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

cs dance 4

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!

Once Upon a Time 100th Episode Celebration: Top 10 Best Season 4 Episodes

season 4

Season 4 of Once Upon a Time was one of my personal favorites, and although it is a bit divisive, it is also all around excellent and one of the best. While the second half had some slow and muddled bits, there were some amazing episodes and one truly stellar ending. And while technically the Frozen arc consisted of potentially” too much” screen time for the guest stars, these characters were also so fantastic and the overall story so well paced and moving that even with the rushed ending, it was one of the overall best arcs of the series. I loved Season 4 to pieces. Here are the best of the bunch.

1. “Operation Mongoose” (Season 4, Episode 21/22)

Much like the season 3 finale, season 4 ended on an emotional high note, taking our characters to new places and giving each poignant and truly gripping material while allowing our actors to explore new territory. It was eerie seeing Storybrooke empty except for Henry while everyone was transported into Isaac’s alternate fairytale universe. Literally inside a book (how cool is that), I loved seeing Henry in hero mode working to make sure everything was set right in this topsy-turvy world. And how wonderful was it to see our characters in these reversed roles – Snow and Charming as the Evil Queen and Huntsman, Regina the bandit running for her life, Robin Hood about to marry Zelena, Rumple as the “Light One,” married to Belle and a great hero, Killian as a lowly and meek deckhand, with only Emma retaining her memories, but trapped in a tower, powerless and nearly going mad. What was moving was seeing their true hearts emerge in their interactions with Henry, especially Regina and Killian. The adventure Henry and Killian go on to rescue Emma resulted in some of the most fairytale moments ever as the two captain a ship together, while Emma and her Killian show not only the undeniable true love connection between them in their fourth “first meeting” with Emma looking at him with all the love and adoration in the world and Killian completely awestruck and speechless, but also their ability to always make quite the team as the two literally slay a dragon together. His shyness is endearing as she teaches him to sword fight, and the true courage that emerges from him truly moving as he sacrifices himself to save Emma and Henry. And despite barely knowing Henry, Regina also sacrifices herself for him, choosing to save his life rather than stop Robin’s wedding in a very powerful moment, of motherly love, and romantic connection when Robin holds her hand and promises she won’t die alone. These scenes of heroism were beautiful and matched by Henry taking Isaac’s pen and becoming the next author. In the end it was the truest believer who saved everyone and restored the characters back to normal. Of course, as is always the case, it was Emma’s journey for the season that also came to a beautiful conclusion, culminating in such a dramatic and gripping way that left us in tears. From Emma learning to truly understand and forgive her parents, to opening her heart without fear, and the threat of her turning dark, “Operation Mongoose” centered around all these aspects, especially her love for Killian and fear of telling him “I love you.” The pain of losing him in the alternate universe was potent, her joy in finding him alive beautiful, and heart ache when she finally tells him those words poignant and she sacrifices herself and becomes the new Dark One. This was one of the best endings of a season ever as she disappears and all that is left is the dagger with her name engraved upon it. That’s taking dramatica cliffhanger to a new level.

2. “Fall” (Season 4, Episode 9)

One of the best episodes in terms of giving every single character a moment of real emotional poignancy in an engaging and lovely story, “Fall” is the type of episode that demonstrates how special the series is. Fast-moving in a race against the clock, our heroes prepare for Ingrid’s spell of “Shattered Sight” which will turn them into their worst selves, while in Arendelle, Anna and Kristoff are captured by Blackbeard and thrown into the sea. Moments of villainy and true love were so effective and moving and had us gasping, crying and completely captivated. Blackbeard and Hans were so great at their dastardly villainy, while Rumple so despicable as he forces Killian, whose heart he controls, to trap the fairies in the Sorcerer’s hat and thwart the heroes’ their plants to stop the spell. And the love filled moments were nothing short of breathtaking and thoroughly heartwarming: Regina and Robin sharing a lovely goodbye wanting to remember this moment as true, real, and filled with looks of love, Elsa and Anna’s strong sisterly bond with Elsa’s wish to find her sister being so pure it miraculously reunites them, Anna and Kristoff swearing their love, hands clasped believing they’re about to drown, Emma and Killian saying goodbye in a heart wrenching moment with Killian believing it to be for the last time, kissing her as he never has before and Emma proving how love can make you brave and change you for the better as she becomes a “tearful goodbye kiss person.” and finally Snow and David not only demonstrating unfailing faith in their love for each other, but also in Emma’s ability to always succeed. The episode flies by and the ending montage with the emotional musical score was the perfect example of how Once Upon a Time can be so beautiful aesthetically and dramatically. And the final shot of Snow and David as their expressions change from love to utter disdain was absolutely chilling!

