Season 4
Once Upon a Time Season 4

No. of episodes


Original release

September 28, 2014 – May 10, 2015


A Tale of Two Sisters


Operation Mongoose


Season 3


Season 5

The fourth season of the ABC fantasy-drama Once Upon a Time was announced on May 8, 2014. On May 13, 2014, it was revealed that the season would be split into two parts, the first half airing during autumn 2014, and the second half during spring 2015 of the 2014–15 television season. It premiered on September 28, 2014, and concluded on May 10, 2015.

On April 20, 2014, it was confirmed that former Once Upon a Time in Wonderland star Michael Socha would be a series regular as his character Will Scarlet / the Knave of Hearts.

New characters introduced to the series include the main antagonists for the two volumes, the Snow Queen, and the Queens of Darkness (a triad of villains including returning character Maleficent, and new characters Cruella de Vil and Ursula). In addition, Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, Little Bo Peep, and Poseidon are introduced to the series.


Elsa arrives in Storybrooke, hoping to find her sister Anna. However, things get complicated with the appearance of the Snow Queen, who seems to know both Elsa and Emma. The Snow Queen is later revealed to Elsa's aunt and one of Emma's foster mothers; she plans on making them her new sisters, despite their obvious hatred of her. The Snow Queen enacts the spell of Shattered Sight to make everyone kill each other; however, she is given a letter written by Elsa and Anna's mother that shows how much she was loved. Seeing she let herself become a monster, the Snow Queen ends the spell by killing herself. At the same time, Mr. Gold plots to free himself of the Dark One dagger's control by crushing Hook's heart in a ceremony; however, Belle uses the dagger to force Gold to leave Storybrooke. Gold reunites the Queens of Darkness (Ursula, Cruella De Vil and Maleficent) to find the Author responsible for writing their stories and force him to give them happy endings. Emma also learns that her old friend Lily is Maleficent's daughter, helping the two reunite. Allying with the Author, Mr. Gold traps everyone in a new story called Heroes and Villains, where the roles are reversed. Henry frees everyone, becoming the new Author in the process. Things get worse as the darkness in Gold escapes, being revealed to be the true Dark One. To save Regina from becoming possessed by it, Emma forces the Darkness to take her instead.

Cast and characters




  • Pascale Hutton as Gerda, Queen of Arendelle
  • Tyler Jacob Moore as Prince Hans
  • Nils Hognestad as Franz
  • Marcus Rosner as Jurgen
  • Sally Pressman as Helga
  • Nicole Muñoz as Young Lily
  • Charles Mesure as Blackbeard
  • Wil Traval as Sheriff of Nottingham / Keith
  • Oliver Rice as King of Arendelle
  • Robin Weigert as Bo Peep
  • Gabrielle Rose as Ruth
  • Brad Dourif as Zoso
  • Eric Keenleyside as Maurice / Moe French
  • Frances O'Connor as Colette
  • Jessy Schram as Cinderella / Ashley Boyd
  • Darcey Johnson as Oaken
  • Brighton Sharbino as Young Ingrid
  • Ava Marie Telek as Young Gerda
  • Bailey Herbert as Young Helga
  • Jonathan Runyon as a younger Duke of Weselton
  • Rebecca Wisocky as Madam Faustina
  • Sebastian Roché as King Stefan
  • Ernie Hudson as Poseidon
  • Tiffany Boone as Young Ursula
  • Jonathan Adams voices The Sorcerer / Merlin


