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Heartwarming / Once Upon a Time

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     Season 1 

Episode 1 - Pilot

  • The beginning of the Arc Words. Prince Charming breaks the spell on Snow White, and tells her with sincerity, "No matter what, I will always find you."
  • Grumpy begrudgingly applauding during Snow White's wedding.
    • This becomes more Heartwarming in Hindsight, as he was likely hesitating to applaud due to his bitter memories of what he thought was the love of his own life. But now he recognizes that Snow White has actually found hers.
  • The end of the pilot, with the clock moving again now that Emma's settled into the town.
  • When Snow White starts to rethink the whole wardrobe idea because she doesn't want to leave Charming, his response is easily the most romantic line in the pilot.
    Snow White: He said it would be on her 28th birthday!
    Prince Charming: What's 28 years when you have eternal love? I have faith. You'll save me, as I did you.

Episode 2 - The Thing You Love Most

  • There's something mundanely sweet about seeing the first shot of this episode: Storybrooke waking up. Everything is about to change, but for now, it's just a small town beginning their day. It's almost relaxing.
  • Mary Margaret has her late night chat with Emma, pushing her to realize her protective streak of Henry, and that she should stay precisely because she cares.
  • The Reveal to the Evil Queen's father's name makes Regina's relation to Henry slightly heartwarming. She named him after her deceased father.note 
  • Regina never spares anyone. Except she chooses to spare Maleficent in this situation because they are, truly, friends. And Regina probably knows Maleficent is expecting at the time.
    • To cast the Dark Curse, you have to sacrifice the thing you love the most. For Maleficent, that is her unborn child. And even she, the Mistress of All Evil, can't do that. Her baby is too precious to her.

Episode 3 - Snow Falls

  • After their first misadventure together, Prince James tells Snow that if she ever needs some help, to send for him, and he will find her.
    Snow: I almost believe you.
  • Emma going to stay with Mary Margaret so that she would have someone at the end of Episode Three.
  • Mary Margaret wakes up David with a kiss and the words, "Come back to us. Come back to me." Made better by the fact that the "us" there is (unbeknownst to Emma and Mary Margaret) his wife, his daughter and his grandson.

Episode 4 - The Price of Gold

  • There's a serious "best friend" vibe in the dialog between Cinderella and Snow White. Snow even tells Ella that she is an inspiration to them all.
  • Prince Thomas's promise to his wife right before he disappears.
    Prince Thomas: As long as I'm here, you will never have to go back to that life.
    • Also, when Cinderella reveals that Rumplestiltskin was the one who helped her go to the ball and ultimately marry him, Thomas refuses to believe her fears that this is the only reason he loves her. He insists that magic didn't create the love he has for her, and that love is never going away.
  • Henry, listening to Emma talk about the importance of knowing what you're getting into if you keep a kid, tells Emma that if she wanted to, she could leave any time. Considering that part of why he brought her back to Storybrooke was because she "needed" to be there, it's a surprisingly mature gesture for him to give Emma the choice to leave in his own way.
  • Ashley thanks Emma for helping her keep her newborn.
    • Sean places Ashley over his father and apologizes.
    • Sean puts new baby shoes on their child in a perfect fit. And then they kiss.

Episode 5 - That Still Small Voice

  • It's a small moment, but Jiminy is working in the rain to set up the carnival for his parents, when a local boy Geppetto offers him an umbrella. The local boy runs home, and Jiminy keeps that umbrella for the rest of his life, even after the curse.
  • Jiminy getting his wish of being turned into a cricket to escape his parents, and heading off to be Gepetto's conscience.
  • A small one in "That Still Small Voice", but when Henry gets trapped in the mine, Regina is noticeably disturbed by the danger to him. Evil or not, she does seem to care about him.
  • When the floor starts to give way just as Emma reaches Henry and Archie, but Archie is adamant that she take Henry out now, instead of trying to take them both. He risks his life to give Henry a better chance of surviving. And of course, the heartwarming feeling is helped by Archie surviving anyway thanks to a dextrous use of his trusty umbrella, which calls back to the earlier heartwarming moment.
  • Archie stands up to Regina, telling her that he's going to be treating Henry as his conscience dictates from now on, instead bowing to her demands.
  • The crickets come back to Storybrooke.

Episode 6 - The Shepherd

  • Regina and Kathryn's conversation before the latter tries to return to the party to see David. Regina looks utterly moved when Kathryn tells her she just lost her husband for the second time, and says that she knows what it is like to lose someone, but that Kathryn has a chance to find her love again. Kathryn then turns around, and tells her that she is a good friend, and Regina beams, saying she isn't used to having friends. They both smile at each other, and when Kathryn leaves, Regina looks as if she is about to shed some Tears of Joy.
    • Sadly diminished completely later, when Regina attempts to have Kathryn killed in order to screw Mary Margaret over.
  • A mix of this and Tear Jerker, but "The Shepherd" says goodbye to his mother, who tells him that he will find true love.
  • Despite the bad things that come of it afterwards, it's rather sweet that the king who can turn anything to gold considers his daughter to be the most precious thing in the world.

Episode 7 - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

  • The huntsman, after reading Snow's letter to her stepmother, has her escape.
  • Graham finally remembers, and tells Emma thank you right before Regina kills him.

Episode 8 - Desperate Souls

  • Mr. Gold offering Emma some advice/keepsakes from Graham's death. Gold might not be the nicest man (which Emma knows from what he tried to do with Ashley), but his sincerity in talking about spending time with kids gives us a glimpse into the softer man we'll get to know this episode.
  • It ends badly, but the fact that Rumplestiltskin, poor and on the run with his son, took the time to give an old beggar whatever he could spare.

Episode 9 - True North

  • Nicholas and Ava reuniting with their father.
  • Gold giving Emma the name of Nicholas and Ava's father, especially when it's revealed that the card he was "reading" off of was blank. Did he have to do this? No. Did he get anything out of it? No. He did it simply to get those kids to their father. Why? Because the thought of a child without their father is a terrible one to him, for obvious reasons.

Episode 10 - 7:15AM

  • The dwarves taking in Snow White after she was forced to tell James she didn't love him, and Grumpy convincing her to wait on taking the potion that will make her forget him. Even before that, he silently offers his hand and she takes it as they walk through the forest.
  • Mary Margaret and David successfully reuniting a dove with its flock, and then finally getting together.

Episode 11 - Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

  • In our introduction to Snow's father, he establishes that he tries to care for all, by using his first wish to set the Genie of Agrabah free. Of course, this ends up turning into a Tearjerker with what the Genie does to him later.

Episode 12 - Skin Deep

  • While out on a Valentine's Day Girls' Night, Ashley is unable to get over the fact that she and Sean have been unable to truly be together, much less married, due to her taking care of the baby, and him working long hours in order to support her and the baby. Just as she's getting ready to leave, cue Sean with flowers. And a ring and proposal.
  • Emma's willingness to spend time with Henry even though she knows it's a distraction by Regina so she can talk to Mr. Gold.
  • It ends in tears, but Rumplestiltskin's burgeoning relationship with Belle is incredibly sweet. And even in the real world, we see that he'll go to any lengths to retrieve the one memento he has of her.
    • Indeed. When Belle returns with straw, he's positively surprised that she actually came back and skips down stairs. Then he pretends he was spinning the whole time in that awkward embarrassed sort of way that people do when they're trying not to be obvious about something. And then later in the real world, when Regina is dangling Belle's cup, Mr. Gold's hands are positively trembling beneath it since he's so afraid it'll get damaged in some way.
    • The fact that true love's kiss was actually working even if it all went to shit afterwards.
  • When Belle asks Rumplestiltskin why he spins straw into gold, given that he has more than he could possibly need:
    Rumple: It helps me forget.
    Belle: Forget what?
    Rumple: *beat* I guess it worked. *giggles*
    Belle: *giggles*
    • Judging from his expression, it's probably the first time in ages that someone has actually laughed at one of his jokes. And it's not a nervous laugh, either; she genuinely thought what he said was funny.
  • When Gaston appears at Rumple's castle, Rumple could have turned him into anything: A snail, a bug, etc. Instead, albeit in a grim sense, he turns Gaston into a rose to give to Belle.
    • Even better? Belle has never loved Gaston. Now, finally, she finds him attractive.

Episode 13 - What Happened to Frederick?

  • Princess Abigail helping Charming find Snow White, and Charming helping her by bringing back Frederick. The two of them had a nice understanding of each other and a nice friendship.
  • Charming tells the siren that he doesn't want the affections of Snow's image, but he wants the real love that can hurt sometimes.

Episode 14 - Dreamy

  • Dreamy and Nova watching the fireflies, after Belle advised him what she really wanted.
  • There's something rather sweet that Dreamy's brothers, after finding out he's leaving, give him a goodbye hug rather than try and stop him.
  • Also, Mary Margaret and Leroy hugging after they sell all their candles. Snow White and Grumpy are friends again!
  • Granny lighting Mary Margaret's candle at the end and smiling, showing that she's forgiven her for her affair with David, whereas in the previous episode she had told her "you should be ashamed of yourself."

Episode 15 - Red-Handed

  • Granny revealing to Ruby that she's planning to retire soon, and wants to give the cafe to her.
  • Ruby saying that she isn't afraid of ending up like Granny. She's afraid that she won't be good enough to end up like Granny.

Episode 16 - Heart of Darkness

  • After getting shot by an arrow, Charming tells Snow that he'd be willing to die for her. Touched by this, she kisses Charming, breaking the potion's hold on her, causing her to cry tears of joy, seeing her Charming again.
  • Snow returning to the dwarves with a mug, saying it's all she can replace when she trashed the cottage. She apologizes, and the "It's you/It's me" exchange puts it into borderline Tear Jerker territory. And then they all reassure that they'll help her to rescue Charming, every step of the way.

Episode 17 - Hat Trick

  • The Mad Hatter explaining why he doesn't contact his daughter; the fact it's not even a consideration if it might cause her pain, the sheer disbelief he expressed at the thought of it showed just how much he must care for her.
    • Made even better by the reunion scene we get in season two.
  • Jefferson quickly making a stuffed bunny for his daughter when he couldn't afford one at the market earlier.
  • The exchange between Emma and Mary Margaret at the end of the episode.
    Emma: Nobody's ever been there for me, except for you. And I can't lose that, I cannot lose my family.
    Mary Margaret: Family?
  • Henry's reaction when Emma asks to borrow his book, showing that she's starting to believe.

Episode 18 - The Stable Boy

  • Once upon a time, Snow White and Regina could have been great for each other, and seemed to have an immediate liking to each other. Right before the feud began.
    • Further, when Snow sees Regina with the stable boy, and hears about why True Love is so important, she gives her blessing to Regina, and wants to let her father know that they should call off the wedding.
  • August immediately forgiving Emma when she realizes he wasn't the one who betrayed her. That kind of thing isn't seen too often in stories like this (It's not a sign of selflessness, August has a guilty conscience. He abandoned Emma when she needed him the most).

Episode 19 - The Return

  • David and Kathryn reconciling after Kathryn is found.
    Kathryn: What we had, it just wasn't it for you. Maybe not for me either. You were just the first to see it.
    David: You're kinda amazing.
  • In the Enchanted Forest, Morraine talking to Baelfire and suggesting a solution to his problem with his father. Keep in mind, she's the only one who will have anything to do with him because all of the other kids are scared of Rumplestiltskin.

Episode 20 - The Stranger

  • "I'm a real boy!"
  • August finally talking to his father Marco, at the end of "The Stranger."
    Marco: You realized your mistake and you tried to fix it. That's important. If I had a son, that would be enough for me.
    August: How would you feel about... taking on an assistant?
    Marco: I can't pay you.
    August: That's okay. I just feel like fixing things.
  • Gold giving August a nudge towards his father. As with the kids in True North, this wasn't something he had to do or gained anything from. He just has a soft spot for reuniting families.
    • Especially touching because, in the previous episode, he thought August was his own son, Bae. Since he can't find his own family (yet), he helps August find his.

Episode 22 - A Land Without Magic

  • August, in his last moments before turning back into wood reaffirms his belief in Emma, telling her that she's not normal (in a good way), and she can save everyone.
  • The reunion between Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin and Belle.
    "I remember now! I-I love you!" (They embrace)
    "Yes. And I love you too.".
    • Diminished somewhat by the fact he's still looking for power.
  • Rumplestiltskin passing on to Emma her father's sword. He looks genuinely pleased to be able to give her something of her long lost parents.
    • In the same vein, Rumplestiltskin gives Charming a dashing, princely outfit, for no reason other than to enhance the romance of the next scene.
  • Snow White and Prince Charming having their reunion in the middle of the street, then just holding on to one another as the inevitable tide of magic hits, ready for any outcome.
  • In the Fairy Tale Land, Prince Charming brings us back to the pilot, breaking the curse on Snow White, and then afterwards, asking her to marry him.
  • Emma breaking the curse when she kisses Henry after his Disney Death. Props to the writers for having True Love's Kiss not limited to romance, but showing true love can be any form of pure love.
    Henry: I love you, too. You saved me.
    Regina: You did it!
    • Followed by the kiss' power sweeping over the town and restoring everyone to their true selves.
  • This episode reveals that Regina brought Maleficent over too. Season Four reveals that Maleficent had lost her child, so for twenty eight years Maleficent did not have to suffer with the memory and pain of losing her daughter. As Ruby says, casting the curse actually was a good thing for some people who have pain and suffering they wanted to forget.

     Season 2 

Episode 1 - Broken

  • Every scene in "Broken" of the fairy tale characters reuniting after their memories are restored.
    • Especially Snow and Charming meeting their daughter as an adult for the first time.
    • As Snow and Charming smush their daughter in, in the background, Ruby and Granny look at each other and cry.
    • The Dwarves give Snow a very large Glomp, which she happily returns.
  • Henry pleading to Emma to save Regina from the angry mob. "Please! She's still my mom!"
  • Regina's brief genuine smile after learning that Henry made Emma promise not to kill her.
  • Rumplestiltskin tries to push Belle away right after getting her back, believing he's still a monster. She replies that that's exactly why she should stay. (The confused look on his face, as if he has absolutely no idea why she would want to do that, is what really sells it.)
  • Charming comforts Henry by promising that he'll find a way to get Snow and Emma back after Jefferson's hat transported them back to Fairy land.
  • Small, but Mulan's plea to transfer the wraith's mark from Philip over to her, so he can be with Aurora. Whether or not she's in love with him (denial or otherwise), it's a beautifully loving and self-sacrificial action.

Episode 2 - We are Both

  • Regina taking a huge step forward in her character development by willingly giving Henry up, accepting that she needs to work to redeem herself before she can be the mother he deserves.
  • Grumpy promising the re-cursed Sneezy that they'll find a way to get his memories back, even though he has no idea what that means. Then he leads the others off with a determined "It's off to work we go!"
  • Charming telling Henry in the diner that FTL still exists and that he can feel Emma and Snow are there and still alive. Then the shot of grandfather and grandson at the counter drinking soda at the same time.
  • Charming convincing the entire town not to give up on their fairy-tale selves.

Episode 3 - Lady of the Lake

  • Whenever there is any danger, Snow immediately puts herself between it and Emma.
  • When Emma and Snow come upon Emma's nursery, Emma finally understands that her parents didn't just ship her off to save themselves, they were giving up the chance to be a part of their daughter's childhood to save her.
  • Charming's mother giving up her only chance to live after being shot with a poisoned arrow so that a cursed Snow can have a baby.
    • The scene afterwards. Snow is ready to tell David that they can't have a child... only to look down at the device Ruth gave her, and realize that she is going to be a mother. Just the expression on her face, as well as repeating over and over "We're going to have a child", is enough to move anyone.
  • A small gesture but considering who it's coming from... Regina is tricked by Henry into leaving her office so he can steal the keys to her hidden vault. When she realizes this, what's her first reaction? Tell Charming/David ASAP since she knew Henry wouldn't have listened to her if she came herself.
  • Charming teaching Henry how to sword fight. Then factor in the fact that he wanted a son and it crosses into a mishmash of Heartwarming and Tearjerker.
  • Jefferson's daughter gleefully running into his arms, after he'd been avoiding her for fear that she'd hate him for "abandoning" her. Even his conversation with Henry beforehand, which finally convinces him to seek her out.
    • This is the last time Jefferson appears in the series. His happy end stuck.

Episode 4 - The Crocodile

  • Rumplestilskin giving Belle the library and the conversation that follows.
  • Every scene with Red and Belle.
  • Red/Ruby taking the time to personally come all the way to the mines, just to bring Henry a muffin while he's watching the others work. She then casually promises to be back again with lunch. Just the way she did it was incredibly sweet; you could tell she was checking up on them, and just wanted to make sure everything was all right. She clearly thinks that (presumably) walking from Granny's to the mines several times a day is nothing if it means she's taking care of the people she loves.
    • She brought Henry a snack in a basket.
    • Of course, she's also checking out the dwarves so...

Episode 5 - The Doctor

  • Archie going out of his way to help Regina stop using magic.
  • This.
    Regina: I love you.
    Daniel: Then love again.
  • Charming letting Regina try to talk to Zombie!Daniel.
  • Henry being startled by Franken!Daniel in the stables and his reaction to seeing this stranger with blood on his hands is to ask if he's hurt and if he can help him.

Episode 6 - Tallahassee

  • Emma secretly asking Mulan if she doesn't come down the beanstalk after ten hours to cut it down and make sure her mother makes it home to Storybrooke.
    • Snow's response to this. Tackling Mulan to the ground.
    • Afterwards Emma hugging a frantic Snow to calm her down and assuring her that they are going to try go back home together.
  • Snow comforting Aurora after a nightmare and gently stroking her hair to help her fall asleep again.
    • Charming doing the same thing with Henry after the latter woke up from a nightmare.
  • Anton busting out of his trap... to let Emma go.

Episode 7 - Child of the Moon

  • The building of the friendship between Red and Snow, with Snow assuring Red that the "monster" isn't who she really is, and Red referring to Snow as her family.
  • David spends the episode fighting to make Ruby believe that she isn't the one that killed Billy, telling her that he knows her and knows that she hasn't lost control.
  • David calling Regina to stay with Henry, who's having post-curse nightmares. Also Gold giving Henry a magical necklace to help him control his actions in the nightmare world so he will be less afraid. He wants nothing in return. He's just doing it for Henry.
    • Which would make sense, considering Rumple's backstory.
    • Regina's scenes with Henry. Her attempt to comfort him after the nightmare and the fact that she went to Gold of all people in her desperation to help him was... oddly sweet.
  • Belle's unwavering trust in Ruby, despite knowing she's a werewolf.
  • The Ship Tease between Ruby and Belle in the library. Yes, it was swiftly and harshly subverted, but the fact that Ruby both puts Belle's safety above her own and gives her enough credit to assume she'd do something heroic and stupid to save Ruby's life is very sweet.
  • The fact that Ruby was willing to hand herself over to King George to be killed, just to make sure she would never hurt any of the people she loves.

Episode 8 - Into the Deep

  • Regina and Charming finally agree on something. Henry gets burned again in the dream world.
    Rumplestiltskin: He's going to need some time to recover before he can be sent back.
    Regina: Out of the question!
    Charming: Not a chance in hell!
  • The jury is out on whether or not Regina really is on the road to redemption, but her scenes with Henry in this episode were all adorable.
    • She and Charming spent the night by his bedside because of the nightmares.
    • She brings Henry his blanket from home and he actually smiles and thanks her for it.
    • And finally, the entirety of the conversation they have while Regina is making the sleeping curse for David.
    Henry: Have you been using magic?
    Regina: Henry, I told you I wouldn't. And I haven't. Except for...with Daniel... and now. I've really been trying.
    Henry: *smile* It's okay. At least you're using it to help people now.
    Regina: *holding his hand* I am trying. And after this... I won't.
    Henry: I know. Will David be okay?
    Regina: He'll be... asleep. And in there, he won't die. Gold's explaining everything to him right now.
    Henry: I should be me. I can go in there without a curse and still come back.
    Regina: Henry. David and I have many differences but on this we agree. We won't let you risk your safety. It's just not worth it.
    Henry: It is to me. He won't wake up.
    Regina: Unless he succeeds. And if there's one thing I know about your grandparents... they always find each other.
  • Mulan's determination to protect Aurora, even if it is at the expense of Emma and Snow.
  • Snow and David's meeting in the netherworld. Especially since Rumplestiltskin even warned him that nobody knows if it was even possible for it to happen, since while Snow was already cured of it, David was just succumbing to it. And it takes him less than five minutes there to succeed.
  • Snow and Emma reassuring each other that they're going to get home and Emma holding Snow's hand while she's knocked out by the poppy.
  • Aurora's determination to help Emma and Snow and her refusal to give them up to Cora, despite Cora's offer to bring back Phillip.
  • The long awaited Rumple and Belle hamburger date.
    • Rumple even offers ketchup: "The most powerful magic in this world."
    • The date gets interrupted, of course, but in the subsequent conversation Gold is adamantly protective of Belle and, true to his word about being honest with her, insists she stays so that there aren't any secrets about whatever Regina might want to talk to him about.
  • Gold to Charming: "I say this with all sincerity: good luck."
  • Regina glancing over at Gold, who can only shake his head silently. Whether or not she actually cares about David, she certainly cares about Henry. The fact that she's being so open about something that is a lot of progress from the closed off distant persona she was in season 1. And in this case, she's also demonstrating the ability to empathize beyond a direct link from her to someone.

