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You don't know what you want. But I do. I didn't make the sacrifices I did in life to get you to the cusp of greatness so that you could end up the wife of a stable boy.
Cora to Regina

"The Stable Boy" is the eighteenth episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz, and directed by Dean White. It is the eighteenth episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 1, 2012.


Emma continues her exhaustive search for evidence that will prove Mary Margaret's innocence in the murder of David's wife, Kathryn. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was and before evil blackened her soul, Regina must choose between betraying her mother, Cora, and marrying for true love, or betrothing royalty and living a regal - but loveless - life; and the event that caused the Evil Queen to hate Snow White is revealed.[1]


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

Regina is in her office in Storybrooke, when Mr. Gold comes to visit. He asks for her assistance in having the charges of assault, on Moe French, dropped. In return, he offers his help with Regina's problem with Mary Margaret and David Nolan. He suggests that if something was to happen to Kathryn, Mary Margaret would take the blame. He further tells Regina that she could leave a key in Mary Margaret's cell after she is arrested, as bad things happen to those who leave Storybrooke.

In the Enchanted Forest, the Evil Queen is riding her horse while her father Henry watches joyfully, cheering her on. Her mother Cora however, criticizes her "unladylike" performance, decries that she is getting too old not to be married, and suggests that she use a saddle. Henry tries to defend Regina with no luck. Daniel Colter offers her a saddle, but Regina snaps back, saying she is done riding for the day. She questions Cora's intentions, but her mother stops her from walking away by using magic to levitate her and choke her. Regina dislikes the use of magic by her mother, and promises to be good before she runs off. She meets Daniel in the stable where she apologizes for snapping at him when her parents were watching, and the two kiss.

In Storybrooke, Emma Swan is leaving Granny's Diner, and David wants to ask about Mary Margaret. He tries to explain why he had questioned her innocence. He asks to see Mary Margaret, but Emma says that she does not want to see him. At the sheriff's station, Mary Margaret is asleep, but wakes suddenly to find Regina there. Mary Margaret questions why no one will believe her, and Regina lists the evidence against her, telling her to confess and avoid a trial. Mary Margaret asks Regina why she hates her so much.

In the Enchanted Forest, Daniel and Regina meet; he wants to go riding, but she has to leave for tea. Daniel is confused as to why she is afraid to tell her mother of their relationship. She tells him that Cora wants her to be more ladylike and a social-climber, despite being the daughter of a miller herself; Regina also adds that Cora's magic is powerful and dangerous, but Daniel says that true love is the most powerful magic of all before kissing her. Suddenly, they hear a scream. A little girl holds on tightly as her horse runs out of control, and Regina goes after her on her own horse. She successfully rescues the girl, who thanks Regina for saving her life. The girl introduces herself as Snow White, and the two hug. Regina advises her to get over her fear by getting back on the horse, as soon as possible.

In Storybrooke, Emma and Mr. Gold discuss having Mary Margaret talk to the D.A. about the case. He says that the skeleton key is not sufficient proof of Regina being complicit. Mr. Gold says that her personality can help get the charges dropped, if she meets with the District Attorney. Sidney Glass drops off some flowers and says that he cannot find anything connecting Regina to the case: no damaging phone records nor evidence that she owed a hunting knife, but that he will keep looking. Mary Margaret agrees to being interviewed by the District Attorney, Albert Spencer, just as he arrives.

In the interview room, the D.A. talks about the case against her. He asks about the incident in the school when Kathryn slapped her, and he asks if she wanted Kathryn gone, since Kathryn was keeping her and David apart. Despite answering, "No," several times and Mr. Gold saying that she was done talking, Albert keeps pressing on. Mary Margaret snaps that she did want Kathryn gone, but is then horrified at having said that. Emma and Regina watch the interview outside, and Regina smiles at her outburst.

