In the Enchanted Forest
As Pinocchio and Geppetto fight the storm on the raft in the ocean, the whale that had swallowed them, Monstro, passes them and tilts their raft. In a effort to save each other, Geppetto tells him to take the life jacket, but Pinocchio refuses, jumps into the water, and tells him to save himself. The following morning, Geppetto washes up on shore and discovers that Pinocchio saved him as the lifeless puppet boy lies face-down in the water. As Geppetto weeps at the loss of his son, the Blue Fairy appears, saying he can still save him and uses her wand to turn him into a real boy.
As the Blue Fairy wishes them well and to live their life as a family, she tells Pinocchio to remain brave, truthful and unselfish-so long as he does that, he will always remain a real boy. Days later, the Blue Fairy returns to tell Geppetto about the Evil Queen’s curse as he is the only one who can help. She then takes Geppetto to the last enchanted tree in the realm, which if made into a wardrobe will protect the savior (Emma) from the curse.
However, when the Blue Fairy tells him the wardrobe will be built for only two people, Snow White and her newborn daughter, Geppetto refuses and tells her that he will only create the wardrobe if Pinocchio can go through too. Jiminy fights with him, telling him that he cannot bargain with her, but Geppetto eventually wins the argument after reminding Jiminy that he has no right to tell him what to do after what he did to his parents when he was a child. During the first meeting of the War Council, The Blue Fairy lies to the council that there will be room for only one in the wardrobe as Geppetto looks down at Pinocchio with a caring look.
After Snow gives birth to Emma, the Blue Fairy tells Geppetto that Pinocchio cannot go since Snow White should accompany her daughter. When Geppetto asks what will happen to Pinocchio, she tells him that there is no time for that. Before the Blue Fairy can tell Snow White she must leave as well, Geppetto prepares his son to go through anyways, telling him that sometimes, people must lie to protect the ones they love. So Pinocchio goes into the wardrobe as Jiminy tells him to remain brave, truthful and unselfish, while Geppetto tells him that he must rescue them and remind Emma to believe and looks to Pinocchio with pride, saying that he will be a great man. Geppetto then locks Pinocchio in the wardrobe, which shook violently.
Pinocchio disappears into the present and emerges from a tree. He is frightened of an airplane that flies by, as he does not know what it is. Pinocchio tries to return through the hole of the tree where he had emerged, but a sudden force blew from the tree and knocked him to the ground. As he regains conciousness, the young boy suddenly sees a crying baby, Emma, inside the trunk of the tree he just came from and tries to calm her down.
In a foster home in Boston, Pinocchio looks over baby Emma, trying to quiet her as she cries and uses funny faces to successfully calm her down, but then is scolded by the man of the house for using the tools to reinforce Emma’s crib. When one of the kids comes by with a wad of cash stolen from the sock drawer, he tells the other foster children that it is enough to buy bus tickets for everyone. But despite pleas from Pinocchio, Emma won’t be able to come with them as the children won’t be able to take care of a baby. As the child leaves, Pinocchio stops him, then apologizes to Emma and goes with the kid, leaving baby Emma alone for good.
In the present day, August installs a medieval-like latch on the door of Mary Margaret and Emma’s apartment in order to keep Regina from breaking in again with her set of skeleton keys. As Mary prepares to go back to work in the school, Emma asks Mary Margaret if they should worry about her going back to school so quickly, but Mary Margaret is concerned that Emma is the one to be worried about now that she hopes to get back custody of Henry, as Emma has hired Mr. Gold to help build a case against Regina. Henry later radios Emma about an Operation Cobra emergency and tells her to meet him at Granny’s.
August then follows Emma, telling her that a custody battle won’t accomplish anything and wants the sheriff to look at the big picture to get Regina. He convinces her to take the day off so he can show her how exactly to beat her, but she declines the offer. At Granny’s, Henry informs Emma that someone changed the book which now features the story of Pinocchio, but left no ending to what happen afterwards, and since no one knows where the book is kept, they wonder how that is possible and realizes there’s more to the story then they think, which would later point to the person who restored the book after the storm, August. Meanwhile, as August sits in his room, looking at his phone, he dials Mr. Gold and wants to meet with him concerning Emma. August then starts to fall as he leaves, showing his leg has turned into wood and proving his true identity is Pinocchio.
