Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Regina Mills/The Evil Queen

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Signature Line: “Evil isn’t born. It’s made.”

Regina Mills, known in the Enchanted Forest as The Evil Queen, is another character that is undeniably complex and interesting. She has developed a great deal over the show’s 4 seasons starting out as a vengeful villain and changing to someone who struggles with dark tendencies but wants to change and be a better person for her son, the man she loves and her extended family. When she is in full on Evil Queen mode it is indeed entertaining to watch, but my favorite moments for Regina tend to be when she shows more genuine and human emotions as well as growth towards a better path in life

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Regina realizes her happy ending is feeling at home in the world.” (Season 4, Episode 20 “Mother”)

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For the entirety of season 4 I had a hope for where the story would go in regards to Regina wanting to find the author and have him write her a happy ending. In my mind, though I understood her desire for happiness, I believed that happy endings cannot be given out like gifts. They have to be earned and come from within. Luckily the story did go in this direction and the result was not only wonderful but my favorite moment for Regina’ character ever! It was beautiful that Regina realized that the only person she needed to find happiness was herself. Her happy ending is being content with who she is and feeling at home in the world- a world that does include the people she loves including Robin and Henry. But truly, she creates her own happiness and that is a lovely message and the finest sign of character growth she has ever shown.

 

  1. “Regina sacrifices herself to save Henry in the author’s alternate universe.” (Season 4, Episode 22 “Operation Mongoose Part 2”)

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Even though Regina had no memories of her son in this alternate reality, and had trouble believing anything he said, becoming a bit exasperated at first, she still obviously felt a connection with him. Henry believed if she stopped Robin Hood from marrying Zelena everything would go back to normal, and it was almost the case as she peers in at the ceremony, love in her eyes as she gazes at Robin. But when she hears Henry in danger, her thoughts turn away from her own wishes and rushes to aid him. Rumples slashes his blade at Henry and Regina pushes him out of the way, mortally wounding her in the process. When Henry asks her why she didn’t go into the church, she says “I couldn’t let you die.” Barely knowing him, she still couldn’t let any harm come to her son. Cue many tears shed.

  1. “Regina stops Pan’s curse, sending everyone back to the Enchanted Forest and giving Emma and Henry new memories in New York.” (Season 3, Episode 11 “Going Home”)

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Regina has struggled with doing the right thing for so long, but in the third season she began to tread a better path when Henry was kidnapped by Peter Pan. When Pan’s curse threatens Storybrooke, she discovers she can stop it, but must give up the thing she loves most- Henry. With the curse looming above ready to consume the town Regina tearfully says goodbye to her son and kindly tells Emma she can give them happy memories for the two of them where they have always been together. She has come a long way and this act of both kindness and strength was wonderful to see. When Emma and Henry cross the town line, Regina counters Pan’s curse sending everyone back home is a flash of purple smoke. This was a powerful moment and one of the most heart wrenching of the series. 

  1. “Regina apologizes to Marco.” (Season 4, Episode 13 “Unforgiven”)

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Regina has often lacked self awareness and admittance of mistakes but as she has grown that has changed a great deal. But she still struggles and after reverting to her common quickness to anger and hostility (and towards the child Pinocchio) she seeks out the boy’s father, Marco. And she shows genuine remorse, makes a sincere apology, telling him that her happy ending will never happen if she reverts to her old ways as the two share a smile and small touch of the hand. It’s surprising that a scene between these two characters would be so moving, but it truly was. 

  1. “Regina visits Mary Margaret in jail and tells her she knows she’s innocent.” (Season 1, Episode 18 “The Stable Boy”)

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In Season 1 Regina was at her most evil, wanting nothing but revenge on Snow White and it was gripping to watch. You hated everything she did and in one of her most evil moments she visits a grief stricken Mary Margaret in jail who is in tears, adamant that she is being framed for murder, that she is innocent. In a rare moment where Regina is honest, she reaches in and touches Mary Margaret’s cheek, then harshly squeezes her face saying she knows, but she deserves this. The gesture and the scene are absolutely chilling and so fantastically evil! 

  1. “Regina kisses Robin Hood for the first time.” (Season 3, Episode 18 “Bleeding Through”)

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After a heartfelt and honest talk with Mary Margaret, Regina finds Robin Hood at his campsite who apologizes for losing her heart. He promises her he will get it back, to which she responds by passionately kissing him. This was a lovely movement of growth from her character, not letting fear stop her from embracing her feelings for this man- feelings that were strong enough even without her heart  to help her be brave. And what a kiss it was!

  1. “Snow tends to a wounded Regina who is disguised as a peasant.” (Season 2, Episode 20 “The Evil Queen”)

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This poignant moment between the two women with such a complicated history has such an interesting dichotomy. Because Regina is in disguise, Snow is completely honest about how she feels about Regina saying how she changed her and made her believe there could be a selfless connection between people, even strangers, and that she hopes that this person comes backs one day. Hearing these words obviously touches her because a tear falls down her cheek, and later she asks her if Snow would forgive her if she wanted to be good and be a family again. Obviously things take a turn for the worst, but in this singular moment we see once again that there is a genuine affection between them. I think Snow just wanted her step mother back, and Regina forgiveness for her misplaced anger, wrong as it was. 