No. overall No. in season Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers (millions)
67 1 "A Tale of Two Sisters" Ralph Hemecker Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz September 28, 2014 9.47
Elsa finds herself in Storybrooke, and fearful of the intentions of its residents, creates a powerful snow monster for protection. With Robin Hood’s wife, Marian, back in the picture, Regina wonders if her 'happily ever after' with the former thief has completely quashed; while on their honeymoon, Gold finds an intriguing box that makes him question whether or not he should give Belle possession of the Dagger. Meanwhile, in Arendelle of the past, as Elsa’s sister Anna’s wedding to Kristoff nears, Anna discovers that their parents, who died in a shipwreck during a violent storm, were heading to a mysterious destination in a quest that may have held the secret to containing Elsa’s out-of-control ice powers.
68 2 "White Out" Ron Underwood Jane Espenson October 5, 2014 8.78
Elsa feels threatened by Charming and accidentally traps Emma with her inside an ice cave, with the frozen temperature placing Emma’s life in peril. Regina, depressed over her break-up with Robin Hood, secludes herself from the town and Henry, which saddens her son. And with the townspeople considering Mary Margaret their leader, Mary faces her first leadership task in trying to re-start 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 warlord threatening to take David's home.
69 3 "Rocky Road" Morgan Beggs David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz October 12, 2014 7.92
In Storybrooke, the mysterious Snow Queen—whose public identity is that of the owner of an ice cream shop—uses her powers to frame Elsa to have the Storybrooke residents cast doubts on her after she is blamed for putting a freezing spell on Marian. When David and Emma encounter Will Scarlet, they find out about the Snow Queen, only to discover that the Snow Queen knows Emma from a past encounter that Emma doesn't remember, though Mr. Gold does. Henry helps Regina track down the author of the Once Upon a Time book, and Hook believes Gold is still in possession of the real Dagger. Back in Arendelle, Elsa and Kristoff must fend off Hans, who is plotting another attempt to take over Arendelle, only to unwittingly unleash the Snow Queen, who freezes him. She reveals herself as Elsa's aunt.
70 4 "The Apprentice" Ralph Hemecker Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan October 19, 2014 8.07
Hook prepares for his first real date with Emma by making a deal with Gold to restore his missing hand in exchange for keeping Gold's secret about the Dagger that he gave Belle being fake. Hook discovers his restored hand brings out his dark side, and is forced into doing a favor for Gold to rid himself of the hand. Gold traps the Apprentice inside the Sorcerer's hat, and makes Hook responsible to ensure he won't tell Belle. Emma is followed by the Snow Queen. Will tries to steal a book that features someone from his past and gets caught. Henry takes a job at Gold's pawn shop to find out who wrote the storybook. In the past, Rumplestiltskin makes a deal with Anna in exchange for telling her about why her parents had traveled to the Enchanted Forest.
71 5 "Breaking Glass" Alrick Riley Kalinda Vazquez & Scott Nimerfro October 26, 2014 6.87
Emma and Regina are forced to team up when Ingrid, the Snow Queen, leads them and Elsa into a trap. Ingrid conjures up an ice warrior to stop Regina and Emma, and uses an illusion of Anna to lure Elsa into chains, keeping her out of the way. The three ladies fight back, with Elsa overcoming her fear and destroying the chains, and Emma and Regina combining their powers to destroy the ice warrior. The Snow Queen acquires the services of Sidney and takes possession of the magic mirror. Meanwhile, Mary Margaret leaves Neal with Belle as she and David spend time together, only to be interrupted by Will escaping jail, who Mary Margaret later pardons. Emma has flashbacks of running away as a teenager, and finds videotape evidence that Ingrid (Storybrooke alias Sarah Fisher) is her foster mother.
72 6 "Family Business" Mario Van Peebles Kalinda Vazquez & Andrew Chambliss November 2, 2014 7.54
As everyone attempts to track down Ingrid, Emma discovers that there is more to her connection than she expected, while Belle begins to remember her past encounter with Anna and forces Gold into leading her to The Snow Queen's lair. After Belle sees the mirror, Gold warns Ingrid that he will stop her from harming anyone close to him, and shows her the Sorcerer's Hat as proof. Ingrid is planning to destroy everyone around Storybrooke by using a mirror in order to bring the only family into her world: her, Elsa, and Emma, who just discovered a prophecy scroll that she is the savior that will become Ingrid’s sister. In Belle's past in the Enchanted Forest, she seeks out help to finding out a way to remember her mother's death with the help of Anna, who is trying to keep Elsa from finding out the truth about her trip, until she becomes suspicious of Ingrid's (The Snow Queen's) presence, and once Anna discovers that Ingrid is hiding the truth about having another sister, Ingrid imprisons her and steals the box that contains the Sorcerer's hat.
73 7 "The Snow Queen" Billy Gierhart Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz November 9, 2014 7.42
The origins of Ingrid, the Snow Queen, are revealed in her past back in Arendelle, where her close relationship with her sisters Helga and Gerda take a tragic turn after they seek out Rumplestiltskin's help to control her magic, leading to Ingrid accidentally killing Helga, and Gerda trapping Ingrid in the urn. Then, Gerda visits the Grand Pabbie and asks him to make Arendelle forget about the existence of Ingrid and Helga. In the present, Sarah allows Emma to capture her, but uses a ploy to make Emma's family fear her, after she loses control of her magic. This in turn causes Emma to fear that she will start hurting those that she loves, and she runs away as a result. Later, Regina continues to reject Robin Hood's offer to restart their romance, but ends up giving in to her desire. Meanwhile, Sarah makes a deal with Gold to return her ribbons, in return for the secret to the missing ingredient that he needs to free himself from the Dagger of Kris. When Mr. Gold obtains the information, he tells that he will have "great pleasure" in obtaining the final ingredient.
74a 8a "Smash the Mirror" Eagle Egilsson David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz November 16, 2014 6.80
