Once Upon a Time Recap--Season 1, Episode 1--Pilot

in #life5 years ago (edited)

Okay. I have been reading some funny recaps of old TV shows, and I thought, hey, that looks like fun. I can do that. Recently, I've been re-watching what was once one of my favorite shows, Once Upon a Time. It seemed like a good show to recap, because there is so much to make fun of here.

I won't lie. Once Upon a Time was an AMAZING show it's first season. It will probably be a challenge to find too much to mock during the first season. It gets easier after that, trust me.

I like to divide this show into four eras:

  • Season One--Freaking Fantastic
  • Seasons Two and Three--Some squandered character development in the name of plot and dramatic plot twists, but still pretty dang good.
  • Seasons Four and Five--Okay, the show is getting kind of silly, with ridiculous storylines, dropped plots that are never resolved, continuity errors, retcons galore, and less of a feeling of fun. But, it's still, overall, pretty enjoyable.
  • Season Six--It's all terrible and hard to get through. I'm only in it at this point for my favorite romantic couple pairing, who still manage to keep my interest. The musical episode is the only real saving grace of this season, and yes, I do have all but two of the songs from it on my playlist.

*There is a Season Seven to this show, but it's a "soft reboot," where only three original characters were retained, the action was taken away from Storybrooke, and a bunch of new people I don't care about were introduced. It has none of the fun and charm of the original, its storyline makes no freaking sense at all, the writers aren't even trying to keep things attached to what came before and continuity and character errors abound, and it just feels like a whole different show I don't like. So, I pretend Season Seven either took place in an alternative universe, or the whole thing was a dream of Henry's and therefore wasn't real at all.

Anyway, onto the fun. Here's my recap of Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 1--Pilot

The show starts out with some title cards telling you this is all real, and that you're about to watch the story of how fairy tale characters came to our world. Then, it jumps right into Charming riding his horse to find Snow in her glass coffin, surrounded by dwarves who aren't that small. Charming bestows the ever-so-rare (except when it's not) "true love's kiss," and wakes Snow. Just like in the fairy tale you remember.

Upon waking, Snow looks at Charming and says, "You found me." 

Remember that line. It will be repeated again and again in this show, both by Snow and Charming, as well as other characters. It is some kind of mantra with the showrunners. In zillions of interviews, they keep saying the show is about hope. I think they believe "You found me" is synonymous with "hope."

So, Snow's awake, and we jump to her wedding to Charming, which the Evil Queen interrupts, to tell them she is giving them that happy day, but vows to destroy their happiness. 


Snow and Charming clutch each other up on the altar, and their faces turn into illustrations in a book being read by a young boy on a public bus. The book he is reading is called "Once Upon a Time."

And, now we're in "our" world, where a sexy blonde woman in a slinky red dress gets off an elevator and meets a dude for a date. She quickly reveals she is not there for sexy times, and that she is, in fact, a bail bondsperson who knows the guy stole money from his employer and is cheating on his wife. 

Dude makes the mistake of asking her what she knows about family, when she tells him to spend some of his stolen money on his own, and she takes him out. Another bail bondsperson success.

It turns out it's the sexy woman's birthday, and she is spending it all alone, with a cupcake with a single candle on it....another motif that will be used more than once with other characters on this show.

A knock on the door. It's the little kid with the story book. He knows her name is Emma Swan, and he is Henry Mills, the kid she gave up for adoption a decade ago. He wants her to come home with him, to Storybrooke, Maine (he took the bus all the way to Boston to find her).

After some back and forth about calling the cops and Henry threatening to tell them Emma kidnapped him, Emma agrees to drive Henry back to Maine.

Cut back to the Enchanted Forest, where a VERY pregnant Snow is still stressing on the Evil Queen's threat at their wedding all that time ago. She mentions the Queen tried to kill her because she was jealous Snow was prettier than her....which is just a thing for the pilot, apparently, because it is NEVER mentioned again, and it turns out the Queen wanted to kill Snow for a possibly even stupider reason.

Snow wants to talk to "him" about the Queen.

