The man we will later come to know as Prince Charming gallops through a wintry forest. When he finds Snow White in a glass coffin, the dwarves tell him he is too late.
But Charming kisses Snow, and she comes back to life. “I will always find you,” he says — the first of many times he will say that during Season One.
The Evil Queen, dressed in black with red accents, her magic powers already evident, barges in on their wedding and vows to destroy their happiness.
Cut to our world, where Henry reads about the wedding in his book. He’s on the bus, on his way to Boston to find Emma, who is a tough and smart, but lonely, bail bondsperson celebrating her 28th birthday alone.
She is shocked to learn he’s the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago and only wants to take him home.
In Fairy Tale Land, a pregnant Snow drags a reluctant Prince to see Rumpelstiltskin in the dungeon, believing only Rumpel will be able to protect her child from the Queen. Rumpel offers a deal if Snow will tell him the unborn child’s name. She accepts, and Rumpel explains the Queen’s curse, how time will stop, and everything they love will be ripped away from them — but how the child will return on her 28th birthday to save them, and the final battle will begin.
We get our first glimpse of events that will be fleshed out more in later episodes: the carving of the enchanted tree, the coming of the curse, the newborn Emma’s escape in the wardrobe.
Back in our world, Emma and Henry drive through the rain to Storybrooke. The clock in the tower is at 8:15. 8 and 15 are two of “the numbers” from LOST, and the clock is the first of several LOST shout-outs that OUAT’s creators, who used to write for LOST, inserted into the pilot for the amusement of LOST fans.
Emma drops Henry off at Regina’s. She intends to drive back to Boston, but when she reaches the edge of Storybrooke, a wolf stands in the middle of the road. She swerves, loses contol of her car, knocks over the “Welcome to Storybrooke” sign, and ends up temporarily in Sheriff Graham’s jail.
Henry tells Emma that she is in Storybrooke because it’s her destiny, that she’s going to bring back the happy endings. Emma refuses to believe any of it. But when Henry pleads with her to stay for just a week, she checks into Granny’s Bed & Breakfast — despite, or maybe because of, Regina’s threatening to destroy her if she didn’t leave town and get out of Henry’s life.
In the episode’s very last scene, Henry leans on his windowsill, staring at the clock tower. Suddenly, the minute hand moves. Time is no longer stuck. Henry grins.