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


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.

Once Upon a Time: Season 5 Wish List

We all have so many things we hope to see not only on the current season of Once Upon a Time, but also the entire series. With the first half of Season 5A now complete I decided to compile my own wish list for the rest of this amazing season!! And you know what, even if I none of these happen, I will still be happy as this season really has been so fantastic. But of course there are always things we cannot help but wish for. Some of this is based on spoilers, including the sneak peak for episode 5×7 “Nimue” that was released yesterday, so be forewarned. Here is my top 10 wish list for Season 5:

  1. Killian says “I Love You” to Emma: In the sneak peak released yesterday, Killian finally told Emma that he loved her and we smiled and cried tears of joy. He had told her he loved in so many ways before, but never used the word love with her. In this beautiful scene, that all changes as he gives her a ring and tells her if nothing else it is a reminder that she has “a piercing eyed, smoldering pirate who loves her.” And her smile when she finally hears those words is as glorious and bright as we have ever seen. But I would still love Killian to say those three words “I Love You” to Emma. We have never heard him utter those words to anybody on screen, and something tells me they may be saving it from an upcoming dramatic scene. Brace yourself for some epic romance folks!

In the meantime let’s relive this glorious moment all over again. And if you are like me , this won’t be the first time you’ve done so 😉

  1. The Charmings call Killian “family”: Snow and David have already been showing their support of Emma and Killian’s relationship and his presence in the Storybrooke in general for a while now, but most of it has been silent support, expressing it through their actions. It would be lovely to hear them acknowledge more openly what he means to Emma, and even to them, but most of all, hearing them call him family would be so touching and meaningful, especially for someone who has lived for hundreds of years with no family of his own. Bonus points if one of them gives our dear captain a hug, because the only one who ever bestows this sweet gesture on him is Emma.
  1. More bonding and teamwork amongst multiple characters: One of things I love is when the characters all work together or we get unique team ups in episodes. There has not been nearly enough Captain Charming lately, and I already love the newly formed Captain Hood friendship. And my heart always feels so full whenever Killian and Henry team up. I also loved the new group efforts we witnessed in “Dreamcatcher” and “The Bear and the Bow” of Killian, Regina, Robin and Belle & David, Killian, Merlin, Belle, Lancelot and Merida.. These groups sound amusing from the outside but their results are always golden in my eyes, so I hope we see these continue.
  1. More scenes between Snow and Emma: In season 1 one of my favorite aspects was the friendship between Mary Margaret and Emma. Once the curse was broken the relationship changed as Snow went straight into mother mode. They have gone though lots of trials, and currently there has been few interactions between them. I hope to see some scenes between mother and daughter soon because they have such a special bond that deserves to be explored further.
  1. A True Love’s Kiss for Emma and Killian: We know that Emma and Killian truly love each other but each time a True Love’s kiss has been attempted there has been something preventing it from working, none of which having to do with how deeply they feel for each other. While this is not needed to “prove” what they feel, I think these characters deserve an epic, magical moment like this.
  1. Emma and Killian finally have “coffee”: If you are up on your lingo, then you know that Captain Swan “coffee” is a euphemism for the characters making love, and fans of their story have been waiting a LONG TIME to see them finally take that step in their relationship. And when it finally does happen I highly expect it to nearly break the internet. While I don’t see it happening until after Emma is freed from the darkness, I hope that once they make it through all of these trials, they will finally be able to have their moment and express their love for each other in this way. Given that this is a family friendly show, we cannot expect to see much and honestly that is fine. You can have a beautiful and sensual scene while still being subtle. I most hope to see them holding each other in their arms with adoring looks in their eyes. And if they can also fit in some time for some Netflix viewing of Back to the Future and The Princess Bride, I would smile for days.
  1. More sweet and meaningful moments for Regina and Robin: “In The Price” their relationship was put front and center and we could see just how much the mean to each other. Seeing Regina willing to lay down her life for him was very powerful, while the dance their shared in Camelot was as sweet as can be and so well deserved after what that have gone through. While there have been less moments lately because understandably the focus should be on Emma as The Dark Swan, I hope to see more for these soulmates in the second half of the season especially, dealing with Zelena in mature way, and maybe even getting engaged or moving in together.
  1. More unique backstories and character focused episodes: While I usually enjoy any and all backstories for our characters, some have become a bit repetitive. So I hope we see some more unique ones especially for characters who have had the least amount. As far as back stories, high on that list are Killian in his days in the Navy with his brother Liam, as well as his early days as a pirate, Emma’s adult life after jail, especially her time as bail bonds person, David as a shepherd, Belle before she met Rumple, Robin Hood and his supposed darker past, and the return of Bandit Snow.
  1. Rumple stays on the heroic path: Even though Rumple has pulled Excalibur from the stone, it is going to take much more to be a true hero because it takes one than one heroic act. He needs to continue on the path of good and work to make up for his past deeds. He has just made that first step in the right direction. Although I do love him as a villain, ultimately I would like to see him work to be the kind of man Belle believes he can be. She deserves that!
  1. A moment with all of our main characters together: I love the couples and unique groupings of characters but there are not often scenes where every character is involved. No matter the circumstance I would love some moments, or even a single scene, that involved everyone in a significant way because they each have something unique to offer. So please let’s see an epic scene with Emma, Killian, Snow, David, Regina, Robin, Rumple, Belle, Zelena, and Henry. While you’re at it, throw in some secondary characters, like the Dwarves, Granny, and Archie too. The season opened with a few moments like this, and it would be great to see more.

