Once Upon A Time brought many of our favorite Disney characters from childhood to the small screen and always managed to give those characters a new twist to their original story. They also created their very own modern Disney Princess in their title character of Emma Swan, who was the show's lead heroine, and the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.
Many adults would watch this magical show because it brought back a sense of nostalgia while telling incredible love stories and bringing a healthy dose of drama into each and every episode. But children would watch it and enjoy it, as well, because it was as if you were watching your favorite Disney characters come to life every week.
I can honestly say that this was one of my favorite shows to tune into during its time on the air, but I can also say without hesitating that there were a lot of aspects about this crazy and wonderful show that made absolutely zero sense. Whether it was one of the many abandoned plot lines, or continuity error,s or Emma and Regina's friendship, there was typically always something off in any given episode.
So buckle up and get ready to read the 30 Things That Make No Sense About Once Upon A Time.
When the curse was cast on the Enchanted Forest and all of the fairy tale characters were sent to Storybrooke, they also forgot all about their real lives and were given entirely new identities. But after the curse was broken, a lot of the main characters kept referring to themselves - and each other - using their fake names.
A good example is Mary Margaret, who is actually Snow White, as well as her husband, Prince Charming, still going by David. Why not just ditch the fake names they were supplied with under the curse and go back to their true identities?
Anyone who is a fan of the show knows that the family tree is beyond confusing and is bound to make your head spin when you attempt to make the many connections.
For instance, Emma Swan is not only the biological daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, but is also the biological mother of Henry. When you add in the fact that Henry’s father, Neal/Baelfire, is also the son of Rumpelstiltskin, this makes Rumple Henry’s grandfather and Belle his grandmother by marriage.
Don’t even get me started on Regina’s many connections to the family, and the connections don’t stop there, either.
It was a sad day for Once Upon A Time fans when we learned that Jennifer Morrison— our very own Emma Swan— would be leaving the show after season six. So to properly wrap up Emma Swan’s story in season seven, they had our heroine become pregnant with her true love and husband, Killian Jones a.k.a. Captain Hook.
The confusing part of it is that Emma is always at the helm of facing whatever disaster is hitting Storybrooke that week, so how did she stay safe during her pregnancy as the Savior of Storybrooke?
There is a lot going on in regards to the laws of magic and the fact it “always comes with a price” makes it a confusing and conflicting presence in the Once Upon A Time universe. Like how Emma Swan is the product of true love and that is where her magic originates from, yet that doesn’t seem to be the case for every person who is the product of true love.
And Regina learned her magic from Rumpelstiltskin, so the question is, are you born with magic or is it learned? We will never know.
Captain Hook, played by Colin O’Donoghue, was the fan favorite among many Once fans. The pirate-turned-hero was one of the more charming and dashing characters, but there was one serious flaw in his look that stuck out: he never changed his clothes.
During flashbacks in the Enchanted Forest, he would change his waistcoats here and there, but ultimately had the same look every time we saw him. Even when he was in modern Storybrooke, he was nearly always seen in his all black leather outfit every episode. Why couldn’t he change it up every so often like everyone else?
One of the most baffling moments on the show had to be when Henry went with his entire immediate and extended family to the Underworld to rescue Captain Hook, his mother's pirate boyfriend.
It’s bad enough that Henry seemed to always be there when chaos was ensuing, but why would both of his moms deem it okay for him to accompany them to the Underworld of all places? Especially because Henry was barely a teenager at this point and should be in the safety of his home and in school.
Rumpelstiltskin was the ultimate villain on Once Upon A Time. He was the guy you either loved to hate… or hated to love.
That said, the character of Rumpelstiltskin could be at times rather confusing. Mainly because he represented many famous fairy tale characters. The first, of course, being Rumpelstiltskin who spun gold (hence his Mr. Gold Storybrooke name). But then he was also supposed to represent The Beast from Beauty and the Beast due to his love story with Belle. He’s also the Dark One and was also meant to represent the fairy godmother from Cinderella.
Maybe they could have simplified things with him just a bit?
Henry Mills first received the book of fairy tales that became an integral part of the Once universe in season one. It stands to reason that there had to be an actual Author of the book, so when it was revealed in the second half of season four that we would be learning more about that, it was exciting.
Essentially, the powers this Author possesses is the ability to literally rewrite anyone’s story in both positive and negative ways. So when we learned Henry had this power, it was rather disappointing that he broke the Author pen rather than utilized it or even learned more of its powers first.
It’s hard to understand why the writers would abandon such an interesting storyline.
