Once Upon a Time Series Reviewers/Writers Roundtable

With Once Upon a Time winding down, one of the few ways I thought to celebrate was the include my fellow writers in a roundtable of questions about our favorite characters, moments and more from the series. During the heart of the show, these writers and I felt a sense of camaraderie and friendship and shared many similar feelings, so it’s no surprise that when it came to answering these questions there were some definite similarities. But all in all there is also a lot of variety and above all else fun.

The roundtable includes myself, and writers Katie, Gissane, Maii, Lissete and Meredith. Each answers the questions include their handles and where they wrote about OUAT. Also, myself, Lissete and Maii recorded a podcast (I am contemplating doing more in the future) to discuss our answers as well as those who couldn’t join us. Listen below for that and then read on to our more thorough answers that explores what we consider the best and our favorites of this series.

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Emma Swan is unanimously our favorite character

Name: Marianne
Twitter Handle(s): @Marianne_P81, @The_Girly_Nerd
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: The Nerd Machine, The Girly Nerd

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I have been a immense fan of Disney and fairy tales my entire life, so this was literally the show of my dreams. I wanted to watch from the moment I saw the show advertised. I would have watched the show regardless, but also being a big fan of Ginnifer Goodwin from many of her films, seeing she was playing Snow White was an added bonus. She was the only one in the cast I knew of before I began watching, which was the day it premiered in 2011. And it was love at first sight.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I began writing Once reviews from The Nerd Machine mid season 3 and did a review of that first half of the season. Then I did another for the second half. I began weekly reviews in Season 4. I find OUAT to be a very inspiring and positive show, showcasing themes and content that I connect with on deep levels beyond the pure joy and entertainment I get out of the series. I love writing and wrote a great deal about film and fairy tales in college, and after for some online and periodical articles (ie a review on the film Tangled). My Master’s Thesis was about Family in Fairy Tales and fantasy, which I loved working on (it was also hard work), and it had been a while since I had written anything substantial. I was already a writer for The Nerd Machine on a periodic things and I was going through some changes and this felt like this was a good opportunity to get back into writing more often. I was also inspired by Katie’s reviews on Nerdy Girly Notes and wanted to join her on the fun.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I thought The Dark Swan arc was amazing with its complexities, twists, beauty and drama and so much focus on Emma and her and Killian’s relationship and love for each other. Likewise both the Wicked Witch and Neverland arcs were fantastic- well paced, well balanced, great romance and drama and emotion. I also loved the Frozen arc for the focus on Emma and the way they perfectly integrated the Frozen characters into the story, and loved the entire first season for its mystery, introduction to all the characters, Snow and Charming’s love story and Emma’s journey of believing and breaking the curse.
Season Ranking: 3, 5,1, 4, 2, 6, 7 (Season 4 and 1, and Season 2 and 6 could probably be tied)

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Emma Swan, Killian Jones, Prince Charming/David Nolan. Snow White comes close to them.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
1. Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home
2. The Song in Your Heart
3. Pilot
4. A Land Without Magic
5. Operation Mongoose
Special nod to Going Home, Birth and Snow Falls.

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
There definite similarities but my 5 favorite vary slightly. These are:
1. Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home
2. The Song in Your Heart
3. Birth
4. New York City Serenade
5. Pilot
Special nods to Operation Mongoose, Fall, Good Form, Going Home, White Out, The Apprentice, A Land Without Magic, Snow Falls, The Other Shoe.

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
Guests: Cruella (Victoria Smurfit), Elsa (Georgina Haig), Anna (Elizabeth Lail), Ingrid (Elizabeth Mitchell), Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster), Arthur (Liam Garrigan), Tinkerbell (Rose McIver), Merlin (Elliot Knight), Peter Pan (Robbie Kay)

Recurring: Granny (Beverly Elliott), Ariel (Joanna Garcia-Swisher), Archie (Raphel Sbarge), August (Eion Bailey), Jefferson (Sebastian Stan), Dr. Whale (David Anders), Grumpy (Lee Arenberg), Ruby (Meghan Ory)

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
– Snow and Charming in the Netherworld was really romantic and so “them” but I loved that a the last minute they gave that little twist that they couldn’t touch. It upped the drama for the arc for certain.

– Anna and Kristoff pledging their love thinking they’re about to drown had me drowning in feels. It was so poignant and romantic.

– Emma showing Killian her box of childhood mementos was such a meaningful step for Emma and their relationship. It’s quiet and simple but incredibly profound.

-Emma and Killian reuniting in the S4 finale. It was so sweet the way she hugged him and tackled him down onto the bed, and that moment had such beautiful tension with their close ups and smiles and anticipation of those three little words.
-Ingrid’s sacrifice was so beautifully done- it was emotionally performed and it was the most I ever felt for a character that wasn’t a main one. And the musical cue used just added to already really profound moment.

– As a whole I think “Hat Trick” and “In the Name of the Brother” were such a unique and amazing episodes that are very under-appreciated.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
For the major couples Captain Swan is not only my favorite couple on the show but also one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever seen. Their relationship is so well developed, healthy and realistic, while their story is profoundly beautiful and epic and the perfect blend of fairy tale romance and grounded realism. Snow and Charming come in a close second for many of the same reasons. I think their story and relationship is lovely, and pure and so fairy tale perfect. For the minor couples I adored Anna and Kristoff. Their rapport and banter was simply delightful while also showcasing their deeper connection. It felt like they had leapt off the Frozen film and into OUAT.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
I have such a soft and special place in my heart for Killian and David, aka Captain Charming. That development is so great and these two men played off each other so well. I always wanted to see more. Emma and Elsa were a lovely and deep friendship that I am so grateful they showed as we saw such support, sweetness and true kinship with them. I also loved Ruby and Snow and Emma and August, both caring and supportive relationships who wanted the best for their friends.

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
I will always be bewildered and disappointed that they gave their Captain Hook the name Killian Jones and never used the character Davy Jones. You have a pirate with the last name Jones, and that never comes up? Whether it would have been his father, uncle or other kind of relative I think that was a big missed opportunity. I also wanted Flynn Rider, but the way they did Rapunzel on this show, Captain Swan remains the purest iteration of that couple as far as I’m concerned. I think it also would have been funny if perhaps as someone minor, Mary Poppins was in Storybrooke as a nanny. Lastly, I also think it would have been hilarious if we saw Herbie the Love bug drive by, since the show’s most iconic car was Emma’s yellow bug. Her car could have been Herbie’s True Love!

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
Hands down Hercules and Meg. I know OUAT didn’t always do characters exactly like their counterparts, but they were so different and in not a good way. They lacked all the depth, and Meg especially lacked the sass and tenacity I was looking forward to and I was disappointed it did not play out that way. There were so many story parallels between Hercules and Meg and how Emma was braving the Underworld to find Killian and they did not come to fruition in the way it could have.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
My choices for this are a combo of things I really wanted, things we know were scripted but were deleted, and things that happened off screen. Unsurprisingly they are mostly Captain Swan related.
– The deleted scene from “Heroes and Villains” which went:
Emma: You know I’ve never really done this?
Hook: Held my heart? You’ve done it longer than you know.
The scene as shown was too short but this was a made a big difference.

– The deleted scene from “A Tale of Two Sisters” which had such great flirting:
Emma: I’m not avoiding you. I’m dealing with things.
Hook: Actually, I’m a pretty important thing you’re not dealing with.
Emma: You’re pretty full of yourself.
Hook: It’s my charm. Now shall we discuss the events of last night, or better yet continue with them—

– I ALWAYS wanted to see a flashback of Killian trading the Jolly Roger to Blackbeard for a magic bean and outrunning the curse. There were times they could have flashbacked to this that would have been really meaningful.

– In “The Apprentice,” I loved Emma and Killian’s date but they cut from them at dinner to him walking her to her door, with her wearing his leather jacket. I wanted to see more of their date, particularly him giving her his jacket. That could have been a equally sweet and sexy moment.

-I wanted to see some kind of love scene or bedroom scene (albeit a tame one) for Emma and Killian, especially their first time together. They really missed the boat with never showing this once. I love the “Couch” scene and “Pancakes” scene but there should have been more for who became the show’s central couple.

– I also wanted more sweet domestic moments for Captain Swan and them finding out she was pregnant and the birth of their child.

– Lastly, although I loved the unique way they showed Emma and Killian were True Love, I always wanted a TLK for them. I thought the couple really deserved an magical auspicious moment such as that.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
Romantic: Emma and Killian in the Middlemist field, Killian says he traded his ship for Emma, Snow and Charming finding each other in the S1 finale, Killian returns to Emma in the cemetery, Killian reads Emma the Storybook, Snow splits her heart and revives Charming, Killian vows to win Emma’s heart, Killian reveals Emma is his happy ending, Emma and Killian’s wedding vows, Snow and Charming’s True Love Kiss in the Pilot, Anna and Kristoff in the trunk, Snow and Charming in the Netherworld.

Saddest: Emma and Killian saying goodbye in the Underworld, Robin Hood’s death, Emma chained to bed giving up Henry, Emma saying goodbye to everyone at the townline, Emma having to “kill” Killian with Excaliber, Snow giving up Emma right after giving birth.

Funniest: Cruella, Ursula, and Rumple driving up to the drive-thru of Mr. Clucks in Cruella’s car- hilarious on so many levels. Snow and Charming arguing under the Snow Queen’s spell, Charming teaching Henry to drive, so many of Killian, Cruella, and Granny’s one-liners, and when Snow, who had lost her love and sweetness tells a dwarf after breaking their mug, “You’re lucky it’s not that mug you call a face!”

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
I had a strong visceral and emotional reactions to the very intimate, heartbreaking moments for Emma and Killian in S5, particularly when Emma saves his life and turn him into another Dark One in the Middlemist field and when they saying goodbye at the elevator in the Underworld. The latter especially, because it was so quiet, deep and felt so incredibly real, really affected me. Lots of real life ugly sobbing. I was also affected by the image of Snow in the mirror crying after Charming takes baby Emma away in the Pilot, and the image of Emma chained to her hospital bed, crying and unable to even look at Henry after giving birth. These are so heart wrenching. Emma also sobbing when she thinks Henry is dead- the image of little pale body,a nd that somber music just killed me. And when she kissed him and he woke up and she broke the curse I really lost it.

As far as “I love this show” moments early on I felt that watching the Pilot and Snow Falls, and I began to feel that even more in S3, especially the S3 finale which I think was the absolute peak in storytelling. And when I watched “Going Home” I vividly remember sobbing as Emma was saying goodbye to everyone and Storybrooke disappeared, and I literally leapt from my seat and yelled out “Hook” when he showed up at her door. It was such a range of emotions and I will never forget that, especially since that was a midseason finale and we had to wait months to see what was next!

I had a similar reaction to “Swan Song” when Emma was marching towards the Underworld to save Killian and she says the Charming Family motto, “I will always find you.” I already knew this couple to be a True Love everlasting pairing, but both for Emma’s character, and the couple I was so overwhelmed with hearing her saying what the original True Love couple- her parents always said and stood for. That’s magical to me!