Honorable mentions:

Another Captain Swan Adventure: There have certainly been many moments for the princess and the pirate already this season, but it has been a while since they had a proper adventure together, with just the two of them as the main focus of the episode. Although they had some adventurous scenes in the Season 4 finale, they last time they had a more focused type of episode was actually the Season 3 finale “Snow Drifts/There is No Place Like Home” with “New York City Serenade” and “Tallahassee” being the other two.  I think it is important to balance characters and screen time and I think they have done a good job of that so far, but it would make me happy if just one episode this season featured the kind of epic adventure we have seen for these two in the past.

The Return of Familiar Faces: We already know that many familiar faces are returning soon, namely Ruby and Mulan, as well as Cora, Pan, and Sidney for the 100th episode. But there are other characters I would love to see pop up again even more including: Liam, August, Ariel, Jefferson (that one is very unlikely though), Graham, Tink, Cruella, Blackbeard, and the Frozen characters.

A Captain Swan Wedding or Proposal: Yes, I know my list has lot of these two but it’s is hard to deny the beauty that their story brings to show. There has been so much wedding foreshadowing that it would be so fitting, and extremely beautiful if these two lovebirds tied the knot or got engaged by season’s end.

Henry working as the author: I loved seeing Henry get more involved in the storylines lately, the most he has been since Season 1. Now that he is the author, he is tasked with a great amount of responsibility. I know he broke his quill, but there has to be some way around that, where he can begin recording the stories he is witnessing right before his eyes. I just love the idea of him writing stories about his family: if I ever saw him writing about Emma breaking the first curse, her falling in love with a dashing pirate, his mom Regina slowly finding redemption and love again with Robin, or his grandparents Snow and Charming becoming parents again I think I would cry.

We see the moment Killian traded the Jolly Roger to Blackbeard for a magic bean: This one is probably the least likely to happen this season, so I guess this would be on my series wishlist. But it was such an important moment for his character, and I have ALWAYS wanted to see it played out on screen.

Once Upon a Time: “The Price” Further Thoughts

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This was one of my favorite episodes of the series ever, so it is only natural that I would have a lot of additional thoughts on top of my Nerd Machine review. This is somewhat speculative on some levels as well, so I hope you enjoy!!

