Once Upon A Time 305 Recap: The One With Two Moms

You have no idea how excited I am to be your Autostraddle OUAT recapper. NO IDEA. Do you know the unbelievable potential for Disney lyric puns in these recaps? Do you know how many truly awful jokes I can make about “them apples”? And seriously, seriously, do you know how much semi-intentionally implied lesbianism is jam-packed into this show? It’s like Xena vigorously banged a “Sexy Minnie Mouse” costume, and during downtime, penned this show while snickering hysterically. I know they say it’s not on purpose, but they know. They must know.

We don’t recap shows on Autostraddle unless there’s canon queerness afoot, so my pipe dream of recapping the everloving shit out of this show seemed like another doomed pursuit in my long list of doomed pursuits, like making my own cheese and helming a porn empire. I mean, Once Upon A Time is essentially Disney jizzing into a cup, swishing it around, and then seeing what four-headed creature is born from the primordial soup of the murky Disneyverse. We know how Disney feels about nonwhite people, right? It was literal teeth-pulling to drag a non-white princess out of those morons, so Satan help us all if we aspire to a canon queer character. I thought my great-great-grandchildren would be dead before a Disney princess blatantly desired a princess instead of a prince. Like, you could send a spaceship en route to Pluto to start a Pluto colony, and by the time that spaceship reached Pluto, there would still not be a gay Disney princess.

But then Mulan came charging out of the closet, and one million homos stood up and said I KNEW IT, I FUCKING KNEW IT, MOTHERFUCKING HONOR TO US ALL.

I told you there would be lyric puns. I told you. So now, here I am, recapping what I believe is the gayest show on television.


If you’ve never seen this show before, you could technically go back to the very beginning to figure out whatever the hell I’m talking about, or you could use my super handy recap of everything that has happened up until this episode. I have dubbed it:


There are two worlds. Okay, dimensions, for you sci-fi nerds. World #1 is a dimension haunted by the most awfulest worstest CGI graphics on television. The Magical Kingdom of Green Screen is occupied by Disney characters and pretty much only Disney characters, although we are all operating under the unspoken lie that this is a land of exclusively “fairy tales,” even though I am 99% sure Pongo the fucking Dalmatian did not arrive to us via ancient storied narrative. This dimension might as well be called Disneyland or Disney World were those two terms not heavily copyrighted.


World #2 is the real world, our world, where Disney characters have been brainwashed and left to suffer unhappy endings in a town in Maine called Storybrooke, ayuh! This dimension is very different from World #1; for example, it doesn’t feel like characters are being filmed in a basement somewhere because Disney doesn’t believe in hiring set designers. Its backgrounds aren’t akin to the original version of Myst. And, the only relevant thing you need to know, magic doesn’t work in this world because of the curse, which I will get to in a second.

The show opens in World #1. All your favorite characters are here. Actually, your favorite characters don’t show up until later, so first you have to suffer through the only Disney princess that you didn’t give a shit about: Snow White!


Snow White’s been awoken by Prince Charming, they get hitched, they get pregnant. Yeah Disney, look at you! Implying that a penis got stuck into a vagina somewhere along the line! Unfortunately, the Evil Queen curses the shit out of everyone. At this point, the Evil Queen should be your favorite character, because if you’re not rooting for Lana Parrilla’s facial expressions and flawless mastery of SASSINESS, you’re at least rooting for her breasts. Okay, I’ll be honest: She’s a 100% fantastic character, but prior to me knowing she was a fantastic character, I knew she had a fantastic breast situation, congratulations on your cleavage in that dress, etc.

yes, i watch for the plot

i watch for the plot

There is a loophole in the curse because, well, curses always have loopholes, and the loophole is that one person can be saved from the curse if you put them in a magical tree trunk. Again, yeah. We know, and this is only a teensy preview of the suspended disbelief that will be asked of you throughout the show. So, who do they decide to save? Snow White and Prince Charming’s infant daughter. What is the curse? To forget their true selves and go to “a place where there are no happy endings.” And where does the tree trunk send infant daughter?

To World #2!

