The story of Adam and Eve is probably one of my least favorites in the Bible; however, the factual idea behind it is something I could never let go of. It’s this idea that human beings aren’t designed to be alone. We aren’t meant to live alone — we are meant to interact, we are meant to grow, learn, laugh, cry, and love with other human beings who may either be just like us, or our complete opposites. And that’s why writing about relationships will always be my favorite topic as a writer — there’s something so marvelous and raw about the connections we have with other people — whether they’re platonic or romantic, they matter, and they shape us in ways we can never truly describe.
Also, be sure to check out our Series of the Year | Stranger Things article, as the number one performances, characters, relationships, and moments are all featured there first. They deserved their own special tribute. (There are a lot of things I appreciate about Stranger Things, but it’s the relationships, the pure, indescribable bonds that have profoundly resonated with me to core and have made me cry the happiest tears too many times. They’re now number one for me, of all time. Yes, of all time.)
As always, my beautiful, remarkably wise friends Katie (Nerdy Girl Notes) and Heather (TV Examined) have a number of phenomenal choices for their Best of 2017 reviews. Be sure to head on over there stat.
A great story is easily driven by its complex, compelling, remarkably exquisite characters. Whether they’re heroes or villains or somewhere in between the spectrum, it’s their stories that make the series riveting — their journey, their life, their interactions. They are the reason a series is special. They are the heart. And while there are a number of wonderfully written characters on TV, these are my personal favorites.
Also, be sure to check out our Series of the Year | Stranger Things article, as the number one performances, characters, relationships, and moments are all featured there first. They deserved their own special tribute.
Plus, don’t forget to head on over to TVExamined and Nerdy Girl Notes to see what Heather and Katie had to say about their favorites this year.
And they lived happily ever after.
Episode Summary: The Black Fairy’s curse hits Storybrooke trapping Killian, Snow, Charming, Regina, Zelena, and co. in the Enchanted Forest while Emma’s in a Psychiatric Hospital and it’s up to Henry to help her believe again. As it turns out, if Emma stops believing that the life she once had is real, it’ll fade from existence. Rumple faces his mother one last time. The families reunite. And they live happily ever after.
Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a special show — for six years it has allowed us to begin our weeks with the faith and belief that no matter how hard things get, there’s always a happy ending in store. And while the “The Final Battle” was anything but a perfect episode, the stories it told were beautiful. Once Upon A Time may not be over for good, but a prodigious chapter has ended — a chapter that’s changed lives. A little bit of happiness in the midst of dark days where television series are uncertain, but where Once Upon A Time was concerned, we always knew it’d end well. It’d end leaving us with a surplus of hope. It’d leave us braver, kinder, better than ever.
“The Song in Your Heart” | Once Upon A Time
To be frank, I don’t know how to begin this letter because I genuinely don’t know if words will be able to properly convey my gratitude. As far as fictional characters go, you’ll always be number one in my book.
I’ve been inspired by a good number of strong female characters, but I’ve not seen myself in any of them the way I saw myself in you. It was hard to fully accept that I too, once upon a time, was a lost girl. When you’re bullied as a kid, it’s hard to understand that what people say about us isn’t accurate. As much as our parents can be there to remind us of our value, it doesn’t change the fact that over the years as your skin thickens, your heart also becomes more susceptible to pain. And as a result, you tend to build walls around it. Because I desperately wanted to fit in, I gave the world the chance to tell me who I was while I walked around unsure of what happened to the little girl who used to believe in happiness. Somewhere along the way, I was saved by my faith in Christ at 16, but the walls I had put up never fully went down. Somehow, it was always hard to believe that I could truly be happy, that I could open my heart even though it’s been shattered, and that I could be brave enough to show the world who I truly am — the nerdy, overly enthusiastic dork.
TVLine.com | Edited PS6
When Once Upon A Time’s 28th episode “Tallahassee” aired, it was easy to imagine that we’d end up here today, but in some senses, it was still very surreal. For five years we’ve dedicated time, tears, and happiness to this exquisitely beautiful couple’s journey in love. We’ve been captivated over and over again through their innately gorgeous, profoundly moving love story as we watched them effortlessly heal one another through love and selfless devotion. And today, we watched them embark on a new beginning to forever. Today, we watched them become husband and wife. And episodes like this deserve special kind of treatment. “Weddings are beautiful, but marriages between two people who’d take every opportunity they get to do whatever is necessary to express their love are immaculate.”
The hills are alive with the sound of True Love!
Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we learn that Charming woke up long before Emma came into Storybrooke breaking the curse between him and Snow, but the two were forced to give up a life with Emma in order to free everyone from the curse. In present day Storybrooke, while Regina, Zelena, and Emma try to break the sleeping curse, Killian’s trying to get away from angry lost boys. But with the help of a magical flower and Tiger Lily, Killian and Emma reunite then the entire town decides they’ll share the sleeping curse in order to dim the power away from Snow and Charming.
Review | Analysis: At its core, Once Upon A Time is a show about love. It’s a show that reminds us of the fact that when we have people to care for, who care for us, we essentially have everything. And “Awake” was an episode which showcased the series’ specialty at its finest — an episode that awakened something in all of us. We’ve been taught to believe that sometimes, the hardest decisions in life have the greatest outcomes. An ultimate sacrifice is often the source of pure magical, bliss. (For Christians, in the same way that God needed to sacrifice Jesus for us to be freed from our transgressions, Snow and Charming had to leave Emma behind for the rest of Storybrooke. It’s Easter. We can’t not talk about Jesus — especially after an episode like this.)
“Awake” did what Once Upon A Time does best and it reminded its viewers of the fact that happiness can be found even after the darkest days. It reminded its viewers of the fact that hope and love are the most powerful weapons a person can carry. And when there are people filled with endless love to give, there are others willing to do whatever it takes to keep that fire alive within them. And “Awake” was the ultimate showcase the fact that our darkest days are to be met with light. It was the ultimate showcase of the fact that True Love isn’t merely between romantic pairs, but families and friends, too.
If only someone prepared us for this episode.
Episode Summary: In flashbacks we see the story Gideon told prior brought to life and discover that his heart may not be as tainted as we imagined. In present day Storybrooke, Gideon asks Emma for her help but betrays her. Killian asks Blackbeard for help but the two end up Neverland thanks to Gideon’s trap. Everything’s a mess. Henry’s facing some weird author possession. Isaac is set free and the Black Fairy makes her way into Storybrooke.
Review | Analysis: “Mother’s Little Helper” did something Once Upon A Time hasn’t done in a while and it surprised a lot of us with a twist we didn’t see coming. But beyond that, it allowed us to understand Gideon’s torment while learning that the Black Fairy is truly the worst parent of all. But above all else, “Mother’s Little Helper” reminded us of the fact that things aren’t ever black and white. People can surprise us with their actions. People can be flawed in their word choices. People can be wrong. And since we now know the final battle is coming, the only thing we can be certain of is that good will always win.
No one to tell us no. Or where to go. (But someone should tell Killian which direction he can go back home to Emma.)
Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learn about Jafar’s proposal to Jasmine and the princess is united with Killian after her mission with Aladdin goes south. We also learn that Ariel and Jasmine knew one another. After Killian doesn’t come home and Leroy says he saw him leaving, Emma and the entire town believe he’s gone for good. Charming learns the truth behind his father’s death. Snow and Regina try to distract Emma. Basically, a lot happened.
Review | Analysis: “A Wondrous Place” was an adorable adventure we’d never see anywhere else. No seriously, Captain Hook, Ariel, Jasmine, Aladdin, Nemo? Brilliant. Sometimes, even when Once Upon A Time does things that are undoubtedly questionable, it’s moments like this that make up for it. Episodes where the audience could just have a little fun as we watch things unfold in a way we’d otherwise never been able to. And Once Upon A Time’s most important lesson? Princesses get stuff done!
That was … strange.
Episode Summary: In flashbacks, with the help of Tinkerbell, Regina’s father tries to bring her to her happiness by helping her find the man with the lion tattoo, but instead, she makes it so the magical arrow points her in the direction of the person she hates most. Upon remembering that she’s the person she hates most, in present day Storybrooke, Regina combines her love with the Evil Queen’s hate, and they send her back to the Wish Realm where she can start over. Emma learns the truth about what Killian did to her grandfather and just as he’s about to come home from running off to find himself, Gideon tramps him in Nemo’s submarine.
Review | Analysis: If we stop trying to figure out Once Upon A Time’s timelines and realms, we won’t be confused right? That’s essentially where I’m at with this episode. While I thoroughly loved the thematic importance of “Page 23”, when things don’t make sense, it’s a little tough to be fully engaged and pleased. But nonetheless, “Page 23” highlighted the importance of self-love beautifully. And thankfully, we no longer have to deal with the Evil Queen anymore.
Once Upon A Time knows how to remind us of the struggles we continuously face in our lives and “Page 23”, much like “Murder Most Foul” did that best by reminding us of the fact that forgiveness and self-love go together. It reminded us of the fact that at the end of the day, love will always win. It’ll always be able to heal even the darkest souls.