Best Once Upon A Time Episodes

Once Upon A Time
Image Source: Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time was a popular TV show which aired between 2011-2018. It focused on all the fairytale characters we know and love, after their original stories end, where Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) began to live out their happy ending and start a family, only to have it ruined when the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) casts a dark curse over the Enchanted Forest, taking away everyone’s memories and sending them to a place where all their happy endings were stolen, our world.


It is up to Snow and Charming’s daughter, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) to break the Evil Queen’s curse and bring back all the happy endings.

Throughout this article, I will be looking back at the top 10, best episodes of this iconic show, so obviously there’s going to be some spoilers for those who haven’t seen the show.

10. The Song in Your Heart (Season 6, Episode 20)

There are a lot of mixed opinions from fans about this episode. From the title you might have gathered that this was the show’s musical episode, where the main characters were seen fighting battles through song and dance.

Okay, so most of this episode might not add a lot to the plot of the show (besides the wedding of Emma and Hook), but it features so many incredible new songs. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to see The Wicked Witch of the West singing a ballad about revenge whilst threatening a group of Munchkins in Oz?

This episode felt like a nice breath of fresh air during the dark tones of the final battle arc of the show, and I have to admit, if I’m feeling down, or want something light to watch, I’ll just put on this episode. I’ve watched this episode far more times than I’d care to mention, so it’s only fair that it gains a place on our list.

9. Souls of the Departed (Season 5, Episode 12)

Of course, the show had to do something big for it’s 100th episode, and of course it didn’t disappoint. As the hero’s venture to the Underworld in an attempt to save Hook and bring him back to life, it allowed a variety of deceased characters, such as Cora (Barbara Hershey), The Blind Witch (Emma Caulfield), Peter Pan (Robbie Kay), Cruella De Vil (Victoria Smurfit) and Neal (Michael Raymond-James) to return, not only for the hundredth episode, but for an eleven-episode story arc.

Not only did this episode act as a great opening episode for the Underworld arc, it also held a sense of dignified nostalgia, going back to the roots of the show by having an Evil Queen/ Snow White centric episode, without making it feel like a copy of something that’s already been done. This episode was well-written and felt quite fresh considering it was the hundredth episode of the show.

8. Witch Hunt (Season 3, Episode 13)

Like any show, Once Upon a Time had many plot twists, one of the biggest occurring in the thirteenth episode of the third season ‘Witch Hunt’. In this episode, the heroes are trying to find out who has cursed them and sent them back to Storybrooke. During the hunt for the villain, we see some heart warming moments between Emma and Regina, and I view this as the first episode that we truly see their friendship begin to blossom. However, this episode isn’t on the list because it features a few heart warming moments. It’s on the list because this is the episode where it’s revealed that the Evil Queen has a half-sister: The Wicked Witch of the West, that their mother, The Queen of Hearts gave up at birth (if you think this is a complicated family tree, just keep reading).

Yes, this twist was a huge shock to the main narrative of the show, and that alone should make the episode gain a spot on our list, but this is also the episode that viewers began to fall in love with the character Zelena as it’s the first time we got to see her pettiness and hilarious one-liners. As well as this, the episode held the return of Rumpelstiltskin, who was killed two episodes earlier, having fans on the edge of their seats, so this episode obviously deserved to make top ten.

7. The Final Battle (Season 6, Episodes 21/22)

‘The Final Battle’ was the perfect end to the show. Except, it wasn’t. The creators of the show believed that the sixth season of Once Upon a Time could have been its last. Still waiting for conformation of the show’s future, the writers had to write this episode as being an end to the whole show, but also to leave it open for a possible season seven (as it was renewed a week after this episode aired).This episode featured all the heroes working together to try and defeat the Black Fairy from snuffing out all the light in the world, allowing them to all go on one last epic adventure together, filled with nostalgia and references from previous seasons, such as the Mad Hatter’s Hat from season 1  and 2, the Beanstalk Hook and Emma climbed in season 2, and a brand new curse which placed most the characters in the same predicament they found themselves in during the first season.As well as this, Emma finally found a way to accept herself fully as the saviour and was willing to do whatever it took to save her loved ones- making her character to come full-circle and fully developed, which was a beautiful thing to see in a TV Show.Ultimately, this episode would have been the best way to conclude the series as it successfully gave all the main characters their respective happy endings, showing that by having hope, good will always win in the end.

6. Going Home (Season 3, Episode 11)

Time to grab a box of tissues. This episode is full of so many emotionally vulnerable moments that it will have you feeling emotions you didn’t even know you could feel. Beginning with the death of Felix and the Dark Curse being cast, the main characters fear for their lives, but soon the mood changes.

