It’s finale season and I plan to comment on a lot of shows, looking back at the episodes and reflecting on what they did right or wrong. This might get a bit on the long side, so sorry. Once Upon a Time just finished its Freshman year. It’s definitely been renewed for a second season, and I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to look, but I’m excited to see where. For a person who was highly skeptical of the show at first, it was great to finish it feeling invested. So here’s a look at season one. Spoilers ahead!

Once Upon a Time is a show about fairy tale characters being real, and they’ve been “cursed” to live in our world by the Evil Queen Regina. They are stuck in Storybrooke, Maine without any memory of their true personalities and given fake ones. There they live and purposely are kept away from their happy endings, with only the Queen remembering everything and being Mayor of the town. Walking around smug that she won and they’re all doomed to be empty forever. However, Prince Charming and Snow White’s daughter Emma was saved at the last minute and sent to our world separately, and she’s now grown up to be the tough Emma Swan. She is destined to return to the town twenty-eight years later and to be the savior. Her son, Henry, who somehow managed up in Storybrooke as the adopted child of Regina, finds her and brings her back. He has the book of the true fairy tales and he knows they have to break the curse. Emma stays in order to get to know him better. Every episode has a series of flashbacks of the fairy tale land, setting the story for the ‘original’ characters and then paralleling what is going on in Storybrooke at the first time. They’ve taken from major stories like Snow White, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, and others. The two main villains are Regina, the Evil Queen who cast the spell, and Rumpelstiltskin, the magic user who created the curse in the first place. The two of them play a chess game with one another over the course of the first season.

The season ended with Emma finally realizing the truth when Henry is dying from a poisoned apple, and she fights Maleficent the dragon to use True Love to save her son. The curse is broken for everyone, but Rumpelstiltskin uses the last of the True Love power in order to bring magic to Storybrooke. Now everyone has their memories but it seems like they’re still stuck in the town, and all their magic is restored, so that should be interesting. What can come next? How many more stories are there left to tell? We’ll have to check it out next season.

General Thoughts – If you look back on my first story about OUAT, you’ll get a lot of how I was feeling at the break and how I struggled to get into this show. But once the halfway mark hit, I was in. I think the second half of the season was far better than the first, although I really got annoyed at the David/MM stuff and I was disappointed in a few storylines. Most of it is below. On the whole though I really like how this show is designed. Let’s talk about a few things that really works. It is gorgeous. The CGI is horrible. The costumes however are beautiful, the settings are beautiful, the actors (obviously) are beautiful. They contrast Storybrooke to the fairy tale land extremely well. I love how they’ve used stories we know and put just a little twist on everything. It works; even when it doesn’t work, it works. What they’ve managed to do is pretty impressive overall. They did take a few risks, they put forth a really creative storyline, and I think it paid off. I don’t know really what’s going to happen next season. Now that the curse is broken, where do they go from here? How many more stories can we get from them? But I’m fine with that. I’m excited. Bring it on, show. I’ll miss you until the fall.

Favorite Episode – This won’t shock anyone who looks at who my favorite character is, and the episode is “Skin Deep.” I think it is also because the Disney girl in me got all pissy that Rumpy ended up the Beast, but then I watched it and fell head over heels. I really loved this episode, so much that I really wished they’d cut out everything about the girls on Valentine’s Day. That was an annoying storyline. I wanted it to be all about Rumpy and Belle and Regina getting Gold to admit he remembers. Fantastic.

Least Favorite Episode – That would be “The Stable Boy.” I waited all this time for Regina’s backstory and it was that? Ugh. I know some characters are just meant to be bad and/or psycho, but I feel like the writers did want us to sympathize with her, and I just didn’t. It was in no way enough for me that a child accidentally told her mother something. She knew how powerful her mother was, how manipulative. Blaming everything on Snow is completely ridiculous and it soured me on the whole story.

Favorite Fairy Tale Story – I’d say Red Riding Hood, actually. I was really into her story. It was amazing for her to be the Wolf, that moment when she realized and the cloak was explained and the horror of what happened to her loved one. Agonizing and amazing. The show doesn’t pull punches sometimes, and I appreciate that. This was dark and tragic and it made me very happy to learn more about Ruby. I love seeing her pop up all over Snow’s story, and how they became friends too. I’d love to see more from Ruby/Red in the Storybrooke world now.

