storybrooke are in the apartment to mourn Archie. Leroy announces that the dwarves have been considering a return to their home, the Enchanted Forest. Emma retorts that she and Mary Margaret have fought to return from the Enchanted Forest, but Leroy is still concerned about Regina Mills' unknown location. He is also concerned about the outside world coming into Storybrooke. Ruby agrees, being that she will not be well received by the outside world when she transitions into her wolf form. Leroy concludes his argument by saying they want to return home simply because they are homesick.

Mr. Gold and Belle exit the library and head towards his shop. He tells Belle that he has several powerful items in his shop that will keep Hook from ever harming her again. Reluctantly, Mr. Gold tells Belle about his history with Hook, but fails to include the detail that he is personally responsible for Milah's death. The pair arrive at his shop to find it has been ransacked.

Hook and Smee are watching from afar on the rooftops. Hook is holding Baelfire's shawl, stating that now Mr. Gold is trapped in Storybrooke.

Back in his shop, Mr. Gold is taking out his anger on some of the items there by beating them with his cane. Belle urges him to stop, and he agrees stating he will retrieve what is his. Belle then asks to help him get his vengeance, but Mr. Gold insists it is his fight. He bids her to go to the library, lock the door and wait, and gives her a gun to protect herself. Mr. Gold leaves to find Hook.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle is being attacked by the men she misguided to the lake. She is being forced head first into a well when Mulan arrives and fights the men off. Mulan tells Belle she is used to men who think women have no business holding a sword. She also shares that she has fought in the Emperor's army. In the scuffle however, Mulan has been wounded. She notes that the sun will set soon, and says that she and Belle should prepare to hunt the Yaoguai once again. Belle is confused by her inclusion in the quest, but Mulan replies that her tracking skills are far greater than her own; the plan is that Belle will track down the beast and Mulan will kill it.

In Storybrooke, Belle reads a nautical book and realizes that Hook came to Storybrooke by ship. Meanwhile, William Smee is walking down the street when he runs into Mr. Gold. He uses his magic to pin him to the wall and asks him for his shawl back. William Smee tells him he gave it to Hook. After, Mr. Gold calls him a rat before he transforms him into one, who then scurries away.

Belle reaches the Storybrooke Dock and notices that a seagull appears to be perched on something invisible. She throws sand on the dock and this reveals the outline of Hook's ship. She walks up the steps of the ship and walks through Cora's spell. While inside the ship, she hears cries for help. She finds Archie and uses a sword to cut him free. Archie leaves to find Mr. Gold. 

In the apartment, Henry is on the phone and Mary Margaret picks up another phone to learn that he is calling Archie's answering machine. They are consoling Henry when Emma walks in with Archie's dog Pongo, who she received from Marco after telling him how much Henry loves the dog. Henry then takes Pongo outside to clean him up. After he goes outside, Emma, Mary Margaret, and David Nolan discuss the idea of Mary Margaret and David getting their own place.

On Hook's ship, Belle searches for Baelfire's shawl. The captain appears in the doorway of the cabin Belle is in with the garment. Belle has laid the gun aside, and they both lunge for it but Hook is faster than her. He aims the gun at her forehead.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle and Mulan are walking in the woods when Mulan's wound on her leg becomes too bad to continue. She tells Belle that she must be the one to kill the Yaoguai.

On Hook's ship, Belle tells Hook that she is not afraid of him, and that she is not leaving without the shawl. Hook claims that keeping Gold from his son would be doing the boy a favor. Hook then elaborates more on the details of his relationship with Rumplestiltskin and Milah. He tells her that Milah has come willingly to him, and that Rumplestiltskin has killed her by ripping her heart out before his very eyes. He tells her he would have burnt the shawl, but did not because Milah had made it. He asks her why she is fighting for a man like Mr. Gold, and she says because she still sees good in his heart, and tells Hook that his heart is rotten. She then jabs him in the face with a metal pole hanging from the ceiling, grabs the shawl and runs out of the cabin.

Belle runs across the deck and is about to escape but Hook has beaten her there, as he knows his own ship very well. He asks for the shawl back, when Mr. Gold appears and begins to attack Hook with his cane amidst pleads from Belle to stop.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle is standing in the middle of a field where the Yaoguai is roaming a distance away. She flails her arms to make her attention known, and the beast charges. She runs into the village and the creature pursues her. When the Yaoguai is about to attack, she uses her sword to break open the water pipes above her head and the water douses the flames encircling the Yaoguai's head. The defeated monster is writing something in the sand, and Belle notices that it is "save me" in the language from her book. She takes out the fairy dust Dreamy has given her and sprinkles it over the being, who is revealed to be a cursed Prince Phillip. He tells her that he has been cursed by the evil sorceress Maleficent who turned him into the Yaoguai and has banished him to the far off land. He says he had tried to tell the villagers his true nature, but had been unable to communicate effectively with them. He asks of Belle what she would like in return, and she says she needs help transporting the injured Mulan back to the village.

