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Fridge: Once Upon a Time

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    Fridge Brilliance 

Season 1
  • Snow has a one-night stand with Doctor Whale, which she later regrets (both without the Enchanted Forest memories and with). Well, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and we all know how she feels about apples...
  • In the pilot, Snow tells Charming the Evil Queen poisoned her with an apple because she was "prettier" than her. Of course viewers learn later in the season that the actual reason is a lot less shallow than that. This might just be a continuity error or a total Retcon by the creators, but it maybe because in the pilot they first show the scenes in Enchanted Forest being first read from the book by Henry. The book probably contains more simplified versions of actual events than what happened in the Enchanted Forest and doesn't mention Daniel or Cora at all. It also explains why Henry is so hard on Regina because it seems that she is evil for such petty reasons. It might also be that at the time Snow says that, she does not feel comfortable going into the real reasons, which would involve owning up to the greatest mistake she ever made in her life—a mistake that still haunts her even in the present (as she demonstrates in S2 when she remonstrates with Emma over her guilt for not believing Henry).
  • Red's boyfriend was named Peter. Now remember that story, Peter And The Wolf?
  • Why did Regina lock up Belle? Belle, who is one of the few characters NOT to cross her? To make Gold miserable? That's probably a bonus. But the curse of Storybrooke can only be broken by true love's kiss, and it's pretty strongly suggested that Belle and Rumpelstiltskin would've had true love's kiss had he not rejected her. While we know that Emma's the savior who will break the curse, it's hinted that Regina doesn't know HOW it will be broken. Why not cover all the bases and make sure nobody who fits the criteria for True Love's Kiss is together in Storybrooke? It both makes them miserable AND is extra security that the curse will stay in effect. Futhermore, while it's fuzzy how the time frame falls, but it's plausible she was kept as a contingency plane. Seeing as how Rumpel is both a stronger magic user than Regina by far, and has cut a deal to be able to recall his Fairy Tale life. Considering this is a man who does nothing without some manner of an agenda, not having an ace in the hole is foolisness at the very best.
  • Why is Kathryn David's wife in the real world? Because the curse keeps everyone from having a happy ending. EVERYONE. Princess Abigail was in love with Frederick while the counterparts don't even know each other, and what could prevent some one from being happy more than keeping them from their true love and thinking their husband walked out on them?
  • In "Snow Falls", Snow was able to keep up with/ outfox Charming... after "The Shepherd", it's clear why. He was a shepherd, not a trained knight.
  • Henry explains that it was Graham's connection to Emma that enabled him to remember his fairytale persona. This would explain why Henry, (who, as Emma's son has the closest connection to her) is the one who knows so much about the curse and is so driven by instinct to break it, despite him having no concrete proof.
  • Rumpelstiltskin was uncharacteristically quiet during the scene in "The Shepherd" when Shepherd and his mother are about to part, and when Cinderella offered to give up her second child in "The Price Of Gold", he looks upset, particularly when she comments 'we can always have more children'. The idea of someone offering to give up their child for material gain is clearly upsetting to him, and Robert Carlyle did a great job of showing us a subtle tortured imp. When "Desperate Souls" comes around, it's revealed that there's a reason for him to be sympathetic toward a parent losing her child. This is again shown in "True North" when Gold tells Emma the curse name of Hansel and Gretel's father with no strings attached (even pretending to read it from a card when really he just knew) and in "The Stranger" when he's pushing for August to meet with his father Marco, despite the fact that August had recently deceived Gold into thinking he was his own son, Baelfire.
  • "Desperate Souls" also explains why Rump (in his magical form) would be notable for his spinning ability - it was something he did as a human. And why his favorite thing to ask for is your first born. When he gained his powers he lost (in first the emotional sense and subsequently the physical sense) his first born so in order for him to use those powers for you he takes yours.
  • Why is Rump so gloating back in Episode 2, when he tells Regina she has to kill the one person she truly loves in order to make the curse work? Because it's the perfect payback for what she did to him and Belle. And again in Episode 53. He really likes to rub in how Regina lost someone she loved, as a "see how it feels?" kind of thing.
  • After having taken the potion to forget Charming, Snow White begins to live up to her name a lot more; her skin is much paler and her lips - well, they aren't red, but they're still a darker pink than usual. Possibly a side effect (or an outright effect) of the potion - turning evil makes you look more peaky.
  • Mary Margaret's sudden Destination Defenestration move to Jefferson is her subconscious Mama Bear Snow White kicking in because Jefferson was threatening her daughter, Emma.
  • Combination of this and Fridge Logic. While much of what caused the fall of the Enchanted Forest was already in motion, the last three wishes that the magic lamp granted greatly helped the rise of the Evil Queen, the first 1001 are know to have caused problems, but the last 3 caused problems to everyone.
  • Belle didn't know the battle she was actually fighting when the Queen told her that True Love would break Rumpelstiltskin's power: forcing him to choose her or his son. That broken teacup holds more of Rumpel's sorrow than anyone knew.
  • More of a meta one but the scene where Rumpel and Baelfire get separated. What does Rump use to prevent being sucked into the portal? The knife. It's a symbolic gesture that he's clinging to the power of The Dark One and that it has control of him - it wants him to be miserable and evil.
  • When Emma rescues Henry from the collapsed mine shaft, Regina greets him, not with a hug, but by stroking his face. It looks exactly as awkward as if she's imitating something from a movie. It's Regina trying to get past her Lack of Empathy to show that she cares about her son.
  • "Red-Handed" isn't just a pun on Red's name; it's a not quite title drop - after all, Granny and Snow did catch her red handed in the act!
  • How did they even know that the prints were Mary Margaret's? Because she's a teacher. It's a requirement in many states to be fingerprinted as part of the certification.
  • Regina burns down the playground, tried to destroyed the book of fairy tales, and what's her way of "making it up" to Henry? A video game.
  • Now that it's revealed that August is Pinnochio, there's one thing that stumped this troper. August has dark hair while Pinnochio's is red. Then it was pointed out to me that wood darkens with age.
  • In "What Happened to Frederick" a shrine is seen dedicated to the Siren. We see a hoplite (Ancient Greek soldier) helm. Midas himself is a character from Classical mythology so it's no surprise to see remnants of that ancient culture. Also, the offerings at the shrine do more than beg for the creature's mercy. They are sacrifices functioning as a trade of sorts. A person cannot take from a deity without giving something in return or the deity will perceive it as an insult. Anyone who has read the Classical Mythos knows not paying respect to the supernatural and spirits will screw you over. So when Charming waltzes right in without leaving an offering, it's no surprise the Siren appears to kill him. But instead of being killed by the temptress, he kills the monster. Classical heroes were little more than badasses of masculine virtue, more so than the archetypical and romantic figures we view them as today. In this scene, Charming displays the attitudes of both, one resisting female evils and preferring romantic love over lust (Heroic Willpower). He's placing the emotion of love, something spiritual, as something higher than carnal desires. But by Classical standards, killing the monster shows he's "the man" for lack of a better term; conquering the monsters/supernatural instead of submitting (sacrificing) to them proves he's a badass man. However he only prevailed by applying to a higher virtue, "true love". This scene reinforces how powerful true love is in the Enchanted Forest. It allows a person to become both a badass and a hero at once, it transforms you into something more than you once were and are. It also fits into what the writers are trying to convey with their idea of true love; it can overcome everything.
  • Massive in-universe brilliance from the Season 1 finale. Gold explains to Emma that he hid his last bit of bottled True Love in "the belly of a beast", and Regina adds that it's an old friend trapped in a different form. Maleficent is the version of the villain from Sleeping Beauty used because of the added bonus she comes with - she can turn into a dragon (a beast).
  • When we first meet Maleficent she is relaxed, reasonable and forgiving, putting the welfare of her pet ahead of her own… in a word, acting very out of character for someone who has traditionally been one of the nastiest fairy tale villains and one with the pettiest of motives. But then we find out that at that point in time she had the True Love Potion hidden inside her body. The most powerful magic of all is affecting her mind and making her nicer! This makes Regina's line to her "Love is weakness. I thought you knew that" more significant.
    • Also in season two we realize that she lived the rest of her life thinking that she had won. cause in modern day EF, Philip (with Mulan's help) had just gotten to Aurora, so Maleficent had got what she wanted
  • This goes back to A Heart of Darkness. Rumpelstiltskin giving Snow the bow and arrow telling her that it always hits it target and gets his wielder what they need seem to be just a simple exposition. But then when you realize that Charming was the one hit by the arrow, which then lead to True Love's Kiss between Snow and Charming, makes you realize that Rumpel was playing matchmaker or in other words, Cupid.
  • Also from Heart of Darkness was the little chat between Rumpel and Charming. The Dealer seems to give Charming a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, but if you remember the events of "Skin Deep", you see that he obviously sees some similarities between himself and Charming and he is most likely projecting his own anger at himself onto Charming. Then comes "The Crocodile" where Gold asks David for advice. It's obvious he knows he can trust him for advice, given their similarities.
  • No wonder Gold was so much harsher than usual with Moe French. So far as he knew, this was the man who caused the death of Gold's true love. This is what he even says during his Villainous Breakdown as he beats Moe up. "YOU drove her away! It's YOUR FAULT! NOT MINE! YOURS!"
