Once Upon a Time Wiki
This page is move protected The subject of this article is involved with the Once Upon a Time The subject of this article is or relates to an episode The subject of this article is featured in Season Four of Once Upon a Time

I'm getting calls from all over. It's a town-wide blackout.

David to Emma

"White Out" is the second episode of Season Four of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Ron Underwood. It is the sixty-eighth episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 5, 2014.


While desperately trying to find her sister Anna, Elsa is startled by Emma and accidentally traps them both inside an ice cave, with the frozen temperature placing Emma's life in peril. Regina, depressed over her likely breakup with Robin Hood, secludes herself away from the town and Henry, which saddens her son. And with the townspeople considering Mary Margaret their leader, she faces her first leadership task in trying to restart a generator and restore the town's electricity after Elsa freezes and damages the power lines. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, Anna tries to teach a meek David to fight Bo Peep, a brutal warlord who is threatening to take his and his mother's farm away if they don't pay her price.[2]


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

In a flashback, Anna arrives to Misthaven and knocks on a door of a house. A younger David answers and asks if he can help her. Anna inquires if his name is David, and when he affirms it is, she explains having gotten his name from an old friend of his from Arendelle. David immediately recognizes she is talking about Kristoff and curiously wonders if she knows him as well. A puzzled Anna asks why he thinks it's Kristoff, to which David remarks that Kristoff is the only person he knows from Arendelle. This surprises her, as she notes out loud that it's hard to be on a secret mission when she doesn't have all the facts. David wants to know what the mission is, and Anna answers that she already told him what it was; secret. She says to David that Kristoff said she could trust him, just not with the mission. David accepts this and then asks for her name. He can tell she is lying, to which she explains giving a false name for his safety. David then assumes she must be wanted for a crime, but she reiterate her prior reason for using a false name.

Starting over, Anna asks if she can sleep in his barn for the night. David agrees, and then comments, "Anything for Kristoff's fiancé", leaving Anna looking at him stunned. He gestures to the ring on her finger as to how he figured it out. Anna gives a nervous chuckle. David congratulates her on getting engaged and jokes that he'll likely find out her real name at the wedding. As he gestures her to the back of the farm where the barn is, David's expression turns grim upon hearing approaching horses in the distance. He tells her to get inside before things go bad, but she instead turns to look at who has arrived. A carriage rides up to the house, carrying a woman. Anna asks who that is, and David ominously states it's someone that shouldn't be messed with. As Anna looks at David, he says people call the woman Bo Peep.

Shifting to present-day Storybrooke, inside Mary Margaret's loft, baby Neal coos in the background as his crib shows a hanging mobile of sheep. Mary Margaret, who is cradling her son nearby, prepares to put him down in the crib, as she remarks that she'll see him again in three hours when he has his "midnight shrieking". As she finishes putting Neal to bed, Henry appears at the crib, asking her what babies dream about. David, passing Emma in the opposite direction, says bullfighting, while she says laser tag. Mary Margaret insists that's not true. Henry chuckles and states they are joking. Clearly exhausted, Mary Margaret gives a sigh, remarking that she'll see the humor again when Neal is three and she's had some sleep, before heading for a chair to rest in.

While training him through sword fighting, Anna encourages David to resist becoming Bo Peep's slave and a coward. David then explains to Anna childhood memories of his father's alcoholism and constant disappearing until he overdosed. The next day, David finds Anna missing; Bo Peep has branded her with her shepherd's crook. Bo Peep intimidates David after the deadline for his dues are up; then, using the fighting skills he learned from Anna, David defeats Bo and her guards. David grabs her crook and finds Anna in a barn. He then thanks Anna for helping him fight and encouraging him to live his own life.

Afterwards, Anna asks Ruth about the magic in the land. Ruth tells her of a dangerous wizard who might be able to help her in her quest for magic, and that she will write down the name for her. David then gives Anna his prized horse as a token of his appreciation. Riding away, Anna reads the name aloud, which is revealed to be Rumplestiltskin. After Anna says his name, it is revealed that Rumplestiltskin is watching her through his crystal ball from his castle.