As Emma's powers become uncontrollable, she ends up seeking help from Gold, who agrees to help her, but has other plans in store for Emma. Regina gives Mary and David a locator potion from her vault, but they quickly drop their plan to stop Emma, believing that it might be better if Emma became "normal." Seeing this turn of events, Elsa steals the locator potion to locate Emma on her own. When the Snow Queen threatens Gold not to hurt Emma, he uses magical dust made from the urn's remnants to temporarily trap the Snow Queen within her palace, to keep her from intervening. In Arendelle's past, Ingrid tries to convince Elsa that Anna was planning to remove her magic, but fails. Elsa and Anna manage to obtain the urn, which they plan to use on Ingrid. Elsa learns why their parents left for the Enchanted Forest, and makes peace with it, and she sends Anna back into the prison to set up their trap for Ingrid.
74b 8b "Smash the Mirror" Ralph Hemecker David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz November 16, 2014 6.80
The Snow Queen fails to stop Emma from heading to Mr. Gold, since Emma no longer trusts her. Regina convinces Mary and David that Emma's powers made her special, so they team up to find Emma. Robin Hood decides to help Regina find the author of the fairytale book, and discovers a missing page that could provide a clue. Hook reaches the mansion first, but Gold binds him to the fence surrounding the property, before trying to convince Emma to step through the door where his magical hat is set up, while Emma's friends and family close in on her location. While Gold taunts Hook, Elsa breaks in through the back door and convinces Emma to accept herself, allowing Emma to control her powers. This frustrates Gold, but he takes Hook's heart, which he needs to sever himself from the Dagger, turning Hook into his "puppet" in the process. Afterward, the Snow Queen places ribbons on Elsa and Emma, to harness their power. They notice the ribbons too late and are unable to remove them, which begin siphoning away their magic. Then, the Snow Queen uses her newly-amplified magic to shatter her mirror, casting the Spell of Shattered Sight over Storybrooke. In Arendelle's past, Ingrid uncovers the sisters' plot, and plans to turn Elsa against Anna, only for a cursed Anna to place Elsa in the urn. In anger, Ingrid freezes Anna, Kristoff, and all of Arendelle. Rumplestiltskin comes to take Anna's necklace and the urn in exchange for the Sorcerer's hat. However, Ingrid turns over the box to the Apprentice instead, in exchange for her happy ending, leading her to 1982 Boston, prior to baby Emma's arrival.
75 9 "Fall" Mario Van Peebles Jane Espenson November 30, 2014 6.43
Elsa goes through a portal in the mines of Storybrooke, where she eventually finds Anna and Kristoff on a beach. It is revealed that after being frozen by Ingrid, Anna and Kristoff were unfrozen after 30 years, and they were sent to Storybrooke after Elsa used a Wishing Star (Anna's Necklace) to wish for her. Meanwhile, Ingrid directs the Spell of Shattered Sight towards Storybrooke, and Gold threatens to kill Ingrid following the end of the spell, to which she allows him, Belle, and Henry safe passage out of Storybrooke. As the Spell of Shattered Sight approaches, Regina seals Henry in the mayor's office and herself in her vault. Snow and David lock themselves in the jail at the sheriff's station, while Kristoff is cuffed to the desk. Emma is put in charge of David and Mary Margaret's baby, even as the Spell of Shattered Sight hits, while Emma, Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff look on.
76 10 "Shattered Sight" Gwyneth Horder-Payton Scott Nimerfro & Tze Chun December 7, 2014 6.20
Anna informs Emma and Elsa that killing Ingrid is the only way to break the Spell of Shattered Sight, and they set out stop Ingrid, while Anna babysits Snow's baby. Unfortunately, Ingrid uses the ribbons she shares with Emma and Elsa to keep them from hurting her, but Emma figures out that hatred strong enough to counter Ingrid's love can remove the ribbons. They go to Regina, who is under the Spell of Shattered Sight, and Emma succeeds in provoking Regina into shooting a fireball in hatred at them, which dissolves the ribbons. In the past of the Real World, Emma is fostered by Ingrid in 1999, and the two grow very close, until Ingrid tries to get Emma to utilize her magic by dragging her in front of oncoming car and telling her to stop it. Emma runs away, and Ingrid moves to Storybrooke, led by the Apprentice's scroll, where she knows Emma will eventually come. In November 2011, Emma arrives in Storybrooke, and Ingrid takes Emma's memories of Ingrid, after an argument leads to Emma threatening to call Sheriff Graham. In the present, Anna finds the letter from her and Elsa's mother, which says she made a terrible mistake with Ingrid and that she loves her. Ingrid feels remorse over the curse, and kills herself to get rid of it. Meanwhile, Mr. Gold blackmails Hook into getting him, Belle, and Henry out of Storybrooke before the curse takes over, but Hook is unsuccessful in acquiring Henry. Once the curse is broken, Gold makes his final preparations to leave with Belle to New York.
77 11 "Heroes and Villains" Ralph Hemecker Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz December 14, 2014 5.69
In the past of the Enchanted Forest, Belle is kidnapped for a gauntlet from Camelot that can reveal anyone's greatest weakness. Rumplestiltskin goes to pay the ransom to Maleficent, Ursula, and Cruella de Vil, and leaves with Belle, only to reclaim the gauntlet later. Rumplestiltskin declines Ursula's offer to join them, to get villains their happy endings, claiming he will always win. In the present, Gold learns that Ingrid's lingering magic will keep those who leave Storybrooke from ever returning, so he has Hook help him uncover a portal in the Sorcerer's mansion, where Elsa and Anna depart. Regina apparently saves Marian, but Ingrid's Freezing Curse still lingers, so Regina has Robin Hood take his wife and Roland into the real world, to cut off the magic sustaining the Freezing Curse. He leaves heartbroken, knowing he can't see Regina again. Belle finds the gauntlet while packing for New York, and realizes that Rumplestiltskin loves power the most. She uses the gauntlet to find the real Dagger, in Storybrooke's clock tower, where Rumplestiltskin has begun the ritual to sever himself from the Dagger. Then, she uses the real Dagger to stop Rumplestiltskin from killing Hook, and to release Emma and Mary Margaret, before having Rumplestiltskin take them to the town line. There, Belle confronts him over remaining unchanged, and power being his "true love", before using the dagger to force him across the town line. Henry finds a secret library full of blank storybooks in the Sorcerer's mansion, and tells Regina that it is possibly the Author's home. Six weeks later, in New York City, a powerless Rumpelstiltskin visits Ursula at her aquarium job as a fish feeder, and they agree to work together to obtain their happy endings, before meeting with Maleficent and Cruella. Gold implies that he knows who the Author is, having apparently lied to Regina about knowing nothing about the Author.