As Rumpelstiltskin sacrifices his life in order to stop Peter Pan from carrying out his evil plan (in a very emotional scene), Regina must finally face the price of being the first person to cast the Dark Curse by saying goodbye to the thing she loves the most, her son. So, Emma and Henry are forced to leave their family behind and start a new, non-magical life in New York City with new memories, forgetting that their loved ones even exist .With brilliant writing, full of emotional moments, and a huge twist at the end of the episode, we knew that this episode had to be on our list.

5. Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)

Welcome to Storybrooke! This was the first episode of the show and the first time we fell in love with all the main characters, and of course, loved to hate Regina.

There’s nothing like the first time you get to watch this show, and since this was the first episode of the series, it had a huge job to try and hook the viewer, and it succeeded greatly!

As Snow White and Prince Charming’s kingdom is threatened by the Evil Queen, they are told their only hope is their unborn daughter, Emma.

In the future, when Emma finds the town of Storybrooke on her 28th birthday, she, and everyone in it just believes it to be a regular American town. In order to break the curse and return everyone’s memories and happy endings, Emma must believe in magic, but it’s a lot to ask of someone who grew up alone and isolated in the world.

I mean, the story just writes itself, this episode acted as the opening chapter for a great piece of television.

4. Heart of Gold (Season 4, Episode 17)

The start of this episode just feels like a filler episode. It has very little to do with the plot of the season, and just felt like a short break away from the events of the Queens of Darkness story ark.

However, halfway through the episode, it’s clear that this is not the case. This episode holds the biggest plot twist in the whole show. Not only do we get to see the return of Robin Hood, who had been absent for the last seven episodes, but we also find out that Zelena is alive and has been posing as Robin Hood’s wife for the whole season.

The return of Zelena was a well-needed shift in the cast as the actress who played her, Rebecca Mader became a main cast member for the fifth and sixth seasons. She added a sense of comic relief but also tense storylines by having a seven-minute-long monologue in this episode all about how she survived her supposed ‘death’, by making light of the whole situation but also threatening Rumpelstiltskin and Regina.

This episode will keep you on the edge of your seat and is filled with twists and turns.

3. Manhattan (Season 2, Episode 14)

If you thought Regina’s family tree was bad, prepare yourself for this.

In this episode, Rumpelstiltskin finally can venture out of Storybrooke to find and track down his son, Baelfire after abandoning him years ago. However, early in the episode it is revealed that Baelfire, who now goes by Neal, is Henry’s father. This means that Henry’s father is the son of Rumpelstiltskin, and Henry’s birthmother is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, not to mention his adoptive mother is the Evil Queen, who is the daughter of the Queen of Hearts. I mean, how messy can a family tree get?

This family revelation had fans on the edge of their seats, however, this episode also featured a storyline where Regina and Cora teamed up with Hook to try and find the Dark One Dagger so they can control Rumpelstiltskin and force him to kill their enemies. This episode had so many twists and turns and acted as the beginning of the new battle between Snow White and the Evil Queen (Regina).

2. Leaving Storybrooke (Season 7, Episode 22)

We couldn’t forget to include the last episode of the show on our list. This episode has gained the second spot on our list for a number of reasons.

Season seven felt like a completely different show, following the departure of Emma, Snow, Charming, Belle and Zelena in the sixth season, so there was a huge hole to fill, however, all of these main characters were able to return to the final episode despite not appearing in the rest of the season.

As an evil version of Rumpelstiltskin threatens the fate of all the heroes, it’s down to Snow and Charming to return and lead battle. Meanwhile, Regina fights an evil version of Henry, who wants her dead for all her evil acts.

This episode features a battle, a sacrifice, a marriage proposal, but also a happy ending, allowing Regina to have complete closure, crowning her as ‘the Good Queen’ as opposed to her former nickname as ‘the Evil Queen’.

This episode was a great conclusion to the show, giving all the heroes their happy endings, and of course, ending the show with one of its famous hope speeches, together with a montage of some of the most memorable moments across all seven seasons of the show.

1. A Land Without Magic (Season 1, Episode 22)

The top spot on our list goes to the season one finale, ‘A Land Without Magic’.

In this episode, Henry’s life lies in the balance, so Emma has no choice but to believe in magic to try and save her son. Emma is forced to work along side the Evil Queen, sleigh a dragon, find some magic, and break the curse.

This episode is amazingly well-written, and we finally see Emma accept who she is. She finally breaks her walls down and does everything she can save her loved ones, even if that means the impossible, believing in magic.

Not only does the curse break in this episode, but magic also makes it way to our world, opening the story up to the next season, leaving us on the edge of our seats to find out, what will happen now that the curse is broken and the villains have magic.

Do you agree with our picks? Let us know in the comments below.