Usually for my annual Once Upon a Time season wrap-up, I get a little nitpicky, okay very nitpicky, but the Season 3 finale left me sour enough that, in lieu of a full debrief, I just want to remember the highlights! Like, there was a reason I watched this show every Sunday night that went beyond pure masochism, right? We had some good times in Season 3, some damn good times! So here’s a reel of the top moments, to end things on a huggier note.
7. The deaths of Greg and Tamara
Both of these actors were great, but their characters—who endorsed kidnapping, blowing up a town, and torturing people with electrodes—were super boring. I don’t know how OUAT made terrorists boring, but Greg and Tamara put me to sleep whenever they came onscreen. Their violent murders at the hands of a shadow and some children in the Season 3 premiere sent a strong signal that the show was not going to follow up on the tedious “Anti-Magic Terrorist” storyline, easily one of the best choices the show has ever made.
6. Pan’s scary shadow
This slippery little minx is Season 3's best example of OUAT taking some classic fairy-tale trope and turning it into something truly interesting. Pan’s shadow was a sinister child-snatcher voiced by Marilyn Manson (for one episode, at least; then he clammed up). Snaps for that, because he was very original and delightfully sinister. How fun was it when he killed the Blue Fairy?
5. Hook saves Charming
Sometimes I think OUAT doesn’t know how to reframe/write strong male characters, and thus sends them into fits of swashbuckling or smarmy “lecherous scallawag” mode by default. Hook and Charming actually had a real emotional relationship on Neverland; they were vulnerable with each other, and it was pretty sweet. Both Josh Dallas and Colin O'Donoghue had fantastic chemistry and united the entire fandom in adoring them as a BrOTP.
4. Mom Power in Neverland
SO MANY SWAN-MILLS FAMILY HUGS. I never thought I’d be nostalgic for a darkened soundstage littered with half-grown palm trees on casters, but Neverland was a place where Emma and Regina truly bonded and had each other’s backs. Emma regularly trusted Regina’s instincts over Snow’s, and guess what? They saved their son. In retrospect, the first half of the season was a golden age.
3. So many Flying Monkey jokes!
In Season 3, OUAT got a lot more self-aware about how ludicrous it is and gave almost everyone a lot of sassy lines. A lot of them had to do with razzing Emma for almost plighting her troth to a winged simian, which: NEVER FORGET.
2. Vicarious envy of Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas’s real-life future kid
Someday, Baby Goodwin-Dallas is going to be able to watch his or her parents essentially meet and fall in love as Prince Charming and Snow White on OUAT, and know that he/she was (kind of) born onscreen. That’s pretty rad!
1. The comments on my OUAT reviews
For some reason, with this season in particular I feel like I got to meet and hear from so many cool people via these episodic write-ups. You guys have made me laugh, made me think, and made me super proud of what I do, work that doesn’t fit easily into a “job description” box. The fans are definitely the biggest highlight of this season for me. Peace out, dudes!
... What was your favorite moment of the season?
... Have a great summer! KIT in 2015!
AIRED ON 5/15/2016
Season 5 : Episode 23