78 12 "Darkness on the Edge of Town" Jon Amiel Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz March 1, 2015 6.66
In New York City, Mr. Gold & Ursula go to Cruella De Vil's place in Great Neck, Long Island where her criminal husband is arrested by FBI. As the Storybrooke residents attempt to move on from Gold; Emma, Regina, Belle, and Hook help free the fairies from the hat, along with the demon Chernabog, who threatens to destroy the town. Meanwhile, Gold enlists Ursula and Cruella De Vil to re-enter Storybrooke by convincing that they have renounced their evil ways to Regina and Emma. Later David and Mary Margaret, warn Ursula and Cruella to not reveal a past meeting to anyone, especially Emma, or Mary Margret would kill them herself. Elsewhere, Gold reveals that he was the person who translated the scroll for Belle and that the Chernabog was hunting the heart with the greatest potential for darkness, Emma. Back in the Enchanted Forest, Rumplestiltskin gathers Maleficent, Cruella, and Ursula in a plot to gather a curse to find their happy endings through the retrieval of the Dark Curse.
79 13 "Unforgiven" Adam Horowitz Andrew Chambliss & Kalinda Vazquez March 8, 2015 6.72
In the past of the Enchanted Forest, before the first curse, Snow White and Prince Charming are asked by the Queens of Darkness to find the Tree of Wisdom, for answers on stopping the Evil Queen's Curse. Maleficent later reveals to Snow White that she will also be a mother as well, and asks for help in stopping the Curse to protect both of their children. But she refuses to help a villain. In present-day Storybrooke, Emma is unaware that Mary Margaret, David, and Hook are keeping secrets from her. Cruella, Ursula, and Gold bring Maleficent back to life, whose return could wreck Emma's relationship with her parents, while Hook's past with Ursula could affect his relationship with Emma. Regina attempts to find out if Pinocchio (when he was August Booth) knew about the Author, but a riff prompts Marco to keep him away from Regina; She later apologizes to Marco, who then gives her a bag that may hold the answer to the Author's whereabouts. Gold appears in Storybrooke undetected, and is stunned to see Belle and Will kiss. Mary Margaret tells Regina a secret they can't tell Emma: she was born with a potential for Darkness, and her parents caused the "death" of Maleficent's baby.
80 14 "Enter the Dragon" Ralph Hemecker David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz March 15, 2015 5.88
Regina goes undercover to learn of the Queens' plan to reverse the stories that was ever written about the heroes, with Emma keeping tabs on Regina and the Queens. When Maleficent reveals that they're after Pinocchio and wants Regina to kidnap him, the plans take a different turn after Regina succeeds. At the same time, Mr. Gold, masquerading as Hook, informs Belle that the Queens are after the dagger and agree to hide it, only to have Belle end up being fooled by Gold, who needed the dagger to transform Pinocchio back into August Booth, surprising Regina, who has now "joined" the Queens after being accepted by them. Back in the Enchanted Forest, Regina decides to help Maleficent regain her spirits, in the hours before casting the sleeping curse on Aurora, prior to her wedding to Prince Phillip.
81 15 "Poor Unfortunate Soul" Steve Pearlman Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan March 22, 2015 5.79
As the heroes attempt to rescue August from Gold and the Queens of Darkness in their quest to track down the Author, Hook finds a way to make a deal with Ursula to get the information he needs to help the heroes as a way to make up for what he did back in the past, in which Hook made a deal with Ursula's father Poseidon that led to unfortunate consequences for both Hook and a young Ursula.
82 16 "Best Laid Plans" Ron Underwood Kalinda Vazquez & Jane Espenson March 29, 2015 5.48
As Gold and the Queens of Darkness seek out the Author, Maleficent uses a sleeping spell on Storybrooke so they can find the page containing the Author and uses it as a deal with Gold to find her daughter. At the same time Mary Margaret and David must find a way to stop them in order to keep Emma from finding out about her fate. Henry, who has the page, finds the key to unlock the Author's door. He gives the duplicate to Regina, but Regina is quickly found out to be a double agent by the Villains. Back in time in the Enchanted Forest, Snow White and Prince Charming encounter the Peddler, who then leads them to the Apprentice in a effort to rid any potential darkness from their unborn child. The task becomes one of regret when the Sorcerer and the Apprentice send Maleficent's unborn daughter, Cruella, and Ursula, into the modern world. In modern day, David and Mary Margaret tell Emma the truth about their mistake and August reveals to Emma and Hook that there are more than one Author. When the Author is set free by the heroes, he runs. Gold tells Maleficent that her daughter is alive, revealing that she was sent to the modern world, and named Lily.
83 17 "Heart of Gold" Billy Gierhart Tze Chun & Scott Nimerfro April 12, 2015 5.17
Emma, still upset upon learning the truth from her parents, searches for the Author, who is later found by Gold. Nine weeks earlier, while in New York City, Gold confronts Robin Hood, who is about to move into Baelfire/Neal's apartment with Marian and Roland. When Gold experiences a heart attack, he enlists Robin to steal an elixir to save him, in exchange for letting Robin stay in the apartment, but after Robin completes the task, Gold discovers that the elixir was switched by Zelena. Following her apparent death, Zelena had traveled back in time (along with Emma and Hook, via her spirited soul) and killed Marian, before using the Seven Leaf Clover of Oz to take on her current form. She then returned and has been posing as Marian, to steal away Robin from Regina, and to make Gold suffer. Now, she wants Gold to have the Author released to give her a happy ending, in exchange for the real elixir. In the present, Zelena reveals on the phone that she is alive to Regina, who is left with no choice but to have Emma become dark in order to save Robin. Back in the past in Sherwood Forest, Rumplestiltskin enlists Robin Hood to travel to Oz to steal the same elixir from Zelena.
