Once Upon a Time Season 1 review!

As children, we were all told the stories of fairytale kingdoms and far-away lands, of magical creatures, of elves, fairies and dwarves. We were told the tales of true love, happiness and happily ever after. But did you ever wonder what happened afterward? What happened when the story ended? Did the newly married royal couple really live happily ever after? Was all quiet in the Enchanted Forests? Were everyone’s wishes granted? Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t. Suppose there was no happily ever after for the prince and princess and the fairytale didn’t end, and the Enchanted Forests were no longer peaceful? Just what if evil had triumphed?

Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas)

Seeing the promos for Once Upon a Time made me think about these questions. As much as I love fantasy, I did wonder what happened next. When Once Upon a Time aired on October 23, 2011, those questions were going to be answered. This shows picks up from the end of Snow White with her being wedded to Prince “Charming” James. All seemed well until the Evil Queen interrupted the ceremony, threatening to bring about a curse that will end Snow White’s happiness along with everyone else so only she will have a happy ending. Later, Snow and Charming become concerned for the child they’re expecting and seek advice from an imprisoned Rumplestiltskin who tells them that the curse will send everyone to a place with no magic and that their hopes rest in their daughter.

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan

Emma Swan is celebrating her 28th birthday alone when she arrives in Storybrooke. There, she is reunited with her son Henry Mills whom she gave up for adoption ten years ago. Henry tells her the fairy tales in his book are real and about the curse the Evil Queen used to make everyone in Storybrooke forget their true identities and that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and destined to break the curse. Emma doesn’t believe him and returns him to his adoptive mother Regina, whose antagonistic attitude towards her raises her suspicions. After a minor accident, Emma stays in town. She continues to run afoul of Regina and the conflict heightens when Emma becomes the new sheriff of Storybrooke.

Flashbacks in the Enchanted Forest parallel events in the present, and the same goes for present events in Storybrooke connecting to the past. Rumplestiltskin and the Evil Queen’s power struggle still continue in Storybrooke between Regina and Mr. Gold. This escalates when Mr. Gold reveals his identity as the deal-making Rumplestiltskin. In the Forest, Prince Charming meets and falls in love with Snow White despite his engagement to King Midas’s daughter Abigail. The same goes for David and Mary Margaret with David being married to Katherine. Though initially upset, Katherine allows their relationship to continue, even wishing them happiness. Drama arises as with Katherine’s disappearance and Mary Margaret suspected of foul play. The evidence found is strong enough to even make David doubt her innocence. Emma believes Regina is framing Mary Margaret. Later, Katherine is found alive and the town reporter Sidney Glass confesses to kidnapping her though Emma does not buy his story and still suspects the Mayor to be the one to blame.

As the series progresses, we are introduced to other familiar characters including the seven dwarves, Wonderland’s Mad Hatter, Belle from Beauty and the Beast with Rumplestiltskin as the cursed man, and Pinocchio, whose stories intertwine with the other characters beautifully. Later on, Emma begins to believe in the curse and Henry’s story after Henry eats the poisoned apple intended for Emma that Regina recovered from the past with help from the Hatter.

Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle)

At this point, I love the manipulation and deception Regina/Evil Queen and Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin provided thus far. They play off of each other and against each other very well. David/Prince Charming and Mary Margaret/Snow White’s story is very intriguing; I like what was done for them in this series. And the back stories provided to some of the characters gave more insight to that character and how they came to be. I couldn’t wait to see happens next.

Alright, here it is—the season finale.

The season finale not only answered some questions but raised a whole lot more. Henry is still in a coma after eating the poisoned apple intended for Emma. Without any other options, Regina, after learning about Henry, accompanies Emma to Mr. Gold’s shop to seek his help. Mr. Gold, seeing that Emma now believes all that Henry has told her, tells how to not only save her son but also break the curse. Meanwhile, similar happenings are occurring in the Enchanted Forest. Prince Charming, having escaped the Evil Queen’s dungeon, is greeted by Rumplestiltskin who tells Charming that he can help him find Snow White. Knowing him too well, Charming asks what the deal maker’s price is. In both worlds, Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold decrees the price to be “true love.” Elsewhere, Mary Margaret and David drift further apart, threatening to end their relationship. Events play out similarly in Storybrooke and the Enchanted World. Rumplestiltskin hands Charming an elaborate egg containing a “true love” potion he created. He tells him to protect it, to hide it in the belly of a beast. Mr. Gold hands Emma her father Prince Charming’s sword. Both Charming and Emma have to deal with Maleficent, the wicked fairy from Sleeping Beauty, in dragon form. Charming places the egg in the beast and Emma retrieves it, defeating Maleficent in the process. On her way back to meet up with Regina, who showed her where the dark fairy was kept, Emma encounters Mr. Gold when the elevator suddenly stops. Mr. Gold bargains with Emma to give him the egg so she can climb out. Emma makes it out to find Gold gone and Regina tied to a chair. The merchant has betrayed them both. Both Regina and Emma receive word from the hospital about Henry. The same poisoned apple that put Snow White in a deep sleep has done the same to Henry, making him appear dead. True love’s kiss awakens both Snow White and Henry, who is kissed by Emma, breaking the curse in both worlds. However, peace does not come for the full restored citizens of Storybrooke. Mr. Gold takes the potion to a well deep in the forest and drops it in. Something new has been unleashed.

LtoR; The Huntsman (Jamie Dornan), Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), Henry Mills (Jared S. Gilmore), Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison)

I have thoroughly enjoyed this new series. Usually, I’m not one for dramas but this kept me interested. I love the fantasy and the reimagined characters the creators of “Lost” came up with. Ginnifer Goodwin is a delight as Snow White/Mary Margaret. Jennifer Morrison’s Emma Swan is easily relatable and depicts a real life situation of a mother finding her child. Lana Parilla is deliciously wicked as the Evil Queen/Regina Mills. She plays this part wonderfully, as does Robert Carlyle who plays Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold. This was a very entertaining series that left its fans with a cliffhanger that will be talked about. There are still plenty of stories and folklore to be used as material. I see lots of potential for the next season. And then we’ll see just how far the rabbit hole goes.

Once Upon a Time gets 5 out of 5, and that’s no story.