The big discussion topic about “Ruby Slippers” is the introduction of the first LGBT couple into the Once Upon A Time universe. While we had Mulan’s unrequited love for Aurora (that scene on the bridge will forever break my heart) and some could argue, the underlying sexual tension between Emma and Regina, this is the first official, two-sided love affair on the show.
The love story was framed in a way that perpetuated Zelena’s constant struggles between being a better person for her daughter and the misdeeds that she has done in the past, but hey if Regina can do it, why can’t she?
Her past misdeeds literally come at her, when Ruby appears in Underworld looking for Zelena to ask her what happened to her friend, Dorothy. Through a series of flashbacks we discover that Mulan and Ruby met up with Dorothy in Oz while they were searching for Ruby’s pack, but of course party pooper that she is, Zelena appears and steals Toto, telling Dorothy she can have him back if she gives her the silver slippers so that Zelena can return to her daughter.
Dorothy, of course, refuses and she, along with Mulan and Ruby, create a sleeping curse to put Zelena under. Through the course of this, Dorothy and Ruby start bonding and you can see the underlying romance in the air. But all is not revealed until Ruby makes her way back to Oz (with the slippers that Zelena stole from Dorothy when she put her under the sleeping curse instead) and used “True Love’s Kiss” to bring her back to life. It’s true, it’s love.
Some people were not happy with the storyline because they felt it was forced, calling it “token,” because Ruby is a side character, and Dorothy is a character that we just recently met, many people were hoping that the LGBT romance that was teased would be between Mulan and Ruby (poor Mulan cannot catch a break) because the two of them have been spending a lot of time together on their travels, the audience is invested in both of them, and there was that hot scene where Ruby landed on top of her.
But let’s be real, relationships other than the main three – being Snow and Charming, Regina and Robin, and Emma and Hook – rarely get more than a rushed episode before they are apparently in love, case in point being Hades and Zelena a few weeks ago. I understand the want of a well-developed LGBT relationship in the show and hopefully this will not be the last, hopefully this couple does not have to carry the torch for all the other couples. I’m still holding out hope that Mulan gets her great love, and perhaps Ruby and Dorothy will be there to support her. The execution of this was not perfect, but none of the couples on the show are, there were good things about it though such as no one questioning Ruby’s love for her, or pointing out Ruby’s interest in men as well. Snow, her best friend especially, just accepted Ruby’s bisexuality and encouraged her, that’s refreshing to see onscreen. Perhaps this will be a great starting point for writers to explore other versions of true love.