Lastly, and probably the most significant was for the musical episode. It was everything I dreamt of. But in particular the wedding and even more specifically “A Happy Beginning” is a pristine example of everything I love about this show. It was so incredibly joyful, celebrating love and family, and the song is absolutely perfect. I literally cannot count the number of times I have watched this scene since it aired, and I have listened to the song even more. I know anytime I want to smile or cheer myself, just listen on pop on this scene and all will be right with the world.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
I thought all of the costumes in Camelot were absolutely gorgeous, especially Emma’s White dresses, and Killian’s quilted jacket and red vest. But the costumes for Snow, Charming, Regina, Robin, Zelena, and Belle were all beautiful. I also loved Emma’s ball gown and Killian’s Prince ensemble from the S3 finale, Emma and Snow’s “adventure” outfits from the musical episode and Operation Mongoose respectively, Elsa and Anna’s dresses, Belle’s blue dress, Emma’s gown from Charming’s dream, Charming’s hero ensemble from NYCS, Cinderella/Ashley’s ball gown, as well as the main costumes for Robin Hood and Mulan. I also never met an Emma Swan leather jacket I didn’t like and loved the pink dress she wore for her date with Killian.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
Musical cues/themes: “Wedding in the Woods”
“Snow and Charming’s theme”
“Emma’s Theme”
“Emma and Killian’s theme”
“Sky Sailing”
“Ingrid’s End”
“True Love”
“Happy Endings Suite”
“Emma’s Theme/Charming Family Theme”
“Storybrooke (peaceful 6 weeks) Theme”
Musical Episode: “A Happy Beginning,” ‘Powerful Magic,” “Revenge is Gonna Be Mine”, “Emma’s Theme”

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Georgina Haig, Elizabeth Lail and Scott Michael Foster as Elsa, Anna and Kristoff, Victoria Smurfit as Cruella, Joanna Garcia and Gil McKinney as Ariel and Eric.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Even though I made my own Captain Swan one, I would love a real copy of Henry’s storybook. I also would love Excalibur with Emma and Killian’s names engraved on it.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke. I need modern conveniences like medicine, electricity, internet and television. But I would hope there were ways we could visit the Enchanted Forest on occasion for special things like a ball.

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
Psych. I just think this would be so funny and entertaining. Emma and Juliet would get along great, two badass woman sheriffing around town. Lassiter would probably get annoyed at everyone and I think he, Killian and David would share in that- equally exasperated at the constant monsters and such. And Shawn and Gus- they would probably spend their time screaming and running away from everything and checking out every single restaurant in town. I can picture them ordering a million things off the menu in Granny’s right before going into the psychic hijinks, and Emma would probably no doubt be able to see right through Shawn’s facade, but not spill the beans. It would be really fun.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
The Office. I think it would be hilarious to put these fairy tale characters into such a mundane and ordinary setting. Bonus if they were in their EF costumes, and Emma was the only one who wasn’t. Can you imagine the talking to the camera moments? Classic.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
“True Love isn’t easy but it must be fought for. Because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

“When I win your heart, Emma- and I will win it- it will not be because of any trickery. It will be because you want me.”

Bonus: “People are going to tell you who you are your whole life. You’ve just got to punch back and say, no this is who I am.”

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Emma, Killian, their child(ren), Snow, Charming, their son, Henry, Ella and Lucy, Regina and other friends and loved ones all celebrating Emma’s birthday. They are all happy smiling and clapping as she blows out her candles. She kisses KiIlian and their child, hugs Henry and her parents. The family is together again, happy and at peace. It would also be nice if they incorporated the storybook again, perhaps with an narration of Emma or Henry reading how they all lived happily ever after, and we see another illustration and the book closes. Then either fade to black or a final shot of the clock or Storybrooke sign, mirroring the way the Pilot ended.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
I don’t think she’s evil or a villain but she is totally shady, I feel like she holds back and is not forthcoming about a lot of things. So while ultimately I still think she is good, she is shady enough where it wouldn’t surprise me if they revealed her to be some mastermind in the end.

cs date

Captain Swan is our favorite couple

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We all adore Snow and Charming as well

Name: Katie Kawa
Twitter Handle(s): @nerdygirlnotes
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: Nerdy Girl Notes (nerdygirlnotes.com)

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I started watching OUAT on New Year’s Day 2012, when ABC aired a marathon of the first 7 episodes. I love all things Disney and fairytales, so the show was always tailor-made for my interests, so the second ABC gave me a chance to really get hooked, it was all over for me—in the best possible way.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I started writing about the show on my old LiveJournal in early 2012, but my first official post about it at NGN was a review of the Season One finale. I started regularly posting about the show starting in Season Two. I knew from the moment I began watching it that this was exactly the kind of show I wanted to write about. The show’s themes of hope and the power of belief resonated so strongly with me that I knew I could spend an eternity writing about it, and I was so inspired by the complexity of the female characters we were introduced to right away in Season One that I never wanted to stop analyzing them and their relationships with each other and with the men who love them.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I’ll start with ranking the seasons (from least favorite to favorite): 7, 6, 2, 4, 5, 1, 3

There will always be a special place in my heart for the initial arc of Season One in terms of how it developed for Emma and Henry and Snow and Charming because it emphasized truly excellent storytelling in both the past and present stories and showcased how important all kinds of love would be on the show. I also adored the Neverland arc because of how strongly it focused on my favorite characters and their relationships with each other, and you can count me among the proud few who really loved what they did with Season Four’s Frozen storyline. Finally, although the Dark Swan arc was very different than I expected it to be, the brilliant work it allowed Jennifer Morrison to do makes it one of my all-time favorites.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
This is going to be SO PREDICTABLE for anyone who knows me, but oh well. 😉

3. Regina: Watching how Regina developed from a villain to a character I actively root for was one of the most rewarding things about watching OUAT over the years. She wasn’t always likable, but I came to love that about her. She was one of my favorite characters to write about because she was complex and layered in a way I never would have seen coming in the pilot. She was deeply flawed and incredibly frustrating at times, but she was also a character capable of immense love and true growth. Her acceptance of her happiness as being independent of a man remains one of the highlights of the show for me, and I’ve loved watching this woman learn to define herself as a hero on her own terms.

2. Snow White: It wasn’t always easy to see the Snow White I first fell in love with in later seasons of the show, but when she appeared, I was reminded of why she was my first favorite and will always be my OUAT “spirit animal.” Snow represents the idea that you can be soft and still be strong; you can have a gentle heart and an iron will. She made me see that hope can be a source of true strength and that belief isn’t about some faraway stories or magic; it’s about having faith in the people you love and in yourself. She’s the kind of leader I hope I am, the kind of mother I hope to become, and the kind of person I try to channel every day.

1. Emma Swan: Emma Swan changed my life. It’s as simple and as profound as that. I’m a stronger, happier, braver, and better me because she existed and because I found her when I did. She is one of the most inspiring characters I’ve ever discovered in my many years of media consumption, and her story never fails to make me cry just thinking about it. She had a villain’s backstory filled with loss, abandonment, and deception, but she lived a true hero’s journey of self-definition, bravery, and belief. Her strengths, her weaknesses, her highs, and her lows were all relatable; she was a Disney princess for young women living in a world where it’s all too easy to become cynical. She taught all of us that you don’t have to be perfect to be the hero of your own story—all of you have to be is yourself.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
1. “Pilot” (1.01): I’ve never seen a pilot do a better job of establishing not just characters and plot, but also tone and themes that would carry through the whole series.
2. “Snow Falls” (1.03): The epitome of the show’s flair for epic romance and twisting beloved fairytales into something more modern, fun, and empowering for women.
3. “A Land Without Magic” (1.22): The episode that showed all this show can be when it’s firing on all cylinders and the one that set the standard for curse-breaking, True Love’s Kisses, and emotional twists (with Emma’s love for Henry being the one to break the curse).
4. “Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home” (3.21/3.22): Fun, romantic, filled with references to pop culture and other fairytales, and an essential piece of the show’s mythology, the “Captain Swan movie” is a fandom favorite for a reason.
5. “The Song in Your Heart” (6.20): The musical episode we all asked for combined with the wedding episode we all needed—a truly magical moment in the show’s history.

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
My favorite episode lists changes almost daily, but I think that list is pretty close. I might swap “A Land Without Magic” and “The Song in Your Heart” for the perfect one-two punch of “Going Home” and “New York City Serenade” in Season Three, but it’s so hard to choose!

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
Guest Characters: I adored all the Frozen characters, especially Ingrid. I’ve loved Elizabeth Mitchell from her days on LOST, and the depth and humanity she gave to Ingrid created one of my favorite single character arcs in the show’s history. I also really loved Cruella because Victoria Smurfit is such a gem of an actor and brought so much campy brilliance to that role.

Recurring Characters: RUBY. I think the loss of Meghan Ory from the show doesn’t get talked about enough. Ruby was such a great character who was at the center of some wonderful female friendships, and losing her as a regular face on the show was a huge blow. I also smiled every time we saw Granny, and I have to put a vote in for some of Season Seven’s new faces, with Alice and Tiana being particular standouts.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
I know a lot of people don’t like to talk about the Neal/Emma stuff because it’s too painful to think about that part of her past, but the confrontation between Neal, Emma, Henry, and Rumple in the apartment in “Manhattan” is probably the single best acted scene the show ever did; it floored me when it first aired, and years later, I find myself still thinking about it.

I also could talk about Ingrid’s death scene all day in terms of underrated moments. Elizabeth Mitchell brought so much to that role, and the amount I cried when she died took me by complete surprise. It was such a beautifully executed scene to culminate a beautifully executed arc, and it was one of the most emotional death scenes the show has ever done; it just doesn’t get talked about a lot because she wasn’t a main character.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
I’ll start with the current season: I’m loving the way the show has been developing Alice and Robin’s relationship. It’s everything I’d wanted them to do in terms of an LGBT romance for so long, and the two of them are adorable together.

And then, of course, there are the original OTPs for so many of us: Captain Swan (Emma/Hook) and Snowing (Snow/Charming). From the pilot onward, Snow and Charming owned my heart. They rekindled my belief in fairytale love stories, and they will always remain the gold standard for me (both onscreen and off). And if Snowing helped me believe in fairytales again, Captain Swan helped me believe I could have one for myself someday. They were a new kind of fairytale about two broken people learning to believe in love again, and along the way, they made so many of us believe, too. Those two couples gave us so many classic romantic moments, allowed us to shed so many cathartic tears, and inspired so many of us to write about them. They’re huge parts of the show’s legacy—and rightly so.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Snow and Ruby will always be my favorite—even though we didn’t get nearly enough of it. They were supportive of each other, genuinely loved each other, and helped each other become better people by believing in them. I will also always have a soft spot for the epic bromance between Charming and Killian, the beautiful friendship between Emma and Elsa, and the “enemies to reluctant co-parents to friends” dynamic Emma and Regina developed over time.

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Rapunzel’s husband this season was named Eugene or Flynn, right? If that’s the case, that’s one of the only characters I really wanted to see but never got: a quality version of Flynn Rider. I also would have liked to see what they could have done with Moana because she’s already such a powerful female character.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
I didn’t like either of the show’s versions of Rapunzel. She was either too boring and passive or a villain—neither of which I wanted for one of my favorite Disney princesses. I also still wish they would have given Belle more of a backbone throughout instead of just in a handful of moments. The show never seemed to know quite what to do with her after deciding to make her a regular character, and I wish she would have been more developed from the start because she’s such an iconic character played by such a great actress who deserved better writing than she was given in most cases.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
I would have liked a traditional True Love’s Kiss between Emma and Killian and to have seen the moment Emma told Killian she was pregnant because I’m a sappy shipper. I also would have liked more scenes with Emma talking to her parents as the seasons went on. Emma and Snow had such a great dynamic in Season One, and I wished we could have seen that come back a little more clearly in later seasons.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
Most Romantic: Charming and Snow’s first True Love’s Kiss (the perfect way to kick off the show), the entirety of the “Captain Swan Movie” (especially the kiss at the end), Killian’s “When I win your heart” speech, and Charming’s “What’s 28 years when you have eternal love?” line.

Saddest: Emma stabbing Killian with Excalibur, Snow and Charming giving up Emma in the pilot, Emma’s reaction to finding out Henry “died” before breaking the curse, and Emma and Henry having to leave everyone behind in “Going Home.”