Episode 9 - Queen of Hearts

  • Cora deciding not to rip out Regina's heart after her "heartfelt" speech at her tomb is either this or a terrifying subversion.
  • Regina trusting Henry and saving Emma and Snow.
    • Emma thanking her and Regina welcoming her back.
    • Henry hugging Regina.
    Henry: She saved you! She saved both of you!
  • Regina's reason for helping Gold in the first place was not to get rid of Snow, Emma and Charming but to save Henry from Cora.
  • Snow and Emma show genuine concern about getting Aurora's heart back while Mulan shows genuine concern about getting the compass. Compare this to the last episode, when they were nearly turned against each other due to their conflicting agendas.
  • Emma shoves Snow out of the way when Cora tries to kill her but Cora can't rip out Emma's heart. Because she's protected by true love. Heart Is an Awesome Power.
    • Even the surprise on Emma's face is heartwarming. At that moment, all she expected to happen was to save her mother's life in a Heroic Sacrifice. But for her to survive and realize that not even somebody as powerful as Regina's mother can defeat True Love finally made her fully believe it. How she says "It is strength" indicates that she's just as surprised as Cora by what happens.
  • Henry acknowledging Regina has changed. While the show makes it clear nearly immediately she still has a long way to go in his eyes, that fleeting moment makes all the hell she's gone through so far worth it.
  • Mulan returning Aurora's heart and the both of them deciding to go on a heroic quest to save Phillip.
    • It makes it even more heartwarming since this is the very first time ever that we see Mulan crack a smile.
    • Mulan went on a quest to literally win Aurora's heart. And succeeded.
  • The family reunion. Henry calling Emma "Mom". Snow snogging the living daylights out of Charming (and not wasting any time before doing it too, knowing how powerful and effective it is).
  • Red running over to hug Snow after the latter returns from the Enchanted Forest was adorable.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In light of their budding mentor/student relationship, the entire scene between Gold and Emma at the end.
    • Emma's immediate insistence that Gold doesn't need to apologize for almost killing them in order to stop Cora from coming to Storybrooke, because she realizes exactly how dangerous Cora is and agrees that she had to be stopped at all costs.
    • The fact that he was apologizing in the first place.
    • Gold acknowledging that, even though he's taken advantage of her courage and heroism at times, he didn't make her what she is. The sincerity in his voice when he says, "Everything you've done, you've done yourself," is particularly touching.

Episode 10 - The Cricket Game

  • Emma invites Regina to the welcome back party at Granny's, even knowing everything Regina's done. She even encourages Charming and Snow not to be angry about it. This is an especially sweet gesture considering that we are talking about the person who tried to throw her into an eternal sleep last season.
    • Emma refusing to believe that Regina is responsible for Archie's death until she sees it in Gold's dreamcatcher.
  • Henry's "I'm glad you came" to Regina.
  • Regina apologizing to Emma for snapping. Also, Emma's perceptible restraint at stooping to Regina's level shows how far she's come as well.
  • Belle bringing Gold lunch at his shop in a picnic basket. Gold for his part seems genuinely delighted at whatever meal she made him.

Episode 11 - The Outsider

  • Henry's reunion with Archie after he's rescued from Hook's ship.
  • Belle's declaration that she "will never stop fighting" for Rumplestiltskin, especially when you take into account his belief that he is impossible to love.
  • There's something sweet that Emma has come to accept that her parents are going to be part of her life from now on, as she mentions that their dream was to have them all under one roof.
  • Blink and you'll miss it, but as the car comes plowing down the road into Storybrooke, Rumple's immediate reaction is to throw himself over Belle to protect her.
    • Listen closely, and when he sees the car coming, his yell of fright sounds like "Belle!"

Episode 12 - In The Name Of The Brother

  • Ruby saving Whale from committing suicide and talking him into doing the surgery by saying that he can still do good here and now by saving Greg Mendell's life.

Episode 13 - Tiny

  • Anton the giant being convinced that good humans exist, and finally being able to integrate with them, complete with getting a dwarf pickaxe that gives him his old nickname, which he'd previously hated but now sees as his true identity.
    • Grumpy seals the deal by clasping him on the back and saying "Welcome, brother." And the "dwarves" start breaking soil while whistling "Heigh Ho"
  • Charming going down into the hole and reaching out. "If you wanted to die, you would have let go already" and apologizing for his brother's vile actions.
  • Anton's expression softens slightly when Snow mentions that Emma is hers and Charming's daughter. Not to mention that despite his anger, he's willing to talk things over peacefully with Emma.
  • Snow assuring her husband that he is not his wicked, spoiled, bloodthirsty brother.
    • And on another note, while discussing the possibility to use the magic beans to go home, Snow tells her husband that she'll only go, if Emma will go too.
  • A few moments between Emma and Gold as they're going through airport security. She's very patient and protective through the whole scene - passing him off as her father, assuring him that she won't let him forget who he is, and wrapping his shawl around his shoulders again as soon as they're through. He's way out of his element, and she knows exactly how that feels. It's a tiny bit of common ground, but it's a start of something more.
    • Also some Heartwarming in Hindsight, considering what's revealed in the next episode. In addition to being the mother of his grandson, she was once close to being (and still possibly could become...) his daughter-in-law.
    • On a similar note, there's something oddly touching about the fact that she considers a road trip with Rumplestiltskin a safer option than leaving Henry in Storybrooke.
  • The "I promise no harm will come to your family" moment between David and Gold.
  • Anton gets a pickaxe that gives him his dwarf name "Tiny." He's found himself a new family.

Episode 14 - Manhattan

  • After Emma and Neal finish calling each other out, Henry finally gets to meet and talk with his father.
  • The bonding between Gold and Henry is pretty touching, especially after the reveal that Henry is Gold's grandson. The contrast between Henry looking at the situation like an optimistic little kid would and Gold looking at things much more realistically straddles the line into Tear Jerker territory.
    • Also, the fact that Emma was willing to leave the two together in the first place. Granted, she didn't have a whole lot of choices, but there was no hesitation, no threats. Just a "Watch Henry!" and off she went.
  • Emma calling Mary Margaret to ask for advice about whether or not to tell Henry that Neal is his father. With all her show of "I can do it myself" and stoicism, in spite of all her trust issues, she calls her mom for help.

Episode 15 - The Queen is Dead

  • Snow reuniting with Johanna after years apart. What makes this poignant is we had seen the young Snow being rude to her and getting scolded for it. So the scene tells us that not only did Snow learn to treat Johanna with respect - they became good friends.
    • Johanna has apparently been keeping a garden of snow-drops in Storybrooke in honour of Queen Eva.
  • When Cora tells Snow that she was the one who killed her mother, Regina gives her a brief "what the hell?" look. Depending on your interpretation, it could show that not even Regina would stoop to that level. Her confronting Cora afterwards makes it more likely.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Not only is Regina showing her standards, she's also realizing yet another way in which Cora has been manipulating her life.
    • She also looks genuinely shocked when, after she returns Johanna's heart, Cora throws her out of a window. She did have a major Kick the Dog moment afterwards but there's still some hope for her.
  • The fact that neither Henry nor Emma seems to have any qualms about accepting Gold as part of their family.
    • "So should I call you grandpa now?"
    • Emma's insistence that Gold needs to start trusting people, and that he should start with family.
      • The fact that he listens to her.
  • Baelfire immediately switching gears to concern for his father after he's poisoned, even calling him "Papa." He notes later that being upset over his childhood is a very different matter than wanting to see his father die.
    • That this and the following episode puts the family histories - especially the relationships between parent and child across all the generations - makes this also something of a Tear Jerker too. Befitting of his role as a Morality Pet, Baelfire - unlike most of the characters - seeks to comfort his father at the time rather than seeking revenge or power to fix what he is wise enough to realize he can not change or blame others for what happened.

Episode 16 - The Miller's Daughter

  • Rumplestiltskin's phone call to Belle. Also crosses into Tear Jerker considering Belle doesn't remember any of what he's telling her. Not to mention this is Rumple we're talking about; we so very rarely - if ever - hear him speak sincerely, much less emotionally. The only time he has done this was with Bae and even then, especially later in life, it was always strained with Bae. Here, it's just... raw. To boot, note some of what he says such as 'You made me want to go back... to the very best version of me. And that never happened before.' Not even Bae, his own son, had that reaction to him; he gained power for Bae... but he was willing to lose power for Belle.
    Rumplestiltskin: You don't remember who you are... so I'm gonna tell you. You... are a hero, who saved her people. You are a beautiful woman... who loved an ugly man - really, really loved me. You find goodness in others... and when it's not there, you create it. You made me want to go back... to the very best version of me. And that never happened before. So when you look in the mirror, and don't know who you are... that's who you are. Thank you, Belle.
    • The fact that he calls her 'sweetheart' instead of 'dearie' just prior to this speaks volumes.
  • Baelfire and Rumplestiltskin reconciling afterwards.
    Baelfire: I didn't think you had that in you. (in response to the above speech)
  • Oddly enough, Rumplestiltskin and Cora have one when she goes to kill him and take his power. Rumplestiltskin asks her if she ever really loved him, and Cora tells him he was the only man she ever loved.
  • Cora getting her heart back and smiling at Regina like she's seeing her for the first time. Regina being so happy that she's truly getting her mother's love.
    • "You would have been enough" So sad what happens three seconds later, though...
  • The budding student/mentor relationship between Emma and Gold.
    • "You're Henry's grandfather. We're family now, and I'm going to save you."
    • Despite acting unconvinced after this line, Gold still trusts her to cast a protection spell, and they share a small moment of pride and satisfaction when she succeeds.
  • David, rather than going Knight Templar Parent on the man who knocked up his seventeen year old daughter and had her arrested, very quietly asks Emma if she's alright and leaves it at that. He successfully managed to treat her like an adult and look out for her at the same time. The look he gave Neal at the start of the episode didn't hurt either.

Episode 17 - Welcome to Storybrooke

  • Rumple attending Regina's private funeral for Cora, waving off the fact that she had been inches away from killing him with a, "We had our differences," and adding that she will always have a place in his heart.
  • Miraculously, despite everything that happened to her in the last episode, Regina ends the episode held back from a complete fall to the dark side by Henry. Again.
    • And he does so by telling her she can't force him into loving her because that wouldn't be real love. This is exactly the lesson Regina DIDN'T learn with Owen 28 years ago, shown in this same episode. But it finally sinks in now and she destroys the love curse, showing that Regina isn't completely beyond help after all.
  • Kurt telling Owen to run and holding Regina and Graham off without a moment's hesitation, essentially sacrificing himself so that his son can get away.
  • Despite his rather cold "wars have costs" attitude throughout the episode, Gold does, in fact, stay and protect Snow from Regina. And when Snow asks how he lives with himself, instead of a witty response, he gives some surprisingly honest and well-intentioned advice. Maybe he's warming up to his new-found one-of-the-family status.

Episode 18 - Selfless, Brave, and True

  • Henry's realization that August's final actions, returning to town at risk to his own life and spending his last moments trying to reveal who his attacker was, fulfill the spell's requirements that he be "selfless, brave, and true," allowing him to be reborn as a child again, and giving some hope to Mary Margaret that she can also be redeemed.
  • Emma apologizes to Henry for lying to him about Neal, and asks for his forgiveness and to not push her away.

Episode 19 - Lacey

  • The opening scene, in which the Charming family celebrates Henry's birthday party in Gold's shop. Gold then gives Henry a magic wand as a gift. Then he uses it to kill Henry. Then it turns out to be a nightmare. Still, it was nice while it lasted.
  • That beautiful library is definitely just another room for Belle to clean... Why are you smiling, Missy?
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but when Belle picks up a random book to flip through, he's giving her a sideways look as if to see if she's pleased or not.
  • Gold realizing that there is some of the old Belle in Lacey during their date at Granny's.
    • Lacey tells Gold that when she looks at him, she sees a man who wouldn't hurt anybody. Gold is clearly touched and says that he really needed to hear that, especially now. She's wrong, and probably didn't mean it as a compliment, but his reaction is heartwarming because it shows that, deep down, that's still the man he wants to be.
  • Crosses over into Funny. The Sheriff of Nottingham offers Robin Hood's whereabouts to Rumple. His price? A night with Belle. Rumple gives the Sheriff a chance to politely change that price. When the Sheriff refuses and insists, Rumple takes the Sheriff's tongue and starts waving it around like it was a ticket stub.
  • Rumple giving Belle a pillow in her cell. Given, he says it's to muffle her crying and not help her sleep. But still, notice that when he tells her that her crying is distracting, and she gives him a major look of disbelief, he pauses as if deciding to actually be a bit nice.
  • When Anton/Tiny and Emma meet again when Emma visits the magic bean crop field, they immediately hug each other.

Episode 20 - The Evil Queen

  • Henry visibly showing that he cares about Regina and hoping that she's found a valid way for them to be together again. Unfortunately she hasn't, and Henry is horrified at what her way is, but the moment was heartwarming while it lasted.
  • Seeing the disguised Regina truly wanting to change and be a part of Snow's family again when Snow says she still thinks Regina has some good in her. Of course, all that changes quickly, when they come across the villagers that Regina killed for helping Snow.
    • Especially the part where Regina is ready and able to draw the sword Snow gave her and kill her with it... but chooses not to, hoping for reconciliation instead.
  • ALL of the Henry/Emma scenes. These two have rarely had any time together just hanging out and it was a nice callback to season 1.

Episode 21 - Second Star to the Right

  • Wendy giving Bae a whole tray of bread loaves, after he broke into the house for just a desperate quick bite. And then Mrs. Darling letting him stay with them upon learning how bad his situation is.
  • Charming's effort to console Emma after Neal/Baelfire drops down a vortex and away from her again. This is a more advanced level of parenting than he's really used to or ready for, but he's doing his best.
  • Mary Margaret tending to Regina, who is severely weakened after being tortured. It serves as a beautiful contrast to Snow tending to Regina in "The Evil Queen".

Episode 22 - And Straight On Til Morning

  • While also a Tear Jerker in context, Emma finally referring to Snow and Charming as "Mom" and "Dad."
  • Also Tearjerker/Heartwarming, Belle's memories returning. The conflict between being so happy to have her back, and being crushed over losing Bae...
    • On top of this, the dwarves making Gold an extra dose of the memory-restoring potion, after he's spent the whole season with almost everyone hating him and refusing to help. It also helps that the reason Grumpy gives? Because Belle helped him find his courage in pursuing Nova. Even though that didn't work out, she still did something kind for him, so he wants to return the favor.
    • More importantly, Gold deciding to use the potion. He could easily remain content with Lacey and return to his old ways, but it's implied that he realised that Lacey would never love him as much as Belle does. More than that, he genuinely prefers being who he is around Belle, who drives him to stop being a coward and actually try to be a better man.
  • Regina preparing to make a Heroic Sacrifice for Henry and everyone in Storybrooke. And her and Emma joining their magic together to save the day in the end. It's her line that really sells it:
    "Everyone looks at me like the Evil Queen, including my son. Let me die as Regina."
    • Also, both scenes in which Henry hugs her. The first is early in the episode, where Regina apologizes for everything and says she loves him and Henry, for the first time, finally says out loud "I love you too." The second is when it looks like all is lost, the Charmings have a family group hug as they prepare for the end, but Regina can't join in because she's still holding the diamond's power back. Henry then leaves the group hug, goes over and hugs Regina tight as she apologizes to him once again.
      • The fact that after everything that went down between them during Season 2, Snow is still vocally in favor of trying to save Regina.
  • The last scene in which the Charmings, Gold, Regina, and Hook all work together to sail the Jolly Roger.
    • The fact that they're all willing to work together. When Henry was kidnapped, no one questioned each other (apart from Hook and Gold, but even that was brief), and no one was suspicious; they just knew they had to work together and accepted it. When they set out, they left not as enemies putting their differences aside, or even as friends banding together; they left as a family going to rescue one of their own.
  • The expression on Hook's face when he realizes that not only is Neal/Baelfire Henry's father, but that he died. It's only then does he begin to consider helping out.
    • There's also the expression on his face when he insists that Baelfire stay with him on the ship. He genuinely wanted him to stay.
    • Finally, just when he's about to set sail with the magic bean in hand, he sees the carvings by the steering wheel that he made to help Bae learn how to steer the ship. This gives him the final push to go back to Storybrooke and return the bean, outright telling Emma that he's finally been reminded that he IS capable of caring about more than just himself.
  • At the end, when Neal is found in the Enchanted Forest. The fact that he's alive is heartwarming in itself, but just look at who finds him. Mulan, Aurora...and Phillip. They found a way to bring him back.
  • Belle and Gold saying goodbye is a Tear Jerker, but Belle insisting that she'll see Gold again makes it heartwarming.
    • When they do, Gold calls Henry his grandson and is willing to save him in Bae's memory, even though Henry is destined to bring about his downfall. Seriously. No. Longer. A. Coward.
    • The way Gold rests his forehead against Belle's, as though she's the last bit of true peace he will ever know. Say what you will about that man, but the one thing that cannot be doubted is that, even broken and flawed as he is, he loves Belle heart and soul.

     Season 3 

Episode 1 - The Heart of the Truest Believer

  • Henry says that both of his moms are coming to get him.
    • He again expresses faith that his family will save him even when the runaway boy he's with says that lots of boys have thought their families were coming.
  • After Rumple gives Emma a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Hook goes below deck to reassure her. He gives her Neal's old sword. Then they drink to Neal's memory.
  • When Aurora asks Neal what he wants her to tell the others if she can make contact, the message he wants passed on is "Tell Emma I'm alive. And I love her."
  • When he's in his father's castle, Neal finds his father's old cane. Mulan suggests that it might have belonged to a looter, but Neal points out the notches on it where Rumplestiltskin charted his growth. He then muses that while it may not have seemed like it at times, family was important to Rumplestiltskin. Even after everything that's happened between the two of them, past and present, this is still his dad we're talking about and he loves him, flaws and all.
  • You remember the scene where Emma jumps off of the ship to get everyone to stop fighting. It worked. While fans fully expected Charming and Snow to stop fighting with the other two in order to help Emma, we didn't expect Hook's and Regina's reaction to it. Hook and Emma have been Friendly Enemies (with notable Foe Yay) throughout most of their confrontations, so him being visibly worried about her is understandable to an extent. The thing is, Regina was worried to. Considering that she and Emma have been putting aside their differences more often as of late and the fact that "Quite A Common Fairy" reveals that yes there is still some genuine good in Regina's heart that split second scene of all four running to the side of the ship becomes very heartwarming. For one reason or another four people that aren't Henry or Neal care about Emma. Then you remember all her friends back in Storybrooke, and then you add both Aurora and Mulan to the equation; That's when you realize that this broken hurt person who is still working to overcome her problems truly isn't alone for once, and will probably never be alone again.

Episode 2 - Lost Girl

  • The seven dwarves' Big Brother Instinct towards Snow, defending her against Charming.
  • The entire scene with Belle and Gold. Gold admits that he's turned into his father and Belle advises him that the first step to change is letting go of the past.
  • Emma admitting to being the eponymous "lost girl". Because simply saying you're the "savior" when everybody else has been telling you that for more than a year is still a denial of who you really are. It's probably the most introspective moment she's ever had in her life, and having her mother by her side was probably the only thing that gave her the courage to admit to her own deepest pains and fears.