84 18 "Sympathy for the De Vil" Romeo Tirone David H. Goodman & Jerome Schwartz April 19, 2015 5.12
Cruella is determined to seek revenge on Isaac (the Author), by kidnapping Henry and forcing Emma and Regina to kill him, but it is later revealed that Gold is aware of his past with Cruella, and explains that this encounter will lead to Emma's descent into Darkness. When Isaac is confronted by David and Mary Margaret, he tells them that Cruella will be the reason for Emma's transformation; however, it's too late as, Emma kills Cruella while saving Henry. Meanwhile, back in the 1920s in London, Cruella, who was kept prisoner by her mother, meets Isaac, who vows to take her away from her mother. But when her mother reveals the truth about Cruella to Isaac, the consequences take a toll on both Isaac and Cruella for the rest of their lives.
85 19 "Lily" Ralph Hemecker Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan April 26, 2015 5.21
Upon learning that her former childhood friend Lily is also Maleficent's daughter, Emma embarks on a trip to find her, and Regina joins her in her mission to warn Robin Hood about Zelena. When Emma finally meets up with the now-adult Lily, it turns out Lily has been plotting to seek revenge on Mary Margaret and David, leading to a showoff between Emma and Lily, and prompting Regina to intervene before Emma goes dark. The two make up and race off to New York to warn Robin Hood, but it is too late, as Zelena has not only killed Marian, but is now pregnant with Robin Hood's child. Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke, Gold enlists Will to steal Belle's heart back. After completing the task, Gold reveals that if his heart continues to darken, he will eventually die, and then gives his blessing to Will to take care of Belle. Back in 1999 Minnesota, Emma runs into Lily again, whose presence could threaten Emma's new life with her foster family. When it's discovered that Lily is a thief and the stolen money is found, Emma is thrown out of the home, and comes across Lily once again, who wants to remain friends, but Emma turns her down. Lily's past would later be revealed by the Apprentice, who shows up to explain Lily's past to her, as the Sorcerer reveals back in the Enchanted Forest that their fates are intertwined.
86 20 "Mother" Ron Underwood Jane Espenson May 3, 2015 5.31
Lily is finally reunited with Maleficent in Storybrooke, but Lily still desires vengeance against Mary Margaret and David, even though Maleficent decided to forgive them. At the same time, Isaac informs Gold that he needs Emma's darkness for the ink to write the stories, which leads to Regina securing his services in exchange for obtaining the darkness-infused blood, while Gold passes out, due to his dying heart. As Regina plots to do away with Zelena, she finds the means to do so in Lily, and she cuts her skin to obtain Lily's blood, which contains the darkness transferred from Emma. Lily's anger over this action causes her to transform into a dragon, which leads to a confrontation with Mary Margaret, and Maleficent intervening to convince her that she wants to make up for lost time. She succeeds, as Lily reverts back to human form, and agrees to stay in Storybrooke for one week with Maleficent, while Emma finally forgives Mary Margaret and David. At the asylum, Regina gloats to Zelena about having Isaac write her out of existence, but when Zelena accuses Regina of being like their mother, Cora, Regina decides to spare Zelena's life for now. However, Isaac disappears and returns to Gold, who orders Isaac to write a new story that will alter the destiny of everyone involved, in which the villains will win. Back in the Enchanted Forest, before the first Curse, Cora returns to help Regina seek love, but her interference and influence to ensure that Regina will have an heir to the kingdom results in Regina taking a potion that leaves her infertile.
87-88 21-22 "Operation Mongoose" Romeo Tirone
Ralph Hemecker
Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz May 10, 2015 5.51
Isaac finally completes the "Heroes & Villains" book, and successfully changes the universe by sending everyone back to an alternative version of The Enchanted Forest. Only Henry is left behind, who tracks down Isaac in the Land without Magic, as he discovers that Isaac has become a best-selling author. When Isaac refuses to undo everything (and since he no longer is the Author, having violated the Author's Code), Henry uses a key that sends him and Isaac into the alternate Enchanted Forest. There, in order to undo Isaac's work, Henry has to convince a "Snow White" version of Regina to stop Robin Hood from marrying Zelena, while trying to rescue Emma, who is held captive in the tower by an "Evil Queen" version of Snow White. Henry and Hook help Emma escape the tower and must race against time to make sure that Robin doesn't marry Zelena. However, Isaac blackmails Rumplestiltskin into stopping Emma, but Regina would sacrifice herself after Rumplestiltskin killed her. Emma shows Isaac what he had done in this world but since Isaac cannot undo what happened, it's Henry who can change everything as Isaac has lost the ability to write, and Henry has become the new Author. Henry uses the ink to undo everything that Isaac did, and the timeline is restored with everybody returning to Storybrooke. The Apprentice offers Henry a chance to become the Author, but he turns it down, snapping the pen. The Apprentice also frees an unconscious Gold from the Darkness in his heart, which had nearly killed his heart, by sending it into the Sorcerer's Hat. This purifies Gold's heart and severs his link to the Dagger of Kris in the process. However, the Darkness is too powerful for the hat to contain, and it escapes, attacking the Apprentice. Emma is able to drive out the Darkness with her light magic, but the Apprentice has been fatally wounded, and warns them that only Merlin, the Sorcerer, can prevent the Darkness from destroying all of the realms. The Darkness eventually reappears and attacks Regina, but Emma sacrifices herself and volunteers to tether her soul to the Darkness, to prevent it from destroying everything and everyone, leaving only the Dagger behind, now featuring a new inscription, "Emma Swan."
Note: These episodes aired as a 2-hour special.