Funniest: Rumple and the Queens of Darkness at the drive-thru. Nothing will ever be better than that.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
The entire musical episode was like that for me, a reminder of everything I’ve ever loved about the show. And in terms of emotional reactions, the amount I cried when Emma and Killian said their goodbyes in the Underworld during “Firebird” was bordering on ridiculous and was on the same level as my wrecked reaction to Snow and Charming’s goodbye before splitting his heart back in Season Two. In terms of happy reactions, nothing will beat the giddiness I felt seeing the sneak peek of Emma and Killian’s first kiss and the pure joy of Killian showing up at her door at the end of “Going Home.”

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
Emma’s red leather jacket—because I love when costumes mean something, Regina’s backless blue dress and red velvet dress from Season One, Snow’s white coat/tan pants outfit from “Lady of the Lake,” and Emma’s pink first date dress.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
I always tear up whenever I hear Snow and Charming’s theme, and the way Emma’s theme was used in the musical episode to give even more importance to an already beautiful piece of music was brilliant. And I will never stop singing “Powerful Magic” and “A Happy Beginning.” Both songs feel straight out of a Disney movie or theme park in the best possible way. (Also, I will use this answer to just say JOSH DALLAS’S VOICE. We’re not ever going to be over that, are we?)

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Elizabeth Lail was the perfect choice for Princess Anna, and I feel the same way about Victoria Smurfit as Cruella. I also can’t go without mentioning how wonderfully Joanna Garcia Swisher embodied the innocence, spunk, and joy of Ariel.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
I’d want a copy of the story book, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to taking one of Emma’s jackets or Snow’s engagement ring.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke! I’m not ashamed to say that—while the clothes would be amazing in the Enchanted Forest—I need running water, electricity, and the internet. Also, I hear Granny makes a great lasagna that you can only get in Storybrooke. 😉

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
I’m having lots of fun right now imagining the Timeless crew winding up in the Enchanted Forest. I also always wanted a Castle/OUAT crossover because a world filled with fairytale characters would have made Richard Castle so excited, and I always wanted Kate Beckett and Emma Swan to be friends.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
I’d love to see them on a game show of some sort—they’d make a very entertaining episode of Family Feud.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
“People are going to tell you who you are your whole life. You’ve just gotta punch back and say, ‘No, this is who I am.’” (Emma Swan)

“Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.” (Snow White)

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
I think it would be a lot like the final scenes we got at the end of Season Six, to be quite honest—little slices of what “happily ever after” looks like for all these characters. But I’d want it to end with Emma’s birthday and her blowing out a candle surrounded by her parents, friends, husband, and children—finally realizing the wish that started it all.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
TOTALLY SHADY.

elsa and anna

The “Frozen” characters were among our favorite guest stars

ariel 3

Ariel is another popular favorite guest star

Name: Gissane Sophia
Twitter Handle(s): @GissaneSophia | @MGcircles
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: http://mgcirclesmedia.com

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I was intrigued by it when the promos were coming out, but I actually thought it was going to be a scarier twist on classics, which bummed me out cause I was a huge fan of Ginny Goodwin’s rom coms. But then one of my closest friends watched the first two episodes and loved them, so I took her recommendation and gave it a try. And here we are seven years later. Lol! I’m so glad the good characters get their happy endings.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
Season 3. At this point I had started writing reviews for a little show called Graceland, and I had missed writing essays (weird, right?) so I figured I’d put that longing to use with TV and add on more shows to my list. I knew I wanted to write after I realized that the season two finale left us with such an intriguing cliffhanger and I kept wanting to talk about it with people. I’d write little metas here and there on my Tumblr for fun so bringing my media study and English degree into it turned out to be one of the funnest decisions I’ve ever made.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I love the first season so much, it’s got such a special place in my heart for a number of reasons, but I also really loved Neverland and Frozen. In order of favorites, one, three, four, two, five, six.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Emma Swan.
Killian Jones.
David Charming & Snow White (They’re equal to me. They’re one. Don’t make me choose. I refuse.)

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
Pilot (Naturally, it started it all.)
Snow Drifts | There’s No Place Like Home
Nimue
Snow Falls
Hat Trick

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
Yes, for the most part they are. I like a couple of other episodes here and there, too, but those get to me.

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
The Frozen actors hands down with Ariel following very closely behind. I love Granny and Ruby, too. They’re a huge reason why season one was so special and I wish we got to explore their stories a little more.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
I don’t know if it’s underrated per say, but the scene where Hatter reunites with his little girl always gets to me – even in gif form, the second I see it, instant tears. He was such a fun character to explore and I wish we got to see more of their dynamic because truly, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his baby girl and it would’ve gone gorgeously with the them of the show. And then there’s the whole thing with The Snow Queen’s redemption arc, my God was that a beautiful scene. It’s definitely in my top episodes, maybe in my top 5, but it’s so hard to choose really. “Shattered Sight” was so special, I never could’ve imagined that episode ending the way it did. It was one of the most beautiful episodes to date and I remember bawling my eyes out to it. Ingrid was so special, and I wish we got to her a little bit more after her memories were returned. That entire storyline was just utter perfection. Also, again, I don’t know if it’s underrated, I really loved “Sisters” and everything that happened in that episode with Zelena and Regina. It was such a beautiful showcase of both their hearts and what could be if they set their differences aside. It really got to me as I watched it.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
Captain Swan (Emma Swan and Killian Jones)
Snowing (Snow White and Prince Charming)
Kristoff and Anna of Arendalle
Outlaw Queen (Regina Mills and Robin Hood)

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Snow and Emma
Emma and Elsa
Henry and Emma
Killian and Charming
Anna and Elsa
Henry and Charming
Snow and Ruby
Regina and Zelena

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
Flynn Rider.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
Quite a few to be honest, and I feel like it could be a can of worms we don’t want to open up, so maybe it’s best not to get into it. Let’s just say that there’s a particular (minor, not major or recurring) character that the fandom really idolizes and that character has always been one of my least favorites for a number of reasons.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
Emma’s birthday round 2. It’s essentially how I always imagined the show would end bringing everything full circle beautifully, but woe, here we are. And I’d love some more domestic moments between the Charming family, if the show had turned into comedy instead with our favorites trying to figure out the ins and outs of our world, it would’ve been perfect.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
There are so many of these, first kisses, true loves kisses, familial reunions, anything related to them commenting on our world.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
Emma’s fight against the darkness in “Nimue”. That was such a remarkable showcase of what it truly means to fight back against the negativity in our heads and it was so inspiring to watch it.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
I always loved Regina’s dresses – they’re so gorgeous. And Snow’s bandit costume too. Anything in “Snow Drifts | There’s No Place Like Home” was stunning. There are seriously so many. Eduardo Castro is next level amazing.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
Snowing Theme, and the original, opening theme always get to me. I think I loved “Emma’s Theme” most from the musical episode.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Frozen. Hands down. Hatter and Ariel a close second.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Probably a mug from Granny’s diner. I’m a huge mug collector so that’s definitely something that is on my level. Also, if I could borrow any of the costumes, then yes definitely, sign me up.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke for sure. It’s such a quaint, adorable little town. And I loved getting to experience it a little bit when I visited Steveston in Vancouver.

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
Fun fact, or perhaps, a not so fun fact, I really really don’t like crossovers, they stress me out so none.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
I feel like this rings similar to crossovers, but if I have to choose then maybe Stranger Things.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.

“People are gonna tell you who you are your whole life. You just gotta punch back and say, “No, this is who I am”. You want people to look at you differently? Make them! You want to change things, you’re gonna have to go out there and change them yourself, because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.”

“True love isn’t easy but it must be fought for because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

Basic, I know, but damn do those two get to me.

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
It’d be Emma’s birthday, whatever year she’s turning, at Granny’s perhaps with every single one of her loved by her side as she blows out her candles after everyone’s sung happy birthday to her.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
I’m definitely indifferent on her. I never thought about it or cared too much. So probably not shady? I don’t know.

charming horse

We all thought the “Pilot” was an iconic episode

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But the Season 3 finale “Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home” is unanimously our favorite episode

Name: Meredith Loftus
Twitter Handle(s): @MeredithLoftus (@ouatfandomblog)
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: ScreenSpy.com

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
My sister (Emma) & dad watched the series premiere on my sister’s birthday (October 23rd), and the next day they told me I should watch the show. About 5 weeks later, a classmate of mine told me she was watching it and loved; so after class, I went back to my dorm room and proceeded to watch the five episodes that have aired so far. I was hooked.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I didn’t start writing about the show until about halfway through Season 4A. During Season 3, that’s when I started to really fangirl over the show and became active on Twitter. I kept up with BTS news from a few accounts; I read reviews from Nerdy Girl Notes, MG Circles, and The Nerd Machine. I was so inspired by the reviews I was reading and so fascinated in theorizing what they were doing on the show that I started my own fan blog, OUAT Fandom Blog, where I used to write theory posts. A couple weeks into running the blog, ScreenSpy was looking for contributors to write reviews for shows, and one of the shows that needed reviews was OUAT. I reached out to them, sent them a link to my blog, and within a couple of days I was all set to start writing for them.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
The best story arcs on the show were definitely the first season and the third season. I would rank it: 1) Season 3, 2) Season 1, 3) 4B, 4) Season 2, 5) 4A, 6) 6B, 7) Season 5, 8) 6A. I have not watched the latest season. I stopped watching after the Season 6 finale.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Top 3 favorite characters are hands down Emma Swan, Killian Jones, and Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
The iconic episodes of the series are 1×01 Pilot, 1×03 Snow Falls, 3×11 Going Home, 3×21-3×22 Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home, and 6×22 The Final Battle Part 2.

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
The above are my favorites except I might switch out 6×22 for 3×17 Poor Unfortunate Soul which is a personal favorite of mine.

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? Ariel is hands down my favorite guest character. I was worried when they announced that she was coming on the show because Ariel is my favorite Disney princess and I wanted to see her character done correctly; thankfully, my fears were quickly diminished in her debut episode. Joanna Garcia-Swisher is a perfect Ariel and had such a great dynamic with every character she interacted with. Plus, when Ariel is in an episode, I could always count on great Captain Swan and/or Killian Jones moments in it.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
The most underrated moment happens during 1×05 That Still Small Voice when Archie stands up to Regina after saving Henry from the mine. “Or what? You’ll do your worst? Because I will always do my best.” That line has stayed with me since 2011 because he’s validating his self-worth and conscious without stooping down to Regina’s level.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
My favorite major couples have always been the Big Four: Emma/Killian, Snow/Charming, Regina/Robin, and Belle/Rumple. The minor ones I love are Ariel/Eric, Aladdin/Jasmine, and Cinderella/Thomas.

10.What are your favorite friendships? Killian/Charming, Killian/Ariel, Emma/Elsa, Snow/Red, Ariel/Belle, and Emma/Mary Margaret in Season 1.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Joanna Garcia-Swisher as Ariel, again in my opinion, is perfect guest casting.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Can I just take Mary Margaret’s entire loft, decorations and all? That would be amazing!

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke no question. Modern healthcare matters! Plus, I would love to run the coffee shop in Storybrooke and hang out with the hipster fairytale characters.

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Honestly, I thought the Thanksgiving dinner in Granny’s at the end of the Season 6 finale would’ve made a perfect ending to the series.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
BLUE HAS BEEN AND WILL ALWAYS BE SHADY!

storybrooke sign

We all would rather live in Storybrooke

Name: Maii
Twitter Handle(s): OfTheDirewolves and Maiqu20
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: I wrote for Word of the Nerd and was a part of the Captain Swan Podcast

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I started around episode 4. I liked Ginnifer Goodwin and fairytales plus I was like oh the girl from House (Can you imagine I had a life before Jennifer Morrison? I can’t remember it). Also I thought Josh was really hot so I was like why not.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I started in s4. Emma Swan. Is that going to be a recurring theme in this questionnaire? Probably.