Episode 3 - Quite A Common Fairy

  • This exchange between Emma and Regina, after Emma learns that Regina has been calling the rescue mission "Operation Henry":
    Regina: I've been calling it that because...
    Emma: That's what he would call it.
    Regina: He'd have a better name. *beat* But it's the best I can come up with.
    • Emma and Regina's interactions in general here. Les Yay jokes aside, the two have definitely seemed to have bonded since the second season's finale.
  • Charming is dying from poison, and who does he share this terrible secret with? Hook, whom he has clashed with repeatedly in the past. That Hook shows sincere regret for Charming's situation makes it even more heartwarming.
  • The fact that Regina seems to genuinely care about Tinker Bell. To the point where she ripped her own very black heart out to show Tink what her heart will become if she chooses revenge. And then trusts Tink not to crush it.
    • Parts of Regina's heart, which is covered in black spots, still glows red. She still has a chance at redemption.
    • Even better: the red parts actually glow brighter when Regina mentions loving Henry.
    Regina: If there's one thing I've done right, it's him.
  • Mulan getting the inspiration to confess her love. Not to Phillip, but to Aurora.
    • Plus the overwhelming fan support for this development. Witness the comments at the Onion AV Club review after it sailed right over the writer's head.
    • Not to mention that she's the first Disney character who's a lesbian. Disney has had Ambiguously Gay and Ambiguously Bi characters before, but never something this overt. That's quite an achievement.
  • Roland stands at the window and utters the following sentence: "I bewieve!". Roland is an adorably cute and huggable tiny little four year old.

Episode 4 - Nasty Habits

  • Rumple's reunion with his son, at least for a while. Especially his declaring that he is not just willing but determined to die to save Henry, as the only way his redemption can be complete.
  • Hook's genuine concern for Charming after becoming the Secret Keeper that he's been poisoned.

Episode 5 - Good Form

  • Snow, Emma and Regina manage to make contact with Henry using a Magic Mirror. For a moment, there was no Evil Queen and her mortal enemies. There was just three women and the kid they all adored.
    Emma: It's not a trick. Henry, I promise you, this is real. Kid, it's "Operation Cobra Rescue."
    Henry: You-You're here?
    Emma: Yes. We're coming to get you.
    Henry: Someone is coming... Pan. I've gotta go.
    Snow, Emma and Regina: Wait.
    • Regina saying "We love you." She's acknowledging other people, including her archnemesis Snow, as members of her son's family.
  • After their extremely troubled relationship, it's very touching to see Emma casually refer to Henry as "our son" when talking to Regina.
  • The kiss between Emma and Hook. After all of the pain Neal has caused her, it's really nice to see Emma begin to trust another man and care for him as much as he seems to care for her.
  • Remember last season, when Regina was gloating over Snow White having darkness growing in her heart? Now she's outright stating that her role on the team is to do the dark stuff, so the others won't have that burden.
  • Charming making up the story about the Lost Boy ambush and Hook saving him from a poisoned arrow, rather than telling the real story about the spring, just so he can honestly say Hook saved his life from the poison. The look on Hook's face, as it's been a long time since he was praised.
    Charming: I just thought he deserved a little credit.
    • Snow and Emma holding up their drink in Hook's name.

Episode 6 - Ariel

  • Emma and Regina are arguing over whether or not to follow a trial that Emma believes will lead her to Neal. Regina tells her to go "follow the evil munchkin's dirt road" if that's what she wants. When Regina starts to walk away, Emma demands to know where she's going and Regina responds "To save our son." Given her initial fear that Emma might try to take her son away, it's pretty sweet to hear Regina call Henry "our son."
    • It's even better since Emma also said "our son" in the previous episode. Regina saying it now just further shows that, even when they still clash a little, the two of them are on the same page when it comes to Henry at last.
  • Hook tells his big secret in the Echo Cave. That he didn't think he'd ever get over Milah until he met Emma. He does this all to rescue Neal.
  • Despite all the issues they have to deal with still, Emma telling Neal she loves him and the way they wrap each other into a hug the instant the cage is dissolved.
    • And that was right after she told him she was relieved when she thought he was dead, so maybe she could get over the pain their relationship ended up causing her. Instead of being angry or hurt, he calmly says that he understands, that she has a right to feel that way, and that he's sorry for hurting her.
  • One from the writing staff: Lana Parilla very openly loves Ursula. And so they allow her to play Ursula in exactly the same fashion of her portrayal in the movie. As in character as the Queen doing what she needs to for her plans is, it's still very plainly the writers allowing Lana to come to work and play one of her favorite characters.

Episode 7 - Dark Hollow

  • When Snow and Charming have it out over his keeping his being stuck in Neverland secret, half the argument is just them declaring how deep their love is, because of course Snow would stay there too if it meant being together, and his not wanting her to be stuck with him is exactly why he didn't tell her.
  • Neal apologizing for fighting with Hook over the lighter and agreeing to put Henry first.
  • Henry's belief that his family is coming for him, despite what Pan says. It seems the Magic Mirror face time a few episodes ago got through to him.
  • Regina honoring her deal with Ariel and allowing her to change to having legs any time.
  • John and Michael Darling still working to keep their sister safe, even after a century of doing Pan's bidding. Fridge Horror when you realize they probably did much the same as what Greg and Tamara did, including murder, but they still care for her enough to not stop trying to get her back. Considering doing evil corrupts your soul in this universe, no matter what your intentions, that speaks volumes.

Episode 8 - Think Lovely Thoughts

  • The two spinsters a young Rumplestiltskin is left with. We're first inclined to be suspicious of them, but they turn out to be very sweet ladies who want what's best for him, and happily take him in after his father gives him up.
  • Everyone is naturally suspicious after learning the prophecy that Henry will be Rumplestiltskin's undoing. Neal says the only way they can believe he doesn't want to kill Henry is to hand over Pandora's Box, and he immediately does. And later, it does become clear that his intentions are honorable, enough that Neal gives it back.
  • The reason why the Darlings ended up in a position where they had to help Pan. When the Shadow took Baelfire away, they found a way to get to Neverland to try and save him because they consider him family. Obviously it didn't work out but at least they tried.
    • The reason why Wendy doesn't try to fight Pan counts too. Just as Pan has threatened to hurt Wendy if John and Michael disobey, he has threatened to hurt John and Michael if she disobeys. Talk about a family that loves each other.
  • The moment when Wendy is reunited with Neal.
  • All three of Henry's parents standing together as they attempt to save him from Pan.
  • A gut-wrenching subversion of a Heartwarming Moment: Pan says he does still care for Rumple, which is why he named himself after the doll he gave Rumple. But it's just manipulation to get Rumple to stand down, and when it doesn't work, Pan locks Rumple away in Pandora's Box without any hesitation or remorse.

Episode 9 - Save Henry

  • The whole episode was a Heartwarming Moment for any viewers who'd come from adoptive families or anyone who felt like there were a lot of anti-adoption messages in the way parenthood was being treated by the show. This definitely was a good step forward in remedying that.
  • The Lost Boys being won over by Emma's promise to take them home and find parents for them. And she actually does pull it off.
    • They even took Felix-despite basically him saying no and making his loyalty to Pan clear.
  • The flashbacks show that Regina really did start out wanting to be a good mother to Henry, terrified that she's doing something wrong when he won't stop crying and overjoyed when he finally does stop. And in the end she makes a potion so she can forget he's the grandson of Snow and Charming, and focus entirely on being as good a mother as she can be. Crosses into Tearjerker territory when you recall from Snow White's experience what memory loss potions do to a person, and you understand that this act is what caused Regina to be a not-so-good mother to Henry despite her intentions.
    • The implication that beating the Darlings to Henry's adoption unwittingly saved all of them from an early victory for Pan.
  • Regina's fairy tale to Henry and her callback to it when tucking him in.
  • Emma and Regina hugging Henry after putting his heart back inside him.
  • In an incredibly twisted (and possibly slightly psychotic?) way, Regina's escape from the tree. Yeah, she's killed, tortured and sent an entire land to another world with a curse that devastated it leaving nothing behind but ogres and a lot of shit... but she doesn't regret any of this because it got her Henry.
  • Neal's joy and relief when Rumplestiltskin is let out of Pandora's Box and his reassurance that he's nothing like his father (Peter Pan) because unlike Pan, Rumple actually tried and came back to find his son after he abandoned him.
    • Also Neal calling Rumplestiltskin "papa", showing that he has forgiven Rumplestiltskin and he still loves his dad regardless of the anger Neal felt at being abandoned.
  • Neal and Henry's hug after he's saved and Neal's promise to stay and be a father to him. It doesn't happen right after Henry gets his heart back, but it's sweet in its own way as just a private moment between them after the action.
  • When Wendy gives Tinker Bell the last bit of fairy dust left in Neverland and saying "I believe in you." Especially heartwarming considering that in the original novel and certain film adaptations, Tinker Bell was quite...unfriendly towards her at a sociopathic degree.
    • Also, Tink continuing to reconcile with Regina, saying she knew that there was still good in her.
    • Regina's genuine happiness for Tinkerbell when her magic briefly works. And the fact that it's Tinkerbell's belief in Regina that leads to the pixie dust working.
    Regina: If I were to guess, I'd say for a moment there... you believed.
  • Rumplestiltskin saving Henry from Pan (at least he thinks he is) and his line to Regina afterward.
    Rumplestiltskin: He'll be fine. He's a strong boy. You raised him well.
  • Easy to miss, but when Mary Margaret is able to get Henry to stop crying when Regina couldn't, she apologizes to Regina, who says "No, it's not your fault... it's me." Let that sink in: she's saying that to Snow White. And it's the exact opposite of her usual attitude toward her problems and Snow White.
  • When Pan is rubbing Emma's regrets in her face, Snow defends her. Then, when Pan turns on Snow, Regina interrupts him. They really are making progress, even if they have a lot to make up for.
  • Hook's reaction to saving Henry was rather sweet. He immediately smiles when Henry wakes up and offers him the Captain's quarters to sleep in.
  • Regina is giddy to become Henry's mother. Walking into Gold's shop for news, she's practically bouncing. And when the nurse comes in with the newborn Henry, her face breaks into an awed smile and gasp. Regina Mills may have done a lot of things wrong in her life, but she has never stopped loving her little boy.

Episode 10 - The New Neverland

  • When the gang get back to Storybrooke they get a warm welcome from the towns residents, hugs all around.
    • Including Ariel finding Eric, and Snow announcing to everyone that Regina played a large part in their success.
    • Wendy is finally reunited with her brothers. Additionally, Wendy introduces her brothers to Neal, Baelfire all grown up.
    • Technically, this is the first time that Neal has met Belle. The first time, she was Lacey. This time however, there's no sign of ill will between them.
  • Regina demanding that the Blue Fairy gives Tinker Bell back her wings. Our baby is growing up and making friends without orchestrating their kidnappings or trapping them in Wonderland. It doesn't work, but gold star for trying, Regina.
    Blue: Green.
    Regina: Her name is Tinker Bell.'
  • Hook giving up trying to win over Emma for the sake of Neal to reunite with her.
    • Followed by Hook warning Neal not to hurt her again. Say what you want about him, but he genuinely cares for Emma.
  • When Henry proves that it's actually him in Pan's body by telling Emma about the time when she told him the reason she gave him up was to give him his best chance at a better life And then they both run up to hug each other.
    • Also Gold apologizing to Henry about putting him in Pandora's Box and Henry assuring him that it's okay and he would have done the same thing.
  • After they tell Regina about the bodyswitch.
    Regina: I fell for it. I wanted to believe what he was saying so badly, I missed all the signs. I just wanted to believe that he still needed me to be his mother.
    Henry: I still do.
    Regina: Henry?
    Henry: *Glomp*
  • Gold tells Belle that the only future he's interested in is the future where he spends the rest of his life with her.
  • Neal tactfully asks Emma out on a lunch date. Unfortunately, it was canceled because of the Blue Fairy's murder, but props to Neal for trying anyways.
  • Charming's "Moments" lecture, which ended up being a boomerang of heartwarming. He tells it to Emma to ease her worrying (in an adorable father-daughter moment), then she uses it to discern if "Pan" is really Henry (while Charming watches), then a flashback reveals that he first gave a similar talk to Snow right after they were married, to ease her worrying about Regina. AAW.

Episode 11 - Going Home

  • Hook being very close to being killed by Pan's shadow if it meant saving David, Neal, and Tink. The same Hook who was previously cared about no one but himself.
    • Very subtle, but David pulling Hook out of the way from the shadow.
    • Tink saw through his lies about doing it for himself, but for Emma.
  • Rumple being at peace with dying for the people he loves, and sacrificing himself to save them. Also, even though he doesn't say it in explicit terms, the fact that he forgives his father is worth noting. For all the shit his father did to him, he's able to move past it and kiss him before they both go.
  • Regina, unable to stop the fading of the curse from wiping out Emma and Henry's memories of their time in Storybrooke, does the next best thing: she gives them memories of a life where Emma never gave Henry up for adoption. This from the woman who wanted Emma nowhere near Henry when they first met.
    • There are tears in both Regina and Emma's eyes as they say goodbye to each other. The fact that they share a son used to be what made them sworn enemies, but now it's made them friends...and both of them have had so little exposure to friendship in their lives that this really means a whole lot to them.
  • Everything Henry says in his goodbye to Regina. He basically tells her he'd rather have stayed in the cursed town than have to be away from her now. Regina saying he's wrong and deciding not to blame anyone but herself is pretty sweet, too, if a bit sad.
    Henry: If I had never gone to get Emma... if I just lived under the curse with you... none of this would have ever happened. I thought I was alone. I thought you didn't love me. But I was wrong.
    Regina: Henry, I was wrong too. It wasn't you're fault, it's mine. I cast a curse out of vengeance. I'm... I'm a villain. And you heard Mr. Gold. Villains don't get happy endings.
    Henry: You're not a villain. You're my Mom.
  • Henry and Emma's happy life together in New York, one year later. Sure they've lost all memories of the rest of their family but they just look so happy together. And after all the crap they've both been through seeing them finally living a peaceful life is kind of heartwarming.

Episode 12 - New York City Serenade

  • Snow finding Regina burying her own heart in the forest so she won't have to feel the pain of not being with Henry and gently convincing her to put it back, reminding her that Henry would want her to be happy.
    • Snow and Regina, full stop. After trying to figure out who's going to rule the kingdom now that they're all back, Snow suggests becoming co-queens with Regina to give the people hope. And Regina, who's defined much of her life by her grudge against Snow, is on board with it, and later calls it "our castle" when the kingdom is blocked off by a protection spell. This from two women who've spent much of their lives fighting one another is nothing short of a Heartwarming Moment.
  • Henry encouraging Emma to accept Walsh's proposal and to accept that she can be happy.
    "Mom, not every guy is going to be like my dad. Not every guy is just going to leave you."
    "You're always looking for something to be wrong. You don't have to do that. Sometimes it's okay to accept things that are good."
    • Becomes Harsher in Hindsight by the end of the episode though, as Walsh turned out to be a flying monkey sent to spy on Emma.
  • The almost exact recreation of the scene in "Manhattan" when Emma discovers that Neal still has the dream-catcher. Right down to the shot of her through the window.
  • Neal and Belle bond. She insists that Neal will see Emma and Henry again and encourages him just like she did his father. They are the only ones who believe that Rumple is still alive. They are right... in a way.
  • Relatively minor, but Emma and Henry making conversation while playing a video game together is heartwarming in its own right.
  • Robin Hood did not forget the time when Belle saved him from Rumplestiltskin. His ecstatic cry of "Belle!" will seriously get you.

Episode 13 - Witch Hunt

  • Just seeing Red again, given how Meghan Ory hoped it could happen when she was released from her contract the previous season.
  • Emma not questioning at all that Regina is innocent, even as Regina herself lays out all the reasons for doubting her.
  • After a flying monkey nearly attacks Robin Hood's son Roland, Regina turns it into a stuffed toy and gives it to him to play with.
  • Robin Hood's concern when he realizes Regina is going to put herself under a Sleeping Curse and pleading with her not to go through with it.
  • Emma having Regina meet Henry, because she knows how much Regina loves him. Doubles as a Tear Jerker considering he doesn't remember her.
  • Roland, being an adorable hobbit child, as he toddles along after Regina and the group.
    • Regina, when the flying monkey attacks, doesn't try and protect herself - she races to protect Roland because she's just lost one child, another is not going to be harmed. The monkey misses and, standing in front of Roland protectively, Regina turns the flying monkey into a toy... which she, smiling and motherly, gives to Roland as "a new toy". Roland, for his part, takes the toy monkey and then gives Regina a tiny shy smile.
  • While the fact that she has "someone to destroy" is not Heartwarming, the fact that the "someone" is not Snow and David is. Regina's moved past that vendetta!

Episode 14 - The Tower

  • Finally, a glimpse of Emma as the princess she was meant to become. And a nice father-daughter bonding moment of Charming teaching her to dance. Even if it ended up being a Nightmare Sequence for Charming, it was nice while it lasted.
  • A glimpse of Regina's generous and grateful side when Robin tells Charming that she gave him gold-tipped arrows as a thank you for accompanying her in the castle tunnels. Especially nice since she didn't want him to go with her in the first place...
    Charming: The queen must like you.
  • The scene where Regina and Henry are walking by the lake. First, after commiserating with Henry about feeling alone in New York because of the huge amount of strangers all around, she talks about what makes small towns better: "Everyone knows everybody here. It's like a big family." You get the feeling Regina is finally starting to see all the characters, or the people of her kingdom, as this. Then when Henry talks about having only two place settings and wishing he had more, she says quite knowingly, "I think one day you'll have more family than you know what to do with."
  • Hook's talk in the woods with Emma about Walsh. After she admits that yes she was going to marry him but "as usual he wasn't what he seemed and I got my heart broken", he tells her he's glad she said that: "If it can be broken that means it still works."
  • Rapunzel's reunion with her parents at the castle, with everyone there to see it. Including Regina, who's almost tearing up at the sight of parents being with their child again...
  • Rumple may be absolutely batshit insane... but even the absolutely batshit insane version of him doesn't harm Belle when she's close too him. Even through the insanity, the beast on the outside and the man underneath can both see that Belle is someone that can love and trust.

Episode 15 - Quiet Minds

  • Neal and Hook reaffirming their friendship, and realizing how silly the Love Triangle they've found themselves in really is.
    • Hook hugs Neal. It comes out of nowhere, especially from the cynical Deadpan Snarker pirate, and is possibly the sweetest moment between the two. Metric tons of tears are added when you realize this is the last time they interact before Neal dies.
    • As a bonus, it's also the first time Neal calls him "Killian". Even after what Hook did, Neal doesn't bring up that, even acknowledging him as a hero.
  • Robin Hood getting much more comfortable around Regina, to the point of calling her "Evil Queen" moniker a misnomer.
    Robin: You know, I've heard many stories about the great and terrible Evil Queen, but from this angle, the "Evil" moniker seems something of an overstatement. Bold and audacious perhaps... but not evil.
  • Lumiére having a "flash of conscience", as he calls it, to save Belle from Zelena, despite him being the latter's prisoner.
  • Rumplestiltskin absorbing his son in a desperate attempt to save him from his sacrifice. If nothing else, at least Neal got to see Emma one more time.
    • What makes this better is that Rumple had to choose between protecting his dagger or his son. Without hesitation or a second thought Rumple throws the dagger to the ground to absorb Neal in order to save him. It looks like he really did kick his nasty habit of self-preservation.
  • Belle and Neal throughout the episode. Part of Belle's reason for trying to bring Rumple back is so he can help Neal get back to Emma and Henry. They have a heart-to-heart about Rumple. Neal even refers to himself and Belle as Rumple's family when they discuss his father's sacrifice for them.