Fast forward to the future, where infant daughter has grown up to be a…bounty hunter? Riiiight. Cameron from House is celebrating another lonely birthday because it’s lonely being a bounty hunter who was mysteriously found by the side of the road and then shuffled from foster home to foster home only to become a cold hard paid-for-it bounty hunter. Her name is Emma and she gave up her baby when she was young but oops, he’s found her and he wants her to come save his town from the Evil Queen, who is also his adoptive mother. Because, you know, Emma is his “real mom” and OUAT has a lot of super fucked up ideas about the notion of family and biological essentialism that will make you want to tear your eyeballs out of their sockets and swing them around your living room. Emma’s like wow, did my vagina really make this crackerjack?


99.9% done with this whole “nature over nurture” morality plotline

But then she drives him to Storybrooke in her overly cute Volkswagon Beetle — the obvious vehicle choice of a cold hard paid-for-it bounty hunter — and finds out that it really is a town occupied by fairytale characters who don’t know they’re fairytale characters. Only Henry knows what’s going on, and he also knows that his biological mom is the person who is going to save everyone from their curse, which she does. By the second season. Basically. There’s also continued drama happening in World #1, like MULAN BEING CANON GAY FOR SLEEPING BEAUTY and other fairytale people doing fairytale things that you’re vaguely interested in but not really.

Important Interjection: If you haven’t seen this show and you’re reading this recap anyway, a) go back and watch the show someday just for giggles and b) none of this shit actually matters in regards to the plot this season.

While all of this curse breaking is happening, we learn that once people understand who they truly are, there’s a lot of shit to be sorted. Of course, none of this is as complicated as the bizarre family tree this show has constructed.  There’s the revelation that Rumplestiltskin, who is generally an evil dude, beget a son named Baelfire, who is actually the father of Henry via banging Emma in World #2. Baelfire, who also goes by Neal, is probably the most irritating character on earth, uses a toddler as human bait, is generally awful. Oh, also, Regina was once forced into a marriage with Snow’s father Leopold because her mother Cora, the once lover of Rumplestiltskin, is an evil bitch. Snow and Charming, despite appearing to be the same age as Emma, are also her parents, and want to make up for lost time once they find out that she’s their daughter.


They also jump right into the whole grandparent role, which is complicated for their sworn enemy Regina, who is Henry’s adoptive mother and the one who actually fucking raised him and has been a parent longer than anyone else involved in his life, but you know, what does that matter when there’s biology to be prioritized? Haha Disney, you raging piece of shit. They don’t want Regina raising Henry because she’s sooooper evil, but IDK, he seems to have turned out alright to me?


So what the Mickey is going on now? Henry has been captured by Peter Pan, an old adversary of Rumple and actually a really nasty little dude. Henry has the “heart of the true believer,” which basically means he is the Chosen One of Neverland. Regina, Emma, Charming, Snow, and Captain Hook are trying to save Henry. So are Rumple and Neal. Neal was once a Lost Boy, Hook used to live in Neverland. Charming is dying of a magical thing. They need to get Henry back before he forgets his family and becomes a Lost Boy. Oh, and Emma and Regina have a lot of insane sexual tension. Lots and lots and lots of it. But you knew that. Because you clicked on this link, and you’re on Autostraddle, and you track the “Swan Queen” tag on tumblr. You do. You know you do.

But let’s recap this episode already.

It’s a Hook episode! Cool, I guess? Hook’s probably my least loathed male character on this show, which is saying something considering he’s Level 0 at respecting boundaries and dresses like he’s auditioning for Rock of Love circa 2004. Let’s all take a second to make note of the fact that Disney has made eyeliner a “pirate thing”, too. Hook seems to hide his feelings with badly written sexual innuendos that he lobs like grenades at anyone who attempts to communicate with him. Some people have interpreted this as chemistry with aforementioned “anyone”, but I just see an emotionally-wounded manchild putting up a lot of walls. To each their own.



The Lost Boys continue to spend their time performing routines from STOMP!, and making low whooping noises that would indicate that casting made an oops and the extras are actually post-adolescent. They’ve taken Neal prisoner and put him in a cage, and to that I say wow, good. Set him on fire if the plot calls for it. Really could not be bothered.

Henry gets poked by a Lost Boy’s literal pointy stick, and everyone wants them to fight. Also everyone on this island likes kerchiefs a lot? Pan reminds Henry that he is the “True Believer”, so he can create anything in the world with his mind. What a nifty fucking skill! With the multitude of options available to him, such as airplane, giant car, massive weapon, or thing that will alert any rescuers to his presence, Henry chooses sword, and nicks the kid in the face. Pan is pleased with this, like Emperor Palpatine level pleased with this.

good, good. i can feel the anger in you. strike him now while he is weak. allow the dark side to flow through you.

good, good. i can feel the anger in you. allow the dark side to flow through you. strike now while he is weak. become the sith you were born to be.

