Ruby Slippers
Season 5, Episode 18
Ruby Slippers (Once Upon A Time)
Airdate April 17, 2016
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Bill Wolkoff
Directed by Eriq La Salle
Episode Guide
Her Handsome Hero
Ruby Slippers is the eighteenth episode of the fifth season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, which aired on April 17, 2016.

In this episode, Ruby goes to the Underworld to find Zelena. In flashbacks, Ruby, Mulan, and Dorothy meet.

View the Ruby Slippers Gallery.


Opening sequence

Red walks around the red-tinted forest.

Event chronology

The Oz events take place years after the flashback scenes from "Our Decay", they also take place immediately after Zelena is banished to Oz in "Swan Song" and before she goes back to Storybrooke in the present day scenes in "Our Decay". The Oz present events take place not long after Zelena leaves. The Underworld events take place after "Her Handsome Hero"

In the Characters' Past

In Oz, "some time ago," Ruby and Mulan encounter Dorothy's dog Toto in the woods while searching for Ruby's pack. Dorothy believes the growling Toto has identified Ruby as a witch, but Ruby explains her wolf heritage. Toto runs off, and Red insists on helping Dorothy track the dog, after Dorothy initially goes the wrong way. The three come upon Zelena, who demands the silver slippers from Dorothy as ransom for Toto, whom she has found. That night, Mulan, Ruby, and Dorothy brew a potion to use against Zelena. Ruby and Dorothy go to collect the last ingredient, a poppy. Dorothy explains that Toto was a final gift from her beloved Auntie Em, who died shortly after interceding to prevent Dorothy's family from having her committed due to her stories of Oz. Ruby reveals that she was expelled by her village after accidentally killing her boyfriend, Peter. She also shares that she still feels she is searching for something, but she no longer knows what. They collect the poppy but then are attacked by winged monkeys. Dorothy confirms that she trusts Ruby, so Ruby takes on her wolf form and carries Dorothy to safety. After they return to Mulan, a seemingly disconcerted Dorothy goes off alone. Ruby tells Mulan that she thinks Dorothy is what she has been looking for, but she is afraid Dorothy is disgusted by her wolf identity; Mulan reveals that she regrets not having told someone how she felt, and urges Ruby not to make the same mistake, as Dorothy might return her feelings. But Ruby discovers Dorothy has fled. At the Emerald Palace, Dorothy confronts Zelena, who pricks her with a sleeping curse.

In the Underworld

Ruby is surprised to find herself in the Underworld, as she had been pursuing Zelena via a tracking spell; Ruby believes the wolf in her has destroyed another life: Dorothy's, and she wants to make it right. Emma explains that Zelena is in the Underworld, and suggests they confront her. Hades informs Zelena of Ruby's presence, and Zelena decides to use the silver slippers to leave in order to avoid further damning herself in Regina's eyes. But Regina and the others arrive before she can leave. Zelena reveals that she put Dorothy under a sleeping curse, and that it can't be broken as Dorothy has no loved ones to provide a "true love's kiss." At Regina's urging, Zelena hands over the silver slippers. Ruby realizes that Dorothy's late Auntie Em might be in the Underworld, and they find her at a diner she runs. She agrees to blow a kiss into a bottle for Ruby to bring to Dorothy, but Hades appears and turns Em into a liquid, by contaminating her soup with liquid from the River of Lost Souls, and bottles her up. He declares the Storybrooke visitors anathema, and that anyone who works with them would be under penalty of the same punishment. Ruby is distraught, and Snow asks her if she loves Dorothy; Ruby admits it, but is afraid to try to give Dorothy true love's kiss, as she doesn't know if Dorothy ever reciprocated her feelings. Snow convinces her to try. Zelena goes to Hades' lair, where he pours Em into the River of Lost Souls, and explains that he has done this only because Dorothy is Zelena's enemy. She agrees to try to accept him into her life, and they share a drink.

Belle visits Zelena and asks for her help, "as a mother." Zelena hears her out, and Belle becomes even more worried after remembering that Zelena's pregnancy was magically accelerated. Belle later goes to Gold, revealing that Zelena has given her the pin with the sleeping curse. Belle believes the curse will put her beyond Hades' reach until the contract can be destroyed; she tells Gold to bring her to her father to break the curse, and then pricks herself.

Meanwhile, David discovers that Cruella is having the phone booth removed by Claude (who was a guard for Regina that Hook killed in the season 2 "Queen of Hearts" episode) on Hades' orders; she offers to let them use it if Henry will write her back to life, but he refuses. David and Snow become so distraught, Emma insists that one of them must return to Storybrooke to be with their son, Neal; they assume it must be David, but Killian uses the enchantment Hades put on his hook to replace Snow's name with David's on the tombstone, allowing her to leave. Using the slippers, Ruby and Snow depart for Oz.

Henry writes story pages showing that Dorothy was successfully revived, and that Snow is with Neal in Storybrooke.