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-The Dark Swan’s Motivations and Behavior:

There are so many questions and mysteries surrounding Emma’s motivations. What happened in Camelot? Why did she bring them all back to Storybrooke and erase their memories? What exactly does the Dark Swan want and how is that reflected in her demeanor and behavior? She says she wants to punish those who failed her in Camelot and she is isolating herself from everyone except Killian and Henry. She wants to forge the dagger with Excalibur so she can do what all other Dark Ones failed to do- snuff out the light forever. The light they are always pulled towards filled with those they love and those that love them. But what would she gain by snuffing out this light? Ultimate power? Total darkness in the world, meaning complete isolation from love? That does not sound like something Emma would want, especially since as the Dark One, your qualities are simply amplified. Though the darkness can also twist things and lead to bad decisions. That is what makes Emma’s motivations so unclear and enigmatic. Some of her behavior can be analyzed, however, if you imagine all of her characteristics put under a microscope and magnified, the good and the bad ones. More importantly, I think her behavior is related to the way she grew up, her new responsibilities as the Savior, and her insecurities. And frankly much of this is empathetic. She grew up without a real home, so the house she takes up residence in is a beautiful, spacious Victorian complete with a white picket fence. It’s the type of idyllic home a young Emma would have dreamed of living in with a family that loved her. But inside the home lacks warmth. The tables only have two chairs, there are no photos on the walls, and in the end she is sitting alone in the dark at her kitchen table. Emma may have a house, but not a home.

Additionally, Emma has always been afraid of opening her heart because those she did so with left her, so she seems quite possessive of Killian.

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But her insecurities also come into play. She has often felt unloved and not good enough, so when Killian refused her advances, heartbroken his kiss did not work, she says it’s because this is who she is now, and does not understand why he can’t accept that. This is what makes the relationship between them so dramatic.

– The Push and Pull between Emma & Killian:

The push and pull between Captain Swan in this episode during the present day Storybrooke was set up so beautifully. They deeply, truly, and passionately love each other. There is no question about that. But when he tells her “this isn’t you” she is hurt, feeling like once again like she is not good enough. Of course this is not true. Killian loves Emma for who she is through and through. But there is bound to be this constant push and pull between them in this half of the season, because this is not the true Emma. She is in there, but the Dark One persona is overriding her.  Belle understood why True Love’s kiss did not work with Rumple, but she still chose to be with him. She accepted him as the Dark One because she believed he could be that and a good man. While it’s important to accept those we love unconditionally, at the same time this did not help Rumple at all. No one would fault Belle, but true love should inspire us to be our best selves, and he only descended deeper into darkness. For Killian, he just wants the Emma he knows, to save her from the darkness. Obviously, this is a good thing, but she is hurt he isn’t accepting her as she is. The journey for Emma and Killian is sure to be somewhere in between these two states. Loving accepting each other as they are, but also inspiring each other to be their best selves- to be good people. In the end this kind of true love will be stronger than the darkness.

– The Emphasis on Hands & Isolation:

Once again hands proved significant, and for all of the characters. The moment Regina, Snow, David, Leroy, and Arthur all joined hands and fought off the fury we see the symbolism of hands united that has been prevalent on the show. Together they are stronger and can defeat anything.



For Emma, we saw the beginning of her isolation from her loved ones with this emphasis on hands, and also significantly, paralleling where Killian once was. After she heals Robin we see her let go of Killian’s hand and leave him, a shot they made an effort to clearly show in frame.

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When she returns, she stands in the doorway, physically and symbolically separated from her loved ones, even at this early stage. It is so reminiscent of when Killian stood the doorway of the hospital room, looking in at the happy Charming family. In both cases, there is a separation from the family they care for, and a sadness because of it.


And just like when Killian stood alone across from Granny’s looking in at the Diner with sadness and longing in his eyes, at the end of this episode we see Emma do the same. That is the real Emma in that moment. This cannot be what she wants. And what was so heart wrenching in that moment was what Emma does with her hands. Not long ago, she was walking down the street, Killian’s hand entwined with hers. Now she isolated from him, so to fill this void, she clasps her hands together. She holds her own hand.

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This is heartbreaking, but just the beginning of her journey. When she realizes this path of darkness will not lead her towards what she truly wants, she will reach out her hand towards light and love again.