Episode 16 - It's Not Easy Being Green

  • The sheer joy in Zelena's adoptive mother's face at seeing her for the first time, even despite being oblivious to the baby's magical abilities.
    Zelena's father: She's not like us.
    Zelena's mother: You're right, she's not. She's alone, and we're going to take care of her.
  • Zelena's backstory shows how starved she truly is for affection. When Rumplestiltskin teaches her how to control magic, not just with picking a dark moment from which to draw negative emotions but also a happy one to curb her urges, the happy memory she chooses is when Rumple decided to take her under his wing.
  • Hook volunteering to take care of Henry for the day and try and tell him about his father. Their moment under the stars is a huge one.
  • Regina giving her heart to Robin Hood. Literally. She does imply that she's not yet doing it metaphorically as well... but it's a start, at least.
    Robin: You're really going to entrust something so valuable to a common thief like me?
    Regina: Can't steal something that's been given to you.
    • When Robin is reading Rumplestiltskin's letter to Cora out loud, he pauses at "stunning, in every way" and looks directly at Regina when he says it.
  • Three heartwarming moments with Rumple: first when Zelena asks if his son was really worth all the trouble he went through to find him, Rumple responds that yes, he was, which also shows that Rumple is not willing to undo his son's heroics by saving him; yes, he's dead, but he died a hero and his Papa won't take that away from him. Later, he tells Zelena that if he had to do things all over again, he would still have chosen Regina to cast the Dark Curse, showing rare pride for Regina as his pupil in saying this.
  • Despite how things turned out between them, he and Zelena had a couple heartwarming moments during her training: when she asks for what his happy memory is and he describes the spinsters' meat pies, and then later when she makes some for him (This turns into a Tear Jerker when he ignores it to go and train Regina instead, and becomes absolutely twisted when in present-day Storybrooke he taunts her about not making them for him again after her fight with Regina is a draw.)
    • The fact that Rumple still remembers the meat pies, which shows that while they might not have been his parents, the Spinsters that took care of Rumple actually did a fucking good job as he can remember it several hundred years later, long after they have died.

Episode 17 - The Jolly Roger

  • Regina working to protect Snow White's unborn child from Zelena. Every good thing she's done so far has been solely motivated by Henry, and nobody else. Seeing her do this for the girl who she once considered her most hated enemy proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's no longer a villain.
    • Charming and Emma trying work on the baby's crib.
  • Smee finally returning by Hook's side, after being so cruelly turned into a rat by Rumplestiltskin.
  • The entire episode shows just how much Emma has changed Hook's life since they met. First, Hook turns down a prostitute his own crew had hired for him. He then allows Ariel to tag along with him when he reclaims the Jolly Roger. And despite him letting Blackbeard walk the plank rather than find Eric for Ariel, he eventually and sincerely apologizes for it when they meet again in Storybrooke, as he finally realizes that his love mattered so much more to him than being a pirate.
  • The reveal that Ariel and Eric have already had their happy ending, and were saved from Zelena's new curse.
    • Even more Heartwarming? Regina cast the curse, Zelena just modified it... so, this time, Regina chose not to take Ariel and Eric from their happy ending.]]
  • At the end of the episode, the Charmings go out to dinner, and Regina with them, with no mention that it's in any way abnormal or special.
    • Rumple's previous sarcastic remark that "Maybe one day, they'll even invite you for dinner" is now Heartwarming in Hindsight.
  • Ariel or rather Zelena scornfully asks Hook whether he still loves Emma even after she's broken his heart. He immediately responds with a resounding "yes" and then swears on his love for her that he does want redemption. It blows up in his face, but still.

Episode 18 - Bleeding Through

  • The present-day events of the episode can be summed up as Regina's official Heel–Face Turn.
    • She sincerely apologizes to Belle for all the abuse she's inflicted.
    • She protects Snow White from Cora's ghost, even warning Cora that she would have to go through her if she wanted to hurt Snow! After the ghost is dealt with, she and Snow have a heartfelt talk about their very troubled history, discussing it without judgment and even with some humor, and it ends not only with Snow apologizing for Cora's death, but also with her encouraging Regina that she doesn't need her heart to feel love and find happiness.
    Snow: I know you. And you feel things deeply. With or without [your heart], you feel things with your whole soul. Don't let anything hold you back.
    • After said heartfelt chat with Mary Margaret, Regina goes to see Robin in the forest. He apologises yet again for being forced to give up Regina's heart... and she doesn't even bother to answer. Instead, finally taking a chance on love after so long, she grabs him and kisses him — and not tentatively, either. After she pulls away, he stares at her like he can't believe what just happened — then he grabs her and kisses her like he'll never get enough. It all comes crashing down a few episodes later, but to see Regina open herself like that...!!
    • Note that she did all of the above without her heart! Every other heartless character in the series has been described to be incapable of love, and yet Regina acts motivated by it anyway. And the likely reason why? Other heartless characters had their hearts taken out in some fashion and then stashed away or crushed. Regina gave her heart to another.
  • Emma's enthusiasm as she practices her magic at Granny's. After two-and-a-half seasons, she's finally starting to enjoy the strange new world that she's been pulled into.
  • Robin Hood feels genuinely bad that he lost Regina's heart when she entrusted it to him, which he gave up because Rumplestiltskin was threatening to kill Robin's son if he didn't, and apologises to her numerous times. However, Regina reassures him that she is not angry at him and that nothing is worth allowing the kid to die.
  • Regina and Snow put their fractured past to one side at long last; Snow wonders how Regina dealt with her as a child because she was "such a brat" and Regina replies that Snow was "her mother's child" and officially has "a less damaging relationship with [her] mother, and [she] killed her."

Episode 19 - A Curious Thing

  • Regina is still incredulous as to how she managed to find happiness with Robin Hood. And yet her happiness just shines through, and is immediately obvious to Mary Margaret and the others; especially since she hasn't been smiling that much since she was with Daniel. Just look at her — she's glowing!
    Mary Margaret: Regina! If I didn't know any better, I'd say you look smitten.
  • Robin telling Regina that, until she gets her heart back, she can use his for the both of them. Also acts as figurative foreshadowing for what literally had already happened with Snow and Charming.
  • Snow still being considered "pure of heart", even after killing Cora.
  • Charming volunteering his heart without a second thought so Snow can cast a new Dark Curse that will allow them to return to Emma.
  • Henry finally regaining his memories and immediately calling for both of his mothers.
  • Snow and Charming's very tearful goodbyes before the new Dark Curse is completed. So tearful, even Regina is visibly distraught at having to separate them.
    • Note that this is coming from a woman who's spent nearly her entire life attempting to destroy the happiness her step-daughter has with her true love. It just expresses how far the Evil Queen has come.
    • Also, when Snow is begging Regina to break her heart in two to share with Charming, she completely reverts to a child-like state, on her knees and pleading with her stepmother. And Regina kneels down and the two have their arms on each other's shoulders just like their first meeting in "The Stable Boy", back when they had love for one another. And now they've gone back to that, at long last.
  • Regina being the one to break the Curse this time around.
  • Snow proving that she and Charming truly are of one heart, by having Regina split her heart amongst the two of them, simply having faith that it would work.
  • Neal escaping Rumplestiltskin's body long enough to get a message out to Hook and lead him to Emma. Even after Hook abandoned him and was fighting over him for Emma, Neal still saw that good man in him and trusted him to help out Emma.
  • Henry finally recognizing his father's sacrifice and visiting his grave.

Episode 20 - Kansas

  • Glinda bringing Zelena into the Sisterhood of Witches, giving her enough confidence to let go of her jealousy, if only for a brief period.
  • Emma reviving Killian, even at the cost of her own magic.
  • David asking Emma to take Killian with her to defeat Zelena. He recognized their argument was not unlike his and Snow's own argument when he didn't tell her about his secret in Ariel and didn't want any of that for them. Bare in mind, he wasn't so fond of them together. Granted, Hook has cursed lips that could strip Emma of her powers, which Zelena, of course, uses to her advantage, but still.
  • Henry believing that Regina can wield light magic and is now a hero and no longer a villain, as proven by True Love's Kiss.
  • Regina not only successfully stopping Zelena with light magic, but also restraining Rumplestiltskin from immediately taking revenge. Also, how she is suddenly empowered by it once Robin Hood takes hold of her heart.
    • Later, her offering Zelena a second chance, saying she knows how she feels and that good can be made through choice just as evil can. It doesn't work, but still.
  • Rumplestiltskin proposing to Belle by handing her his dagger. Too bad the moment only lasts until he reveals that he gave Belle a fake one so he could kill Zelena with it Then the moment entirely changes again in Season Four when he does, briefly, give her the real dagger.
  • Snow White finally getting to see her newborn child, after having almost missed it yet again.
    • Even better: she lost her first child because of Regina. Now, this tragedy is prevented from happening a second time because of Regina.

Episode 21 - Snow Drifts

  • Regina and Robin having a private celebration for the restoration of her heart and talking about how they both thought they'd never find love again until now.
  • Even though it ends up accidentally causing them never to meet, Emma spying on Charming and Snow White is very sweet, especially her eager expression as she peers up into the tree.
  • Rumplestiltskin's reaction when Emma tells him he finds his son.
    • His reaction when Emma tells him that he falls for Belle. He remarks how incredulous that is, after doing one of those awkward laughs one does when they're trying to laugh something off but failing.
  • Pretty much all of Emma and Hook's interactions this episode:
    • Hook trying to talk Emma through her problems, calling her out on her bull, and generally being snarkily supportive.
    • Hook immediately jumps after her into the time portal despite not knowing where or when they'll end up.
    • Their Dance of Romance at Emma's "first dance at [her] first ball".

Episode 22 - There's No Place Like Home

  • The entire flashback with Emma and Neal in which the lost boy teaches the lost girl what home really means:
    Neal: That's how you know you've really got a home. 'Cause when you leave it, there's this feeling that you can't shake. You just miss it.
  • Emma tearfully watching as her parents successfully meet and their relationship is put back on track.
    • How she finally realizes that she's been breaking her mother's heart every time she refused to acknowledge her family.
  • The return of Emma's magic, as it helps her, Hook and Maid Marian return to Storybrooke.
  • Emma acknowledging Neal and her love for him once more, as Rumplestiltskin succumbs to his curiosity and asks her what becomes of his quest to find his son. Followed by Rumple listening to Emma and drinking the memory loss potion so that he doesn't screw anything else up trying to prevent his son's death, letting Neal keep his Heroic Sacrifice untainted.
  • When Emma gets back home, she just throws herself into her parents' arms and again calls them "Mom" and "Dad".
  • The name of Snow and Charming's new baby is announced: Neal.
    • The shot of Rumple after the announcement: He raises a hand to his face, closes his eyes, and gives a small nod.
  • Rumple and Belle's wedding vows, interspersed with all the couples sharing moments: Snow, Charming, and baby Neal, Regina and Robin Hood walking down the street with Roland (who has ice-cream and is happily eating it!), Emma and Killian still kissing on the patio.
    • Belle's father accompanying her and formally giving Belle to Rumplestiltskin, saying that she has forgiven him and that he acknowledges her love for Rumplestiltskin.
    • The lines themselves that are voiced over the shots of the couples:
      • For the Charmings:
      "Belle: I realize that I have not spent my life losing you — I've spent my life finding you."
      • Emma and Killian:
      "Rumplestiltskin: I wasn't just unloved, and unloving: I was an enemy of love. Love had only brought me pain. My walls were up... but you brought them down. You brought me home."
      • Regina and Robin Hood:
      "Rumplestiltskin: You brought light to my life, and chased away all the darkness. And I vow to you: I will never forget the distance between what I was and what I am."
      • And of course, Belle and Rumplestiltskin:
      Belle: Sometimes the best book has the dustiest jacket. And sometimes, the best teacup is chipped.
  • We finally learn how Hook crossed realms to get back to Emma: he traded the Jolly Roger for a magic bean. Emma seeing that she means enough to him to give up the ship that was his home and practically part of his family for countless years for her crumbles the last wall between them.
    • Not to mention Killian's worried expression (he attempts to hide it with a smile) at seeing how she would react to it; when she responds with the kiss, it's heartwarming beyond any measure.
  • Regina and Robin took Roland for ice-cream. The boy himself is happily nomming on his ice-cream as he walks down the street, holding Regina's hand. The ice-cream is about the size of his head...
  • As bad as it is for Regina, Maid Marian's reunion with Robin Hood and Roland also qualifies, especially with Roland's elated "Mama?" before she hugs him.

     Season 4 

Episode 1 - A Tale of Two Sisters

  • Rumplestiltskin and Belle's recreation of the Beauty and the Beast ballroom dance. It even comes directly after he gives Belle the true dagger so there's no uneasy tension hanging over it like there was for their wedding.
  • Emma to Regina, after Regina has spent the whole episode avoiding Emma (and is still hiding in her office, not acknowledging Emma):
    "Henry brought me to Storybrooke so I could bring back the happy endings. My job's not done until I do that for everyone, including you."
  • Regina letting Marian live. She had the perfect opportunity to let Marshmallow crush her and not be at fault, but she went out of her way to save the woman. She's not going to get her own happy ending at the expense of others anymore.
  • Anna spends the entire episode reassuring Elsa that she's not a monster and she's not a danger to anybody anymore. And at the end of the episode she leaves for the Enchanted Forest, but forces Kristoff to stay with Elsa in Arendelle so that neither of them are alone while she's away.
  • Elsa can still rely on her giant, scary snowman friend called Marshmallow to protect her - he certainly keeps Emma and Hook away.
  • Elsa and Anna's first scene, where they are placing flowers by their parents' memorial stones.
    Elsa: They would have been so proud of you, Anna.
    Anna: Of both of us, Elsa.
    • Followed quickly by Elsa presenting Anna with their mother's wedding dress, for Anna to wear when she marries Kristoff.
  • Elsa finding the snowflake locket she gave to Anna in Mr. Gold's Shop and promising to Anna "I will find you", just like Snow White and Prince Charming have vowed to each other in the past.
  • Rumple visits Neal's grave and revealed that his fondest memory was comforting young Bae during a thunderstorm. When Bae smiled at him he felt for the first time that he was capable of taking care of his son on his own. Then he got the dagger and it turned him into a monster. Despite having a fresh start with Belle, Rumple feels guilty about starting their marriage off on a lie and vows to set things right. It crosses into Tearjerker when Rumple gives into temptations again.
  • Just how happy and excited Hook is at the prospect of spending time with Emma, even though he has absolutely no idea what they're doing later.
  • A meta example: There's something touching about the depiction of the Frozen characters. It feels like they jumped from the movie right into this show. Anna especially is perfect.

Episode 2 - White Out

  • The confirmation that despite initial appearances, Elsa is not the Big Bad of the season, and once she's calmed down from the shock of arriving in Storybrooke, everyone is perfectly happy to help her.
  • Charming getting Elsa to find the strength and power to melt the ice wall by reminding her of the words of Anna that helped him save his mother and himself:
    "Survival isn't enough, you have to live."
  • Henry starts the episode putting together a post-breakup basket for his mom (compete with DVDs and red wine). Even when Regina tells him not to visit her, he goes anyway after seeing how much the Charmings look after each other.
  • Killian and Emma...good god, every scene with them. Some highlights include:
    • Killian's adorable attempt at flirting of how they don't get quiet moments together alone.
    • His worry for her every moment she's trapped in the ice cave.
    • His utter joy when Emma's freed from the cave. She immediately jumps into his arms and he carries her.
    • The cuddling scene at the end as Charming notes that their family never gives up on each other.
  • "Baby high five!"
  • Henry is not going to give up on his mom, even when Regina is brokenhearted and pushing him away.
    Henry: I know you're in there! You can give up on yourself — but I'm not going to give up on you!
    Regina opens the door and she and Henry hug.
  • In one of the two deleted scenes for the episode had Regina give her former archenemy and step-daughter advice on how to lead Storybrooke, while being a new mother in her own snarky way. Snow in turn advises her on how to deal with Henry. It wasn't in the main episode, but it shows how much Regina has grown as a character. Despite her falling out with Emma, Regina's problems with Snow White has officially ended and their relationship is evolving into what King Leopold had hoped for them.
  • In the other deleted scene Gold and Henry have a heart to heart talk when Henry comes to see Gold about giving him fake memories to forget about Regina. To Gold's credit he gives his grandson sound advice about how while memories can be painful and a burden that they ultimately shape who you are as a person and allow you to grow from experience, a process he admits isn't easy, especially for himself. For the first time since their blood relation was revealed in season 2 they make a connection.

Episode 3 - Rocky Road

  • Elsa and Kristoff's interaction throughout the whole episode. A important highlight is when Elsa hands over the urn to Hans to free Kristoff, trusting that Kristoff will be able to find Anna and save Arendelle from Hans and his brothers. After Hans is quickly frozen by The Snow Queen (who was in the urn), the Snow Queen turns to Kristoff to do the same to him and Elsa tells the Snow Queen that Kristoff is her friend.
  • Regina shows just how far she's come from being the Evil Queen in her talk with Henry, where, instead of being manipulative or evasive, she straight out tells him her crazy idea to find the writer of the storybook and try to rewrite the story so that she can have a real happy ending. And Henry...thinks that's a great idea, and offers to help.
    • Plus, her unquestioningly jumping in to help Marian, which also involves Robin trusting her with Marian's heart.
  • Archie's heart-to-heart with Mary Margaret about whether she is being too clingy with baby Neal. It includes a double reference to both Frozen and the old adage about what you do with things you love so they will come back to you: "Just let it go."
  • Just how much Roland adores Regina for letting him get ice-cream in the last episode of season three... which he uses to, inadvertently, guilt trip his mother: "Regina let me!" To make it worse? His R's sound like W's. Now, re-read those words! He calls Regina "Wegina".

Episode 4 - The Apprentice

  • Anna and Kristoff. It feels good to finally see them on screen together. Their interaction, from his look of relief, their embrace, their kiss to her subsequent confiding in him very much show that they're in love. Scott Michael Foster and Elizabeth Lail's performance really take the lovable couple right from the movie into the show.
  • Mr Gold and Henry's final scene. Mr Gold accepted Henry's "application" for a job pretty much without hesitation. Whatever else was shown about his evil, treachery and power-hungry nature in the episode, Mr. Gold still holds his family very close to his heart.
  • Will Scarlet having stolen an Alice in Wonderland book and torn out a page with a picture of the Red Queen, his true love.
  • Despite Hook (and likely the audience) worrying that his cursed hand will cause him to ruin his date with Emma, it actually goes really well despite mostly occurring off-screen. She says she had a good time, thanks him for making her forget about her worries, and then invites him in for coffee.
    • When he walks her home, she's wearing his jacket. You never see him give it to her, and really it's just a small thing, but knowing that he offered it is just sweet in of itself.

Episode 5 - Breaking Glass

  • Charming's efforts to give Snow a short break from watching over their newborn son.
  • Elsa breaking free of the Snow Queen's chains by finally prevailing over her fears. Yet another reminder that in this show, these princesses need no saving. And later, while the Snow Queen has both Regina and Emma by the throat, guess who pulls off a Big Damn Heroes moment?
    • Speaking of which, this comment reflects that Elsa has seen her troubles from Frozen from Anna's perspective:
    Elsa: If there's one thing my sister taught me, you don't give up on people. If someone's important to you, don't give up on them. Even if they say hurtful things or send a giant snow monster to chase you away.
  • Emma and Lily's friendship, albeit short-lived. Thankfully, by the time Emma has to fix her relationship with Regina, she's finally learned her lesson and makes sure not to give up on her.
    Regina: Emma, wait. I don't want to kill you.
    Emma: See? It's a start!
  • Sidney finally experiencing true freedom possibly for the first time since becoming the Genie of Agrabah. And how the Snow Queen nonchalantly sets him free without any threats or asking anything of him.
  • Every moment shared between Hook and Emma, especially during the end. After everything she'd been through during the episode, past and present, it's really sweet.
    • Hook shows up at the Sheriff's office to keep her company, and offer her a drink.
    • When Emma lets him look through a box of her mementos; the big smile on his face indicates just how thrilled he is that she's letting him in.
    • While they watch the video, they hold hands and snuggle up. Awwww....
    • Also, Emma finding a picture of Neal. She looks teary-eyed, then looks at Hook in concern almost as if expecting him to be jealous...and he's looking just as sad. They both miss Neal greatly.

Episode 6 - Family Business

  • Young Emma's birthday card to the Snow Queen: "Thanks for being the family I never had. Love, Emma". It's good to know Emma at least had 6 months of happy childhood memories (which was eventually erased though).
  • Collette pulled a Heroic Sacrifice for her daughter and Belle's determination to become a hero just like her.
  • Grand Pabbie, despite being a little miffed that Anna postponed the wedding, still excited about it. He even prepared a speech.
  • When Emma shows everyone the video showing that the Snow Queen used to be her foster mother, Snow White is so excited at getting to see a younger Emma that she almost forgets about the plot-important details.
  • Although Rumple is a a bit upset that Belle used the (fake) dagger to control him, it doesn't in anyway diminish his love for her; indeed he's willing to ruin the masquerade if it means keeping Belle safe from harm.
  • While searching the Snow Queen's belongings, Emma comes upon a manila folder filled to the brim with all her old drawings, letters, and school projects...the exact sort of thing any mom would keep for her daughter. Ingrid really did love her, and the fact that she's kept it all these years suggests she still does.

