In this episode, we learn Prince Charming's real name as well as how he and Snow White first met. The Storybrooke characters make a major stride in breaking the Evil Queen's spell.
Author’s note: Lines between paragraphs indicate scene changes between Fairy Tale Land and Storybrooke/present day.
We begin episode three in Fairy Tale Land, on a woodland lane. Prince Charming and his vapid girlfriend ride in a carriage down the lane. Suddenly, there's a disturbance - a tree down in the middle of the road; Charming realizes it's been purposely cut. Just then, a hooded rider swoops in, steals Charming's jewelry pouch and gallops off. Charming gives chase and finds that the ambusher is none other than Snow White. She gets away, but not before leaving a scar on Charming's chin. “Wherever you are, I will find you!” he yells.
Mary Margaret Blanchard is on a date at Granny's Diner, but her beau is too busy ogling Ruby to pay attention. On her way home, Mary Margaret runs into Emma Swan and offers her a place to stay.
Henry and his classmates are at the hospital where Miss Blanchard volunteers. Henry realizes that "John Doe," the coma patient we saw in episode one, is actually Prince Charming. Later, he gets Emma to help him convince Miss Blanchard to read his storybook to Doe. Miss Blanchard agrees and begins reading to John Doe that evening.
As she reaches the end of the story of Snow White, John Doe places his hand on hers. Mary runs to get a doctor (the doc turns out to have been her date from earlier in the episode), who lies and tells her she was imagining things - the hospital machinery didn’t register the brain activity changes.
After Mary leaves, the doctor makes a call to Mayor Regina Mills, as he was instructed to do if there was ever a change in John Doe's condition and reports that it was Mary Margaret who saw his response.
Back in the woods, Snow White is caught in a trap Charming has set. He demands his jewelry pouch back, explaining that an heirloom ring was inside that he'd planned to give to his fiancée. He indicates that the marriage isn’t true love, but would be an advantageous "merger."
He reveals that he knows who Snow White really is – her image is on Wanted posters "for crimes against the Queen: MURDER, TREASON, TREACHERY." – and says he will turn her in if she does not cooperate. He releases Snow from the trap.
At Granny's Diner with Emma and Henry, Mary Margaret reports what happened in the hospital and that the doctor said she imagined it. The three immediately return to the hospital to continue reading, but they run into Sheriff Graham, who says that John Doe is missing. They see the Mayor standing in Doe's hospital room, next to his empty bed, with evidence that his IVs were ripped out.
Regina explains that she is John Doe’s emergency contact, claiming she found him on the side of the road years ago. Regina vows to keep Emma away from Henry. She orders Graham to find John Doe.
In the hospital security office, Emma, Sheriff Graham and Mary Margaret review surveillance tapes of the ward. They see that Doe got up and walked out of the hospital, through a door that leads to the woods four hours earlier.
As Charming and Snow make their way through the woods, she explains that the charges against her are false, and that the Queen's huntsman was sent to rip her heart out.
Snow reveals that the Queen blames Snow for ruining her life. As they stop near a riverbank, Snow suddenly attacks Charming, shoving him into the river, grabbing items from his bag and running off. She is stopped by some of the Queen's henchmen, who are out to murder her.
In the forest, Charming rescues Snow from the Queen’s henchmen. Snow leads Charming to the trolls to whom she sold his jewels. When the trolls show themselves, Snow gives them their gold in exchange for the heirloom ring. The trolls, suspecting a setup, restrain Snow and Charming, discovering the wanted poster in Charming's bag. Snow uses evil fairy dust she’d been carrying to turn the trolls into insects. Charming reveals that his real name is James.
Back in the forest, Mary Margaret, Emma, Henry and Sheriff Graham find John Doe lying in a creek. They drag him out and Mary Margaret begins performing CPR on him. He awakens, but doesn't remember who he is and is rushed back to the hospital. Shortly after his arrival, a woman rushes in who looks exactly like Prince Charming's fiancée.
Snow gives Charming back the recovered jewelry pouch; he gives her the gold. Charming again vows to always find her.
Regina claims that John Doe's real name is David Nolan and that the woman who rushed in is his wife. She didn't know that he was in the hospital in a coma because they'd had a rough patch and she told him he could leave if he wanted to.
Emma, doubting the story, confronts Regina about the details. Regina reveals that they went back through old surveillance tape and discovered John Doe talking in his sleep, mentioning a "Catherine."
In the final scene, Emma takes Mary Margaret up on her offer of a place to stay. We notice that Mary Margaret somehow has the ring Prince Charming wanted back in Fairy Tale Land.
An ongoing list of questions that hopefully will be answered in future episodes (includes questions from episodes one and two).
-How did Prince Charming's ring end up in Storybrooke?
-How did Snow White wind up at the dwarves' cottage (as we saw in episode one)?
-Does Gold remember the old world? Does he know the contents of the final pages of the book?
-What did Snow do to the Evil Queen to make her so vengeful?
-Why does no one but Henry seem to age in Storybrooke?
-Where did the "Once Upon a Time" book come from? How did Miss Blanchard get it?
-Who is Sheriff Graham? Is he the huntsman? One of the Evil Queen's soldiers from Fairy Tale Land?
-Who is Leroy, the other inmate locked up with Emma?
-Who is Henry's birth father?