Once Upon A Time

  1. Pilot
  2. The Thing You Love Most
  3. Snow Falls
  4. The Price Of Gold
  5. That Still Small Voice
  6. The Shepherd
  7. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
  8. Desperate Souls
  9. True North
  10. 7.15AM
  11. Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree
  12. Skin Deep
  13. What Happened To Frederick
  14. Dreamy
  15. Red-Handed
  16. Heart Of Darkness
  17. Hat Trick
  18. The Stable Boy
  19. The Return
  20. The Stranger
  21. An Apple Red As Blood
  22. A Land Without Magic

Emma Swann - Jennifer Morrison

Regina Mills - Lana Parrilla

Mary Margaret Blanchard - Ginnifer Goodwin

Mr Gold - Robert Carlyle

Henry - Jared Gilmore

Archie Hopper - Raphael Sbarge

Season 2

Tin Man
Witches Of Oz


Emma Swann makes a living catching people who skip out on their financial responsibilites. Once, though, she skipped out on her own. The son she gave away for adoption comes to her looking for help because his mother is the evil queen from a fairy story.

Updating fairy tales is the thing of the moment both on the big screen and small, but ONCE UPON A TIME has a nice take on the idea with the evil queen of the fairy tale creating a land where she alone can live happily ever after and trapping everyone else in unhappy lives without memories of who they really are.

It's a nice set up and the pilot does a decent job of setting the scene, not least by concentrating on the backstory with an impressive mythic styling to the olde worlde stuff that contrasts nicely with the normal world stuff.

Jennifer Morrison is instantly likeable, if a little bland, in the main role and she is matched it his by Jared Gilmore as Henry, her son. Fortunately, Lana Parrilla gets to chew all the scenery in sight as the evil queen and her real world mayoral counterpart whilst Robert Carlyle pops up as the creepy Rumpelstiltskin.

ONCE UPON A TIME is off to a surprisingly strong and entertaining start. Let's hope it can build on its promise.


The Thing You Love Most

Emma and Regina strike the first blows in their open warfare over Henry. Meanwhile, the evil queen makes a deal to establish a dreadful curse.

The battle between Emma and the Mayor is far more fun that might have been expected, but it is eclipsed by the backstory to the establishment of Storyville and the lengths that the evil queen had to go to in order to make her curse. This explains her need to have Henry love her and is told in the most lucious of over the top mythical tones.

Only two episodes in and ONCE UPON A TIME has us hooked. How long it can keep that up we wait to find out with excitement.


Snow Falls

Miss Blanchard is shocked when the coma patient that she has been reading to disappears. Snow White and Prince Charming meet for the first time and take on a bridge full of trolls.

The story of Prince Charming and Snow White in the modern version of Storybrooke isn't all that interesting, but it does have a nice twist waiting in its tail. The fun of this episode comes in the fiesty retelling of the Snow White story in which she meets her Prince Charming in quite unorthodox fashion.

It's bright, it's breezy and, like its prince, it's quite charming.


The Price Of Gold

Cinderella gets her prince, but only after making a deal with Rumpelstiltskin. In modern Storybrooke, Emma tries to help a young pregnant woman turn her life around.

Cinderella's story gets the ONCE UPON A TIME treatment with Rumpelstiltskin making an unorthodox fairy godmother. After the opening sequence, however, things go downhill and it's never as engaging as it should be.

Robert Carlyle gets to take centre stage as Rumpelstiltskin and Mr Gold, but neither character really works just yet.


That Still Small Voice

Henry and his therapist get stuck in a collapsing mine. Jiminy hates having to steal for a living and makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin.

Ever wonder how Jiminy Cricket became Jiminy Cricket? Well this is a nice origin story that starts off with a little too much whimsical sweetness, but picks up a welcome harder edge as things go along.

Certainly beats the pants out of the modern story, which is thoroughly uninteresting, though it does have a nice final moment.


The Shepherd

Prince Charming is killed in a duel and a shepherd with a remarkable resemblance must fight a dragon in his stead. In the real world, a man must choose between two women.

