These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Any Peter Pan/Wendy shippers who were still left after it was revealed Pan enslaved Wendy and kept her locked in a cage for untold years, promptly threw up their hands and gave up when it was revealed that Pan is Rumpelstiltskin's father, de-aged.
Speaking of Pan, a surprising number of people shipped him with Henry, despite Henry being 11 and Pan being biologically 18 and chronologically hundreds of years old, but even of those who weren't deterred by age, most abandoned ship when it was revealed Pan was his great-grandfather.
Accidental Innuendo: "I want to see your hook inside his body". Given that fans had already picked up on the Ho Yay between Hook and Charming, this was the worst thing Pan could have possibly said.
Alas, Poor Scrappy: Milah is a real piece of work but her death in her lover's arms was rather sad.
Several fans had this reaction to the deaths of Greg and Tamara in Season 3, Episode 1. Greg's life already made him The Woobie, and his unceremonious death gave him even more sympathy points. With Tamara, she had just realized that she'd been duped and was acting genuinely remorseful about the things she had done, so she may have gotten a second chance if she'd been allowed to live. She also goes out of her way to protect Henry from the Lost Boys before she dies.
Regina and her relationship with Henry: is he right that she's just pretending to love him for show, or does she honestly care about him as much as she's able to with the void the curse caused in her heart? From the last episodes of the first season, Emma's Living Lie Detector hasn't worked actively in all cases, and the finale reveals she genuinely loves Henry, albeit not in a particularly healthy way. Alternatively, Regina genuinely loves Henry, but not as much because he's Henry, as for how he has the capacity to make her feel loved, wanted and appreciated. Her actions in Welcome To Storybrooke and Save Henry speak to this theory.
Regina herself. Self-centered murderer who blames Snow and everyone around her for her troubles? Or originally kind girl driven to Evil by Snow not only getting her happy ending, but constantly proclaiming the power and love conquering all and good always winning, while she indirectly ruined Regina's chance at said happy ending?
Rumplestiltskin alleges Cinderella's Fairy Godmother is actually evil as she wasn't going to mention the Equivalent Exchange part of magic in the Enchanted Forest.
The Blue Fairy, related to the above.
Is Rumplestiltskin just pissy about not being the only one granting wishes and that she gave his son the magic bean that separated them, or is the Blue Fairy not telling people everything? She is profiting off the slave labor of the dwarves...on the other hand, Jiminy was perfectly fine with trading his humanity to aid Gepetto in order to get away from a life of crime. Yes, magic comes with a price, but the fairies might actually be more willing to ask for a sacrifice that the recipient can live with.
Her treatment of Nova and Dreamy is also suspect. Dreamy doesn't enjoy mining and all the other Dwarves think he's insane for wanting to leave, while Nova is incompetent at her job and the Blue Fairy herself admitted she's not going to be a Fairy Godmother anytime soon. Why exactly would it be so bad to cut them lose and let them be together? Or does she believe that the tenets of True Love only applies to humans?. Also telling Rumple about the Curse, and not doing anything about it.
Her treatment of Tinkerbell was even worse. Tink found someone who was surrounded by darkness and may have been redeemable at that point (Regina wasn't slaughtering villages or murdering husbands or trying to kill Snow yet althougt she already killed Rumple's previous student, she was just bitter and practicing dark magic under Rumple), who could have desperately used a fairy's help to dig her out. But what does Big Blue do? "Nope! Don't even bother to try!" and strip Tink of her wings and magic, then exiling her without any means of defending herself. Seriously, what the hell Blue Fairy?!
There's also the fact that she's responsible for everything bad that's happened since Baelfire went through the portal. She may not have known that the giants were still growing magic beans, but if she had told Rumpelstiltskin about the magic tree right off the bat, everything could have been avoided.
Fans speculate the Dark Curse creates alternate versions of the Enchanted Forest's inhabitants. As for the Storybrookers themselves...
Kathryn: Really someone who wants David back, or is more interested in the trappings of marriage than the man himself? She wants her husband and their kids someday but it's clear the person with her is more interested in fulfilling his obligations than 'her', but is she so guilt-ridden about their earlier tragedy she ignores it?
Giving Henry his best chance by sticking around, or a lonely woman who is clinging to the closest thing she has ever had for family?
Complete hypocrite who whines about being given up at birth even after finding out her parents had no real choice, yet gave up Henry for the the same reason. Or a woman with a dark past and horrendous abandonment issues, who selflessly tried to give her son a chance at a better life... despite how much it hurt her.
David and M.M.'s affair: True love, the most powerful magic (directly stated by Rumplestiltskin) logically overcoming the Dark Curse? A deconstruction of how harmful all-consuming passion and fairy tale fancies are in Real Life? Or two weak-willed adults refusing to act emotionally mature or responsible?
In the Enchanted Forest, there's the ring Ruth, Charming's mother, gave to him when he left home. It guarantees that he'll find true love. You can watch him fall for Snow when he's not fast enough to stop her from putting it on, and she only considers him romantically after doing so. So if she hadn't put it on, would they have still fallen in love, or is their true love the result of permanent brainwashing by his mom's ring?
Rumplestiltskin's wife, Milah: Self-empowered woman who escaped a confining marriage to a weakling coward to embrace true love and a life of adventure and exploration? Or self-centered bitch who abandoned a loving family to pursue her own selfish whims and ultimately got her comeuppance? Milah herself acknowledged the latter when Rumple confronts her after becoming the dark one.
Also Snow's mother, Queen Eva: A kind, benevolent woman who grew out of her phase of being a Rich Bitch who looked down on peasants and wanted to teach her daughter to not be like that at an earlier age, or a full on Bitch in Sheep's Clothing just trying to cover her tracks and look perfect in front of her child, husband, and subjects? The former is more credible, but there are some who actually believe the latter to be true.
August/Pinocchio. Manipulative Jerkass who is only breaking the curse because he's turning into wood or a man who was given a massive responsibility as a kid that he wasn't ready for and is now trying to fix his mistakes? The latter gets some weight to it when Gepetto, his own father, says as much and that August is shown to be willing to die if it means making up for his mistakes in the process (even as he fully turns to wood in the Season 1 finale, he still begs Emma to break the curse and free the residents of Storybrooke from it, with no knowledge as to whether or not that will revive him)
Granny: Is she a Memetic Badass who brought her grand-daughter up with good intentions, or an incredibly foolish, destructively self-hating woman who came close to ruining Red's life by not telling her she was a werewolf or teaching her how to retain sentience in wolf form.
Anticlimax Boss: The Blind Witch is billed as a vicious cannibal and powerful witch, but she's barely onscreen for ten minutes before the children/Evil Queen cook her. They even skip over the whole "Gretel is a slave and the witch fattens up Hansel."
The Dragon in "Selfless, Brave and True". He looks ready to go One-Winged Angel on Tamara, but she takes him out mid-transformation.
Subverted with Peter Pan in "Save Henry". He goes down surprisingly easily twice, and both times it turns out that he isn't finished after all.
Arc Fatigue: Some fans feel this way about the Neverland arc at the beginning of season 3. While most like Peter Pan as a villain, some people tired of it quickly since it was essentially the same scenery every single episode, and because the arc is more of a Character Study than plot-based, the action moves at a very slow pace through 9 whole episodes when it really could have taken half that long with less character-based detours. In any case, the cast finally returns to Storybrooke in the 10th episode of the season, so it's not as bad an example as it could have been.
Author's Saving Throw: Toward the end of season 2, the crew got a lot of grief over Greg and Tamara's "anti-magic" gear, especially Tamara's taser. The season 3 premiere patches this up by revealing that unbeknownst to them, it all worked due to Peter Pan's magic.
Neal and especially his relationship with Emma. In a rare subversion of Die for Our Ship, the character isn't just hated just because he's in a Love Triangle, but because of his actions in the backstory (such as agreeing to August's plan to let Emma go to jail), which, some feel, weren't properly acknowledged enough in late season two. It was, however, acknowledged some in early Season Three. Emma admits that the memories are too painful to the point that she wished Neal hadn't been found alive. That being said, he does have fans who defend him... just as enthusiastically as his haters bash him.
Belle was an Ensemble Darkhorse during season one... yet became much more controversial in season two, particularly due to an Amnesiac Lover storyline that didn't really go anywhere, and a lot of fans turned their backs on her and the Rumbelle ship, although it's still quite popular.