In Storybrooke, While trying to find her sister Anna, Elsa traps the exit from Storybrooke by a giant ice wall which cuts power to the town. Emma Swan, David, and Killian go to investigate the wall, while the townspeople rely on Mary Margaret to lead them, since Regina has isolated herself from everyone — which worries her son Henry. Emma meets Elsa and tries talking to her; but Elsa is soon startled by David and Hook, and she blocks them off by forming a thick ice wall between them, trapping her and Emma.

Elsa then gives Emma an ultimatum: either give her Anna, or stay in the ice cave and risk having Storybrooke frozen over. Emma then realizes that Elsa is not in control of her powers; she begins to relate to her by telling her that she has magic as well. While trying to present her powers (after explaining her history), Emma begins to freeze. Elsa apologizes for trapping her; Emma then falls unconscious.

David and Hook ask Mr. Gold for assistance in saving Emma; it is at Gold's shop that David finds out who Anna is. David and Hook then interrogate Bo Peep, now a butcher and owner of a meat shop called "The Chop Shop." As Bo Peep is about to use her cleaver to chop off David as revenge for defeating her back in their previous lives, Hook clutches on to her hand she was using the cleaver with. Hook finds her crook, and hopes to use it to find Anna. Hook then gets a message from the walkie-talkie that Emma is freezing to death. David then tells Elsa that they have a way of finding Anna. David tells Elsa that despite her being able to survive the cold, she has to live more than she already is: alone. Elsa then finds the strength to control her powers and breach the ice wall. Afterwards, David promises Elsa that they will find Anna, using Bo's crook. Through the crook, they can hear a heartbeat, indicating that although they do not know where Anna is, she is in fact alive.

Elsewhere, Leroy, Happy and Granny constantly nag Mary Margaret to help restart the power, to which she finally tells them to leave her alone, as she is already struggling as a new mother. Despite her anger and stress, she continues to try and fix the power by herself. She manages to restart it by starting up a backup fuel supply line.

Later, Henry knocks on Regina's door. Inside the house, she hears the knock, but stands a short distance away from the door, not answering it. To this, Henry begins shouting from his side of the door, professing that he will not give up on her even if she tries to shut him out. She finally answers the door and embraces her son.

"You did this," Emma points out as she and Elsa stand before the ice wall on the edge of Storybrooke. The Savior comments that the Ice Queen might not be able to control it, but it's amazing and unique. Emma remembers Elsa said she was the only one with that kind of power. Elsa answers that that's best for everyone. Emma replies that it's best for her too because this is "cool". She turns to Elsa and says, "Pun intended." Elsa makes clear there is no need for a barrier anymore and prepares to take it down. She makes use of the same magic she did before when she tried to save Emma, but it doesn't work this time. Elsa wonders why she can't take it down, since she's the only person with that kind of power. Emma then wonders as well what's keeping it up...

It is then revealed that another woman with ice magic is in Storybrooke, working at an ice-cream shop.

Deleted Scenes


This scene was released on the website of ABC News.

Regina is sitting in her house when she hears knocking on the door. Despite telling the person to go away, the person breaks in, revealing Mary Margaret. Regina claims that Prince Neal's pushchair through her off and made her forget that Mary Margaret used to be a bandit. After she discovers that Regina didn't cause the blackout, she attempts to get help from Regina. However, Regina claims that because Snow White was the one to cast the second curse, she should become Mayor as that's how it worked for Regina. As Mary Margret goes to leave after Regina attempts to encourage her, Regina asks how Henry is. Mary Margaret reveals that Henry is upset at Regina for distancing herself but Regina claims that it should just be temporary. Mary Margaret tells Regina that temporary can seem like for ever for children before leaving.[3]

"Time Will Tell"