  • Going back a while into early Season 1 but when Regina asks Gold to do something tragic to Kathryn, he chooses to abduct her and states that he finds abduction tragic. Knowing more of his backstory, we can see why he might honestly think that even if he wasn't screwing with Regina.
  • At the very moment Emma has just tried and failed to confess her lie about his father to Henry, August rides into town and into Emma's life. August happens to be not only the one who caused Henry's father Neal Cassady to leave Emma, but also Pinocchio. It's as if the lie ''summoned'' him.
  • Early one from Season 1: Why "please" for Regina's Trigger Phrase? Well, how many times did your parents tell you to "say the magic word" to get something you wanted when you were a kid? Rumpel just turned it into a literal magic word.
  • It is clear from "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" that Graham is meant to be the Huntsman from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". However, there was a second layer to Graham's character that was not so obvious. The Huntsman could also be considered to be Mowgli, who was also taken care of wolves, considered them their family, and only remembered and accepted his roots thanks to a human girl (just like Emma was the one that helped him remember his true self).
  • The story of the Mad Hatter takes on a new dimension in this series. Hatters were traditionally called mad due to mercury poisoning that they used in making their hats. However, what's another definition of insanity? Repeating the same action over and over, while expecting a different outcome. That's essentially what Jefferson was roped into doing when trying to make a new hat: an endless repetition trying to get it to work.
  • The amusingly ruthless and undiplomatic way in which Regina tries to solve every problem in Storybrooke (mostly all her goes at "Miss Swan, stay away from this, stay away from that" with which she just always makes it more difficult for herself) tended to baffle me, what with her supposedly being a politician and all, until "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" confirmed that she is not affected by the curse. She's just used to being a villain who makes everyone cower in fear with her every word, she never learned to be diplomatic. Not to mention, it was pointed out that Regina pretty much has the town cowed, no one dares run against her for Mayor, no one seems to question her...she's never really been up against anyone she can't just glare into submission in this world, and it's clearly throwing her for a loop.
  • According to the Queen, "true love's kiss can break any curse." That would explain why Graham regained his memories. Since Emma is the only one who had magic and she was his true love!
  • The reason August/Pinnochio can't open his door when he was changing back to wood; he was losing all his enchantment, even the amount that allowed him to move without strings.
  • In "The Price of Gold", Rumpelstiltskin tells Cinderella that altering bargains is "not what I do". Come Season 2's "The Miller's Daughter", we learn why he has this rule: He did change the terms of a deal once and it came back to bite him in the ass.
Season 2
  • At the beginning of the series, one might consider it rather odd that Henry - a bright, good-hearted lad who, as time shows, is genuinely fond of his adoptive mother - sets everything in motion because he thinks Regina is "an evil witch" without any visible proof or even hint except an old fairy tale book; and is adamant about being right to a degree which could be considered an obsession. Skip to the episode "Welcome to Storybrooke", where it is shown that the whole town and its inhabitants are trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop. Of course such a disturbing environment makes someone who is not (but appears to be the only person that ages or has a memory of the changes passing) ask certain questions, especially if the only other person not trapped in the loop is one's mother.
  • While most of the characters who embark on the quest to save Henry at the end of season two have obvious familial motivations (Emma's son, Regina's adopted son, Rumpel, Snow and Charming's grandson), Hook's motivations are not as clear-cut... until one realizes that he also has a special connection to Henry. Hook is the guy who stole Baelfire's mother, who would be Henry's grandmother. And for a brief period of time, he was like a second father to Baelfire. Assuming Hook's love for Milah was genuine, Baelfire was all Hook had left of her, and now since everyone thinks Bae is dead, Henry is all that Hook has left of him. His decision to help save Henry can be chalked is keeping in line with Hook's self-serving desire to hold onto the last remnants of his lost love.
  • For all the Nightmare Fuel Rumpel ripping Milah's heart out is, it actually makes a lot of sense. When you marry someone, you kinda do offer your heart to them. She broke his heart, so he broke hers. Just, in a more literal sense.
  • The inclusion of Victor Frankenstein struck many viewers as odd at first because it seemed to break the show’s trend of only using fairy tales and books that have been done by Disney, but then it struck me. At the time that “The Doctor” aired, Frankenweenie was coming out in theaters.
  • Rumpelstiltskin cutting off Hook's hand. While yes aggravating that it wasn't Peter Pan that did so, it makes sense since Rumpel tends to tinker with people as well as his association with Belle. The Fridge Brilliance increases when you realize, yes, it was not Peter Pan who took Hook's hand. It was Peter Pan's son.
  • One of the most common mistakes is to confuse Doctor Frankenstein and his monster, which is referenced in the show. But since the monster was the doctor's attempt to resurrect his brother, that means the monster is Frankenstein.
  • In "We Are Both", Regina barges into Gold's shop and demands her spellbook. Gold tries to invoke his power over her by asking her to "Leave my shop, please." It might seem strange to the viewer that he thinks the trigger will still work now that the curse is gone...until you remember that Gold/Rumpelstiltskin values the Exact Words of a deal over the intent of the dealmaker. The exact words of his deal with Regina were "In this new world, you must heed my every request. You must do whatever I say, so long as I say 'please'." "In this new world" as opposed to "as long as the curse remains in effect." Even though the curse is gone, they're still in the world that Regina created. From Gold's perspective, he has every reason to think that he can still control her that way.
  • Regina pushed Cora through a mirror. Where did she end up? Wonderland. How did she get there? By going Through The Looking Glass.
  • At first, Gold's anger at discovering that no one can leave Storybrooke seems like it's just about not being able to go find Baelfire, but there's a second layer to it if you look closely. The memory wiping is a magical property associated with the town line. As such, it requires magic to exist. Mr. Gold was the one who brought magic to Storybrooke. If he had left well enough alone, the memory wipe wouldn't even be possible. He sacrificed his son for his addiction yet again and that is what truly pissed him off. He brought magic to Storybrooke, yet forgot his own favorite words: ALL magic comes with a price. And not being able to move beyond Storybrooke to go search for his son is the price he pays for all this magic.
  • The masquerade ball in The Miller's Daughter explains everything about the aesthetic of Wonderland: Cora reshaped the place to be her playground, revising the history of the night the king humiliated her so that all those masked people are eternally bowing to her.
  • When Cora tells Rumpel that he's the only man she ever loved, it's not a declaration of love. It's a declaration of truth since, without her heart, she couldn't love anyone she met afterwards.
  • Why did Cora listen to King Xavier over Rumpel and take her own heart out? Because Xavier, in his manipulative words and blatant Not So Different overtones, just went from someone she hated to a father figure. Cora had to live with a drunken, neglectful father all her life, and so she always had a void left from a lack of fatherly guidance. She'd been without a proper father far longer than she'd been without romantic love, so of course she chose the former over the latter when given the option. Xavier even calls her "daughter" when she's naming Regina, again showing just what the relationship between these two is.
  • "Welcome to Storybrooke" The story in the past with Kurt and Owen has, in fact, many similarities to classic witch stories. And there are emerging elements to Owen's story in the present, with him becoming a Witch Hunter.
  • In "Child of the Moon", why did no-one suggest locking Ruby in the cavern beneath the clocktower, the most logical place to contain a werewolf? Because the only people who knew about it were Emma, Regina and Gold, who were all out of the way at the time. Emma was trapped in the Enchanted Forest, while Regina and Gold were preoccupied with finding a way to help end Henry's terrible nightmares, thus weren't around to find out about Ruby. One imagines everyone was kicking themselves when they discovered that the library they tried to lock her up in, actually has a dragon-proof basement.
  • King George's hatred of Snow White seems to be very extreme, however "The Evil Queen" reveals that it was Snow's kingdom that caused him to go broke, which may explain his resentment towards her thwarting his attempt to marry off Charming.
  • Ruth was trying to atone for her mistake of selling her sons to King George which ruined both boys' lives. Charming always wanted a family of his own; her dying was to atone for the mistakes of ruining the one he already had.
  • Why did Regina wait so long, just before she was ready to die in fact, to tell Greg that his father is dead? Why go through all that torture beforehand? Because she knew the moment she did, he'd kill her. The reason she tells him at the last minute was because he would kill her regardless and just like when she was on the execution block, she didn't want to look weak when she died so she taunted him with his father's death.
    • An alternative theory: she only tells him after overhearing Tamara say that Emma, Neal, Charming and Snow have entered the cannery. So perhaps the reason she didn't say anything before was because then Greg and Tamara would use the trigger after she died and destroy Storybrooke...and with his birth-mother, grandparents, and Regina herself all dead, Henry would be completely homeless and alone. Regina only talked and was willing to die when she knew people who could stop them and retrieve the trigger were on the scene.
    • It's also possible that she didn't kill him the way she said she did, and it was actually Graham who did the deed, since he was there when we last saw Kurt as well. Regina didn't want to disrespect Graham's memory so she refused to tell of how Kurt's death really happened, and when she finally had to tell Owen that his father was dead, she took full responsibility for the murder rather than drag Graham's name down.
  • Mary Margaret's willingness to forgive Regina for framing her in Season 1 makes a lot more sense after you watch "The Evil Queen." Snow's own purity of heart aside, Regina probably put that into her cursed persona in order to gain the forgiveness that Snow originally denied to her. Yet ironically now when it happens, it's against Regina's desires and only makes her feel shamed and humiliated.