  1. “Regina gives Henry a True Love’s Kiss and breaks Storybrooke’s new curse.” (Season 3, Episode 19 “A Curious Thing”)

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The changing relationship between Henry and his adoptive mother (technically also step great grandmother) has been a long one from mistreatment brought on by great fear, to attempts to relate to each other with more honesty, and finally to genuine contrition and forgiveness. It took a while but Regina finally learned to be a better parent and love Henry the right way, which was solidified when she shared a True Love’s Kiss with her son. This broke the curse that had brought everyone back to Storybrooke, which was obviously a very important moment. But more significantly it once again showed the power of familial love which is one of Once Upon a Time’s loveliest themes. 

  1. “Regina defeats Zelena with light magic.” (Season 3, Episode 20 “Kansas”)

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No one can deny that Regina has very powerful magic. But up until this point it had only been of the darkest kind. While I don’t think every time Regina has used magic since it has been light, I think the point to this fantastic scene was that what seemed impossible could happen. She could change for the better, and on her own, if she has the courage to do so. Zelena may have taunted her that she could only ever be dark, but when she saw Robin with her heart back in his hands, she found her strength and learned that we make our own destiny.

  1. “Regina admits she mistreated Henry and tells Snow and Charming letting Emma get rid of her magic is a mistake.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)

One of the things I have most wanted to see Regina admit to was the way she treated Henry when the series began, and when she finally did, it came at a crucial moment for our characters. Not only was it wonderful to finally hear he her say how much she regrets not supporting Henry and how wrong it was to make him like he was crazy instead of special, but also that it related to what Emma was going through and what her parents needed to hear. The unique things that make us special are what make us beautiful, and hearing Regina own up to her mistake, be thankful Henry was strong enough to overcome it, and finally convince Snow and David that they can’t let Emma lose a part of herself was a truly touching moment for these characters.

Honorable mention: “Regina tells Henry he should never feel ordinary just because he doesn’t have magic.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)

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It broke my heart to hear Henry tell Regina he felt useless and ordinary when he was not able to do anything to help Emma when her magic was out of control. But she comforts him and tells him something that is undeniably true. He has the heart of the “Truest Believer” which is indeed special, but even more beautiful is that he brought them all together. More so than any other character, Henry can unite people and hearing his mom tell him this was special. I loved this moment.

Favorite Little Moments:

– Seeing the way Regina smiles and face lights up when she is with Robin is beautiful. You can see how happy he makes her and the sight of her  cupping his face in amazement or of her walking down the street with him as she holds his son’s hand is so lovely.
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– Regina and Snow have come a long way in their relationship. She went from trying to kill her, to telling her they need to get back to “our castle,” to protecting her from her mother’s ghost.

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– It was so brief but I also loved seeing Regina and Henry looking through the Storybook together and seeing her smile at the picture of Snow and Charming’s wedding. Things certainly have changed.

– Regina’s first appearance on the show as The Evil Queen has become an iconic one. I love it not only because it shows her in her evil grandeur but it is such as strong contrast to where these characters are now.

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– I was happy to see Regina no longer spouting anger at Emma in the second half of season 4 and the two relating to each other more amiably. Her comment that she “eats like a child” could have once come across as mean, but now this was such a typical older sister thing to say, showcasing the new dynamic between them.

– When Emma talks about trusting Hook because he brought her back to Storybrooke and didn’t have to, it was funny how Regina commented on what everyone except apparently Emma could see: That of course he would bring her back, and that the two of them constantly share “yearning looks and doey eyes.” Emma denies it saying she doesn’t yearn, but Regina affirms that Hook certainly does. It was like a scene from Hercules was being played out with Regina as a Greek Muse, and Emma as Meg because “who do think you’re kidding Emma,  Hook’s the earth and heaven to you.”

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Favorite Reader Moments:

When it came to reader’s favorite moment two scenes stood out to them, both of which showed a tremendous amount of growth of her part. The rest are singular, and all fantastic, combining both moments decidedly Evil Queen, and others the Regina trying to be a better person.

The top Regina moments for readers are:

  1. Regina realizes what her happy ending is in “Mother”
  2. Regina defeats Zelena in “Kansas” 

The rest of readers favorite moments are as follows (In episode order):

  1. Regina interrupts Snow and Charming’s wedding in the “Pilot”
  2. Regina kills her father in “The Thing You Love Most”
  3. Regina must kill Daniel and lose him a second time in “The Doctor”
  4. Regina tries to stop the self destruction of Storybrooke in “And Straight On Til Morning”
  5. Regina shows Tinkerbell her dark heart in “Quite a Common Fairy”
  6. Regina stops Peter Pan’s curse in “Going Home”
  7. Regina stands between Snow and her mother’s ghost in “Bleeding Through”
  8. Regina is miffed she can’t walk through the door to see Glinda in “A Curious Thing”
  9. Regina apologizes to Marco in “Unforgiven”
  10. Regina drinks a potion that makes it impossible for her to conceive a child in “Mother”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Regina moments: Maii, Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, and Alyssa 🙂

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Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold

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Signature Line: “All magic comes with a price.”

