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Disney Wiki

"The Thing You Love Most" is the second episode of the American fairy tale/drama television series Once Upon a Time. The series takes place in the fictional seaside town of Storybrooke, Maine, in which the residents are actually characters from various fairy tales that were transported to the "real world" town by a powerful curse. This episode centers on Regina's (Lana Parrilla) efforts to run Emma (Jennifer Morrison) out of Storybrooke and reveals how the Evil Queen (Parrilla) unleashed her curse upon the Enchanted Forest.

The episode was co-written by co-creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, while Greg Beeman directed. Actress Kristin Bauer van Straten was cast at the last minute and guest starred as the sorceress Maleficent, a character from Disney's 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty. Mary Margaret's (Ginnifer Goodwin) loft as well as most of the interior shots of the episode were filmed in Vancouver, while many exterior shots were shot in nearby Steveston, British Columbia.


In Storybrooke

Regina looks through the book of fairy tales; she discovers that the last few pages are torn out. She confronts Henry, who lies and says that the pages are missing because it is an old book. Believing that Emma will try to take Henry away from her, Regina encourages Emma to leave town and mentions that Henry is in therapy. Regina meets with The Daily Mirror editor, Sidney Glass, who has run a front-page story about Emma's auto accident which portrays Emma in a poor light, but tells Regina that he has found very little of interest in Emma's past.

Henry tells Emma that he has a plan for them to break the curse, called "Operation Cobra". The first step is to identify which characters from his book each of the Storybrooke residents are, as no one in Storybrooke can remember their past. Henry explains to a skeptical Emma that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Concerned about Henry, Emma goes to see his therapist, Archie Hopper. She is willingly given Henry's file, only to be arrested when Archie claims she stole it. Regina unsuccessfully tries to use the incident to divide Emma and Henry. Emma then goes to Regina's house and attacks Regina's apple tree with a chainsaw, provoking another confrontation.

Back at the inn, Granny apologetically kicks Emma out, telling her they have a no-felons policy. Regina calls Emma and suggests that they meet at Regina's office to make peace. Once there, Emma tells Regina that she does not plan to take Henry away, but that she is worried because Henry's belief that the Storybrooke residents are fairy-tale characters is "crazy." Henry appears in the doorway; he has overheard Emma and runs away, hurt. Regina acknowledges that she knew Henry would arrive just in time to overhear Emma. Mary Margaret persuades Emma to stay in Storybrooke on Henry's behalf. Emma tells Henry that she thinks the curse is crazy, but that does not mean it is not true. She also tells him that in order to break the curse, they must keep Regina off their trail by making her think that they don't believe in the curse.

As Regina tends the apple tree, Mr. Gold appears and tells Regina that he has just seen Emma and Henry walking together. He offers to help Regina get rid of Emma, for a price. Regina says that she is not in the business of making deals with him anymore, and Gold acknowledges that she had made a deal with him in the past to procure Henry. He asks Regina how she chose the name Henry; she does not answer. She questions him about Emma's past, and he is equally evasive. As Gold walks away, Regina gives him a meaningful stare, suggesting that she suspects that Gold remembers their lives in the Enchanted Forest.

In the characters' pasts

At the wedding of Snow White and Prince Charming, the Evil Queen announces her plan to cast a terrible curse on everyone. She goes to see Maleficent, to whom she had traded a Dark Curse. Maleficent refuses to return the curse, but the Queen defeats her in a magical battle, taking the scroll. She lets Maleficent live, stating that Maleficent is the only friend she has. Later in the forest, the Queen assembles a number of dark creatures. She demands a lock of hair from each of the assembly in order to cast the curse, and sacrifices the heart of her prized stallion to complete the spell. The curse, however, fails.

To find out why the curse failed, the Queen turns to Rumplestiltskin, who had originally given her the curse. Rumplestiltskin offers to help the Queen if, in turn, she makes him a wealthy and respected person in the new world and promises that in the new world she will do anything he asks so long as he says "please." The Queen agrees, reminding him that in the new world, they would have no recollection of their agreement. Rumplestiltskin then tells the Queen that she must cut out the heart of the thing she loves the most and use it to complete the spell. The Queen protests that what she loved most died because of Snow White, but Rumplestiltskin suggests that there is something else the Queen also loves. He also tells the Queen that he has told Snow White and Prince Charming that their unborn daughter will be able to break the Queen's curse.