Episode 7 - The Snow Queen

  • Young Ingrid wasn't much different from young Elsa. A loving, adored elder who always put her sisters first.
    • Helga is much like Anna. She loves her sister dearly and never saw her as a monster, instead having complete faith in her ability to control her powers.
  • Rumple not teaching Henry any magic; he doesn't want his grandson to fall into the same path he and Regina did.
  • It's quite touching to see Cinderella/Ashley holding a support group for new mothers, with Aurora and now Snow White attending.
  • Will Scarlet telling Robin about a talk he had with Marian, and the depth of the love she had for him.
    • Also, when Robin asks if Will ruining his life for a woman (Anastasia) was worth it, Will says that it was.

Episode 8 - Smash the Mirror

  • Elsa preparing a banquet of chocolate food for Anna, including: chocolate fondue, chocolate toast, chocolate ukkikaka, but not chocolate ice cream. That would be too obvious.
  • Elsa refusing to believe Ingrid's lies and freeing Anna from the dungeon; finally, after all the shit they went through in their film, the two sisters are trusting each other.
  • Doubles as a tearjerker, but Elsa's refusal to hurt Anna (who was cursed by Ingrid with the spell of shattered sight) and willingly allowing the cursed Anna to trap her in the urn shows how strong her love for her sister is.
    • Even better, Elsa was facing an Anna who revealed her darkest secrets concerning her feelings to Elsa and how she wanted to put her in the urn. Elsa still gives in because of her sisterly love.
    • That scene has some heartwarming Fridge Brilliance: Anna doesn't mention one word about Elsa's powers while under the influence of the spell of shattered sight. The only thing that bubbles up is how hurt she was over Elsa ignoring her, which anyone would be.
  • Elsa telling Emma that not only that having the support of loved ones is important to controlling magic, but being able to accept who you are is just as important. It's also a nice touch in establishing continuity, not only from the original story of Frozen, but even for its moral lesson as well.
    • Emma's pyrotechnics after she's reconciled with her parents. Probably the first time Emma's powers (and by extension, Emma's true self) have made her family smile.
  • One line from Regina:
    "I owe someone a quarter."
    • And here's the context: she and Snow have a conversation about her complicated relationship with Robin, particularly in how it makes her feel like the author of the "Once Upon a Time" book seems to have it in for her. Snow simply replies that she's also been through similarly difficult situations, but the one thing that got her through was hope, to which Regina snarks about how Snow must get a quarter from the Hope Foundation every time she says that word. And then later, Robin finds a page which appears to have been torn from the story book, but depicts what would have happened if Regina decided to meet Robin as soon as Tinker Bell led her to him. This leads them to the conclusion that their fates are not written in stone (or on paper, as it were) and Regina may still have a happy ending in store for her. As she realizes this, she then says the line above.
      • Then when Fridge Brilliance kicks in: where did the page come from? It appeared right when Robin needed it, just as the original book did when Mary Margaret needed it for Henry. The implication was that the storybook writer sent it when hope was needed, which means he did this time as well...which means he isn't against Regina, or any villain. Choice is always open to them, even ones like Cora, Zelena, Gold, and Ingrid. Whether or not he has the power to change their stories, they certainly do. This even suggests it may not be too late for Gold or the Snow Queen!
  • In her own twisted way, Ingrid does care about Elsa. She's devastated when Elsa is imprisoned and when Rumple takes away the urn, she angrily demands he give her back.
    • She also cares about Emma, as she tries to warn her about what Mr. Gold has planned for her.
  • When Hook reunites with Emma after she's not gone through with having her powers removed, he embraces her. She says she didn't know he was such a fan of her magic, to which he replies "I'm a fan of every part of you." Keep in mind that he is missing his heart at the moment, making the depth of his feeling even more profound.
  • In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Will tells Robin that he can relate to loving an evil queen. Even with the cancellation of Wonderland, they're still dedicated to keeping the emotional continuity of it.
  • Regina reminding Henry what makes him special when Henry feels useless without magic.
  • The deleted scene in which Mary Margaret and Elsa have a heart-to-heart is rather emotional too. The fact it has Foreshadowing of what we learn in Season 4B about the lengths Snow went to to keep Emma good just makes the heartwarming more bittersweet.

Episode 9 - Fall

Given that this is the episode that reunited the two sisters, the many acts of true love, sacrifices and heroism really can thaw a frozen heart.

  • The first one goes to Mr. Gold, he really goes out of his ways to protect the ones he loved, up to and including threatening a powerful witch whose power he considered "too dark and too unpredictable even for himself".
  • Regina is firmly on "Team Heroes" now, given them advice and encouragements in her own snarky ways.
  • Hans, surprisingly also gets one. He seemed visibly worried when his brother's life was threatened. Keep in mind that his 12 brothers liked to pretend he was invisible, even then he still worried about them.
    • It apparently goes both ways, albeit in a very dark fashion. After Hans tosses Anna and Kristoff overboard, one of the brothers smiles and puts his hand on his shoulder, in a very distinct "Nice work, little brother" kind of way. This would be a sweet gesture if, you know, they all weren't so evil.
  • Elsa and Emma, every single scene: Some highlights:
    • Emma seems to have developed a big sister instinct toward Elsa. She's very protective of her when the latter tries to recover the necklace under the Snow Wall.
    • Emma is the most sympathetic to Elsa—even after she switches the necklace, Emma's still not mad at her, and keeps helping her find her sister.
    • Emma comforted Elsa after they couldn't find Anna and was on the verge of crying when Elsa fell to depression.
  • Kristoff refused to marry Anna unless they get out alive. They did.
  • Anna and Elsa are finally reunited! Complete with overlapping babbling as each tried to apologize, then explain what had happened, why they acted as they did, and what they'd done to find and save each other.
  • David and Kristoff's reunion. They hugged like 2 long lost bros.
  • Will Scarlet has been accepted back into the camp of the Merry Men and Robin even trusts him enough to look after Roland.
  • The interactions of the Official Couples before Ingrid's curse hits are a mix of this and Tear Jerker:
    • Snow and Charming lock themselves up in jail cells so they won't hurt anyone, holding hands through the bars and reassuring each other that, no matter what, The Power of Love will always prevail.
    • Emma yelling at Hook for not getting himself to safety, followed by him saying that he "just had to see [you]" before the curse struck. What follows is a teary goodbye kiss, desperate hug, and Headbutt of Love.
    • Robin Hood tries to talk Regina out of locking herself up, because even if she does revert to her Evil Queen persona, he'll always love her and never be afraid of her.
    • Rumplestilsken seals Belle in a room enchanted to keep everyone else out and herself in, so she doesn't get hurt in the upcoming chaos. Regina does something similar for Henry, too.
    • A small, but sweet detail — when Regina casts the spell to seal Henry in the room, her arm movements make the shape of a heart.

Episode 10 - Shattered Sight

  • For an episode where they do not interact at all, there's some great moments for Emma and Hook's relationship:
    • While listening to cursed!Henry say he hates him, Killian notices only one thing:
      Henry: I never liked you, and I like you even less now that you and my mom are...together.
      Hook: *grins* Emma used that word? Together?
      • There's also the scene where Emma tries to get the ribbons that Ingrid put on her and Elsa. Since the ribbons were born out of "amplified love", Emma hypothesizes that the opposite of that, hate, will take them off and make their magic theirs again. When confronting Regina and trying to make her angry enough to attack her and Elsa to get the ribbons off, Emma says this. And it PROVES how much Emma's happy with Killian:
      Emma: I lied to you, Regina, about Marian. I knew all along. I brought her here on purpose.
      Regina: Tell me something I don't know.
      Emma: What you don't know is why. Not only did I wanna break your heart, I wanted to see me and Hook together, see the happiness you could never have, and ruin it again, just like my mother did.
  • Even when under the Spell of Shattered Sight, Snow White and David still care about baby Neal as seen when Evil!Regina threatens to harm him.
    • Not only that, it rather looked as if witnessing the cursed Regina nearly killing Mary Margaret broke the spell for David. Although the curse made him focus on all her worst traits and brought out his own, he still didn't want to see her die.
  • Anna reading Gerda's letter to Ingrid. Ingrid at first refuses to believe Gerda's apology and chokes Anna through magic, Anna then tells her although she may not be magical like her, Ingrid is family and family never gives up on anyone. Despite all that Ingrid had done to hurt Anna, Anna still believes that her aunt could be redeemed. Fortunately, Ingrid reads the letter and remembers the love her sisters had by touching the stone.
    • The sheer fact that it is ANNA, not Emma or Elsa, who gets through to Ingrid through The Power of Love. Anna, the one whom Ingrid wrote off as being completely incapable of understanding or loving her because she's "normal" and not magical.
    • Specifically Gerda's words regarding Ingrid:
    In a cave in the northern mountains is an urn with Ingrid inside. Please, do what I should have done, and release her. In this crystal is everyone's memories of my sisters, which I took from them. Please, return them to the people of Arendelle so that Ingrid and Helga will be known. And to Ingrid: I love you, and I'm sorry. I wish I could hold your hands one more time.
    • And, the fact that Gerda kept the stone of her sister's memories. This in itself is heartwarming... but the fact that she had it on her when she died makes it worse. Presumably, she kept it on her at all times.
  • Ingrid telling Emma, Elsa, and Anna during her Heroic Sacrifice that they all have loving families that she could never replace. And thanking Emma now that she has now her happy ending foretold by finding her sisters' love and being Together in Death with them.
    • Look closely in that final scene: Ingrid is running to catch up with Gerda and Helga. And it's Gerda's hand she takes...
    • And as she's reading the letter from her mother, Anna calls Ingrid "Aunt Ingrid". Even then she's reminding her that she's part of their family.
  • When the spell is broken and the townsfolk try to reorient themselves, Emma is seen running happily into her father's arms.

Episode 11 - Heroes and Villains

  • Marian giving her blessing for Regina and Robin Hood, understanding that years have passed for Robin Hood and his love is for Regina.
  • The goodbyes between the folks from Arendelle and the folks from Storybrooke. Especially Anna thanking Emma for watching out for her sister. And Emma and Elsa's hug showing how much they've been friends to each other.
  • Seeing both Anna and Elsa back in Arendelle, back in control of their kingdom, and Anna's wedding almost to start.
    • Elsa asks Anna why did she postpone her wedding and go on the quest to find out what their parents were doing; Anna responds that she wanted Elsa to be just as happy as her during her wedding.
    • And then seeing the sisters smell chocolate again like in the film.
    • The scene also ends as the season began, with the sisters holding hands together.
    • The people of Arendelle deserve a small mention here for quickly accepting Elsa back as their monarch, assuming they ever actually "accepted" Hans and his usurpation at all.
  • While the whole season so far has shown that Regina is not the woman she once was, this episode cements the fact that the Evil Queen is no more. The scene that showcases her Character Development is when she is at the town line and Rumple appears to act as The Corrupter. When he leaves you honestly don't know what she is going to do, in fact her expression when she first gets out of the car is rather dark. But when she has the perfect opportunity to somehow keep Robin in Storybrooke...she just shares a last kiss with him and lets him go on his way. Bear in mind that all of this is happening because she doesn't want Marian to die and also doesn't want to send her into a strange world by herself. The Evil Queen is dead, Long Live Regina.
  • While Regina is mourning the loss of Robin from her life Emma shows up to help her. Regina actually accepts, and when Henry finds them and shows them that they have found the Author's house, Emma offers to help them with Operation Mongoose. Regina's response is a When She Smiles moment. She may have lost her Second Love (for now) but she has gained a true friend.
  • In the past when Rumple finds out Belle has been kidnapped, he goes after the one that kidnapped her and upon finding Maleficent he subdues her with next to no provocation and then threatens her allies, all because they are threatening Belle. He actually does give them the gauntlet they were holding her ransom for and once they are gone he is truly worried that they hurt her. Diminished slightly later on by him retrieving the gauntlet but it was nice to see some humanity out of the man considering what happens in this episode.
    • In a twisted way his speech to Regina is also a little sweet. Yes he's advising her to do away with her character development and just take Robin for her own, but he seems genuine when he says he wants her to be happy. Considering he was the one who, even more than Cora, molded her into a villain just to serve his selfish ends in casting the Dark Curse, this could be seen as either hypocrisy, or him having genuinely come to care for his student even as he used her. (He did, after all, tell Zelena he still would have chosen Regina over her if he could do things over again.)
      • He holds her hand!
  • When Emma places Hook's heart back into his chest, it's both funny and sweet. It's not only a celebration of being free, but a Big Damn Kiss as well.
    • What he tells her after the kiss:
      "I told you, Swan. I'm a survivor."
    • Take a good look at Hook's heart. It's mostly red, with only a few black splotches. He may not think it, but he really has changed.
    • Also, the blackness isn't as visible when the red shines brightest, which it only does when Emma holds his heart.
  • Emma immediately noticing that something is wrong with Hook as Rumplestilsken mind-controls him. It just goes to show how well they know each other.

Episode 12 - Darkness on the Edge of Town

  • Hook and Belle bonding over their shared complex feelings toward Rumplestiltskin, especially when you remember how they first met.
    Hook: You were blinded by love. What was my excuse?
    Belle: Probably the same...just for someone else
    • Also, this line from Hook to Belle about Rumple. Note that he's talking about his former enemy, one he hunted down for THREE HUNDRED years. Proof that despite all their conflict, Killian does believe in one fact about Rumple: he truly loves Belle:
    Hook: Hey. As big a bastard as he was...he did love you.
    • Belle stating that she really hopes Rumplestiltskin has found his happiness, wherever he is.
  • Even knowing she's making a big mistake, Regina's willingness to give Ursula and Cruella a chance at redemption, noting how she was able to change herself after doing far worse than they ever did.
  • Ursula letting a down-and-out Gold crash at her place in New York despite their past animosity.
  • Seeing Emma become a much more optimistic person warms the heart.

Episode 13 - Unforgiven

  • After terrifying poor Pinocchio (and receiving quite the "Reason You Suck" Speech from Marco), Regina makes it a point to go to his shop and apologize to him, saying that if anyone had acted toward Henry like she did toward Pinocchio, she'd have done much worse than yell at them. And then admitting that while she is just very upset and frustrated that every time she thinks she's getting somewhere with her quest, she suffers a setback, she knows she will never succeed if she uses her old ways to do it. Marco's response? To show her all of August's things which he kept, just in case they might remind Pinocchio of who he had become, and say he hopes they can help her find what she's looking for. And it looks like they just might, since among the storybook pages, Henry finds one showing a doorway noted as belonging to the Author...
  • Regina talking about how she loved the way it felt when it was just her, Henry, Robin, and Roland, and how she wants to get those feelings back.
  • The context was rather heartbreaking (since it was spurred by Snow and Charming having lied to her, and they had just come back to admit the lie only to have the knife twisted by what they overheard), but Emma's speech to Hook about believing in people and seeing only the best in them because of her parents' example was very touching.
    • The entire speech is heartwarming, all on its own:
    Emma: My parents would never lie to me. But the fact that I could think that they would, it reminded me that I have this tendency to... Expect the worst of people. In my childhood... People were always letting me down, and I...
    Killian: Hey. I don't intend to let you down.
    Emma:And I know whatever happened with that sea can tell me on your own time. Because no matter what, I gonna do what my parents always do. I'm gonna choose to see the best in you.
    Killian: And I with you.
  • Regina kept her locked up as a dragon for thirty years, but Maleficent still believes that Regina is capable of being a bad girl again and the smile on Maleficent's face when Regina says that they should find some "real" fun is enormous; with Regina and Maleficent, it's not villains wrecking shit - it's sisters having fun.

Episode 15 - Poor Unfortunate Soul

  • Ursula getting her happy ending without the Author's assistance. The only thing needed was Hook making a genuine attempt to rectify the wrong he did her that sent her down the path of villainy in the first place. Not only does she get her singing voice back, but she even decides to forgive her father and let him hear her sing again. Afterwards, they both return home to the Enchanted Forest with plans to use it for good.
  • Ariel showing that she isn't one to hold grudges by immediately saving Hook from drowning, asking him if he's OK (before comedically slapping him when he affirms that he is), thanking him for releasing her from the bottle, and helping him set things right with Ursula by bringing Poseidon to Storybrooke.
  • Hook confesses to Emma how close he came to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope today, and worries that sooner or later, he's going to lose his happy ending. She realizes this means he already has it, and asks him what it is.
    Hook: (tearing up) Emma, don't you realize? It's you.
  • Emma's reunion with August.
  • When Belle is saddened that Gold managed to deceive her again by assuming Hook's form, Hook is enraged and rails against Gold. It again shows that he's truly come to care for Belle as a friend now, and can't stand that Gold would use that against Belle.

Episode 16 - Best Laid Plans

  • The reveal that there have been numerous different authors of the Once Upon a Time book since the beginning of time, including "a man named Walt." Suddenly all the original creators of the characters used in the show are melded into its canon.
  • The Reveal of Henry's full name: Henry Daniel Mills. Regina didn't just name him after her father. She named him after the man she loved.
  • Gold warning Maleficent that knowing the fate of her daughter might make her already existing pain worse, and he asks her very carefully if this is what she truly wants.
    • Crosses over into Tear Jerker territory since, well, it's Rumple. He knows about losing a kid. Both to a different realm and otherwise. So yeah, this isn't just Gold saying "I won't show you cause you you didn't do your part of a deal," this is a fellow parent saying "You really might not want to know. Sometimes knowing is worse."
    • The look of joy on Maleficent's face when she finds out her child is alive and well.

Episode 17 - Heart of Gold

  • Robin comes back from the Emerald City, claiming he hadn't gotten the potion...and figures out Will wasn't going to sell it. Then Will confesses it was for himself, to heal his own pain at having lost his sister when she fell through the ice. Robin praises him for his honor as a thief (which we find out later was what reminded him of the kind of man he wanted to be, and how he could still keep thieving), and embraces him farewell...only for Will to find out after he departs that he slipped him the potion after all.
  • Robin insisting that despite everything Gold had done (including to him), he was not going to let him die.
  • As painful as it was, following the revelation of Marian's real identity, the scene in Sherwood Forest where Robin and Marian reaffirm their love and she says there's nowhere she'd rather be than with him, as an outlaw, is incredibly sweet and poignant.
  • Gold's speech about Neal, and his later advice to Robin about not waiting for perfect happiness but finding what you could and then holding on and never letting go, is both this and a Tear Jerker on so many levels.
    • His entire speech brings tears to your eyes when you realize how much he's gone through to find happiness, to find Baelfire after 300 years, but ultimately lost him. And at the same time, you realize he's also talking about Belle. About not taking advantage of the love she had for him and that being enough in his life.
    Rumple (to Robin): Maybe you should take a piece of advice from a man who has pushed away every chance at happiness because it was never enough. If it's within your grasp, if you know where it is and who it's with... Then you should run to it, grasp it, and never let it go.
  • When first asked, Regina's adamant refusal of letting Gold corrupt Emma.

Episode 19 - Lily

  • Gold has Will break into Regina's office so he can steal back Belle's heart. They then present it to Belle together and Gold gives Belle a speech: how he should've been focused on making Belle happy while they were married instead of deceiving her for his own selfish desires. He admits he screwed up and he doesn't deserve to be forgiven. He puts the heart back inside her and tells Belle that it's Will's job to guard her heart now before saying a sincere goodbye to his wife.
  • Emma deciding to spare Lily and even inviting her along on her trip with Regina, declaring that she won't be pushing Lily away again. Later, she also encourages Lily not to think of herself as "The Anti-Savior."
    • Regina of all people being the one to talk her down was a nice gesture too.
  • Hook's parting speech to Emma, warning her to resist the temptation of darkness and stay on the hero's path by remembering everyone she has to live for and hold onto, even her parents whom she's currently mad at. And when she asks why he couldn't stay on it before, he responds he didn't have he does.
  • Maleficent has seen that Rumple has no interest in saving his allies. So what does she do? She goes to Regina, her best friend, because if there's anyone that can help save her daughter, it's her.

Episode 20 - Mother

  • Maleficent and Lily's bonding scenes, every scene. It's clear that even the Mistress of All Evil can still be a loving mother and the anti-savior still needed love.
    Lily: I was expecting that you were this... scary dragon bitch. But now I see... you're just this... real person. And it kills me.
    (a bit later)
    Maleficent: Maybe I can teach you about being a scary dragon bitch sometime.
    • Maleficent's offer for Lily to stay for a week is a nice Call-Back to how Mary Margaret convinced Emma to stay in Storybrooke at the beginning of the series.
  • Hook's speech to Emma as they're looking at the horizon and the waterfront of Storybrooke, and the payoff when Snow apologizes to Emma and Emma forgives her.
  • The fact that Snow and Charming don't even think twice about going with Maleficent when she shows up at their door asking them to help find her missing daughter.
  • Maleficent going to the two people she has every reason to steer clear from and wish revenge on for help would also count.
  • This brief exchange as they search for Dragon!Lily:
    David: It went this way.
    Mary Margaret: Her.
    Maleficent: Thank you.