The rescue mission is not going super well. For whatever reason, they have spent a LOT of time in Neal’s former literal man cave, where they seem to think there will be “clues”. This show is famously good at dropping its characters into a haphazardly constructed plot point to search for yet another MacGuffin so that there can be some .gifable cute dialogue. But hey, I’m really enjoying them walking through the same set piece over and over again while Regina rolls her eyes at everything everyone else does or says. Except for Emma talking about how hard it was to go through the American foster care system. Then Regina’s all goopy-eyed and gets the “let’s process our feelings over a post-coital brunch” face.


Hook is like hey Emma, hey. Hey. Emma, hey. Hey Emma. Emma. Emma, I know what it’s like to be lonely. Emma come taste the lonely on me. Emma, hey. Lonely taste, hey. Emma. Hey. Emma’s vaguely uninterested but sees the potential in Hook for a “dude that would piss my stupid fucking parents off” hookup, which seems to be her main motivation in all the romantic plotlines on this show. Emma did not have her rebellious teenage girl stage with Snow and Charming, and has been getting it out of the way in the last two seasons, it seems.

womp womp let's sad together womp sad bloop

womp womp let’s sad together womp sad bloop womp

Regina has no time for this meandering weak romance narrative shit.


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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. This is the greatest article I have ever read. I just doubled over laughing and nearly fell out of my chair…in the office…at work…in front of my boss.

    Greatness. Just. wow.

  2. THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING LOOK AT ONCE UPON A TIME EVER!! Can they just make a spin off series about Mulan and Sleeping Beauty having adventures, saving princesses, toppling evil empires and being awesome together? PLEASE!!!!

    • I agree- you make me simultaneously want to watch this show for Snow Queen, and also never ever watch it, and just read your recaps instead.
      Also, Liz, read the Princess Princess comic, because that’s basically what it’s like, except with Jasmine if Jasmine rode a unicorn and had an alternative lifestyle haircut, and Rapunzel instead of Sleeping Beauty.

    • i just wrote kade an email last night about a completely unrelated topic and then devolved (evolved?) into complimenting their amazing recapping skillz. truly a god given gift. TRULY.

  3. Seriously the best thing I have read in weeks! I had an awful morning, and this just made me crack up. Kate you are a miracle worker of epic proportions!!! LOVE IT! (and seriously how can one not like Regina?

  4. I’m madly in love with this show despite all its little problems. I love Mulan/Sleeping Beauty, Regina is for sure my queen and I think Rumplestiltskin and Red are both epic. I also love how dark their version of Neverland is.

    Though I agree about their warped views on adoption. I get why Henry would want to run away (Regina was trying to kill everyone over and over again/keep Henry prisoner) but Regina is still his mom. Emma just gave birth to him. This idea of birth parents being supreme is a trope in tons of shows/movies that always breaks my heart and makes me furious. Still, if it means Emma and Regina can be Henry’s two mommies I’ll deal with it.

    A couple notes for the recap because I’m obsessive and nerdy like that: Hook’s brother died because they left Neverland. The price was he couldn’t leave the island and live, since the waterfall is linked to the magic of Neverland.

    I’m pretty sure it’s Rumplestiltskin in the other cage. Pan nabbed him while he was frozen in the forest after Neal left him.

    Also I choose to believe that they could somehow shave a pegasus? I don’t know. I don’t want to think of all of them being killed to make a sail :(

    But seriously, sweet recap. I especially loved all of Regina’s images.

    • “Regina is my queen.” Well shit, if that shouldn’t be a bumper sticker.

      I haven’t watched this since the 1st season but even then it was the gayest fucking thing I’d seen in my life. I remember being really mad at the biological essentialism but eventually I came to think it was a plot device to throw Regina and Emma together. Over and over. And over. Looks like it’s shaping up that way.

      Also, could your anti-Snow feelings have a bit to do with Ginny Goodwin and her “Once Upon a Time in My Pants” tweet? I mean, she is boring, but still.

