The BEST Episodes of Once Upon a Time (2011)

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 25, 2019

Network: ABC (US)

Emma Swan, a 28-year-old bail bonds collector, has always been a fiercely independent person since being abandoned as a baby. Her son Henry, who she gave up for adoption years ago, finds and tries to convince Emma that she is Snow White's missing daughter. Henry shows Emma that in the fairytale, Prince Charming and Snow White sent her away to protect her. Emma doesn't believe him and takes Henry back to Storybrooke...

Operation Mongoose (2)

#1 - Operation Mongoose (2)

Season 4 - Episode 23 - Aired May 10, 2015

The Author proves to be a formidable wild card and forges an alliance with Gold. Emma, her parents, Hook and Regina scramble to stop them, but when Gold and the Author turn the tables on heroes and villains alike, the prospect of any happy outcome appears worlds away. Henry discovers he has big shoes to fill as he steps up to save his family before the story's final page is turned. It's a race to the finish, and everything culminates with a shocking twist that will leave the residents of Storybrooke reeling.

star 8.38
1,008 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
There's No Place Like Home

#2 - There's No Place Like Home

Season 3 - Episode 22 - Aired May 11, 2014

In the conclusion of two-part episode that serves as the season three finale, Emma and Hook must find a way to return to Storybrooke, but in their quest to return, they have to find a way not to interfere or tamper with the events that lead up to the first curse, or else they risk altering the entire timeline, and could end up warping the future existence of everyone involved, including Emma, Hook, as well as Emma's family back in present-day Storybrooke.

star 8.30
1,487 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Leaving Storybrooke

#3 - Leaving Storybrooke

Season 7 - Episode 22 - Aired May 18, 2018

Wish Rumple’s evil plan is revealed and Regina realizes the only hope to stop him is by turning Wish Henry from his path for vengeance. Meanwhile, Tilly and Margot try to get help in Storybrooke. With his hope of ever being reunited with Belle fading, Weaver struggles to find a way to defeat his evil alter ego; and when Rogers’ life is threatened, he is faced with the ultimate sacrifice. Series Finale.

star 8.24
656 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
A Land Without Magic

#4 - A Land Without Magic

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired May 13, 2012

Emma and Regina team together in order to find a way to save Henry's life. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Prince Charming attempts to escape from the Evil Queen's clutches in order to reunite with Snow White who, unbeknownst to him, has already taken a bite of the Queen's poison apple.

star 8.23
4,197 votes
Directors: Dean White
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
The Final Battle (2)

#5 - The Final Battle (2)

Season 6 - Episode 22 - Aired May 14, 2017

Henry awakens to a cursed Storybrooke and discovers Emma has been in the mental hospital, and the Black Fairy is the new mayor. Henry attempts to help Emma regain her memory while Gold tries to find out what has really happened to Belle. Meanwhile, Snow, Charming, Regina, Zelena and Hook are trapped in a crumbling Fairy Tale Land and desperately try to figure out a way to be reunited with Emma and Henry.

star 8.17
913 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
The Final Battle (1)

#6 - The Final Battle (1)

Season 6 - Episode 21 - Aired May 14, 2017

Henry awakens to a cursed Storybrooke and discovers Emma has been in the mental hospital, and the Black Fairy is the new mayor. Henry attempts to help Emma regain her memory while Gold tries to find out what has really happened to Belle. Meanwhile, Snow, Charming, Regina, Zelena and Hook are trapped in a crumbling Fairy Tale Land and desperately try to figure out a way to be reunited with Emma and Henry.

star 8.12
1,690 votes
Directors: Steve Pearlman
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Going Home

#7 - Going Home

Season 3 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 15, 2013

The race is on to stop Pan from enacting another curse on the residents of Storybrooke, which could kill every living soul in town.

star 8.11
2,708 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
And Straight on 'Til Morning

#8 - And Straight on 'Til Morning

Season 2 - Episode 22 - Aired May 12, 2013

Storybrooke's inhabitants brace themselves as Greg and Tamara activate the trigger within the curse; Mr. Gold mourns; Hook rescues Bae, who is being pursued by the Lost Boys.

star 8.10
2,733 votes
Directors: Dean White
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Is This Henry Mills?