But honestly I realized I loved analyzing shows and figured hey I’ve got the background for it why not write for something I love. So I sent a few applications and one of them stuck and well considering I’m still writing on it I think we’re doing okay. It might frustrate me at times but I love reviewing my favorite shows and I truly want to dedicate myself to this.

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
I know I’m among the few that truly loved the Frozen arc? Mostly because it was about Emma and just Emma with no focus on /that/ character even if the arc had the 2nd shittiest finale in the show. I loved the dynamics of season 1 and the friendships in it. I loved Dark Swan a lot? I’d change a few things about it but as a whole I loved it. Season 2 started out great and then kind of went nowhere before getting back on track. Those of us around from way back when know it’s because Colin had to go break his leg so this one wasn’t really the writers fault.

3B is complicated bc it was well very slow and while I understood Emma’s decisions it was the first time I was privy to the fandom’s prejudice against her (even within our own fandom). So that one sadly has a bit of a strange connotation because it also has one of the most perfect finales ever to exist? Underworld I love the idea behind it, I thought there was too much focus on the Mills women and Rumple. So the CS in it was perfect but it gets points taken for allowing scum like Cora to move on but Milah got to suffer a fate worst than death and never reunite with her son which was all she wanted.

S4B was a retcon disaster. And honestly season 4 as a whole did not deserve Michael Socha. The only redeemable eps were Sympathy for DeVil and Poor Unfortunate Souls. Season 6 was, something. On one side you had beautiful stunning eps like The Other Shoe, Murder Most Foul (without the end reveal), Dark Waters, Heartless, Awake, the first part of the finale and of course The Song in Your Heart. On the other side there’s episodes like the offensive Wish You were here, the dreadful A Bitter Draught, the 2nd part of the finale that went nowhere really, and well the rest of the eps weren’t much better.

Neverland Arc -> Lost in Enchanted Forrest (2A) -> Season 1 -> Frozen Arc -> 3B -> Dark One Arc -> The Dark Days of S2 -> 5B -> 6B -> 6A -> 4B

Now for full seasons? Season 3 -> Season 1 -> Season 2 -> Season 5 -> Season 6 -> Season 4

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
Emma Swan, Killian Jones and Charming

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
A Land Without Magic
Snow Drifts/There’s No Place like Home
Red-Handed
Pilot
Nimue

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
Snow Drifts/There’s No Place like Home
White Out
The Shepherd
Nimue
Good Form

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors? 
I’m gonna be on brand and say Frozen because we all know my thing for Scott Michael Foster. And I loved Cruella a lot.
For Recurring: definitely Ruby and Mulan.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
I love Ingrid’s sacrifice I think it’s one of the most beautiful moments in the entire series.
I love “you think I’m interested in Hook? Emma I’m a married man” & Ariel standing up to John and Michael.
Also I can’t think of any because I haven’t rewatched in a while but any Swan Believer or Charming/Emma scene is on this list.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
Major Couples are obviously Captain Swan and Snowing.

For minor couples I say Scarlet Queen (for those that didn’t watch OUATIW it’s Anastasia and Will Scarlet) and Red Beauty.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Emma and Elsa were a truly pure friendship. I also love Captain Charming a lot.
Emma x Ruby, Ruby x Snow, S1 Snow x Emma, Emma x Henry, Captain Book, David x Emma, Charming x Anna

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
I think it’s no surprise that I wanted Anastasia to come to the main show. I thought her arc was perfect on OUATiW, the relationship with Will was beautiful. But as for characters they didn’t show in either show…. Hmm I would have loved to see Esmeralda, same with Persephone (even if we got Disney!Hades not GreekMyth!Hades), ohh or the Sanderson Sisters.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
Can I say Regina? Because I think she had potential and could have been much better with someone else playing her and if they hadn’t made a mess of her storyline. And of course Robin Hood because I don’t know who that was but it wasn’t Robin Hood.

I wish they had followed through with Will Scarlet’s plotline and that they hadn’t made a mess of Belle’s.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
Captain Swan Sex. I mean I know they showed something but come on. I would have loved a better Snow and Emma relationship.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
Most Romantic? You traded your ship for me and Charming taking an arrow for Snow.
Saddest? Emma having to kill Killian in Swan Song, their goodbye in Final Rites. Belle’s son being stolen from her.
Funniest? Pancakes! I’m glad we don’t have thanksgiving in our world because that would suck.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
My most visceral reaction as anyone who knows me can attest to is Emma’s “I’m not nothing I was never nothing.” Because Emma is the character I’ve related to most in this world and with my life and the things I’ve gone through that was a moment I needed and will forever relate to.

That being said the Neverland kiss, Charming’s speeches “we are both” & “true love isn’t easy but it must be fought for”, and of course you gave up your ship for me? Are also ICONIC.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
Killian- I love the red vest of sex (I’m still very proud of having coined that phrase) and the Storybrooke Outfit
Charming’s S1 Prince Outfit
Emma’s Camelot dress and the outfits in the season 3 finale
Snow’s bandit outfit

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
I am a musical score nerd so I’ll try to keep it simple: CS Theme, Emma’s theme, the snowing theme and the main title.

For the musical episode I love Emma’s Theme, Revenge is Gonna be Mine and Powerful Magic.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
I wish they had done more with him but Oded Fehr was a perfect Jafar. The whole Frozen cast was perfect as were Jamie Chung as Mulan, Victoria Smurfit as Cruella, Sebastian Stan as the Hatter/Jefferson and JoAnna Garcia as Ariel.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
I would take either the sword that both Charming and Emma fought with or Excalibur with both Emma and Killian’s names.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Can we portal back and forth? I mean the show did throw continuity out the window so should we. Because I’d love to visit the different lands but I need coffee, internet and everything that modern life gives us so Storybrooke is it.

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
I’d go with Lucifer because I do think the main couples have a lot of similarities and their worlds both deal with characters from stories in a way.

Also I would pay to watch Lucifer Morningstar flirt with Emma Swan or Killian Jones, or both.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?

Well I really want to say Lucifer again but if we’re talking something different I might go with Timeless or The Royals.. No this is totally not me wanting all my faves to interact.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
“I’m not nothing I was never nothing, the power you have I don’t need.”

“True Love isn’t easy but it must be fought for because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

“You traded your ship for me?”

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Emma’s Birthday

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady? SHADY MCSHADESTER

cruella drive thru

We all laughed at this moment!!

Name: Lizzie
Twitter Handle(s): @lizziethat
Where you wrote about Once Upon a Time: Fangirlish

1. What made you first watch OUAT and when did you start?
I started watching from the Pilot! I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales, and this show seemed tailor-made for me.

2. When did you start writing about the show and what inspired you to do so?
I started writing around the end of Season 3, and it was one of those things where I just had too many feelings that I needed to get out, and I just didn’t know enough people who watched the show, so I started writing to kinda come to term with my own feelings. And one thing led to another

3. What are your favorite arcs/storylines? Rank the seasons.
The first season remains a favorite, because it was magical. I really liked the Frozen arc, that a lot of people don’t like. And I liked the Neverland arc as well. I think those are my top 3. The season ranking would go something like 1,3,2,5,6,4.

4. Top 3 favorite main characters.
It’s sooo hard. But I’m going to say Emma, Charming and Snow.

5. Choose 5 iconic episodes, not necessarily favorite episodes. These are episodes you think define the series. (2 part season finales can count as 1 episode)
“Snow Drifts” and “There’s No Place Like Home” (3×21-22)
“A Land Without Magic” (1×22)
“The Song In Your Heart” (6×20)
“Pilot” (1×01)
“Operation Mongoose Part 2” (4×22)

6. Are your 5 favorite episodes the same? If not which would you switch out?
I’d probably switch out the last two and add “Good Form” and “New York City Serenade”

7. Who are you favorite guest characters/actors and favorite recurring characters/actors?
The Frozen actors! I loved them all. As for recurring, I’d say Ruby? Does she count.

8. What are some moments you think are underrated?
In general, any and all Snow/Emma moments, and there were not enough of those, and any and all quiet moments for the couples. The domestic moments.

9. Who are your favorite couples both major and minor?
Snow/Charming, Emma/Hook and Ruby/Dorothy are my favorites.

10. What are your favorite friendships?
Emma and Elsa! And Season 1 Snow and Emma.

11. Are there any characters you wish you’d seen on the show?
I was pretty happy with the characters we got, though I guess I would have liked Flynn Rider and more Rapunzel than we got. Or even Moana, but that’s just too new and hard to incorporate.

12. Are there any characters you wish they’d done differently?
I enjoyed this show, but I think they failed many characters at many points. I wish they’d done Regina’s redemption arc any way other than her splitting herself, they did some things with Hook I didn’t like, but I ESPECIALLY wish they’d done Rumple differently.

13. What moments did you want to see that they never showed?
Just more of those quiet moments they always talked about – not just between couples, but between family.

14. What moments do you think were the most romantic, saddest, and funniest?
I think the end of Season 3 is pretty darn romantic, and I love the wedding song for Emma and Killian, and Snow and Charming’s song, from the musical. I think the saddest moment is probably Snow and Charming having to give up Emma, time and time again, especially in that season 6 episode where they almost went to her when she was a kid. And funniest – well, this show had a lot of hilarious moments, but I think Regina, in particular, had some great one-liners.

15. What moments do you remember where you had a really emotional or visceral reaction, and ones where you simply thought “I love this show!”
I go back to that Season 6 moment with Snow and Charming looking through the door at little Emma, because that gutted me. I really loved the musical too, I’m a sucker for songs.

16. What were some of your favorite costumes?
The Camelot costumes were gorgeous.

17. What are your favorite musical themes or cues? Favorite songs from the musical episode?
I love musicals but I pay 0 attention to musical themes or cues, so I’m just going to say Wicked Always Wins and A Happy Beginning.

18. Which guest star casting do think was spot on perfect?
Elsa! And Anna, really.

19. If you could pick any props to take from set what would they be?
Maybe Excalibur? That’d be awesome.

20. Would you rather live in Storybrooke or the Enchanted Forest?
Storybrooke for SURE. Running water!

21. What show would you do a crossover episode with (doesn’t have to make sense or be current)?
The X-Files. I can just picture Mulder walking up to the town and Scully not buying that they’re fairy tale characters.

22. What other show would you think it’d be fun to put the OUAT characters into?
Anything modern, because they still seem sorta stuck in the past.

23. Pick two favorite quotes.
Emma Swan: People are gonna tell you who you are your whole life. You just gotta punch back and say, “No, this is who I am”. You want people to look at you differently? Make them! You want to change things, you’re gonna have to go out there and change them yourself, because there are no fairy godmothers in this world.

Gold: Maybe you should take a piece of advice from a man who has pushed away every chance of happiness because it was never enough. If it’s 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 it go.

24. If you could write the final scene of the series, what would it be?
Emma, surrounded by her family – her baby, her husband, her parents, and just …everyone in this big extended family, celebrating Emma’s birthday, the way she couldn’t in the Pilot, with people.

25. Last question- the Blue fairy, shady or not shady?
SHADY. FOREVER SHADY.

That’s all of our questions my lovelies. I hope you all enjoying our trip down memory lane discussing all of our favorites from Once Upon a Time. Thanks for reading and listening!!

cs wedding 2

We Love Happy Beginnings!