Rumplestiltskin, known in Storybrooke as Mr. Gold, as well as The Dark One, is an intriguing and extremely complex character. Plagued with self loathing and cowardice, he always struggles with choosing power over love, and is so often the master manipulator and puppeteer of everyone’s lives. And yet you still see how much he wants to love and be loved and in some moments he can garner empathy. One moment he is vindictive and dishonest, the next he shows true vulnerability and honesty. My favorite moments with him tend to be towards the latter, although I also love his impish and flamboyant attitude, and anytime he calls someone “dearie.” No matter what is happening, Rumple is a dynamic character that is fascinating to watch.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Rumple sacrifices himself to save Storybrooke from Peter Pan.” (Season 3, Episode 11 “Going Home”)

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In Rumple’s most heroic and selfless act he makes the ultimate sacrifice to keep the residents of Storybrooke safe, killing his own father and himself in the process. When his father begs him to stop, saying they can still have a happy ending, Rumple accepts his fate saying that villains don’t get such things. The ironic thing is Rumple may be a villain, but in this moment he was the hero. And despite everything his father had done to him, he still kisses him as they disappear in a flash of golden light. Rumple, who has always struggled with selfishness proved that it is possible for him to put others above himself in a truly powerful moment.

  1. “Rumple looks out his window waiting for Belle to return.” (Season 1, “Skin Deep”)

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One of the sure signs that you are falling in love, is waiting and longing to see them again. In the equivalent of waiting for someone to call them back, Rumple peers out his window looking to see Belle return. The look on his face is as exposed as we have ever seen him and his expression is the kind we only have in private when we are scared. And when he rushes down the stairs and pretends as if he was not waiting for her at all, his true feelings as obvious.

  1. “Rumple holds his baby son Balefire for the first time.” (Season 2, Episode 14 “Manhattan”)

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How can a moment be heartbreaking and sweet simultaneously? When you have a great actor and the serendipitous sweet gesture from a little baby that you can never plan, it is possible. When Rumple holds his son Baelfire for the first time, his son reaches up and touches his nose. He cries telling him “Papa is here.” The future was plagued with broken promises and attempts to make amends, but in this moment Rumple was there for his son. 

  1. “Rumple calls a memory-less Belle thinking he is going to die.” (Season, 2 Episode 16 “The Miller’s Daughter”)

When you believe that you are not long for this world it is often the time you are completely honest with not only yourself but with others. Even though Belle had no memories of him, he knew he had to call her as he lay dying and thank her for loving him even though he felt undeserving. She is obviously touched, crying as she listens to him. If we can get back to this kind of honesty, making real and genuine efforts to do good, perhaps they can make their way back here again. Time will tell. 

  1. “Rumple talks with Emma about choices telling her she always does the right thing.” (Season 4, Episode, 8 “Smash the Mirror”)

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This scene has such a complex dichotomy that brilliantly showcases the varying aspects of both characters. Emma is so petrified of hurting someone with her magic that she takes up Rumple’s offer to help her get rid of her magic forever. What she is unaware of is that he truly wants to suck her into the sorcerer’s hat, collecting her so that he can cleave himself from the power of the dagger. What was so interesting however was that, when she asks what he would do he is completely honest about what he would do and what kind of person he is- someone who would never get rid of his power, always makes wrong and bad decisions, and that the belief Belle has that he can change is surely wrong. And then he lays down another truth- that Emma is not like him, and always does the right thing. Although this seems to be a form of psychological manipulation because we know what he truly wants, his honesty was intriguing to me, and the dynamic between the characters captivating. 

  1. “Rumple tells Belle he is afraid when she banishes him from Storybrooke.” (Season 4, Episode 11 “Heroes and Villains”)

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When Belle banished her husband from Storybrooke it was both justified and heartbreaking, most especially because of his reaction. He is so terrified and tells Belle so as he steps backwards one agonizing step at a time. And when he finally steps over the threshold of the town line, his leg giving way in a land without magic, he collapses onto the ground. and as much as he deserved this and frankly needed to fall this low if he ever is to be a better person (we are still waiting for this), in this moment I still cannot help but feel sympathy for this sad and pitying sight. Perhaps it is the performance, perhaps it’s that I hate to see others in pain, but no matter how you feel about the scene, it is undeniably powerful. 

  1. “Rumple marries Belle.” (Season 3, Episode 22 “There’s No Place Like Home”)

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As creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis revealed in the episode commentary, despite the fact that he had lied about Belle possessing the real dagger, when he marries Belle, his vows are genuine. And indeed they are beautiful. The montage during their wedding ceremony was exquisite and poignant in that their vows played over all of the other couples, mirroring the feelings and stories for each pair of lovers perfectly. It was a truly gorgeous scene. But that aside, his vows also perfectly describe the light that Belle represents in his life: “When we met, I wasn’t just unloved and unloving. I was an enemy of love. Love had only brought me pain. My walls were up, but you brought them down. You brought me home. You brought light into my life- chased away all the darkness. And I vow to you, I will never forget the distance between what I was and what I am. I owe more to you than I can ever say. How you can see the man behind the monster, I will never know.” 

  1. “Rumple gives Robin Hood very wise advice about happiness.” (Season 4, Episode 17 “Heart of Gold”)

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Similar to when he was truthful about his true nature with Emma, the motivations of Rumple in this moment he gives Robin very wise advice is unclear. Why is he doing so? Was he being sincere? Regardless, what he tells him is true and at least in this instant, a sure sign that he understands the mistakes he’d made. He’s made many selfish decisions but at least he is self aware. And motivations aside what he says is a lovely truth about life and love that we all should follow in our lives: ” If [happiness] is within your grasp, if you know where it is, and who it’s with- then you should run to it, grasp it, and never let go.” 

