Boob(s On Your) Tube: Two Women Actually Touched Mouths on “Once Upon a Time”

Goodness me, it finally happened: A couple of ladies smooshed their faces together on Once Upon a Time. No, it wasn’t Emma and Regina. Or Mulan and Aurora. But it was something.

Wynonna Earp

Fridays on Syfy at 10:00 p.m.


I think one of the reasons queer women are still so into subtext — aside from being conditioned from birth by Xena, of course — is that lady-on-lady love stories on TV are so often paint-by-numbers. It’s almost robotic. There’s no push or pull, no will-they or won’t-they. Here’s a girl and here’s the girl she’s gonna kiss, and just thank your lucky stars if they both stay alive. But man, where’s our Pam and Jim?

I can’t say for sure if Wynonna Earp’s going to be that, but the last two episodes have made it very clear that Officer Haught is hardcore into Wavery Earp, and Waverly’s all flummoxed about it. Their chemistry is so good and even the way it’s filmed when they just touch hands is all swoons and breathlessness. Will they? Probably! But it’s gonna be a slow burn.

Waverly’s got a boyfriend, remember; that washed-up cowboy whose actual name is Hardy Champ. This week he almost gets possessed by a couple of the Revenants because that’s a thing those guys can do, just some general body-snatching. They get their hands on one of Wynonna and Waverly’s father figures and Wynonna ends up having to shoot him in the face to kill the demon inside of him.

Haught comes to the bar to tell Waverly she’s sorry for her loss, reaches right across and grasps onto her hands. Waverly is so open and so sad and so relieved Haught is reaching out to her (both literally and figuratively), but then stupid Champ swarms the scene and Haught jerks her hands away. He puts Waverly in a chokehold, basically, smooching all over her face and promising to never leave her side again because of all the bad guys in town (as if she and her sister can’t take care of them a billion times better than him). Waverly tries to talk to Haught some more, to thank her, but Haught backs away and drops her head and leaves.

Hey, but Waverly said thanks! She tells Detective Dolls about it, about how Waverley said thanks. You can’t build a life on that, but you can build a dream on it. And that’s just what Haught is going to do.  Every lesbian falls in love with a straight girl, from time-to-time. Straight girls, though? They don’t look at you like that.

Once Upon a Time

Sundays on ABC at 8:00 p.m.

Written by KaeLyn


Does anyone other than me still care about Storybrook and saviors? The storyline has twisted and turned and upchucked all over itself even more in the second half of Season Five, but still I’m here, patiently waiting for that gay lady action we were promised. This past Sunday, it happened and I have to be honest, it was not the worst.

I was disappointed and annoyed when Mulan Rouge (Mulan and Ruby) slipped into the woods after some brief eye sex, a mere blip on the main storyline. I’d given up hope, until Ruby appeared in the underworld at the end of last week’s episode. (Yes, we’re in the underworld now, to save Hook. Barf. It’s a long story that you don’t need to know much about.)

As much as I backed the Red Warrior ship, I was pleasantly surprised to find that after journeying together through all of the midseason break, Ruby and Mulan’s relationship is more lesbro than lovers. Through flashbacks, we learn that while Mulan was helping Ruby find her wolf pack in Oz, they came across Dorothy and Toto. Zelena stole Toto and Ruby and Mulan ended up helping Dorothy get her little dog back. Don’t fuck with lesbians and our companion animals, Zelena.

Ruby and Dorothy bonded over their fucked up family issues and that familiar gal pal feeling came over them. For once, though, OUAT’s writers didn’t leave us with the love that dare not speak its name. They actually took those love feelings to their final conclusion.

In an actually really well-written scene, Ruby confesses her feelings for Dorothy to Mulan:

Ruby: I know we just met, but I have never felt like this about anyone before.
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! With this great advice, Ruby goes to confess her love, but Dorothy is already gone. Zelena put her under a sleeping curse that can only be broken with—you guessed it—true love’s kiss. Not knowing if Dorothy feels the same way, Ruby goes to Dorothy’s side and takes the ultimate risk—potentially hitting on a straight girl. And in the heartfelt, over-dramatic final scene, Ruby saves Dorothy with a kiss on the actual lady lips. :balloon drop: :disco lights: :confetti:

It’s not much, after so many seasons of skirting the issue and teasing us with Swan Queen and Sleeping Warrior. But in a month with more dead lesbians on TV than living ones, it feels like something good. A lesbian kiss saves the day. Three queer women in one episode, including one new one with a cute dog. Queer women overprocessing their feelings with other queer women. Our first real, actual, viable lesbian relationship. It’s something.