3. “Poor Unfortunate Soul” (Season 4, Episode 15)

Episodes with Killian back stories are always thoroughly profound and captivating, but what makes this episode so special was that in addition to intriguing flashbacks that complemented the present perfectly, the drama in Storybrooke was fast-paced, well-balanced, and featured some of the best character moments and expressions of profound themes of series. In the past we see how much Killian’s code of honor meant to him and that his soul could be soothed from heart ache, but that, unlike the present where he has true love in his life, in the past we see how tragically his quest for revenge and no one to inspire him leads him to go back on his word to Ursula, stealing her singing voice. But in the present he wants to make amends and help restore her happy ending which will also help and their fight against Gold and the other Queens of Darkness. The reappearance of characters like August and Ariel, which were lovely and revealed truths about the right way to get a happy ending and the power of believing in yourself, and gave us scenes of unexpected profundity and sweetness. Seeing Emma reunite with her friend August was so heartwarming as was the one where Killian brings Poseidon back to Ursula and her singing voice is restored. It was a beautiful expression of how bad choices can be rectified, forgiveness is always possible, as well as redemption, especially when you realize the error of your ways. But it was a moment of pure vulnerability and heart between Killian and Emma that provided not only the episode’s best moment, but one of the show’s finest ever. When Killian tells Emma she is his happy ending, both are so overcome with emotion over the brevity of his meaning, Killian letting out a small breath of emotion and a single tear falling from Emma’s cheek as they slowly kiss. It was a moment of beautiful perfection that is the epitome of true love.

4. “The Apprentice” (Season 4, Episode 4)

This episode was a beautiful gift. Not only were we treated to Emma and Killian finally going on their first date, but also heartwarming Charming Family moments, the fantastic dynamic between perpetual foils Killian and Rumplestilskin, and a fantastic flashback for Anna and Rumple that established a poignant theme that has continued ever since. Of all the wonderful Frozen characters, Anna was my personal favorite and she was given so much wonderful comedic and dramatic material. This episode showcased this in abundance in the significant flashback with Rumple and the Sorcerer’s apprentice which solidified that theme that “love is a weapon.” What was moving was seeing that even after Rumple used her love for Elsa against her, she was able to get the best of him. It was a striking parallel to present day Storybrooke where Rumple uses Killian’s love for Emma and desire to be good enough for her against him. Killian may have blackmailed Rumple to get his hand back but his motivations were heart-wrenching – if Emma wants him to, he would like to be able to hold her with both hands. So seeing his fear that his hand was cursed was actually heartbreaking not because he loses it once again, but that it stems from a place of insecurity. But for the happier parts of the episode – the parts where dreams were made a reality- there was nothing but beautiful sweetness and heart. It was so lovely seeing Snow and David’s dream of sending their daughter to a ball come true as they watch Emma prepare for her date, waiting up to hear all about it. Seeing Emma and Killian being able to enjoy time just for themselves on a date with flirtatious smiles, hand holding, jacket sharing, and a spine tingling romantic goodnight kiss that left them both breathless was a real gift. For Killian it was moving that his desire to be able to hold her the way he surely always wanted to came true, brief as it was, and for Emma it was so poignant to see her finally be able to have a night off without having to think of danger or villains, but also that she finally has found someone that she feel safe enough to be vulnerable with and express her softer and romantic side, seen in the beautiful pink dress she wears. When she’s back home and must compose herself for a moment, it was clear she had fallen completely in love – and everything changed. 