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

Belle and Mr. Gold enter the shop to discover it has been broken into. Before discussing who could have done it, Henry reveals himself. Belle leaves the room so Henry and Mr. Gold can talk about why Henry is there. Henry claims that he wants his false memories back because Regina is excluding him. Mr. Gold refuses, telling Henry that having both good memories and bad memories are what make a person who they are. He also tells Henry that he has both the blood of the Dark One and the blood of the savior running through him so he shouldn't give up. As Henry goes to leave the shop, Mr. Gold tells him that he needs to pay for the lock to which Henry tells him that it was broken when he got there.[4]


A scene/segment with a Ruffian was deleted from the episode. However, the actor is still listed in the press release.



Guest Starring





  • The title card features the ice wall created by Elsa.[5]
  • The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on July 20, 2014.[6]
  • The title of this episode is the same name as one of the scores on the Frozen soundtrack.
    • The title is also a reference to the expression "blackout", which is featured in this episode.

Production Notes

  • ADDED RECAP FOOTAGE: The recap video at the beginning of the the episode contains an alternate take of the segment where Emma and Hook are running from Elsa's snow monster in "A Tale of Two Sisters". The original segment shows them running across a parking lot, from right to left;[7] in the recap video, they are running from left to right.[8]
  • Initially, the show producers had planned on filming the scenes the ice cave scenes in a meat locker,[12][13] in order to capture the characters' breath on screen.[12] The idea was scrapped when they realized that viewers wouldn't see Elsa's breath since she is not affected by the cold. Instead, the scene was shot inside a studio,[12] where the temperature was 110 degrees Fahrenheit[13] (40 degrees Celsius). While Jennifer Morrison pretended to be freezing and shivering,[12] she was actually sweating through her T-shirt.[13]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • Elsa finds her sister in "Fall".
  • Anna left Arendelle in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • Prince Charming's life as a shepherd is further explored in "The Shepherd" and "Heartless".
  • Henry mentions Regina's breakup with Robin Hood, which was prompted when Robin Hood's wife time-traveled back from the past; referring to events in "There's No Place Like Home and "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • The last time Storybrooke lost power was in "Dreamy" when Leroy sabotaged the power lines in an attempt to sell more candles and impress Astrid.
  • Recalling Henry's fancy for making up "operation" names for missions, Emma suggests various ones, such as Operation Nightshade or Blackthorn, for their latest investigation of a town blackout. Henry named Operation Cobra in "The Thing You Love Most", Operation Scorpion in "Lady of the Lake" and Operation Praying Mantis in "The Evil Queen". Additionally, before Henry suggested Operation Praying Mantis in "The Evil Queen", Emma used the working title Operation Tiger for that particular mission. Regina called the mission to rescue Henry from Neverland as Operation Henry while Emma later called it Operation Cobra Rescue in "Quite a Common Fairy".
  • Emma and Hook have their first date in "The Apprentice".
  • Ruth wears a green ring, which she later gives to David in "The Shepherd" as a parting gift for his future wife. She is also wearing the magic pendant[14] that she shows Snow White in "Lady of the Lake". The pendant first appeared in "The Shepherd".[15]
  • David tells Anna about the death of his father. The events leading up to his death, and what really happened, is explored in "Murder Most Foul".
  • When pushed into fixing the power outage, Mary Margaret maintains that Regina, as mayor, should sort it out. Regina first became mayor in "Welcome to Storybrooke".
  • Granny insists, since Mary Margaret cast the last curse, it's her responsibility to restore the town's electricity. Snow White enacted the curse in "A Curious Thing".
  • Leroy references how everyone helped reclaim Snow White's kingdom so she could rule, which begun in "Lost Girl" with war being waged in "Lady of the Lake" and ended with their foe's capture and banishment in "The Cricket Game".
  • Hook and Emma make references to the snow monster that Elsa unleashed in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • While looking at the ice wall, David remarks, "So, once again, we can't leave Storybrooke". The first time residents weren't allowed to travel out of town, lest bad things would happen, was for the duration of the first curse from "Pilot" to "A Land Without Magic". The second time, occurring as a direct result of the first curse being broken, was discovered in "We Are Both".
  • Elsa informs Emma about finding Anna's pendant in the pawnshop, which happened in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • Elsa's unfamiliarity with technology, like when she became frightened of David's gun and Emma's walkie-talkie, was present in "A Tale of Two Sisters" when she froze an incoming car and was startled by a passing motorcycle.
  • In conversation with Elsa, Emma mentions the enormity of her role as savior, which was first noted by Henry in "Pilot".
  • Elsa gets Anna's necklace back in "Fall".
  • Mr. Gold, while spending time with his new wife, Belle, expresses annoyance at David and Hook barging into the pawnshop by saying, "It appears the honeymoon is over". He and Belle went on their honeymoon in "A Tale of Two Sisters".
  • The information card for Anna's necklace[16] is the same kind of information card that is used for Robert's good luck charm in "The Other Shoe".[17]
  • The crystal ball that Rumplestiltskin uses to spy on Anna was brought from Oz by Jefferson in "The Doctor". It is also used to find Snow White in "Snow Drifts", and to spy on the Apprentice in "The Apprentice". It is also used by Neal to locate Emma in "The Heart of the Truest Believer".
  • The fact that both Henry and Emma like hot cocoa with cinnamon was established in "The Thing You Love Most".
  • The ice wall is brought down in "Heroes and Villains".