  • It might seem strange at first that Baelfire bolts when hearing Emma's voice on his apartment intercom. But once it's revealed that he is also Neal Cassady, it makes perfect sense. Who wouldn't head for the hills upon hearing the voice of the ex-girlfriend that they broke up with and left to be taken in by the cops for several counts of theft? He probably figured Emma was there for payback.
  • At first, it seems that the Oracle was only introduce to explain how Rumplestiltskin knew that he'd find Baelfire alive after waiting a couple of centuries to find him. But it explains something else too - world travelling isn't common in the old days, but it isn't uncommon either. This is before the Giants were all killed. The other Oracles found translating the images of the future to be confusing - but Rumplestiltskin was particularly focused on Storybrooke and its inhabitants. He would have found translating the future to be confusing too, but he might have gotten a few rough stories because of the additional power of the Dark One. Not sensible sounding stories - but stories that might be fun, if they were somehow transported to another world, and made it into the hands of the Brothers Grimm. Frankenstein and Peter Pan probably didn't make it into the book because he didn't focus on them when trying to find his son - their stories entered the world later.
  • Baelfire's stay on the Jolly Roger is a reference to Billy Jukes, a character in the cartoon Fox Peter Pan and the Pirates. Billy Jukes was a also a young castaway who was rescued by the pirates and made a crew member.He also bonded with another pirate but it wasn't Hook.
Season 3
  • Pan telling Henry that lots of captives believe that their families are coming back isn't just to keep up his ruse. It actually served dual purposes: First, it allowed him to test the strength of Henry's belief. Second, and this is where the Fridge Brilliance comes in, he was probably hoping to discourage Henry from believing that. After all, this is Neverland, where belief and imagination have power. If Henry, the truest believer, remains convinced that his family will come and save him, then they will. It also fits in with Pan's entire plan - to make Henry truly believe in him enough so that he may willingly give him his heart.
  • While the specifics of how they were obtained have yet to be revealed, it's now obvious what the deal was with Greg and Tamara's Weird Science. It wasn't science at all. It was a bunch of toys enchanted with magic...Neverland's magic, which is run on the power of belief. Peter and the Lost Boys (the "Home Office") lied to Greg and Tamara to make them believe it was magic-destroying science, and because they believed in it, it became magic-destroying science. But when Greg and Tamara came to Neverland, their super-scientific gadgets back into the toys they were all along because, as is later confirmed, the belief-powered magic of Neverland doesn't work for adults when they're actually in Neverland. So in Neverland, Greg and Tamara's belief is useless since they're adults.
    • It's now been revealed that their "science" was given to them by John and Michael Darling, who Pan uses as the "go-betweens" for Neverland and Earth. They've travelled back and forth through the century, presumably via the Shadow, and formed the organization to "destroy magic" as a front for Pan's plan to get the Heart of the Truest Believer.
  • "Think Lovely Thoughts" explains so much about Rumpelstiltskin.
    • His shortcomings as Bae's father can easily be attributed to the poor excuse for a role model that he had growing up. He loves to spin because his father left him in the company of seamstresses while he went to gamble his money away. He hates Pan so much because he feels that, in a sense, Pan took away the father he had loved and believe in.
    • In "Nasty Habbits", Rumpel mentions to Bae how he and Pan were close when Rumpel "was growing up." How they found Neverland and Pan betrayed him there. He then adds "He fooled me for a long time before I finally saw his true nature, and it's as dark and repulsive as anything you should ever be exposed to." "Think Lovely Thoughts" explains everything before that last part. The backstory ends with Rumpel seemingly still loving and missing his dad. In "Nasty Habbits" flashback, we see Rumpel and Pan's first meeting in ages and Rumpel already knows that his father is going by what Rumpel named his old doll. It's also established that children can come to Neverland in their dreams but never stay. So it's entirely conceivable that child Rumpel had seen Neverland and his father again in his dreams, and that's when it became clear to him that his father had absolutely zero remorse for the choice he made to abandon Rumpel in order to regain his youth. That is what Rumpel meant by "finally seeing his true dark, repulsive nature." It's the moment he lost all faith in his old man.
    • Also compare Rumpel's behavior as the Dark One after losing Bae to that of his father before he became Pan. They are remarkably similar to each other. Most likely since he abandoned Bae for his own power, he subconsciously acted that way because he reminded himself of his own father. This explains why he thought Bae would kill him if they met back in The Return, because that's what he would do to his own father if/when they met again. Since his father was an Adult Child, it's also possible that this could represent Rumpel regressing to a child-like state to fill the void of missing his own child, though keeping enough awareness of it to play it up for all it's worth.
    • Moreover, Rumpel and his father are parallels yet also complete opposites. When Rumpel's father received the powers of Neverland, he abandoned Rumpel immediately and didn't regret it. But when Rumpel received the powers of the Dark One, he almost seemed to obsess over Bae, killing anyone who so much as looked at the boy the wrong way. Rumpel was deliberately trying not to be like his father, but he went too far in the other direction and ended up being just as destructive anyway. But a key difference, as Rumpel points out in the episode, is that when he ends up abandoning his child in favor of keeping his power, he immediately regrets the decision and dedicates his life to finding his son and making amends. Malcolm showed no such regret after abandoning Rumpel because he felt his son was better off without him as a father and, more importantly, he was better off without a son to weigh him down.
    • Rumpel's fear of Bae using a magic bean to take them to a new world where they could "start over" also gains significance, for it exactly mirrors young Rumpel's proposition with a magic bean to his own father. Instead of finding a new life and happiness together, Rumpel ended up betrayed, abandoned, and emotionally scarred by his father. So Rumpel's true fear was not that he'd lose his magic: it was that if he and Bae went through that hole, he'd end up doing the same thing to Bae that his father did to him! When he shouted "It will tear us apart!", he was referring to his and his son's relationship. And in the ultimate Dramatic Irony, his effort to avoid this outcome and cling to what he saw as "strength", his magic power, he ends up abandoning his son anyway!
    • To add to this almost all of Rumpel's actions are influenced by his father's abandonment. Before Milah left Rumpel for Hook she tried to get Rumpel to move to another village that didn't know his reputation and so they could start over. Rumpel refused to do so. At first it appeared to be because of his cowardice, but he and his dad went to Neverland in first place to start over in a new place. In that new place his father chose to abandon him. Given Milah's treatment of Rumpel it makes perfect sense for him not to want to go to a new place out of fear Milah would leave him as well. Rumpel's belief that he is impossible to love stems back to his father's abandonment of him. He probably subconsciously believed he was the reason Malcolm left. Milah and Cora leaving him added more fuel to the belief, which explain why he didn't believe Belle really loved him when she first kissed him.
  • Another one from the same episode. Yes, Henry was an idiot for sacrificing himself. However, Pan had a point; all of his relatives have been very selfish jerks to each other for the last couple seasons. Emma lied about Neal being his dad, Neil abandoned Emma and let her rot in jail to give birth to him alone without so much as checking up on her. The Charmings and Emma openly talked about killing Regina. Snow White tricked Regina into murdering Cora. Regina has a laundry list of nasty things she's pulled against Emma, the Charmings, and the entire town in addition to Gaslighting him for years and then pulling a mind-whammy on him with the magic. They all want him, but have been willing to do nasty things to one another in order to have him all to themselves. Meanwhile, Pan has had centuries of practice in manipulating people, especially vulnerable young boys. Pan played both Henry's desire to be a hero and his doubts about his family's motivations in order to get exactly what he wanted.
  • Save Henry episode actually has a Double Meaning Title: apart from the obvious "it's about saving Henry" meaning, it can be also read with "save" meaning "except", as in "[everyone] save Henry [comes back]".
  • Rumpel's murder-suicide on himself and his father has SO MUCH of this. The reason he had kept saying that "the only way Pan can die is if I die with him" is because he had this planned from the start - he'd bury his dagger and detach his shadow to keep watch over it, and then once he was close enough to Pan, he could lock him in an embrace, call back his shadow with the dagger, and use it to skewer them both. But two aspects of this action become especially brilliant:
    • One is that initially the only reason he thought of doing this was because he believed his son had died and that he had failed at being the father he wanted to be. So with nothing left to live for (except Belle, but he wanted to be selfless and let her go, hoping she'd be better off without him), sacrificing his life to save his grandson would be both his way of making up for that and a way to die a brave hero rather than a cowardly villain. He had fully accepted that Henry would be his undoing because he was going to willingly make what he had to do to rescue him his undoing. And he also really wanted to kill his father for closure. So he was The Atoner in every sense. However, when he learned that his son was still alive, it threw everything about his plan into question. Now he had a son and a grandson AND Belle to live for, why should he still see his self-sacrifice plan through? Answer: because not doing so would be the selfish coward's way. So instead, he still pulls the Heroic Sacrifice while knowing full well that his loved ones are alive and that he could have lived a life with them. Rather than living for them, he DIES for them: he puts their lives above his own as his final actions. It's true sacrificial love and a selfless, brave thing of him to do. He finally proved himself to not be a selfish coward like his father.