#9 - Is This Henry Mills?

Season 7 - Episode 20 - Aired May 4, 2018

Roni enlists Lucy's help to wake Henry, but things don't go as planned. Meanwhile, Rogers and Weaver go to Margot in hopes of getting through to Tilly. In a flashback, Young Henry struggles to decide what path to follow until a mysterious phone call helps put him on track.

star 8.06
609 votes
Directors: Ron Underwood
Writers: Dana Horgan, Leah Fong
Snow Drifts

#10 - Snow Drifts

Season 3 - Episode 21 - Aired May 11, 2014

While Mary Margaret and David celebrate the naming of their son at a coronation in Granny's Diner, Emma and Hook are pulled into Zelena's time portal and find themselves in the Enchanted Forest of the past. But in their quest to discover a way back, they must be careful not to change anything or risk altering the lives of their friends and family - as well as their very own existence.

star 8.05
2,233 votes
Directors: Ron Underwood
Writers: David H. Goodman, Robert Hull
Kansas

#11 - Kansas

Season 3 - Episode 20 - Aired May 4, 2014

With Mary Margaret in labor and due to give birth at any moment, the residents of Storybrooke go on high alert in an attempt to ensure that Zelena doesn't try to steal her newborn baby for use in her ultimate game plan to turn back time and change her destiny -- while obliterating Regina's existence. Meanwhile, in the land of Oz of the past, Glinda tries to convince Zelena to fight her evil tendencies and join her and her sister witches as a protector of Oz. But the appearance of a young girl from Kansas could turn out to be her undoing.

star 8.03
2,319 votes
Writers: Andrew Chambliss, Kalinda Vazquez
Operation Mongoose (1)

#12 - Operation Mongoose (1)

Season 4 - Episode 22 - Aired May 10, 2015

The Author proves to be a formidable wild card and forges an alliance with Gold. Emma, her parents, Hook and Regina scramble to stop them, but when Gold and the Author turn the tables on heroes and villains alike, the prospect of any happy outcome appears worlds away. Henry discovers he has big shoes to fill as he steps up to save his family before the story's final page is turned. It's a race to the finish, and everything culminates with a shocking twist that will leave the residents of Storybrooke reeling.

star 8.02
1,510 votes
Directors: Romeo Tirone
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Wish You Were Here

#13 - Wish You Were Here

Season 6 - Episode 10 - Aired Dec 4, 2016

When she learns that our heroes possess a weapon capable of defeating her, the Evil Queen steals Aladdin’s magic lamp from Jasmine and makes a wish that could sideline the Savior forever. Unwilling to wake Snow while Emma is missing, David works with Hook and Henry to hold the Evil Queen at bay in Storybrooke, as Regina goes on a rogue rescue mission. Meanwhile, Gold and Belle face a surprising danger to their newborn son.

star 8.02
2,047 votes
Directors: Ron Underwood
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
An Apple Red As Blood

#14 - An Apple Red As Blood

Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired May 6, 2012

Henry pleads with Emma to stay in Storybrooke and continue her quest as the savior of the fairytale dwellers, and Regina concocts a plan that could rid her of Emma forever. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, Snow White enlists the aid of her fellow fairytale cohorts to attack the Evil Queen and save Prince Charming's life.

star 8.01
4,324 votes
Directors: Milan Cheylov
Writers: David H. Goodman, Jane Espenson
Manhattan

#15 - Manhattan

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 17, 2013

Emma, Henry and Mr. Gold search for Gold's son in New York; Hook, Cora and Regina look for one of Rumplestiltskin's most precious possessions.

star 7.99
2,925 votes
Directors: Dean White
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
New York City Serenade

#16 - New York City Serenade

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Mar 9, 2014

After Rumplestiltskin sacrificed his life to stop Pan from enacting another curse, Regina obliterated her original curse, which erased Storybrooke from existence and whisked its residents back to Fairy Tale Land – leaving Emma and Henry back in our world with no memories of Storybrooke. But all is not well back in the Enchanted Forest when Hook comes calling on Emma in New York City in an attempt to jog her memory so that she can once again help her fairy tale family and friends out of a desperate situation.