On returning to her castle, the Queen is distraught over what Rumplestiltskin told her. She confides in her valet, who is revealed to be her father. Knowing he is the thing the Queen loves the most, her father tries to dissuade her from her plan, saying that she could still find love again. Appearing to be persuaded, the Queen pulls her father in for an embrace, then takes out his heart. Alone in the forest, the Queen uses her father's heart to complete the Dark Curse. As the curse takes shape, she lays a black rose on her father's grave. The headstone bears the inscription "Henry, Beloved Father."


  • Henry is revealed to have been named after Regina's father, the only person she loved the most.
  • As the concept of Enchanted Hearts wasn't thought of yet, Henry I died when Regina pulled out his heart.


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As with the pilot, "The Thing You Love Most" was co-written by series co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Smallville veteran Greg Beeman served as director.[1] The episode focuses on the rivalry between Emma and Regina, as each believes they know what is best for Henry.[2] In an interview with TV Overmind, actress Lana Parrilla explained that viewers would see a "vulnerable" side of Regina/The Evil Queen in this episode. Says Parrilla, "What I've been trying to show is not the hatred for Snow White, but where it derives from. It's not so surfaced. That brings a vulnerability to the character. You'll see into her history and that exposes her in a very vulnerable way as well."[3] As for Regina's troubled relationship with Henry, Parrilla noted that "she may have a cold heart, but I think she really, genuinely loves her son. She doesn't think of him as an adopted son, she thinks of him as her son."[3]

Kristin Bauer van Straten guest starred as Maleficent

In September 2011, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Kristin Bauer van Straten would be guest starring as Maleficent, a character from Disney's 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty.[4] She was cast at the last minute, which she felt made her performance more instinctual because of the lack of prep time.[5] The actress described Maleficent as being the Evil Queen's "frenemy," as each has been "kind of helping [the] other and playing this chess game for years."[6] Bauer van Straten noted the similarities between Once Upon a Time and her HBO series True Blood character Pam, and said that she enjoyed the "evil-bitch typecasting".[5] She added that the elaborate purple costume helped her get into character, making her feel "slightly evil."[6]

"The Thing You Love Most" is the first episode to feature Mary Margaret's loft, which is filmed on a small sound stage in Vancouver;[7] most of the first season's interior shots are also filmed in the city, while many exterior shots are of nearby Steveston, British Columbia.[8] The production team led by set decorator Mark Lane and production designer Michael Joy designed the residence to seem "locked in time a little bit, so there's not a lot of new stuff."[7] They included working class antiques such as a Hoosier cabinet, an old gas stove, and a Bakelite radio. The loft was meant to be located above a store and near a lumber mill and water, so the crew also designed it to feel like a fish cannery.[7]

The episode was included in Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale – a novelization of the first season – which was published by Hyperion Books in 2013.[9]


  1. "Once Upon a Time: "The Thing You Love Most"" (October 3, 2011).
  2. Gonzalez, Sandra (October 23, 2011). "'Once Upon a Time' stars give scoop on season ahead", Entertainment Weekly. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Tonight on Once Upon a Time: The Queen’s Backstory & Regina’s Relationships with Emma & Henry" (October 30, 2011).
  4. Nededog, Jethro (September 27, 2011). "'True Blood's' Kristin Bauer Guest Starring on ABC's 'Once Upon a Time'", The Hollywood Reporter. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Masters, Megan (October 28, 2011). "Once Upon a Time Visitor Kristin Bauer: 'Evil-Bitch Typecasting Is an Awesome Thing!'", TVLine. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "‘True Blood’s’ Kristin Bauer Van Straten Talks ‘Once Upon A Time’", Access Hollywood (October 29, 2011). 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 MacKie, John (October 22, 2011). "Fabricating a fairy-tale world; B.C. production design team creates sets of mythical proportions for new series Once Upon a Time", Vancouver Sun. 
  8. Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas. Audio commentary for "7:15 AM".. Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season Disc 2: Disney-ABC Domestic Television. 2011.
  9. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale. The Evil Queen. 