The way in which familiar fairytales are woven together into a patchwork quilt of surprising depth and coherence is one of the good things about ONCE UPON A TIME. The way that things in the real world don't always work out the way they do in fairy tales is another.

Clearly the dragon was expensive to create, so it doesn't appear all that much, which is a shame as it makes the show look obviously cheap when throughout it has looked sumptuous, but that's one of the few negative things that you can say about the episode.


The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Having kissed Emma, the sheriff starts to remember who he was, which doesn't go down well with the Mayor who had to deal with his betrayal once before.

It seems that just when we think we've got a handle on ONCE UPON A TIME, the show comes up with something to surprise us. In this case, it's the hard edge that lies beneath both the evil queen and the show itself. It is not, apparently, unwilling to kill off a major character for little more than a nice twist and piece of character development.

On the way to that, there isn't anything too remarkable, but when the resolution comes, it's a surprisingly hard one.


Desperate Souls

A man is desperate that his son should not be sent to die in a distant war. He agrees to carry out a task for a wizard, but finds the task is not as promised. Emma runs for Sheriff.

Robert Carlyle's Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold dual character is one of the more interesting ones in the show, both in the fairyland world and in the real world. This is his origin story and it's a fascinating one that really casts the character some depth. You know when Brad Dourif shows up that something shady is going on.

Which is so much better than the real world story of the election for mayor, although that too sheds some light on Mr Gold.


True North

Emma tries to save two homeless children from the same care system she suffered whilst in the fairyland world Hansel and Gretel face a witch in order to get their father back.

A suprisingly straightforward and predictable episode that plays the Hansel and Gretel story without any interesting twists and has a modern storyline that is almost painfully predictable and unbelievable.

Possibly the least interesting episode to date.



A dove brings together Snow White and Prince Charming in both the fairybook world and the real world.

Love is a difficult thing, but when two people are supposed to be together then they need to just get on and be together. The real world, has a way of getting in the way and making sure that doesn't happen. The real life story here isn't particularly riveting as it seems clear where it's always destined to end up, but the fantasyland story of Snow White and how she came to live with dwarves is much more interesting.

The addition of Grumpy the dwarf to the legend is welcome as he's straight off a great character. The tortuous love story of Snow White and Prince Charming is detailed and epic and everything that it should be.


Fruit From The Poisonous Tree

Emma learns of a way to reveal the Mayor's true face. Snow White's father frees a genie who falls in love with her stepmother.

Once again the real life story is mundane and really rather obvious, but it overshadowed by a fantasy tale that adds more detail to the sumptuous reweaving of the the fairy tales at the heart of the story. It is the events in this world that are what brings us back episode after episode.

The new version of the old stories is epic and makes up for the real world mundane.


Skin Deep

Charming faces a siren to aid his betrothed, but in real life breaks his love's heart once again.

Enough with the on again/off again love story between the real world Snow White and Prince Charming. What is turning out to be an OK quest with some surprises along the way in the fairy tale world is mirrored by a tedious soap opera in the real world.

What's more significant is that Prince Charming is looking less and less like a worthy match for Snow White in every episode.


What Happened To Frederick

Charming faces a siren to aid his betrothed, but in real life breaks his love's heart once again.

Enough with the on again/off again love story between the real world Snow White and Prince Charming. What is turning out to be an OK quest with some surprises along the way in the fairy tale world is mirrored by a tedious soap opera in the real world.

What's more significant is that Prince Charming is looking less and less like a worthy match for Snow White in every episode.



The town drunk tries to help Mary Margaret in order to impress a nun whilst in the fairy tale a dwarf is born different and falls in love with a fairy.

Amy Acker (a href="">ANGEL) shows up as the clumsy fairy who creates and captures the heart of a dwarf. Grumpy is a great character and the two of them together are sufficiently sweet to get by the the fact that this is a slight and inconsequential episode.



Snow White encounters Little Red Riding Hood and they both set out to discover what lies behind a series of mysterious killings. In the real world, Emma is shattered by the new discoveries made about the missing Catherine.