  • When Mary Margaret takes out her anger on her friends, she states that she's had eight hours of sleep in the last week, a reference to the second Lost number.

Fairytales and Folklore

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: The mirrors decorating the walls[18] are a reference to the troll mirror from the fairytale.

Popular Culture

  • Granny suggests they seek help from Dr. Whale in order to bring the power back to the town. Leroy dismisses this idea by saying, "He's a doctor, not an electrician." This is a reference to Star Trek and Dr. Leonard McCoy who often retorted back, "I'm a Doctor not a..." when his Captain made an unusual request.

Props Notes

  • MYSTERIOUS WRITINGS: Anna's note, seen upside-down as she's holding it in her hands while talking to David, is written in Elder Futhark runes.[19] However, the little that can be deciphered reads as gibberish when translated.
  • PAUSE AND READ: In the pawnshop, the information card for Anna's pendant says[16] (a few words are obscured on-screen but can be seen in an online prop auction;[23] the missing text is set in fuchsia):

INV. ITEM: 2081

Possibly mid 1830's – Northern European
Silver is unmarked but acid test correctly.

Nice vintage condition. Attachment ring is not
sterling with some wear and light corrosion.

Set Dressing

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: Neal has a baby mobile decorated with sheep.[29] This is a reference to his father having originally been a shepherd.

Costumes Notes

  • BRAND INFO: Belle is wearing[43] a Forever 21 Women's Natural Embroidered Sleeveless Shirt[44] (no longer available).