Throughout the seven seasons Once Upon A Time was on, they introduced many iconic characters. While they had a wonderful core cast, sometimes they would overshadow other amazing side characters and their plot lines. A huge example of an underutilized character was Ruby Lucas a.k.a. Red Riding Hood.
She played a prominent role in the first season, but the show gradually used her less and less to the point where she was hardly ever on it. Even when they would cast great characters like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as the villains, they would only appear in a handful of episodes instead of being the “big bads” we were promised. What gives?
Regina was meant to be the main villain of the series by the looks of how things went down in the first season. She was the Evil Queen, after all. But over time, she became a “redeemable character” and the other characters just forgave her for all of her sins.
But the strangest fixture to come out of her "redemption" was Emma and Regina’s friendship. Not only did Regina cast the curse that kept Emma and her parents apart for 28 years, but she also treated Emma’s biological son, Henry, very poorly until she became “redeemable”.
It just seems like Emma wouldn’t typically get over things like that in reality, let alone actively want to be Regina’s friend.
Part of the mythology of the Once universe is that Storybrooke is entirely cut off from the rest of the world. So the major question on all of our minds has to be how the town gets its basic necessities, like food, internet access, money, and so on, on a daily basis?
You would think if it was cut off from the world they would be out of luck in regards to those things, so how does it all get to them?
Of course, it could just be the use of Regina's magic, but that seems like a bit of a stretch, even for Once.
At the end of season three, Emma and Hook bring Marian— Robin Hood’s wife— back to Storybrooke. Robin had thought she had passed, so it was incredible to see her again. But it obviously causes a serious rift in Regina and Robin’s budding romance, and, in a twist, we learn later that it was actually Regina’s sister, Zelena, disguising herself as Marian.
The thing is, Robin spent a good amount of time with his “wife” once she returned, so how did he never notice something was off about her? Zelena could only lie her way through it to a certain degree, so shouldn’t he have been clever enough to figure it out?
The Enchanted Forest is the land where all of the fairy tales began in the first place, but then the fairy tale characters were all sent to Storybrooke thanks to Regina's Dark Curse. So one of the biggest questions over the course of the series was why didn’t they all just go back to the Enchanted Forest for good once the curse was broken?
Especially for the characters who knew it as their home, why wouldn’t they want to leave Storybrooke immediately and go back to their land? Emma could have easily just gone with her parents and brought Henry with.
Captain Hook is not only known for his ship, The Jolly Roger, and his second mate, Smee, but also for his rambunctious crew. And we all also know that Cora protected Hook from the original Dark Curse and did not do the same for his crew. But where did they go and why would Hook want to continue a vengeful path without the help of said crew?
Plus, why was Smee able to show up in modern times, but not the rest of the crew? It’s all very confusing to think about.
Will Scarlet was originally on the short-lived spin-off of Once Upon A Time, aptly titled Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. Once said spin-off was canceled, they attempted to bring his character over to Once Upon A Time in season four.
He had some run-ins with Emma and Hook and even briefly dated Belle until he just suddenly was gone as quickly as he had arrived. It seemed odd to introduce his character to the original characters and then write him off with no explanation.
While we realize Storybrooke is a town that is cut off from the outside world completely, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense that everything in the town is so, so cheap. Whether it be a meal at Granny’s or 15 cents for gas for your car, the prices are something out of the ’50s rather than the modern world they're meant to be living in.
And while that must be great for those who live there, it seems very unrealistic even for a show about fairy tales.
The main premise of the show mostly had to do with good vs. evil, heroes vs. villains. And traditionally in fairy tales, the heroes would get their happy ending while the villains decidedly would not.
So why was it that by the end of the series' run, it seemed like everyone, including the villains, was going to get their happy ending in spite of everything they had done leading up to that point? Even if their bad deeds were recent? It just seemed like a bit of a stretch.
Jafar, from the classic Aladdin film, didn’t make an appearance on Once Upon A Time until season six, but he had previously been on the spin-off, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. Then, he had been played by Naveen Andrews, but when the character showed up on the original show, he was now being played by Oded Fehr with zero references to his character’s time in Wonderland.
While Fehr is a great actor and Andrews wasn’t available, it seemed like a messy and confusing way to tell Jafar’s story.
It was revealed in the season one finale that everyone on the show was actually a fairy tale character who had been cursed to live in the land without magic. This was found out once The Dark Curse was broken and the fairy tale characters regained their memories from their former lives.
Emma had been adamant that there’s no way it could be true the entire season, so why did she just look around with wide eyes and seem to accept it as fact with no follow-up questions? She always seemed like a logical thinker, so it didn't really add up.