  1. “Rumple is afraid and lets Baelfire go through the portal to a Land Without Magic alone.”(Season 1, Episode 19 “The Return”)

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A scene so difficult to watch is the one that starts Rumple on his entire quest. He displays his all too common sign of cowardice and is afraid to go with his son through the portal and lose his power. So he let’s go of his son’s hand who falls through the portal alone. The second the portal closes he regrets the decision and his heartbreak is truly sad. 

  1. “Mr. Gold tells Regina his real name.” (Season 1, Episode 12 “Skin Deep”)

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In the beginning of the series the relationship between enigmatic Mr. Gold and cold Regina Mills was amazing to watch. There was always this push and pull between the two characters, and an underlying tension when she  sensed that he knew the secret that everyone else in town was still unaware of- that they are cursed and that Emma the savior has arrived. The moment when Regina asks him as he sits in a jail cell what his real name is, and he reveals it to be “Rumplestiltskin,” the devilish look of satisfaction and the absolute fear on hers resulted in a fantastic scene. 

Honorable mention: “Rumple takes Killian’s heart.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)

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I just had to include one more moment, and one may ask why a scene where Rumple acts so horribly and hurts and tells Killian he will control him, make him do horrible things, and then kill him, is on this list. Indeed this scene was difficult to watch. But that is why it is included. Carlyle and O’Donoghue are fantastic together on screen, making you feel every beat and I vividly remember watching this moment for the first time. I could see what was coming, and shouted “No!” when he pulled Killian’s heart from his chest. The scene is intense and gripping and made me feel intensely, which is any hope for a dramatic writer. It also shows just how far Rumple is falling into darkness and the drastic difference between the two men How one has changed for the better and one is still on the wrong path, resulting in a truly captivating moment to witness.

Favorite Little Moments:

– After taking the memory potion and letting Emma go back through the time portal, he picks up his wand and asks “What the Hell am I doing in here.” It’s just so funny and classic Rumple in attitude, made perfect by Robert Carlyle’s delivery.

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– When he first sees Lost boy Felix in Neverland, Rumple does his classic imp wave with so much finesse and attitude, I always laugh. He is not taking any guff from this teenager and I love it.

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– After hearing that Snow and David named their son Neal to honor his son, he touches his nose, a lovely call back to the first time he held his son who touches his papa’s nose. This parallel made me cry.

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– In an amusing little scene when Belle had memories of being a woman called Lacey, he asks Charming for dating advice, claiming the two of them have nothing in common. I always laugh at this moment.

-To protect Henry from the flames in the Netherworld Rumple gives Henry a magical amulet. All things comes with a price with him but this time that was not the case. It’s a rare but great gesture.

– As Rumple helps Emma and Hook on their time traveling adventure he gives them a royal makeover so they can attend King Midas’s ball inconspicuously. Considering the normal dynamics between these three characters, this scene is surprising and even sweet. Instead of harping on why he hasn’t killed Hook he gives him a Princely outfit and dresses Emma in a gorgeous red ball gown saying “The Savior can’t come all this way and not play princess for a day.” I never thought Rumple would play a hand in one the loveliest Emma and Killian Moments, but he did, and it was wonderful.

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Favorite Reader Moments:

For readers there was only one scene that was a repeated favorite, and it was the scene which also happened to be mine, unsurprising as this was his best moment of the series in terms of good defeating evil. Their favorite moment was:

  1. Rumple sacrifices himself to save Storybrooke from Peter Pan

The rest of the reader’s picks are ones included on my list as well as some gripping scenes that are great choices. In episode order these are:

  1. Gold and Regina talk about things changing since Emma’s arrival under the shadow of her apple tree in “The Thing You Love Most”
  2. Rumple let’s Bae go through the portal in “The Return”
  3. Rumple gives Henry the magic necklace to protect him in the Netherworld in “Into the Deep”
  4. Rumple tells Emma their deal will be done if she runs after his son in “Manhattan”
  5. Rumple makes a heartfelt phone call to Belle as he lay dying in “The Miller’s Daughter”
  6. Rumple makes a sarcastic little imp wave at Felix in “The Heart of the Truest Believer”
  7. Rumple marks his face with war paint in “Lost Girl”
  8. After letting Emma go and drinking the memory potion he humorously asks “What the Hell am I doing in here?” in “There’s No Place Like Home”
  9. Rumple’s wedding vows to Belle in “There’s No Place Like Home”
  10. Rumple loses Neal in “Quiet Minds”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Rumple moments: Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, and Alyssa 🙂

Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Belle

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Signature Line: “No one decides my fate but me.”