On Hook's ship, Mr. Gold continues to assault the ship's captain with his cane. Belle still pleads that Mr. Gold walk away and not hurt him. Hook's remarks about Milah make Mr. Gold want to kill Hook even more, but he satisfies Belle by not killing him and telling Hook he never wants to see him again. Mr. Gold and Belle then leave the ship.

Mary Margaret and David continue to discuss the idea of purchasing their own home. Mary Margaret is very keen on the idea, but David wishes to return to the Enchanted Forest. Mary Margaret argues that it will not be like returning to the home as if they had never left. She tells him things are different there now with Cora in power and the ogres ravaging the land. He just sees this as more reason to go back to their home world, so they can fight to return things to how they should be, but Mary Margaret is tired of fighting. She tells him they have a chance to stop fighting and be together in peace with a fresh start.

In Mary Margaret's apartment, Henry is drawing blueprints for the apartment when Mary Margaret moves out. Pongo begins to act strangely, and there is a knock on the door. When Emma opens the door Archie is there. Emma and Henry are both thrilled and surprised to see him as they have believed him to be dead. Archie tells them that Cora is the culprit who has kidnapped him. They realize that they were wrong in accusing Regina for the murder.

Mr. Gold and Belle drive up to the town line. He thanks her for going after Hook, as without her he would not have the shawl or a way to find his son. He asks her why she has not given up on him. She replies that she has learned that when one finds something worth fighting for, one never gives up.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Belle and Prince Phillip are walking through the forest to reunite with Mulan. Belle tells Mulan that she has defeated the Yaoguai, and she and Phillip explain that Phillip is the Yaoguai. Belle tells Mulan that she will not be joining her, as she has another beast to face. She is walking up a hill in the forest, when she is stopped by the Evil Queen. The Queen has found her by using information from the men with whom Belle has traveled to that land. Belle is placed inside an armored carriage, but she claims that the Queen cannot keep her and Rumplestiltskin apart, that she will never stop fighting for him.

Back at the town border, Mr. Gold pours the potion over Baelfire's shawl and Belle places it over his shoulders. He then crosses the town line with his memories intact. He is now able to find his son. Belle promises that he will indeed find his son and that she will be in Storybrooke waiting for Mr. Gold to return. The couple bend towards each other in a kiss over the town line when Hook shoots Belle in the back. She falls over the border, thus losing her memories. Mr. Gold exclaims that what has happened cannot be undone, and Hook retorts that Mr. Gold finally knows how he feels. Mr. Gold prepares a ball of fire to lunge at Hook, when a car barrels down the road running over Hook then crashes into the bank. The license plate on the car is from Pennsylvania, meaning that an outsider has entered Storybrooke.



Guest Starring



*: Ethan Embry is not credited in the episode credits, but he only appears as the driver of the car at the end of the episode.



Production Notes

  • OBSERVATIONS: This is the first episode in which the Evil Queen appears but her counterpart, Regina, does not.
  • During the filming of Archie's funeral, Keegan Connor Tracy was sick with the flu and spent the whole scene trying not to vomit on his coffin.[5]
  • OBSERVATIONS: The symbols that the Yaoguai burns into the field[6] are the same words that he writes to Belle later:[7] 救我 (pronounced "Jiu Wo"), which, as correctly translated by Belle, is Chinese for "save me".
  • OBSERVATIONS: Despite the episode being titled "The Outsider", Ethan Embry's character does not make a real appearance in this episode. He is only in the car, and is never clearly visible.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections



Fairytales and Folklore

  • This episode is a rendition of the "Beauty and the Beast" fairytale, focusing on Beauty's act of breaking the curse of a beast.
  • This episode features the evil queen and one of the dwarves from the "Snow White" fairytale, the prince from the "Sleeping Beauty" fairytale, Mulan from the Ballad of Mulan, and Pongo from The Hundred and One Dalmatians story.
  • Mulan says that when she served in the emperor's army, she had to put up with people who believed that women should not be allowed to fight. She later states that there was a time where people thought she didn't have what it took, but she proved them wrong. This alludes to the Ballad of Mulan, where the titular character pretends to be a man to take her father's place in the Khan's army.
  • Mary Margaret talks about how the ogres are back in the Enchanted Forest. Ogres are legendary monsters from European mythology.[9]
  • This episode features Fairy dust, a substance originating in the Peter Pan story.
  • Belle attempts to return to Rumplestiltskin (who takes the role of the Beast in other episodes), a reference to the fairytale of "Beauty and the Beast", where Beauty returns to the Beast at the end.

