Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
4 user 2 critic

The Shepherd 

David is caught between his feelings for Mary Margaret and his marriage to Kathryn, as flashbacks detail information about Charming's life.


Victor Nelli Jr. (as Victor Nelli)


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard / Snow White
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan / Prince James / David
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Raphael Sbarge ... Dr. Archie Hopper (credit only)
Jamie Dornan ... Sheriff Graham Humbert
Robert Carlyle ... Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold
David Anders ... Dr. Whale
Alan Dale ... King George
Anastasia Griffith ... Kathryn Nolan / Princess Abigail
Gabrielle Rose ... Ruth
Alex Zahara ... King Midas
Ian Butcher ... Burly Knight
Demord Dann Demord Dann ... Aide


David - aka John Doe - must choose between staying with Kathryn or leaving her to be with Mary Margaret, with whom he's fallen deeply, and inexplicably, in love; and Emma catches Sheriff Graham in a lie. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world that was, Prince Charming is about to encounter a life-changing event that will forever alter his destiny. Written by ABC Publicity

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

king midas character | magic | See All (2) »


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

4 December 2011 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Emma pours Mary Margaret a glass of McCutcheon's scotch. In the television series, Lost (2004), Charles Widmore (played by Alan Dale, who is also King George in this episode) refuses to pour one for Desmond saying it is worth too much money. The bottle frequently turned up on Lost and will frequently turn up in later episodes of this series, as well. See more »


The Prince's armor is the same before and after it is damaged. See more »


King Midas: [to Prince Charming] From this day forth, may that beast's head be a reminder to us of the valiant warrior who killed it - the bravest, most noble prince I have ever met. You have earned my utmost respect.
King George: We treasure that respect, King Midas, just as we respect your treasure.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening sequence gives a hint to the episodes main story line by showing a character or event happening in the dark forest underneath the title. See more »


References Lost (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

As charming an episode as the prince himself
23 November 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

Up to this point (six episodes in), even for such an early point of the show, all the episodes have ranged from very good to wonderful. "The Shepherd" is no exception, quality may have dipped a little from the wonderful previous episode "That Still Small Voice" but this is still a very charming episode and demonstrative of 'Once Upon a Time' continuing to grow all the time.

Maybe "The Shepherd" doesn't have the freshest of dialogue in a 'Once Upon a Time' episode and Charming may not be among the most interesting of characters at this very early point in the show, but neither of these are faults actually. My only complaint with "The Shepherd" is the less than special visual effects, in particular the green screen which is obvious and looked cheap for my tastes.

Otherwise, everything else is great. Snow and Charming and their modern counterparts are interesting and likable, and Charming's back-story is told compellingly with a lot of charm and emotion. Particularly standing out here are Charming's very well done fight with the dragon, the portrayal of Mary Margaret's moral dilemma that she faces which had a great deal of heart to heart-wrenching effect and the remarkably complex female characterisation (particularly Mary Margaret).

Visual effects apart, "The Shepherd" is a very handsomely mounted episode, with settings and costumes that are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. It is photographed beautifully and there were some make-up that suited the characters perfectly. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.

In "The Shepherd", the writing is the best and most consistent it's been up to this point, it's humorous and engaging and doesn't have any cheesy or as many clichéd moments. The story establishes the concept and intertwines and mirrors the real and fantasy worlds very well and does a great job making one care for Snow and Charming and really feeling their chemistry together, already strong but brought up a notch.

Josh Dallas gives some of his best acting of the series and Ginnifer Goodwin is immensely appealing. Robert Carlyle continues to steal scenes.

To conclude, charming. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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