Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
5 user 2 critic

The Stranger 

August's real identity is revealed as his condition worsens. Regina tries to seduce David to spite Mary Margaret.


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Episode cast overview:
... Mary Margaret Blanchard / Snow White
... Emma Swan
... Regina Mills / Evil Queen
... David Nolan / Prince Charming
... August W. Booth
... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
... Jiminy Cricket (voice)
... Mr. Gold
... Geppetto / Marco
... Blue Fairy
... Pinocchio
Rick Dobran ... Raskind
Isaiah Lehtinen ... Gordie


Out of jail, Mary Margaret resumes her teaching job. Meanwhile August Booth takes Emma out of Storybrook to the place where they came into this world to try and make her believe that the stories are true. There he confesses to her his true identity. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

magic | See All (1) »


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 April 2012 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The number on August's door is 2. This is a sly nod to the film connected to August's identity, the second animated feature produced by Disney. See more »


When Regina and Mary Margaret are talking at the school, Mary's fringe changes repeatedly between shots. See more »


Emma Swan: You're asking me to believe that you are a fairy tale character?
August W. Booth: Pinocchio.
Emma Swan: Right. Of course, Pinocchio. Explains all the lying.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening sequence gives a hint to the episodes main story line by showing a character or event happening in the dark forest underneath the title. See more »


References Tron (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Pinocchio turned on its head
4 January 2018 | by See all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

For me, "The Stranger" is one of the best episodes of Season 1. There is very little wrong with it, but to me the way Regina tries to spite Mary Margaret (or at least that seemed to be the reason, it was not as clear as it could have been) seemed somewhat extreme, even for her that was cruel. Emma is also far too stubborn here and it's getting tired.

Actually totally understood Henry's hate towards Regina and what he says to her is what we are thinking too. Really loved Henry's chemistry with Jennifer Morrison's Emma and Jared Gilmore does a very good job here.

The twist involving August's real identity was clever and not frustrating at all. This time, it's Pinocchio who gets the back-story, fairy tale flashback treatment and his story getting turned on its head. It's also one of the more imaginative, twisty and compelling ones of the first season from personal opinion. How it integrates with the Storybrooke parallel is handled beautifully too.

Meanwhile the other subplots are just as well done, liked what was done with Geppetto (a less kind treatment of the character to usual) and with Snow White and the Blue Fairy. Baby Emma is adorable. Regina is in full on bitchy mode without being too pantomimic.

Visually "The Stranger" is a very handsomely mounted episode, settings and costumes that are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. The effects are also above average, not exceptional but not bad. It is photographed beautifully and there is some make-up that suited the characters perfectly. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.

Regarding the writing, "The Stranger" shows that it really has come on a long way. There is far less corn and instead the humour, emotional and tense elements and the balance between them are getting stronger. The story is absorbing.

Lana Parrilla and Eion Bailey are the high points of the cast with the meatiest material. Ginnifer Goodwin continues to charm, Jennifer Morrison is growing as Emma all the time despite the character's stubbornness and Jared Gilmore shines in his scenes with Morrison and Parrilla.

In summation, great episode and one of Season 1's best. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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