Episode 21 & 22 - Operation Mongoose

  • Offered the chance to lose his painful memories of Baelfire, Mr. Gold rejects it out of hand. He only asks that the author change things so that he remembers having done right by his son.
  • When Henry and Hook go to rescue Emma, Henry approaches her cautiously, aware that her memories are likely rewritten. She just smiles at him and says she knew he would come for her.
  • Likewise there is the meeting between Emma and Hook in the other world. She couldn't be happier to see him and he just starts acting Adorkable, even figuring out that they are close in the real world.
  • It also counts as a Tearjerker but Regina's Heroic Sacrifice. She takes Rumple's sword instead of Henry, drawing the attention of Robin's wedding party. Robin says that she won't have to die alone at least, staying with her in her dying moments. It also proves that she is without doubt a villain no more.
    • It also seems like a nice nod to Frozen as well. At least this time, the dilemma of which love is true is a lot more obvious.
  • Henry becoming the Author. This is an important position occupied by some of the greatest writers to ever live and puts Henry in the same company as Walt Disney. The heart of the truest believer indeed.
    • Even better is how he is able to undo everything Isaac has done. A Dark Savior doesn't exist in this world but Henry recognizes that a Light Savior does. Who is this Light Savior? Regina. The ultimate proof that the Evil Queen no longer lives comes when Henry uses her blood to write away Isaac's world. Long Live Regina.
  • Henry talks with the Apprentice about using the pen of the Author to bring his father back to life. He could have just tried to do it but the implication here is that he is asking for permission to do so, unlike Isaac who saw it as his right to screw with the world of the book. The Apprentice has every right to be upset about Henry wanting to do what Isaac did but he doesn't chastise him for it or even turn him down. He just tells Henry that what he wants to do can't be done and that the way to keep those we've lost alive is by remembering their stories. Henry snaps the pen, deciding that the risk of another Isaac is too great to allow. The Apprentice just smiles and says they've chosen right this time.
    • Even better is that the Apprentice may have been friends with the Author before Isaac, Walt Disney. His discussion with Henry can be seen as him saying "Walt would be proud."
    • Even more important? Other than briefly considering bringing back his father, Henry doesn't become corrupted by power when it's given to him. His adopted mother and grandfather and great-grandfather all fell to power... he does not.
  • Emma agreeing to help Lily find out who her birth father is.
  • Belle, while still not taking him back or forgiving him entirely, caring enough for Gold to not let him die alone.
  • Three words: "I love you." Emma to Hook.
    • And he begs her not to sacrifice herself with his voice just tearful. Not to mention how Emma holds his hand over his heart and their foreheads touch...
      • Even more heartwarming when you take into consideration how far their relationship has come in just two seasons. The season 2 finale consisted of Hook being a villain and ready to leave the town to its demise...come now, it proves just how much Emma has changed him, but also how devastating it will be when we see how he deals with this loss.
  • Emma becoming the Dark One to save the entire town from falling to Darkness when the Apprentice takes it out of Rumple. Without a doubt, a true heroine.
    • Regina begs Emma not to do it and to find another way, while the Dark One is feeding on her. Emma refuses, and tells her that she's worked too hard for her happy ending. Considering how much these two women hated each other in previous seasons, it was incredibly heartwarming to see their friendship evolve to this.
  • Just the entire finale being Henry's Day in the Limelight. So many things have happened over the past seasons that almost edged him out of plot relevance, but this turned it all around in one fell swoop.

     Season 5 

Episode 1 - The Dark Swan

  • In the middle of Hook and Regina arguing over how best to find and rescue Emma, Mary Margaret shouts them both into silence...and then proclaims how important Emma is to all of them, that she brought them all together, united them, and thus they need to stay united and all work together if they are to bring her back home. And Regina listens. Even if the unity doesn't last thanks to Hook and Henry's plan, it's still a beautiful moment.
  • There's also Hook reminding Regina, twice, of how much Emma did for her, and that she owes it to her to return the favor. The first time, right after Emma had vanished into the darkness, Regina snaps, "You think I don't know that?!"
  • Leroy's speech to Mary Margaret that convinced her to let him, Doc, and Happy join them, and her reaction afterward.
  • An item of Emma's is needed to orient the portal the Apprentice's wand makes. Regina reaches into a bag...and pulls out her baby blanket. She then quips, "I couldn't exactly carry that yellow car of hers"...but the look Mary Margaret gives her... Sniff.
  • In an odd way, Zelena's desire to stop trying to take revenge on Regina, to simply go back to Oz and have her baby there, so she'll finally have someone who is only hers that she can love. It's twisted, she doesn't exactly have good maternal instincts (or a good maternal role model!), and Babies Make Everything Better rarely ever applies, but the fact she wants such a thing at all is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. And maybe a sign of hope for her.
    • Season Seven reveals that Zelena raises her daughter without Regina for many years... and Robin turns out well. Zelena manages to turn over a new leaf and, like Regina, put revenge aside and become a good parent.
  • Apparently it didn't last during those missing six weeks, but for a short time at least, not only does Emma find she has Killian, her parents, Henry, and Regina there to love her, support her, and keep her from the darkness, but even Robin Hood, Belle, Granny, some of the dwarves, and Zelena (albeit under duress) are there too. She isn't alone after all.

Episode 2 - The Price

  • Several heart-to-heart scenes in this episode.
    • Belle and Hook at the pawn shop, talking about what it's like loving a Dark One (and their subsequent drink at Granny's together after True Love's Kiss didn't work on Emma either).
    • Belle and Grumpy at the Camelot ball, talking about the rose and hope, hearkening back to when they first met when he was Dreamy.
    • Snow and Charming teaching Regina how to dance.
    • Snow dressing up Emma for their first ball together.
    • Emma telling Henry he doesn't have to be afraid of her.
    • In the same scene, Henry telling Regina he believes she can be the Savior.
  • Hook refusing to give up on Emma, and not giving in to temptation to join her for a passionate tryst when she tries to appeal to his pirate nature.
  • Regina begging Emma to save Robin, pointing out she could make her do it with the dagger but instead she's asking her.
  • Regina claiming to Arthur she was the Savior and that she would free Merlin, stop the Dark One, "and then we can all go home"...while staring right at Emma.
    • As a follow-up to this, when explaining her rationale to Emma as to why she did this, Regina states she does not want Emma to ever have to use dark magic again. And when she asks to be thanked for keeping this from happening, and Arthur from finding out she's the Dark One, Emma sincerely thanks her.
  • Snow, Charming, Arthur, and especially Leroy, who's always been one of the biggest holdouts in forgiving her, joining Regina in giving life-force to the Fury, thus saving both her and Robin. And then Leroy testifies he believes she can save the town this time.
    Robin Hood: Looks like you've found some believers.
  • Regina's response to the above:
    Regina: How did you know it would work?
    David: Regina, we weren't going to let you go.
  • At the ball, Henry plays modern music ("Only You") for Violet...and as the song plays, we get scenes of Emma and Hook, Regina and Robin, and Snow and Charming dancing. It's really a great image of the love the show is all about.
  • Henry and Violet, both times they get introduced.
  • An effective subversion of heartwarming moments is King Arthur and Queen Guinevere's love and adoration for one another that two episodes later is revealed to be forced on Guinevere by Arthur through the use of magical mind-controlling sand, making these displays of affection creepy and uncomfortable.

Episode 4 - The Broken Kingdom

  • Hook fully supporting Henry and Violet.
  • Hook's attempt to get The Darkness out of Emma's head, which actually works for a while, allowing him and Emma a peaceful, romantic moment in a field of flowers.
    • Crosses into Tearjerker territory when you realise that it's the exact same place Emma transported herself and Hook to when the latter was dying from Excalibur's cut.

Episode 5 - Dreamcatchers

  • Every scene about Neal, really—Henry talking about him to Violet, Gold talking about him to Emma, Emma and Henry talking about "Only You" as the song he used to get Violet's interest (and which Neal used to get Emma's)...
  • The moment Emma and Regina share when the former gets to see exactly what Cora did to Daniel, and she apologizes and shows her true sympathy and compassion, something no one else in the show really has gotten to do. (Snow tried, but at the time Regina was in no place to accept it and she didn't know all the details.) Then it gets ruined when Emma does a less lethal version to Henry.
  • It ends up being subverted thanks to Emma taking Violet's heart, but seeing her and Regina united in helping Henry be himself so he can court Violet was incredibly touching and sweet.
  • In the present day, Emma is remorseful to the point of tears about what she did to Henry and Violet, and manipulates a situation in which Henry can impress Violet and Violet's father as a way of making it up to him.
  • Gold's heart may be a blank slate, but all he wants is to get back to Belle.
  • Snow dragging Regina plan Storybrooke's first ball.

Episode 6 - The Bear and the Bow

  • Zelena refuses to team up with Emma, stating that she wants to prove herself to be a good, well-suited mother for her baby and can't afford any "bad influences".
  • Belle giving Merida the chance to redeem herself after previously failing to save her father's life.

Episode 7 - Nimue

  • Merlin proudly smiling at Emma for resisting the darkness and choosing the right path.

Episode 8 - Birth

  • Of all people, Zelena, after giving birth, seeing Regina and Robin cooing over the child and, without venom, remarking "Now look who's green with envy." It seems to have been her having just given birth, she's back to her usual bitchy self soon.

Episode 9 - The Bear King

  • The story behind Merida's iconic bow. It was the bow that Fergus used in his first battle. He gave it to her as a gift during her first battle.
  • For some fans, the moment where Snow encourages Red to go back to the Enchanted Forest, because she wants her best friend to be happy. It's been a whole season since viewers had any interaction between the two, and this moment was definitely welcome.
  • The explanation behind the location of the magic helm. After his conversation with Merida about her wanting to learn how to inspire people as their leader, he decided to lead by example rather than through deception, even if no one would even know if he did use the helm.
    • Back in the present day, all hope seems lost as Arthur has his blade to Merida's throat, but then the other clan leaders announce themselves, their arrows drawn back and pointed at Arthur. Evidently Merida indeed got what her father wanted to teach her.
  • Merida's entire conversation with her dead father.

Episode 10 - Broken Heart

  • They both end up heartbreakingly subverted in the end, but seeing Emma appeal to Killian to save him from the darkness, and Gold telling Belle he wants to be the man she believed in and deserves, and that he will wait for her at the well for her answer if he wins against Hook, are extremely sweet.
  • Regina proving she is not a hypocrite as everyone thought: that although she still insists (fairly) that they never leave her alone with the baby, she and Robin will allow Zelena to spend time with her. Because Henry was the one who changed her, helped her to be her best self, and she thinks the baby could do the same for Zelena. From Zelena's reaction afterward (particularly not just vanishing as soon as the baby was in her arms), she may be right.
  • It is also somewhat subverted in the present (somewhat because she had just proven to have been untrustworthy and the cuff was only a temporary measure until they found a way to stop Hook and get rid of the darkness), but in the past, Snow's speech to Charming that they should trust Emma, and that even if she was the Dark One now and had created another evil in Hook, she was still their family and "saving family is what we do".
  • On a related note, once Emma proves trustworthy again by including Henry in her plan to find the dreamcatchers, and does it without any magic save what he uses, he is about to use the potion to free her of the cuff. After thanking him, she promises to make it up to him. His response? "How about you start by saving everyone?" Yes, he still believes she's the Savior.

Episode 11 - Swan Song

  • Although it is somewhat undermined by what he does later, Gold sending Belle off across the town line not only so she can be safe from the Dark Ones but can see the world as she always dreamed of is incredibly sweet.
  • Hook's father pleading with him as he lies dying by his hand, to change and be a better man. It's the memory of this, as well as seeing Emma being choked by Nimue in front of him, that inspires his second Heel–Face Turn.
  • When it seems the others are giving up, Emma immediately turns in shock to Mary Margaret and proclaims she's Snow White, she can't give up or lose hope. This from the woman who just last season seemed beyond forgiveness when it came to what she and Charming did to her and Lily. Apparently being the Dark One was actually good for her.
    • The follow-up to this, where Snow, David, and Henry all have one last dinner together at Granny's with baby Neal.
  • The ending: not only her parents and Henry, but Regina and Robin Hood, are willing to go with Emma into the Underworld to save Hook. Snow, Charming, and Regina have gone on rescue missions with Emma before, and Henry of course cares about Hook too and was also the rescuer during Operation Mongoose. But Robin Hood has no reason to care beyond being a fellow former thief, and all of them are putting themselves in far more danger than they ever have before. Why? Because they love her, they care about her, and they want to make up for not helping her save Hook back in Camelot.
    • And a big part of that ending was a single line: Emma hearkening back to her dad's Arc Words and saying she'll always find Killian as she prepares to go retrieve him from the Underworld.

Episode 12 - Souls of the Departed

  • Neal returns as a spirit to tell Emma he's not in the Underworld but still loves her and Henry.
  • Regina and Cora embrace upon meeting, finally able to accept each other as mother and daughter.
  • Henry Sr. telling Regina he forgives her for all her actions and that seeing her finally do the right thing makes any fate waiting for him worthwhile.
    • Followed by Cora's attempt to send him to Hell failing, as by seeing that Regina had truly redeemed herself, he had earned his way into Heaven. He even gets to meet his namesake before he goes, and thank him for being there to believe in Regina after he couldn't.
      • Followed by the end of the episode - Regina sees the clock tick and smiles: her father, who has finally gotten his happy ending by having his daughter be redeemed, has truly moved on. Regina only saw him leave but the tick of the clock confirms it to her. She's doing the right thing, as her father always wanted her to do, and is becoming a good person.
  • After Cora spends most of the episode appearing to suffer from Character Derailment back into her evil self despite dying with her heart intact, it turns out Hades was forcing her to do it all, and she still truly does want nothing more than happiness for Regina.
    • Speaking of which, Cora mentions Regina taking Robin and Henry with her - she doesn't want them hurt either.
  • After been told about Cora's ultimatum Emma, the one person who would want her to stay and the reason everyone is there, thinks Regina should go for the safety of her and her father. It is everyone else who has to talk her out of it.

Episode 13 - Labor of Love

  • This line from Regina to Mary Margaret.
    Regina: You defeated me in a way no one thought was possible. You made me your friend, by never giving up on me.
  • This entire exchange between Hook and Meg.
    Hook: Now, somebody's come down here to save me, and I need to make her job easier.
    Meg: How do you know she's here?
    Hook: She got me a message.
    Meg: How do you know that wasn't one of Hades' tricks?
    Hook: Because I know! When you love someone, you know.

Episode 14 - Devil's Due

  • A flashback shows how Hook and Milah met: She was in a bar when a drunk harassed her and Hook stepped up to defend her. Even at his worst, Hook was still an honorable man at heart.
  • Even if the circumstances were bad, what she was urging him to do was wrong, and the end result was her being so disgusted with him that she was driven into Hook's arms, it was rather heartwarming seeing Rumple and Milah doing everything they could to save Bae, and bonding with him once he was saved. Milah even kissed Rumple to encourage him to be brave!
  • The scene in the boat where Milah and Gold talk about Bae is half this, half- Tear Jerker, especially once Harsher in Hindsight kicks in after what Hades forces Gold to do later.
  • Milah has apparently spent all her centuries in the Underworld taking care of the children who arrive, taking these undoubtedly frightened and horribly confused kids and giving them some kind of care and structure to hold on to as they wait to pass on. She's clearly doing it as penance for abandoning her own son, with its constantly reminding her of him as part of her punishment.
  • Rather than feeling any jealousy or insecurity, Emma and Milah gladly work together to save the man they both love.

Episode 15 - The Brothers Jones

  • Liam continually puts Kilian first in everything, and even tears up his naval commission because he'd rather keep serving Captain Silver than go on without his little brother. Even his Deal with the Devil and lying about it afterward is done in order to ensure that Killian has a better life.
  • Liam and the other sailors finally moving on. He tells Killian to tell Emma he's sorry for doubting her.
  • A small moment, but Emma using her magic to heal Killian's wounds.
  • Charming sees Henry sulking and gently reminds him that he has a family that will always look out for him.
  • The flashback of Killian and Liam seeing the Jewel of the Realm (later to be known as the Jolly Roger) for the first time.

Episode 16 - Our Decay

  • Everything Zelena does is based around protecting and caring for her daughter, culminating in realising that she has to give her to Robin and Regina for protection.
  • Regina continues to not give up on the possibility of redeeming Zelena.
  • Assuming he was truthful, Hades made The Underworld look like Storybrooke so Zelena could have her own version of the Dark Curse.
  • Snow and Charming learning from Henry's new Author abilities that their attempt to contact baby Neal worked, and he heard their lullaby through his mobile and went to sleep knowing there were people who loved him.
    • On that note, the Blind Witch happily lets them know about the haunting phone with no strings attached, after she seems to have started enjoying their company. Seems being in the Underworld has really mellowed her out.

Episode 17 - Her Handsome Hero

  • Belle trying to help Gaston move on to a better place, even if she tragically fails.
  • Regina trying to have some sisterly bonding with Zelena while trying to uncover some weakness on Hades. In the same scene, Zelena doesn't even hesitate in telling Regina that she (Zelena) is his only weakness that she's aware of.
  • Zelena being presented with a dead daisy at the end of the episode. The audience and Zelena herself knew full well who sent it.

Episode 18 - Ruby Slippers

  • David gets Snow to escape the Underworld by scratching her name off the marker and putting his in. When she protests, he says that if anyone can keep things together in Storybrooke, it's her and they part.
  • The scene with David and Hook, where David confesses how upset he and Snow are over once again not being there for their child. Not only does David end up admitting, in his usual wry fashion, that while he mostly came to the Underworld for Emma, he also came for Hook because, as quoted from David, "You've grown on me", Hook personally thanks him for doing so and apologizes for him and Snow—for any of them—being there, and encourages him to use the slippers with Ruby to get back to Neal. It's a great Call-Back to the closeness and camaraderie the two of them developed in Neverland together back in Season 3, and how well they have worked together in the seasons since.
  • Snow realizes Ruby has feelings for Dorothy and it's she that can break the sleeping curse. At Oz, Ruby kisses Dorothy to awaken her. Dorothy admits she left because she was afraid of Zelena hurting Ruby.
    Dorothy: You came back for me.
    Ruby: And I always will.
    • They kiss before everyone.

Episode 19 - Sisters

  • Young Zelena playing with young Regina
  • The reunion between Cora and her daughters, and finally getting sent off by her daughters

Episode 20 - Firebird

  • It's a brief moment, but seeing Stealthy in the Underworld and being told of his Unfinished Business, particularly when he asks Henry to tell his brothers he misses them, and Henry mentions Grumpy/Leroy talking about him all the time.
  • Zelena repeatedly shows that she is on the cusp of a full Heel–Face Turn. She thanks Regina for having faith in her and worries when the gang don't show up to the portal. The only reason she leaves without them is that she doesn't know Hades tricked her.
  • True Love's Kiss works between Hades and Zelena.
  • When Emma tells the others the ambrosia wasn't there, that she had to leave Hook behind so they could make it to the portal, Regina has a long Held Gaze with Emma, and then says with a small smile and tears in her eyes:
    Regina: Well then...let's make use of the gift he gave us.
  • Rumple kills Pan. In doing so, he shows that he does have a good side, even if is is buried under darkness and losing the fight. Rumple has lines he won't cross - children, for example, are always off limits to his brand of darkness - while Pan, on the other hand, will harm anyone and anything he must to succeed. Rumple truly loves his child, and having Pan in the realm of the living, putting his child in danger, is not something he wants to do.