Captain Swan and Valentine’s Day Inspired Cake

Is there any other couple as beautiful and Emma and Killian to be inspired by his Valentine’s Day? Just looks at these two lovebirds on their wedding day…cs wedding

Well, just in time for Valentine’s Day, but truly something you can do all year round, I thought I would try my hand at some Captain Swan inspired cake. Truth be told, it did not turn out the way I was hoping but such is life so I thought I would share what I did, and the results anyway, as well tips and ideas for the future.

Here is what you will need:
A chocolate cake mix or recipe (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix)
Eggs, Water, Vegetable Oil (All the precise directions are on the back of the box)
Whipped butter cream or any other white frosting (I used Betty Crocker)
Red Food Coloring (mine is McCormick Red Food Color)
9×13 inches Baking Pan
Swan Cookie Cutter
Pirate Hook Arm Cookie Cutter
Heart Cookie Cutter (Mine belonged to my late grandmother)
These are available on Amazon. The Swan here, The Hook here, with a similar heart ones here.IMG_0506

The process was simple:
– Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
– Grease the bottom and side of the pan to prevent the cake from sticking. Make sure to use a lot. I did not and some of the cake did stick.
– After mixing the cake mix I poured about half of the mix into the pan, creating a thin layer. You can judge for yourself.
– Bake for about 20-22 minutes depending on the oven. The recipe for the entire mix says 30-35 minutes but using only half the cooking time is less.

-Once cooled I cut out the shapes and carefully pulled away the edges. They did not pull away easily. The hearts turned out the best. The Hooks were pretty good, but the swans were very difficult.

– The excess of cake I put all together or you can just snack on it.

– The rest of the cake mix I made into 8 cupcakes, baking for 20 minutes.

The idea was to frost the swans with the white frosting and use some red food coloring for the frosting on the hearts, while leaving the hooks plain. Frosting the hearts was simple, but attempting to frost the swans proved nearly impossible because they were very delicate. These were the results.

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After trying this once I can say that using a soft cake is probably not the best for these cookie cutters. I think perhaps a more substantial brownie or traditional sugar or chocolate cookies would work better. And I think I will definitely try those sometime. Despite everything I did enjoy the project. It may not have turned out as beautifully perfect as the Captain Swan love story, but it was still fun, and the cake tasted delicious! It’s certainly a great treat to enjoy while watching the Captain Swan wedding for the 100th time!

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If you try this out or have any other fun baking ideas let me know in the comments!!

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Once Upon a Time: The Most Romantic Captain Swan Moments

Emma Swan and Killian Jones are getting married and it is time to celebrate. Five years in the making, their journey has been such an incredibly beautiful and epic story, but also so grounded and real, filled with countless exquisite moments- some heartfelt, some heartbreaking, some beautifully romantic. In honor of their upcoming nuptials, I thought I would highlight the latter with the moments that are the most romantic. Although I suspect their wedding may be included in this list (perhaps even at the top) after we see it. But before then, these are what I deem their most romantic moments. Reliving their journey has been quite emotional and special. The writers of Once Upon a Time have created a true love story for the ages, and Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue have given us an incredible gift with their moving performances and chemistry that is truly remarkable in its depth and authenticity. Writing and acting at it’s very best, the Captain Swan love story is one is of rare, profound beauty that has become one of the greatest of all time.

15. Emma and Killian share a happy reunion (Season 4, Episode 22 “Operation Mongoose”)

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Not only was this one of their sweetest moments (the first of many reunions), but it was so sweetly romantic in the way that, despite Emma’s walls going up again still afraid to say “I love you,” the love they share was undeniably felt. The way she tackled Killian onto the bed and their happy giggles made us smile. And Emma’s loving expression, Killian’s endearing nervous swallow and bright smile of anticipation, knowing she wants to say, and finally the way she gently and tenderly expresses that love with a caress and forehead touch made our hearts happy.

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14. Emma asks Killian to move in with her (Season 6, Episode 3 “The Other Shoe”) cs-happy 
The setting and tone of this lovely moment, and the meaning behind it was unequivocally romantic: a quiet dinner during the twilight of the day, soft music, Emma gently caressing Killian’s hair and asking him to move in with her in true Emma fashion. It’s not pretty language but nonetheless beautiful. It’s perfectly romantic and a moment so undeniably them – sweet, a bit funny, but oh so profound. The two moving in together was a big step and this scene was glorious.

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13. Emma and Killian share a night of firsts (Season 4, Episode 2 “White Out”) white hug
This entire episode was filled with the kind of simple romantic moments we all long to see. The fact that these were beautiful firsts for them were all happening in the same episode was amazing, and each so romantic in gesture and meaning. The first time we see Killian frantic with worry about Emma, the first time they hug each other, the first time Emma entwines their fingers together, and the first time Emma snuggles into him, seeking warmth and comfort in Killian who kneels beside Emma and holds her with love and adoration. This episode was like a romantic’s dream.

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12. Killian gives Emma a special ring in Camelot (Season 5, Episode 7 “Nimue”) 5x7 bring homering5
Killian may not have been proposing (yet) but this romantic moment in Camelot was the next best thing, from Emma’s playful teasing of “working my way back to you babe,” to the completely passionate and tender kisses, a bestowing of a ring to keep her safe, a request to bring Emma home, and the first time Killian says he loves Emma in so many words in such a sweet, self-effacing way. It made my heart soar.

11. Killian’s life is restored and he’s reunited with Emma (Season 5, Episode 21 “Last Rites”)

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What began as a moment of deep sorrow for Emma, became one of complete joy and happiness. This moment is truly romantic in both its epic nature and simplicity. The miracle of Killian coming back to life and the pure unencumbered joy of the couple kissing and embracing, completely overcome with emotion and lost in their love for each other is gorgeous in every way. From the way Emma can’t stop kissing him, to the way Killian grasps Emma tighter, to their overwhelmed expressions, and the soft rain coming down, this pristinely miraculous moment where True Love prevailed exudes romance.

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10. Emma and Killian go on their First Date (Season 4, Episode 4 “The Apprentice) cs date
If there was one word to describe Emma and Killian’s first date I think it would have to be romantic. Full of sweetness, smiles, and lovely gestures, Killian brings her a rose, holds out her chair and most especially gets his hand back, His reason resulted in a line that that is one of the show’s loveliest: “Should things go well and she wants me to hold her, I want to use both hands.” And from their quite dinner and constant hand holding, what really made our heart’s flutter was Killian’s gorgeous expression as he asked for second date and their intense kiss that was a resounding “Yes.” Emma, and we, were left breathless.

9. Two Marriage Proposals (Season 6, Episode 13 “Ill-Boding Patterns”, Episode 17 “Awake”)

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It’s rare that a couple have two proposals of marriage but it’s not surprising for such a special couple as Emma and Killian. Of course the first wasn’t perfect with a secret looming between them, but it still exuded romance from the score to the gentle performances – Emma smiling shyly, Killian looking up at her with utter adoration and love. Of course, the second proposal was even more romantic and the perfect one they deserve. With a promise to always stay by her side, Emma knelt down to him to say yes, a symbolic gesture to the equality in their relationship. With bright smiles, an amazed little laugh from Killian, a sweet kiss and a beautiful score, it’s romantic in feeling and profound in meaning. And I could listen to O’Donoghue say “Emma Swan, will you marry me?” all day long.

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8. Emma’s shares mementos of her childhood with Killian (Season 4, Episode 5 “Breaking Glass”)

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Emma sharing some childhood mementos with Killian was not only special because she was opening herself up to him in a way she rarely does with anyone, but Killian just sweetly looks at them in wonderment, holds her hand and wraps his arm around her as she leans her head on his shoulder. He wanted to know more about her beginnings. It’s special in its romantic simplicity. There’s no fancy words or ballrooms – just two people with who care deeply for each other, Emma being brave and sharing a part of her soul, Killian showing unfailing support, wanting to know the real her no matter what. Sharing pain can help your heart heal and this was such a real and grounded romantic moment.

7. Killian vows to win Emma’s heart (Season 3, Episode 7 “Dark Hollow”) dark hollow 1.gif
Before this moment Emma most definitely had some romantic moments – the hand bandage scene, their first kiss and an admission by Killian that kissing her exposed that he was falling for her, which something he thought he’d never be able to do. But this was their first truly breathlessly “romantic” moment, and the one I vividly remember making my breath catch, my heart skip a beat, and without a doubt realize that this was a forever couple. Killian is both confident but nervous, resolute and sincere, and Emma is clearly struck by him. With one of their two musical themes playing, and gentle performances, this scene made the romance temperature rise in the hot jungles of Neverland.

6. Emma and Killian make “Pancakes” (Season 6, Episode 18 “Where Bluebirds Fly”)

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There is no denying that this moment was not only a long time coming but completely and utterly sexy, as we saw for the first time clear confirmation that Emma and Killian had spent the night (and possibly morning ) engaging in amorous activities. As Emma happily makes pancakes and Killian nuzzles up behind her, telling her she smells delicious, it’s obvious that not only engaged bliss looks good on them as they are both positively glowing, but also that they are ready for more “pancakes.” But what makes it not only sexy but also romantic is that it encompasses all that the two of them and their love are. Love and romance is not just sweet smiles, flowers, and hand holding. It’s full of playful flirtations, passion and enjoying each other in the emotional and physical sense, taking pleasure in any time spent together. It’s as simple as making breakfast and then as meaningful as making love. What could be real more romantic than that.

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5. Killian reads Emma the Storybook (Season 6, Episode 7 “Heartless) cs-hand-kiss
What makes this sweet and lovely moment for Emma and Killian so romantic was its simplicity framed within the beauty of grand storytelling and the power True Love. Killian has always been one to build Emma up and this scene proves no different as he reads her parent’s story and reminds her not only of the strength within her, but also how she is indelibly intertwined with their love story. She is the product of their True Love. But in truth it’s also their story that is in entwined in this book, and their love that once again helps her overcome her fears. Beautiful in every way, with such a traditional but ever so romantic gesture of love and romance, Killian reading this story and then kissing Emma’s hand makes the scene not only romantic but absolutely swoon worthy.

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4. Emma and Killian waltz at King Midas’s Ball (Season 3, Episode 21 “Snow Drifts”) cs dance.gif
Up until that point in her story Emma had never felt a part of her parent’s fairy tale world, nor has she had many experiences where she was made to feel special just for being her. But when Killian leads Emma onto the dance floor for a waltz, proving to be the true partner who knows what he’s doing, he makes Emma feel like the princess that she is. But most importantly he makes her feel cherished. In this moment we see one of her first recognitions of how much she was falling in love, clad in gorgeous costumes amidst glittering, golden grantor. This is fairy tale romance at its best.

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3. Killian tells Emma he traded his ship for her (Season 3, Episode 22 “There’s No Place Like Home)

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After their time traveling adventures to the past, what began as a simple conversation turned into so much more – an admission that Killian had traded his ship to bring Emma home, Emma’s awestruck look, and their passionate kiss that followed. This all was an admission of deep feelings between them, and the first real expression of such. There’s something so hopeful about a relationship about two people who were so guarded but slowly began lowering their walls and opening their heart. With the Storybrooke sign in the background this moment was one of love recognized and felt and home and hope found, and above all was deeply romantic.

2. Killian tells Emma she’s his happy ending (Season 4, Episode 15 “Poor Unfortunate Soul”)

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Telling someone you love them is always romantic, but to tell them they are your happy ending – that is as fairy tale, profoundly beautiful and romantic as it gets. From the brilliant performances, Killian’s soul baring expression and breathless “It’s you,” Emma’s astonished look of amazement, their soft tender kiss, the gentle musical score, and Emma’s single tear, this first recognition that Emma and Killian are each other’s happy ending was beyond beautiful, tender and profound. Truly remarkable in it’s romantic intimacy.