See Also

v - e - d
Once Upon A Time Logo.png
Shows: Once Upon a TimeOnce Upon a Time in Wonderland

Books: Once Upon a Time: Shadow of the QueenOnce Upon a Time: Out of the PastOnce Upon a Time: Red's Untold TaleOnce Upon a Time: Regina Rising
Special Bonus: Good Morning StorybrookeThree Who StayedTales From The Underworld: A Knight With Cruella

Once Upon a Time:
Season One: Emma SwanSnow White/Mary Margaret BlanchardPrince Charming/David NolanRumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold/WeaverEvil Queen/Regina Mills/RoniBelle/Lacey FrenchHenry MillsHappySneezy/Tom ClarkBashfulDocDopeySleepy/WalterJiminy Cricket/Archie HopperStealthyVictor Frankenstein/Dr. WhaleBlue FairyWidow Lucas/GrannyKing George/Albert SpencerGenie/Magic Mirror/Sidney GlassNurse RatchedMad Hatter/JeffersonPrince Henry/The ValetKnave of HeartsSheriff of Nottingham/KeithFairy GodmotherAbigail/Kathryn NolanRed Riding Hood/The Wolf/RubyHuntsman/Sheriff GrahamBaelfire/Neal CassidyPinocchio/August W. BoothFrederick/JimSevere NurseMayor TomkinsHansel and Gretel/Nicholas and Ava ZimmerThe Woodcutter/Michael TillmanMartinMyrnaStephenDonnaPrince JamesBlind WitchPeterSirenPongoGastonThe King/Mitchell HermanKing LeopoldKing MidasZosoPrince Thomas/Sean HermanGraceDaniel ColterNovaBriar RoseGeppetto/MarcoGus/BillyRuthDark One

Season Two: Killian Jones/Hook/RogersAuroraPrince PhillipMulanMilahMaid MarianQuinnAlphonse FrankensteinAnita LucasJackKing XavierAntonWilliam SmeeGreg MendellTamaraThe DragonQueen EvaSeerLancelotRobin HoodWendy DarlingNanaMary DarlingGeorge DarlingJohn DarlingMichael DarlingThe ShadowLost Boys
Season Three: Peter Pan/Malcolm/Pied PiperArielZelena/The Wicked Witch of the WestGlinda/The Good Witch of the SouthWalsh/Wizard of OzElsa the Snow QueenTinker BellBlackbeardLumiereUrsula the Sea GoddessJonathanDorothy GaleThe Witch of the EastRapunzelRapunzel's MotherRapunzel's FatherThe Sheriff of HamelinMedusaPrince EricLiam JonesRoland
Season Four: AnnaKristoffHansGrand PabbieSvenUrsula the Sea WitchMarshmallowLittle Bo PeepThe ApprenticeIngridLily PageColetteOakenKing of ArendelleQueen GerdaCruella De VilPoseidonDuke of WeseltonHans' BrothersChernabogKing StefanIsaac/The AuthorMadelineMerlin/The Sorcerer
Season Five: MeridaQueen EleanorKing FergusHarris, Hubert, and HamishThe WitchLord MacGuffinLord MacintoshLord DingwallKing ArthurSir KayGuinevereGorgon The InvincibleCharonBrennan JonesHadesMegaraHerculesCerberusThe ScarecrowTotoCleo FoxAuntie EmDr. JekyllMr. HydeEvil Queen
Season Six: AladdinGideonCount of Monte CristoAlexandraJasmineRed BirdCaptain NemoLady TremaineClorindaTisbeJacobOracleRoyal GuardsThe SultanBeowulfBlack FairyTiger LilyRobertPrince AchmedStanumCowardly LionLucy
Season Seven: Rapunzel Tremaine/Victoria BelfreyCinderella/Jacinda VidrioTiana/SabineAlice/TillyDrizella/Ivy BelfreyAnastasiaGothel/Eloise GardenerEudoraDr. Facilier/Mr. SamdiHansel/Jack/Nick BransonMarcus TremaineCeceliaCoven of the EightMadame LeotaNaveen/DrewBlind Witch/HildaGretelChadSeraphinaFloraIslaZorro