I hope Ruby and Dorothy live happily ever after. As co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis said in a statement about the episode, “…in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love.” Now the only question is: what should the Ruby/Dorothy ship name be?

Jane the Virgin

Mondays on The CW at 9:00 p.m.


Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1042 articles for us.


  1. Have we talked about The Family or The Catch? Two new ABC shows with queer ladies. The Family has the blogger who wishes she could be Kalinda and also {spoiler alert} the main daughter who does all the shady stuff {end spoiler}. The Catch (I think this is a Shonda?) has one woman, Penny from Lost, who works with Douchey Conman, and one woman she sleeps with.

    Additionally, I heard Quantico did something, but that show sucks too hard for me to watch and find out what.

    • In other news, on Quantico, the FBI lady who was married to another FBI guy who is pining after another FBI lady, was revealed to have fallen in love with a woman when undercover.

      I doubt this is going anywhere.

  2. Welcome to a very special episode of OUAT:
    We got the going to the ends of the earth storyline, we got epic gestures, even lady smooching, so much in fact, that half the population of munchkinland didn’t know where to look.
    But what we also got were the obvious parallels to Snow and Charming, sleeping curse and I’ll always find,uh, come back for yous, initial antagonism and even Snow pointing out how much they’re alike without even seeing the two of them together?
    We also got everyone cheering, a touched tear in Snow’s eye,even a picture of the two of them smooching making the rounds, that got a wistful look from Emma and not an eyebrow raise from anyone anywhere, ever.
    As someone who stepped out of the show eons ago, I can only say, that no, this isn’t what would have been possible or what I wanted, but it’s something.
    It’s something if you don’t think of Swanqueen or even Sleeping Warrior, it’s something if you imagine yourself into a Sunday night onto a family couch with a twelve year old baby gay squeezed in between her siblings and parents.
    She’ll have that episode, is what I’m saying.
    It’s not much, it was too rushed and quite implausible, but, hey, it’s something.
    And they really did try to make up for the lack in the Lady kisses department.
    So, thanks, Kaelyn, everyone on twitter was so negative about this, I almost didn’t watch it, and also thanks for enduring the rest of that shitshorm to keep us up to date.
    I really couldn’t believe they simply used their same sets with a red filter to portray the underworld..

    • Yup, you summed it up well. It’s like…nothing worth giving out all the cookies for. It’s kind of a shitty consolation prize after all the queerbaiting and BS and my girl Mulan is still single and tragic. But it’s something. For what it was, I thought it was fairly well done and/or could have been a lot worse. I mean, we’re way past the point of expecting meaningful inclusion of queer characters on OUAT. The ship sailed when Aurora and Mulan parted ways.

      I’m also not holding my breath that this signals things are going to get better for queer representation on OUAT in the future. I think the backlash is certainly earned and maybe it will push the writers to consider making Mulan and Ruby and Dorothy part of the main storyline again. I hope so!

  3. As many complaints as I have about Once, I will say that kiss was beautiful. I completely credit the actresses. There’s just no way the writers planned all of that, when they barely even planned the story.

  4. I can’t help but think that Ruby Slippers isn’t going to last very long. If they don’t disappear never to be seen again, it’ll be because one of them dies.

    I find it very strange that a show that has never even hinted that queer people even exist in their universe, would suddenly highlight a queer couple that everyone just accepts as normal?? Where did this sense of queerness as normal come from since IT APPARENTLY NEVER EXISTED BEFORE THIS EPISODE??? It’s so hard to swallow.

    Also it was hilarious that after Henry comes to show his family the new drawings he made, even though the one with Dorothy and Ruby is first, Charming immediately puts it behind the one of his wife and is like “OH GOOD MY WIFE IS OKAY”. He had no idea about Ruby Slippers!! Why IS NO ONE SAYING ANYTHING. Why did Henry even include that drawing if no one was even going to look at it??

    I also found it super rich that Snow would be the one to “understand” Ruby is queer, when she and Charming have always been the heteronormative, traditional gender roles poster children. Like really??

  5. Once upon a time, the definition of suspending belief in good writing. Instead of a good show,it is a tale about a bunch of overpaid writers who use a magical shoehorn to come up with a Sunday night drama for ABC. Shoehorning every single fantasy character into a show like a bad tragic fan fiction crossover.

  6. How pathetic it is, when “Once Upon A Time,” can go 5 seasons, and have to wait until the 18th episode, until they are basically forced to represent homosexuality, and lesbianism? Such a sickening, and perverted twist, to a story book, that never hinted of such degenerate behavior, and loathsome lifestyles.

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