    • Two is that the way in which he arranges the death makes it not only his undoing, but the undoing of the entire Dark One cycle. How does one become the Dark One? By killing the current Dark One with the dark dagger. Killing Zoso with the dagger made Rumpel the Dark One after all. So by locking him and his father in a tight embrace and then skewering Pan in the back so the dagger could come out of Pan's chest and go through Rumpel, Rumpel was having Pan kill him with the dagger, transferring the Dark One's power to Pan. This is why darkness engulfs them and turns Pan back into adult Malcolm: Malcolm became the Dark One! Not dead yet, Malcolm pleads for his son to remove the dagger, which would no doubt have Malcolm's name on it now. Instead, Rumpel twists the blade and drives it deep into his father, killing him and himself. So Malcolm killed the current Dark One and became the new Dark One only to be killed by the dying former Dark One. With both dead, the cycle of the Dark One is cancelled out: there's no Dark One left to kill for anyone to become the new Dark One. This was the undoing that the seer foretold.
  • Neverland is fueled by belief. As long as you truly believe, you can do anything. Peter Pan is part of Neverland so the rules must apply to him as well. As long as someone believes in him, he will succeed. Thus, when Peter killed Felix, the only one who ever believed in him, he sealed his own fate.
  • "Going Home" seems very very very much like a Grand Finale for the whole series. It seems like everything since episode 1 has been building to this. Almost all the characters have had complete arcs, most of the biggest loose ends have been tied, there's a sense of things coming full circle, a sense that Emma and Henry's story is coming to a closure and there'll be a Bittersweet Ending. Season One had a The End... Or Is It? ending, and Season Two had a To Be Continued ending. The mid-season finale for Season Three actually feels like The End of a story. And then at literally the last minute of the episode, Hook shows up to set up a new plot. Its a literal last minute Sequel Hook - a HOOK for the sequel to this story at the last minute of said story.
  • Regina seems to be getting her arse handed to her on a semi-regular basis by Zelena. Why? Psychosomatic Superpower Outage and Redemption Demotion. Her magic is fueled by rage and now she's gone from Big Bad to Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Emma's treatment of Henry in the second half of season 3 is very similar to Regina's in season 1. She's was lying to him for his own good, screamed at him to listen to her because she's his mother, and wants to return to New York for good and not return to Storybrooke again without asking Henry's opinion. All this seems out of character for Emma until you remember she just lost Neal.Emma acting similar to Regina in season 1 because like her the lost of someone she loves has effected her in such a negative way that she's now concerned with what's good for her instead of Henry.
  • Regina's vicious reaction to Maid Marian showing up makes perfect sense. She might have been trying to pull herself out of future villainy for the sake of Henry (and, to a lesser extent, Robin Hood), but as we saw with Peter Pan, she regrets not a damn thing she did in the past; including mass murder ("The Evil Queen"), child murder ("True North"), killing a father so she could try and have a son all to herself (the Flynns), rape and sex slavery (the Huntsman), killing her dad, casting the curse in the first place, etc. It got her the life she wanted. Anything that goes wrong? Never My Fault. Someone else screwed up and has to pay for it. Emma not only trashed Regina's budding romance with Robin, but made her swallow an uncomfortable dose of karma on top of it.
  • The Thinking Tree attacks the regret inside of people. While it may seem like just a plot point used to give Regina the upper hand (Villains aren't meant to feel regret, after all), there's actually a logical reason behind it. Pan says that the Thinking Tree is where he abandoned Rumpel which means these are the same trees that contain pixie dust. When the lost boys begin regretting their decision of coming to Neverland, they'd try to get some pixie dust to fly off the island only for the tree to capture them.

  • At first this troper thought that Henry believed in the curse because he's a kid, but if you think about it: he's Emma's son, and was brought into Storybrooke, an ordinary kid who was never put under the curse. He mentions in the pilot that time didn't used to move before Emma got there. So for ten years he was raised in a town where no one ever changed and time never moved, and this is including Ashley being pregnant for that amount of time too. If he got a normal education where he learned about how time was supposed to work, of course he would eventually wonder what was going on. Being raised in a place where time never moves suddenly makes curses a lot more plausible.
  • Rumpel's power lies not in his magical abilities (he rarely seems to rely upon them in any sort of direct confrontation) but rather in his deal making. He's seen everyone's dark sides and knows their secrets and desires and weaknesses. This is how he's able to predict and control them without so much as lifting a finger. This is how he can wield so much influence even within a jail cell. And this is why he became the town landlord/loan shark in Storybrooke as opposed to simply a wealthy businessman or some such.
  • Why Rumpelstiltskin and Belle are the Fan-Preferred Couple. Their true love has yet to overcome their external faults and conflicts, (Rumpel's a coward, and Belle will not love him while he's inflicted with a curse), which leads to a romance that audiences can identify with as something more real and raw because despite our best intentions our personal demons and flaws can ruin our chances of romantic happiness and familial success. Belle is also quite relatable to Rumpel's fangirls. Rumpel is not "attractive" by Hollywood standards; but many female viewers are drawn to him. Which ones? Probably the oddballs, quiet bookish eccentrics, who are drawn to "dark" and unusual guys; girls who most easily identify with Belle. In short, the "Belles" out there are the ones who like Rumpel, and the writers probably figured that out.
  • Rumpelstiltskin has a chance for redemption and becoming a good man through and through in Storybrooke with Belle being alive and well. Learning Regina not only knew she was alive but kept her from him in both worlds will make Mr. Gold want to give Emma any help she can to get rid of Regina. And like in Regina's other plans, this will come back to bite her in the end.
  • Lycanthropy seems to be very closely related to menstruation in this story. Red started transforming at age 13, right about the time most girls start having periods. For a double dose of SYMBOLISM!!!!1!1!!11!, Granny, who is pretty obviously post-menopausal, no longer transforms. For an extra dose of Fridge Brilliance, this links even more to Charles Perrault's "Little Red Riding Hood", which is more a lesson on sexual maturity, and the red hood symbolizes menstruation/sexual maturity.
  • The story of Red Riding Hood takes on a different interpretation with the reveal. Red comes home as a young child to Granny starting to transform. This is also about when Red herself transforms for the first time. The woodsman (the wizard in Granny's telling) was near by and turned them back. Thus the wolf 'eating' granny is Red becoming like her while the cutting of the two from the belly of the wolf is about transforming them back.
  • Red being sexually aggressive/promiscuous becomes this. The first reason is perhaps a reflection of the original fairy tale as mentioned elsewhere in in these pages. The other is a reflection of her wolf instincts to hunt down people.
  • Combination of brilliance and horror, with the revelation of Regina's one true love having his heart ripped out by her mother before her eyes, the Evil Queen's fixation on taking hearts becomes not only (what she sees as) karmic (with her intent to take Snow's heart being a sick form of retribution), but a sign of psychological trauma and an inability to escape the cycle of abuse. Pretty much outright stated in "The Doctor". When she takes Whale/Frankenstein into her mother's vault Whale/Frankenstein marvels at how many there are. Regina says her mother was a monster. Later after mentioning her own heart vault to David/Charming, he asks whose it is. Regina says, "I don't know. I took so many I couldn't keep track."
  • Regina finds it hard to forgive Snow because she still sees Snow as a pawn of her mother (unwitting as it was but she doesn't know that). And not only that but part of being a pawn was the sadness and tears - so she also finds it difficult to take Snow's emotions as anything but fake. Not only that but Snow's intent was to ensure that Regina didn't lose her mother... but Cora was perhaps the one person Regina did want to lose. Regina's warped mind cannot comprehend that Snow had any good intentions when she broke her promise and spilled the secret to Cora. So she chooses to see Snow as a wicked girl who deliberately got Daniel killed so that Regina could marry King Leopold and Snow could have a new mother. That's why Regina sincerely thinks Snow deserves to suffer.
  • Why does Rumpel like asking for your first born? When he gained his powers he lost (in first the emotional sense and subsequently the physical sense) his first born so in order for him to use those powers for you, he takes yours.
  • Why does Ruby (Little Red Riding Hood) work at a diner in Storybrooke? Because in the original story, she's known for bringing a picnic basket to her grandmother. Underscored in the series itself, when Red is shown bringing food to Snow White while Snow's in hiding.
  • Also on the topic of Red Riding Hood bringing Snow White of the original fairy tales starred two sisters, Snow-White and Rose-Red.
  • Rump as the beast in Beauty and the Beast? Now, that bell that rings whenever anyone enters Gold's store? That's nothing unusual for a store but: bell, Belle. Subtle. "Do hope you're not going to break my little bell(e)." That line has been superimposed on many a piece of fan art.
  • Debatable whether the writers had this in mind or not: Everything is Medieval Europe is because that they are eternally suspended in the Dark Ages because of "magic". There hasn't been scientific revolution nor an Age of Enlightenment because their hasn't been a need for it. Living in an enchanted land means they can rely on fairies and Rumpelstiltskin to solve their problems. People aren't being "pushed" towards building a better civilization for themselves as a result. That's why everything is so crappy. But since only a few humans have magic, this creates a system of haves and have-nots. Notice people with magical power (Midas, Evil Queen, and Rumpelstiltskin) do economically and socially better than those who don't.
  • Mr. Gold is Bored With Insanity. We have no clue how long ago Rumpelstiltskin came into being, though it looks like it happened several centuries if not a millennium before Snow and Regina came around. And through that time, he only acted loopy to keep people unnerved when in truth, he had been done with his insanity not too long (a few decades) after Bae left him. This is why as Mr. Gold, he can be so normal and Jefferson ... isn't. He simply doesn't care about his various memories. A flashback in Episode 55 seems to support this. On his son's birthday, Rumpel is sitting alone in his estate and talking to himself in his normal voice. When Belle comes in, he pitches his voice up a bit. His way of covering his pain, weakness, and cowardice is essentially to take on a demeanor that is, ironically enough, similar to his father's.