Elsewhere, Mary Margaret looks upon the school happily when Regina walks up to her and asks where Henry is, but Mary Margaret retaliates with anger. At the same time, she tells Regina that she forgives her and says that even though she put her through hell, she can still forgive her and that she believes Regina must be so lonely if her only happiness comes from making others miserable. After Mary Margaret leaves and Henry arrives, Regina tells him that she is going to transfer him out of Mary Margaret’s class.
Henry angrily lashes out at her, saying that she framed Mary, even though she protests. Henry goes on to tell her that he knows that she is the Evil Queen and that Snow White will have her happy ending with Prince Charming-finalizing his speech by declaring that good will win. Across town, August goes in to Mr. Gold’s shop, where Mr. Gold is talking with Marco, whom August immediately recognizes, but does not say anything. When Mr. Gold questions why August doesn’t say anything to him after Marco leaves, August doesn’t reply but tells him that Emma is too focused on getting custody of Henry and needs Mr. Gold to push Emma towards him so that he can get her to believe in the curse.
After Mr. Gold comments on his history, he tells August that he will give Emma a gentle nudge towards him. Moments later, Emma goes to see Mr. Gold about Regina, but he turns down her case, saying that he knows how to pick his battles but this will not be one of them. Emma walks out to go see August, where after she tells him that she is just about out of options, he can show her the big picture. As August and Emma ride out to the forest, Emma questions where they are going and responds by telling her that they are going on a trip to tell her a story. When Emma asks him what story, August’s response was “Mine.”
Hours later, David locks up the shelter when he sees Regina across the street struggling with her car, and David offers her a ride home. At first she refuses, but eventually accepts. When they arrive at her house, she offers for him to stay for dinner, but David declines, saying that he needs to be up early for work the next day. Regina then picks up a blank card claiming Henry has left a note saying that he is having dinner with Archie after his session instead of coming home, so David decides to stay out of pity for the mayor.
During their dinner together, David compliments her lasagna, and takes her dishes, while Regina thanks him for his kindness. As he thanks her for taking care of him, Regina tells him the story of how she found him, after a late night of work remembering that she left her phone at the office. As Regina turned around to get the phone, she found David on the side of the road, nearly frozen to death. However, as Regina moves in to kiss David, he rejects her, telling her things are great as it is and thanks her again for dinner before leaving. As David heads home, a furious Regina stares at the mirror in the hallway before smashing it by throwing her glass of wine at it.
Later that night, Emma and August ride into a diner on the side of a road. An angry Emma asks what are they doing there. August revealed to Emma that she’s been there before and that it was the diner she were brought to when she were found. He continued by telling her that he was the 7-year-old boy that found her, adding that this is his story, and her story as well. Emma questions why they are in the woods as August tells her that this is where he actually found her. Emma doesn’t believe him, claiming she was found on the side of the road, but August shows her the tree where they both came into the world.
As August tells her to believe that he is Pinocchio, Emma discovers that he edited Henry’s book, but it ends with her believing. However, Emma tells him that is not going to happen and takes off with August chasing after her, only to collapse to the ground. August tells her where he was when he found out that she stayed in Storybrooke, then shows Emma his wooden leg, but through Emma’s point of view, all she sees is a normal, human leg. August realizes that her denial is more powerful than he thought and tells her that she still doesn’t want to believe after everything that she has encountered in Storybrooke. After a brief exchange, Emma tells August that she doesn’t want the responsibility, but as August claims that she is their only hope, Emma tells if that is true, then they are all screwed.
After returning to Storybrooke, August walks past Marco’s workshop, helping him with a clock that is jammed. August tells Marco that his father told him how to fix it when he was a child. Marco tells him his father would be proud, but he tells him that he’s disappointed his father, and adds that if he is trying to fix the promise he broke as a child, then that would be good enough for him. August finally asks if Marco, despite not being able to pay him, would like to hire an assistant. He continues by saying that the payment would not matter because he feels like fixing things. Marco then brings him into his workshop. Meanwhile, Emma calls Henry via walkie-talkies to ask if he wants to leave Storybrooke with her. After Henry responds to Emma’s answer that he wants to more than anything, Emma tells her son that they’re leaving town immediately and proceeds to drive him from Regina’s house with her in her car.
“The Stranger” is the twentieth episode of the American fairy tale/drama television series Once Upon a Time, which aired in the United States on ABC on April 29, 2012.
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