Belle is one of Once Upon a Time’s loveliest characters not only in terms of her outward good looks, but most especially and importantly so, through her inner beauty and strength. Belle is one of Disney’s most beloved heroines and although there are many differences between the two character depictions, many things remain the same. Belle is extremely intelligent and well read, longs for adventure and to be a hero, and has the ability to see the best in others. Although at times she has been blinded by love, her faith sometimes naive, making a few mistakes in judgment along the way, when it matters the most she displays a great amount of strength of character, showing compassion and forgiveness while also standing up for herself and others.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Belle banishes Rumple from Storybrooke.” (Season 4, Episode 11 “Heroes and Villains”)

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Although this moment was filled with heartbreak for Belle and Rumplestilskin, she needed this moment. She needed to wake up and discover her husband had been lying to her and choosing power over honesty. Her pain is heart wrenching, but as a viewer I was so proud to see her finally stand up for herself in such a powerful way by banishing him from Storybrooke, because as much as she loves him she needs to respect herself. She said she wanted to be chosen and be enough for someone. We all deserve that from our loved ones. Perhaps Rumple will be able to do this one day, but until that happens, Belle chooses herself and it was extremely poignant to watch.

  1. “Belle defeats the Yaoguai and saves Prince Phillip.” (Season 2, Episode 11 “The Outsider”)

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Many had tried to defeat the horrible “monster” the Yaoguai and many had failed, but our beloved bookworm was more than up for the task. Not only does she track the beast in under a day thanks to her keen reasoning, but she “defeats” him because she displays what everyone else apparently failed to show- understanding and compassion. When she approaches it, she realizes that this monster is simply trying to communicate but cannot properly do so because of its frightening form. She uses fairy dust given to her and we see that this was no monster, but rather brave and kind Prince Philip, who has been cursed in this form. Her intelligence and compassion saved him and we see one of the show’s most beautiful heroic acts in the process.

  1. “Belle and Killian work together and commiserate over being blinded by love.” (Season 4, Episode 12 “Darkness on the Edge of Town”)

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This moment is wonderful for so many reasons. Not only does it show how far these two characters have come individually, but also in their relationship with each other. He hurt her greatly but she recognizes that he deeply regrets his actions and has been trying to be a better person and earn forgiveness. And she obviously does forgive him. The apology and absolution is not done through words but through action as shown perfectly in this scene. They work together quite aptly and show each other understanding with how easy it is to blinded by love. And the tears in her eyes when he tries to comfort her with kinds words about the man who hurt them both is a lovely way of showing the emerging friendship between them. You can only be honest and vulnerable with those you trust. I deeply hope for the two of them to become even better friends as the series goes on.

  1. “Belle kisses Rumplestiltskin for the first time and it appears to be True Love’s Kiss.” (Season 1, Episode 12 “Skin Deep”)

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This moment of vulnerability and love between these two characters is what made so many fall in love with this couple. Though much has changed since, one cannot deny that in this brief moment Belle was able to break through the Dark One persona to the man Rumplestilskin. The kiss is gentle and sweet and looked like it may free him from his curse. The scene quickly changes toward anger and unwillingness to let that happen but seeing the power of this instance of Belle and Rumple’s true love was lovely.

  1. “Belle stands up to Regina but graciously accepts her apology.” (Season 3, Episode 18 “Bleeding Through”)

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Regina had wronged Belle in many ways so when she finds her looking around Gold’s pawn shop with carelessness Belle understandably is angry and it was great to see her stand up to someone who could physically and magically overpower her. When Regina asks what she has, Belle answers “Some self respect!” Good for her! But she is also someone who is willing to graciously accept an apology and when Regina does so, Belle helps her find what she is looking for. This was a great scene!!

  1. “Belle saves Killian’s life by preventing Rumplestilskin from crushing his heart.” (Season 4, Episode 11 “Heroes and Villains”)

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When Rumple took Killian’s heart, many of us thought Emma would be the one to save him. Some were even disappointed that was not the case. I will admit that the resolution was a bit too quick, but I digress. This was about an important moment for Belle. Not only was she saving the life of someone, but someone who had hurt her in the past; and in doing so she was taking a stand against her husband. Once again she got to be a hero; it caused her heartbreak in the process, but in a way that makes it even more significant. She sacrificed something in order to save another. That is true heroism.

  1. “Belle and Ariel work together to help get Pandora’s box to Neverland.” (Season 3, Episode 7 “Dark Hollow”)

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I love when Belle teams up with other characters to achieve a common goal, especially when she makes a friend in the process. We have seen this many times, and this was is definitely a favorite. Not only did we see a true camaraderie between the two women (and two beloved Disney Princesses to boot- who doesn’t love seeing Belle and Ariel on a mission together), but once again it was Belle’s quick thinking and determination that saved the day. She stops John and Michael Darling form destroying Pandora’s  box, but is willing to listen and even help them after the fact despite the horror they just put them through. What a forgiving soul she has.

  1. “Belle tries to save her memory stone instead of helping Anna who falls off a cliff.” (Season 4, Episode 6 “Family Business”)

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I always appreciate when Once Upon a Time shows how good characters who you think could never possibly make a mistake, are actually capable of doing so- and sometimes a grave one. Belle decides to reach for a stone that would restore the memories of what caused her mother’s death, instead of quickly helping Anna from falling off a steep cliff. She acted selfishly, and even if it was just for a moment, it had huge repercussions. Anna fell and was captured by the Snow Queen. Of course Belle is wracked with guilt- but the point of this moment was not to demean Belle or make us think poorly of her. It was to show us she is human. We all makes mistakes. It is how we react and work to correct them that matters.