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1. Emma and Killian Kiss in the Middlemist Meadow (Season 5, Episode 4 “The Broken Kingdom)

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True love can always vanquish the greatest darkness and in a truly sublime moment Killian and Emma’s love proved to chase away the demons in her head. This is romantic and lovely in itself but combined with the setting of the glorious field of Middlemist flowers in Camelot, a lilting musical score, exquisite costumes, and cinematography where the camera pans above them passionately kissing amongst these flowers, was beyond breathtaking and glorious visually and emotionally. This is the most idyllic fairy tale moment the show has ever seen, making it without a doubt their most romantic moment.

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Special Recognition
Emma and Killian face death and goodbye (Season 5, Episode 8 “Birth,” Episode 20 “Firebird” )

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The only reason these were not included in the above choices was because I wanted to choose happy, romantic moments and these obviously were devastating and heartbreaking. But in truth they were also undeniably and completely romantic in quality. In “Birth” writer David H. Goodman called this scene’s tone and tenor “mega romantic,” and despite the sadness, it’s true that the intimacy of the moment, the two surrounded by flowers was simply gorgeous. In “Firebird” the selfless promises, tears, the way they do so desperately kiss and refuse to let go as Killian kisses her hand was heartbreaking but so beautifully romantic and melancholy.

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Killian and Emma promise to see the best in each other (Season 4, Episode 13 “Unforgiven)

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The couple’s softly said promise to always see the best in each other was not only rich in meaning, but also sounded like wedding vows. And now they’re about to say “I do.” They’re beautiful promise continues to endure.

Emma teaches Killian to Swordplay (Season 4, Episode 22 Operation Mongoose) swordplay.gifswordplay2.gif
This is one of Jennifer’s favorite romantic moments as she thought it was sweet, different and unconventional, and she is right about that. Swapping traditional gender roles, seeing Emma teaching Killian how to use a sword with him being the one left breathless was just a wonderfully romantic look at the sweet and modern aspect of their relationship.

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Emma and Killian’s Camelot hug (Season 5, Episode 8 “Birth”) cuddle
It’s such a simple moment, but when Emma snuggled into Killian’s chest and he knelt his head down into her, the two ready for their future together, this was such an sweetly romantic moment. I watched this episode with friends and we all audibly “awwed,” and our hearts were completely touched by this sweet expression of love and hope.

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Reader Favorites

kek84 on tumblr chose one on my list (Killian reading the storybook), and another lovely one I did not- the two horseback riding and talking before they go to the Middlemist field where Killian says “I’ll never stop fighting for us.” Great pick!

@wannjordan on twitter  chose the hand bandage scene from “Tallahassee,” the moment of chemistry that started it all.

@Rosered0331 on twitter chose their reunion from “Last Rites,” her favorite moment of all time.

@nerdy_nuyorican on twitter chose so many on our list- the “Last Rites” reunion, “Don’t you know Emma it’s you,” Killian admitting he traded his ship for her, the two on Emma’s bed in “Operation Mongoose,” and the second proposal. Two we did not include but are worthy- their True Love test in the Underworld and Emma vowing, “Hook, I will always find you.” Such lovely choices.

@Praline_addict on twitter chose Emma and Killian’s waltz, the first time she said “I Love You,” their True Love test and goodbye in the Underworld, their reunion from “Operation Mongoose,” and the first marriage proposal. Wonderful!

@ChloeDeckStar on twitter chose Emma asking Killian to move in, their iconic kiss in the Middlemist field, their goodbye in the Underworld, and a great one I didn’t include- Emma telling Killian “I can’t lose you.”

@Sharipep on twitter chose Emma sharing her childhood mementos with Killian- by far her favorite moment!

@suzieqluvcs on twitter chose their beautiful kiss in the Middlemist field. Lovely!

@NiamhLoveCS on twitter chose some lovely moments we included: Killian revealing he traded ship, their Middlesmist field kiss, Killian reading Emma the storybook, their second proposal, and lastly them making  “pancakes.” I approve!

@sharafambam on twitter chose an amazing moment we did not include: when Killian tells Emma he’s liked being the one to break down her walls in “Siege Perilous.”

@_biancarose on twitter chose their romantic waltz from “Snow Drifts.” Lovely.

@BrennaG5 on twitter chose three goodies we included: Killian’s promise to win her heart, him carrying her from the ice in “White Out,” and their Underworld goodbye.

@CSSwanJones on twitter chose a really beautiful moment: Emma quietly realizing how deep for feelings for Killian were after their date.

Thanks to those who sent in their choices!! With so much love and romance it was difficult to narrow it down and there were more we could have chosen. This love story is just a rich and sublime treasure trove of romantic gems, with many more sure to come. With their wedding fast approaching, let us rejoice in the power of their True Love and the beauty of this remarkable pair. There will never be another that will compare.

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Once Upon a Time: “The Savior” and “The Other Shoe” Further Thoughts

This first edition of “Further Thoughts” for Season 6 of Once Upon a Time is all about parallels and connections we have seen so far in episodes 1 and 3, and the possible future ones we may see play out in Season 6.

Captain Swan Connected Kisses:
I think it’s rather beautiful, and appropriate, that their last shot of Season 5 was Killian kissing Emma and lifting her up, and the first shot of Season 6 was Killian and Emma kissing and him setting her down on the couch in their house.lift kiss1cs-sit-down

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Sweet and Gentle Affection:
It always moves me when I see Emma and Killian, who are both very strong and tough in their own right, who were once very closed off emotionally, who rarely showed any kind of physical affection with others, be so loving, sweet and gentle with each other. These affectionate nuances capture my heart in a special way, and the scene where Emma asks Killian to move in was a perfect example of this kind of tenderness. The way she softly plays with his hair, and the way he holds her face while they kiss and gently caresses his thumb over the cheek was just so beautiful. They just look so happy and in love.

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And the way he sweetly rubs his nose back and forth against hers. As many have pointed out, this is like an Eskimo kiss and it makes my heart overflow. Seriously, what could be more beautiful?

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Aladdin & Jasmine vs. Killian and Emma:
Aladdin is the perfect character to bring in at this point of Once Upon a Time, as we are exploring what it means to be a Savior, Emma’s identity, and then how this relates to many things including her romantic relationship. In OUAT Emma and Aladdin are both Saviors, which is a natural connection for the writers to portray with their version of the character as there are so many similarities between Emma and the character in the Aladdin film:

  • Both Emma and Aladdin are inherently special individuals- in the film, Aladdin is a “Diamond on the Rough” and the ONLY one who can enter the Cave of Wonders, and on OUAT Emma is the ONLY one who can break the Dark Curse in Season 1.
  • Both are orphans who dream of a better life
  • Both are thieves, but basically only steal food and what’s needed to survive, with the exception of the yellow bug.
  • Both are resourceful and smart.
  • Both are very generous and often put the needs of others above their own comfort or happiness, i.e. Aladdin giving children his bread, freeing the Genie, Emma offering her jacket to Aurora, becoming the Dark one to save her family.
  • Both have issues of self worth and not feeling good enough.
  • Both lie to the person they love- Aladdin about being a Prince, Emma now lying about her tremors/vision.
  • Both are called “Street Rats.” Aladdin is called this by Prince Achmed, Palace guards and Jafar , while Emma is called a “dirty street rat” by Regina in a deleted scene from “There’s No Place Like Home”, called a “pathetic street rat” by Lily’s dad in a deleted scene from “Breaking Glass.”
  • Interesting enough there are also some parallels between Killian and Aladdin. He is often called simply “a pirate” as an insult. Killian also struggles with issues of self worth, i.e. not feeling like he is a good a man as his brother, feeling he needs two hands for his date with Emma, not feeling as if he’s worthy of forgiveness yet.
  • Killian and Aladdin are also great at surviving. This is one of Killian’s trademark characteristics, and Aladdin survives three murderous attempts by Jafar: at the Cave of Wonders, when he’s thrown into the ocean, and when he’s sent to the Ends of the Earth. Jafar even says “How many times do I have to kill you, boy.”

There are also quite a few parallels between the two couples:

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Father’s placing the women into the arms of the man they lovecs-aladdin-3

There are even more! See these in this great gift set by tough-lass

Let’s not forget, interrupted romantic moments, especially kisses. There’s quite a few.aladdin-kissaladdin-kiss1aladding-kiss-2cs-kiss-incs kiss in1.gif

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Their love stories are about choosing each otheraladdin-choosecs-choose

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And lastly, don’t these moments of shoulder leaning and hand holding remind you of Emma and Killian?

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Season 4 and Season 6 Parallels:
6×1 “The Savior” began with some striking parallels to 4×1 “A Tale of Two Sisters”: Regina grieving Robin, Rumple and Belle having a dance to “Beauty and the Beast” where she is in a yellow dress, and Emma and Killian having an important moment interrupted. The last one is what I am focusing on because in both episodes Killian knows something is not right, she is not telling him something, and is avoiding talking to him about it.cs-avoidcs-avoid1

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In both episodes Emma gives Killian a soft kiss to assure him, but in 4×1 she leaves him, while in 6×1, she comes back. And in both she keeps what is troubling her inside and does not reveal it yet. In both cases, it is because Emma has the “weight of the world on her shoulders” and it can be hard to let people in despite the love and good intentions between them, as Elsa tells Killian in 4×3 “Rocky Road.” Killian then confronts Emma wanting to be trusted, saying he understands how she feels.

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Moreover, in both instances, this is not about trust- it’s about fear. And in both cases it’s about fear of mortality. In 4×3 what Emma reveals is that she is afraid of losing Killian- that he will die just like everyone else she has ever been with. As we know, in our current season Emma is afraid of revealing to Killian about her own mortality- that she will die- and take away both their happy endings, something he has revealed great fears about losing.

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“The Other Shoe” paralleled this greatly. Emma admits that she fears telling Killian because she knows their happy ending won’t happen if this vision comes to pass:

“He deserves a future and I can’t give that to him. I feel like a fraud. This happiness is an illusion. I went and fought for everybody else’s happy endings and I don’t get mine.”

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Emma’s Identity as The Savior:
It seems as if Season 6 will deal a great deal with Emma’s identity- what it means and how it relates to her past, present and future. As you can see being the Savior has become an important part of her persona. She has embraced it. But now she is questioning if this part of her identity and who she is beyond that.

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If she is not the Savior does she fear she will no longer have a place, be loved by her family and Killian? That remains to be seen but this sets up a very introspective, meaningful and poignant storyline, one I hope is explored deeply, and one that a character as extraordinary as Emma Swan deserves. I so look forward to this arc, which I hope is the Season’s main storyline.

I also think it’s interesting and significant how Killian has referred to Emma as the Savior for the most part in times when he is trying to build her up, help her believe in herself or as a sign of capability. In 3×4 “Nasty Habits” he had just learned that is what she is and asks her to help open a cave in Neverland, in 3×17 “The Jolly Roger” he is encouraging her to embrace the power inside of her that “makes her the Savior” (ie her specialness is because of her, not the other way around), and in 3×22 “There’s No Place Like Home” when he says she can regain her magic, to which she does when she admits Storybrooke is her home. Also important is when her refers to Emma as simply herself or other important parts of herself, especially when she was the Dark One. In 5×4 “The Broken Kingdom,” she comments on how Henry lied to her being the Dark One and Killian says “You’re his mother,” most definitely a very important part of her. And in an significant moment from 5×8 “Birth,” Killian tells her she is more than the Dark One- “You’re still you,” and imperatively that she saved him not saying that was “The Savior,” but that she “was Emma.” No matter what persona she is embodying, Killian loves her. Whether she is the Savior or the Dark One, both or neither, as Colin O’Donoghue says “she is everything that he loves because she’s Emma Swan.”

