For those who are unfamiliar with the series, ABC’s Once Upon a Time is a fantasy/adventure series that brings fictional characters from multiple fairy tales into various storylines. In the series, Snow White, Prince Charming, Captain Hook, and even Snow White’s former evil stepmother unite to face multiple villains including the Wicked Witch, Hades, Peter Pan, Cruella de Vil, and other antagonists.
This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time titled “Ruby Slippers” introduced its first gay storyline.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from “Ruby Slippers.”]
In “Ruby Slippers,” Little Red Riding Hood, AKA “Red,” and Mulan wind up in Oz where they come across Dorothy and her pal Toto. Toto runs off because he realizes Red is part wolf. When he runs off, Dorothy, Red, and Mulan chase after him. During their search for Toto, Dorothy and Red immediately connect through their common experiences particularly being outcasts in their communities. There’s also some subtle flirting between the two.
They eventually come across the Wicked Witch who captures Toto in a basket and gives Dorothy an ultimatum. She either returns the silver (not ruby) slippers or she will roast Toto. The Wicked Witch says she has a limited amount of time to make a decision as she vanishes in smoke with Toto.
Later that evening, Red reveals to Mulan that she realizes she has found what she has been looking for in Dorothy and that she has never felt this way about anyone including her deceased ex-boyfriend. Mulan encourages Red to tell Dorothy how she feels before it’s too late and just when Red musters up the courage to tell her, she discovers that Dorothy left to go find the Wicked Witch.
Later, Red uses a tracking spell to find the Wicked Witch and she is transported to the underworld where Snow White, her team, and the Wicked Witch are currently trapped in. Red tells Snow White that she was trying to track the Wicked Witch to see what she did to Dorothy. The Wicked Witch eventually reveals that she put Dorothy under a sleeping curse and she can only be awaken by true love’s first kiss. So Red, Snow White, and the rest of the heroes set off to find Dorothy’s beloved Auntie Em who happens to run her own diner in the underworld. They inform Aunt Em that Dorothy is in trouble and as they prepare to take her to Oz, Hades melts Aunt Em and she turns into water.
The heroes, especially Red is distraught because Aunt Em was the solution she needed to wake up Dorothy. Then Snow White helps Red realize that she can also wake up Dorothy by kissing her but Red is worried that Dorothy won’t wake up because her feelings may not be mutual. In the end Red decides to give it a try and she and Snow White head to the land of Oz where Dorothy remains sound asleep by the curse. Red kisses Dorothy and boom she wakes up. After they reveal their true feelings for each other, they begin to passionately kiss.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis responded to the Dorothy and Little Red Riding Hood romance by stating “True Love’s kiss has been a staple of this show since the beginning. This past Sunday’s episode was just another example of how in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love.”
Dorothy and Red’s romance definitely caught fans by surprise because prior to “Ruby Slippers,” there wasn’t anything that hinted that they were gay. In fact, the only confirmed LGBT character in the fantasy series was Mulan. Back in January, Jamie Chung who plays Mulan spoke to E! Online about Mulan’s feelings toward Sleeping Beauty. Initially fans thought Mulan was in love with Prince Phillip but Chung shared her interpretation by saying “She had gone on this journey and she’s forever been searching for Princess Aurora and finally they find Aurora and she’s left out in the cold.” Chung added “And then Phillip disappears and it’s her journey with Aurora finding Philip. So I think she’s been able to develop a really deep relationship with both characters and I think ultimately her heart was with Aurora.”
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC and is also available on Hulu.