5. “White Out” (Season 4, Episode 2)

The best centric for Prince Charming is the sweet-hearted and light (comparatively speaking) episode which showcases the importance of friendship, family, never giving up, and living a life with no regrets. As I have said, there’s something about David’s character that always brings forth important things for the series and lessons we can all learn from an aspire to in our own lives. Seeing that David was not always so confident and stalwart in his beliefs because of the loss of his father and the torturing of the warlord Bo Peep, and that he learned not only how to sword fight but also how to fight back in life from Anna was so moving and special and the perfect example of how to include a new character into the framework of the existing story, giving new layers to the characters we already love. Seeing David find his courage in the past was the perfect parallel to David and Killian working together to save Emma after Elsa accidentally traps them in an ice cave. We see the continued friendship between the two men, who despite the uniqueness of the relationship and David’s protectiveness over a “pirate “dating his daughter, work perfectly together – as well as brothers. The friendship formed for Anna and David helped him find the person that was in there all along, while Elsa and Emma formed an instant kindred bond over shared experiences, which was something Emma really needed in her life. It was an episode all about those bonds that change us and finding the inner strength we may not have to have believed we have. Snow was able to restore power to Storybrooke all on her own, and Elsa, who insisted she needed her sister to help control her magic, was able to free her new friend. And for Emma and Killian who had just begun their relationship they pass that first threshold of intimacy in beautiful ways as we see Killian’s desperation to break through the ice to her, their joint relief when they cling to each other after she is saved, and newfound closeness as they hold hands and seek comfort in each other’s arms. They were becoming everything to each other and as David says that their family never gives up and vows to find Elsa’s sister, we see that all of these characters have formed a beautiful new familial bond that has only grown stronger ever since.

6. “Smash the Mirror” (Season 4, Episode 8)

This exciting two-part episode was the centerpiece of the arc and moved the story and characters in intense dramatic directions not only for the story, but as individual characters. Perhaps the scenes were long, but the flashbacks in Arendelle were necessary and captivating as Elsa and Anna’s bond is shattered by Ingrid’s evil spell and we discover the missing pieces to how Elsa found herself trapped in the urn and in Rumple’s possession. The Storybrooke drama was a mixture of so much: hopeful romance as Robin and Regina bask in the afterglow of their first night together and discover an alternate page of the storybook that gives them a new found sense of hope for a happy ending together, family drama as Snow and Charming battle their consciences and wanting to make sure their daughter is happy while ultimately realizing, with a touching self-aware confession by Regina, that you should never let your children give up that what makes them special and who they are. There were also heart wrenching confessions and attempts at rescue as Killian leaves a tearful voicemail for Emma, admitting his mistakes with Rumple, hoping she never forgives and because it would mean she is safe, and villainy as Rumple stops him from coming to her rescue by taking his heart – a key ingredient he needs for ultimate power from the Sorcerer’s hat. But it was Emma’s journey of self acceptance that was the most significant and touching moment as she contemplates getting rid of her magic forever to protect her loved ones from getting hurt. And when she really needed a friend, Elsa was there, her hand outstretched without fear who helps Emma learn not to be afraid of herself, to accept her magic – a metaphor for us to accept ourselves as we truly are. When she saves herself from making a grave decision our tears were matched by Emma’s, and her joys were matched by the passionate kiss Killian gives her, and in the hugs and smiles on her family’s faces when they find her safe. Like her true love, she was on her way of being a fan of every part of herself and the look of pride and glee at her creating a magical display of fireworks was as beautiful an expression on her face as we have ever seen.

7. “Unforgiven” (Season 4, Episode 12)

It is always a treat to see more of Snow and Charming in their days as newlyweds paralleled with them dealing with something in Storybrooke, because it’s often displayed that no matter what they are doing, they are doing it together. Whether their decisions are good or misguided they always come around to the better path, standing side by side to give support. This half of the season began with the threat of Emma’s heart turning dark and the mystery of a great secret the Charming’s were keeping from their daughter. The fact that they went to extremes to keep Emma light, and that they were responsible for Maleficent losing her child was shocking as they are the epitome a virtue. But it gave them new depth as it showed that even the finest people can make a mistake. But “Unforgiven” is also filled with so many more golden moments: Ursula and Cruella chewing up the scenery with their comedic villainy, Regina sharing a true and moving moment of contrition with Marco, and after Killian is afraid to tell Emma the truth about his ugly past with Ursula, she tells him she believes in the man he is now, and two promise to always see the best in each other. As the show ends with the kind of evocative montage that Once does so exquisitely, we see how far our characters have gone, Snow’s voice over providing the poignancy of the scene as we see Henry hopeful, Rumple devastated, and Emma and Killian beaming and as happy as we’ve ever seen. This episode hit all the right emotional notes.

