“Once Upon A Time”: Season 1 crash course (for incoming and returning students)


Did you miss the first season of Once Upon A Time but see the sexy promo and want to know more? Or perhaps you weren’t sure if you’d like the show but are now curious about this Swan Queen ship that made it to the Final Four of the Ultimate Femslash Madness Tournament? Are you already a fan who is excited for Season 2 but need a refresher on Season 1? Whether you read the first book or are skipping right to the sequel, here’s a little prologue to let you know what this show is all about.

To make a long, intricate story short, here’s what happened:

Once upon a time (duh), there was a magical world where a gorgeous Queen reigned with evil in her heart. Throughout the land there were dwarves and fairies and talking grasshoppers and sexy werewolves and, well, magic. Lots of magic. Then one day, the Queen got mad and put a curse on everyone, expelling them to a hard, cruel place where there was no magic at all — the real world. In quaint Storybrooke, Maine, princes and princesses, fairies and wizards, creepy tricksters and evil queens alike lived side by side. There was just one problem: nobody remembered who they used to be. (Or so it seemed.) Time stood still and though years passed, only a small child who lived among them aged. He was Mayor’s son. No one seemed to think it was weird that just this one kid was growing up or that none of them could remember more than 10 years into their past, so merrily they rolled along, until the aforementioned kid learned how to read. He found a book that told the story of the land of magic the people of Storybrooke once called home, and somehow knew it was real. He also knew the only person who could break the curse was his mother. But wait – not the mother who raised him. No, he knew that Mayor Regina was actually the Evil Queen. His real mother was none other than Emma Swan.

Who is Emma Swan, you ask? Emma Swan is Snow White’s daughter (yes, THE Snow White), even though Snow is now Mary Margaret and because of the whole no-aging thing, appears to be the same age as Emma and sometimes has chemistry with her that almost gets me to ship them until I remember they’re related and this is OUAT not Game of Thrones.

Together, Boy Wonder and Emma Swan do their best to protect innocent fairytale-characters-turned-normal-people from the Evil Queen/Mean Girl Mayor.

That’s the very broad scope of it, though each episode gloriously brought us a new detail, a new layer, a new friend and a new surprise.

While I could probably write a hundred separate lists — “eye-roll worthy moments,” “sexiest outfits,” “cheesiest lines,” “best plot twists,” “characters whose pages can be ripped out for all I care” — to get excited for the new season, I decided to start with a list of my top five favorite things about Once Upon A Time, Season 1:

5. Emma freakin’ Swan

Her last name may imply grace and delicacy, but this woman can and will cut you down with her vicious, vicious words.

Or her chainsaw.

4. Character layers

It’s not as simple as good vs. evil. Sure, Regina can stand there and literally crush your heart in the palm of her hands, but she once saved a little girl’s life and loved a simple stable boy. Yes, Rumpelstiltskin was literally a beast, but it was just because he’s had his heart broken a few times. Not everything is as it seems!

3. Ruby’s midriff

I think this one speaks for itself.

2. Favorite fairytale characters being reinvented/revealed

From the Grimm undertones of their backstory to the quirky way their original identity is worked into their Storybrooke name (Ashley! Cinderella! Get it?!), the fairytale aspect of this show never ceased to appease the giddy child and the twisted adult in me all at the same time.

1. Swan Queen

Emma and Regina have that special kind of chemistry that, when they lock eyes, you can’t decide if you want them to tear each other apart or tear each other’s clothes off. Or both.

For every time this show has made me clap my hands with glee or facepalm with disbelief, it has also made me clasp my hands over my mouth in shock or clutch my heart in sadness.

I personally am beyond excited to see what lies ahead now that the curse has been lifted. I saw a preview clip and for a second I thought I accidentally clicked on one of the Pretty Dirty Secrets webisodes. Alas, it is not A that has come to Storybrooke, but what appears to be Captain Hook! (?!)

What were your favorite things about Season 1? What are you hoping to see more/less of in Season 2? Let us know in the comments!

Valerie Anne will be recapping season two of Once Upon a Time. Follow her on Twitter (@PunkyStarshine) and share your Swan Queen feelings.

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