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Once Upon a Time series premiere recap: The Witch and the Wardrobe

The Evil Queen casts a curse; meanwhile, bail bonds collector Emma Swan has a terrible birthday

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Once Upon Goodwin
Jack Rowand/ABC

Once Upon a Time

TV Show
Fantasy, Drama
run date:
Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla
Current Status:
In Season

When I was little, my green felt copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales felt magical. I never thought the stories were real, and I never really clung to the whole princess thing, either. (I was a Pink Power Ranger type of kid.) Still, there was always something about those stories that felt ancient and mysterious, but also familiar and comforting at the same time. The good guy won, the princess was saved by her doting prince, they paid all of their bills on time, and the big bad disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again.

Unfortunately for little Henry, this is not the case in the upside-down world of Once Upon a Time. If you didn’t have time to tune in last night, I apologize in advance if this recap sounds like an especially disturbing chapter from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. But I don’t think that Ken Kesey could have dreamed this one up. No, this is the kind of television that could only come from the minds behind Lost. Flashbacks and destinies? Don’t mind if I do!

It all began on a relative high note. The prince galloped through an enchantingly beautiful forest, searching for his missing princess. He found the immaculate Snow White dead in a coffin, surrounded by her grieving, vertically challenged comrades. It was sad, but Ginnifer Goodwin looked super fly in her virginal Snow White coffin gear. Well done! The prince sweetly kissed her, bringing her back from the dead as a burst of magic rippled through the forest. “You found me,” she said in a daze. “Did you ever doubt I would?” he puffed. “Truthfully? The glass coffin gave me pause.”

We then flashed to a castle chapel somewhere in Fairytale, where Snow and Prince were getting hitched. What joy! Snow’s castle was pretty, but it didn’t hold a candle to the stunning and intimidating Eyrie or even Winterfell on Game of Thrones. Captivating scenery can be important on moody, stylistic shows like thisWe’re living in crazy times. But okay, it gets brownie points for the Lisa Frank-colored stained-glass windows.

So in stormed the Evil Queen, wearing a remarkable outfit that managed to incorporate a tall hat, a veil, pointy shoulder pads, feathers, and a bustier. Snow pulled Prince’s longsword on her longtime foe, but the Queen’s plan was already in motion. “You’ve made your vows, now I make mine,” she cackled. “Soon, everything you love — everything all of you love, will be taken from you forever. And out of your suffering will rise my victory. I shall destroy your happiness if it is the last thing I do!” The people of Fairytale panicked as the Queen turned into the Smoke Monster and exited the premises. Game on.

NEXT: Who says you can’t spend your birthday alone?