Episode 21 - Last Rites

  • The reunion of everyone with Snow when they get back to Storybrooke—and as soon as she finds out Hook didn't make it back, Snow is right there embracing Emma and comforting her.
  • Charming reunites with baby Neal. Cue the adorableness.
  • Related to this, everyone (mostly Snow and Charming, but Regina too) urging Emma to feel, to grieve, so she can let Hook go and move on.
  • Hook not only teams up with Arthur in the Underworld to find the missing storybook pages and get them to Emma, he saves Arthur from being dragged into the River of Lost Souls—twice!—which almost costs him the book itself. Just as a reminder, this was the man who not only refused to help them save Emma from the Darkness and teamed up with Zelena to bind Merlin as his slave, but it was his wound dealt by Excalibur that killed Hook in the first place (and necessitated making him another Dark One). No more proof is needed, Killian absolutely is a hero now and worth saving. And to round things out, how is it Hook is able to save the book (and not fall in the river himself)? Arthur grabs his other hand. Now there's the hero of Camelot we grew up with.
  • A subtle one, but the fact that two of the lost souls in the river regain sentience and come out of it (even if they attack Hook and Arthur when they do). Hook concludes that things are changing in the Underworld now that Hades is gone, which means that ultimately Milah, Gaston, Auntie Em, James and Peter Pan will be able to regain their sentience, leave the river and get another chance to move on.
  • After initially lashing out at Regina for giving his baby to (and trusting) Zelena, Robin apologizes and tells her she was right to do so. She starts to ask him not to say such a thing just to appease her, and he cuts her off, saying he means it: that his time with Regina has taught him people can change, everyone deserves a second chance, and if it weren't for Hades he wouldn't be having the problem he was.
  • Regina, pleading with Zelena to believe her, to not trust Hades: she tells her she wanted so badly for her to find love, but sometimes love isn't what or where you think, that the real proof of true love is when someone is willing to give up anything, sacrifice everything, for you...and that Hades never would. Coming right on the heels of Robin Hood's Heroic Sacrifice, not only is this referencing his actions for her, it's implying Regina is willing to do the same for Zelena. This from the woman who hated Zelena since Season 3 and was perfectly willing to torture, abuse, or even kill her as recently as last season as well as take her baby away from her forever; those memories Cora returned to her, and the bonding the three women shared before Cora crossed over, must have really packed a wallop.
  • Zelena and Regina end up crying in each other's arms over the body/ashes of the men they loved.
  • Arthur and Hook's parting, where Arthur first expresses gladness that this quest (unlike the ones he had pursued) had succeeded, and then when offered the chance to move on to a better place decides to stay in the Underworld: because he realizes this was the broken kingdom he was meant to heal and rule.
    • Even better, the Season 5 DVD set has a bonus short starring Cruella that is set 50 years later, revealing that Arthur is indeed now ruling the Underworld and, unlike Hades and Cruella, is ruling it justly, as the good king he was meant to be.
  • Hook gets to be restored to life as a reward for helping stop Hades. Zeus provides this reward by saying he is sending Hook "where he belongs."
  • Hook and Emma's reunion in the world of the living.
  • Zelena finally names her baby: after Robin.

Episode 22 - Only You

  • Opening a portal to allow Merida and the Merry Men to return to the Enchanted Forest, Zelena bids farewell to Robin's son. The boy gives her a bracelet (made from the fletching of one of Robin's arrows) for Regina and Zelena hugs him goodbye, saying she'll bring his sister for a visit soon.
  • Violet attended Robin's wake; we have no evidence the two actually met and she seems to be there for Henry's sake.
  • The only mention of Emma ripping out Violet's heart in this two part finale comes from Regina; it doesn't look like Violet holds any grudge for it at all.
  • Robin's letter to Regina that she finds in the Robin Hood storybook at Neal's old apartment.

Episode 23 - An Untold Story

  • The number of times Snow and Emma are there for Regina, supporting and loving her, but the biggest has to be when they stay to watch her defeat the Evil Queen.
  • When everyone makes it back through the portal, Hook starts to thank Emma for saving them again, but she makes sure Henry gets the proper credit. On the same note, even Gold admits "That boy is still full of surprises" when it turns out his belief in the fountain wish is indeed what the Dragon meant and how he inspires New Yorkers, of all people, to believe in magic if only for a few moments.
  • Violet and Henry kiss.
  • When the heroes are heading to Granny's, Emma says "I love you" to Hook. All because she's glad to finally be able to just say it without any kind of danger or battle looming over their heads for a change. Hook is visibly moved and the two share a passionate kiss.

Deleted Scenes

  • A few small scenes, but heartfelt and meaningful.
    • After arriving back in Storybrooke without their memories of their time in Camelot, Regina goes looking for Emma. She sees her yellow VW and smiles, goes into the sheriff's office, and sees Emma's iconic red jacket on a chair. Even though Emma isn't there and is still the Dark One, it's a reminder of who she used to be and will be again, that the Savior isn't fully gone.
    • Charming having "Dad Duty" with baby Neal at Camelot.
    • A longer explanation for why Regina, Robin, and Henry didn't leave the Underworld as Cora warned them to. Highlights include Regina saying she doesn't want to leave (to which Snow replies "that's how we know you've changed"); Emma and Charming both insisting they'll be fine and back soon, with Emma further adding that she completely understands why Regina wants to keep her father safe; Henry asking Regina about his namesake, which leads to a talk about how Henry Sr. had been the only one to give her hope for happiness until he came along; and finally her deciding she was going to Take a Third Option, where she could stay to help Emma without having to sacrifice her father.
    • Gold arriving back in Storybrooke with Pandora's Box, with Belle and their unborn child inside, and declaring he'd get her out, wake her up, and then "no one will ever harm you or our child again." Even though he's an uber-Dark One now, it's still as Belle herself said, he's a father who won't stop fighting for his child.

     Season 6 

Episode 1 - The Saviour

  • Henry telling Regina that she should not believe that Robin had his soul completely obliterated just because Hades said that was what happened. At the end of the episode, Regina agrees.
  • Snow and Regina's heartfelt conversation about hope and how the thing that made Regina the Evil Queen was how she kept telling herself she was a villain. Now that she has eliminated her dark side, she is going to find a new story. That same conversation also reveals the origin of Snow's hope; fighting the Evil Queen taught her to never give up.
  • After the new arrivals spend a day hiding in the woods, terrified of what they'll find in Storybrooke, Snow is able to convince them the town will welcome them, and the episode ends with them all getting supplies at Granny's.

Episode 2 - A Bitter Draught

  • Hook's friendship with Belle really shined in this episode:
    • Upon learning that she needed somewhere to stay, he immediately offered her a place on the Jolly Roger, even stating that he didn't care if it would incur Rumple's wrath.
    • When Belle asks why he would risk his life to help her, they have the following exchange:
    Killian: Long ago, I... I tried to kill you in the Queen's castle once. I failed. But along the way, I did something I can... live with no longer. I laid a hand on you. And there's the matter of my shooting you at the town line.
    Belle: Yeah, well, you've changed since all that.
    Killian: Maybe. I have a long road to travel before I can be someone I can be proud of. Despite the forgiveness of others, I must forgive myself, and I'm not there yet.
    • Basically, Killian reaffirms his role as The Atoner, acknowledging that, while he had a Heel–Face Turn, he hurt people in the past, and wants to do whatever he can to make amends.

Episode 3 - The Other Shoe

  • At first believing her sister Clorinda is after the Prince, Cinderella is startled when Clorinda reveals she's actually going to marry the footman. She further reveals her entire bitch attitude has been an act to please her mother and is sorry for what she put Cinderella through.
  • Ella and Clorinda manage to reunite along with Corinda's long-lost love to be a real family.
  • Hook entertaining Cinderella's young daughter at Granny's is pretty cute. And Emma looks on with a huge smile.

Episode 4 - Strange Case

  • The reveal that Hyde truly loved Mary and was broken by her death is somewhere between this and Tearjerker.
  • Belle and Killian's friendship only grows deeper. Near the end of episode he arrives just in time to rescue her from Jekyll.

Episode 5 - Street Rats

  • While at the spa with Zelena, the Evil Queen mentions her love of Henry proving that some of Regina's light still exists in her.
  • Jasmine and Aladdin's reunion is heart-melting.
  • Emma telling Henry that despite everything she's been through for being the Savior and her own impending death, she wouldn't trade it for anything because they got to be a family.

Episode 6 - Dark Waters

  • Captain Nemo devoted his life to finding wayward souls who were desperate for revenge and trying to steer them down a brighter path.
  • Killian tells Henry to go on without him, because if only one of them gets to see Emma again, it should be her son. Henry still comes back to save him despite the argument they just had.
    • Liam Jr. can't bring himself to kill Killian because he's afraid of the possibility that Henry will become consumed with getting revenge, just as he was when Killian killed their father.
    • And at the end of the episode, Nemo survives surgery and is reunited with Liam Jr., whom he loves as if he were his own.
  • Killian apologizes to Emma for keeping the Shears of Destiny and she instantly forgives him.
  • Snow comforts Belle, who feels conflicted about keeping Gold out of their child's life forever.
  • Rumple, of all people, gives a heartwarming assessment of Killian and Henry's relationship to the Evil Queen, calling them "the pirate and his son".

Episode 7 - Heartless

  • The whole part with David saving Snow back in the Enchanted Forest, without even knowing who she was, and that this was the start of their true love as symbolized by the sapling.
    "Knowing someone believes in you means you won't ever be alone."
  • The rush of memories when they touch the sapling is pretty heartwarming too.
  • How both of them Face Death with Dignity to save the town from the Evil Queen.

Episode 8 - I'll Be Your Mirror

  • The whole montage of how Charming and Snow are living their lives apart yet together, kind of like a magical long-distance relationship, complete with encouraging notes, flowers, food, and videos with baby Neal.
  • Henry standing up to the Evil Queen by saying he isn't weak or hiding behind anyone...he's strong by believing in family the way his moms taught him, while she'll always be alone.
  • Emma and Regina watching Henry dance with Violet and declaring no matter what happens, they know they raised him right.
  • Henry tells Violet that she does not need a label; she is just Violet.
  • Aladdin reveals that he found the Genie's lamp in Rumple's shop. In what's clearly a tribute to the late Robin Williams, he says that the Genie has moved on but "he's free now".

Episode 9 - Changelings

  • Belle gives her son to Blue for protection and so he'll have a normal life. She tells Blue to read him her favorite book, Her Handsome Hero, so he'll always know how much she loves him. No matter what, the women of Once will do anything for their children.
    • Related to this, how instantly and readily Blue agrees to be the baby's fairy godmother, to read the book, and to take him away to somewhere safe. Between this and how she freed Belle in the flashback so she could keep the stolen baby away from the Black Fairy, Blue is showing once again why she really is a Big Good and not just the jerk she's been portrayed as or thought to be for so long.
  • The fact that Emma stayed by Belle's side while she gave birth, especially considering Emma herself was totally alone when she gave birth to Henry.
  • Rumple decides not to use magic on Belle to get the baby all to himself, and though he ends up losing his son he vows to find him.
  • Regina saving Zelena from the Evil Queen simply because it was the right thing to do.
    • And right before then, Zelena's tearful goodbye to her daughter before her fight with the Evil Queen.
  • Aladdin takes on the burden of becoming a genie to help Jasmine find Agrabah.
  • Belle returning the baby Rumple kidnapped to its grateful parents. And Rumple watches on, seemingly touched.

Episode 10 - Wish You Were Here

  • Regina is about to crash another official ceremony hosted by Snow and Charming. However, Henry is being knighted, so first she waits and watches like a proud Momma... then crashes the ceremony.

Epidode 12 - Murder Most Foul

  • Hook, going to see Archie because he wants to propose to Emma but is afraid to do so without getting David's blessing.
  • David proposing a toast to family...and Regina joining in.
  • Hook confessing his feelings to Emma.
  • David telling Hook he really has changed, thanking him for being the noble one and keeping him on the right path, and giving him his blessing to marry Emma in return.
  • In a slightly meta sense, the scene where Regina tells Snow White what happened with Wish!Robin. Not only does Snow show great sympathy and regret for having been right, Regina immediately tells her it wasn't her fault, but Regina's. To see her say something that not only was once completely beyond her but which she could never have believed in her heart—the same thing which lay at the heart of her original hatred for Snow, blaming her for something that wasn't her fault and later refusing to accept responsibility for her own wrongdoing—is heartwarming enough. The fact she can say it so easily and readily, and Snow doesn't even remark on it, really shows how far they've come.

Episode 14 - Page 23

  • After a brutal fight, Regina realizes killing the Evil Queen is not the solution. Instead, she uses a spell to balance the light and dark in their hearts so the Queen feels the same love Regina does and forgives her.
  • The Queen apologizes to Snow for all she's put her through.
  • Henry calls the Queen "Mom" to show how proud he is of her new attitude and she embraces him tearfully.
  • Henry uses the Quill to send the Evil Queen to a place where she can get a fresh start. She ends up back in Other!Robin's realm and right outside a tavern. The two are soon sharing a drink as it becomes clear that, in this world at least, Robin and Regina get their happy ending.
  • When Zelena sees Emma's engagement ring, she is just as supportive as everyone else about it. This from the woman who once tried to drown Hook and curse Emma to strip her of her magic. Additionally, she actually participates in helping the heroes stop the Evil Queen. That Heel–Face Turn has certainly stuck.

Episode 15 - A Wondrous Place

  • Regina tries to stage an intervention of sorts to help Emma come to terms with Hook "leaving" her. When she refuses by claiming she's fine and just needs to work, Regina convinces David to wake Snow, the two of them call in a fake bar fight, and then when Emma appears convince her to sit and drink with them. She then spends the rest of her scenes in the episode trying to get Emma to open up and express her pain—she knows from experience what happens when you don't, especially regarding lost love. Also, her offhand quip to Drunk!Snow about not being able to keep from tattling, considering how seriously this trait once ruined things between them.
  • Not only is it heartwarming to see two more Disney princesses together (Ariel and Jasmine), their reunion in the present is very sweet. And Hook has an equally sweet reunion, helped along by the fact it was Zelena in disguise who confronted him before and the last time they were together, he both freed her from the bottle where she was trapped with the Jolly Roger and she got to witness him give Ursula back her voice and reunite her with her father. It's wonderful seeing all these Continuity Nods and the real warm relationships that have been established.
  • Hook's farewell to Liam and Nemo. Especially Liam, who takes the initiative to give his older half-brother a hug, showing that they've truly moved beyond their past conflict.
  • Jasmine repeatedly referring to Hook as a hero, even though he's been feeling like he doesn't deserve that title due to how ashamed he is of the terrible things he did in the past.
  • Jasmine finally gets to kiss her hero, when she feels she's proven herself worthy of him by defeating Jafar. And it's this that restores Agrabah, and breaks the genie spell on him—no need to use yet another perilous wish to do so.
  • Emma hearing Killian's message through the seashell (thanks to Ariel!). Even though Gideon cuts him off, he gets to explain himself first, say he refuses to give up until he can get back to her (almost saying the Charming family Arc Words), and say he loves her (and she returns it).
    • Following from the above, the reason she can do this is because Henry didn't take Hook's things to his ship. It's played as if he just forgot because he was lost in his music...but it's also extremely likely he knew Hook would come back, and he and Emma would need those things.

Episode 17 - Awake

  • Even if it isn't clear that it was truly necessary, Snow and Charming give up their chance to raise Emma, and their memories, to ensure she'll be the Savior and come to save everyone else—because that's what heroes do.
  • This has dividends when everyone whose lives they've touched and made better rallies together to take the sleeping potion too so it will dilute and break—Hook, Henry, Emma, Regina, Granny, the dwarves, Archie, Marco, and more. The only real shame is that because Ruby is in Oz with Dorothy, she didn't get to be there for her friend as well, and that there were other absences too (Abigail and Frederick, Thomas and Ashley, August, and so forth). Even so, it's a wonderful way to unite the characters again and emphasize what the show is really all about, not just true love—or at least, not just love between romantic partners—and how many bonds and relationships there really are among the cast.
  • Hook and Emma's reunion, and his proposal.
  • Regina points out that Snow gave up her family for the good of everyone in Storybrooke. Snow responds that she got a bigger one in return.

Episode 18 - Where Bluebirds Fly

  • Zelena uses a magical heart to give up her magic in order to stop the Black Fairy from using crystals to destroy Storybrooke.
    Regina: How do you feel?
    Zelena: Weak.
    Regina: But you've never looked stronger.

Episode 19 - The Black Fairy

  • Regina telling Zelena she wants Zelena to take Henry out of town and take care of him should something happen to Emma or Regina.
  • Hook asking Henry to be his best man.

Episode 20 - The Song in Your Heart

  • Everything from Emma being shown the page from the storybook onward. Her song, everything she realized about herself and her life, not running any more, never truly being alone, finding love, standing up to the Black Fairy, retelling what her parents gave up for her... And then the wedding (taking place on the roof of Granny's Diner which in the previous episode was re-emphasized as the heart of Storybrooke, and within view of the Jolly Roger). Her and Hook's vows, and the absolutely wonderful "A Happy Beginning" which ends the episode. Aside from Emma and Hook's duet, and Snow and Charming's, we get to see Regina and Zelena sing together. Then the whole town joins in, and we get to see all the Dwarves together, Archie and Marco, and really stresses how everyone in Storybrooke is one big family, joined by such strong bonds of love and friendship. Sniff.

Episode 21 & 22 - The Final Battle

  • For once, Rumple murdering someone turns out to be the right thing to do. As Henry says: "When good and evil both did the right thing, faith was restored. The final battle was won." To win, Rumple had to do what he does best - be a magnificent murdering bastard.
  • The Ending. In order:
    • Snow and Charming are now living peacefully together and raising baby Neal. Snow has returned to her teaching job while Charming now has a barn next to their new house, and has even reunited with his old dog Willby. One may also notice that the family all own wellington boots - David's the biggest, then Snow's, then a tiny pair of shiny green ones for toddler Neal.
    • Henry is still attending school and still seeing Violet, with Regina and Emma sharing custody of him.
    • Hook has become Emma's deputy sheriff, now able to live the perfect life of atonement for his pirate past alongside the woman he loves.
    • Leroy and several of the dwarfs change the title on Regina's door from "Mayor" to "Queen", and politely bow to her after showing this to her.
    • The reformed Evil Queen gets a message from Robin of Locksley via arrow - a ring and a note reading "Ready for a new adventure?"
    • Rumple and Belle have reconciled, and once again dance to the tune of "Beauty and the Beast".
    • The whole core family of the show sitting down for a dinner at Granny's. Emma, Henry, Snow, Charming, Hook, Regina, Zelena, Belle, and even Rumple, to say nothing of the babies Neal, Robin and Gideon. And this is the image that is on the final page of the storybook, complete with a caption of "They lived happily ever after."

Deleted Scenes

  • From "Heartless", when Snow, Charming, and Regina are looking for the sapling of True Love, they come to a fork in the mine tunnels and don't know which way to go, nor do they have time to search both passages. Regina is just going to pick, but then Snow and Charming kiss...and the sapling responds by producing a light, showing them which way to go. Cue Regina smiling genuinely with a "Well, how about that."
  • From "I'll Be Your Mirror", after Regina and Emma are freed and the Evil Queen flees, we have three bits in rapid succession: Henry asking about the Dragon still being trapped in the mirror world, and Regina assuring him she'll find a way to free him; him explaining that he figured out what to do by remembering what Emma told him to do (to never compromise his principles), which leads Regina to say he both did the right thing and lost his temper, which means "he took after both his mothers"; and finally, Henry leaves the vault so that he can go back to the dance with Violet.
  • From "Tougher than the Rest", Zelena is going to flee town to try and escape after what happened to the Evil Queen, but Belle intervenes—and not only does she do so to try and receive Zelena's help in bringing Gideon back to the light, she uses her understanding of what Zelena is going through (fear for baby Robin's life) to motivate her by saying that if she assists, then neither she nor her baby will have to worry about Gold or Gideon. And so Zelena agrees.

     Season 7 

Episode 1 - Hyperion Heights

  • Henry wanting to write his own story, and travelling to another realm is of course difficult for his mom (Regina) to accept, but he promises he'll find his way home, and that he loves her.

Episode 2 - A Pirate's Life

  • After all the worries people had that Hook but not Emma staying a regular character meant they would be broken up, it's revealed that the Hook we have now is the one from the Wishverse, while the original and Emma are still enjoying their happy ending with a kid on the way.
  • Turns out that Rumple's Heel–Face Revolving Door problem has actually gotten fixed. He is a heroic cop, just one that is not shy about playing hardball with the rules.

Episode 3 - The Garden of Forking Paths

  • Jacinda manages to rally a large part of Hyperion Heights to save the garden. Even after Victoria makes her burn her petition, she is able to rally the people once again to save her garden.
  • In its own way, Lady Tremaine's determination to save Anastasia.

