At its heart, Once Upon a Time is a family drama. It may be wrapped up in fantasy and fairy tales, but it is telling the story of mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, neighbors and friends. Today, we’re most concerned with the first of those categories. In honor of Mother’s Day, here is a list of the five best (and worst) mother moments on OUAT.
Best: Emma wakes Henry
Is there any mother moment more epic than the one in which Emma kisses Henry, waking him from death and breaking the curse on Storybrooke? The first season especially is very much about Emma’s path to accepting her role as Henry’s mother. In the Season 1 finale, not only does she save him (and everyone else in Storybrooke), but she finally believes him. That’s what makes this episode — and this moment — such a good one.
Worst: Cora kills Daniel
It’s hard to pick just one terrible mothering moment when it comes to Cora. There are so many from which to choose. However, one of the worst had to be when Cora killed Regina’s fiance, Daniel, right in front of her daughter. Not only is this just a terrible, terrible thing to do, but it also set her daughter on a path of lonely vengeance. We actually believe that Cora loved Regina in her own way (or at least thought she did), but she had some seriously twisted logic. We’re kind of impressed Regina ever has any good parenting moments with Cora as a model.
Best: Regina lets Henry go
One of the most heartbreaking (and best) mom moments this season came when Regina lets Henry go in Season 2, Episode 2: “We Are Both.” “I don’t know how to love very well.,” she tells Henry. “I was incapable of it for a very long time, but I know — I remember — that if you hold onto someone too hard, that doesn’t make them love you.” (Maybe you should write that gem down somewhere, Regina?) She tells Henry: “I want you to be here because you want to be here. Not because I forced you, and not because of magic. I want to redeem myself.” Regina’s redemption is still...in progress, but it doesn’t lessen the emotional impact of this scene or the fact that, sometimes, Regina does what’s best for Henry rather than what she wants for herself.
Worst: Everyone ever abandons their children
You may have noticed, but this show has a bit of an abandonment=terrible childhood theme going on. Charming and Snow send Emma through to our world to grow up on her own (as does Gepetto with August). Rumple abandons Bae as he jumps through the portal. Even Emma decides it’s a good idea to give Henry up for adoption. All of these choices seem to be undertaken with good intentions (well, except Rumple), but that doesn’t keep the kids in question from ending up in some seriously sketchy situations. Neal convinces Emma not to follow him through the portal by saying, “Don’t make [Henry] grow up like we did.” In the context of this show, it’s some good advice.
Best: Snow jumps through the portal after Emma
Fact: Snow White is a badass on OUAT. Though she has given Emma many a pep talk both before and after we/they found out they were mother and daughter, our favorite mom moment so far came inSeason 2, Episode 1: “Broken.” Emma is pulled through a portal to an Enchanted Forest that is no longer supposed to exist. Snow’s first instinct? Jump right in after her. “I’m not losing her again,” she screams to Charming/the universe before taking the plunge. That’s some serious mothering commitment.
What are your favorite best and worst mother moments in OUAT? Let us know in the comments below!
Catch the Season 2 finale of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.