Broken Base: Season 2 turned the already passionate fandom into a snake pit full of hissing vipers. Regina fans, Regina haters (often The Charmings fans or Rumple fans), Rumbelle shippers, people who feel Rumbelle is squicky or boring, Neal/Emma shippers, people who feel Neal is The Scrappy, Emma/Hook shippers, Hook haters (often Neal/Emma shippers, or people who feel Hook's misogynistic), people who feel the writers are succumbing to Draco in Leather Pants syndrome, people who still like everything...
Mary Margaret’s one night stand with Doctor Whale. Consensual sex between two unattached adults which is being blown out of proportion by the rest of the fan base or the unnecessary sullying of a beloved classic character who is supposed to be the epitome of innocence and goodness? Furthermore, why does she alone get the flack for sleeping once with Dr. Whale, when judging by Kathryn's pregnancy scare, David was also actively engaging in a sexual relationship with someone else? Doesn't this make it an even worse offence, since he's Prince Charming after all? Likewise, in-universe, why did David get none of the hate when the affair between known?
This has somehow lessened with internal fights amongst Regina fans with creation of some Enemy Mine alliances with Rumple fans. Some people think that Hook and Regina are Not So Different and root for both, others don't and are then criticized by this side for what is perceived as double standards. The defendant usually justify it either by pointing out (for Regina fans) that Hook was always a pirate whereas Regina was Driven to Villainy, or by telling their opponents (for Hook fans) that Regina's revenge is on someone who had less responsibility than Rumplestiltskin had for his misdeeds on Hook. Some Regina fans started liking Cora in the second season and tried to justify everything she did to her daughter by making Rumple guilty for her transformation. Others thought that what she did deserved This Is Unforgivable and that she was responsible. As Rumple fans can also be Rumbelle or Golden Heart shippers, think that Hook is somehow justified, think he isn't, or declare that he is too dreamy for them to care, message boards can get complicated.
Also the inclusion of Victor Frankenstein, who while not the sole example of a literary character on the show (as characters from Carlo Collodi's "Pinocchio", Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" were already used) does stand out among characters used in Disney films and traditional folklore. It's helped a bit by his coming from a third universe, presumably one full of horror movie characters.
The inclusion of both Arthurian legend (via Lancelot and the Lady in the Lake) and Mulan.
The revelation that Henry's father is Baelfire, Rumple's son. Some fans really did not want this twist.
Snow murdering Cora, particularly the way she did it. There's the camp that thinks she had no choice and that Cora (and Regina) really had it coming since they would murder them without a second thought. After choosing to take the box with her instead of cleanly finishing the job, Snow would probably never have escaped that tomb alive if she tried to crush or control Cora's heart because Regina would have killed her, and there was no way she could reach Cora herself without Cora noticing. And keeping Rumpelstiltskin alive is arguably the best strategy against Regina. Then there's the camp that thinks saving Rumplestiltskin who has a much bigger nuisance potential and barely hesitated in putting their lives in jeopardy before was a piss poor excuse, that using Regina to murder her own mother was beyond cruel, and that if she wanted to do the right thing, all she had to do was crush the heart herself...or, if she could let go of her vengeful feelings, just put it back in Cora without cursing the candle, which might have prompted a Heel-Face Turn from Cora.
A minor one with Mulan: while most of the fandom is on board with Mulan being attracted to women (specifically, in love with Aurora), there is some debate on whether this means she's bisexual or a lesbian, due to the ambiguous nature of her feelings for Philip. Each of these require different interpretations of her arc in Season 2: was she in love with Philip and protecting Aurora based on her vow to him, which developed into having feelings for Aurora or was Philip more like a brother to her and Aurora simply jumped to conclusions, given that Mulan never confirmed loving Philip, and was really in love with Aurora all along while Aurora didn't know love when she saw it?
Regina being Ursula
Which turned out to be another case of fans jumping the gun based on the preview: Ursula does exist, and is none too happy about Regina impersonating her.
For those so tired of every new character being revealed to be related to Snow/Regina/Rumplestiltskin, the revelation that Peter Pan is Rumplestiltskin's father didn't sit will with many.
Cargo Ship: Hook/The Floor is liked by some, due to his tendency to get beat up in the latter half of Season 2.
Continuity Lock-Out: To a degree. Don't even think about going into season 2 without watching the last 2 episodes of season 1, and the Story Arc of Kathryn's kidnapping means you need to at least see episode 13 to make sense of what's going on in the real world in season 1. The Loads and Loads of Characters present don't help at ALL, though since they're based on the Disney/fairy tales we all know, at the least, we can understand who's doing what. Still, since they love to pull twists on the tales, this starts building up after a while.
Others feel similarly toward Snow White and Prince Charming, Emma's parents, mainly in Season 2 when they're Out of Focus alot.
The feeling has begun to lessen with "The Evil Queen", which did more to remind the fans of Snow White's generosity and resistance than to make us pity Regina. The jury's still out on Charming, though.
And many feel Charming too got his groove back in Season 3, especially upon developing a bro-mance with Hook.
Die for Our Ship: While most of the Sleeping Warrior fandom is mostly neutral (if a bit disgruntled) towards Phillip, there are others that actively wish he would die or go back into a coma to make way for their ship.
It's now also happening with Robin Hood amongst the Swan Queen fandom.
Killian Jones (AKA Captain Hook) is something of a hot Jerkass with a dead girlfriend. His main motivation is revenge against a villain and he occasionally goes out of his way to minimize collateral damage (Like when he saved Aurora's heart). Other times, not so much, like shooting Belle (thus ensuring she'd lose her memory), taking out Aurora's heart while she was unconscious and helping to trap Emma and her friends in Rumplestilskin's cell. And he wears leather pants. Yeah...
Believe it or not, even Cora got this treatment eventually. Especially after "The Miller's Daughter", complete with Ron the Death Eater towards Queen Eva and Snow.
The trend has been subverted with Peter Pan, who has received a large amount of adoring fangirls who love him because he's such an unapologetically evil little shit and they embrace this rather than try to excuse all of his sins.
The Evil Queen. Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold could also be considered this (depending on your tastes), but the Queen/Regina is the most clear-cut example. It's also notable that in the Fairy Land flashbacks, the more overtly evil she's being, in general, the more plunging her neckline. Before her husband's death, she is shown dressing demurely, by the time the curse is made, she appears to have a wardrobe consisting entirely of corsets.
The Blind Witch, with her impressive cleavage and the orgasmic sounds she makes when after food.
Killian Jones. It's very easy to forget what a Jerkass he is because he's so damn pretty.
That, and Cora was curb-stomping everyone with impunity until Snow stopped her and saved Rumplestiltskin using the most reprehensible option. Good was completely ineffective, and only got innocent people killed. The evil option worked, even if Snow's paying a heavy price for it.
Greg and Tamara are shaping up to be nasty pieces of work as well, Tamara especially, but no one can doubt that their methods (including kidnapping and murder) are effective.
Might be Fridge Brilliance: good has to be selfless and doesn't necessarily earn its own reward. It must still be pursued, and that's a nice way to prepare younger viewers for side-effects.
Lancelot being black has elicited quite a bit of this, with people complaining about it not being true to the character, despite the character being fictional. It gets even more dumb and racist when you consider that people can accept things like Red Riding Hood being a werewolf (that definitely wasn't in the original story) or Jack from "Jack and the Beanstalk" being a woman but apparently a minor (and posthumous, it turns out) character who appeared in only one episode being black is just such a ridiculous character alteration.
The super devoted Regina fans who hate Henry and see him as ungrateful for not wanting to be around Regina because she's a dangerous mass-murderer who keeps trying to kill his family. This is in spite of the fact that he's the one who continually stops the Charmings from killing Regina, and alot of episodes in Season 2 reinforce that he cares for her in spite of everything.
Henry: She's still my mom.
Every popular ship has its own Fan Dumb who will rage at the writers if events seem to be moving away from their favorite ship.
A minority like Snow and Charming but dislike M.M. and David. Weird as they're the same people trapped in different realities/personas. Part of it may be since in the human world, David is married, and the affair that results from it turns out rather ugly.