      Also, I saw Lana Parilla on a cooking show segment once, and they asked her about her boyfriend or somebody she was dating and she was like, “oh yeah, yeah,” but was really more interested in telling stories about her old sick cat and feeding him his medicine. Cool lady.

  5. had to stop myself multiple times from tweeting quotes from this recap WHILE I WAS STILL EDITING IT. seriously this is so fcking hilarious. thank you.

  6. “Regina’s default setting is Neighborhood MILF.”

    most accurate.

    do Pan’s eyebrows distract anyone else? sometimes I wish the entire episode were just Pan vaguely expositing in shady lighting because I’m fascinated by hIs EyEbRoWs DoInG tHaT mIdDlE sChOoL mYsPaCe ThInG

  7. [comment deleted by the Autostraddle Moderator Army]

    The comment is not related to the topic of this post. All comments and concerns about general editorial decisions should be directed to Laneia, our Executive Editor (laneia [at] autostraddle [dot] com.)

  8. Can you please follow me around and recap my life? Seriously? I feel like I would laugh way more than I do right now.

  9. Ok, I have GOT to stop reading these episode recaps in the middle of boring classes. Stoically bored expressions are impossible amongst all this snark! And I love it!

  10. Oh my God, I missed your recaps so much. You know the rule, Kade – you recap it, I obsessively watch it. This show has just skyrocketed to the top of my To Watch list.

  11. Oh man. I just went through a marathon of S1 and am trying to catch up on S2 now that they’ve dealt with the WHAT IS REAL thing that gave me a panic attack (long story).

    I have such a crush on Regina zomgggggg. She is HOTTTTT. She’s pretty much what I imagine my Ideal Domme Self to be, down to the fashion (and I pretty much already have her Storybrooke monochrome style down). Though Ruby’s S2 fashion sense was pretty kickass too, the Joan Jett + Red look.

    Planning to go to school on Halloween dressed as Regina.

  12. kade. KADE. i don’t even watch this show but this lil’ gem killed me:

    “We don’t recap shows on Autostraddle unless there’s canon queerness afoot, so my pipe dream of recapping the everloving shit out of this show seemed like another doomed pursuit in my long list of doomed pursuits, like making my own cheese and helming a porn empire.”

    i really fucking hope that one day you helm a porn empire. keep us all posted, plz.

  13. “Hook turns up the Brand New on his iPod, and weeps into Charming’s shoulder while masturbating softly.”

    omg yes

  14. The look on Regina’s face during/after that Snow and Charming kiss was the best part of the episode and exactly mirrored my reaction to the kiss that seemingly wouldn’t end.

  15. Kade, I’ll be honest, I didn’t read this because I haven’t watched the latest episode yet, BUT the fucking captions on these pictures. I can’t even.

  16. I personally love the part where they’re looking into the magic Skype Compact and Regina says to Henry “We love you!” – not I but WE. “WE love you; me your other mom and your grandma and grandpa, I speak for all of us.”

    So, so gay.

  17. For someone who has sat through all three seasons of this show, you can not imagine how much this made me laugh. This is one of the most no-homo shows out there in terms of cast and creators, as both Adam and Eddie (the head writers and head producers) saying that all the “Swan Queen” moments were unintentional, setting Mulan up as the unhappy lesbian because surprise Aurora’s true love is Philip and they be having a baby, Ginnifer Goodwin (who plays Snow White) telling LGBT* Q fans to check out cable for any form of representation, which was followed by but I love gay people and promoting Charming/Snow relationship, David Anders saying that another prominent lesbian/bi fan ship Red Beauty ( Red Riding Hood/Belle from Beauty and the Beast) was nothing more than hot lesbian action.

    The only reason I’ve stayed so long was for Lana Parrilla and Jennifer Morrison deserve a paycheck to put up with the bullshit on this show. And all it’s plot holes. Like seriously, if you can make Twilight look well written with all the plot holes your show has, there’s a problem.

  18. Sadness: finishing Bomb Girls, experiencing sadness due to that loss (and the fact that I have to wait until May for the movie…THANKS OBAMA (ha.)

    Happiness: discovering Once Upon a Time, and realizing I kind of love it.

    Super mega happiness: learning that Kate did recaps of Once Upon A Time.

    Sadness: learning that the recaps start in season 3. Where’s the fun in that?

    Oh well, guess I have some major Netflix binging to do.

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