In the Enchanted Forest, Regina is in her dining room when Cora comes in and, using magic, gives her a gorgeous dress to wear. She explains that the king is coming, because it was his daughter who Regina rescued. King Leopold arrives to thank Regina for saving his daughter. He explains that Snow White lost her mother years ago, and that he has been looking for a wife worthy of Snow White ever since. He proposes to Regina, which Cora accepts for her. Regina runs into the stable to meet with Daniel. She explains what has happened with the king and says that they should run, because she only cares about him, and she would rather be poor with him than Queen without him. Daniel then slips a ring on her finger, much to Regina's excitement, and the two kiss. Snow White stumbles upon the couple and runs off with Regina chasing after her.

Regina and Snow White talk about why Regina was kissing Daniel. She explains that she does not love Snow White's father, and Snow White questions this as she had wanted Regina to be her mother. Regina tells her that true love is the most power magic of all and that it creates happiness. Snow agrees that Regina should marry Daniel. Regina says Cora will stand in her way, and asks Snow White to keep their love a secret, which Snow White agrees to do.

In Storybrooke, Emma is reading Henry's storybook when August Booth shows up. She questions her super power of good instincts. August says that his perspective changes as he writes and starts his book over once it does. He tells her to examine what she knows now that she did not in the beginning of the investigation, and, knowing those things, how she would she have done things differently. Emma decides to go back to the crime scene with August, where Ruby found the heart. When they arrive as the Toll Bridge, the sign now has an "R" written in, changing it to Troll. August has some trouble walking, due to shin splints, but insists it is nothing. Emma looks into the hole Ruby dug up and finds a shard from a shovel. Emma realizes that if she can find out who owns that shovel, they can clear Mary Margaret. August asks if she knows whose shovel it belongs to, and Emma responds with a knowing smile. August and Emma go to Regina's house where Henry has left them a key to get in. While Regina is in the shower, Henry signals her on his walkie-talkie that the coast is clear. In the shed, Emma finds the shovel with the complimentary broken piece, and she and August smile.

In the Enchanted Forest, Cora and Snow White talk about the wedding, and being a flower girl. Cora mentions how close Snow White and Regina have become. Cora asks Snow White why Regina has pulled away from her and says she would do anything to make her happy. Cora plays on how terrible it is to lose a mother as Snow White herself knows. Snow White tells Cora not to make Regina marry the king, as it would drive Cora and Regina apart. Snow tells Cora that Regina loves someone else, thinking it will help. Cora insists that nothing will take her daughter away from her and says that Snow must tell her everything.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma shows up at Regina's and shows her a warrant to look in her garage. She tells Regina about the broken shovel fragment and that and anonymous caller said that Regina was there digging. Emma looks in the garage but finds a different, and now intact, shovel. Emma says that Regina had been warned and that Mary Margaret is innocent. A furious Regina says that Mary Margaret is a liar and murderer, and that she will pay for what she has done; she has destroyed the last life she ever will destroy.

Emma goes to see August and accuses him of involvement in warning Regina about the shovel. She questions whether or not he is lying. He says that he is not, but Emma walks away unconvinced. Regina visits Mary Margaret and taunts her about her having to suffer. Mary Margaret tries to apologize for whatever it was that she did that Regina blames her for, but Regina refuses to accept her apology. She admits that she knows Mary Margaret did not kill Kathryn, but that she still deserves this anyway.

In the Enchanted Forest, Regina and Daniel try to run away, but Cora stops them. She laughs and says Regina's life is hers because of the deals she had to make to get them out of poverty. Regina says that Daniel makes her happy, and Cora seems to understand. She says that a parent always does what is best for their children, then she rips out Daniel's heart and crushes it. Cora tells a distraught Regina that this is her happy ending and tells her that love is a weakness, as it fades. However, giving up love gives one true power, Cora has saved her, and that she will be queen.

Regina is fitted for her wedding gown, and Snow White comes in to says how beautiful she will be when she marries Daniel. Snow tells her about the talk she had with Cora. Regina is confused as to why Snow White told her despite Regina asking her not to, and Snow White says that she did not want Regina to lose her mother, like Snow White lost hers. Regina is momentarily devastated, but composes herself. When she turns away from Snow White, her pink lips momentarily turn crimson red, then fade back when she faces Snow White. She says that she is not mad and that she was not in love with Daniel, it was infatuation. She tells Snow White that she will marry Snow's father, and she is happy to be her stepmother. The two of them hug. Cora shows up and tells Regina that she is proud of her. Regina realizes that Cora set up her rescue of Snow White and growls that she should have let Snow White die instead.