  • Why is Snow White a teacher in Storybrooke? The Evil Queen wants her to suffer, due to the connection of teachers and apples, and we all know why Snow White doesn't like apples...
  • Henry has a lot of TRON swag, but it makes sense when you think about it. The curse brought everybody into Storybrooke in 1984, when Flynn and ENCOM would have been marketing the TRON game (in-universe, assuming it's the same world as TRON: Legacy) for all it was worth. Also, what's the plot of TRON? A self-interested man falls into a world not his own and teams up with a noble, faith-based hero to defeat evil and return home. A perfect story for Henry to identify with. It's also a massive middle finger when it comes to Regina's idea to get him hooked on video games so that he doesn't pay attention to fairy tales. TRON's an Internet Age fairy-tale.
  • Henry's Genre Savvy might just save him when it comes to the (poisoned) apple turnovers. The sleep of living death traps the victim with their regrets. Henry's a kid and has a conscience that's clearer than anyone's on the show. He hasn't got a lot to regret at all.
  • Running away from your responsibilities to an island of pleasures, only to be abruptly and horrifyingly transformed? Don't you know what they say about what happens to people who don't learn from their mistakes, August? They make a jackass of themselves...again.
  • August is a writer. Writers tell stories. "Telling stories" is often used as another way to say "lying." What is Pinocchio famous for?
  • Why is Emma so good at finding people? Because the last thing her father whispered to her in the magical world was "Find us."
  • Snow for all intents and purposes was kidnapped by her negatives emotions toward Regina, Prince Charming went after her with some help from some new friends and end up saving her from herself. Now think about the fact that there is a magic mirror (if not necessarily appearing in said episode) involved in the story of Snow White and the entire episode has several interesting parallels to the tale of The Snow Queen. Make you wonder if The Dev Team Thinks of Everything or if it's just some contrived coincidence.
  • Henry is clever, just like Regina. He is determined and persuasive, just like she can be. Their music themes are often similar, and his behavior is sometimes very reminiscent of his adoptive mothers', which makes sense, since she raised him. They're also very similar as children. Naive, super optimistic and idealistic. With similar parents as well. Though Henry may be Emma's son, he's Generation Xerox of Regina. They also share the same obsession with change and revenge. Both have a very clear and idea of how things should go ("My past should be preserved." and "My future should be saved."). They both showed that they are able to focus on people's mistakes (Henry demonizing Regina and not trusting Emma after Manhattan, Regina demonizing Snow and not trusting Emma) hold grudges (as Henry's cold quips show) and are partly driven by a need for revenge (Regina on Snow and Henry on Regina) on someone who only wanted the best, but failed to achieve the results they wanted.
  • August/Pinocchio ran from helping Emma because of temptation, which is a very Pinocchio thing to do. But even now as an adult he wanders around on his motorcycle and hangs out in Phuket "losing himself". In other words, trying to live with No Strings Attached.
  • There are quite a few similarities between Snow and Henry. Both had Regina as a maternal figure. Both knowingly ate (the same) poisoned apple created by Regina to save someone they loved (Charming & Emma respectively). Both of them received True Love's Kiss from those specific loved ones to awake from their sleeping curses. Like grandmother, like grandson!
  • Emma's reaction to finding out that Snow and Charming really are her parents. Sure, yeah, in her situation (adopted kid meeting birth parents), some confusion and surprise and such is expected. But remember also that Snow and Charming are to Emma, fairy tale characters as well as a prince and princess. How many children imagine that their real parents are such things? Now imagine that something you grow up learning is basically a silly foolish idea is actually true! This carries on into S2, when Emma gets to see Mary Margaret's Snow White side in action when they're trapped in the Enchanted Forest and spends much of her time staring in amazement that the woman she knew as a more-than-slightly neurotic Shrinking Violet schoolteacher has turned into such a Badass Mom.
  • Belle and Rumpel. They seem so different at times. But remember this: Belle went with Rumpel initially to be a hero and to be brave. Rumpel is also characterized by his desire to prove his bravery. Even more striking when you examine this alongside Milah's character. Milah and Belle both wanted to see the world and go to far-off lands. Milah disappears, leaving Rumpel and Bae behind for her own happiness. Belle willingly gives up the same chance to save her family and village, sticks to her promise, and is able to see the good in Rumpel and her situation despite everything. That went a long way in earning Rumpel's respect for her. Also, Milah is wearing blue and white just like Belle in "Manhattan", during the time when she and Rumpel still had a happy marriage. Belle reminds Rumpel of Milah back when there was love between them, so that's another reason he's so attracted to her.
  • Jefferson was a weapons-grade Jerkass back in the day, very unlike the man we were first (episodically, if not chronologically) introduced to in Hat Trick. The why of his character development struck me so suddenly that it seemed obvious afterwards: we forget because they use the same actors for Regina, Jefferson, and Rumpel (especially Rumpel) regardless of the 'when' in the Enchanted Forest, but the next time we see Jefferson (chronologically) in Hat Trick, enough time has passed for Snow White to have aged from Bailee Madison to Ginnifer Goodwin. The Jefferson we see in The Doctor isn't a father yet. No wonder he was acting so Graceless. Related: to become a father required a wife, and Jefferson flat-out says in Hat Trick that "his line of work cost Grace's mother her life". If finding love and having a child together with her didn't make his Heel Realization fully sink in, that would certainly do it.
  • Another Jefferson one: His actions in the Doctor explain why Regina is so... poisonous to him. And her distrust in anyone being an agent of Rumpel (and vice versa). And her distrust of everyone, Emma included. Jefferson betrayed her to Rumpel for little more than gold. Snow (seemingly) betrayed her to Cora. Everyone at this point was an agent for someone else, using her to get what they want. Of course, she'd naturally just start assuming everyone had an agenda and that whatever they were doing was just a way to get HER to do what they want.
  • You know how the curse keeps the Fairy Tale people in Storybrooke? It is working in so many ways that it is quite thorough and subtle: Ashley is kept in there with her pregnancy and Sean; Mary Margaret stays there in the hospital and the school because she has no one else, and prefers to stay with what she knows is safe; David is kept in a coma, and this also ties Kathryn to Storybrooke, because she is waiting for news from her husband; Ruby has to take care of her Granny... It even continues after Emma arrives, with many characters being prevented from leaving the town just at the limits: Ashley goes into labor, Nicholas and Ava reunite with their father, Kathryn is abducted, Mary Margaret crashes and is kidnapped by's even arguable that Emma's wolf-inflicted crash into the town sign was caused by the curse realizing she "belonged" there.
  • When Rumpel told Regina that she looked/didn't look like Cora at various times, he wasn't talking about appearance. He was talking about their innocence/goodness.
  • Though this one is a bit of a stretch: The Ogre Wars. Why Ogres? They could've chosen any mythical beast. Well, what company is Disney constantly in competition with? (besides Warner Bros., their rivalry is kind of dead) And what movie of said rival company is constantly taking jabs at Disney? Perhaps the writers thought it was time to take a jab back?
  • In the original story, Peter Pan sliced off Hook's hand and fed it to the crocodile, who then chased Hook to get the rest of him. Here, the crocodile (Rumpelstiltskin) took off Hook's hand, so now Hook chases the crocodile to get revenge for both his hand and Milah. Does a captain pursuing the beast that dismembered him sound familiar? Captain Hook is also Captain Ahab!
  • Cora being the Queen of Hearts explains a great many things are explained about Henry I's behaviour: he's Disney's portrayal of the King of Hearts, incapable of stopping his wife from doing anything. It also explains why he was shrunken in Wonderland: Disney's Alice in Wonderland portrays the King as quite tiny.
  • If Red could control her wolf form, why did she tell Prince Charming to run? Because, the control requires a lot of CONCENTRATION...if it slips up for a moment...she goes berserk. Her action at that time? Killing a bunch of soldiers.
  • I've heard several people complain that Emma "abandoned" Henry or that she did exactly what she thought her parents did to her, but then I realized: Emma was actually keeping Henry out of the foster care system. She was in prison at the time of his birth and he would have been taken into foster care after he was born. It would have been hard for her to get him out of the foster system once she was released, and even if she had, she couldn't provide a very stable home for him. So she put him up for adoption, knowing his chances for a healthy, normal childhood would be much, much higher.
  • In "The Cricket Game", Emma notes that someone has been framed for murder in Storybrooke before, which is part of what leads them to Gold. It also foreshadows the fact that, just like last time, the victim is merely kidnapped.
  • Lots of characters like to wear leather in the series. It makes a lot of sense in that they would have worn boiled leather armor in the Enchanted Forest (or in Emma's case, that clothing preference in the Enchanted Forest is probably In the Blood). August/Pinnochio is no fighter but also wears leather even though he drives a motorcycle. This could also represent him wearing skin as opposed to wood. His hairstyle, leather jacket, and motorcycle also cast him as a "bad boy." It's because, as he tells Henry later, he failed to be a good boy.
  • Grace's name seemed random to me until I remembered it was Grace Potter & the Nocturnals that covered the Jefferson Airplane song White Rabbit for Alice in Wonderland in 2010. Or... potentially... Glace Slick of Jefferson Airplane who sang the song? The band name is also where Jefferson got his name from.
  • It's VERY possible that the Seer and Rumpel mixed Henry up with Peter Pan. Rumpel and Bae officially reconcile during their fight against Pan when Pan had kidnapped Henry, and the Dark One cycle is broken when Rumpel and Pan die together, thus Pan caused the Dark One's undoing. Where was Pan right before his and Rumpel's last moments? In Henry's body.
  • Regina intentionally killed her father by pulling out his heart. She accidentally killed her mother by putting back in her heart.
  • Crosses over with Running Gag but it seems like Snow and her daughter sure like to crash into/run into their love interests a lot. See "Manhattan" for Emma's version.
  • Why Henry I dotes on Regina and patiently listens to his daughter's every rant: since neither his wife or his father loved him, at least he could show his daughter love and it's clear that Regina loved her father in return.
  • Everyone calls Graham "The Huntsman" because, being raised by wolves, he was never given a name.
  • August never actually lies to Mr. Gold about being Baelfire. He's said he's been looking for his father and recently found him again, and that their separation was difficult. These things are all true, they're just are not about Mr. Gold. Likewise, he calls him Papa because Mr. Gold is a Papa, he's just not his one! He was drowning out Gold and imagining the reunion with his own father the whole time. THAT is why he was so effective at acting that he fooled Gold!
  • Rumpel wanting first borns. Okay, sure, there's the obvious Baelfire angle but he's smart enough and emotionally connected enough to Bae to understand that any old child would not really accomplish much. What he was really after is control. That is, by having a child from birth, he can also manipulate them from birth in order to achieve his end goal. He can arrange for love and marriage, ensure their safety, draw them into danger only to save them, and otherwise use them. And he can do so without magic (at least, not directly) which he is well aware can be rather volatile.
  • Ruby being initially a scantily clad woman who attracts all eyes upon to her. There's a level of animal magnetism involved, sure, but also consider her FTW persona as well as her persona post-Cure. As a werewolf and particularly as this demure (relatively speaking) woman who mostly just wanted to avoid attention to herself/avoid getting close to people (afraid of harming them as a wolf/afraid of others wanting to harm her for being a wolf), what would be more miserable (other aspects of her Storybrooke history aside) than being in a position where everyone is constantly paying attention to you.
  • Charming's real name being David: At first glance, it's just a throwaway line, but when you look closely, you realize it was actually a Brick Joke. Recall the opening line from his speech to the townspeople in We Are Both: "David, Storybrooke David was - is weak, confused, and he hurt the woman I love." Later in the speech, he also says "that David reminds me not only of whom I lost, but who I want to be." Did you hear it? In both of those sentences, Charming was drawing a distinction between Storybrooke David and another David. Props to the writers for the clever Foreshadowing.
  • Gold's distaste for nuns in the Season 1 episode "Dreamy" makes a lot more sense after "The Return": The leader of the nuns is the Blue Fairy and Rumpel blames her for separating him from his son.
  • Why is Emma's ability to detect lies apparently disappearing? According to Word of God, her ability is unreliable when she is emotionally involved. Towards the beginning of the series, Emma has virtually no emotional ties to anyone or anything, meaning that this is when her ability is the most effective. But Character Development gets her to care about her son, her family, and her town. Pretty soon, nearly every problem she encounters is one that she is emotionally invested in, making her ability weaker.
  • The writers all but literally beat the audience over the head with the fact that Bae and Belle bring out Rumpel's lost humanity and while he does have a number of sympathetic and heart breaking moments with them, episodes involving them are also the ones where he acts the most violent, unstable and downright scary. Fridge Brilliance: who ever said human nature was all butterflies and rainbows? Becoming more human would naturally bring out his worst side as well as his best.
  • How did Gold get Regina's tears? Her mother died in his shop. They were probably really easy to get.
  • When Emma told (actually lied to) Henry about his father, she said that he was a fireman. The next season we find out that Henry's father is actually Baelfire, which she didn't even know at the time herself. Not the biggest bit of brilliance, but I thought it was pretty neat, and now I'm wondering if the writers made him a fireman in her lie on purpose as a subtle, sneaky hint...
  • We know what's Rumpelstiltskin's name in the Fairy Tale World, but we have yet to know Gold's first name in the Land Without Magic. Why? He never tells anyone, because, when you know someone's name, you have power over them.
  • In the pilot, when Emma makes her birthday wish with the cupcake, the candle she used was shaped like a star. She wished "upon a star".
  • Storybrooke itself looks off in a lot of ways. The architecture is more Pacific Northwest than New England, an awful lot of '70s cars are pretty cherry after 30-plus Maine winters, even things like the elementary school having uniforms. Clearly Regina didn't spend a lot of time sweating the details before casting her spell.
  • Emma is the Ugly Duckling. The first clue is her name, Swan. Then there's her back story. She grew up an orphan, implied to be abused and rejected to an extent we don't know, and by at least 17 she was a criminal. Anyone who knew her probably thought she wouldn't amount to much. But throughout the series she finds her family, her home, and accomplishes many great achievements. As the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who were to be king and queen of their kingdom, she's also The Swan Princess.
  • Rumple and Milah:
    • After seeing Rumple's father abandon him to pursue his own dreams and desires, is it any wonder he was so truly pissed at Milah for doing the exact same thing?
    • Also, while he's angry about her abandoning Bae, much of that is also his own self loathing being projected onto her, since he abandoned Bae as well. The real thing that triggers him killing Milah is her saying "I never loved you"...just like his father never loved him. That is what gets Rumple to snap.
    • Earlier in the episode, Milah has a Pet the Dog moment where she tries to salvage her relationship with Rumple by suggesting that they take Bae and go somewhere far away where nobody knows them and make a new start. Rumple botches things by refusing, but now we know why: that's the exact same offer that he made to his father...and look where that got them!
    • Milah declares "I never loved you!" But in "Manhattan", we see that she clearly did love Rumple before he returned from the Ogre Wars, so this is confusing at first. But think about what she's saying to Rumple in "Manhattan" in both her scenes: when she was loving toward him, she encouraged him and told him he wasn't a coward like his father. But after he came back, she turned on him and said the opposite. It's because to her, he wasn't the man she thought he was. She fell in love with a man who she was convinced wasn't like his father, and being apparently disproven in this notion has made Milah believe Rumple was fooling her all along. That the man she loved was a facade and the true Rumple was, in fact, the same kind of self-centered coward his father was. And in that light, she never loved Rumple, never loved what she believed was "the true Rumple", she had only loved a "false Rumple". That this isn't actually true (the Rumple she fell for was sincere and only fled the Ogre Wars due to the Seer's prophecy about him leaving Baelfire fatherless) just makes it all the more tragic.
  • William Smee becomes Hook's right-hand man rather quickly despite being the newest addition to his crew. Then it is revealed that Hook's crew is mainly composed of sailors who've mostly never experienced the criminal life while Smee is a already a well-known, seasoned thief. He won Hook's favour out of experience.
  • Coupled with the Fridge Horror below, Parental Abandonment is one of the keystones of the plot, and as mentioned below, there were 4 generations of it over the course of the show. However, the brilliance comes in when you consider why the Charming Family motto is so important (and it can be borrowed so many times by others. Heck, Rumple used it after his accidental abandonment). "I will always find you" is the promise made that no matter what happens, no matter how bad or how far you're separated from those you care about, the will to find them and hold onto them is what allows you to Earn Your Happy Ending. It's an acceptance of the bad times, and a promise to yourself that good times will return.
  • Of all the people she could have left her removed heart with (Emma, Snow, Charming, all capable fighters in their own right), why did Regina pick Robin Hood? Because she'd been told he was her True Love: Who better to give your heart to than your True Love?

    Fridge Horror 
  • Cora manipulated Snow into betraying Regina. Snow manipulated Regina into betraying Cora. The only person who got screwed in both of those instances is Regina. Compounded by the fact that in both instances, the betrayal stemmed from Regina putting her trust in Snow. History repeated itself with a few details switched around, and considering putting her trust in Snow has failed spectacularly both times for her, will Regina ever be able to trust her step-daughter ever again?
  • Jiminy was told by the Blue Fairy that he would live for as long as he needed in order to help Geppetto. What happens when Gepetto dies, does he die too? Though note that Jiminy probably already knows this, and has accepted it as his punishment. As Gepetto tells him, his debt to him can never truly be repaid in life.
  • Speaking of Geppetto, his becoming a toymaker/puppeteer who wishes his toys could have life has taken a SERIOUSLY darker Freudian meaning—he was wishing for his parents to turn back into people.
  • The town has been frozen in time, which means that Cinderella has been pregnant for 28 years.
  • Henry grew up in Storybrooke. Presumably, he grew up normally... while everyone else was frozen in time, not aging. Including the other children in town (the Hatter's daughter, Hansel and Gretel, etc). He'd have different classmates every year because he'd get older and they wouldn't...that very well could have triggered the kid's BS detector and tipped him off to how strange that place really is. Not to mention that since Henry is the only person aging there, what would have happened if the Queen's plan actually continued for all eternity? And how exactly would Regina explain why Henry's aging and no one else is, and what would happen if Henry shares this fact with the world? Confirmed by Word of God as of the Paleyfest 2012 Once Upon A Time panel discussion.