For once, both the modern and fantasy storylines provide very nice twists in the tail that raise the episode up out of the ordinary. The modern tale waits until the very end to do it and doesn't offer much to keep interest up before that, but delivers a nice cliffhanger.


Heart Of Darkness

Emma keeps unearthing more clues about who killed James' wife and they all point to Mary Margaret. In the fairy tale world, Snow White decides to kill the Queen.

Events in the real world are a mundane sort of police procedural as Emma looks for clues and finds them, all pointing to her friend, except the one that suggests it wasn't her.

Matters in the fairy tale realm start with a wonderful spoof of the Disney Snow White and then moves on to more straightforward and predictable, but no less entertaining, plot twists.


Hat Trick

Trying to track down Mary Margaret, Emma is taken prisoner by a man who claims to be the mad hatter and was wronged by the evil queen..

It's a bizarre change of pace to bring Alice In Wonderland into the ONCE UPON A TIME mythology, but it just about gets away with it. The mad hatter's tale is a tragic one that is somewhat predictable, but the modern segment has a little bit more bite to it than usual thanks to the hatter's instability.

It's also interesting that perhaps Emma is starting to believe.


The Stable Boy

Back in custody, Mary Margaret learns of the Mayor's extreme hatred for her. In fantasyland, an overbearing mother crushes a young girl's dreams.

Evil isn't born, it's made. That's the refrain that runs through this episode and we see finally how an evil witch queen is made. This rounds out Regina's story and reveals what first drove her hatred for Snow White, something beyond all that 'fairest of them all' nonsense.

In the real world, the police procedural continues, but each twist is predictable and just how sloppy are police crime scene investigators in Storybrooke?


The Return

James' wife is back, Mary Margaret is free. Mr Gold believes that he has learned the identity of the newcomer in Storybrooke.

There is a lot to sort out in the aftermath of Mary Margaret's release, but that's a sideshow to the revelations that are made about Rumpelstiltskin and how he broke the one deal that he never kept and lost his son. This informs his motivations for the curse placed on Storybrooke and his opposition to the Mayor she has become.


The Stranger

Storybrooke's other newcomer reveals his purpose in coming to the town. In the fairy realm, Gepetto strikes a deal with the Blue Fairy that will affect everyone.

For once, the events in the fairy tale kingdom are the sideshow and the real interest here is in August's attempts to make Emma believe what he and Henry know to be true. This is at the centre of things.

Things continue to unravel for the Mayor and the sense of foreboding that she is being driven toward another dreadful act is inescapable. Emma is also being driven to desperate acts.

The fairy tale story appears to have revealed all its secrets and the climax to all of this will take place in the real world.


An Apple Red As Blood

A very special apple ties together both Snow White and Emma as tehy both strive to save those that they love.

Stories converge in the real and fairy tale world as evil queen rises ascendent and the Mayor forces Emma out only for Henry to take desperate action to make his mother believe that the magic is real.

This would be the big finale to most shows with a pair of cliffhangers to hold our attention until the next season, but this is only the penultimate episode, so it will be interesting to see how the real finale tops it.

The merging of the two stories is impressiveand though we know the outcome of one, it can never be certain in a world that refuses to stick to the traditional telling of the tales. Admittedly, the aerial attack by the fairies is a bit twee, but the way that the Queen takes her vengeance on Snow White is impressive indeed showing that this is not a show just for the children.


A Land Without Magic

Henry's in a coma and Emma and the Mayor must work together to save him. Prince Charming must face a dragon to find his way back to Snow White.

This, then, is the big finale to the show and to be fair the previous episode was better. That said, the show takes a hugely brave step in providing a conclusion that could be just that, a conclusion. Fortunately, the word is that it has already been renewed.

The dragon is impressive and certainly more impressive than the previous appearance of a giant scaly reptilian, but what actually matters is that enough has been invested into the characters that the ending is actually quite moving.

Where can the show go from here? We certainly don't know, but then ONCE UPON A TIME has confounded our expectations from the start.







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