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: AliceCyrusAnastasia/Red QueenPercy/White RabbitEdwinJabberwockySilvermistThe Sultan/The Old PrisonerTweedle Dee and Tweedle DumMrs. RabbitElizabeth/LizardAmaraBandersnatchMillie
Both series: Will Scarlet/The Knave of HeartsCinderella/Ashley BoydRobin HoodLittle JohnFriar TuckGrumpy/LeroyCora/The Queen of HeartsCaterpillarMaleficentJafarDr. Lydgate

Season One: "Pilot" • "The Thing You Love Most" • "Snow Falls" • "The Price of Gold" • "That Still Small Voice" • "The Shepherd" • "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" • "Desperate Souls" • "True North" • "7:15 A.M." • "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" • "Skin Deep" • "What Happened to Frederick" • "Dreamy" • "Red-Handed" • "Heart of Darkness" • "Hat Trick" • "The Stable Boy" • "The Return" • "The Stranger" • "An Apple Red as Blood" • "A Land Without Magic"

Season Two: "Broken" • "We Are Both" • "Lady of the Lake" • "The Crocodile" • "The Doctor" • "Tallahassee" • "Child of the Moon" • "Into the Deep" • "Queen of Hearts" • "The Cricket Game" • "The Outsider" • "In the Name of the Brother" • "Tiny" • "Manhattan" • "The Queen Is Dead" • "The Miller's Daughter" • "Welcome to Storybrooke" • "Selfless, Brave and True" • "Lacey" • "The Evil Queen" • "Second Star to the Right" • "And Straight On 'Til Morning"
Season Three: "The Heart of the Truest Believer" • "Lost Girl" • "Quite a Common Fairy" • "Nasty Habits" • "Good Form" • "Ariel" • "Dark Hollow" • "Think Lovely Thoughts" • "Save Henry" • "The New Neverland" • "Going Home" • "New York City Serenade" • "Witch Hunt" • "The Tower" • "Quiet Minds" • "It's Not Easy Being Green" • "The Jolly Roger" • "Bleeding Through" • "A Curious Thing" • "Kansas" • "Snow Drifts" • "There's No Place Like Home"
Season Four: "A Tale of Two Sisters" • "White Out" • "Rocky Road" • "The Apprentice" • "Breaking Glass" • "Family Business" • "The Snow Queen" • "Smash the Mirror" • "Fall" • "Shattered Sight" • "Heroes and Villains" • "Darkness on the Edge of Town" • "Unforgiven" • "Enter the Dragon" • "Poor Unfortunate Soul" • "Best Laid Plans" • "Heart of Gold" • "Sympathy for the De Vil" • "Lily" • "Mother" • "Operation Mongoose"
Season Five: "The Dark Swan" • "The Price" • "Siege Perilous" • "The Broken Kingdom" • "Dreamcatcher" • "The Bear and the Bow" • "Nimue" • "Birth" • "The Bear King" • "Broken Heart" • "Swan Song" • "Souls of the Departed" • "Labor of Love" • "Devil's Due" • "The Brothers Jones" • "Our Decay" • "Her Handsome Hero" • "Ruby Slippers" • "Sisters" • "Firebird" • "Last Rites" • "Only You" • "An Untold Story"
Season Six: "The Savior" • "A Bitter Draught" • "The Other Shoe" • "Strange Case" • "Street Rats" • "Dark Waters" • "Heartless" • "I'll Be Your Mirror" • "Changelings" • "Wish You Were Here" • "Tougher Than the Rest" • "Murder Most Foul • "Ill-Boding Patterns" • "Page 23" • "A Wondrous Place" • "Mother's Little Helper" • "Awake" • "Where Bluebirds Fly" • "The Black Fairy" • "The Song in Your Heart" • "The Final Battle"
Season Seven: "Hyperion Heights" • "A Pirate's Life"• "The Garden of Forking Paths" • "Beauty" • "Greenbacks" • "Wake Up Call" • "Eloise Gardener" • "Pretty in Blue" • "One Little Tear" • "The Eighth Witch" • "Secret Garden" • "A Taste of the Heights" • "Knightfall" • "The Girl in the Tower" • "Sisterhood" • "Breadcrumbs" • "Chosen" • "The Guardian" • "Flower Child" • "Is This Henry Mills?" • "Homecoming" • "Leaving Storybrooke"

