Esther’s Theater: Once Upon a Time (season 1)


Once Upon a Time

Esther Kang, Writer

Disney+ shows: Once Upon a Time

Can villains change? Do villains deserve a second chance?

Do villains that change for the better deserve their “Happily ever after”?

“I want to start a new story, and I choose to believe that this story will have a better ending than my last.”

-Regina Mills

                                                              Overview of plot:

Once Upon a Time (available to stream on Disney+)

Once Upon a Time takes a fun twist on classic Disney characters and gives them a compelling backstory. Disney protagonists like Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Prince Charming/David Nolan (Josh Dallas), Belle (Emilie de Ravin), Mulan (Jamie Chung) and the Blue Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy) are some of the characters that appear in the show. While Disney is known for their protagonists being heroes, Once Upon a Time shows that villains deserve second chances. Villains that turn away from evil and follow a new path, prove that they can be heroes too. The Evil Queen/Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla), Captain Hook/Killian Jones (Colin O’Donoghue), Maleficent (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and the Wicked Witch (Rebbeca Mader) are some of the villains that have tragic backstories that shaped their path to evil. The show uses magic, curses, flashbacks and unexpected plot twists to keep their audience entertained. Throughout the show, villains fight to be better people and to become heroes. Once Upon a Time tells the story of redemption, hope and the importance of second chances. With an amazing cast and spectacular life lessons, Once Upon a Time is the perfect show to binge (on Disney+) by yourself or with your family.


The Evil Queen wasn’t always evil. She was a good person that saved a little girl’s life. That little girl was Snow White. This led Snow White’s father the King to ask Regina to be the queen. Regina’s mother Cora wanted Regina to be royalty and insisted that she accept the crown. Regina didn’t want to marry the king because she had a boyfriend that she was in love with. Regina planned to run away with her boyfriend Daniel and confided in Snow. She begged Snow to keep it a secret. Snow told Cora and Cora killed Daniel. This sent Regina on a path for revenge against Snow

Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla) and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin)

White. Regina worked with Rumpelstiltskin to enact a curse to fulfill her revenge. While this curse would bring revenge; the real reason Rumpelstiltskin wanted to enact it was because he wanted to reunite with his son. He abandoned his son years ago because he chose power over his son. He regretted that decision every day. The curse was a portal to the real world, the realm his son was in. Rumpelstiltskin was the darkest being, he was the dark one. The dark magic he had gave him powers but at the cost of being evil. The curse would send all the fairytale characters into the real world, Maine. The town Storybrooke was created in Maine where all the fairytale ended up. Under the curse Storybrooke was a land without magic and sadly wasn’t a fairytale. Regina also took the memories of everyone and gave them new ones. Nobody knew who they really were. Nobody in this town remembered that magic was real and nobody knew that Regina was the Evil Queen. Under this curse, everyone thought that fairytales were just a fantasy in a book. This curse could be broken and magic could be restored, but only by the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Emma Swan was the only person that could break the curse.

Season 1: Emma arrives at Storybrooke

Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and Regina Mills (Lana Parrilla)

Emma Swan opened her door to a kid claiming to be her son. Emma Swan was an orphan constantly living in foster care. She had her son Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) when she was young but gave him up because she wasn’t ready to be a mother. Henry told Emma he was her biological son and got her to come to Storybrooke. Henry’s adoptive mother was Regina. As fate would have it, Emma was meant to come to Storybrooke and break the curse. Henry tried convincing her that fairytales were real but Emma knew they weren’t. Regina gave Emma poisoned apple pie because she didn’t want to share Henry. Henry’s imagination led him to believe that Regina was the Evil Queen and that fairytale characters were real. He was right. Emma still wouldn’t believe him so Henry ate the pie. Henry was rushed to the hospital due to the

Emma (Jennifer Morrison) kisses Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) and breaks the curse

poison. After some time, Henry was pronounced dead. Emma saw him on the hospital bed and kissed him.  True love’s kiss broke the curse and woke him up. Emma was able to break the curse and returned everyone’s memories back to them. Everybody remembered that Regina was evil and that she was the one that cast the curse. Snow White and Prince Charming remembered the prophecy stating that their daughter would be the one to break the curse, and tried to connect with Emma. Emma was so overwhelmed. She didn’t know whether she should go back home or stay in Storybrooke. The whole town turned on Regina and Regina started fighting back, but Henry wanted her to stop. Henry wanted Regina to be good. She thought that revenge would make her happy but it didn’t. Regina succeeded in getting her revenge. The curse was her revenge, it lasted twenty eight years and she was still miserable. The only thing that made her happy was Henry. Regina started to be good but there were many challenges because of her past. The first season continued to develop Emma, Snow and David’s (Prince Charming) relationship as Regina worked towards redemption.


My review:

This show is one of my favorites. I always forget the amazing plot twists and the storyline each season is so captivating. Season 1 set the stage for the rest of the show. Usually, the first seasons are slow but Once Upon a Time really entertained me from the beginning. Taking a twist on fairytale characters, especially villains is spectacular. The show teaches a lot of life lessons. The main lesson that season 1 illuminated was that any point, you can change for the better. Chasing anger won’t bring you happiness. Sometimes, in order to be happy you have to forgive. Regina couldn’t forgive Snow and her anger prevented her from being happy. You should remember what caused you pain, but you shouldn’t let that hold you back from the happiness you deserve.

As Regina Mills once said, “I want to start a new story, and I choose to believe that this story will have a better ending than my last.”

Regina (Lana Parrilla) holding the storybook
Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison)


Pilot Episode. | Evil queen, Once upon a time, Evil queens
Flashback: The Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla)