Once Upon a Time Review: “The Thing You Love the Most”

If you plot revenge, first dig two graves
–Chinese proverb

Don’t wanna be a zombie for Halloween this year?
How about a princess?

Title: Once Upon a Time: “The Thing You Love the Most”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Greg Beeman
Written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz

Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla as Evil Queen / Regina
Jared Gilmore as Henry Mills
Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White / Mary Margaret Blanchard
Josh Dallas as Prince Charming / John Doe
Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket / Archie Hopper
Jamie Dornan as Sheriff Graham
Robert Carlyle as Rumplestiltskin / Mr. Gold
Kristen Bauer as Malificent
Tony Amendola as Geppetto / Marco
Warren Christie as Ryan
Beverley Elliott as Granny
Meghan Ory as Red Riding Hood / Ruby
Giancarlo Esposito as Mirror/Sidney
James Bamford as Black Knight

David Paul Grove as Doc

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.


Mayor Regina tries to run Emma Swan from town, and we learn more about the sacrifices she has made in pursuit of revenge.

High Point

The idea that the Wicked Queen may have a backstory that explains her hatred for Snow White may not be entirely original, but it suggests the series could go somewhere. As several people noted last week, however, I’m not certain how it will function as anything other than a miniseries. If it raps up too tidily this season, we could be watching another Heroes. If it doesn’t, the show could get Lost.

Low Points

I’m still not convinced of Storybrooke’s reality. Emma Swan should be finding this all a good deal stranger than she does.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 5/6 Less can be more, though I rather liked the garden gnome gag.

Story: 5/6 The story felt more focused this week, I felt like I was watching a story, however silly, instead of an explanation.

Acting: 4/6 It’s hard sometimes to know when we’re watching consciously overwrought consumption of scenery, and when we’re watching unintentionally awkward struggling with stilted dialogue.

Emotional Response: 4/6 The central incident in this episode could have been as compelling as the one on which this week’s Walking Dead turned. Until I believe more in these characters, however, it’s merely more tv murder.

Production: 5/6

Overall: 4/6

In total, “The Thing You Love the Most” receives 29/42

9 replies on “Once Upon a Time Review: “The Thing You Love the Most””

  1. Re: Low Point, I thought they explained that OK last week by her “power” of being able to tell when someone was lying, and her interactions with Henry, and all the ‘crazy’ talk tonight seemed to be sufficient for me.

    Though it still seems in danger of running out of plot in the near future.

    • It’s bigger for me, though. She seems to fit in too much in this other world because she herself plays like a fake tv character. I really hoped for more contrast among her “real” world, Storybrooke, and the Faerie Tale world.

      Maybe I’m expecting too much.

      • I read that more as her being the one who is immune to the spell and can break it, so she only has a single persona, the one that is actually from the fairy tale world.

  2. What really, REALLY bugged me about this episode was that THOSE WERE NOT HONEYCRISP APPLES dammit. Honeycrisps are indeed the awesomest appels in the world but they look nothing like that. Also they’re a hybrid apple created by the University of Minnesota (and as such are a very new breed of apple) and are very, very strictly licensed.


    • yeah, that bugged me too. though the -40 degree detail was apparently correct.
      still, really annoying.

      The part of the whole show that bothers me most is the difficulty of some of the actors to deliver their lines believably.
      I’m reasonably certain it’s the actors rather than the dialog as certain OTHER actors are completely believable.

      Still, it’s a good start. even if it does seem to be moving a little fast for a full-blown series.

      • I would argue it’s both. The dialogue is artificial. I have no doubt this is a deliberate stylistic flourish, but it takes a strong writer to make this work consistently. (Shakespeare, say, makes this work).

        But even where the dialogue would work, you need good actors to pull it off. Some of their actors can deliver the lines effectively, and others struggle.

        • fair enough.
          also, it’s clear that some actors do better with certain TYPES of scenes – e.g. Emma does much better with Henry than with any of the other characters.

  3. I’m really enjoying it, but I think a large part of that is because I can watch it with my son.
    He’s 11.

    • Now that is an interesting perspective on this particular show. Feel free to pass along his thoughts and observations, since its a part of the audience we don’t often consider at the Bureau, but must make up some percentage of this show’s viewers.

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