Episode 4 - Beauty

  • Rumple and Belle getting their happy ending, building a life for themselves in the Edge of Realms. Turns into a tearjerker when Belle succumbs to old age.
  • Gideon offers to take up the mantle of the Dark One to free his father from his immortality, but Rumple refuses to curse his son.
  • Weaver letting Tilly get away with shooting him because she restored his memories.
  • Rumple and Belle have many photographs in frames on their mantelpiece and all the pictures are all of Rumple holding Belle in his arms on the threshold of the buildings behind them, just like normal married couples do on their wedding night. This implies they've had sex in every building they've travelled to.
  • Rumple doesn't blame Alice after she shoots him. He just lets her go because he remembers everything she's been through.

Episode 5 - Greenbacks

  • Eudora telling Tiana that all she needs to do is believe in herself.
  • They might be the Big Bad Duumvirate of the arc, but when Gothel calls Ivy a good girl and that, while Victoria may not see it, she does, Ivy briefly cracks a smile and starts stammering. It's a shame Gothel wasn't the least bit sincere.

Episode 6 - Wake Up Call

  • The giddy look on Drizella's face when she saves Regina from a falling portion of the tower (which Regina broke intentionally). Too bad Tremaine had to ruin it for the both of them.

Episode 7 - Eloise Gardener

  • WR!Hook gives up his mission of revenge to raise his daughter, Alice. And he gives the ship to Mr. Smee.

Episode 8 - Pretty in Blue

  • Alice's conversation with Ella, once she learns who she's looking for and then kindly, gently explains to her that her mother died fighting the Jabberwocky and saved her life. Also a Tear Jerker, of course.
  • Alice giving the white knight back to Ella and Henry to take to Hook, letting him know she doesn't need it to remind her any more, because she knows he'll find a cure so they can be together again.
    • Related to this is the larger connection to the work she comes from: the White Knight was one of the kindest and most sympathetic of characters in Through the Looking Glass due to how he treats Alice. Who do many believe he represents? An Author Avatar for Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll, who saw the real Alice Liddell as a daughter. Now who did Alice give the chess piece to? Her actual father, whose kindness to her as both Alice and Tilly is seen in the next several episodes.

Episode 9 - One Little Tear

  • It's been over thirty years... but Rumple is still mourning not just Belle but Bae too and knows just how dangerous going down a dark path to save your child can be and tries to talk Belfrey out of it.
  • Rumple learns that his great-granddaughter is in danger and rounds up the entire police force to find her.
  • Cecelia asking why is Rapunzel working on her daughter's birthday and suggested her to celebrate instead.
  • The fact that kid!Drizella is willing to accept her step-mother as a mother, not just a woman her father remarried - sure, it leads to a lot of disastrous shit occuring, but it's a child being a good person.
    • The same thing could be say for Ella who accepted Marcus as her father instead of him being simply her stepfather and loved him enough that when he was killed, she was willing to go kill someone to avenge him.
    • It seems Anastasia and Drizella are perfectly fine with having Ella as a stepsister; shame the latter came to hate both Ella and Ana.
  • Victoria's absolute joy and relief when she revives Anastasia. Mood Whiplash occurs, however, when Lucy is now under the curse instead of Ana and a crushed and heartbroken Ivy walks away from her mother and sister in tears.

Episode 10 - The Eighth Witch

  • While it's also a Tear Jerker due to the circumstances, the final reunion between Alice and Robin before the curse takes them is beautiful. They're young and scared, but they can still have hope.
    Robin: I just had to see your face one last time.
    Alice: No, no, not the last. We'll always know each other. Even if we don't.
    • Rumple puts himself between the girls and the curse as if trying to save them.
  • Robin refers to her aunt as "Aunt Regina" and clearly adores her. After all of the animosity over the years between Zelena and Regina, it's clearly gone enough that not only is Regina's first instinct to go to Zelena for help, but the sisters have met up often enough for Regina to know her niece.
  • Zelena declares that she and Regina "practically invented" Mommy issues. This is true. However, their "Mommy issues", which were resolved in Season Five, have brought them together.

Episode 11 - Secret Garden

  • Roni, who remembers she's Regina, declares that she and Kelly are going to break the curse and save both Henry and Lucy. Kelly, who remember's she's Zelena, declares they'll do it as "Evil and Wicked"; Roni claims that, no, they'll do it as sisters. While it's heartwarming to see that their relationship has grown enough for them to be true sisters, it's also heartwarming to see that Zelena is willing to go down the path of wicked again, that path of being absolutely hated by everyone, if it saves Lucy. It's also incredibly heartwarming to see that, while Regina and Zelena are sisters, they've also accepted who they were in their less noble days.
  • Gothel, of all people, giving Anastasia a place to stay at her house.
  • Zelena discovering Regina kept the "Kelly & Roni" sign of the bar from when they were cursed. It's a brief moment of bonding before Zelena smashes the sign, realizing it's just the place the amulet would be hiding.
  • Zelena offering her own life to save Robin's, making it clear she doesn't care what her daughter thinks of her, she loves her. It's enough to make Robin finally bond with her.
  • Doubles as a Tear Jerker, but Victoria sacrificing herself to save Ivy and Lucy (mostly Ivy). Ivy, the daughter she despised for a decade and even tried to rip her heart out to revive her other daughter.
    Victoria: I spent so much time focused on one lost daughter, I didn't see the one who was with me all this time.

Episode 13 - Knightfall

  • Hook comforting Alice after she has a nightmare of Gothel coming for her and tossing her father out of the tower. This kickstarts his quest to find Maui's fishhook to save his daughter.
  • Ivy's feelings for Henry are genuine. He comes over to comfort her and she states that he's all she has now and they can fix each other before kissing him on the mouth. Henry gently pulls away after a second and gives her some excellent advice - he's not all she has, and trying to hook up as a solution to depression is not what she needs right now. Instead, she should try to rekindle her friendship with her family - Jacinda and Lucy. The moment is even sweeter when she listens to him right away.
  • Ivy and Jacinda do indeed end up befriending each other again after so many years of tolerance at best. Ivy genuinely compliments Jacinda and says that she's a better mother to Lucy than Victoria has ever been for Ivy herself. Jacinda also returns Ivy her old doll; the implication exists that the doll was Ella's gift to Drizella for her birthday in "One Little Tear".
  • Ivy giving Henry mochi as a thank-you for giving her good advice. Awwwwww. She then admits that she, like her mother, has done some horrible things, and expresses her desire to fix them, starting with saving Anastasia - with Henry's help. The fact that she tells him about her sister at all demonstrates how much trust and confidence these two have come to share in each other.

Episode 14 - The Girl in the Tower

  • If the last episode didn't already establish Ivy as The Atoner, this episode absolutely hammers the nail in the coffin. Ivy tells Henry that if she had a list of people she needed to apologize to, he would be at the top of it, which is understandable considering she: held him an knifepoint, tried to poison his heart, did poison his heart, took his family away from him, and gave him fake memories of a wife and daughter who died in a fire, but the fact that she apologizes at all is adorable. She even kisses him on the cheek.
  • We find out how Alice and Robin met, and, while there are some definite bumps in the road, their connection with each other is obvious from the start. Of note is Robin helping Alice feel less alone and trapped in her post-tower world, and Alice getting Robin to learn how to best inherit her father's legacy.
  • Tilly finds a copy of Robin Hood and starts to read from it... and, later, when she meets Robin's cursed counterpart Margot, Margot has a copy of Alice in Wonderland.
  • Rogers inviting Tilly to live with him, despite the two of them still being unaware they are father and daughter.
  • Zelena is truly happy when Margot stops by, clearly happy to have her daughter back, cursed or not.

Episode 15 - Sisterhood

  • Anastasia telling kid!Drizella that as long as they're together, they'll always find a way back home. Turns into a Tear Jerker when it cuts to Drizella, about a decade later, musing about how much she has come to hate Anastasia.
  • This is it. Ivy has betrayed and tricked Anastasia for too many times, and the latter has every intention to stab her with a glass shard and kill the sister she once loved with all her heart. Luckily, Ivy convinces her not to. How? She tells Anastasia that if she kills her, she will lose her Guardianship but if Ivy kills Anastasia, both she and Gothel will get her magic. However, she also leaves Anastasia with her choice. This convinces Anastasia to betray Gothel and restore her bond with Ivy/Drizella. As an infuriated Gothel leaves, Ivy has this to tell her:
    Ivy: I guess you underestimated the power of sisterhood.
  • Ivy and Anastasia returning to the New Enchanted Forest, hand-in-hand. Ivy has really come a long way from being the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who worked together with Gothel to make her mother suffer.
    • Prior to that, Regina telling Ivy that even though she's still angry at her for poisoning Henry, she understands that the Coven helped her, that she was manipulated by Gothel, and believes that she can change. This is followed by Weaver reassuring her he and Regina will tell Jacinda what happened with her and Anastasia once her memories are restored.

Episode 16 - Breadcrumbs

  • Weaver telling Henry how alike Henry is with the "fictional" Henry Mills in his book and how that Henry is one who would not only believe in love, hope and happy endings but fight for them. It's essentially Rumple telling his grandson how proud of him he is.
  • Tilly and Margot's meaningful conversation, with both of them remembering the time Margot saved Tilly's life. Tilly later even tells Rogers that she met someone special and reminds him that the name Margot has a t at the end, not the front.
  • Henry proposing to Cinderella at the end of the flashback sequence after finally realising he does not need to be a hero at all.
Episode 17 - Chosen
  • Regina jokes to Zelena that "no one kills my sister but me,"... which probably makes Zelena safer than anyone else except perhaps Henry and his family.
  • Zelena's fiancee makes it clear that he still loves her no matter her past and still wants to marry her. As he puts it, she could have killed her attacker but she didn't and that proves she's the woman he loves.

Episode 18 - The Guardian

  • Rumple chooses to stop Alice from taking the power of the Dark One from him, because he doesn't want to curse her with his immortality. Even Hook is moved by him sacrificing his sanity to give Alice a chance at a normal life.
  • Margot telling Tilly that she likes her too much to be offset by her occasional Freak Out!.
  • After previous episodes established her as a bit of a Deadpan Snarker Jerk with a Heart of Gold, this episode shows that Robin gets downright flustered around Alice when they're in the early stages of figuring out what their relationship is. All of her normal cocky confidence is gone when she gifts Alice with a bracelet she made.
    • The fluster is echoed in Hyperion Heights with Margot, who is fully composed around Tilly until their hands linger together after Margot puts the same bracelet on Tilly's wrist. (Their True Love token, much like the chipped cup is for Gold and Belle, and the ring is for Charming and Snow.)

Episode 20 - Is This Henry Mills

  • All of the post-Curse reunions, especially Henry, Ella, and Lucy, Alice and Hook, and Alice and Robin. They even toss in a hug between Regina and Robin for good measure, and of course one between Regina and Lucy, now that the latter fully knows her as her grandmother.
  • It takes very little convincing to get Margot on board the mission to rescue Tilly from Gothel's sway. They've only known each other for a short time in their cursed versions, but they already care about each other deeply.
    • If you look closely while Margot is trying to break through to Tilly, Tilly is crying. The idea actually did work, but the magic was too powerful for Tilly to break free from it.
  • Also, when everyone unites together to stand against Gothel after the curse is broken. While seeing Regina and Henry fully together again is wonderful, there's also Hook managing to hold hands with Alice despite his poisoned heart, Robin stands on Alice's other side, holding her hand, and even Gold (whom we've known since "Beauty" cares about her very deeply and just two episodes ago showed us how deep that caring runs) is there to stand by her. Family really is everything to them.
  • Everything in Henry's conversation with his younger self, and also the note Henry leaves for Regina.
    Sometimes, you have to leave home. When you've been there for so long, you don't know who or what you'll be outside of it. But then you realize every experience, every trial, every moment has shaped you. And you take that place with you, no matter where you go next. I'm lucky. I have an incredible home. You won't find it on a map. But in it, you will find magic. You'll find love, hope, and something to believe in. You'll find a family that fights for one another, who never gives up on each other. And even when they're separated by curse or distance or time...they find each other. They always find each other. I wish the world could know the story of my family, how it was all true, how every moment of it happened. And you may think this is just a story. But that's the thing about stories. They're more than words. They live inside of us. They make us who we are. And as long as someone believes that...there will always be magic.
  • In a meta sense, the return to Storybrooke this time is especially moving, since we not only get to see Granny again (and hear a hilarious story about Grumpy), there's mention of throwing a huge party at the diner after Henry gets into every college he applies to. And there's the little touch of the writers remembering Anton/Tiny which, while it's there to explain where Henry got the magic bean, is a reference to a sweet character we haven't seen since Season Two. It's wonderful to know that behind-the-scenes, he's been there with the other dwarfs all along, happy and accepted again (thanks to Snow, Emma, and Charming) despite what happened to his people.

Episode 21 - Homecoming

  • In a weirdly twisted way, Wish!Rumple is kinder to his father than our Rumple was. Our Rumple stabbed his father and then had him trapped, forever, in the Worse Place in what was basically hell - not that we blame him, mind you. Wish!Rumple, however, has kept his father young, but imprisoned, with small telltale signs of slowing down but not preventing his ageing, such as stubble on Pan's chin - this means he either couldn't kill Pan... or he just couldn't bring himself to end his father's life and the two are stuck with one another for god knows how long.

Episode 22 - Leaving Storybrooke

  • Trapped in the globe, Hook asks why Gold, with all his power, never tried to destroy him. Gold admits that "because you're the closest thing I ever had to a friend."
    • Later, when Rumple dies, Hook stands over his body and says "Goodybe, old friend" with tears in his eyes.
  • It was a given, but Rumple and Belle being Together in Death at the end, even when it looked like it might not happen.
    • Also, Rumple's words when he chooses to die thinking that he won't reunite with Belle afterward: "You don't do the right thing for a do it because it's right." It took a long time, but he finally learned that lesson.
    • The fact that Alice squeaks in shock and reaches out to stop him before he tears out his heart. She knows the goodness in him, and how he needs a happy ending and doesn't want him to die.
    • When Wish!Rumple advances on Wish!Hook, Henry, Alice, and Robin, Rumple, badly injured, stands long enough to get between them and him. Now think about who those four on the floor are: Wish!Hook, who is a version of the man who has been Rumple's enemy for decades; Henry, the "boy who will be his undoing"; Alice, the only one who (before Wish!Henry undid it) could have taken his immortality and powers; and Robin, the daughter of the woman who killed his son. After so many years of putting his own life, vengenace, and power above others, he's protecting the very representations of those weaknesses.
  • Before they face the black knights, Hook asks Robin to take care of Alice, as his heart has been getting worse. She one-ups him by asking his permission to marry her. He lets her sweat for only a moment before breaking into a grin, hugging her, and happily giving it.
  • Emma and Regina have become close enough friends that Emma attends her coronation and, when she sees Emma hasn't arrived yet, Regina asks about her.
  • Also a Tear Jerker and Tears of Joy, but getting to see everyone together at the end, celebrating and happy, both Hooks with their daughters, Emma there to see Regina get her happy ending, and Regina becoming the Good Queen she was meant to be, and would have been if not for Cora... All the people we've grown to love are finally together, all with a role (albeit offscreen in many cases), all working together for their common good. And it's so satisfying.
  • Regina and Rumple, after he dies, fall back into their old roles of Master and Apprentice, with Regina thanking him for "one last lesson" and "one last gift" and telling him that he "deserves peace" and to "go find" his happy ending. After all they've been through, she finally gets the chance to say "thank you" to the closest thing she had to a father figure after her actual father's death.
  • In the fly-over of the United Realms at the end, Alice's troll friend is unfrozen, so he gets to see her safe and happy. And, more importantly, Alice gets a friend back.
  • The New Enchanted Forest being merged into the United Realms means that Cinderella can now see her two stepsisters on a regular basis, finally repairing her relationship with them after Drizella's Face–Heel Turn and Anastasia's near-death.
  • Snow and Regina finally get what they should have done in their original relationship. Regina finally gets to be a good Queen - and Snow finally gets a kind step-mother.
  • Regina brings all the realms to Storybrooke and, at one point, we can see Gold's shop - presumably this means that Gideon now owns his father's shop and runs it. Either that, or Regina kept it as a monument to Rumple.
  • Snow and Charming turn up to save Henry. This means that Granny, Leroy or Archie mentioned that two ranting mad girls turned up mentioning Henry was in danger and the two decided that two ranting mad girls is not the weirdest thing in Storybrooke and came to the rescue.
  • Maleficent is alive and she found Lily's father - she's put aside any rivalry with Regina and got her daughter's father back too... happy ending all around!
  • There's a Freeze-Frame Bonus during that coronation scene in the final minutes. If you look at Alice, you can see that she's wearing a ring.


  • From supplementary material, Gold writes Belle instructions on how to make breakfast since she's unfamiliar with modern technology. As part of the note, he mentions of course that he loves her. Heartwarming in general but considering how part of his public schtick is making deals (i.e. don't give away anything you can trade or sell), the gesture is particularly nice.
    • If you don't believe it, read it for yourself.
    Forgive me. I had to depart early this morning. You were sleeping so soundly I couldn't bring myself to wake you.
    I am out on business, but I should be back just after noon to join you for lunch. I would prefer you not go out alone, as the town is much bigger than one might anticipate, but of course you are free to do so, should you wish. It is simply an advisement, neither a command nor request.
    Should you choose to remain indoors, there are several items around the house with which you may not be familiar. We will confront all of them in due time, but I hope to have covered the necessities here.
    I assume you will be hungry upon waking. I took the liberty of slicing you a bowl of plums. They are in the refrigerator: the large man-sized metal box next to the stove. Simply pull the handle (it will open towards you), and the bowl will be sitting on the second shelf from the top. Do not be alarmed: the air is much cooler inside. For this reason, please try to remember to shut the door once you have retrieved the fruit.
    On the counter next to the refrigerator is a smaller, metal show-box type contraption. You will see two slices of bread protruding through slits in the top. Push down on the lever so the bread disappears, wait one minute until it pops up, then remove it and place it on the plate I have set out. This box is a toaster. It has, accordingly, made you toast. DO NOT put your hands inside the slits in attempt to pull the bread out before it has reemerged. It is VERY HOT inside the toaster. You WILL burn yourself.
    Butter is on the dish by the sink. Tea is in the cupboard over the butter. I take it you have not forgotten how to use a kettle. It has been filled with water.
    Should you need me, for any reason, please call. I will be upset if you do not. I know we broached the subject yesterday, but a refresher: the telephone is the "silly red upside-down hat with a curly tail" (as you aptly described it), on the table to your right when you wake up. My number is taped to the top.
    I love you. I could not wait for lunch to tell you.
    Please do try to remember to shut the refrigerator.
    • Seriously, read this and imagine Rumplestiltskin, The Dark One himself taking the time to cut up plums, and set out bread, and fill the kettle, and all the prep-work for all those little things
      • Well, Rumple has always been that pedantic; he likes thing to go his way - why would this be any different?
    • Slightly less Heartwarming when you realise this is written between scenes in Broken; the "Business" Rumple is talking about is getting the Wraith to attack Regina.
  • This letter written by Graham to Emma.
  • On a Meta level, there's something heartwarming about Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin's Romance on the Set and eventual marriage. It's as if no matter what reality it is, Snow White and Prince Charming will always find each other.
  • Also meta is the mother-son relationship between Lana Parrilla and Jared S. Gilmore in real life.
  • The off-screen friendship between Tiera Scovbye and Rose Reynolds, who play on-screen lovers Robin and Alice (respectively), is absolutely adorable. They've apparently been living together, and Rose freely jokes with Tiera's fiancé that she's "the other woman".
  • After the 2017 Manchester bombing attack at an Ariana Grande concert, a few of the cast members recognized one of the killed victims Georgina Callander as a fan of the show who they previously met and had taken photos with at some of their conventions. They not only paid tribute to her on social media but for a period of time also changed their profile pics to ones they had taken with her.
  • Rebecca Mader was a huge fan of the show and had hoped to play Ariel on it. Once that was cast, she resigned to herself that she'd never be on it. Then they called her and offered the part of Zelena. She says she screamed in public and accepted instantly, without even knowing who she was playing.
    • Rebecca's story in general is pretty heartwarming where the show is concerned. She never had any acting training and got "back doored" into the industry doing modelling and L'Oreal commercials (which she hated). Although she had several network TV roles in Fringe and Lost, it's quite sweet that her Star-Making Role was on a show that she had longed to be part of.

Example of: