The Tower
Season 3, Episode 14
Airdate March 23, 2014
Written by Robert Hull
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Episode Guide
Witch Hunt
Quiet Minds
The Tower is the fourteenth episode of the third season of the American fantasy drama series Once Upon a Time, and the show's 58th episode overall, which aired on March 23, 2014.

In this episode, as Emma Swan, Captain Hook, Regina Mills, and David Nolan search for the Wicked Witch of the West in Storybrooke, Zelena puts her plan into motion by planning something dark for David, while back in the Fairy Tale world a year earlier, Charming comes to the aid of Rapunzel as he searches for a plant that could help him face his fears.

View the The Tower Gallery.


Opening Sequence

Rapunzel's tower is featured in the forest.

In the Characters' Past

In the Enchanted Forest nine months prior to the new curse, Charming hears someone crying in the nursery, and sees Emma Swan wearing a gown that she plans to wear to her ball with her father. But as they start to dance the room starts to turn dark and the magical tree wardrobe starts to suck Emma into its portal, which wakes Charming up from his nightmare, but this time he and Snow White are back in the fortress, where Snow tells her husband that they are expecting another child.

The news of Snow's pregnancy leaves Charming with mixed feelings, prompting him to seek advice from Robin Hood, who suggests that he should look for a mystical herb called nightroot to help him calm down. Later on the next day as he starts chopping the root in the forest, Charming hears a woman screaming from a nearby tower, and notices a rope of long black hair which is revealed to belong to Rapunzel. She says she’s a king’s daughter who was also trying to seek out the nightroot in order to calm her nightmares after her brother died, but then tells him that the nightroot didn’t work.

Unbeknownst to the two individuals, a cloaked stranger arrives and climbs the tower. The mysterious person is revealed to be the exact double of Rapunzel, who is trying to steal her courage. As Rapunzel is lured into her fears, Charming tells her to fight back and face it, even as he almost loses his grip on her hair. He then insists that the only way to end the fears is by cutting them off and escaping the tower. The psychology works, and the hooded individual disappears after Rapunzel slices off her hair, allowing her to escape the tower. She then thanks Charming for helping her, saying that she was afraid to go home because of her brother's death, as he died trying to save her from drowning in a nearby creek. As Charming returns to the palace to reunite Rapunzel with her family, he confesses to Snow that he was afraid that he lost Emma twice.

In Storybrooke

Flash forward nine months later to present-day Storybrooke, where Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, and Hook try to come up a plan to expose The Wicked Witch of The West. As they begin their search, Regina tells the others that she'll stay and keep Henry company. At the farm house cellar, Zelena takes care of her prisoner Rumplestiltskin, who has gone insane inside the cage. Zelena starts shaving Rumplestiltskin with his Dagger when she accidentally makes a cut, then apologizes sarcastically.

She later visits the pawn shop, where she tells Belle that she is looking for a gift to give to a baby, tricks Belle by freezing her with a green glow and immediately takes the nightroot that was kept in a jar inside the safe (using Rumplestiltskin's nicked blood).

At Regina's office, Emma, Hook, and David search for clues, when David recognizes a berry that he had seen once before in the forest. He then receives a text message from Mary Margaret that the new midwife has stopped by and wants to meet him.

As he arrives back to the apartment, Zelena is making tea for the Charmings, but David is very suspicious about Zelena, even after Mary Margaret tells him that Zelena was once friends with her late nanny Johanna. Unbeknownst to the two, Zelena is spiking one of the teas with the nightroot and after she returns to join in the conversation, Zelena asks David if he has any fears about Mary Margaret's pregnancy. David says no and takes a drink from the cup with the nightroot. As David later leaves the apartment and drives off, he begins to feel unnerved after he sees what appears to be a hooded individual in the road and texts Emma that he might have seen the Witch.

In between these events, Regina tries to bond with Henry at the park, where he tells Regina about Walsh, saying it was odd that his mother took him out of school to go to Maine two days after the proposal, noting that “We wouldn’t be here if she said yes.” Meanwhile in the forest, Hook discovers the berries that David recognized from Regina's office, but Emma suspects that Hook isn't telling her the truth about the past year. However, Hook says that he was glad that Walsh broke Emma's heart, saying that if her heart can be broken, it means it still works. As the two arrive at the farm house, they discover the cellar and investigate. Emma receives a message that David found the Witch in the forest, only for him to stab the individual, who turns out to be an exact double of David, who stares the real David down and drains him dry during their duel. This prompts the latter to face his fears of being a father, vowing never to give in to fear. The double then disappears before Emma, Regina, and Hook arrive, where they find the cellar and the cage empty, the only clue left being a spinning wheel, indicating that she has Rumplestiltskin.

Regina tells David that the doppelgänger he was fighting with might be toying with them, but he doesn't remember anything about the previous encounter (when he saved Rapunzel from the individual). Regina believes that Zelena taking David's sword means that she's taken a part of his courage, or at least a symbol of it.

Cultural References

  • Regina makes a reference to Nancy Drew in response to Emma's detective work.
  • More Wizard Of Oz references can be found in the kitchen stove and the bicycle that bear a resemblance to the items in the 1939 film.
  • Goblins with a Shrek face are engraved in the decorations on the wall of Rapunzel's tower
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