The Great Once Upon a Time Rewatch | Episode 3: Snow Falls

Snow White and Prince Charming meet in unusual circumstances, while Mary Margaret starts to form a strong connection to mysterious coma patient John Doe.

Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared S. Gilmore, and Jamie Dornan

Once Upon a Time

Season 1
Episode 3: Snow Falls

The Enchanted Forest

Prince Charming, along with fiancée Abigail (Anastasia Griffith), are stopped on the road by a fallen tree, cut some sort of bandit, who steals Charming’s bag of valuables, including a ring that used to belong to his mother. Setting chase to the thief, Charming succeeds in knocking them off their horse and discovers that they are, in fact, Snow White, who hits him with a rock and escapes, while Charming vows to find her.

Eventually, he manages to track and capture her, and she promises to show Charming where she has his jewels stashed. While they walk, Charming discovers the Wanted poster of Snow in her bag, and she explains that the Evil Queen blames her for ruining her life which, it turns out, she did. Snow manages to escape Charming at a river, but is then captured by the Queen’s henchman. Charming fights them off, earning Snow’s trust, and they once again set off to find the stolen items.

They arrive at a bridge where Snow sold the goods to a group of trolls. The trolls become suspicious when she wants to buy back the ring and start to fight the pair. Snow uses fairy dust to turn the trolls into bugs, saving Charming in the process. As Snow hands him back his goods, including the wedding ring, Snow slips it on and looks at it before handing it back to him and heading off on their separate paths.


Mary Margaret is on a date with Dr. Whale (David Anders), but he finds himself far too distracted by Ruby. On her way home, she bumps into Emma, who is searching for a place to stay in her car, and offers her the spare room at her apartment. The next day, at the hospital, Henry relays to Mary Margaret that he believes that the coma patient John Doe is Prince Charming and asks her to read to Charming from the storybook, believing that this will wake him up. Mary Margaret initially isn’t sure, but Emma thinks that if Mary Margaret plays along, they can gently convince Henry that his stories aren’t true. When Mary Margaret starts to read to John Doe, he grabs her hand. Dr. Whale immediately phones Regina, as he had been instructed to do if he were to wake up.

The following day, Henry, Emma and Mary Margaret head back to the hospital, but discover that John Doe is missing. Regina appears, claiming that she is the emergency contact for the patient, as she was the one who found him at the side of the road unconscious. Emma, Mary Margaret and Graham head to the security footage room and discover that John Doe went out into the woods.

They find John Doe lying near the bridge that resembles the troll bridge in the flashbacks, and Mary Margaret revives him. When they take him back to the hospital, Regina appears with a woman called Kathryn (Griffith), and states that she is married to John Doe, whose real name is David Nolan. Mary Margaret, who had started to believe in Henry’s words and had developed a fondness for David, is crushed. Emma is quite suspicious of how Regina found Kathryn, and why Kathryn had remained silent for so long about her missing husband. Later that evening, Emma arrives at Mary Margaret’s and agrees to stay with her.


  • This episode introduces us to a couple more major players, in Abigail/Kathryn, who will prove to be a major obstacle in Snow and Charming’s relationship, both in the Enchanted Forest and in Storybrooke. We also meet Dr. Whale, and a security guard at the hospital, who seems to be the counterpart of Sleepy, the dwarf.
  • The flashbacks in this episode precede even that of the pilot episode, giving us important context into Snow and Charming’s relationship, and helping us root for their connection. The reveal that Kathryn is married to the coma patient is frustrating, as it seems that fixing the curse is getting further and further away.
  • The meeting of Snow and Charming is so different to what is perhaps expected of these fairytale characters, especially since traditionally their first encounter is when the Prince kisses her while she is…well…comatose. So this is a step forward. It’s also quite a nice subversion to see Snow being so feisty and becoming a bandit. It’s a much more gritty interpretation of the character, and a far cry from the damsel who dances around and cooks for a merry band of dwarves in the wood.
  • This episode is very singular in its focus. There are no other storylines going on her, other than Snow and Charming/Mary Margaret and David. It’s a great time to focus upon the leads at the heart of this drama, and it’s really the first time that we as an audience have an opportunity to fall in love with Snow. While she was present in the Pilot, really the heroic turn in that episode was given to Charming, and since then we have had to endure Mary Margaret, who is a little bit pathetic, love her as I do. Here we get to see Ginnifer Goodwin at her charming best, imbuing Snow with a sense of experience and worldliness that isn’t often associated with the character. It’s worth mentioning, of course, that – even though this show debuted just under nine years ago – it is considerable just for a female character to be given agency (obviously, that is setting the bar monumentally low, but we forget how many badass female characters we have had since). To see a Disney Princess given such action moments, not least the original Disney Princess, is a major reconception of the character, and the mantle of being a “Princess”. See, girls, you don’t have to just look pretty and wave in a dress. Princess is a mindset. Speaking of which, doesn’t it always seem weird thinking of these Princesses and Princes as being Kings and Queens? Charming is just too nice to be King!
  • I entirely digress. Another strength of this episode was the reduction in the use of CGI. I often find it quite distracting in the scenes that are trying to be grand Disney-esque palaces or landscapes which are clearly against a green screen. There’s much less of that here.
  • To summarise, this episode really makes us fall in love with Snow, as well as wanting to root for her romance with Charming, in a way that we weren’t really presented with before, seeing them both as individuals, as they begin to fall in love.

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