The fourth season of Once Upon a Time was confirmed on May 8, 2014, this announcement was followed by the announcement that the first half of the season will air during the autumn of 2014, while the second half will air during the spring of 2015. In August 2014, Maleficent was reported to be the main villain for the second half of the season. Prior to the season premiere, a special aired recapping the previous three seasons, and finished up with the introduction of the Frozen storyline. The theme for the season is "Never give up on the people you love".

Adam Horowitz initially announced that the 2-part episode, "Smash the Mirror", would air at the earlier time of 7/6c and will be two hours long, however this was later contradicted by the official Prime Time schedule which stated that it would premiere in its usual spot of 8/7c,[33] the official ABC press release for the episode and the Futon Critic also supported this start time. Horowitz later clarified via Twitter that the extra hour was in addition to the already announced 22 episodes. He also confirmed that the winter finale would air on December 14, 2014, and later confirmed that the show will return from winter hiatus on March 1, 2015. On March 15, 2015, Horowitz confirmed that the last 2 episodes of the season will form a 2-hour episode.

It has been confirmed that, unlike the Frozen arc, the villains of the second half of season 4 will come from "[Once Upon a Time] mythology" instead of from their respective movies, so their origins will not be how people remember them, in particular, creator Adam Horowitz stated that "[Once] Cruella may have a different backstory than the one that people may remember from the movie" and explained that Maleficent has already been slotted into the mythology in previous seasons.