– Passionate Kisses:

There was something so moving in the similarities between the two attempts at True Love’s Kiss. They really mirrored each other. Killian kissed Emma in Storybrooke, Emma kissed Killian in Camelot. Both were incredibly passionate, loving, and desperate attempts to destroy the darkness. And both times Killian pulled away out of concern and confusion. You feel both anguish and melancholy and love and hope in both kisses. And significantly, you don’t have two attempts (on top of Killian’s other attempt), if a truly successful one was not on the horizon. That would be cruel to both the characters and the audience, and while they do have moments that make us cry, they also believe in happy endings. Once Upon a Time is not a show about despair, but rather hope. Maybe it’s not just about choosing love over power. Perhaps it’s not just about destroying darkness but restoring love.

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– The Ball at Camelot:

The Ball was one of the loveliest gifts the show has ever bestowed upon us, and one of the most beautiful moments was seeing Emma hold Killian’s hook while they were dancing. He has always been a bit self conscious about it, going so far as to have his hand reattached for their first date. But to Emma it does not matter whether he has two hands or not. And that was clear as we see them dancing, her holding onto his hook with the same gentleness and natural ease as a hand. She loves him exactly the way he is.

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The way Robin and Regina danced was also so incredibly sweet. I liked seeing them have a moment lost in each other. There is not much else to say about the moment below except that it is absolutely adorable, and it also looks like it could be the actors simply laughing. Either way, it works, and it’s as cute as all get out.




– Wedding Foreshadowing:

There has always been a great deal of wedding allusions and hints of foreshadowing for Emma and Killian, from them holding up rings to each other, to so often a wedding dress being visible in a storefront behind them in many scenes. You may say that is simply a coincidence, but they could have anything in these store windows. Why a wedding dress? I for one think nothing is by chance on this show.


Moreover, the way in which the Ball was filmed was like a beautiful prelude to what a wedding would look like for their characters. From Emma’s white lace dress that was so reminiscent of a wedding gown, to the smile on Killian’s face filed with all the love and amazement that a groom would express watching his bride walk down the aisle, it is impossible for me to believe this was not PURPOSEFULLY meant to resemble a wedding.wedding cswedding dance

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-Does Killian have a connection to Camelot?:

Is Killian connected to this mystical realm? No I do not think he has any kind of obvious connection because I think he would be forthcoming about that. I do however, feel like there may be some kind of unexpected connection, even to him.  There did seem to be a pull between him and Excalibur. Not only was he immediately drawn to the door leading to it, but in the promotional poster for the season (seen below in an uncompleted state where he is more visible), we see him not only very close to King Arthur, but he is holding a sword. To my recollection there are rarely any promotional images of him holding a blade. Is this a clue? Will he be the one Emma needs to pull Excalibur from the stone? But what would the price be for doing so? It is sure to be steep and Emma may not even fully understand it. The image of Rumple in her head hardly seems infallible and trustworthy. What if the price she would pay would be losing Killian?


– Henry & Violet:

True Love couples share the distinction of meeting each other multiple times, sometimes unaware of the fact. Emma and Killian hold the record at 4 first meetings, Regina and Robin have met 3 times, while Snow and David twice. Henry and his first crush Violet have now met each other twice and it was very similar to the way in which Regina and Robin did in Season 3, the conversation (song) making them feel as if it’s happened before. It is uncertain what the future hold for Violet’s character, but I hope whoever her family is decides to stay in Storybrooke, so Henry will not suffer the pangs of adolescent heartbreak.

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– Arthur & Guinevere:

Before the season began I had the feeling that no one in Camelot could be fully trusted. While Arthur is not being completely truthful of altruistic about wanting to reunite the dagger with Excalibur and make it whole, he did earn some trust by standing with our heroes to help save Robin Hood. Of course that could still be a facade. But Guinevere on the other hand seems far more untrustworthy at the moment and her preoccupation with Excalibur is suspicious.

Screencap sources:




Once Upon a Time Favorite Character Moments: Belle


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

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

Favorite Moments:

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

Favorite Little Moments:

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

belle love books

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

belle hook dashing(x)

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

belle hook gif cs source


Favorite Reader Moments:

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

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

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

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

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

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