Filming Locations

International Titles



  1. Kondolojy, Amanda (October 7, 2014). Sunday Final Ratings: 'Once Upon a Time', 'Resurrection' & 'Revenge' Adjusted Up; 'Madam Secretary' Adjusted Down. TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. “Once Upon A Time (...) 9,24”
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, October 05, 2014. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#402) "White Out".”
  3. Watch Cut Scene From 'Once Upon a Time'. ABC News. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
  4. 4x02 "White Out" - Deleted Scene #2. YouTube (October 10, 2014).
    TwitterLogo.svg @LauBayOUAT (LauBay) on Twitter (August 10, 2015). "List of Season 4 deleted scenes"
  5. File:402Title.png
  6. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (July 20, 2014). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya 9/28 for season 4!" (screenshot)
  7. File:401RunningAway.png
  8. File:402RunningAwayAlternateTake.png
  9. File:402RuthsFarm.png
  10. File:607ISee.png
  11. File:106OhYoureBack.png
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Nguyen, Hanh (September 28, 2014). Once Upon a Time: Is Emma a Match for Elsa? Jennifer Morrison Weighs In. TV Guide. “Initially, Once Upon a Time's producers had planned on filming that upcoming scene in a meat locker, in order to capture the characters' breath on screen. "But they realized that they [shouldn't] see Elsa's breath because she isn't affected by the cold, so that wouldn't make any sense," Morrison reveals. "They would still have to CGI out her breath and keep my breath. And also, that would've been horrible to actually be freezing all day. I was very, very grateful that they changed their minds about that." Instead, the scene was shot on one of the hottest days of summer — about 104 degrees outside — in Vancouver. "We were on stage, and the air conditioning couldn't keep up. And we had to turn the air conditioning off during the take anyway," says Morrison. "We were on the green-screen stage, and it was like 110 degrees in there. I was sweating through t-shirts every take because you shiver to keep warm, but I was already so hot. And then I was fake-shivering through every take for 16 hours. I was so sweaty and gross! [Laughs] I couldn't have been hotter while I was 'freezing to death.'"”
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Jennifer Morrison, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on the Season Four Blu-ray Audio Commentary for "A Tale of Two Sisters"
  14. File:402RuthLooksAtDavid.png
  15. File:106DontDoIt.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 File:402IKnowExactly.png
  17. File:603DavidHesitates.png
  18. File:402Thanks.png
  19. File:402TrustYouFlipped.png [flipped image]
    File:402TrustYou.png [original image]
    File:402TrustYou2Flipped.png [flipped image]
    File:402TrustYou2.png [original image]
  20. File:402Laughing.png
  21. File:113CarriageArrives.png
  22. File:201NewYorkHorse.png
  23. Once Upon a Time - Mr Gold's Card File Box with Wishing Star Photo (S04E02) (0279). iCollector (September 8, 2019). Archived from the original on October 19, 2021. (File:402Prop5.jpg)
  24. File:318Pavilion.png
  25. File:402RightOnTime.png
  26. File:407GetBack.png
  27. File:402DoThis.png
  28. File:703WheelingInCoffin.png
  29. File:402BabyMobile.png
  30. InstagramIcon.png eduardocastro293 (Eduardo Castro). July 10, 2020. "A costume for "Bo Peep" made in a record two days by the brilliant Costume Maker Mitchell MacKay!!!" (archive copy)
  31. File:402MessWith.png
  32. File:W106Annoyance.png
  33. File:W108Grapevine.png
  34. File:603GoodAfternoon.png
  35. File:402OkayChocolate.png
  36. BLUR LEATHER ELIT JACKET. Blur Leather. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
  37. File:403PointingGun.png
  38. File:404NeedAnotherMinute.png
  39. File:405ThatsAStart.png
  40. File:406SheDoIt.png
  41. File:409ImSorry2.png
  42. File:410SheSacrificedHerself.png
  43. File:402ItAppears.png
  44. Forever 21 Women's Natural Embroidered Sleeveless Shirt. Lyst. Retrieved on September 4, 2018. (Note that the details are at the bottom of the page.)
  45. File:402TheyreJoking.png
  46. 46.0 46.1 Kimchi Blue POINTELLE OPEN-FRONT CARDIGAN. Pradux. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
  47. File:402YourMother.png
  48. Band of Outsiders Check Button-Down Shirt, Red Multi. Bergdorf Goodman. Retrieved on September 4, 20181.
  49. File:406ImAKid.png
  50. File:422HenrySnapsQuill.png
  51. File:402FrozenFreezer.png
  52. Shellys London LOVIRI WHITE LEATHER CUT OUT STAR BROGUE SHOES. Pradux. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
  53. TwitterLogo.svg @steveston (Steveston) on Twitter (June 20, 2015). "Ora Sushi coming soon ..."