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: "Down the Rabbit Hole" • "Trust Me" • "Forget Me Not" • "The Serpent" • "Heart of Stone" • "Who's Alice?" • "Bad Blood" • "Home" • "Nothing to Fear" • "Dirty Little Secrets" • "Heart of the Matter" • "To Catch a Thief" • "And They Lived..."

Once Upon a Time: Royal CastleBostonDark PalaceMaurice's CastleDark Castle/Rumplestiltskin's CastleLibraryKing's CastleTremaine estateMaurice's CastleDwarves' CottageDwarf MinesGeppetto's HomeNew York CityKing Stefan's CastleThe BeanstalkGiant's LairEnglandLondonDarling NurseryNeverlandBig BenSkull RockHamelinMaritime CastleRapunzel's TowerVault of the Dark OneLand of OzYellow Brick RoadEmerald CityArendelleValley of the Living RockArendelle CastleElsa's Ice PalaceWandering Oaken's Trading Post and SaunaBald MountainRing of StonesDunBrochWitch's CottageCastle DunBrochUnderworldMount OlympusPoppy FieldsAuntie's Chicken & WafflesCave of WondersPleasure IslandMagical ForestSeattleHyperion HeightsBelle & Gold's HouseFacilier's LairGothel's GardenTiana's PalaceSan FranciscoMemento MoriMaldoniaFlynn's BarcadeUnited RealmsSnow White's Farm

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Wonderland CastleThe Mad Hatter's HouseWhite Rabbit's HouseUnderlandTulgey Wood
Both series: StorybrookeMaineEnchanted ForestForbidden FortressWonderlandWonderland MazeAgrabahSherwood ForestThe Sultan's Palace

Once Upon a Time: Once Upon a Time (Book)Snow White's Glass CoffinRed Riding HoodMaleficent's StaffMagic WandGlass SlipperPoisoned AppleSpinning WheelMagic LampDark One's DaggerChipped CupJefferson's HatMagic BeansCaptain Hook's HooksEnchanted CandlePixie DustDreamshadeSalad ForkPandora's BoxSilver SlippersSorcerer HatEnchanted BroomTridentEnchanted ShellHeroes and Villains (Book)Merida's BowMagical RoseExcaliburOlympian CrystalCinderella's DressGolden Scarab BeetleRapunzel's Frying PanMagical Golden FlowerShrinking PotionFloating LanternsTarot CardsMaui's Fish Hook

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Vorpal Blade
Both series: Jafar's Snake StaffEnchanted HeartsJafar's Lamp

Songs Featured
"Give a Little Whistle" • "Heigh-Ho" • "With a Smile and a Song" • "Beauty and the Beast" • "Part of Your World" • "Fathoms Below" • "Cruella De Vil • "Some Day My Prince Will Come" • "The Unbirthday Song"

Original Songs: "Powerful Magic" • The Queen SingsLove Doesn't Stand a ChanceRevenge Is Gonna Be MineWicked Always WinsCharmings vs. Evil QueenEmma's ThemeA Happy Beginning

The Jolly RogerMagic CarpetRoyal ShipCruella's carNautilusCinderella's Coach
FairiesUnicornsDragonsBridge TrollsWerewolvesWraithOgresMermaidsKrakenFlying MonkeysRock TrollsWill O' the WispsFuriesMunchkinsTree Nymphs