Back to Emma and Henry in the car. Henry points out that all the stories in his storybook are true, and that Emma is even in the book. She believes he has issues, which he agrees, and informs her he expects her to solve them.

Back in the Enchanted Forest of the past, Snow and Charming go to their dungeon to visit "him," who turns out to be Rumplestiltskin. He tells them the Evil Queen is sending a curse that will take them somewhere where time will stop and they will not have their memories. Snow wants to know what can be done, and Rumple informs them nothing can stop the curse....EXCEPT the child Snow is carrying. Only, the child won't do anything until her 28th birthday, when she will return and "find them." Then, the final battle will begin.

This so-called "final battle" is not brought up again until near the end of Season Six, and it has nothing to do with the Evil Queen.

In exchange for this information, Rumple wants the baby's name. Charming is sure it will be a boy, but Snow knows it is a girl. She tells Rumple the girl's name is Emma.

Guess what? It was Emma Swan's 28th birthday when Henry found her.

Henry and Emma roll over the town line into Storybrooke.

He tells Emma the whole town is populated by memory-less storybook characters. She thinks he's loony.

They run into Henry's therapist, Archie, and Archie's dalmatian, Pongo, on the street. Archie reveals Henry is the mayor's kid, when Henry doesn't want to tell Emma which house is his. 

Henry and Emma get back in the car, and Henry tells Emma that Archie is actually Jiminy Cricket.

War Council in the Enchanted Forest! Snow, Charming, and a bunch of their friends discuss strategy for getting the unborn baby away from the curse. The Blue Fairy enters and tells of an enchanted tree that can be used to send fetus Emma away. The catch is that there is room for only one person in the tree (provided Gepetto agrees to carve it into a wardrobe). This means pregnant Snow will have to go through it alone, without Charming.

Present day--Emma drives up to Henry's house, where his adoptive mother, Regina, comes dashing outside to say how worried she was about him, but he's having none of it. Henry says he found his "real mother," and runs inside. Regina offers Emma a glass of apple cider. Hmmm....

The sheriff of the town, Graham, is at Regina's house when Henry and Emma get there, by the way.

Regina and Emma sit in Regina's study and sip apple cider and talk about Henry. Emma wanted a closed adoption, and still does. She intends to leave, but mentions the whole storybook delusion to Regina first. Regina pretends to know nothing about it.

Emma tries to leave town, but a wolf shows up on the road just at the town line, causing Emma to crash into the Welcome to Storybrooke sign. Henry warned her no one in the town but Regina could leave, and that bad things happened to those who tried. This is another ongoing theme for the series. Leaving Storybrooke is somewhat of an issue, for various reasons, in different seasons.

Okay, back to the Enchanted Forest. Snow is stressing about leaving Charming for twenty-eight years. Charming is all like, "It ain't no big thing when you have eternal love."

Before Snow can complain much more, she goes into labor, and the purple smoke of the Queen's curse appears on the horizon. Grumpy the dwarf utters his immortal line for the first of many times in this show:  "The curse! It's here!"

Present day--Emma wakes up in the Storybrooke jail, being accused of drunk driving, though she wasn't doing that at all. Graham the sheriff says Regina's drinks are stronger than they appear.

Regina runs into the jail saying Henry has run away once more. Emma can't be blamed this time. Being a bail bondsperson, her specialty IS finding people. She helps Regina and Graham look for Henry, and discovers he stole one of his teacher's credit cards, which he used to find Emma on a website called WhosYourMomma.com. 

Emma and Regina pay a visit to the teacher in question, Mary Margaret Blanchard, who is quite obviously Snow White. Regina is pissed to discover Mary Margaret gave Henry the storybook that put the "cursed town of storybook characters" idea in his head. Regina storms out, and Mary Margaret and Emma meet and talk for the first time, the audience knowing it is a mother and daughter meeting for the first time.

Mary Margaret talks about how Henry is lonely, with no friends, and has the questions any adopted child may have. She discovers Emma was abandoned as a baby, and feels bad for bringing up Henry's issues. But, she does know where Henry probably is.