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: There are grass carvings on Archie's headstone;[11] fitting for a former cricket.
  • PAUSE AND READ: The book that Belle uses to locate the Yaoguai is written in Chinese. It says "由他催毀之村落中的",[14] which translates as "The village he destroyed".
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Among the sailing gear pictured on the front cover are two iron hooks; a reference to Killian Jones.
  • PAUSE AND READ: According to the book, the knot which Hook dropped is a monkey's fist.[23] Monkey's fists were commonly used as melee weapons by sailors embroiled in street and tavern fights during the 19th century, and can also be used as a slungshot, a maritime tool sometimes as a weapon.
  • PAUSE AND READ: The half hitch knot is also described in the book.[23]
  • REUSED ILLUSTRATION: The illustration of the monkey's fist, is a slightly altered version of a drawing that can be found online,[24] on several websites.
  • PAUSE AND READ: One page says:

[image begins]f the sails are
[image begins]d
[image begins] HITCH)
[image begins] the top is defined
[image begins]oks as a rolling
[image begins] defined by some
[image begins] hitch but is a variant
[image begins]not with a Half Hitch"
[image begins]ottom knot is similar to a
[image begins]t line hitch is doubled
[image begins]anding part of the line.

Most of the text is taken from an article on a now defunct website run by the United States Sailing Association. The full excerpt reads:[25]
"Rolling Hitch (or Magnus Hitch): In the right hand picture, the knot on the top is defined by Ashley and most US knotting books as a rolling Hitch. The knot on the bottom is defined by some British knotting books as a rolling hitch but is a variant of what Ashley calls a "Awning Knot with a Half Hitch" or a "Midshipman Knot". The bottom knot is similar to a taut line hitch except that a taut line hitch is doubled back on itself and tied to the standing part of the line."
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: The box that Belle opens in Hook's ship, contains gold coins and a bell,[26] a subtle reference to Belle and Mr. Gold.

Set Dressing

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: While Mr. Gold converses with Belle on the phone, a severed hand is sitting on a shelf in the pawnshop.[28]
  • CREW NAMES ON PROPS: Several members of the production team of Once Upon a Time are listed as authors of the nautical guidebooks on the library shelf where Belle finds the book:[39]
  • R. Lavigueur, a reference to production staff member Rob Lavigueur
  • G. Venturi, a reference to art director Greg Venturi
  • B. Burd, a reference to property master Bill Burd
  • M. Price, a reference to production staff member Marc Price
  • N. Westlake (listed as the author of two books), a reference to graphic designer Neil Westlake, whose full name appears on several props throughout the show:

Costume Notes

  • A mixture of tapestry, leather and linen were used to create Belle's adventure wear.[53]
  • BRAND INFO: Belle is wearing[54] a Wilfred Festin Jacket,[55] a Free People All That Glitters Floral Printed Button Down Blouse,[56] an MCQ Alexander McQueen Houndstooth Pleated Full Skirt[57] and a pair of See by Chloé High-Top Wedge Sneakers[58] (all four no longer available). Note that the sneakers' color was altered by the costume department.

Filming Locations


  • When the Yaoguai writes "save me" in Chinese (救我, pronounced "Jiu Wo"),[7] Belle somehow manages to read the entire message before the creature finishes writing the first symbol.