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How Does Emma’s Story End:
I am finding it extremely significant and intriguing that this season has brought up that concept that we are all stories, and then Emma sees a vision of the end of hers because there have been two very crucial moments where the same sort of dialogue and concept was employed. And these were two of the most important moments and pieces of foreshadowing for Emma the show has done.

In 1×20 “The Stranger” August takes Emma to the tree where they both entered this world. He is telling her about her story, and that they are writing the ending as they speak, hoping she will finally embrace who she is.

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She doesn’t believe at the moment, In fact she says “Not gonna happen!” But she does end up believing a few episodes later, just not in the way August was hoping in this moment.

In 4×19 “Sympathy for the Devil” Snow and Charming confront the author, Isaac, about what Rumple has planned for Emma.

Isaac: Even I couldn’t see the end of this story!
Snow: What are you talking about? How does the story end?
Isaac: With The Savior, turning Dark.

And Emma does end up turning dark a few episodes later- just not in the way the villains wanted. Instead of Emma succumbing to darkness, she took it on to protect everyone and became the Dark One.

Now in 6×1 “The Savior” we have these scene:
Oracle: What you saw, was a small piece of the end of your story, Savior.
Emma: There has to be another way.
Oracle: You can change the path to the destination, but the destination is the same. On the day you saw, and the battle you saw, you will die.

If we are to believe the pattern then Emma will end up dying. But before you bite my head off, I don’t think she will actually die because just like the other two instances, how her story ends always ends up being different than what they expected. Emma’s death will not real or permanent. She will win this battle! And I truly believe her story will end with Emma and Killian living a happily ever after, growing old together and raising a family. Their story will end up in the book just like their trip to the past and it shall be beautiful.cs book.gif

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Parallels to Star Wars and Back to the Future:
OUAT has done their fair share of Star Wars parallels and allusions and when the Oracle tells Emma about her vision I immediately thought of what Yoda tells Luke in The Empire Strikes Backs.

Oracle: The future is always in motion, always changing, but also inevitable.yoda

What I find interesting is that if the future is always changing and in motion how can it be inevitable? Is that not a contradiction? Is it just the destination that can change? I think the end can be as well, which ties into the way in which they have paralleled Back to the Future and how I suspect they may do so again.

The Season 3 finale is still my favorite episode of OUAT and the ways in which it parallels BTTF is sweet and fun and made such an amazing adventure for our characters. It’s remarkable just how similar these are:

  • In BTTF Marty travels back to the time when his parents fall in love, but his encounters with them alters history. They do not meet the way they are supposed to and so he must repair the damage and make sure his parents end up together so he does not cease to exist.
  • In  OUAT 3×22/23 Emma & Killian travel back to the time when Snow and Charming meet and fall in love. They too interrupt her parents meeting, altering history, and they must work to make sure her parents fall in love, or Emma will cease to exist.

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  • In BTTF there is a significant dance- the Enchantment under the Sea Dance. In the OUAT Emma & Killian attend a King Midas’s royal ball and this becomes the new place her parents meet- and in almost the same way.
  • At one point in BTTF 2, past Marty and present Marty are on screen at the same time. In OUAT, past Killian and present Killian come face to face and one punches the other.
  • In both BTTF and OUAT, Marty and Emma witness the ultimate moments their parents fall in love and in both cases they know things are set right when what had disappeared returns- Marty and his siblings in a photograph and Snow and Charming’s wedding in the Storybook.

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In both, everyone returns home, through dramatic and magical methods, with things sets right.

Thanks again to tough-lass for this amazing gif set!

It is also to amazing to think that others things can be interpreted as allusions to BTTF. Think about what both the film and the show have:
– Both have significant Clock Towers
– Both have a child and their parents being in a time when they are the same age.
– And both have characters that must help another believe and find courage within themselves in order to save the day. Marty must do this with his father, and Henry and Killian must do this with Emma in S1 and in S3.

Which brings me to Season 6 where Emma believes she is going to soon die. The fact that they did such an important episode with so many allusions to this film series makes me believe they may do so again. In BTTF Marty tells Doc he will be shot so Doc makes sure to wear a bullet proof vest and save himself. But even more significant is the possibility of a OUAT version of what happens in the third film. If you recall, in BTTF 3 Marty discovers that Doc Brown has died, and he travels back in time to stop that from happening. That is the entire plot of the film and in the end they succeed. And when he visits Marty and Jennifer at the end of the film and she asks why a letter she had from the future had erased, he says “Of course it erased!”bttf-4bttf 5.gifbttf-6

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I would not be surprised in the least if OUAT revisits these the BTTF allusions with Emma’s loved ones fighting to make sure her future can change. I would love it actually. And if that included an episode where they travel into the future somehow- then sign me up!!

Emma’s Hand Tremors:
There is another very significant parallel worthy of note. The tremors that Emma is experiencing in her hand in 6×1 “The Savior” are almost identical to the ones she experiences when she first becomes the Dark One in 5×1 “The Dark Swan.”emma tremor.gifemma tremor1.gif

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If you recall, in 5×1 this was her new dark magic which she didn’t even realize was happening at first and then had trouble controlling it. Her becoming The Dark One is was triggered these tremors. Flash forward to 6×1 and once again she is experiencing them. What triggered these is not known yet, but it has to be something brought from the Land of Untold Stories. It’s also important to note that when Killian approached her in 5×1 saying “We can find another way together” she gained control and the shakiness stopped. Methinks when she tells Killian an her family about everything this time around, these tremors will be alleviated considerably. There is definitely a connection here in my opinion, and I thinks it makes the theory that some form of Emma (the Dark Swan or a manifestation of her fears, insecurities, or guilt) is the hooded figure in her vision even more plausible. Not to mention that this hooded figure resembles what the Dark Ones in Storybrooke looked like in 5×11 “Swan Song.” We shall see if this parallel ends up being as significant as I suspect it may be.

But one thing I thought would come true has done so in “The Other Shoe”- that when Killian took Emma’s hand her tremor’s would be alleviated. And that happened. When he held her hand the shakiness subsided. Her magic was still not working, but this moment led her in the right direction. As always their connected hands provided strength and comfort.

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Sweetness Towards Children:
I think many would agree that when we see how others interact with children it can really warm out hearts. I know for me personally, a man will become more attractive if I see him being sweet and kind with a child. And if it’s a person you desire or love that can be even more meaningful. The moments Emma witnesses in “The Other Shoe” between Killian and Alexandra and Henry were not only sweet but you could see in her eyes how much it affected her. And seeing him trying to make any child laugh is heartwarming in itself, but seeing how he has interacted with her son for quite some time now, and in this past episode really showed not only how much he cares for Henry, but how much that means to Emma. Any mother who sees the person they love being good with their child I think will fall in love with them even more. And I think in these paralleling moments Emma’s great love for Killian may have grown even stronger. The way she lovingly looks at him says it all.

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Waiting for “The Other Shoe” to Drop and Parallels to “The Price of Gold”:
The title for this latest episode is, like many of their titles, is very clever. Of course it refers to Cinderella famously losing her glass slipper. But more importantly, it is about the phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop,” which means that when things are good you are just waiting for the next bad thing to happen. You can apply this to many of the characters- Cinderella herself kept waiting for that after Rumple told her he wanted her first born. But I think no other character embodies this phrases more so than Emma Swan. She has trouble letting people in and letting down these walls because her entire life is an example of the other shoe constantly dropping whenever she was letting in love or close to finding a home or family:

  • With her first foster family,the Swans, she was sent back to the orphanage when she was 3 after they had a child of their own.
  • With her second foster family, Lily causes problems and they no longer trust her so she leaves.
  • With Ingrid, she was ready to adopt Emma and give her a home, but then tries to convince Emma she has magic by putting her in front of a moving car. Emma understandably runs away.
  • With Neal, she was ready to make a home with him in Tallahassee, but then is set up and sent to prison for his crime.
  • With Graham, she starts to open her heart to the possibility of love, and then he dies in her arms.
  • With Walsh, after spending 8 months with him, and considering his marriage proposal, she finds out that not only were her memories false, but that Walsh was too. He not only didn’t love her, but was a flying monkey!
  • With Killian, she admits that she does want a future with him and lets go of her fears, ready to let go of the Darkness. And moments later, Killian lay dying and she must turn him into the Dark One to save his life.
  • And finally, after overcoming darkness and death, ready for that future with Killian, she gets a vision that tells her she will soon die.

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The other shoe is always dropping for Emma. It’s no wonder she is struggling and not telling Killian about this vision yet. She doesn’t want the other shoe to drop for him and preserve the happiness between them. When she finally tells him, I am sure he will be angry, but he will forgive her. What was beautiful is that in this episode Emma is learning that she must live her life despite the future being uncertain.

I must admit, I never thought about it until a recent re-watch of “The Price of Gold” just what an important episode this was for the series. Not only was Ashley’s the first happy ending that Emma ever returned but this is the episode where Emma decided to not only stay in Storybrooke in a more permanent basic when she accepts as job as deputy, wanting to put down some roots, but also where she gave one of her most inspirational lines.emma-speech

There was also the line Mr. Gold says about Ashley to Emma which was clearly a foreshadowing connection to how Emma gave birth: “It would be a shame if that baby was born in prison.” My mind was blown when I heard that.

In “The Other Shoe” we saw some important callbacks and parallels to “The Price of Gold”:

  • Emma’s “This is who I am speech”

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  • Emma deciding to put down some roots in 1×4 is a lovely parallel to Emma doing so with Killian asking him to move in with her.

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There are also some possible parallels that were set up in this episode that are worthy of note:

  • “The Price of Gold” is about very much about a child being conceived and preserving that family. In “The Other Shoe” there are definite clues that children are in Emma and Killian’s future. Emma watches lovingly as Killian tries to make Ashley’s daughter laugh, she implies she wants a family with him, and now that they will move in together, a child could be conceived because they will finally be able to make love.
  • In “The Price of Gold” Rumple wants Cinderella’s first born child. We still don’t really know why, but they make a deal to trick him and save their child. She lies and says she is having twins and gets him to sign a contract that he can have them in exchange for a good harvest for their kingdom. But the quill he uses paralyzes him and they are able to capture him. Now that we are where we are with the story, the possibility of a callback to this baby story sounds possible. Also interesting, twins run in Emma’s family!

Season 6 has presented some may amazing stories, parallels and potential that I so look forward to seeing develop. And I cannot wait!

Captain Swan: A Story of Hands and Hearts Entwined (Part 2)

Once Upon a Time has always been a show that has put emphasis on holding hands and on hearts for all of the characters. But before Season 5 began I wrote here about just how much Emma and Killian’s journey put an emphasis on their hands and hearts entwined, symbolic motifs that bring great beauty to their story in emotional ways. So, it was unsurprising that in Season 5 this emphasis continued; but it also was truly amazing just how much this was intrinsically part of their character’s journeys for the season. Both aspects reflect that unity and connection between them in physical and spiritual ways and demonstrate the love that has blossomed into the rarest and truest forms, much like her parents. As I wrote, “Holding hands is a lovely sign of love and for Emma and Killian is unquestionable. But also undeniable is the emphasis on their hands that displays how these two characters are written specifically as meant to be joined together. [And] if the emphasis on Emma and Killian’s hands entwined was meant to show the connection they have in a physical way that is an emblematic sign of love, the way their hearts are entwined solidifies that their story is not only one of remarkable beauty, but also one that was always meant to be felt and seen by the characters and the audience.” From Camelot to Storybrooke to the Underworld, Emma and Killian’s journey in Season 5 was intense and poignant but only demonstrated further have these aspects entwined show how their characters are indelibly and irrevocably connected.