Back in the Enchanted Forest--Snow is in full labor. The enchanted wardrobe is ready, but Doc the dwarf says Snow cannot be moved. It's too late for Snow to use the wardrobe to escape the curse with Emma.

Snow has her baby.

Holding newborn Emma in their arms, wrapped in a blanket with her name on it Granny (of Red Riding Hood fame) made for her, Charming says while the curse may be coming, at least they will all be together. Snow insists newborn Emma must go through the wardrobe alone, and they must hope she will find them and save them when the time indicated by Rumple comes. Charming is against this.

He does as Snow asks, anyway, and takes Emma, while Snow sobs. The Queen's black guards are there, and Charming fights them all off one-handed with Emma in his other arm. He puts her in the wardrobe, whispering "Find us," to her. That's a lot to put on a newborn, yo.

Charming fights off some more guards who are looking for Emma; the Queen knows Emma is prophesied to break her curse. He does well, but gets seriously stabbed by one of the guards, anyway.

As things go fuzzy for Charming, we go back to Storybrooke, where Emma finds Henry where Mary Margaret said he would be....at the beach in his "castle," which is made of old wood planks cobbled together. They talk about adoption, and how he believes Snow and Charming gave Emma up to give her her best chance; he also knows she did the same to him for the same reason. She agrees it was to give him his best chance.

We find out Emma was found on a roadside as a newborn, with only her baby blanket with her name as a clue to her identity. She had a potential adoptive family until she was three, then they had their own kid and put her back in foster care, where she grew up.

Henry begs Emma to not take him back to Regina, but after their adoption talk, he agrees to go.

Meanwhile, back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow stumbles from her birthing bed to find Charming unconscious on the floor. She gathers his head into her lap, and the Evil Queen shows up, demanding to know where the baby is. The guards tell the Queen the baby is gone, and Snow is elated, knowing they will win one day.

The curse hits, breaking apart the castle, and when Snow asks where they are going, the Queen says it is to somewhere horrible, where the only happy ending will be hers. Purple smoke envelopes them all.

Present day--Emma returns Henry to Regina's house. He just runs past Regina into the house without a word. 

Emma tells Regina the day before was her birthday and she wished to not be alone, then Henry showed up. Regina accuses Emma of abandoning Henry, and says she has no place in his life, and tells her to get out of Storybrooke, or "I will destroy you if it is the last thing I do."

Okay. That's not what normal people say, and Emma knows it. She asks Regina if she loves Henry, and after a pause, Regina says that of course she does.

Later, as Henry sleeps, Regina finds the Once Upon a Time storybook.

Meanwhile, Mary Margaret, aka Snow, is doing some volunteer work at the Storybrook hospital, and takes some flowers to an unconscious John Doe patient. It's Charming, guys!

Henry looks out his bedroom window over the town, hoping Emma stays.

Emma goes to the local boarding house, just in time to hear an argument between Red and Granny about Red being slutty. In her cursed personality, Red is called Ruby, but Granny is still Granny.

As Emma checks in and gives her name, a man behind her says that Emma is a lovely name. It's Rumplestiltskin and he just got his memories back upon hearing Emma's name.

After he leaves, Ruby and Granny tell Emma that was Mr. Gold, the man who owns most of the real estate in town, including the boarding house. You find out pretty quickly after, in the next episode or two, that Rumple negotiated a cushy life for himself in this curse from the Queen when she was getting ready to cast it.

Granny hands Emma the key to her room at the boarding house. "Welcome to Storybrooke," Granny says.

Looking out his bedroom window, Henry sees the giant clock on top of the town library. He previously told Emma it's been stopped forever and never moves, because time stands still in Storybrooke for everyone except him. It hasn't escaped his notice that he is the only one of his classmates who ever gets older. 

The minute hand on the clock moves forward one minute. Henry smiles. 

He knows Emma is staying, and her staying is already starting to break the curse. It's a good day for everyone except Regina, who is, of course, the Evil Queen.

Next up--Season 1, Episode 2--The Thing You Love Most

*All photos and gifs are Creative Commons.

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