Once Upon a Time has had a good, long run, with seven seasons full of twists and turns that kept the audience guessing (and sometimes crying).
The show may have had its strengths and weaknesses (ambitious CGI attempts falling into both categories on occasion) but through it all, there have been several standout moments that defined the series and kept the audience hooked and consistently returning for more.
Now that the show is officially coming to an end, TV Guide decided to pick out those moments so you, the fans, can take a walk down memory lane and remember just why you love this show so much.
The Clock Moves - Season 1 Episode 1
The pilot episode of Once Upon a Time was so strong in so many ways, it's no mystery why it got picked up. The final moment of that pilot, however, is quite possibly the strongest moment of the series because it launched us all on a journey that we've been dying to see more of for the past seven years. Henry (Jared Gilmore) watching the clock tick forward for the first time in 28 years gave the audience hope and a whole lot of anticipation for the epic journey ahead. Plus, no one can deny Jared Gilmore smile was off-the-charts cute.
The First Curse Breaks - Season 1 Episode 22
Season 1 of Once Upon a Time ended on a pretty iconic moment that would set the tone for the rest of the series. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) realized that Henry was telling the truth about the curse all along just as he "died" in the hospital from Regina's (Lana Parrilla) poisoned apple turnover. Emma's kiss of true love — the love of a mother for her son — managed to break not only the curse put on Henry, but the one put on the entire town robbing them of their fairytale memories. While Once Upon a Time has always had its fair share of epic loves stories, at its core, it's always been a show about family and hope, which were obviously key themes in this scene.
Neal is Henry's father - Season 2 Episode 14
Some fans saw this twist coming a mile away while others were completely gut-punched by the surprise of it all. Whichever camp you fell into, it's hard to deny that revealing Neal (Michael Raymond-James) — a.k.a Baelfire — to be Henry's father was a perfect way to tie together quite a few storylines that had been building since the show's first season. Once Upon a Time was always at its best when it was building intertwined, slow-burn storylines.
Rumbelle's Beauty and the Beast Dance - Season 4 Episode 1
In terms of Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and Belle's (Emilie de Ravin) most romantic moments, this dance doesn't top the chart (that award goes to their wedding, duh) but it does win a spot on our list of best moments of the series. This scene was a perfect blend between an homage to the Disney movie and the original fairytale, and the organic storytelling of Once Upon a Time. When you can create a scene that honors both the interpretations that came before as well as the new characters you've created, you know you're on the right track.
Regina Embracing the Evil Queen - Season 6 Episode 14
At times we've loved Regina, and at times we've seriously hated her. The dichotomy between Regina and The Evil Queen made that character's arc one of the most compelling of the series, and it all came to a head in this scene from Season 6. Learning to love herself was one of the bravest things Regina ever did, and it was definitely the final step she needed to take to redeem herself in everyone's eyes.
Emma and Hook's Wedding - Season 6 Episode 20
The musical episode may have been a little cheesy, but how could it not be when there are fairytale characters breaking out into song left and right? The final song "A Happy Beginning" was a great way to send off so many characters that left the series in that year's finale, but it also paid off a romance that fans had been obsessed with since Hook (Colin O'Donoghue) and Emma first shared a scene together in Season 2.
Drizella's Big Reveal - Season 7 Episode 6
A lot of the events of Once Upon a Time's seventh season got conflicting opinions from fans, but the one thing everyone could agree on was that Drizella (Adelaide Kane) was the perfect villain for this rebooted world. Adelaide Kane managed to turn Drizella into a likable wicked stepsister, who was both deliciously evil and quietly vulnerable at the same time. Not since Regina herself had we gotten a villain we loved so much, and the scene where she revealed herself to be the one that cast the new curse had our jaws on the floor.
Once Upon a Time's series finale airs Friday, May 18 at 8/7c on ABC.