In Oz

Ruby and Snow arrive in Oz to discover Mulan and the Munchkins standing vigil over the sleeping Dorothy. Ruby kisses Dorothy, breaking the curse. Dorothy explains that she left Ruby to protect her; having discovered her own feelings for Ruby, she feared Zelena would harm Ruby. They continue to kiss.


According to David Anders, the episode In the Name of the Brother was intended to seed a romance between Ruby and his character, Dr. Whale, who were seen arm in arm at the end of the episode. According to Anders these plans were shelved due to Ory being cast in the short-lived series, Intelligence. After the aforementioned show's cancellation Anders himself was cast in the series iZombie, leading to Ruby's pairing with Dorothy Gale in the episode this episode. Due to Ory's being cast in Chesapeake Shores, it was her final appearance in the series.

The hints of having an LGBTQ character in the series had been teased by the producers for a while. "True love's kiss has been a staple of this show since the beginning," executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis say. "This past Sunday's episode was just another example of how in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love."

The Oz scenes were shot at Everett Crowley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia.


  • Emilie de Ravin was actually pregnant in this episode.
  • The whiskey Zelena drinks is called "Moloch", this is the name of the Cannanite god who demands children sacrifices.
  • The object/animal/person in this episode is Ruby. The card features the forest background, but the color is red instead of blue to reflect the Underworld.
  • Ruby (Red Riding Hood) and Dorothy kiss, creating the first confirmed LGBT couple in the show. Mulan was the first character but didn't act on her feelings.
  • Dorothy tells Red that upon her return to Kansas, her family tried to have her committed when she told them about Oz. In Return to Oz (1985), a sequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dorothy's family does in fact have her committed for talking about her experiences in Oz.
Season 1
PilotThe Thing You Love MostSnow FallsThe Price of GoldThat Still Small VoiceThe ShepherdThe Heart Is a Lonely HunterDesperate SoulsTrue North7:15 A.M.Fruit of the Poisonous TreeSkin DeepWhat Happened to FrederickDreamyRed-HandedHeart of DarknessHat TrickThe Stable BoyThe ReturnThe StrangerAn Apple Red as BloodA Land Without Magic
Season 2
BrokenWe Are BothLady of the LakeThe CrocodileThe DoctorTallahasseeChild of the MoonInto the DeepQueen of HeartsThe Cricket GameThe OutsiderIn the Name of the BrotherTinyManhattanThe Queen Is DeadThe Miller's DaughterWelcome to StorybrookeSelfless, Brave and TrueLaceyThe Evil QueenSecond Star to the RightAnd Straight On 'til Morning
Season 3
The Heart of the Truest BelieverLost GirlQuite a Common FairyNasty HabitsGood FormAriel (Episode)Dark HollowThink Lovely ThoughtsSave HenryThe New NeverlandGoing HomeNew York City SerenadeWitch HuntThe TowerQuiet MindsIt's Not Easy Being GreenThe Jolly RogerBleeding ThroughA Curious ThingKansasSnow DriftsThere's No Place Like Home
Season 4
A Tale of Two SistersWhite OutRocky RoadThe ApprenticeBreaking GlassFamily BusinessThe Snow QueenSmash the MirrorFallShattered SightHeroes and VillainsDarkness on the Edge of TownUnforgivenEnter the DragonPoor Unfortunate SoulBest Laid PlansHeart of GoldSympathy for the De VilLilyMotherOperation Mongoose
Season 5
The Dark SwanThe PriceSiege PerilousThe Broken KingdomDreamcatcherThe Bear and the BowNimueBirthThe Bear KingBroken HeartSwan SongSouls of the DepartedLabor of LoveDevil's DueThe Brothers JonesOur DecayHer Handsome HeroRuby SlippersSistersFirebirdLast RitesOnly YouAn Untold Story
Season 6
The SaviorA Bitter DraughtThe Other ShoeStrange CaseStreet RatsDark WatersHeartlessI'll Be Your MirrorChangelingsWish You Were HereTougher Than the RestMurder Most FoulIll-Boding PatternsPage 23A Wondrous PlaceMother's Little HelperAwakeWhere Bluebirds FlyThe Black FairyThe Song in Your HeartThe Final Battle
Season 7
Hyperion HeightsA Pirate's LifeThe Garden of Forking PathsBeautyGreenbacksWake Up CallEloise GardenerPretty in BlueOne Little TearThe Eighth WitchSecret GardenA Taste of the HeightsKnightfallThe Girl in the TowerSisterhoodBreadcrumbsChosenThe GuardianFlower ChildIs This Henry Mills?HomecomingLeaving Storybrooke
Down the Rabbit HoleTrust MeForget Me NotThe SerpentHeart of StoneWho's AliceBad BloodHomeNothing to FearDirty Little SecretsHeart of the MatterTo Catch a ThiefAnd They Lived...
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