8. “Rocky Road” (Season 4, Episode 3)

New engaging characters, romantic confessions, and moments of intrigue and mystery surrounding Ingrid’s Snow Queen, this episode so wonderful. From seeing the perfect characterizations of Elsa and Kristoff becoming friends, to Elsa and Killian sharing a mutual concern for Emma and desire to find out exactly who the Snow Queen is, to Regina probably promising she’ll help unfreeze Marion but Robin confessing that he truly loves Regina, to Emma revealing to Killian she was pulling away for fear of losing him and him promising he is a survivor, all our characters were on a rocky road of love and discovery that was heartfelt and a joy to watch. With the introduction to one of the most chilling villains ever, the mystery of her identity was set up perfectly leaving the audience wondering what exactly were her motivations. This is an all-around terrific episode.

9. “Sympathy for the DeVil” (Season 4, Episode 18)

If an episode is going to focus heavily on a guest star then it must be interesting and compelling in order to keep our interest. Normally I find the episodes with the main cast focused on as the best. But there are certain episodes that stand out in dynamic ways. Such is the case with “Sympathy for the Devil.” I loved Cruella from the first moment she appeared on screen, and her backstory was fantastic in every way. Completely unique and unlike anything we’ve ever seen on the show, the 1920’s Gatsby-esque, Art Deco world she lives in was a glittering, champagne soaked, jazzy delight. And the way the episode was filmed was reminiscent of a noir film from the 1940s that would have starred Humphrey Bogart or Veronica Lake. This was not a fairytale but that’s what makes it all the more fascinating to watch as we see one of the best twists on the show ever – not only that she is just inherently evil and psychotic for no reason whatsoever, but also that she, thanks to Isaac’s quick thinking, was not able to kill anyone, making the moment Emma kills her to save Henry’s life all the more dramatic. The look on Emma’s face after that moment was chilling and the perfect ending to a deliciously dark episode.

10. “A Tale of Two Sisters” (Season 4, Episode 1)

An absolutely sweet and lovely introduction to what we now dub the “Frozen Arc,” the beginning of season 4 began with a well-balanced, light episode where all of the characters had moments of touching emotion. The backstory of Anna and Elsa in Arendelle could not have been more delightful as they seem to have leapt from the film and into the Once universe, and our hearts, with beautiful ease. Regina was heartbroken that Robin’s wife was back but it established her journey that would take the whole season of her discovering the right way to find her happy ending, as well as Emma being a good and forgiving person and sincerely offering her a sense of sisterly friendship. Even though in the end Rumple cannot resist the allure of power once again, the iconic Beauty and the Beast dance which were re-created in a truly beautiful way, surely made Rumbelle fans cry. And lastly, it was a delight to see, after sharing a moment of love and a passionate kiss, Emma and Killian try to discuss the relationship amidst snow monsters and long-lost wives of friends resurrected from the dead! When Emma kisses him,  asking him to “be patient” you can see she is almost ready to take that next step, but a fear is holding her back, and that she is thankful to have someone who will not only wait but can recognize there is something else going on inside her heart. Of course this was also a humorous wink to the audience asking us to “be patient” with their relationship, which has always been developing slowly and steadily. But that is what makes it all the more special.

 

Once Upon a Time 100th Episode Celebration: Top 10 Best Underrated Episodes

underrated

Hello Oncers! As I said in this post here I will be celebrating Once Upon a Time reaching 100 episodes with a series of posts highlighting the best of our beloved show. This first one is the Best Underrated episodes. These are ones that are excellent and worthy of praise but episodes that often overlooked and rarely discussed, especially when speaking about the best of the series. Here are my top picks in underrated gems.

1.”The Shepherd” (Season 1, Episode 6)

The very first backstory for Charming/David’s character is also one of the best. As is often the case for his centrics and his character, David is underrated and overlooked, but “The Shepherd” is a wonderful episode. Touching and engaging, the present day drama explores the tension between David and Mary-Margaret wanting to be together, with David’s confusion, weakness and altered memories getting in the way, contrasted with Enchanted Forest David, thrust into a new life, finding his courage, and slaying a dragon. This episode also featured one of the show’s most unexpected twists (David has a half-brother named James who was slain in battle), and one of the sweetest relationships that is rarely talked about- David and his mother. The moment he must say goodbye to her is very moving, and overall this episode established what makes the real Prince Charming such an amazing character: that his goodness and integrity do not come from some idealized arcetype but rather from a very real and believable place.