International Titles



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, January 13, 2013. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#211) "The Outsider"”
  2. Sunday Final Ratings:'Family Guy' & 'The Mentalist' Adjusted Up; '60 Minutes', 'The Cleveland Show' & 'Happy Endings' Adjusted Down + Final Golden Globes Numbers. TV by the Numbers (January 15, 2013). “Once Upon a Time (...) 8.24”
  3. File:211Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (November 23, 2012). "Ep 210 of #OnceUponATime "The Cricket Game" -- 211 "The Outsider"" (screenshot)
  5. TwitterLogo.svg @keegolicious (Keegan Connor Tracy) on Twitter (January 14, 2013). "Some trivia: I spent the whole funeral scene trying not to barf on Archie's coffin. #OUAT #fluseasonsucks" (screenshot)
  6. File:211Burning.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 File:211SaveMeFlipped.png (upside-down screenshot)
    File:211SaveMe.png (original screenshot; note that the words are upside-down, as they're seen from Belle's point of view)
  8. File:211MayNowBeGone.png
  9. 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.”
  10. File:211AnotherFineMess.png
  11. File:211AsArchie.png
  12. File:211FearsomeBeast.png
  13. 0.5 Liter Classic Pewter Tankard by Oktoberfest Haus. Amazon UK. Retrieved on August 25, 2018.
  14. File:211MountainHabitats.png
  15. File:211BelleDagger.png
  16. File:314CutRoot.png
  17. File:612FightForYourLife.png
  18. Once Upon a Time - Prince Charming's Dagger Prop (Hero) also used by Belle (0163). iCollector. Archived from the original on July 5, 2020. Retrieved on July 5, 2020. “Aluminum hero dagger prop with brass guard and pommel. Also used by Belle.”
  19. File:W102StepOne.png
  20. Once Upon a Time - Prince Charming's (Josh Dallas) Hero Dagger Prop, also Belle and Alice (0041). iCollector. Archived from the original on October 14, 2020. Retrieved on October 14, 2020. “This style of dagger saw repeated use by many different characters including Belle French and Alice (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland).”
  21. File:211ANauticalGuide.png
  22. File:422NotOnThatList.png
  23. 23.0 23.1 File:211HookCameHere.png
  24. Monkey fist GIF. Retrieved on August 25, 2018.
  25. Crusing Course: Advances Knots. US Sailing. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  26. File:211GoldCoins.png
  27. 27.0 27.1 File:211Trunk.png
  28. File:211YoureBreakingUp.png
  29. File:112WhenYouArrived.png
  30. ONCE UPON A TIME: "Skin Deep" script (PDF). Retrieved on August 25, 2018.
  31. File:322TeleportedAway.png
  32. File:407IcePowersYouSay.png
  33. File:601ThereWasASon.png
  34. File:609WhyWouldI.png
  35. File:512GoesToSafe2.png
  36. File:520GoodbyePapa.png
  37. FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. IMG_2447 (March 5, 2016).  (archive copy)
    FlickrIconTemplate.png Lawrence Andreutti. Creation Once Upon a Time Set Tour March 5, 2016 (March 5, 2016).  (archive copy) (archive copy part 2)
  38. File:211WhatIfThey.png
  39. File:211Books.png
  40. File:107DartMisses.png
  41. File:118EveryTime.png
  42. File:421BookBlurb.png
  43. File:522BroughtItWithHim.png
  44. File:714RobinHoodBook.png
  45. File:211MayNowBeGone.png
  46. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Mangano Peacoat. Coolspotters. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. Retrieved on August 25, 2018.
  47. File:212Belle!Belle!.png
  48. File:213Corner.png
  49. File:216OutTheDoor.png
  50. File:217YoureDestroyingYourself.png
  51. File:219DoesntMatter.png
  52. File:220InPrettyBadShape.png
  53. Touring The Once Upon A Time Costume Department. YouTube (September 26, 2014).
  54. File:211Shelf.png
  55. Wilfred FESTIN JACKET. Pradux. Retrieved on August 25, 2018.
  56. Free People All That Glitters Button Down Blouse. Poshmark. Retrieved on August 25, 2018.

    Free People All that Glitters Floral Printed Button Down as seen on Belle in episode 2x11 "The Outsider" (No longer available) (Tumblr). ONCE UPON A TIME fashion and finds (November 11, 2013). Archived from the original on December 13, 2018.
  57. ONCE UPON A TIME: SEASON 2 EPISODE 11 BELLE’S TWEED FLARE SKIRT. ShopYourTV. Retrieved on October 5, 2021. “It is the McQ by Alexander McQueen Houndstooth Pleated Full Skirt.”
  58. See By Chloe Hightop Wedge Sneaker as seen on Belle in episode 2x11 "The Outsider" (No longer available). (Tumblr). ONCE UPON A TIME fashion and finds (November 11, 2013). Archived from the original on December 13, 2018.
  59. File:501MaybeYouLike.png
  60. File:502TheBloodyCrocodile.png
  61. File:211BelleDagger.png
  62. File:W103Promo7.jpg
  63. Movies Filmed at Reclaimed Gravel Pit. MovieMaps. Retrieved on October 13, 2018. “Once Upon a Time. Path beneath Town. Belle rides a cart near a town and later sees the flaming beast in episode 2x11 "The Outsider".”
  64. Once Upon a Time - Call Sheet S2E14 'Manhattan' (3075). iCollector (2020). Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. (Call sheet)