  1. “Belle sees a reflection of her deepest fears in the Snow Queen’s mirror.” (Season 4, Episode 6 “Family Business”)

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In Emilie’s De Ravin’s best work to date on the show, this chilling scene depicted a reflection from the Snow Queen’s mirror that revealed Belle’s deepest fears- that she is a coward, could never be a hero, that Rumple lied to her about the dagger, and worst of all that he only married her because he needed someone weak he could manipulate. The frightening way the reflection spouts out these fears is as gripping as Belle’s entrancement and gut wrenching reaction to them. Of course one of those fears was the truth, but the most important things were not, showing something very natural and human: a strong sense of self doubt.  This was just another case of adding some depth to her character that I greatly appreciate.

  1. “Belle convinces Dreamy to go after True Love.” (Season 1, Episode 14 “Dreamy”)

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Before our favorite dwarf was “Grumpy” he was idealistic and “Dreamy” and in love with a fairy. He was not sure what he was feeling, but when he meets Belle in a tavern one night she not only recognizes how in love he is, but encouraged him to fight for it, in a truly sweet scene.  Her line about True Love is one of the most beautiful of the series as well: “Love is hope. It fuels our dreams. And if you’re in it, you need to enjoy it.”

Favorite Little Moments:

– In an appropriate nod to the Beauty and the Beast film, I love the moment when Ruby is trying to help Belle think of a job to look for and asks her what she likes. Her answer of “I do love books” was simple and sweet, and led her in the right direction.

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– In the first moment where Belle and Killian research together, him offering to protect her as a way of making amends, she adorably rolls her eyes at him when he says he’s dealing with a hook when trying to handle a book carefully. It was an amusing first sign that these two could actually be friends eventually.

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– In the brief time Storybrooke was at peace, I loved seeing Belle’s enthusiastic smile as Killian and Emma walked up to her before Killian kissed Emma goodbye and followed Belle into the library for work. They had come so far, and the sincere and genuine smiles between them warmed my heart.

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Favorite Reader Moments:

One of the things I loved most about the moments readers sent in for Belle was how in tune they were with my own picks. I think it shows a strong sense of collective love for certain aspects of her character when specific moments are so overwhelmingly loved.

The top three Belle moments for readers (incidentally the same as mine) are:

  1. Belle banishes Rumple from Storybrooke in “Heroes and Villains”
  2. Belle defeats the Yaogui in “The Outsider”
  3. Belle and Killian bond and work together in “Darkness on the Edge of Town”

The rest of readers favorites are as followed (In episode order):

  1. Belle tells her father “No One decided my fate but me” in “Skin Deep”
  2. Belle tells Rumple about True Love in “Skin Deep”
  3. Belle tells Ruby she is not a monster in “Child of the Moon”
  4. Belle tricks the men tracking the Yaogui and finds it on her own in “The Outsider”
  5. Belle casts the cloaking spell to protect Storybrooke from intruders in “Dark Hollow”
  6. Belle and Ariel work together to obtain Pandora’s box in “Dark Hollow”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Belle moments: Maii, Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, and Alyssa 🙂

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Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Robin Hood

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Signature Line: “A thief that steals from those in need has no honor.”

Robin Hood, also known as Robin of Locksley and the outlaw who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, has been depicted many times on screen, and none as unique as on Once Upon a Time. He shares the iconic character’s traits of honor, charm, and courage, but his story takes a interesting turn when he falls in love with The Evil Queen, after his first love Marian has passed away. Only on Once Upon a Time , eh! His character has been through much, but through it all he is determined to live his life with a code of honor. And one thing is definitely certain about this thief- he’s stolen our hearts.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Robin discovers an alternate page 23 of the Storybook.” (Season 4, Episode 8 “Smash the Mirror”)

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Just like when the Storybook first appeared, this alternate page that magical materializes in Robin’s satchel depicts a version of reality where Regina found Robin in the tavern all those years ago and the two share a kiss. When he shows this page to Regina he gives her what few have ever been able to give her- hope. He tells her that this is simply a sign that our lives can go down many paths and that a bright future is always possible even if we missed a chance in the past. His sincerity is and optimism is lovely and he is able to make Regina believe unlike anyone else. This scene is such a beautiful example of what I love best about his character and indeed the show itself. Happiness is not some fleeting thing that is gone the instant we run away from it. If we have hope, a happy ending is always possible.

  1. “Robin places Regina’s hand over his heart and tells her to use his for the both of them.” (Season 3, Episode 19 “A Curious Thing”)

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Even without her heart Regina was still able to feel, and the morning after their first kiss Robin asks her what it is like? When she says she feels but not completely, he places her hand over his heart and says “Use mine for the both of us.” Not only is this an incredibly romantic and symbolic gesture (couples on this show often share hearts in both physical and emotional ways), but it was the first instance where Robin shows that he will love in the way Regina needs- with support and devotion.

  1. “Robin gives Will the elixir of the wounded heart he had stolen for himself.” (Season 4, Episode 17 “Heart of Gold”)

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In one of the moments that perfectly epitomizes Robin’s true character, he proves that he does indeed have a code of honor and a heart of gold. After stealing the elixir that can heal a broken heart, he lies to Will and says he failed in his attempt to obtain it. But after hearing that Will wanted the elixir to ease his own sorrow, suffering a broken heart from the loss of his sister, Robin is obviously touched and proves to be a good and selfless man. When they two hug and bid each other farewell Robin slips the elixir vile into Will’s pocket without him knowing it, and the look on Mr. Scarlett’s face when he discovers it is priceless.