2.”A Curious Thing” (Season 3, Episode 19)

Romantic, surprising and exciting, “A Curious Thing” came at a crucial point in the season before the arc came to a close. The tension and drama were high as our heroes try their best to discover Zelena’s plans and had to rescue Henry when Killian tried to protect him by helping him leave Storybrooke and they were attacked. When episodes always manage to bring unexpected and beautiful moments especially for many characters it’s a treat. We witnessed the amazing moment of Henry regaining his memories and belief thanks to the Storybook, Regina giving him true love’s kiss and breaking the curse, and a moment where Emma expressed that she felt she could not trust Killian. Sad as this last one was it was necessary to move Emma towards the end of the season when she realizes all he has done for her and opens her heart. Speaking of hearts, nothing was as romantic as one of the most beautiful moments ever for Snow and Charming. Not only was it poignant to see them physically share a heart but it was also touching seeing the shift and trust and friendship between the couple and Regina, and the unfailing believe expressed by Snow. She believed her heart was strong enough to be shared and her faith proved true when her husband’s life was restored, solidifying how strong true love really is.

3.”The Snow Queen” (Season 4, Episode 7)

Well-balanced and poignant, this backstory for Ingrid’s Snow Queen was one of the best ever for a villain on the show as we see her feel completely isolated and living her life in fear; and when she accidentally kills her sister, her devastation is so heartbreaking and there has rarely been a more sympathetic moment for any villain on the show. Ingrid’s fears of her powers parallel what many in Storybooke were going through most especially Emma’s whose powers go awry and Regina and Robin who could not deny their feelings for each other. And what this explored was the lovely theme that we should not be afraid of our feelings – there is no need to conceal and not feel. Be open and honest, do not be afraid, and when a loved one reaches out their hand, always take it.

4.”Red-handed” (Season 1, Episode 15)

Clever puns notwithstanding, Once Upon a Time has always been known for taking classic fairytales and turning them on their heads. This episode was the first twist that completely floored me. The original “Little Red Riding Hood” fairytale is a cautionary story to be leery of strangers and predators. So, Ruby being the wolf was a brilliant new spin, instead showcasing that theme again of finding out who we are and finding the courage to be true to that. Aesthetically gorgeous in flashbacks (her red cloak contrasted against the white snow is stunning), sweet in its establishing of the Red and Snow friendship, gripping in its mystery, and touching with Ruby and Granny finding love and understanding from each other, this episode is one of the most overlooked of the series.

5.”Siege Perilous” (Season 5, Episode 3)

Another Charming centric episode – a commonality on this list for the unappreciated character – what made this episode so great was not only the storylines involving David but also Emma, Killian, Robin, Snow and Arthur. As is often the case in episodes with David’s character, a prescient theme is showcased with poignant results, we are treated to exciting action sequences, and in the end David continues to live up to his princely name. As David and Arthur go on journeys in the past and the present we learn the timeless lesson that we must never give up even when we fail and that sometimes it’s continuing to fight after the failure that is the true measure of our character. Despite Arthur’s ulterior motives, David earned his seat at the Roundtable, as well as his hero status and Snow’s eyes because he continues to fight for his daughter. This theme applies to the poignant moments for Emma and Killian when she re-creates their first date and he uttered those heartbreaking words “I loved you.” But neither give up on each other and we see just how much their true selves mean to one another when he tells her that he liked her walls and being the one to bring them down. Lastly, the levity brought to the episode by the new friendship between Robin and Killian was fantastic and something I’d love to see continue.

6.”What Happened to Frederick” (Season 1, Episode 13)

One of the series’ most beautiful and iconic lines, and one of my personal favorites, is heard in this in episode that does what Season 1 so famously embodied: a flashback that demonstrated a truth about the story and character contrasted with present-day struggles due to the dark curse personas, all while Emma continues on her journey of belief. While we see the beginning of Emma’s friendship with August with talk beside a wishing well about magic, it importantly showed Emma skeptical but not closed off. And David’s journey to help reunite Abigail with her true love Frederick not only resulted in an amazing scene where a siren image of Snow tempts him until he overcomes this, but also a poignant one as he says he wants the real thing or nothing else. Here we witness one of the show’s most constant and romantic themes: “True Love isn’t easy, but it must be fought for. Because once you find it, it can never be replaced.”