And judging by the response of "Skin Deep", Rumplestiltskin and Belle. Much like on LOST, side couplings end up more compelling than the show's primary romance. Lesson: OTP can't be forced.
Come Season 2 there has been a lot of support for the Emma/Hook pairing, much more than for the Canon Emma/Neal.
Mulan and Aurora, especially with their Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic. More than a few viewers would love to see their Les Yay get a full upgrade, and Fan Fiction.net has more Romance genre fics featuring the two of them than fics shippping Aurora/Phillip and in every single couple poll they have absolutely clobbered Aurora/Phillip.
Good news: It's been upgraded. Bad news: It seems Mulan's on the wrong end of Aurora having Incompatible Orientation, with her reveal that she is pregnant with Phillip's child.
After exactly one scene, there's already a following for "Frankenwolf"—Ruby/Red Riding Hood and Dr. Frankenstein. Then again, Dr. Whale's very first scene had him ogling Ruby, so...
Swan Queen is easily one of the most popular ships.
Fanservice: Rumplestiltskin getting hot and heavy with young Cora (from thinking about murder nonetheless).
Jefferson is clearly pretty into Emma, but it's one-sided aside from one brief scene where she turns out to be lulling him into a false sense of security before giving him a Tap on the Head.
Regina and Gold, particularly in "We Are Both".
Regina and Jefferson (sort of).
Rumplestiltskin and Captain Hook. Not many people call the guy screwing their wife "dearie".
Emma and Hook.
Hook gets a bit closer to Belle and Archie than strictly necessary.
Squickily enough, Peter Pan's interactions with Emma seem to have shades of this, in a weird sort of villainous Precocious Crush. Which becomes even more squicky when we learn that Pan is Rumple's de-aged father.
Peter Pan was practically on top of Captain Hook in "Good Form", even saying "I think this is the best time to restart our relationship."
Emma and Regina do get awfully close when yelling at each other, and have a few brief moments of comradery that are particularly eyebrow raising. And with lines like "How to get the saviour to taste my forbidden fruit?" you can see where the shippers are coming from.
In the Price of Gold, Mr. Gold mentions to Emma that no one wants to see Ashley's baby born in jail. True North reveals that Emma gave birth to Henry in jail.
In Storybrooke, David/Prince Charming left his wife for Mary Margaret/Snow White. In the real world, David's actor Josh Dallas divorced his wife around the same time he started dating Mary Margaret's actress Ginnifer Goodwin. (though to be fair, his now ex-wife had already been seen in public with a new paramour by that time, so it's more of a case of freak timing).
"I just didn't want you to lose your mother... like I lost mine." It was an angsty line in an angsty episode to begin with. As of "The Miller's Daughter", it's just painful.
After the revelation that Pan is Rumpelstiltskin's father, every time Pan taunted Rumple becomes even worse.
He Panned It, Now He Sucks: Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, while not completely giving Once Upon a Time a terrible score, didn't exactly give it praise with its pilot episode. So when even people who watched it with low expectations wound up loving the show, everyone reading his opinion piece ripped him a new one. A possible subversion, given that some of Ken's attackers already loathe him for numerous reasons, and used this as yet another reason to call him a grumpy dinosaur (despite his surprisingly wide tastes in TV).
Jennifer Morrison, who plays Emma, was also James T. Kirk's mother in Star Trek and named him after her father. Prince Charming is Emma's father and his name is James. So yes, James T. Kirk was in fact named after his grandfather. (Although "Tiny" reveals that his real name is David, but he's been forced to adopt the name James.)
Even more hilarious? Josh Dallas (Charming) was previously Fandral the Dashing in Thor, and Chris Hemsworth in Thor was George Kirk in Star Trek, meaning that at one point, his daughter married Thor.
Isn't Emma's actress dating Bucky/The Mad Hatter now?
When she first becomes a deputy, Emma refuses to wear a tie. Here's the outfit Jennifer Morrison wore to PaleyFest 2012.
Dr. Whale led an angry mob to Regina's house in the second season premiere. This becomes funny once it's revealed that he's really Dr. Frankenstein.
Particularly when one considers that as Frankenstein, his whole motivation was to defeat death, when David Anders' previous well-known role was an immortal.
Robert Carlyle once starred in a movie entitled Once Upon a Time in the Midlands.
The queen's sex slave has been cast as Christian Grey, a freak who sexually abuses a girl.
Holy Shit Quotient: Raised significantly in the Season 2 premiere. How do you still have a show after the first season's ending? The answer: Trapping Emma and Snow White in the Enchanted Forest.
The Season 2 finale has this as well, with Henry being taken to Neverland and Hook, Emma, Regina, Rumplestiltskin, Snow, and Charming boarding Hook's ship to save him. And Peter Pan is the new Big Bad. Don't think anybody could have seen that coming.
And who could have seen this one coming? Peter Pan as Rumple's de-aged father! And Henry ripping out his own heart!
Then, she met a pirate, fled, and when he thought she was a prisoner and tried to save her, in the name of "honour", the pirate defied him in combat despite knowing that he was limping, hinting that she would be assaulted.
Years later, his son was almost taken for the Ogre War, and, believing his wife had already been harmed by ruthless fighters, that is when he started behaving evilish to protect him, while still helping a lot of people, arguably being an example of no more than an Unscrupulous Hero / Well-Intentioned Extremist.
Finally, his own selfish desire to maintain his power lost him the very son he got that power to protect. He's lived a life full of regret and self-loathing (mixed with a good dose of insanity) ever since.
From the end of season one onwards, it's damn hard not to feel bad for Regina, too, no matter all the horrible things she did. This is helped by the fact that her Start of Darkness spans on four episodes, two of which are spent without doing anything wrong or questionable.
Even if "The Stable Boy" did have some impact, making most pf the Regina hatedom go from "She does this just because, This Is Unforgivable !" to "I am sorry for your terrible childhood, and this is mostly your mother's fault, and at the start I could even still have forgiven you, but This Is Unforgivable !", the idea that she turned from innocent to manipulative and child-abuser in one episode could have diminished fan sympathy, coupled with the incomplete depiction of her Love Martyr relationship to Cora and need to displace any blame she lays on her.
By "We Are Both" especially when you see how her mother (and later Rumplestiltskin) put considerable effort into screwing her up and prompting her Face-Heel Turn, and Fridge Horror dictates that her whole life has been them both trying to make her violent and a perpetual assault on her goodness and sanity (which, as we learn, both managed to hold after The Lost Lenore, at least sixteen years of Abusive Parents, and an Old Man Marrying A Child situation). Made even worse when it is revealed that she took up magic to protect herself after the abuse, and married Leopold with no ill-wish towards him or his daughter.
If you still thought she didn't have anyone to blame but herself, and her choices weren't informed by suffering, she then has "The Doctor", spent dwelling on how Rumplestiltskin influenced her. It features manipulating, Hope Spot turned Cynicism Catalyst and efforts to recover from the addiction she got due to his actions.
"Quite A Common Fairy" reveals that she didn't fall into darkness after her Cynicism Catalyst. She was just turned into a bitter and colder person who might have gotten redemption and stopped following Gold's lessons... but he appeared just before a selfless fairy would give her a chance at happiness and planted the idea that she would never be safe without power and revenge, so she ran away from this opportunity.
Killian Jones. Yes, he's an unrepentant pirate willing to kill anyone in the way of his revenge...but much of this (except for the pirate part) was just because he fell in love with a cripple's wife, and then that cripple became the most powerful dark magical entity in the land.
And in the Season Three episode "Good Form" we find out that he wasn't even always a pirate. He used to be a straight-laced Lieutenant in the Royal Navy under his brother Captain Liam Jones. But their King sent them to Neverland to bring back Dreamshade, telling them that it was a plant that could heal all injuries instead of a poison. Liam gashed his arm with one of the plant's thorns to prove to Killian that they were not being deceived and that it was not a poison, but of course they were and it was. Peter Pan showed Killian a spring that's water could save his brother but neglected to mention that the cure only worked so long as Liam stayed in Neverland. When the two brothers sailed off with the intent of revealing their King's true motive, Liam succumbed to the poison. So, betrayed and alone, Killian turned his back on the Crown and declared himself a pirate.
Jefferson the Mad Hatter and Dr. Whale/Victor Frankenstein.
Young Cora in "The Miller's Daughter" before she rips out her own heart.