“Holding hands is a promise to one another that, just for a moment, the two of you don’t have to face the world alone.”

In 5×1 “The Dark Swan,” just after Killian was able to get through to Emma, he offers her his hand to show her just how they were able to reach her. And we see a front view of him walking with her hands entwined, a significant image as it is something that is repeated throughout the season, and a signifier that the season they will be holding onto each other and deeply connected.

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Moreover, we see in the episode’s final scene in Camelot a close-up shot as Killian smiles at Emma and intertwines their fingers together, a sign of love and support that they will face this latest obstacle together. The first of the season, this close-up of their hands that has been seen frequently on their journey, continues this emphasis and establishes that it will remain an important element this season.

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In 5×3 “Siege Perilous” we see another close-up as Emma holds out her hand to Killian and he cautiously takes it. The scene is fraught with heartache and angst but the image of their hands continues as we see that this was the real Emma reaching out to him. Her motives were murky but this was her wanting that real connection back with him.

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The importance of touch and the way in which it shows support, love, and unity has been seen the past few seasons and was further established in 5×1 “The Dark Swan” and then exemplified in 5×4 “The Broken Kingdom.” As Emma shares her struggles with inner voices, Killian shares that he was able to purge demons on the calm deck of his ship. She caresses his hand as a sweet sign of empathy and holds it as Killian gets an idea on how to help her.

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And after their horse ride that leaves her feeling lighter and free, (and was meant to get her heart racing) they walk hand-in-hand into the field of Middlemist flowers feeling less burdened, a beautiful and foreshadowing way of showing that they can overcome darkness when joined together with trust and understanding.

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This sweet and profound affection, as well as the emphasis on their hands continues with them in 5×7 “Nimue,” with two close up shots of their hands in a single scene. Before Emma parts from Killian, one last step before they can destroy the darkness, he takes her hand asking her to be careful; and then gives a ring to help keep her safe and remind her of his love for her. By showing their hands clasped together again that motif continues of finding strength in unity.

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By the next time we see their hands entwined in close up, Emma grasps Killian’s hand asking about their future as he lay dying in 5×8 “Birth”, while he is let go as long as she has one. It’s the first sign that they will have to both let go eventually to be able to come together again. And then they will hold onto each other and never let go again.

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As Emma did in 5×3 “Siege Perilous,” in 5×10 “Broken Heart” she reaches out her hand for Killian seeking forgiveness and trust, this time Killian’s motives more murky. But make no mistakes their hands joined are meant to demonstrate their connection, as is the moment when we once again see them walking out of the forest hand-in-hand that has become their natural state. And even though darkness had begun to take over Killian, this image is a sign that it will not prevail – light will shine through once again.

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“With these hands and these fingers,  I will reach across, over, and under, or through anything that separates you from me. I will paint your face and neck with tenderness, I will coat you in calm. I will be everything you need because you are everything to me.”

– Tyler Knott Gregson

When Killian sacrifices his life in 5×11 “Swan Song” Emma holds his hand and doesn’t let go until the last possible the moment (something will see again) and it’s a heartbreaking image. Importantly, it’s a way of connecting this goodbye with another Emma and Killian are forced to face again.

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In the Underworld rescue mission we see the emphasis much less, say for them standing with their hands together after Emma rescues him in 5×14 “Devil’s Due.”

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Significantly, as a way of paralleling their goodbye in 5×11 “Swan Song” it’s in 5×20 “Firebird” that the emphasis returns significantly.

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It was in the goodbye at the elevator that this prominence was so crucial, and the parallels with ‘Swan Song” were so poignant. They don’t truly want to let go but reality settles in with the heartbreaking realization that they cannot find a way to restore his life. Killian is able to accept it first but soon both must make their tearful farewells, bringing back the emphasis on their hands entwined. Their hearts may be breaking but their promises to each other are of selfless true love. As Emma ascends away from Killian he tenderly holds her hand and then reverently kisses it as a way of showing her that loving her was his life’s greatest honor. And as they hold on for as long as possible, Killian’s fingers grasping until he can no longer can, we bear witness to one of the most beautifully heart wrenching scenes of the series. They did not want to part from each other but the way they hold on until the last moment showcases that no matter what their connection will remain, if not in the physical sense then in the spiritual one. It was a way of demonstrating the way their characters are inherently entwined through their hearts.

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What is remarkable about Season 5 in terms of the emphasis on hearts entwined is that for as much as we’ve seen this emphasized, Season 5 in a away had its main story revolve around Emma’s heart, and found a way of connecting that motif of the one of emphasized hands intertwined in really emotional and beautiful ways. Season 4 ended with Killian telling Emma he hoped it was his job to protect her heart, and we see now that was a prelude for what was to come.

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That season focused on trying to protect the Savior’s heart from turning dark. While she did overcome that, in the end she still did, just in different way – by becoming the Dark One to save everyone’s lives. And Emma’s last moments with someone before she disappeared were with Killian, their hands entwined and placed over her heart. Just as she had instinctively placed her hand over Killian’s heart in a protective, loving manner ever since he had his heart returned (something that continues on), it now was Emma’s heart that was threatened. And Season 5 revolved so greatly around her heart – protecting it, preserving it, weighing it, willing to sacrifice it, and finally, her heart being completely open – all within a complex framework of both romantic and personal journeys for these characters.

Much like the scene in 2×9 “The Queen of Hearts,” in “The Dark Swan,” multiple hearts were threatened and saved. In this case it was both Merida’s and Emma’s. Emma, listening to the voice of Rumplestltskin thought her only option was to crush Merida’s heart. You could see her internal struggle manifested in a visual and physical way – something the show has always done. The way hearts are thought of in reality has a much more of an emotional bearing to us. They allow us to live but more so they are where our feelings reside, what allows us to love and guides our morals and acts combined with their minds. And on Once Upon a Time we see this manifested in physical ways. Evil deeds can turn a heart black, and a heart filled with true love can be shared with another. In this scene we see Emma’s new struggles with the dark curse, but with Killian’s wise words and her own strength, she gives Merida her heart back and keeps her own from giving into the darkness completely.

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This scene is meant to be a direct contrast to Nimue and Merlin – all the ways they were not able to overcome the darkness, the ways in which love failed them, and that Nimue couldn’t resist the power. But Emma was able to succeed in ways she didn’t as we see in 5×7 “Nimue,” and she and Killian’s love was in and able to overcome the darkness, even if there was a struggle.

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A small moment that represents that struggle was a very subtle one in “Siege Perilous.” When Emma and Killian are on the Jolly Roger you can see that she places her hand over his heart. She had been reaching out to him, and again here was the real Emma doing so – touching the heart she knows has been darkened because of her but still wants to protect and connect with. They’re both struggling in the moment to understand each other, and the time was not right yet.

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What was emotional about the first half of Season 5 was that after spending so much effort to protect Emma’s heart from fully giving into the darkness, it was the love in her heart for Killian that led her to doing just that in order to save his life. The anger and turmoil in the episode “Broken Heart” was felt by both; Killian is heartbroken by Emma’s choice to turn him into the Dark One and her deception about Excalibur, both he felt were betrayals. Emma was heartbroken to see Killian let the darkness consume him and say harsh words to her. And yet hope wasn’t lost. Their hearts were broken but not shattered beyond repair. Killing refused to enact the dark curse and crush Emma’s heart, Emma refused to give up on him and took his memories determined to save both of their hearts in the end.

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When we reach the midway part of Season 5 and onward it’s clear that Emma and Killian’s hearts will continue to be emphasized and remain connected, transcending the darkest of times and obstacles. In “Swan Song” both of their hearts are freed from the darkness with Killian’s heroic sacrifice. And from the way Emma holds his hand close to her heart refusing to let go, to her plan to march into the Underworld and share her heart to save his life, it solidified how their story truly is about their heart entwineds.

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“And invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” – Chinese Proverb

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What is, for lack of a better word, heart-wrenching was that even though they both love each other so deeply they were still astonished by how much. Killian especially had doubts of his worthiness and that Emma could love him so much. In “Devil’s Due” Killian looks awestruck that Emma plans to split her heart as she smiles lovingly assuring him that it will work. His reaction is of acceptance but still disbelief, which manages to change to one of hope and happiness in “Firebird” when Emma places her hand over his chest ready to give him half of her heart.

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It doesn’t matter they were that they were not able to do so. It doesn’t matter that her physical heart could not restore his life, because as we see in “Devils Due,” “Firebird” and “Last Rites” it is that love that saves him in the way their hearts still indeed remain forever entwined. The moment Emma and Killian pass a test of true love was undeniably about both of their hearts in such a striking visual on its own, both looking onto the scale with her heart on one side. But true love is based on equality so it’s not any wonder why they proved their love is true by choosing each other in equal measure. It was touching to see Killian still wonder if the love they share is True- if weighing her heart will prove it once and for all. No matter what they are still willing to try because love is worth it. What was moving was that it was not about simply weighing her heart – it was about her willingness to sacrifice it and his willingness to let himself be engulfed in flames to protect it. They are both in excruciating pain but chose to save each other over themselves – that is the measure of true love.

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Emma’s heart may night not have physically saved Killian’s life but the spiritual way their hearts are connected, (something that has been developing since the beginning), most certainly did. She has saved his life many times, but none more so than by offering him a chance to be a part of something and inspiring him to be the man he always wanted to be – the man he truly is. And he saved her by his constancy and patience that allowed her to trust again. And they saved each other by reawakening each other’s hearts to the kind of feelings neither thought they would or were going to allow themselves to feel. But when you meet the right person all the things you thought impossible can come true.

What is truly beautiful is that like Snow and Charming, they felt that connection before they knew the love they shared was True. Their hearts are connected in spiritual ways as Emma can sense Killian’s presence when she was close to rescuing him. But even more remarkable was after Emma had to leave him behind – they still could feel what they were going through, not only transcending realms but also death. Emma could feel his pain and that he could not move on and Killian could not because he knew Emma was still in danger. And when they were able to work together, despite being physically separated, Killian just felt she had done what she needed to do – their hearts undeniably are connected.

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And so brings us to the end of Season 5 where it’s clear that just as we’ve seen all season and beyond, these aspects entwined are an undeniable part of their story. After their joyful reunion in 5×21 “Last Rites,” the very first shot of them in the finale is a close-up of their entwined hands as they walked down the street towards Granny’s.

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And when they are back in each other’s arms at the end of episode, Emma embraces Killian, puts her hand over his heart and as they again begin to walk towards Granny’s, they instantaneously intertwine their fingers. It’s become so natural and an instinctual gesture between them almost as if it’s second nature.

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And in this moment we see how both of these motifs are connected. For as they walk hand-in-hand, a symbol of their unbreakable bond as they face the world together, Emma says that after going through so much she wants to tell him something when they’re not in the middle of a battle and neither of them is facing death – when things are just normal. And then Emma tells Killian and she loves him. It’s not a new declaration but the emotional meaning behind it is. For the first time she was able to tell him she loves him in a moment of peace and normalcy. But importantly it’s an “I Love You” where not only both of their hearts are completely free from darkness or pain for the first time all season, but also that Emma’s heart is completely open. It already was open to love but was still filled with fears and burdens. Now her armor is off and she’s no longer afraid to express herself solely in life or death moments. It can simply be in a happy moment because she wants to. Holding each other’s hands, their hearts completely open, they kiss each other as they’ve never done before, Killian lifting her up in joy and bliss.

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Hand in hand, one heart beat at a time, these entities will forever be entwined as Emma and Killian are ready to face a bright and happy future together.