In Storybrooke, Regina holds the ring Daniel gave her and says, "We've got her." Mary Margaret is being taken away by police, and Emma questions Mr. Gold's assistance. Mr. Gold insists that Regina hasn't won yet, and there is still time for him to work some magic. In a fit of anger, Emma throws the vase of flowers from Sidney at the wall and finds an audio chip hidden. Emma approaches August, apologizing for doubting him and shows him the bug. They hear a scream and run toward it. They find Ruby, who says that "she" is in the alley. Emma runs to the alley and finds Kathryn lying on the ground, alive.

Deleted Scenes

"I'm Your Friend Too" (Scene 28-29)

This scene is included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season.

David is sitting alone at Granny's when Regina comes in. She sits down next to him and he tells her that he is wanted to testify against Mary Margaret for the murder of Kathryn. David blames himself for what happened to Kathryn, but Regina reminds him that the car crash didn't kill her a person did (implying Mary Margaret). He wonders why Regina doesn't hate him, to which she claims that she is his friend. She then places her hand on top of his and says that she is here for him at anytime. He leaves and Regina thanks Sidney for letting her know David was there.

Mary Margaret is fixing up her bed in her cell when Emma enters. Emma tells her that Regina was one step ahead and the shovel was missing. Mary Margaret gets angry at Emma for this knowing that she could have run, but stayed because she trusted that Emma would be able to help her. Mary Margaret screams at Emma telling her to leave. Emma departs, but then, Mary Margaret hears footsteps and thinks it's Emma but it's Regina, much to her surprise.



Guest Starring




Production Notes

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • In the second season, Cora's role becomes that of a main antagonist.
  • The initial meeting and eventual marriage between Cora and Henry is revealed in "The Miller's Daughter".
  • Daniel wants to take Regina to Firefly Hill, which is where Grumpy meets up with Nova in "Dreamy".
  • How Regina was set up by Cora to rescue Snow White and attract the attention of King Leopold is shown in a flashback in "The Queen Is Dead".
  • The manner in which Queen Eva died is explored in "The Queen Is Dead".
  • The revelation of how Cora learned to rip out hearts is shown in "The Miller's Daughter".
  • The origin of Cora's catchphrase, "Love is weakness" is revealed in "The Miller's Daughter".


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes



Storybrooke Daily Mirror
News staff

A Storybrooke Elementary School teacher, Mary
Margaret Blanchard
, was arrested yesterday and
charged with the murder of Storybrooke resident
Katherine Nolan [sic], according to local law enforce-
Although the Sheriff’s office will not release the
details of the incident, Sheriff Emma Swan says
that they have evidence linking Blanchard to a
violent struggle with Nolan on the night of
Nolan's disappearance. Blanchard is being held at
the Storybrooke Sheriff's and will await trial in
the upcoming weeks.
Blanchard was charged with felony counts of
murder, attempted murder and assault and a
misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a
weapon, Swan said.
She was arraigned in Story-
brooke City Court and processed for holding in
lieu of $500,000 bail.
Although Blanchard’s motives remain unclear,
one Storybrooke resident who wishes to [obscured]
  • Another article reads:
Storybrooke Elementary
Girl is Crowned New
Champion at Regional
Spelling Bee

Neil Westlake

Storybrooke's own Tenaya Wilkins regional win is a pay off for
many evenings spent pouring through the dictionary and
memorizing entries while the rest of her friends would play at
the local park.