7.”In the Name of the Brother” (Season 2, Episode 12)

In one of the most unexpected episodes of the series we finally saw a proper backstory for Dr. Whale – first hinted at in “The Doctor” – with the inspired and brilliant choice for his land to literally be in black and white. They create an evocative, noirish Victorian setting, and a heartbreaking tragedy of Victor Frankenstein, losing his brother and father because of his choices. And the result is fantastic! For an episode to be focused so heavily on a guest character,the story must be gripping and Whale’s tragic past, and present day triumphs thanks to the sweet, burgeoning friendship and understanding with Ruby, created one of the most unique episodes of the series. And who doesn’t love the tense back-and-forth between Emma and an injured Hook, from him calling her beautiful, despite being hit by a car, to their conversation in his hospital room where you see that she does not condone his actions but still has a hint of sympathy in her eyes. It was only the beginning.

8.”Dreamy” (Season 1, Episode 14)

The story behind how the grumpiest of dwarfs got his name is one of the sweetest, saddest, and most under-appreciated episodes of the series. For one thing, it was so delightfully inventive learning how dwarfs hatched from eggs as adults,were meant for one purpose, and given their names by the one that appears on their chosen pickax. Seeing that Grumpy was once “Dreamy” was surprising and seeing the sweet and unlikely love story with a fairy named Nova, and how they did not have a happy ending was actually pretty heartbreaking. A broken heart made him grumpy, but as we continue to witness the dynamic themes of identity, we see we are not defined by singular things. He may be “Grumpy,” but Leroy still has kindness in him as we see in the past and more importantly in the present, as not even the curse could stop his inherit goodness. Despite some grumbling, he helped the nuns, in particular Astrid (the fairy Nova) and Mary Margaret during the Miner’s Day festival. I hope that in the end Leroy and Astrid get their happy ending.

9.”We Are Both” (Season 2, Episode 2)

What makes this episode so great is its unique structure, development of relationships not often discussed or highlighted, and fantastic moments in that they bring forth one of the most constant and profound themes of the series. This is one of the few times Emma’s character is seen but for moment, so it would take a lot to make up for a favorite character not being on screen. But what we saw was engaging and poignant. These were some of Regina’s best flashbacks to her young and not evil self simply wanting to escape her mother’s plans while the allure and feel of magic put her on the first step towards a dark path. But in the present while we saw some similarities in Regina’s behavior, mirroring her mother in trying to get control Henry (this was crucial in her present learning how to be a better mom ), the main story was not hers but rather David’s as he dealt with town chaos, taking care of Henry, and tracking down Jefferson, determined to reach Snow and Emma. This different structure was refreshing as we see the sweet relationships developed between him and his grandson and his friend Ruby, two relationships that are wonderful but not often discussed. But it was his impassioned speech at the town line about how “we are both” that truly made the episode. It was a moving example of what the show always exemplifies about the human condition: we all have light and dark, moments of weakness and moments of strength, triumphs and mistakes; but it is remembering that and striving to be our best selves while accepting our flaws that make us who we are. And delivered by David, we, and the town, were inspired.

10.”Family Business” (Season 4 Episode 6)

This episode is perhaps my favorite of Belle’s adventures because it showcased new layers for her character and some of DeRavin’s best acting, not to mention giving the audience the necessary cues to see the inevitability of the rift between Belle and Rumple, as well as lovely quiet moments for Emma and Killian and Regina and Robin. Getting better upon multiple viewings, the rapport between Belle and Anna was natural and sweet. We expect Belle to always do the right thing, so seeing her have a moment where she did not – where she acted selfishly and someone suffered – made her more human, but also ever more likable when her guilt makes her work so hard to right her wrongs and be honest. Her worst fears reflected back in the Snow Queen’s mirror was so chilling it’s too bad we do not see this more characters. Lastly, moments of bravery for Belle and the quieter moments for the two couples may not have been earth shattering but were lovely in their simplicity: Robin unable to forget his love for Regina and her trying to do the right thing, Belle courageously realizing that sometimes we may must sacrifice everything to save those we love, and Emma discovering Ingrid saved things from her childhood while Killian provides the understanding shoulder as someone who knows wounds made when we are young can often linger. Such simple but profound truths delivered beautifully.