‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap: Red Takes On the Big, Bad Wolf

once upon a timeS1E15: The essence of all fairytales involves risking everything in the name of true love. Whether it entails battling a few dragons or defeating an evil queen, the main purpose is to find that happily ever after. But unlike most story books, Once Upon a Time removes the damsel in distress factor and grants heroic acts to its female characters as well as its male ones. On this show, women are the dominant force to be reckoned with and continually provide most of the action for the entire plot. Thus far, this characteristic has mostly been seen in Snow White and the many obstacles she’s faced in order to be with Prince Charming. However, it seems to be a common trait shared among many women on the show — in both the real and fantasy worlds.

In this episode, we delve deeper into the background of Ruby/Red Riding Hood, who also isn’t afraid of going after what she wants. Though earlier episodes showed us that she and Snow White were friends, we hadn’t yet learned how the two of them met in the first place. But don’t be misled, this isn’t a simple tale of friendship. In fact, the episode offered an array of twists that left even the most savy Once fans profoundly stumped and concerned for their fictional friends. But that’s the whole reason we love the show in the first place — nothing is ever as it seems, especially when there’s a big, bad wolf in town.

“This creature is more powerful than you could ever imagine.” – Granny

In the fairytale world, we stumble upon Red Riding Hood having a romantic rendezvous at her windowsill with a boy named Peter – as in Peter and the Wolf. They discuss plans of being free and running away together, but since a dangerous wolf is terrorizing the town, an overprotective Granny won’t let Red out of her sight. She even demands that Red wear her red cloak at all times since the color supposedly keeps the creature away.

The following morning, Red goes to check on the chicken coop and finds Snow White hiding there, looking for food and shelter. And since she’s just recently on the run from the Evil Queen and her huntsman, her encounter with Prince James has not yet happened. Afraid to use her own name, Snow tells Red to call her Mary (like her real world moniker Mary Margaret) and Red offers Granny’s as shelter for the time being. But as they retrieve water from the well, they come across the dead bodies of a hunting party murdered at the hands (or rather the paws) of the big, bad wolf.

This gruesome slaughter convinces the villagers plan to launch an attack against the monster, but Granny pleads with them to see reason. Having witnessed the wolf brutally murder her father and brothers when she was a child, she knows first-hand what this animal can do. The creature even scarred her right arm and left her in a pool of her family’s blood. Its cunning and clever and knows no remorse, so she warns them all to hide and not try to go after it. But since Red knows killing the wolf is the only way she and Peter can be free to be together, she sets out with Snow to track down and kill the wolf herself.

“I didn’t do anything to my wife.” – David

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Emma is continuing with her investigation into Kathryn’s disappearance. During questioning, David assures her that he never called Kathryn like the phone records suggest and since Emma, once again, doesn’t sense that he’s lying, she lets him go. But since the guilty party still remains unknown, she warns Mary Margaret that the town will be point fingers at her and David.

On their way home, they come across Ruby (Red Riding Hood), who;s just quit her waitressing job at Granny’s diner in the hopes of experiencing new adventures. However, she seems to have absolutely no confidence in herself and no idea what she wants to do with her life, so Emma suggests she work as her assistant at the sheriff’s office until she figures things out.


“When there’s something I want, I’m good at tracking it down.” -Red

Back in the fantasy world, Snow and Red begin tracking the wolf’s pawprints and realize they eventually transform into human footprints, meaning the creature is half human. Furthermore, the tracks lead right to Red’s window at the cottage, exactly where Peter was standing the previous evening. But Red knows Peter would never hurt anyone intentionally, so she confronts him about it. When he has no memory of the change, Red offers to stay with him through the transformation as long as he’s chained up, and he agrees. However, there’s one major flaw in this plan: he’s not the wolf after all. Red Riding Hood is actually the beast.

Once Granny learns that Red is gone and Snow is impersonating her under the red cloak, she’s furious, but not for the reason you would think. In fact, she actually fears for Peter’s safety upon learning that Red had tied him up in the woods. Granny explains to Snow that their entire family is made up of wolves and that she’s one too. Red began transforming when she was 13 years old, but the red cloak makes her transform back into her human self and forget anything she’s done while in her wolf-state. So in an ironic twist, Granny was never trying to protect Red from the world — she was trying to protect the world from Red. 

And Granny was right to fear for Peter’s life. When Snow and Granny finally track Red down, she’s already killed her love. But before she can attack them, they throw the cape over her and she becomes herself again. Snow reveals the truth of Red’s violent transformation and Red is stricken with guilt and grief. However, there’s no time to mourn Peter’s death since the hunting party is getting close, and Red runs away with Snow, leaving poor Granny behind to take the blame.


“I shouldn’t even be here, I’m just going to screw everything up.” – Ruby

In an attempt to get to the bottom of Kathryn’s disappearance, Mary Margaret heads out into the woods in search of clues, but instead comes across David. He’s in a trance-like state and keeps mumbling the words “I’m looking,” staring right through Mary Margaret like she’s not even there. But instead of following him through the woods, Mary Margaret runs to the police station to inform Emma about David’s strange behavior, begging her to investigate. At Emma’s request, Ruby tags along and actually proves to be quite an asset. She quickly tracks down an unconscious David, who, upon waking, has no recollection of anything he’s done since leaving the sheriff’s office the previous evening. And while it’s doubtful he’s suffering from a wolf transformation, this zombie-like episode has Regina’s name written all over it.

Emma takes him to the hospital where they learn David experienced a “dream walk,” which is apparently similar to a coma-like state. Of course, this immediately makes Emma think David could have made that phone call to Kathryn after all and that he just doesn’t remember doing it. But with no substantial proof, she sends Ruby back out into the woods to look for clues. And even though she’s completely unsure of her abilities to do anything right, she complies and finds a small chest with a human heart inside.

“Arrest me.” – David

Realizing that a life of crime-solving isn’t for her, Ruby returns to the diner, explaining to Granny that the main reason she left was that she felt incapable of doing the job as well as Granny does. But Granny confides in Ruby that she hopes Ruby will one day take over the diner once it’s time for her to retire. Granny has complete faith in Ruby’s abilities.

But things aren’t looking as well on the Mary-David front. Given that there are no other people missing in town, it’s safe to conclude the human heart belongs to Kathryn, unless the blood test results prove otherwise. However, Emma did manage to find fingerprints on the actual chest that don’t belong to David – they belong to Mary Margaret. That’s right, the sweet, innocent Mary Margaret is under arrest and looking to serve some serious jail time for murder. Of course, we all know this must be the work of Regina, but sadly our knowledge doesn’t help Mary Margaret out of this mess. Once again, the writers purposefully show just how extensive Regina’s power is — talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Were you surprised Red Riding Hood was the wolf? What do you think will happen to Mary Margaret? Did anyone else seriously miss Mr. Gold’s presence? Sound off in the comments below or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.