star 7.95
2,555 votes
Directors: Billy Gierhart
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Queen of Hearts

#17 - Queen of Hearts

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 2, 2012

Hook and Cora face off with Emma and Mary Margaret in a race for the compass; Mr. Gold and Regina plan to kill anyone who enters the portal.

star 7.94
3,229 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Think Lovely Thoughts

#18 - Think Lovely Thoughts

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 17, 2013

Pan tries to convince Henry that he can save magic and Neverland; a young Rumplestiltskin receives a magical item that could give him a fresh start with his father.

star 7.93
2,593 votes
Directors: David Solomon
Writers: David H. Goodman, Robert Hull
Skin Deep

#19 - Skin Deep

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Feb 12, 2012

After Mr. Gold's house is robbed, Emma keeps a close eye on him when it looks like he wants to track down the criminal and dole out some vigilante justice as payback, and Valentine's Day finds Mary Margaret, Ruby and Ashley having a girls' night out. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Belle agrees to a fateful deal to give up her freedom in order to save her town from the horrors of the Ogre war.

star 7.93
4,892 votes
Directors: Milan Cheylov
Writers: Jane Espenson
The Miller's Daughter

#20 - The Miller's Daughter

Season 2 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 10, 2013

Cora and Regina try to overpower Mr. Gold; dark magic tempts Mary Margaret; Rumplestiltskin offers his services to Cora.

star 7.91
2,781 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Jane Espenson
The Black Fairy

#21 - The Black Fairy

Season 6 - Episode 19 - Aired Apr 30, 2017

In flashback, after Rumple’s mother, Fiona, learns from his fairy godmother that his destiny is prophesized, she does everything in her power to keep it from happening. Ultimately, Fiona will have to make a decision that will change the course of both their lives forever. Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Rumple faces a similar dilemma.

star 7.89
1,721 votes
Directors: Alrick Riley
Writers: Dana Horgan, Jerome Schwartz
The Crocodile

#22 - The Crocodile

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 21, 2012

Belle threatens to leave Mr. Gold if he doesn't change his ways; the dwarves try to find fairy dust in the Storybrooke mine; Rumplestilskin tries to save his wife from a band of pirates.

star 7.89
3,823 votes
Directors: David Solomon
Writers: David H. Goodman, Robert Hull
Birth

#23 - Birth

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 15, 2015

Tensions in Camelot come to a head when Merlin, now under Arthur's control, delivers an ultimatum to Emma: hand over the Dark One dagger and the Promethean spark or he will kill her entire family. Refusing to give in, Emma and our heroes face off against Arthur, Merlin and Zelena in an epic battle of magic and will. Just when the end is in sight, Emma is forced to make a gut-wrenching choice that no one saw coming. Back in Storybrooke, Zelena's pregnancy mysteriously accelerates and Hook goes to new and desperate lengths to get answers from the Dark Swan.

star 7.89
1,952 votes
Directors: Eagle Egilsson
Writers: David H. Goodman, Jerome Schwartz
A Curious Thing

#24 - A Curious Thing

Season 3 - Episode 19 - Aired Apr 27, 2014

Zelena threatens to kill Henry if Hook - whose lips have been cursed by the Wicked Witch -- doesn't proceed with kissing Emma, which will drain all of her magical powers away, and things begin to heat up between Regina and Robin Hood. Meanwhile, back in the Fairy Tale Land that was during the past year, Snow and Charming go in search of Glinda, The Good Witch of the South, to see if she can help them defeat Zelena, and the curse that will ultimately send the Fairy Tale characters back to Storybrooke is cast -- but from an unlikely source.

star 7.88
2,237 votes
Directors: Ralph Hemecker
Writers: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis
Fall

#25 - Fall

Season 4 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 30, 2014

As the Spell of Shattered Sight approaches Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and David rally the residents to prepare for the curse while Belle and the fairies work together on an antidote. Gold, with Hook as his reluctant servant, sets about an exit strategy of his own. Regina and Robin Hood ready themselves for the worst while, with the help of a locator spell, Emma and Elsa search desperately for Anna. In Arendelle, Anna and Kristoff awaken to find that their kingdom is once again in danger.

star 7.87
1,788 votes
Writers: Jane Espenson