Emma is commonly paired with her step-grandmother and archenemyRegina, who also happens to be her biological son's adoptive mom. Also fairly popular are Emma/Graham, Emma/August, Emma/Jefferson, and Emma/Gold. You'll also see your vocal minorities of Emma/Ruby and Emma/Archie shippers and those who would ship Emma/Mary Margaret if Mary Margaret wasn't actually Emma's mom. Or who ship it regardless. AND a more recent ship is her with Captain Hook. Plus Baelfire after "Manhattan".
Ruby/Red is also shipped with quite a few characters—Emma (as mentioned above), Archie (due to both characters' popularity with fans and lack of canon love interests), Gold (especially before the introduction of his canon love interest Belle), Snow White and Belle, and Graham by fans who like Graham's character too much to take the convenient Killed Off for Real exit to further their preferred Emma ship. Jefferson and Regina, too, even though they (and Gold and Archie, come to think of it) have never actually interacted with Ruby. August and Ruby had one conversation of Ship Tease and gained a small-but-loyal fanbase, Charming/David, since she became his de-facto second-in-command in post-curse Storybrooke. And then there are those who liked Red's original love interest Peter from her tragic backstory. Unsurprisingly, "In the Name of the Brother" created many Ruby/Whale ("Frankenwolf") shippers.
Regina has been shipped with Gold, Emma, David, Snow, Jefferson, Ruby, Archie, Daniel, Hook, Tinkerbell, Robin Hood...
Captain Hook has been paired with Ruby, Emma, Regina, Aurora, Mulan, Jefferson, Cora, Prince Charming, Peter Pan, Wendy...even Ariel, at least several episodes before she actually appeared.
Les Yay: Let's face it, the series is rife with it (probably due to the unusually high number of female main characters). No wonder there's a big LGBT following.
Aurora/Mulan. Sure, their meaningful glances can be chalked up to awareness of each other's feelings towards Phillip. Mulan's introduction to Aurora directly mirroring Snow's introduction to Charming, however...The end of "Queen of Hearts" with Mulan bringing Aurora's heart back to her and Aurora saying, "Have you ever done this before?" as Mulan leans over her to put it back, is overflowing with subtext.
As of Quite a Common Fairy, it's canon from Mulan's side, when she rushes to tell Aurora that she loves her, only to have her announcement cut short by news that she's not thrilled to hear.
Snow and Red.
Emma and Red. "Emma was my lemur", anyone?
Now we have Red and Belle. And as of Season 3, Belle and Ariel.
Cora and Eva. Sure, Cora murders her but that kiss on the fingers caused a few eyebrows to be raised.
At one point, Regina bribes the Severe Nurse with a rose.
Season 3 has Tinkerbell and Regina. Tinkerbell defends Regina against the Blue Fairy and seems awfully invested in Regina finding true love and getting her happy ending, and Regina doesn't want her to darken her heart by killing her (which she doesn't) and seems genuinely sad that Tinkerbell lost her wings. Not to mention the support they had going for them before the episode even aired.
Ariel and Belle as of "Dark Hollow", fueled especially by a scene of them tied up back-to-back together.
Once Upon A Time confessions are also becoming quite popular.
Josh Dallas' hashtag "#RabbitStew" in response to a promo for Once Upon a Time in Wonderland that made it look like the White Rabbit was climbing into Snow's vagina. This one's especially funny since it happened only a few days before Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin announced their engagement.
Moral Event Horizon: Oddly enough, the show seems to operate under the premise that there is no Moral Event Horizon and that, while redemption is no cakewalk, no one is "irredeemably evil". Both Regina and Rumplestiltskin have tried to redeem themselves with varying degreesof success. However, fans still insist on making their own judgements:
Her treatment of Henry: trying to push him into thinking that the curse wasn't real and thus making him believe that he was crazy (though his therapist and her both being very cautious not to use that terminology, she did trick Emma into using it in order to drive her away from her son, but the deleted scenes reveal that she was kind of surprised by how attached to her he already was), all in order to protect herself/the curse. Then trying to kill members of Henry's family—on multiple occasions—sometimes not even checking whether he was here and therefore doing it right in front of him. Then trying to put him under a love curse because she remains unshakeably sure that having her loving him is the best thing that can happen to him and refuses to confront her flaws. Also, some fans consider Regina telling Henry about her plan to destroy Storybrooke, kill everyone living there, and kidnap Henry back to FTL, then erasing his memory of the conversation, one as well.
Then, it's made clear that though she clearly has no qualms about emotionally/mentally scarring the son she claims to love for life, unlike other villainious abusive parents on the show, she always geniuely believes in the excuses she finds to keep him around and cannot understand Henry's reactions. Trying to become the mother she always wanted to have turned her into a Knight Templar Parent, and when she realizes this after countless traumas caused by her missing the significance of his relationship with his biological mother, it takes her a very traumatic scene reminding her of her own mother to make her decide to turn herself around... a heartfelt resolution that gets thrown by the window the second her abandonment issues are resolved and her loneliness reawekened by her mother's semi-redemption and death.
The Queen killing her own father, explicitly the one thing she loved more than anything else. Though it is less of one for her and more of one for other characters if you were willing to accept the Sympathetic Murder Backstory on the death of her father ( he let her be physically and emotionally abused by her mother for years, and tried to persuade her to marry a grown man when she was still a teenager, unwittingly helping to shatter her already fragile mental health). Also, she feels enormous remorse about it.
Even if Leopold was a neglectful bore of a husband who saw her mother's acceptance of his proposal as a valid answer when she was still a teenager, even if he knew that he would never make her happy, and expected her to stay faithful to him and miserable for all the deades of the duration of the marriage, even if he may have planned to kill her potential lover, was it really necessary to pull a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on the yet innocent Genie smitten with her, get him to kill Leopold for her, and then let the Genie plunge into eternal servitude as her magic mirror ? Mostly when watching the consequence in 1x07 and Snow's reaction. You could have just bribed a guard!
And if you were wiling to accept even that possibility and still forgive her, then the revelation that she's kept Belle (who, unlike Snow White or the Huntsman, never crossed her or did her any harm at all) shut away in a mental ward for twenty eight years, presumably either to keep her quiet or as some sort of bargaining chip against Mr. Gold might just do it. Although then again, Regina just shows a Cycle of Vengeance mindset (taking leverage material to deal with what she knows, is almost evil incarnate but with very human qualities such as a fondness for Belle, and nearly omnipotent), while Rumple already demonstrated his capacity to screw her life over more than needed at that point in the chronology. Some fans tend to too easily dismiss it as a sort of Karmic Retribution for Rumple and No Sympathy towards Belle.. Regardless of how much Regina deserves pity rather than scorn, the point remains that she deliberately hurt an innocent victim (Belle), in cool blood, which contributes into making her Not So Different with Rumple, no matter how much this displeases fans trying to scapegoat him for the event.
All the murders and the later kidnapping can be argued to acceptable losses to further her plans. But sending defenseless CHILD after CHILD into a cannibal witch's house to retrieve the poisoned apple crosses it. She's shown she could have taken care of the Blind Witch herself (via mirrors and fireballs), even though that would have costed her her revenge, making her look worse when she sends Hansel and Grutel in. Without remorse or hesitation she sent over a DOZEN kids to certain doom just to get a McGuffin just to screw over ONE PERSON. ONE PERSON.
She was involved in Kathryn's disappearance and attempted to commit a murder. She then uses her supposed friend's death to screw over someone who's already miserable, and for kicks she also makes Sidney, who's hopelessly in love with her, confess to the crime.
What she did to Jefferson; deliberately screwing him over so that she could get her father back (who she'll kill later anyway, rendering the whole Wonderland trip meaningless) and then hypocritically shooting his words 'You don't leave family' back at him, before leaving him behind to be separated from his daughter forever - as well as from his head, if only for a while. BITCH. Though she gets a Sympathetic Murder Backstory-ish storyline AGAIN, since, before his daughter was even born, Jefferson was The Hedonist and helped drive her insane in exchange from some material help from Rumplestiltskin.
Her reaction to Finding out Cora murdered Snow's mother, and then Cora murdering Johanna: Smirking and saying "See where being good gets you?" cemented it for some. However, this was intended to be a Pet the Dog moment, as she looks shocked before her smirk (she doesn't care about Johanna, but her mother doing that to her for no damn reason certainly strikes a nerve with her) and looks disgusted when learning what her mother did all for the sake of controlling her future. The line is maybe intended to be introduced as yet another echo of her misplaced grudge on Snow White for her own valid reasons against her mother.
Regina trying to get Kurt and Owen to stay in Storybrooke and, when that didn't work, chasing them down like criminals, having Kurt arrested and thus depriving Owen of his father. Who cares if she cried in remorse? That was dreadful. To be fair, she learned her lesson in the present time, as evidenced by destroying the love curse rather than forcing Henry to be her perfect, loving son, but still, her selfish actions back then have now put everyone in Storybrooke in jeopardy in the present day, as Owen is back and out to prove that magic exists to the whole world. (Oh, and she killed Kurt as well.)
Twisting Belle's memories and personality into a hard-partying Dark Chick. Did Belle do anything to Regina? Nope. It's all because Regina doesn't have the guts or power to face Rumplestiltskin directly, so she'll attack him through the innocent girl serving as his Morality Chain who did nothing more than support him and accidentally help framing her, in a dark mirrored version of what he did to Cora and Henry.
In "The Evil Queen", she has a village destroyed and all it's inhabitants slaughtered back in the Enchanted Forest. And even though she looks as if she just realizes what she asked when she finds them before the apple incident, in the present, she's planning on doing the same to Storybrooke and all the people in it, and mind-wipes Henry of this plan so that he won't try to stop her. This also ends up directly enabling Tamara and Greg's Moral Event Horizon of doing the same thing, making Regina doubly guilty.
Cora: If you didn't already consider Cora to have crossed the Moral Event Horizon with her constant emotional and physical abuse of her own daughter, then killing Daniel in cold blood and forcing her to marry the King probably would do the trick.
Most of the Regina haters can pin the blame on this woman for sending Regina down that path.
Cora is still up to her old tricks: Killing Lancelot and taking his form, then ripping out the heart of every single person in Lancelot's village are amongst her latest antics. Shortly after her reappearance she has made it plain that the intervening years have not improved her at all.
Framing Regina for Archie's murder, not only did she ruin Regina's reformation, but she killed an innocent bystander and all to lure the very daughter she turned evil back into her arms.
And if any of these didn't do it for some, then the cruel and needless murder of Johanna just might.
Creating the damn curse to start with may qualify. While wanting to find his son is a sympathetic Freudian Excuse, ruining the lives of all around him to do so is just heinous, and even more when you realize there might have been other ways in 2x04.
What makes all this even worse is that, when his son returns, he is happy spending his time with Belle. He doesn't visit him, try to repair the damage he caused or learn more about his grandson. To be fair, he has been shown spending a lot of time watching his son. Given how things played out in "Manhattan", maybe Gold doesn't know how to talk to his son.
Later, encouraging Regina to kill her own father. He starts by grasping her throat as if he was going to strangle her, then giggles through his whole rant, probably rejoicing because poor Henry ended up with the woman he loved in the past. It is still sympathetic in hindsight, because that was very likely his first romance after Milah and the once innocent daughter who has nothing to do with that will feel horrible for the rest of her life partly because of him.
In The Price Of Gold, killing an innocent, benevolent woman whose job is to make desperate people happy without hidden side-consequences. This means he may have put thousands of Happy Endings into jeopardy, when he could have just locked her somewhere. Then, manipulating Ashley and trying to insult the memory of a beloved character whom, on a meta-level he cheated of her usual importance.
To start with a disagreeable pattern, ripping out Milah's heart, whatever your opinion on whether she had a right to seek her own happiness or should have stayed with a family who loved her. Though that one can also come across as a crime of passion, and her personality and behavior are often considered a solid Freudian Excuse in itself.
Torturing Robin Hood. He hurts him and heals him, just because he feels some perverse satisfaction in punishing others for challenging a power they can't handle. Made better by letting Robin Hood go after Rumple found out Robin Hood wanted the magic wand to save his pregnant wife. Belle evens calls him out on it.
Later on, trying to harm Henry, his son's son, without concern for Neal's happiness, or any demonstration of remorse, just out of self-preservation. Made better by his rescue attempt afterwards.
He dove over this line in "Child Of The Moon" by killing a man in cold blood, framing his murder on the innocent (and already guilt-ridden) Ruby, almost killing her, and then destroying the Mad Hatter's hat (which, in Storybrooke, is the only known way to get Emma and Snow back), all in the name of a petty grudge on Charming, not even any of the people that he screwed over during the episode!
Imprisoning Charming and attempting to have him executed just because he didn't go along with his Arranged Marriage, and then cursing Snow to a childless life. Evil Is Petty, indeed
Attempting to kill Belle, simply because she was of no use to him.
Some Sleeping Hook shippers were put off by Hook stealing Aurora's heart. Some viewers started shipping the two because of that scene. Still, this likely counts as a subversion, as Hook also ends up saving her heart when it's about to be lost forever.
Hook shooting Belle and letting her fall over the Storybrooke line so she'd lose her memories was a real dick move. It's become apparent Hook is more interested in making Rumple miserable and some kind of inverted Suicide by Cop.
Greg and Tamara:
Individually, Tamara's is either killing August in "Selfless, Brave and True" or shooting Neal in "Second Star to the Right", and Greg's is his Cold-Blooded Torture of Regina in the same episode. Together, they probably cross it for many by deciding to wipe out Storybrooke and everyone in it.
The original Prince James and Jacqueline's callous genocide of the giants in "Tiny".
Arguably (very, very arguably), Snow White crosses it in "The Miller's Daughter" when she deliberately manipulates Regina into killing Cora. By playing on her already colossal Mommy Issues, her love for her son and her desire to be loved by someone. The writers don't treat it this way (it's seen as a terrible Kick the Dog in the spurr of the moment), Cora needed to go down and Regina was probably overdue some payback, but damn girl, that was cold. The character who treats it the most like a Moral Event Horizon in-show...is Snow White herself, so fans tend to forgive her after seeing her colossal guilt.
The Blue Fairy was already poorly received by some fans for breaking up Dreamy and Nova, but her actions in "Quite A Common Fairy", forbidding Tinkerbell from helping Regina because there was "too much darkness" surrounding her, even though she hadn't actually done anything evil yet, and later stripping Tinkerbell of everything because she was trying to help someone. True, it's not nearly as bad as some of the other examples in this section, but while the villains have sympatheticbackstories and justified reasons forsomeoftheirvillainy, the Blue Fairy seems to be operating on Black and White Insanity, abusing her power, and only being willing to help Snow and Charming makes her come off as quite the Hypocrite. Made even worse by the same episode revealing that Regina's heart is mostly covered in blackness but still has some red peeking through. If she's still capable of redemption now, imagine how much better everything would have been if she'd gotten it then.
Peter Pan is arguably on the other side of it the first time we hear about him, how he kidnaps little boys from their families and takes them in Neverland, never permitting them to leave. It's said that almost every night is filled with the cries of children who miss their families and want to go home. This in addition to running a very long plan being The Man Behind the Man on "the Home Office", enslaving the Darlings, and sacrificing his son for a return chance at youth and unlimited power.
Prince Charming on Abigail and Frederick: "Have you tried True Love's Kiss?" Admittedly they do live in a world where the power of love can legitimately break curses, but come on, he sounds like he's recommending chicken soup for a cold.
The Blind Witch, who is very much like the Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth, should be absolutely terrifying. Except that she's played by Anya and talks as if she's always orgasming.
The Boob... er... Blue Fairy along with a bunch of other fairies making a bombing run with all the vigor and seriousness of an army. In their usual slippers and puffy glittery dresses. The 'bombs' are fairy dust that put the targets to sleep. Made possibly more Narm-y since it's shown along side people fighting with swords and other weapons hacking each other to death.
The ending of "An Apple Red As Blood". All things considered, a magical apple turnover just lacks a certain amount of dramatic gravitas.
August after being turned to wood, thanks to the dodgy CGI.
Greg and Tamara, in private, talking about "the package", asking if it's been "delivered", and if it's "secure". You're completely alone, dumbasses! Just say you have freaking Hook tied up and gagged in the back of a truck. All that "package" talk becomes extra narmy.
Tamara and Greg strike again with their Bracelet of Science that can block Regina's magic. Really, show? Really?
Fans kind of jumped the gun on this. The revelation that Tamara and Greg's "communicator" was really a walky-talky toy that only worked because Peter Pan wanted it to makes it clear that it's the same story with the taser and the bracelet. Greg and Tamara were naïve enough to believe it was Weird Science that can defeat magic, when it actually was, in fact, magic itself.
Not to mention there really is nothing wrong with that in a fantasy series like this.
Tamara's cheesy dialogue. "Magic does not belong in this world. It's unholy. We're here to cleanse this land of it!"
Greg in general has moments of this by just the way he looks and talks. Mention must go to him stammering "She was the-the-da queen! The-the evil queen!" in response to Tamara asking which fairy tale character Regina was, making comebacks like "No, you don't know who YOU are dealing with!", him wildly digging for his father's remains while saying "no no no no no no!", and the expression he makes right before the shadow comes down and kills him.
Baelfire's shock and panic upon seeing Neverland. Where, exactly, did he think Peter Pan's shadow was going to take him?
The general reaction of the fandom to Cora kissing Rumplestiltskin. At least until theirbackstory is shown and we see a Cora not played by Barbara Hershey who has more chemistry with Robert Carlisle, which makes it much more understandable (and, for some, more interesting than canon Rumple/Belle).
Regina and Greg. Please stop touching his face, Regina. That goes for you too, Greg.
Maleficent appears for exactly one scene with the Evil Queen and has yet to even appear in Storybrooke, but there is already a massive fan outcry to see more of her. She appears in Storybrooke in the first season finale...in her dragon form.
The Caterpillar and the Queen of Hearts. Pretty much everyone in Wonderland, actually.
The Blind Seer has two scenes in one episode, as a child and then an adult. Her design is completely unforgettable and if you trace events backwards, it turns out that her imput in Rumplestiltskin's life is the cause of nearly everything that happens in the show.
Additionally, Snow and Charming get this from Regina fans. Some Swan Queen fics will show Emma turning against her parents for Regina.
The Blue Fairy gets the blame for Bae leaving without his father by Rumplefans. There are admittedly a lot of questionable things she's done, but this one really is much more Rumple's fault.
Some give flak to August for being a smarmy, lying, dishonest, manipulative wastrel - even though that's the entire point of his Character Development.
Fics about Regina's time with King Leopold tend to turn him into a generically evil rapist and abuser. In the series, Leopold is, at worst, a bad husband who is desensitized to Regina's unhappiness through Deliberate Values Dissonance and cares more about running his kingdom and raising his daughter (two domains he is very good and talented at) than her happiness. He is, for example, aware of Regina's unhappiness but certain that it is normal and she should accept it since this is the way things are in their world. He is also insensitive to her privacy and unconcerned to her comfort and freedom. Though he knew her mother was pressuring her into the marriage, that is not unusual based on the values of their world and he probably didn't demand sexual relationships as the only thing he wanted was a mother figure for his daughter. As for the privacy issue, well, he is the King (supreme authority and all that) in a kingdom where this is considered normal, so he is desensitized to that too.
Also, his wife Queen Eva gets this treatment from Cora fans who hated her treatment of Cora in "The Miller's Daughter", even though the episode that preceded it showed that she had eventually grown out of being a Rich Bitch with no care for peasants. Cora killed her anyway out of Disproportionate Retribution.
This is particularly noticeable in Manhattan and We Are Both reactions. These episodes show them doing nothing evil, only entering the path that will lead them to it due to external circumstances.
Neal. Good lord, Neal. The amount of people who treat his abandoning of Emma to prison as a Moral Event Horizon and call him "Douchefire". Though as of "Second Star to the Right", his Heroic Sacrifice for Henry and Emma's sakes has changed many a former haters' minds.
Gaston and Moe French in many, many Rumplestiltskin/Belle fics. Actually, anyone that Rumpelstiltskin has ever had a problem with is subject to this. Even Ashley Boyd, although she is more likely to be portrayed as a Dumb Blonde than outright malicious.
In Gaston's case, being a well known Disney Villain does not help matters at all.
David Nolan (the Storybrooke citizen, NOT Prince Charming). Hilariously, even Prince Charming insults David Nolan in Season 2.
King George. While he was merely a Jerkass in Season 1, fandom is now in an uproar over his actions in "Child of the Moon".
Henry, who was liked well enough in the first season, has become this for many fans in season 2, who have started to see him as emotionally manipulating both of his mothers. And if he isn't really doing any manipulating, he and his welfare/happiness tend to be used as a tool by many who do manipulate (Cora to Regina, Rumple to Snow, etc.) At this point (season 2 finale) Henry is hated so much that often even fans belonging to very different groups of the Broken Base unite in their hatred of him.
Actually, him hugging Regina and telling her that he loves her in the season 2 finale has redeemed him in the eyes of many a former hater, and after being kidnapped, he has re-earned most of the former sympathy he had got...
And then season 3 throws him right back into it, as he spends the whole first half getting played like a fiddle by Peter Pan, showing an unbelievable willingness to trust the guy who kidnapped him. It also doesn't help that Jared S. Gilmore's acting skills have not kept up with the more demanding role.
Milah, due to how badly she treated Rumplestiltskin and not seeming to care that she abandoned her family to run off with Hook, after knowing him for just one night. The second season finale makes her look either better or worse...she evidently DID regret abandoning Baelfire and had hoped to one day go back to take him aboard the ship with her and Hook... however, that plan would mean taking him away from Rumple forever, once again showing a disturbing lack of sympathy for her husband, who loves their child too.
Tamara, Neal's fiancée, is quickly becoming one after "Selfless, Brave and True". Not only for being directly in the way for being in the way for Neal/Emma shippers, but because that episode reveals her as a Manipulative Bitch who got herself into Neal's life after overhearing a conversation between him and August, in search for magic for some unknown reason. Also, she killed August, and is having an affair with another man. That's not even getting into the fact that she lied about having cancer.
Greg Mendell aka Owen Flynn became one too through his association with her. This is ironic as his tragic backstory had many fans sympathetic to him at first, but most of it vanished once he started going on about his "mission" to destroy magic and seeming to care far more about accomplishing it than his Freudian Excuse.
The Blue Fairy, first for breaking up Nova and Dreamy, then for separating Bae and Rumple, and then for lying to Snow and Charming about the magic tree. But "Quite A Common Fairy" really broke the camel's back. She refuses to help Regina (before she became evil and thus could have been saved) just because she had the misfortune to be Cora's child and Rumple's pupil in magic. Her treatment of Tinker Bell for arguing against her, and turning her into a human made it more official.
Ship Mates: Fans of Sleeping Warrior (Mulan/Aurora) have started putting Neal and Phillip together after the Season 2 finale. See examples here and here.
Fans of Captain Swan (Emma/Hook) were pleased to hear rumors that Regina would be paired up with Robin Hood in Season 3 as Hooked Queen (Regina/Hook) is Captain Swan's main competitor for Captain Hook.
Fans of Swanfire/Swan Thief (Emma/Neal) tend to be fans of Hooked Queen.
As of the Season 3 premier, some Captain Swan fans have started supporting Mulan/Neal (Mufire), which would free up Emma to be with Hook.
Season 3 brings us an all-out Ship-to-Ship-to-Ship Combat with Emma/Hook vs. Emma/Neal vs. Emma/Regina, featuring such gems as some groups of shippers urging each other to boycott an episode featuring a heavily publicized kiss of a rival pairing or even bullying actors on Tumblr if an actor replies that his character likes the other rival (even if the original comment had no shipping context).
Special Effect Failure: Sometimes, the special effects are pretty good for a series that works with a regular TV budget. Sometimes, they fall under this trope.
Squick: Peter Pan telling Rumplestiltskin to go home to Belle because she "looks fertile" was not well-received. Made even worse by the reveal that Peter Pan is Rumple's father.
Strangled by the Red String: Some think that the show is relying too much on Because Destiny Says So to convince the audience that Mary Margaret/Snow White and David/Charming are meant to be together instead of building a genuinely meaningful connection between the two. Or they think this in regards to Mary Margaret & David but not Snow White & Charming.
According to "Quite A Common Fairy", Robin Hood is Regina's "second chance at love." A man she has never even met or had any kind of interaction with. But no, the pixie dust Tinkerbell gave her said it was him, so it must be right. Regina has no choice in the matter, and she is portrayed as in the wrong for not wanting to meet a stranger in a pub to fall in love with even though she was trapped in a marriage to the king at the time, who could have easily found out and is shown in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" to have jealousy issues. Fans who ship Regina with other characters understandably were displeased, some more so than others.
Strawman Has a Point: Regina is a horrible person, and that's not even getting in to the things she did as the Evil Queen. And while it's left ambiguous exactly how she feels towards Henry, it's clearly not normal and healthy love as we'd understand it. But what she says regarding how a woman who adopts a child and raises the child is the "real mother" and not the biological mother who abandoned the child makes a lot of sense, even if she herself is a terrible example of that. Emma even accepts that point, doing her best to distance herself from Henry and only becoming involved when it becomes obvious that Regina is a terrible person. Even after Regina frames Mary Margaret for murdering a woman she had kidnapped, Emma accepts that Henry is Regina's son.
When Snow slaps Geppetto after he reveals that he lied about the wardrobe only being able to transport one person, it's implied to be the result of her darkening heart due to killing Cora. But it's hard to blame her for getting angry at him for betraying her trust and depriving her of a chance to care for her daughter.
Then again he lied to protect his son. It's kind of hypocritical of her to be angry when she also sent her child through and they wouldn't even have the wardrobe completed without him.
Strawman Political: True North can get pretty preachy on the problems of the foster system.
Take That, Scrappy!: Prince Charming has some choice words about his unpopular curse persona in "We Are Both".
In the season 3 premiere Tamara in quick succession finds out her whole job was a lie, gets shot by an arrow, is left to crawl in agony for a while, and finally Gold pulls out her heart and crushes it. The writers clearly got the message about how much the fans hated her.
Tastes Like Diabetes: For a show that's Lighter and Softer, it actually manages to generally avert this. But there are a few times where it can fall into this trope. Especially when it comes to the forces of good and "true love".
Although this is somewhat lampshaded by Rumplestiltskin, who mockingly refers to it as "Twu wuv!"
They Wasted A Perfectly Good Character: Many feel that the writer's just didn't care about August's character, despite his rich backstory. Particularly noticeable when they chose to revert him to human after being turned to wood, as a 7-year old boy with no memory of his adult life.
Ruby disappears from the last few season 2 episodes. The producers admitted that more was planned for her, but the ever-increasing character load left them with no place to put it. The actress was then released from her contract so she wouldn't be stuck unable to get other work until they found more room for her, though she still hopes to make more appearances.
Lacey, Belle's villainous cursed persona, is probably the most egregious example, debuting in the 19th episode of the second season (which was even entitled "Lacey"), then went MIA in the next episode, followed by only a few scenes in the two-part finale in which she was promptly erased from existence once Belle recovered her memories.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: There's a sense that despite being an Ascended Extra, the writers weren't entirely sure what to do with Belle in the second half of season 2. Her amnesia plot kinda plodded along without much change, and her time as Lacey lasted only 3 episodes before being undone. Both of these could have been used more creatively, but the ongoing feud between the Charmings and Regina and the introduction of Tamara sort of derailed much chance to use Belle effectively in the second half.
After the reveal of Dr. Frankenstein, Henry wonders if anyone else from worlds besides the Enchanted Forest got sucked into Storybrooke, meaning there's potentially no boundaries to any other characters that can be thrown in. The show has yet to take advantage of this.
Toy Ship: Henry with either Gretel or Paige/Grace. Also, Baelfire and Wendy.
Uncanny Valley: Probably Invoked with August's wooden face, glass eyes, and obvious CGI facial expressions.
In Episode 9. "There are no good foster parents." Actually, there are good foster parents. Gepetto counts as a good foster/adoptive father and King George was a good father to Charming's twin brother prior to falling into villainous descent. Also, there aren't that many good biological parents. The most notable examples being Regina's parents, Cora and Henry Sr., and to a lesser extent, Jiminy's parents. Also, Milah abandoned her son, Baelfire without saying a word to him and letting him think his mother was dead. Graham's own parents left him in the forest to die. However, then you're left with the implication that men can make good adoptive parents, but women can't.
"Skin Deep" lampshades the A Match Made in Stockholm implications of the Beauty and the Beast story—the problem is that the person bringing it up is Regina in the context of deceiving Belle.
The only black characters (the Genie, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother) only exist to magically make the lives of white people better. At least until Lancelot showed up in Season 2. And then he turns out to have been Dead All Along. But it's debatable whether or not Lancelot was still just there to further the white people's stories, albeit in a negative way. Even the priest that marries Snow and Charming is just there to serve, really. Near the end of Season 2, we get Tamara, who is independent and resourceful. And... you know... a cheating murderous, Manipulative Bitch. To say nothing of the fact that for Pinocchio to identify his killer in Season 2, all he would have had to say in THAT town is that the woman who killed him was black, and the number of probable suspects would be reduced to one right then and there. Then there's Billy, who turns out to be one of Cinderella's pet rats and dies as soon as he's introduced. Make of that what you will.
Related to the above entry, the show's interracial and interspecies romances are either short-lived, fake, or villainous. Genie/Regina and Neal/Tamara both involve one partner deceiving and manipulating the other. Greg and Tamara seem to be genuinely in love but they are also a pair of murderers and torturers. Dreamy/Nova are portrayed sympathetically but after they are broken up, they apparently just give up and never get back together.
Dwarves are born to work as miners until they die without pay and are not allowed to leave, they are a Slave Race and are expected to be fine with it. This, however, does not go without lampshading, and although the episode ends with Grumpy returning to the mines, we're obviously not supposed to be happy about it.
In an episode, Emma finds out that Regina was misappropriating funds from the town to build herself a house, and presented it in a meeting. Turns out it was a set up, and Regina calmly admitted that she did it, but to build a center for children. So it's ok to steal money from a town as long as you do something good with it? This is presented as Emma being wrong, and Regina getting the upper hand. Shouldn't someone else have questioned it?
Red and Granny turn into monstrous beasts once a month (well, Granny used to, when she was younger), and only the power of a magical red cloak can stop Red from slaughtering everything in her path.
Not being able to have children being considered as a fate worse than death. Although the person saying this is King George.
Related to the above, Ruth's heroic sacrifice to restore Snow's fertility. What's wrong with an adopted child, two loving parents, and a doting grandmother? Although, considering that this is a medieval setting and Snow is the only heir to her father's kingdom, having a trueborn heir would probably be considered necessary for the dynasty. Besides, as the closest thing their world seems to have to an adoption agency is Rumpelstiltskin... would you want to risk it?
Some think this applies to Milah's backstory due to her being shown in a negative light for wanting more than marriage and motherhood. Others disagree, wondering if they'd justify a man abandoning his family for a woman he just met.
An Arranged Marriage never works. Ok, so this is America in the 21st century, but considering that we have the trope Perfectly Arranged Marriage, you'd think the creators would indulge in this as a contrast once in a while. Leopold and Regina were a good example, as were Charming and Abigail.
The Untwist: Let us just say that by the time it is finally revealed that Baelfire is Henry's father, there were not really many people that would have been surprised. It is compensated because of how the episode relied less on the plot twist and more on the emotional level.
ABC's/Eddie and Adam's marketing of the show run into this a lot. The promos for "The Queen of Hearts" tried to build mystery around the identity of the title character, this was seven episodes after we saw Regina shove Cora through the looking glass and into Wonderland. Same with the promotion of "The Miller's Daughter" where a tweet said that the episode would feature a couple that the audience would never think of in a million years. As it turned out the couple in question was Cora and Rumplestiltskin whom we'd already seen kiss on screen some time earlier.
Robin Hood being Regina's soul mate: they said she was going to have a sort of love interest, someone the audience already know but she doesn't. There was exactly one character to fit the description.
Not to mention in the episode when Tinkerbell says that he's her true love, it's supposed to be a mystery because he's only identified as the man with the lion tattoo. Thing is, although he's shown from behind, they don't do a very good job of concealing who he is so it's obvious it's the character from a scene or two before. The facial hair is a dead giveaway.
Peter Pan switching bodies with Henry might have had a chance of being surprising, if only the previews hadn't all said "If you think you know how it will end, you're wrong."
Villain Sue: Tamara. Upon meeting a powerful sorcerer implied to be an actual dragon she intends to kill him. She strikes ruthlessly, and flawlessly. Her weapon of choice? A. Freaking. Tazer. A nonlethal device that the police use to incapacitate somebody they don't want to kill. She uses a tazer on him, and he dies, despite the implication that the sorcerer is a dragon (and dragons shrug off bullets). Then she uses the same trick when she wants to shut August up. Keep in mind that August is, at the time, MADE OF WOOD!!! Earlier in the same arrow, he didn't react to an arrow or a scalpel being jammed into his leg. And she uses the tazer, again. And like last time, it proves fatal. A tazer. It's never even said if the tazer could be equipped with anti-magic tech.
Ashley and Mary Margaret complaining how love isn't what they thought it would be in "Skin Deep". Both are complaining how hard it is. Mary Margaret is dating an adulterer and Ashley's baby's daddy works all the time. Ashley's boyfriend is a 19-year old supporting a cleaning lady and newborn daughter!
Regina in Season 2 for crying about how people don't love her and/or how she's believed to be evil, because of all the innocent people she's killed, raped, imprisoned, manipulated, betrayed, or otherwise screwed over in her never-ending quest to ruin Snow White's life because she's still blaming Snow for a murder that Cora committed. Fans who are tired of her constant stream of tears have started to call her Queen Crybaby. There was much laughter when Regina's tears actually ended up as a plot point in the Season 2 finale.
Emma at the beginning of season 3. She gets better within ten minutes of screentime, though.
The Genie in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree". After meeting Regina for two minutes he decides he's going to not only kill for her but kill the man who freed him from eternal slavery. Then when he finds out she set him up he refuses to flee and instead boneheadedly uses a wish (wishes he knows hardly ever turn out well) to be by her side forever. This for a woman who purposely led him on, used him and then set him up for murder. What an Idiot indeed.
Emma in the same episode. Despite her much vaunted Living Lie Detector "superpower", she's taken in with consummate ease by a con that anyone with an ounce of Genre Savvy should have seen straight through.
Snow in "An Apple Red As Blood".Snow agrees to eat a poisoned apple because the Evil Queen says that if she eats it, then she won't kill Charming. Snow doesn't have any reason to believe that the Queen will keep her promise, but she eats the apple anyway. Naturally, the Evil Queen tries to execute him shortly afterwards.
Jefferson, also in "An Apple Red As Blood". Jefferson agrees to help Regina, even though she screwed him over last time he worked with her. He makes a deal with her that if he helps her retrieve what she needs, then she will wipe his memory of the Fairy Tale world, make Grace remember that Jefferson is her father, and set them up for a good life. Regina agrees to this, but insists that he help her get what she wants first, which he does. After Regina has the apple, she refuses to hold up her end of the bargain. She has no reason to do anything for Jefferson after he gets her what she wants, since he has no leverage. Also, if she wiped Jefferson's memories, he'd have no way to know if she had upheld her end of the bargain or not, or even that there was any sort of bargain to begin with.
In the same episode, Emma throwing the True Love potion up to Mr. Gold in a blatantly obvious set-up. Emma also doesn't question Regina's turnover earlier in the episode, even though Regina only made one, gave all of it to her, and the two have a history to say the least. Emma even gave a look when she received it! Though if she had tested the turnover for poison, she wouldn't have found any.
Emma in 2x03. Shooting a gun with ogres around and telling Regina's even eviller mother about Henry.
Rumple's ex-wife. Telling him (the most powerful being in the Enchanted Forest) that she never loved him after revealing that she abandoned her family for a pirate wasn't very smart.
Arguably, Charming trusting the woman who has tried to kill and hurt his family MULTIPLE TIMES to watch his ten year old grandson. Though in fairness, he turned out to be right on that one.
Rumplestiltskin taking the Seer's powers, then accusing her of tricking him. She referred to it as a burden before he agreed to it, it wasn't like she wasn't up front about how much it would suck.
In "The Evil Queen", Regina is explicitly told by Rumplestiltskin that the magic put on her will make her unrecognizable to anyone and that she'll be unable to use her magic. So naturally, she promptly forgets this and acts like a complete moron once she's out and about among the peasants and her guards, insisting she's the Queen and attempting to use magic.
Regina opting, out of sheer spite, to give Rumplestiltskin's sweet, utterly non-violent Morality Chain false memories of being a Dark Chick who gets turned on watching him bludgeon the shit out of people ends up almost costing her dearly when "Lacey" ends up being the one to push Rumple into attempting to murder Regina's beloved Henry. It's only through sheer luck that this murder ultimately is prevented.
Gepetto sending a young Pinnochio into a new realm with the additional task of taking care of a newborn. Didn't really think that one through, did you?
Greg and Tamara blindly following "the home office" without even bothering to know who they work for. Is it any surprise it backfired on them?
Hook/Killian's brother Liam intentionally infected himself with Dreamshade in order to prove to a cautious Killian that there's no possible way it could be poisonous. Unsurprisingly, this wound up leading to his death.
It's rather hard to have much sympathy for Henry after he cheerfully ignores all three of his parents in favor of the boy demon he's known for a week.
Emma Swan. Henry too, whenever he isn't being The Scrappy.
And the sad but very sweet Miss Mary Margaret Blanchard.
Dr. Archie Hopper/Jiminy Cricket, who is constantly abused by... everyone. Mostly Regina at first, but everyone else is a little too quick to snap at their conscience.
Shepherd-David being forced to never see his mother again and having to call the man who threatened her "father" for the rest of his life all in the name of duty. And later, said father seems to have ended up resenting David anyway and declares to Snow White that he isn't his son. Only the king's pragmatic nature and desire to preserve his kingdom keep him in check.
Graham/The Huntsman. Because he spared Snow White, the Queen ripped out his heart, condemning him to never feel anything again, then made him into her Sex Slave. He spends his whole last episode on the verge of psychic collapse, torn between his feelings for Emma and Regina as memories of the other world intrude on his mind. And then, when he finally, finally pulls himself together and shares a sweet moment with Emma, Regina crushes his heart and kills him.
Abigail/Kathryn. Kathryn is easily sympathetic, but Abigail becomes this as well once her backstory is revealed.
Really, most of the cast whether due to the Dark Curse or otherwise, have gone through some pretty terrible things.
Red. See... Granny was bitten by the original Big Bad Wolf who, as it turns out, was a werewolf. And Granny's husband. In turn, this meant Granny's daughter would become the 2nd Big Bad. And in turn, Red herself is the 3rd Big Bad. Who happens to eat her love. It takes a lot of convincing before she stops seeing herself as a monster.
Aurora. Under a sleeping curse for thirty years that makes you relive your worst memories. Her true love sacrifices himself to save her and gets his soul sucked out. She's plagued by horrible nightmares and won't sleep. Then Cora kidnaps her. Then Hook rips out her heart and gives it to Cora. Girl cannot catch a break.
Baelfire aka Neal. Who has suffered as much, if not more, crap than anyone else; crap which is still being revealed. And as of the season 2 finale he may or may not be dead.
Anton. He was bullied by his family and never fit in. When he finally gets friends, who are human, they betray him and kill his family, causing him to be The Last of His Kind.
Mulan. Who is implied to have fallen in love with Prince Philip while helping him reunite with his True Love Aurora, only for him to lose his soul right after they wake her up and his final request was for her to protect her romantic rival in his place. Then she falls in love with Aurora while they are trying to find a way to bring back Prince Philip's soul. And after they do that and Mulan finally decides to confess her feelings Aurora happily tells her that she is now pregnant with Prince Phillip's child.
Tinker Bell, for how the Blue Fairy treated her after trying so hard to prove herself a good fairy and help someone.
Ariel, who is tricked into betraying Snow White, the friend who helped her finally meet Eric. When she goes back and saves Snow from Regina, she has her voice stolen before she can talk to Eric again. She remains without her voice for 28+ years, unaffected by the Dark Curse, which only means she's aware of the entire time. Somewhat lessened by the fact that this did not, in fact, Break the Cutie, and when Regina restores her voice, Ariel quickly lets it go when she's told where Eric is, and carries on in her usualPlucky Girl style.