  • Think of where Evil Queen Regina keeps the Magic Mirror/Sydney. He most likely would have witnessed her repeatedly raping the Huntsman. Of course, knowing him, he'd likely be more jealous than horrified.
  • That book of Henry's probably isn't subject to Disneyfication. That kid probably learned more than he ever wanted to about his adopted mama, including the part about keeping the Huntsman as a Sex Slave. (Though it seems that part went over Henry's head). The only thing the book did not include was the Evil Queen's exact origins.
  • Belle has been imprisoned in a psych ward for up to 28 years.
  • In a combination of horror & brilliance, the curse is most focused on making Snow White miserable. So no wonder everyone is ganging up on her alone for the affair- it's what will make her most miserable. And it seems to be working...
  • Red having Granny as her only living relative. We hear that Red's mother was the 2nd Big Bad Wolf. We can only guess what might have happened to her father...
  • Granny was bitten by the first Wolf when she was young, and the more you really think about it, there's only one way that Granny had a daughter at all. According to Jane Espenson, who wrote the episode, Granny was actually married to the werewolf that was Red's grandfather. In Jane's mind, at least. As many viewers have pointed out, that doesn't make it any less creepy. He stalked, marked, and turned a child whom he later married. Do you really think he turned her for kicks and then just happened to fall for her when she got older?
  • Snow's relationship with Regina. Imagine as a child you are saved by a kind and gentle person who you really like and connect with. And then, over time, due to something you know nothing about, you watch said person become horrible and terrible and hate you and nothing you do seems to fix things. That has to be kind of painful as a child and a person. And then later, we learn that initially, Regina told Snow that Daniel had run away to spare Snow's feelings. It's clear that at that point in time, she still had some decency in her and wanted to protect Snow. But by the time we (and Snow) learn of this, Regina's past the point of no return.
  • Regina has been working to make Mary Margaret's life a living hell. So, framing her for murder is just cinching things, as far as Regina is concerned. This leads to some big Fridge Horror for Mary Margaret herself, when Regina practically tells her that yes, she is actively trying to frame Mary Margaret for murder, and that Mary "deserves it". Topping this off is the fact that Mary Margaret remembers nothing of her life as Snow White, so couldn't even begin to guess what Regina would be holding such a deep grudge for.
  • In universe horror for Emma during the season finale: Regina tells her that Mr. Gold is Rumpelstiltskin. Emma has read Henry's book enough to know who Rumpel is as far as fairy tales go, and she's made a deal with Gold in the past.
  • With the curse removed (at least, to the extent that everyone has their old memories back), Grace presumably finally remembers everything and gets to be with her father, Jefferson. Awww, a happy ending for the both of them. But wait, Grace has been raised by another family this whole time. I can't imagine what it would be like for any of them involved: for Grace to realize that she's been kept from her father this whole time and raised by people that aren't her real parents; for her Storybrooke parents to realize that Grace isn't their daughter; and for Jefferson to finally get to see his daughter again, except with tons of memories of a fake family. I imagine that it would be hard for Grace to leave her Storybrooke parents for her real father, and it'll be just as hard for them to lose someone they thought was their daughter, even if they have their real memories back. Though we also don't know who her new family is. Perhaps the family is the ones who took her in after her father vanished into Wonderland and couldn't get out. She may still be angry with Jefferson about breaking his promise and leaving her.
  • Regina's addiction to magic. Before Regina learned magic she was an emotionally abused girl tormented and imprisoned by her own mother. Magic allowed her to get rid of her mother. Afterwards, she found for the first time in her life she was free by means of magic. Her use of magic isn't that it corrupted her so much as she sees it as a means to stay in control of her life. She's paranoid that without magic she'll have nothing again. She's not so much a wicked witch but an uber-control freak. It's essentially an allegory for parental abuse. Without magic, she's worried she'll be trapped and helpless. That she'll be a victim. Even worse, the means by which Cora abused Regina was magic. The allegory for parental abuse being a vicious cycle is all the more stifling.
  • Emma told Cora about Henry. Cora, Regina's mother who murdered Daniel and screwed up her daughter so badly she became the Evil Queen, and who Regina must have seriously pissed off when she shoved her into a magic mirror, knows about Henry. If Daniel is a weakness, what does that make Henry? An heir. Considering Cora's treatment of Regina...and as explained elsewhere, he's first in line to inherit both George and Leopold's kingdoms and titles. This makes him not just an heir... but THE heir. Cora can skip right past Regina, Snow, Charming, and Emma and go straight for Henry. He's The Target.
  • One that goes in the meta-fiction or Crack Fic category. When Charming was addressing the confused and terrified townsfolk in "We Are Both", he started making suggestions of how they could fuse their identities, including "writing software" if they wished. Considering Henry's game of choice, writing software in Storybrooke would probably be a bad idea.
  • Rumpelstiltskin spent at least thirty years creating an abused child because he needed someone very powerful but damaged and broken enough to be willing to enact his curse. He gave Cora the power, allowing her to abuse Regina, gave Regina power and corrupted her as much as he could, then gave her the curse and explained exactly how to use it. In other words, Regina's entire life, just like Emma's, has been completely controlled by Rumpelstiltskin's plan - both of their lives were carefully shaped by him so they would fit what he needed them to do in his plan to get his son back. There's just something extremely disturbing and dark about someone deliberately setting up a child to be abused and damaged, especially considering he's a parent himself.
    • Made even worse when you find out that she wasn't his only apprentice. And, really, he never groomed anyone to enact his curse. He has just been looking for broken people and guiding them towards his goal. If you seem to suit his needs, he keeps working with you. If you don't, he drops you.
  • Consider the ramifications of Moe's plan to mind-wipe Belle. Her Storybrooke persona is virtually non-existent, consisting of nothing more than being a shy, mentally ill girl locked in a cell for twenty-eight years. If the plan had worked, she would have woken up handcuffed in a mine cart, totally amnesiac and with a complete lack of functional twenty-first century skills. Only the fact that Rumpel would take care of her regardless lessens that potential fate. Though there'd be very little stopping him from making Moe... suffer.
  • In "The Cricket Game", Cora killed someone and made the body look like Jiminy's. So who did she kill?
  • Archie's now safe and sound. There's no reason in the protagonists' minds to continue investigating. Someone in Storybrooke is probably going to have to spend the rest of their life wondering what happened to their loved one, assuming they were even able to find each other after the Curse broke. However, now that they know Archie is alive, maybe they'll start wondering who they buried and look into it a bit.
  • Dr. Whale/Frankenstein told Ruby/Red that his brother was still in his land. That means that Whale kept his brother alive in secret for years (since only a little while after Regina married King Leopold), and that either his brother has been locked away in secret and utterly alone for the past 28 years, or he's been on a homicidal rampage throughout his land. Remember how David was after a few days? Twenty-eight years. Though as far as we know, Frankenstein's assistant Igor wasn't affected by the curse so it could be that he's been taking care of Gerhardt.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Dr. Whale wanted to help save lives in saving Greg. It almost does the opposite.
  • With Regina's curse allowing her to pull Whale from his land, his land's state for the past 28 years is in question - has it, too, been frozen in time, or not?
  • If Cora has impersonated the Blue Fairy before, what if some of the things the Blue Fairy has done was really of Cora's doing?
  • "Do you remember turning a butcher into a pig ... It was his father." Given the family trade, it's likely the son then proceeded to unknowingly cook and eat his own father. No wonder the poor chap's so mad at Rumpel.
  • Whenever Rumpel's spinning gold, he's imagining ripping out the throat of the man who made him kiss his boot. Now think about how much this guy spins - that's a lot of bottled up anger.
  • Rumpel's immediate accusation of Cora never loving him is harsh enough on its own, but then you remember that Milah told him the same thing. He probably immediately thought of that when Cora told him she wasn't going with him. Both these experiences explain his Freak Out when Belle first kisses him, and his insistence that "no-one could EVER love me!" It runs even deeper than romance when you learn his father never truly loved him. Due to this and all the self loathing issues that piled on, Rumpel considers himself unfit for ANY love.
  • Cora didn't originally want to become the Dark One, she only decided to kill Rumpel because he was dying anyway. If she'd gotten her way she would have forced him to kill Snow, Emma aka the mother of his grandson, Charming aka the closest thing he has to a friend and in all probability given Henry's parentage he would probably have been forced to kill his own child who he just spent 300 years looking for. Not to mention the rest of the town. Then, given that he was 'the only man she ever loved', it's possible she would have ended up doing to him what Regina did to Graham.
  • If Snow ever pulls a full-blown Face-Heel Turn, everyone else had better watch out. Because with the numerous people on the show who have been running around trying to get their revenge, she actually succeeded. By succeeding in taking her revenge, she actually helped Cora succeed in her revenge on Queen Eva. Cora had promised Eva - er, Eva's corpse, that she would corrupt Eva's daughter and thus corrupt her legacy, wiping out her light forever. And seeing as Snow's desires for vengeance against Cora for her actions darkened her light heart, this is exactly what happened. The part that's cruelly ironic for Cora is that her success in this directly led to the failure to become the Dark One and have ultimate power - and to the end of her life. In taking a twisted revenge, Cora brought upon her own demise.
