Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
1 user 4 critic

Where Bluebirds Fly 

After the Black Fairy threatens her baby, Zelena decides to put a stop to her, once and for all.


Michael Schultz


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 4 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle French
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Rebecca Mader ... Zelena
Robert Carlyle ... Mr. Gold
Giles Matthey ... Gideon
Jaime Murray ... Fiona / Black Fairy
Keegan Connor Tracy ... Mother Superior
Isabella Blake-Thomas ... Young Zelena
Alex Désert ... Stanum / Tin Man
Jorden Birch ... Second Guard


Zelena and Regina's relationship is tested by the Black Fairy while Charming and Snow disagree over Emma's wedding plans. In flashbacks, Zelena befriends a young woodcutter who has been cursed and turns to her for help finding a new heart. Zelena is forced to choose between keeping her powers and her friendship with him. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Zelena decides to take on the Black Fairy and put a stop to her once and for all, against Regina's wishes, and the Charmings disagree on Hook and Emma's wedding plans..

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tin man character | See All (1) »


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The object/animal/person in this episode is the Emerald City. See more »


David Nolan: That's your Author's pen. Henry, I know there's been a lot going on lately, but please tell me you haven't tried to change things. You know how dangerous that can be.
Henry Mills: Of course not. I know better than that.
David Nolan: Good.
Henry Mills: ...Also, I already tried a few days ago, and it didn't work.
See more »

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User Reviews

Flies way up high
25 March 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Despite being one of those shows that felt like a different show entirely (though not as bad as something like 'The Walking Dead' and 'House of Cards', and in their primes they were favourites of mine) in its last season especially and some of this season, Season 6, 'Once Upon a Time' was very easily addictive. From when it first started to the first half of Season 5, before becoming uneven in the Underworld arc.

There was still for me a good deal to like about that arc, notably Hades, but it was from for example "The Brothers Jones" when the writing and storytelling became patchy. Season 6 was a variable season again from personal opinion. Some great episodes, such as "The Saviour", "The Other Shoe", "Page 23" and "Mother's Little Helper", and the season actually started off very well. But from "Strange Case" too many episodes indicated that the show had run out of ideas and the stories became repetitive, rushed and over-stuffed, characterisation less nuanced and interesting and the more camp, soap and corn appeared in the writing.

"Where Bluebirds Fly" fortunately turned out to be one of the best episodes of the sixth season, one of the few near-return to form episodes of the later seasons actually, and had pretty much none of the above problems. Didn't particularly see the need for Belle and have not been the biggest fan of the character in the first place (merely personal preference) and the Crimson Heart is a touch on the convenient side, but otherwise "When Bluebirds Fly" is one of the few episodes of Season 6 to not have much at all wrong with it.

One worries from reading the summary that "Where Bluebirds Fly" would be a filler episode, one that goes round in circles, adds nothing new to the story events, have little eventful and doesn't advance the characters. Not so. It actually feels like things are moving forward, making one properly excited for what is to come, and here we see Zelena at her most conflicted in some of her meatiest material of the entire show and the Black Fairy at her darkest and most twisted. Nobody feels repetitively written or out of character here. The flashback and Storybrooke storylines are equally engrossing, with the former having more intrigue, tension and emotion if there was a personal preference in order.

Among the intrigue, tension and emotion there is also some nice levity that threatens to be pointless and padding but instead balanced very well and in a way needed to balance out everything with Zelena and the Black Fairy. This is seen with the charming Snow and Charming subplot and with Hook and Emma, here at their most engaging and likeable in a while and the wit and spark in their chemistry is back in the adorable and funny pancake scene. In fact the character interactions, always a strength with this show, really shines throughout. The writing did not leave me cringing, found myself able to take it seriously without feeling like things got over-serious. It amuses, provoked thought, charmed and moved, like 'Once Upon a Time' did beautifully when at its best.

Visually, "Where Bluebirds Fly" is a typically great looking episode. Lots of beauty and atmosphere, and drabness and garishness are not in sight here, with the standouts being some striking wide shots at the end and the rendering of Oz, which is the very meaning of wondrous. A big surprise was with the effects for the Cowardly Lion, 'Once Upon a Time' were always hit and miss when it came to this aspect with quite a few of them being less than special but they are very well done here, not fake or obvious. The music doesn't ever sound cheap or out-of-kilter, fitting well with the mood and never found myself questioning its placement. The main theme is still memorable.

Last of all the acting, with the most sparkling contribution coming from the truly heartfelt and remarkably complex Rebecca Mader. Close behind is Jaime Murray, relishing the Black Fairy's dark menace without resorting to camp or histrionics.

Overall, a great episode and one of the best of a variable season. 9/10

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