by Samantha Lee @samsjag
"Ruby Slippers" it turns out, was not just the title of the show, but also the name of the newest "ship" on ONCE. Many fans were rooting for MulanRouge, but I for one was very satisfied with RubySlipers. In addition to the adventures in Oz, the Charmings continued to try and figure out how to defeat Hades and Belle decided to take matters into her own hands to protect her unborn baby.
Let's begin with Ruby's story. Ruby and Mulan have been searching for Ruby's werewolf pack. Their search has brought them to Oz where they cross paths with Dorothy, who is all grown-up and gained some warrior skills. They get off to a rocky start as Ruby accidentally frightens Toto who runs away. So the three women go in search of the dog, but they end up finding Zelena who has just been banished back to Oz by Regina to keep her away from her baby girl. Zelena has caught Toto and is willing to trade him to Dorothy for the silver slippers. She gives Dorothy a day to return the slippers which have been hidden away. Dorothy, along with Mulan and Ruby come up with a plan to recover Toto by knocking Zelena out with a sleeping potion. Ruby and Dorothy have some time to bond as they go to find some poppies for the potion. They are attacked by flying monkeys and escape by Ruby changing to her wolf form and having Dorothy ride her away! They return to Mulan and Dorothy seems shaken by the sight of Ruby's transformation. She goes to bed early and leaves the other two to talk. Ruby admits to Mulan that her feelings of not quite belonging, not quite knowing what it was that she needed to be happy have finally found an answer and that answer is Dorothy. Mulan encourages Ruby to make her feelings known without delay, because she knows what happens if you wait until your chance for happiness has passed. Ruby goes to Dororthy, but finds she has gone off in the night, presumably to rescue Toto on her own.
After Dorothy disappears, Ruby uses a tracking spell to find Zelena and that's how she ends up in the Underworld. She tells the others about Dorothy's disappearance and that she suspects Zelena knows something about it. Regina, Snow, Emma and Ruby go to confront Zelena. Zelena has already had a visit from Hades who warned her about Ruby's arrival in the Underworld. Zelena decides the best thing for her to do is to leave, rather than face Ruby. But, the ladies arrive before she can use the silver slippers to wish herself away. Zelena confesses that she put Dorothy under a sleeping curse which was a virtual death sentence for a girl with no family and no lover. Ruby is distraught. Regina convinces Zelena to give her the silver slippers and help to save Dorothy. So, they have the slippers, now all they need is someone to give Dorothy "True Love's Kiss". They track down Dorothy's Aunt Em. They ask her to blow a kiss into a bottle so Ruby can take it back to Oz. But, just as Aunt Em, who happens to run a diner called "Aunties" is about to blow the kiss she melts into a puddle of water! Hades is there. He warns all the residents of the Underworld that they will meet the same fate if they help the Heroes in any way. Then he sops up Aunt Em in a rag and squeezes her into a mason jar before he poofs away.
Ruby is frantic and Snow takes her aside for a talk. Ruby is upset that now there is no one to give Dorothy True Love's Kiss and wake her from the sleeping curse. "I don't think that's entirely true," says Snow. "Well who else can give her True Love's Kiss?" asks Ruby. "I don't know...umm...maybe you," replies Snow with a knowing look. And just as easy as that, Snow, who is one of Ruby's oldest and best friends, gives her validation and approval for the love she is feeling for Dorothy. Finally, Ruby confides in Snow of her feelings for Dorothy. Snow encourages her to go to Dorothy right away.
Everyone meets up at the Underbrooke graveyard to say goodbye to Ruby and David who are going to use the silver slippers to go back to Oz and then Storybrooke. Snow and David have last words of encouragement for each other as they prepare to part ways, again. Suddenly, David and Hook show the others that Hook was able to scratch Snow's name off the tombstone and replace it with David's. So now Snow is free to leave the Underworld and David will stay in her place. The Charming's love theme begins to swell and after a final kiss with David, Snow takes Ruby's hand and they transport away to Oz.
Zelena visits Hades in his lair. She has come to tell him that she might be open to his offer. He shows her Auntie Em in the jar. He pours her trapped soul into the river and tells Zelena he got rid of Auntie Em for Zelena to help keep Dorothy trapped forever. It was a gift for her. Zelena admits she is terrified to accept Hades' love, but a chance she is willing to take.
Ruby and Snow arrive in Oz where Mulan and the Munchkins watch over Dorothy who is carefully laid out as anyone under a sleeping curse should be. A nervous but excited Ruby approaches, gathers her courage and leans down to kiss her. An emerald tinged rainbow gusts through them as the curse is broken and Dorothy wakes. She is surprised but very happy to see Ruby. Dorothy says she went off on her own to protect Ruby from Zelena. They declare their love and seal it with more kisses.
In the Charming's loft Henry adds this new chapter to the Storybook. Also included are pages showing that Snow is home in Storybrooke holding Baby Neal.
Across town Belle returns to Gold's shop after having visited with Zelena. Belle asked her to help stop Hades from taking her baby. Zelena did not think she could convince Hades to do that, but she did have another idea. Belle tells Rumple that she had figured out a way to prevent Hades from taking the baby. Zelena has given her a sleeping curse. Belle tells Rumple that by going under the curse she and the baby will be protected until Rumple can figure out how to get out of the contract with Hades. Rumple tells her that she cannot use this curse as a way of forcing him to become light to be able to wake her with True Love's Kiss. Belle says that she does not expect him to do that. She tells Rumple that her father can be the one to wake her and, despite Rumple's protests, she pricks her finger. Rumple rushes forward and catches her as she falls to the ground. This is the real reason why Rumple keeps a cot in the backroom of the shop. You never know when Belle will need to take a nap for a few minutes, or a few weeks.
I know there are many different opinions about the pairing of Ruby and Dorothy: Was it rushed? Was it appropriate? Was it relevant? Personally, I would answer: Yes, Yes and Yes. It would have been nice for there to be more time to develop the romance between Ruby and Dorothy, but we all know there is just not enough screen time to go around as it is. On the other hand, Ruby is a very well developed character who has been a part of the show since the very first episode. And even though actress Megan Ory has moved on to other projects, she has managed to come back every season which I think makes Ruby a relevant part of the continuing story. Personally, I'm happy that Ruby finally found True Love. As for whether or not this relationship is appropriate I see two consenting adults who are in love, so for me this relationship is appropriate. As I said, I do think it was relevant to the story and character of Ruby, for a more personal perspective of how this on-screen relationship is relevant to fans in our own real world, please read this reaction piece by Ashley Benson which can be found here.