Another special, similar to the special that aired between the season 3 mid-season finale and premiere, aired an hour before the mid-season premiere on March 1, 2015 and was titled "Secrets of Storybrooke" and narrated by starring cast member, Jennifer Morrison. The special focused on the topic of what it takes to have familiar fairy-tale characters who have been flipped on their heads from their respective origins.


After Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was canceled, it was reported that Michael Socha, who portrayed Will Scarlet / the Knave of Hearts on the spin-off, was in talks to join the main cast of Once Upon a Time as a series regular should the series receive renewal for a fourth season, this was later confirmed on April 20, 2014 and on May 8, 2014, Socha was hired following the season 4 renewal. Michael Raymond-James was confirmed to not be returning as a main cast member, since his character, Neal Cassidy, was killed off. During Comic Con 2014, it was officially announced that Ginnifer Goodwin was returning as Snow White / Mary Margaret Blanchard along with fellow cast members Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming / David Nolan, Colin O'Donoghue as Captain Killian "Hook" Jones and Jared S. Gilmore as Henry Mills, Lana Parrilla as the Evil Queen / Regina Mills and Emilie de Ravin as Belle. De Ravin also confirmed Robert Carlyle's return as Rumpelstiltskin / Mr. Gold, through a photo on her Instagram.

On July 1, 2014, it was announced that Scott Michael Foster had been cast as Frozen character Kristoff and Elizabeth Lail as Anna. The following day, it was announced Georgina Haig had been cast as Elsa. On July 8, 2014, Elizabeth Mitchell was revealed to have been cast in an undisclosed role.[48] It was later revealed that she would be playing an evil Snow Queen, much like the one from the original Hans Christian Andersan fairy tale. The character would be Anna's and Elsa's aunt, Ingrid. Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz had also cast a real reindeer as Sven. On July 28, 2014, Tyler Jacob Moore and John Rhys-Davies were both announced to be playing Prince Hans and Grand Pabbie, respectively. The third episode, "Rocky Road", revealed that the roles of two of Hans' brothers, Franz and Jurgen, had been given to Nils Hognestad and Marcus Rosner respectively.

Returning recurring cast members include Sean Maguire as Robin Hood, Christie Laing as Maid Marian, Giancarlo Esposito as the Magic Mirror / Sidney Glass, Beverley Elliott as Granny, Lee Arenberg as Dreamy / Grumpy / Leroy, Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket / Dr. Archie Hopper and Keegan Connor Tracy as the Blue Fairy / Mother Superior. Faustino Di Bauda also returned as Sleepy / Walter and so did Kristin Bauer van Straten as Maleficent.

On September 4, it was revealed that Frances O’Connor was cast as Belle's mother, Colette for the sixth episode, although appearances later on in the season were also hinted. A new character, Lily, has been cast to Nicole Muñoz, while Sally Pressman was given the role of Helga. It was announced on November 5, 2014 that Victoria Smurfit would be portraying Cruella de Vil in a recurring capacity later on in the season and that hints will be placed in the next few episodes. Another Disney villain was also cast in the form of Ursula from The Little Mermaid who was portrayed by Merrin Dungey, the character portrayed is named after the original sea-goddess who was portrayed by Yvette Nicole Brown in the season 3 episode, "Ariel".[64] Straten, Smurfit, and Dungey all first appeared in the winter finale, "Heroes and Villains",[66] and are collectively called the "Queens of Darkness".

On October 17, 2014, Rebecca Wisocky was revealed to have been cast as the con-artist Madam Faustina for the ninth episode, "Fall", while a few days later on October 22, David Paul Grove, Gabe Khouth, Michael Coleman, Mig Macario and Jeffrey Kaiser were confirmed to be returning as the remaining seven dwarves. On October 25, 2014, Ginnifer Goodwin revealed that Mary Margaret's and David's son, Neal Nolan, is portrayed by eight different babies, adding: "I used to be like, 'babies look like babies.' And now that I have a baby, I'm like, how does the audience not notice that in every shot, this is a different kid?"

The season's first episode, "A Tale of Two Sisters" saw the return of Jason Burkart as Little John, who reprised his role in the sixth episode, and Raphael Alejandro as Roland who reprised the role in the third and sixth episodes, and introduced Pascale Hutton as the Queen of Arendelle, Anna and Elsa's mother, who reappeared in the seventh episode while the second episode, "White Out", introduced Robin Weigert as Bo Peep, and saw the return of Gabrielle Rose as Ruth, Prince Charming's mother. The fourth episode, "The Apprentice", introduced Timothy Webber as the Apprentice who reprised his role in the two-hour episode "Smash the Mirror", and the sixteenth episode, "Best Laid Plans". The fourth episode also saw the return of Brad Dourif as the previous Dark One, Zoso. The fifth episode, "Breaking Glass" saw the return of Abby Ross reprised her role as a teenage Emma in "Breaking Glass", "Shattered Sight", and "Best Laid Plans".

The sixth episode, "Family Business" saw the return of Eric Keenleyside as Maurice, Belle's father, and introduced Darcey Johnson as Oaken. The following episode, "The Snow Queen", saw the return of Jessy Schram as Ashley / Cinderella and Sarah Bolger as Aurora, and it also introduced Brighton Sharbino as a younger version of Elizabeth Mitchell's character, Ingrid, Ava Marie Telek as a younger version of Gerda, the Queen of Arendelle, Sally Pressman as Helga, Bailey Herbert as a young Helga, and Jonathan Runyon as a younger Duke of Weselton. The ninth episode, "Fall", saw the return of Charles Mesure as Black Beard.