Storybrooke Daily Mirror
News staff

STORYBROOKE, MAINE – As it often does, it
came down to just one word for Storybrooke
Elementary's 10 year old "logophile" Tenaya
Wilkins. The word that ultimately got her
through to the sectionals, however, was a
veritable delay chain of letters: antidesptab-
. She aced it, however,
without breaking a sweat. Accepting her
trophy on the dais, she gave a glowing accolade
  • Antidisestablishmentarianism is a political position that developed in 19th-century Britain in opposition to Liberal proposals for the disestablishment of the Church of England.
  • Neil Westlake is a graphic designer and production staff member on the show. His name appears on several props throughout the series:
  • There is an internal feature called "the science of memory"; a subtle reference to the haze the Storybrooke residents live in, with their true identities completely wiped.
  • The newspaper contains an article about probiotics, which are microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed.

Set Dressing

Costume Notes


  • In the stables, Regina's hands are touching the sides of Daniel's face and he pulls them down. As the camera pans for a close-up of her face when Daniel says, "Then if I am to marry you", her hands are once again back on his face. Then, the camera angle changes to show a side view of both of them with Regina's hands held by Daniel again.
  • At the dock, Emma reads the latest edition of the Daily Mirror with an article detailing Mary Margaret's involvement in Kathryn's disappearance. Kathryn's name is misspelled "Katherine" in the article.[18]
  • As Emma runs through the alleyway to investigate, the back camera view shows she is wearing bright red gloves.[36] When the camera angle switches to the front after Emma reaches past the alley, her gloves are gone.[37]

Filming Locations

International Titles



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, April 01, 2012. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#118) "The Stable Boy"”
  2. TV Ratings Broadcast Top 25: NCAA, ‘American Idol,’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘NCIS Top Week 28 Viewing. TV by the Numbers (April 3, 2012).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Lana Parrilla on the Season One Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "The Stable Boy"
  4. File:118Title.png
  5. Once Upon a Time - Episode 1.18 - Stable Boy - Casting Call. SpoilerTV (January 26, 2012).
  6. TwitterLogo @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter. "Yes! That was the idea. Originally the Stable Boy was going to be episode 2, but we realized it was too soon and needed to build her up 1st" (screenshot)
  7. The Official ABC Once Upon a Time Podcast: "The Queen Is Dead". (at 2:08)
  8. TwitterLogo @BaileeMadison (Bailee Madison) on Twitter. "Just got my loose tooth glued back in 4 the second time!! :0 Can't wait until I can bite an apple again..Feeling a little @OnceABC" (screenshot)
  9. Royal Manor:
    Summer Palace:
    Royal Castle:
    Tremaine Manor:
  10. 10.0 10.1 Royal Manor:
    Summer Palace:
    Royal Castle:
  11. File:118TheKingsDaughter.png
  12. Edward Kitsis on the Season One Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "The Stable Boy"
  13. In "Shattered Sight", Mary Margaret states that she was ten years old during the events of "The Stable Boy". In the latter, King Leopold says that they lost Eva "years ago". In "The Price", Mary Margaret says that her mother sent her on a ball when she was eight years old. This means that two years passed between "The Queen Is Dead" and "The Stable Boy"
  14. File:118KissingThatMan.png
  15. File:118SleptInDays.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 File:118CheckingOnHenry.png
  17. File:118EvilQueenStorybook.png
  18. 18.0 18.1 File:118EveryTime.png
  19. File:107DartMisses.png
  20. File:111Printing.png
  21. File:421BookBlurb.png
  22. File:521StandHere.png
  23. File:522BroughtItWithHim.png
  24. File:714RobinHoodBook.png
  25. Amethyst Meaning, Powers and History. Jewels for Me. Retrieved on August 6, 2018.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 File:118DoorCloses.png
  27. File:118OutOfBed.png
  28. File:118WhenIGotThere.png
  29. File:119WithDavid.png
  30. File:207Spencer.png
  31. File:118ILoveHim.png
  32. File:118NeverRideAgain.png
  33. File:W113TeaParty.png
  34. File:118Snow.png
  35. File:709OfMyFamily.png
  36. File:118Huh.png
  37. File:118Huh2.png

Start a Discussion Discussions about The Stable Boy

  • Why was Cora poor?

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