Least Favorite Fairy Tale Story – I’m going to go with Jiminy Cricket here. This was an early episode so I don’t know how fair that is, because I think they got better as a writing team with more focus as the show went on. So if they did this episode later I might’ve liked it better. But alas, it was the first non-Snow White episode, and I just didn’t feel it. I wish they’d use him more on the show too. I loved his little sequence with Gold when he thought August was Bael. And talking to Emma about whether or not she’s helped Henry or hurt him. So I want them to utilize him more, he could be a good character. As for his ep, it was just meeeeeh.

Favorite Character – Rumpelstiltskin. I could probably write an essay about my love for him and Robert Carlyle. I also have an inappropriate crush on him in this role, and I regret nothing about that. I loved him from his first scene and I’m enraptured every time he’s on the screen. In my eyes, any scene he’s in gets better. Any actor playing against him steps it up. When he and Regina are in a scene together, I’m spellbound. I could watch those two actors bounce off each other for an entire episode. I think he’s fascinating and flawed and funny. His sense of humor is particularly my favorite part of him. I love how he went into his magic with the right reasons and then he chose not to let it go, losing Bael in the process. He’s made a lot of mistakes and he’s no doubt made another huge one at the end of the finale. I like that he’s a villain and yet I find myself connecting to him. That’s what I wanted more from Regina’s background, but it didn’t work there. It works here. More Rumpy. MORE!

Least Favorite Character – So here’s where things get complicated. My least favorite character is Emma Swan. That’s what makes this show hard for me at times, because I wish she wasn’t the main character. I find her annoying, I think Jennifer Morrison generally is a wooden actress, and I just don’t like her in general. There are a few scenes here and there I’ve been fine with her, but on the whole I don’t sympathize with her. I love pretty much everyone else, so I’ll keep going with the show. Now that she believes, I look forward to her bonding with her parents, so that could bring her up a few notches. I already had a dislike for Jennifer Morrison so I wouldn’t be surprised if that crossed over, but I find Emma in general very bland. Maybe if we get more story on her that would be cool? I’d like to see how she got pregnant and by who (I think it’s Bael!), I think that would be an interesting story. So I’m willing to change on her.

Favorite Pairing – Rumpy and Belle, no surprise. How can two characters who only shared an ep once together and a scene here and there make me love them so much? Maybe because it was unexpected? In any case, I love them. I was so skeptical. It just makes me happy. I wish they had a lot more to do in that finale though, they just saw each other and okay sorry other stuff to do. But that moment when Gold sees her and breaks, oh my goodness that hits me. So cute. I hope we get a lot more from them next season.

Least Favorite Pairing – Mary Margaret and David. Not Snow and Charming, I like Snow and Charming. I disliked everything with MM and David, and maybe it’s because I really dislike infidelity storylines. But Dee, you say, they are technically married to each other so it isn’t cheating. Yeah but they don’t know that, as far as they know he is married and it is cheating. And they’re still choosing that path. How is this supposed to be the big romantic storyline I should be behind? Yuck. Not to mention we know he was sleeping with his wife at least since she thought she was pregnant at one point. Gross. I did like that once they broke up and then he didn’t believe her, she stuck to her guns and said noooope. But in general? Not cool with them. I also hated the slut shaming that went around the town toward her. He’s the one that was married! Yell at him! Urgh. I’m glad that is over now.

Character I Want To Know More About – Jefferson! And not just because I love Sebastian Stan, which I do, but I had a lot of questions about him. Why is he the Mad Hatter? Does he know Alice? How did he meet Regina? What made him quit being one of her people and moving away? Did anything else happen to him in Wonderland? I want to know a lot more about him and he’s popular enough it’ll probably come about.

Guest Star I Want Back – I think Sheriff Graham, and I think a lot of people agree with that. His death was fantastic, it was the turning point of the show toward being more serious and dark, but I miss him. I want to know more about the Huntsman and his work for Regina, and I think they can do good things for him like they did in the finale. So thumbs up for that idea.

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