'Once Upon a Time' Reveals Gay Storyline; Creators Say "Love Is Love"

Once Upon a Time - H Publicity - 2016
Courtesy of ABC

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday’s episode of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, “Ruby Slippers.”]

Once Upon a Time finally made good on its promise to include a gay storyline in season five, and it was an unexpected choice.

Although Mulan (Jamie Chung) revealed her unrequited love for Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger) in season three, she wasn’t the one in a new relationship in Sunday’s episode, “Ruby Slippers.” However, she did help make it happen.

While Mulan is helping Ruby (Meghan Ory) find her wolf pack in Oz, they meet Dorothy (Teri Reeves) and help her try to take down Zelena (Rebecca Mader) when she steals Dorothy’s dog Toto.

Ruby and Dorothy end up bonding over shared family problems, and Ruby turns to Mulan for advice about her feelings. “I know we just met, but I have never felt like this about anyone before,” she tells Mulan. “Don’t make the same mistake that I did. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone how you feel,” Mulan replies, but by the time Ruby goes to do so, Dorothy is gone.

Ruby tracks down Zelena in the Underworld, finds out the Wicked Witch put Dorothy under a sleeping curse, and with a little advice from her good friend Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), she clicks some magical slippers and goes to Oz to kiss her True Love awake. They get more than just one of True Love’s kisses and presumably (hopefully?!) will live happily ever after.

“True Love's kiss has been a staple of this show since the beginning. This past Sunday's episode was just another example of how in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love,” co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis said in a statement about the LGBT storyline.

This aligns with what the duo told The Hollywood Reporter about the gay storyline earlier this season. “We wanted to tell it no differently than we would with Robin and Regina or Snow and Charming. We just wanted to tell a love story,” Kitsis said. “For us, it's a love story like any other and it's something we're excited about.”

Horowitz added that the storyline will be as “exciting, emotional and heartfelt as any other love story.” 

The gay storyline comes as a bit of a surprise given the show's use of well-known and beloved characters from the Disney vault, and follows a month that has been deadly for lesbians on the small screen as the "Bury Your Gays" trope took center stage after shows like The 100 and The Walking Dead, among others, killed off lesbian characters.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.