Patrick Fischler has been cast in a "Key Recurring Role" as a Peddler named Gorin who first appeared in episode 17, "Best Laid Plans" where he was revealed to also be the "Author". Fischler is also set to reprise his role in the eighteen episode, "Heart of Gold".

During a second Q&A on the December 15, Horowitz confirmed the return of Joanna Garcia Swisher as Ariel. On December 18, 2014, Eion Bailey was confirmed to be returning August Booth / Pinocchio for "multiple Season 4 episodes", starting with the fourteenth episode, "Enter the Dragon". It was also revealed that Ernie Hudson had been cast as Poseidon, who is also Ursula's Father, and Sebastian Roche as King Stefan. In February 2015, Rebecca Mader was confirmed to be returning as Wicked Witch of the West / Zelena and Wil Traval was revealed to be returning as the Sheriff of Nottingham / Keith. Both Mader and Traval have been confirmed to be reprising their roles in the seventeenth episode, "Heart of Gold".

Agnes Bruckner has been confirmed to appear in a three episode arc in the role of an adult Lily, a friend of Emma from her childhood who was portrayed by Nicole Muñoz in the fifth episode, "Breaking Glass". On February 28, Adam Horowitz confirmed the return of Barbara Hershey in a later part of the season. The thirteenth episode, "Unforgiven", which aired on March 8, 2015, saw the return of Tony Amendola as Geppetto / Marco and Jakob Davies as young Pinocchio, his older counterpart August Booth, portrayed by Eion Bailey, was reintroduced in the following episode. The episode that aired on March 22, 2015, "Poor Unfortunate Soul", saw the return of Christopher Gauthier as William Smee and introduced Tiffany Boone as a younger version of Ursula. The following episode, "Best Laid Plans", saw the return of Barclay Hope as Lily's adoptive father.


The season airs simultaneously on CTV in Canada. In New Zealand, it is currently airing on TVNZ.


Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 58% approval rating with an average rating of 7.5/10 based on 11 reviews among critics and a score of 85% from 315 audience scores with an average rating of 4.2/5. The website's consensus reads, "The addition of a Frozen subplot feels like a marketing angle, but Once Upon a Time Season Four shines, adding more layers to an already complex story."


No Title Air date Ratings/share
DVR Viewers
Total Viewers
1 "A Tale of Two Sisters" September 28, 2014 3.5/11 9.47 1.0 2.72 4.5 12.19
2 "White Out" October 5, 2014 3.2/9 8.78 1.2 2.84 4.4 11.62
3 "Rocky Road" October 12, 2014 2.7/7 7.92 1.3 3.02 4.0 10.94
4 "The Apprentice" October 19, 2014 2.7/7 8.07 1.2 2.79 3.9 10.86
5 "Breaking Glass" October 26, 2014 2.4/6 6.87 1.1 N/A 3.5 N/A
6 "Family Business" November 2, 2014 2.6/7 7.54 1.3 3.04 3.9 10.57
7 "The Snow Queen" November 9, 2014 2.5/7 7.42 1.4 3.39 3.9 10.81
8 "Smash the Mirror" November 16, 2014 2.4/6 6.80 1.2 2.89 3.6 9.69
9 "Fall" November 30, 2014 2.1/5 6.43 1.1 2.69 3.2 9.12
10 "Shattered Sight" December 7, 2014 2.0/5 6.20 1.2 2.97 3.2 9.17
11 "Heroes and Villains" December 14, 2014 1.7/5 5.69 1.2 2.76 2.9 8.45
12 "Darkness on the Edge of Town" March 1, 2015 2.2/6 6.66 1.1 2.55 3.3 9.21
13 "Unforgiven" March 8, 2015 2.1/6 6.72 0.9 N/A 3.0 N/A
14 "Enter the Dragon" March 15, 2015 1.8/6 5.88 1.1 2.52 2.9 8.40
15 "Poor Unfortunate Soul" March 22, 2015 1.9/6 5.79 1.0 2.50 2.9 8.29
16 "Best Laid Plans" March 29, 2015 1.7/6 5.48 1.1 2.47 2.8 7.95
17 "Heart of Gold" April 12, 2015 1.6/5 5.17 1.1 2.51 2.7 7.68
18 "Sympathy for the De Vil" April 19, 2015 1.7/5 5.12 1.0 2.49 2.7 7.61
19 "Lily" April 26, 2015 1.7/5 5.21 1.0 2.19 2.7 7.40
20 "Mother" May 3, 2015 1.7/6 5.31 1.0 2.37 2.7 7.68
21/22 "Operation Mongoose" May 10, 2015 1.8/6 5.51 1.0 2.46 2.8 7.97

The premiere episode of the season, "A Tale of Two Sisters", achieved a weekly viewership ranking of #21.

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