Season 1, Episode 1
The Queen has created a powerful curse, and it's coming. Soon you'll all be in a prison, just like me, only worse. For your prison, all of our prisons, will be time. For time will stop and we will be trapped someplace horrible where everything we hold dear, everything we love, will be ripped from us while we suffer for all eternity, while the Queen celebrates victorious at last...No more happy endings.
Mary Margaret: Look, I gave the book to him because I want Henry to have the most important thing anyone can have: hope. Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing.
Emma Swan is reunited with Henry - the son she gave up for adoption ten years ago - on the night of her 28th birthday and is drawn to the New England town of Storybrooke - a place where every classic character is trapped under the influence of a curse enacted by the Evil Queen. With memories of the past returning and Henry's adoptive mother Regina Mills threatening to keep Henry away from her Emma will have to accept her destiny and uncover the mystery behind a place where fairytales are to be believed.
- Action Girl: Snow White is immediately hinted to be this. Emma as well, even in that dress.
- Adorably Precocious Child: How Henry appears to most viewers, with his little badass bookworm look, his optimistic boldness, and his vulnerability.
- Batman Cold Open: Emma's fake date doesn't have other purpose than showing her badassness.
- And her ability to spot a liar.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Snow White looks perfectly sweet. Until the queen tries to ruin her wedding.
- Call Back: An unusually brief one to cement the link between the real world and the Enchanted Forest. Archie tells Henry that giving into his dark side is always a bad idea, and then Jiminy Cricket says the same thing to Charming.
- Creepy Child: Henry can be a bit creepy in this episode, especially since if you're new coming into the series; his utter confidence in the curse can be rather unsettling. However, he manages to be cute and vulnerable enough for you to like him and root for him.
- Deadpan Snarker: How Emma appears for most of the episode.
- Emotionless Girl: Emma, untill her penultimate scene.
- Establishing Character Moment: Emma gets two. The first is when she knocks out a fugitive by slamming his head against his steering wheel. The second is when she's alone in her apartment, blowing out the candle on her birthday cupcake.
- Foreshadowing: A Wolf stopped Emma from leaving Storybrooke. As we learn later, there are no wolves in maine.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: The Queen seemed to be this before becoming mayor and getting Henry, although the writers try to put it to doubt. Rumplestiltskin seemed at least to acknowledge the horrors of the curse.
- The Idealist: Charming compared to Snow White, who is still an idealist.
- Lady in Red: In addition to her usual red leather jacket, Emma opens the show in a smokin' magenta dress.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Emma doesn't believe Henry at all and is about to leave town. Then Regina gets so over-the-top in threatening her if she tries to steal Henry (which, again, wouldn't have been a problem anyway) that she decides whatever's going on in Storybrooke is worth looking into.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Emma gives one to her "date".
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Or it would have, if not for Regina's smokey misty dematerializing thing.
- True Love's Kiss
- Women Are Wiser: Averted. Snow White Hot-Blooded -ly tries to attack the Queen, while Prince Charming tries to talk things out, before trying a surprise attack, which fails.