One of the major plot points of the show is the story behind True Love and more importantly, True Love’s Kiss. They made it sound from the beginning like it was extremely rare to have or find which is exactly what made Emma so special - being the product of True Love.
But by the end of the series, it seemed like everyone had found their “True Love” and experienced a True Love’s Kiss. How is it considered rare at that point if everyone in Storybrooke has experienced the elusive True Love's Kiss?
One of the most outlandish storylines the writers came up with happened in the musical episode in season six. There is a flashback that shows Snow White in the Enchanted Forest wishing her daughter will be safe from the upcoming curse Regina is going to cast.
Everyone in the Enchanted Forest breaks out into song at this point, because they believe it will defeat Regina’s evil ways. They place this “Power of Song” in Emma’s heart, which she uses in the present day to fight the Black Fairy. It all felt a little forced if we’re being honest and strayed too far from the basic formula of the show.
At the end of season four/beginning of season five, we saw Emma Swan as the one thing we never imagined her being - the Dark One. Or as the writers named her, the Dark Swan. It was hard enough for fans of Emma to find this a believable and a well-written storyline for our heroine, but much of it didn’t even make much sense.
Most of her “villainous” actions were put into action to save the man she loved. And then there were little to no consequences anyways. We could have just used a better storyline for her to begin with.
At the beginning of season four, they decided to bring the hit Disney film Frozen to life. Frozen had just recently become a major hit for Disney, so it was difficult to see the beloved characters translated properly to the small screen. Plus, it was hard to not wonder whether Elsa and Anna knew of their popularity due to Frozen’s success.
Or did the movie just not exist in their world at all? If it did, why is no one mentioning it. All of these questions needed answers and we were not given any, in the end.
A big part of the show surrounds Emma Swan and her origin story. She may be the daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White, but for a long time, she didn’t know that. She was left on the side of the road as a newborn baby, so you’d think she could have been adopted at some point.
But according to the story, she was with a family until she was three when they had a child of their own and sent her back. Then she was in the foster system until she was an adult. The big question is, why was it so hard for her to be adopted, especially when she was very young and that’s what most families gravitate towards?
Our first delve into the Dark One mythology began with Rumpelstiltskin since, at the start of the series, he was the one who held the title. The Dark One is basically a dark, magical host body that possesses those who end the life of the previous Dark One.
It gives them inhuman abilities and immortality… unless they are ended by the Dark One dagger, of course. But then, in season five we learned the origins of the Dark One and it beginning with Nimue, and it just made things way more complicated than it ever needed to be.
Mulan had developed a friendship of sorts with Aurora/Sleeping Beauty at the beginning of season two when Aurora’s true love, Prince Phillip had his soul stolen by a wraith. It was heavily implied that Mulan had developed feelings for Aurora, but once she reunited with Phillip, their possible budding romance was halted and never spoken of again. In fact, they never appear together on screen after that point.
Why all the build-up if they were just going to abandon it? It just seemed entirely unfair to shippers of the two Disney Princesses.
When Graham (played by Jamie Dornan) in season one finally got back his memories of his life in the Enchanted Forest, it was all thanks to Emma Swan.
She had kissed him and then all of a sudden the memories came flooding back, indicating it was a True Love’s Kiss that caused it. But that makes zero sense since they had only known each other for a few days or so. Plus, we highly doubt that Emma felt the same way about Graham even if he felt he was in love with her.
It’s basic time-travel knowledge that if you go back in time and change the events, it will have direct effects on the future. But in the season three two-part finale, “Snow Drifts” and “There’s No Place Like Home”, Emma inadvertently stopped her parents' first meeting from happening.
Even though it was probably the best finale Once ever had, it didn't make rational sense. She eventually fixes her mistake by the end of the second episode, but even though they did end up meeting, it was under different circumstances entirely. So why did nothing else change in the future? There were no repercussions whatsoever which was frankly odd.
One major thing that indicates a person’s good nature versus bad nature on Once is whether or not their heart is pure red, if it has black spots on it, or— worse— is entirely black, indicating that they have a darkness within them.
So in season two, when Mary Margaret’s heart shows a darkened spot on it after she ended Cora’s life, you would think this would develop further and lead into other plot points. But all that happened was Mary Margaret confiding in David about it…. and that’s it. What a waste of a good plot line.
A lot of fans expected season six to be its last, not only because the season finale wrapped everything up nicely with everyone getting their happy ending, but also because many main cast members were departing, including Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swan.
But they still went ahead with another season, with a few of the remaining cast joining new cast members with a “reboot” of the story. Most of the fan-base did not enjoy it, while others never even tried to tune in. So why not end it on a high note with the season six finale rather than attempting to keep it going? It’s just not rational.