  1. “Robin stays with a wounded Regina, promising she won’t die alone.” (Season 4, Episode 22 Operation Mongoose Part 2)

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In the alternate reality our fairy tale characters were written into, Robin Hood married Zelena! But that does not mean he and Regina did not still share a special connection. He may have married another woman, but when he departs the church and sees Regina on the ground, wounded and dying, he rushes to her side and does not even seem to notice when his wife rushes away in jealously. Instead he holds Regina’s hand and promises she won’t die alone, in this very sweet and touching moment.

  1. “Robin chases a thief on horseback in New York City.” (Season 4 Episode, 17 “Heart of Gold”)

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One of the things I love most about Once Upon a Time is when the fairy tale world and real world that we know clash and collide. Robin and his family were forced to leave Storybrooke and venture into a scary and large city, unaware of many of its pitfalls- one being never leave your bag unattended! When a thief grabs “Marian’s” purse, he goes after the culprit in the only way he knows- on horseback. His pursuit results in his first true fairy tale, heroic moment on the show, something long overdue for his character.

  1. “Robin says goodbye to Regina at the Storybrooke town line.” (Season 4 Episode 11 “Heroes and Villains”)

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Although we know the truth about “Marian now”, at the time, the moment Robin has to say goodbye to the woman he loved so that Marian could live was heartbreaking to watch, but beautiful in its intensity. He kisses her one last time, and holds her hand and he steps backwards across the threshold of the town line. And when both can no longer see the other a tear falls from his eye before he and his family venture towards their new home. Thank goodness “never being able to return” did not last that long.

  1. “Robin flirts with Regina while looking for clues about the Wicked Witch.” (Season 3, Episode 15 “Quiet Minds”)

Just because you are looking for clues about a dangerous witch in her secret hideaway, does not mean you can’t flirt and share a drink as well. At least that’s how lovable rogue Robin thinks as he flirts with Regina, leaning in close to her and commenting that the Evil moniker does not suit her- more like bold and audacious. Even though their moment was hindered when Regina saw his lion tattoo and fled, scared of her feelings, the attraction between them was intense and has only grown stronger since.

  1. “Robin plays with his son Roland while Regina watches from afar.” (Season 3, Episode 15 “Quiet Minds”)

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This moment may be short, but no less sweet and touching as Regina watches Robin adorably playing with his young son Roland, pretending to shoot bows and arrows and picking him up into his arms, with glee and love in both of their eyes as the little one clings to his dad and pats him on the back. Both Regina and the audience were given a lovely glimpse into another truth about his character- he is a sweet, playful, and loving father.

  1. “Robin helps Regina open up about a significant letter.” (Season 3, Episode 16 “It’s Not Easy Being Green”)

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After Regina finds a letter she always thought was about her, realizing now is about Zelena, Regina found herself sad and dejected and Robin, being someone who can read her so well, asks her what is so troubling. Of course what is cute is that first he lifts it from her, saying he’s a pickpocket by trade. But when it turns serious he is there for her and tries to be supportive. This was early on in their relationship, but established the understanding between them that is great to watch.

  1. “Robin and Regina say goodbye before the Spell of Shattered Sight.” (Season 4, Episode 9 “Fall”)

In another incredibly sweet and romantic moment of hope, Robin assures Regina that the spell that is about to come down upon them will not change the way he feels about her. All that matters is the present: “We’re here now and this is true.” This is a just another lovely example of what the show always depicts so beautifully- no matter the dangers and darkness that may come, love will always prevail.

Favorite Little Moments:

– While searching the library for clues about the Storybook he picks up the Dr. Seuss classic and ponders a perfectly legitimate question- Why would a cat want a hat? Is there anyone who did not laugh at this moment?

– While standing guard at the hospital against Zelena with his Merry Men he proclaims “Aim true for Little John!” It was a nice moment that felt perfectly in tune with what the legendary character is about.

– In a funny little nod to the classic Robin Hood tale where there was always animosity between the outlaw and the Sheriff of Nottingham, as well as the first moment we see a true moment of camaraderie between Robin and Emma, he says she is the first sheriff he does not mind assisting.

Favorite Reader Moments:

The tops moments amongst readers were all ones I included on my list as well and were a combination of romantic, heroic and funny ones, definitely rounding out the best parts of his character. While the rest are more of mine, along with some great scenes that I nearly included myself. These moments had a four way tie with readers:

  1. Robin tells Regina to use his heart for the both of them in “A Curious Thing”
  2. Robin chases a thief on horseback in “Heart of Gold”
  3. Robin and Regina have a conversation about hope after the alternate “Page 23” appears in “Smash the Mirror”
  4. After finding the classic Seuss book Robin asks “Why would a Cat want a hat” in “Smash the Mirror”

The rest of readers favorite moments are as follows (In episode order):

  1. Robin asks Mulan to join his Merry Men in “Quite a Common Fairy”
  2. Robin flirts with Regina in “Quiet Minds”
  3. Robin encourages Regina and helps her open up in “It’s Not Easy Being Green”
  4. Robin promises Regina he will get her heart back in “Bleeding Through”
  5. Robin says goodbye to Regina at the Storybrooke town line in “Heroes and Villains”
  6. Robin and Will Scarlet discuss love and heartbreak in “The Snow Queen”
  7. Robin bandages Regina’s hand in “Operation Mongoose Part 1”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Robin Hood moments: Mimi, Hagit, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, and Alyssa 🙂

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Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Zelena

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Signature Line: “The Queen may be evil, but I’m wicked. And wicked always wins.”

Once Upon a Time’s version of the Wicked Witch of the West is indeed deliciously wicked. You hate what she does but love to watch her do it. Zelena is portrayed to perfection by Rebecca Mader who plays Regina’s older sister with both over the top insanity and rare but interesting glimpses of humanity. She is a magnetic character to watch.

Favorite Moments:

  1. “Zelena reveals herself to be Marian in disguise, lording over a near death Rumplestiltskin.” (Season 4, Episode 17, “Heart of Gold”)

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It was a wicked plot twist to discover that the woman we believed to be Robin Hood’s presumed dead wife had been Zelena in disguise the entire time, and the scene where she reveals the entirety of her plot was fabulous to watch. Each villain on Once Upon a Time has different shades of evil and motivations, and in this scene the witch is at her most evil as she is taking great pleasure in the pain of others, not only unsuspecting Robin Hood and in turn her sister Regina, but also Rumple, who is defenseless in a hospital bed and so shocked that he flat lines for a moment. The sadistic pleasure she takes over his failing heart, knocking on it and calling it hollow shows how borderline psychotic she can be. Her behavior is horrible but fantastic to watch.

  1. “Zelena tells Regina she is just like their mother Cora when she says the author will write her (and her baby) out of their existence.” (Season 4, Episode 20 “Mother”)

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In rare moment of humanity, you can see the genuine fear in Zelena’s eyes, the harsh truth that Regina needed to hear, and the realization from both of them that they each have suffered at the hands of their mother. The multitude of layers in this scene can only be accomplished by a high caliber actress, and it was fascinating to see Zelena, who is always so confident and snarky, express emotions that actually are, dare I say, sympathetic. In that moment, she did not resemble a wicked witch, but a simply a very sad woman. It probably won’t last, but these glimpses of more grounded human behavior help to make her character well rounded and endlessly watchable.

  1. “Zelena curses Kilian’s lips and threatens Emma and her family.” (Season 3, Episode 17 “The Jolly Roger”)

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When this moment happened I remember being completely shocked that the whole time time Killian was trying to help Ariel find Prince Eric, it was actually Zelena in disguise. And the scene that proceeded was one of the moment intense, poignant and captivating the show has ever seen as these two formidable characters spar back and forth. Zelena’s confidence and gloating that she knows all, and will succeed in her nefarious plans made my heart break for Killian while I was also completely enthralled by her. These two should share more scenes together!

  1. “Zelena and Regina battle each other on Storybrooke’s Main Street.” (Season 3, episode 16 “It’s Not Easy Being Green”)

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Billed as a great showdown akin to a wild west shootout, this battle between sisters was great fun to watch. And before Regina even shows up, Zelena makes short work of both Emma and Sneezy’s Miata with her typical sassy demeanor. She and her sister have more in common personality wise than they think, but in this scene Zelena proved more powerful than even the Evil Queen as she blasts her through the window of the clock tower with great ease. Of course, her plan was thwarted when Regina is smart enough to not have her heart with her- and all the lucky for the audience because it results in one of the more sadistically fantastic expressions in TV history. Judge for yourself.

  1. “Zelena lets go of her envy and Glinda invites her to be a member of their sisterhood, erasing her green appearance.” (Season 3, Episode 20 “Kansas”)

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Although it did not last long, I enjoyed seeing that, albeit briefly, Zelena was able to let go of her envy and have a chance to be a part of something good. Zelena’s appearance is tied with how she feels on the inside and seeing her “envy” disappear was a nice symbol that our past does not have to dictate our present, and importantly our future. It is uncertain, and if we’re being honest probably unlikely, she will ever reach this point again, but it was great to see that it was possible, even if only for a moment.

Favorite Little Moments:

-Her signature line also presented an iconic Once Upon a Time moment as we see Zelena in her full glory, boasting that wicked always wins, and introducing her unforgettable character to the world.

– Although the moment where we see that Neal will pay for Rumple’s life with his own was sad, one cannot help but also laugh at her delivery of the line “Oops.” Classic character moment!!

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Favorite Reader Moments:

When it came to Zelena only one moment was a repeated favorite among readers:

  1. Zelena reveals herself to Rumple in his hospital room.

The rest of the favorite readers moments are ones both included and not included on my list.

They are as followed (in episode order):

  1. Zelena’s first appearance and iconic line “Wicked Always Wins” in “New York City Serenade”
  2. Zelena first meets Regina in “Witch Hunt”
  3. Zelena fights Regina in “It’s Not Easy Being Green”
  4. Zelena turns Walsh into a flying monkey in “It’s Not Easy Being Green”
  5. Zelena curses Killian’s lips in “The Jolly Roger”
  6. Zelena and Regina talk about choices in “Kansas”
  7. Zelana says Regina is just like Cora in “Mother”
  8. In the alternate reality Zelena’s jealousy still comes out as she complains about getting Regina’s blood on her wedding dress in “Operation Mongoose Part 2”

Thank you to the following readers for sending in their favorite Zelena moments: Mimi, Melissa, Meredith, Emily, and Alyssa.

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