  • Assuming that Sidney is Aladdin's Genie, why wasn't he freed before meeting King Leopold? Did Aladdin die before he could free the Genie with his third wish? Was the Genie freed and then imprisoned again? Was Aladdin just another jerk who used his wishes for himself? Or maybe the "Jafar" of the series stole the lamp and it was lost in the sea during a struggle? None of these possibilities are very appealing.
  • Belle always brought out the best in Gold, and continued to even when she didn't remember who she was. Lacey, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Instead of inspiring good, she's encouraging Gold's dark side.
  • This is an issue for pretty much everyone in Storybrooke, but most notably with Lacey: Regina has essentially been committing rape-by-proxy on everyone for twenty-eight years. Think about it for a second. David and Kathryn were having sex, something neither Abigail nor Charming would have chosen. Presumably there were a number of other such pairs, and now Lacey is going around sleeping with people (it's implied) whom Belle would never have even considered.
  • Tamara is in a world-class ball of hurt once word gets to Rumpel. This is a guy that makes most Knight Templar Parents look reasonable and well-mannered. Tamara cost him his boy again. Tamara lied about loving his son from day one to try and destroy magic. And Rumpel got burned by both Milah and Cora, so having a faithless woman pull one over on his boy? That's not going to go over too well. Worse, Regina decided to Mind Rape and twist Rumpel's last remaining Morality Chain. And unlike Regina, Rumpel is patient and might not even need magic, considering how good he is with the Xanatos Speed Chess. Tamara might as well have a will made out and spare herself the trouble. And then she went beyond messing with Bae/Neal's heart and shot him before letting him go through a portal. Now that everyone thinks he's dead, there is nowhere that Tamara can hide and nothing that she can do to keep Rumpel from making her suffer.
    • As of the first episode of S3, Rumpel tore out her heart and crushed it. It really makes you think when you realize that was most likely him showing restraint due to being mellowed by Belle. Otherwise, he would have killed her in a more more painful manner. That it's the same fate he gave to someone he used to love (Milah) indicates it's the mildest way he could possibly kill her.
  • In "True North", the Queen mentions that Hansel and Gretel are not the first children that she sent to the Blind Witch's house, but they are the first to have managed to get out of the house alive. The floor at the Blind Witch's house is full of bones. How many children did the Queen send into that house just to get the apple back?
  • Rumpelstiltskin's joke: "Congratulations on your little war," (where the last word sounds very much like the one meaning "a woman who sells herself") comes back to haunt him when Regina makes him believe the lie that Belle's father tried to purify her by tormenting her, and ended up killing her.
  • This is kind of Fridge Sadness, but what must have happened in between turning pirate and meeting Milah that turned wide-eyed young Lieutenant Jones into the man who would taunt Rumpelstiltskin about his wife being a 'companion' for a shipful of pirates? Turning pirate alone wouldn't do it, not with Killian's reasons for doing so, which suggests there was something deeper and nastier at work there that blackened his heart. In "Good Form", Pan mentions Jones having had worked for him before. Also, at the end of the backstory, Jones vows he'll never go back to Neverland. Yet he's perfectly eager to go there in the backstory shown in "The Crocodile." It's possible that before meeting Milah, he did go back, and that corrupted him.
  • So... that moment when Ursula warns Regina about pretending to be her ever again? Where her tentacles come through the mirror and wrap around her? It looks a lot like what Cora used to do with the tree branches. And, by the look on Regina's face, she's thinking just that. The chances of Ursula not doing that intentionally, to intentionally flash her back? Yeah...
  • After learning how much Malcolm, the man who became Pan, resented his child since the day said child was born, it becomes easy to imagine what his "lovely thoughts" would be when he thought them before going to Neverland with his son - A life without the son, free from the responsibilities of adulthood and parenthood.
  • No one is going to dispute that ripping through her bonds and dropping Pan wasn't a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Regina. However, think about what she said and just proved. She regrets none of the horrible things she did up to the point of getting Henry because they led to her getting Henry. She doesn't regret murdering her father. She doesn't regret cursing the town. She doesn't regret trying to murder her stepdaughter and all her friends. She didn't regret slaughtering and terrorizing her way through entire villages or running away when she had a chance to love again. She did not regret sending dozens of children (younger than her boy is now) to their death at the hands of the Blind Witch to get that apple. Or trapping the Flynns and murdering Kurt. She might and probably does regret the things she did following getting Henry, but even then she's able to push them out of sight and out of mind, for better or for worse.
  • When re-casting the Dark Curse requires Peter Pan to sacrifice the heart of the thing he loves most, Felix suggests it might be Pan's son, Rumpelstiltskin. Pan casually responds with "Nah. I never loved Rumpel." This is of course a simplification of how he really feels about his son, which is actually MUCH nastier and more twisted. Then he proceeds to tell Felix that there are different kinds of love beyond romantic or familial love. Love born of loyalty is one of them, indicating that he loves how Felix is such an unconditionally loyal follower of him. So he kills Felix, throws his heart into the well...and it works. The curse is cast. If Felix truly was the thing he loved most, that means he loved and cherished a loyal minion more than he ever did his own son. That's how little he values Rumpel.
  • Three episodes ago, Pan told Rumpel he DID care for him and made him the offer to join him rather than seal him in Pandora's box. At the time, people wondered if he was sincere or if it was another con like with Henry. In "Going Home", it is proven to be the latter. Pan was running out of time back then and his power was weakening, he needed to distract Rumpel long enough to make the box switch. His line of "put down that box and you'll see (just how much I care)" and his smirk after trapping Rumpel while saying "the choice was your's" hint that he would have sealed Rumpel in anyway had he accepted his offer. But now, Pan is on the cusp of victory: he's cast the curse already and he sees that he's been slapped with an anti-magic cuff he knows can't work on him. Unlike last time, Pan has nothing to lose...which means that what he tells Rumpel now is his actual sincere feelings: he always resented his son and just wants to be rid of him.
  • So, when Tinkerbell destroys the shadow, Blue comes back to life. Does that mean that Greg Mendel (whose body had decomposed, according to Tink) woke up in the middle of Neverland, all alone with nothing but his girlfriend's corpse and no way of getting home? Damn, let's hope for his sake that he just stayed dead.
  • Wendy Darling, never aging beyond being a young girl, is shown to spend her extensive time in Neverland in a small cage. She is a hostage by a group of wild boys with no moral authority figures, the leader of which is revealed as a rejuvenated adult man without any morals whatsoever. Some of the Lost Boys, and especially Pan himself are teenagers biologically, which means they have a sex drive. And apart from Tinkerbell, who avoided them, Wendy is the only female around, looks gorgeous, and she happens to live in a cage... how do you think she spent most of her very, very long time there?
  • Many tropers/fans think Rumpel tricked Regina into killing her father for the curse as revenge for his own rejection by her mother (and Cora's breaking of the deal to have a child with him) - he looked very pleased when he mocked Regina after she'd done the deed PLUS he's been personally training her for years and we've seen him manipulate/play her countless times, he's obviously got a good handle on how she operates to the point where he's been manipulating her pre and post-curse rather easily.
  • The show has a series of childhood abandonments that have escalated the plot - Peter Pan abandoned Rumpel, who grew up to be a sad, dejected man who leaned on magic so heavily and the power it gave him that he ended up abandoning his son Baelfire - and through the need for a curse to return to the Bae's land, he lead Regina into casting her curse, which made the Charmings send Emma away, which led to her having an unstable childhood and giving up Henry... that's four cases in that one family, alone.
  • Rumpelstiltskin's resurrection was only made possible because his son Neal sacrificed his life to bring him back. Rumpel died in the first place to save his family from Peter Pan. A father died so that his son could live and get a happy ending in the form of Emma and Henry. Now that was horribly undone because said son was tricked into sacrificing his life to bring said father back from the dead. Rumpel has to live the rest of his life knowing he owes every breath to his son's sacrifice. His efforts to give his son a happy ending were in vain and worse yet it was the catalyst for Neal's tragic demise. Even when Rumpel tries to make a selfless deed it goes horribly wrong.
  • Emma, Charming, Hook and Regina are fighting the flying monkeys and actually killing them. It looks like typical fight with mindless Always Chaotic Evil creatures, so we are not supposed to worry about that. But fridge horror comes, when you realise, that these are people turned into flying monkeys by Zelena.
  • Robin Hood just found out that his Second Love is his wife's killer. Worse, Marian appears to be a case of But for Me, It Was Tuesday for Regina.
  • So when Regina cast the dark curse, it wrecked most of the enchanted forest, and only Cora's defensive spell prevented its total destruction. She also said that she "brought who she wanted", hence how Jefferson and Whale were in storybrooke. So if that's the case, what happened to their worlds? The world without color hasn't been seen at all, and while Once Upon a Time in Wonderland seems to take place after the dark curse, you still have to wonder how Regina's vengeance might have ruined not just one, but three worlds.
  • 4x03 episode "Rocky Road" and the 4x04 promo are full of Fridge Horror to me, most involve Elsa.
  • Also in 4x03, Regina suggests the code name "Operation Mongoose" to Henry. Now we all know that Emma and Henry had "Operation Cobra". With a quick little Google search, one can find out that Mongooses are pretty much the only animals able to kill a cobra.

    Fridge Logic 
On the Headscratchers page.

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