Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
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Selfless, Brave and True 

Mary Margaret encounters a completely wooden August and Neal's fiancée arrives in Storybrooke, as flashbacks show August seek the help of a healer in Phuket when he starts to turn into wood.


Ralph Hemecker


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle French (credit only)
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones (credit only)
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Meghan Ory ... Ruby Lucas (credit only)
Robert Carlyle ... Mr. Gold (credit only)
Tony Amendola ... Marco
Eion Bailey ... August W. Booth
Ethan Embry ... Greg Mendell
Tzi Ma ... The Dragon
Sonequa Martin-Green ... Tamara
Michael Raymond-James ... Neal Cassidy


Mary Margaret begins to deal with her guilt concerning the death of Cora while Neal's fiancée arrives in Storybrooke. Meanwhile, back in Phuket, August seeks the help of a healer known as the "dragon" when he starts to turn into wood. Written by Nadia Nassar

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 March 2013 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When August runs from Tamara in Hong Kong he falls in an alley. As the aerial shot moves away from him the yellow sign above him bare's the name Winnie's Pub, a reference to the Disney character Winnie the Pooh See more »


Snow White/Mary-Margaret is shooting arrows rapidly in succession. As she pulls the arrows from her quiver with her right hand and nocks it on the string, pulling back with fingers her right hand, the shaft of the (obiously CGI) arrow is on the left side of the bow, seeming to have passed through it. See more »


The Dragon: I need something close to your heart, something that cannot be replaced.
[Looks at the necklace August is wearing]
August W. Booth: This? It's... It's worthless.
The Dragon: The pendant, perhaps, but the string... it was the string your father used to animate you as a freshly carved puppet. In a way, it first gave you life. It will serve as payment from your soul.
August W. Booth: Will it work?
The Dragon: Perhaps. Now... as any vendor from *this* world, I also need payment from your wallet.
See more »


Bad Reputation
Written by Joan Jett, Ritchie Cordell, Kenny Laguna, and Marty Kupersmith
Performed by Joan Jett
See more »

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User Reviews

A long way from wooden
14 February 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee 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.

"Selfless, Brave and True" is a very well done episode on the whole with a lot done right. On the other hand, after 'Once Upon a Time' was taking major strides in the right direction, with "The Queen is Dead", "The Miller's Daughter" (especially good) and "Welcome to Storybrooke" after the disappointing "In the Name of the Brother" and "Tiny", it also feels somewhat of a let-down.

By all means, "Selfless, Brave and True" does continue the show's growth in character development and plot progression. It is let down though by a few overly convenient plot points and especially the distractingly terrible look of the wooden Pinocchio (some may consider this a nit-pick, for me though it was far too amateurishly distracting to ignore).

The characters are still very interesting with ever clearer motivations, and the episode does a great allowing one to empathise with August. While other episodes are more successful at advancing its story elements and having a more seamless structure, things are balanced well, make sense and there is emotional impact (Mary Margaret's guilt is especially well done).

All the acting is good to great, Eion Bailey and Ginnifer Goodwin are standouts.

Furthermore, "Selfless, Brave and True" is a very handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. Only wooden Pinocchio's look disappoints. It is photographed beautifully too. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.

Writing has the right balance of humour, pathos, mystery and intrigue.

Concluding, very well done. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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