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The best of ‘Once Upon a Time’ season 3: Captain Swan, witches, oh my!

Best season 3 episodes of Once Upon a Time revealed!

Season 3 is my absolute favorite season, so it was really tricky to collapse my list of favorite episodes to just 5. No worries, I was able to do it. Somehow. Captain Swan became really canon in this season, so that’s a BIG reason as to why it’s the best season.  Besides that, I thought the Neverland and Wicked Witch arcs were the strongest in the whole series. Plus, Zelena was one of my favorite villains on the show—the sass was so real.

3×05 “Good Form”


THE FIRST CAPTAIN SWAN KISS. That’s all; that’s all that’s important from that episode.

I’m kidding….kind of. Besides the epicness that was Emma and Hook’s first kiss, (Emma totally didn’t mean the “one time thing”) we got some of Hook’s back story. His backstory made me really sympathize for him. Just so we’re clear: I was a fan of him even as a villain. However, seeing Hook lose his brother and him turning his grief into anger, or should I say pirating, was really interesting. It showed that he wasn’t always this fearsome pirate we were told he was. He had lost someone who was really important to him.

Actually, I’m going back to the kiss because I think what happened leading up to it was really important. Hook ended up tricking David in order to save his life. Sure, he had every intention of that helping him win over Emma, but it also showed that he was on the path to redemption. He wanted to be a good man. For Emma. Also, “when I win your heart, and I will win it…” line really killed me. Okay, I’m fine.

3×12 “New York City Serenade”


I think this may be my favorite episode of the series. Wait, it’s a toss up between the musical/wedding episode. Don’t make me choose! Out of all of the episodes, this is the one that I always come back to. It has the perfect balance of humor, tension and Captain Swan angst. (Let’s ignore that whole Emma was dating and almost engaged to Walsh because that makes me want to throw my laptop out of my window. Ew, control-alt-delete.)

I can’t even begin to describe how much this episode made me laugh out loud. From Emma kicking Hook in his privates (okay that happened at the end of 3×11 but whatever), to her throwing him in the brig and making him consume bologna, to Emma calling him a stalker, only to be told her perfers “scoundrel” or “dashing rapscallion,” there were just too many good lines. Also, Hook getting hella offended at Henry for criticizing his pirate outfit.

We were also introduced to Zelena, with the line, “evil may be powerful, but I’m wicked. And wicked always wins.” YAS! If I misquoted that, just pretend I didn’t to save me from embarrassment.

3×21-22 “Snow Drifts” and “There’s No Place Like Home”


Otherwise known as the Captain Swan movie, the season 3 finale was the most perfect thing ever. Not only did we get a trip back to the Enchanted Forest with both Emma AND Hook, but we got them in the Enchanted Forest in the past. It was such a fun and creative episode.

My favorite scene will forever be Emma flirting with past Hook while present Hook did his thing. Then present Hook got jealous of past Hook for kissing Emma, so he knocked him out. Yes, Hook literally punched himself in the face because he was jealous current him wasn’t kissing Emma. Also, this episode was such a development in their relationship. The way Hook cared for Emma while she watched Regina “burn” Snow at the stake was so sweet. Then, of course, there’s the fact we learn he was able to get Emma back to Storybrooke by trading his ship. Relationship goals, am I right? I could go on and on about why these episodes are my favorite, but I’m trying to be a chill fangirl here.

3×07 “Dark Hollow”


Who thought it a good idea for Emma, Neal and Hook to venture into the Dark Hollow together? The jealousy was raging, and I was living for it! Hook and Neal were fighting like a teenage boy trying to win attention of the popular girl at school. I didn’t hate it. In fact, I found it quite the comic relief in such an emotionally charged story arc. They fought over a light. A LIGHTER.

Also, we saw Emma’s true feelings show for Hook in the Dark Hollow. When Pan’s shadow started sucking the shadows from Neal and Hook, who’s name did Emma scream out? You got it: Hook’s. Bye, Neal. (I’m sorry…Neal is the worst!) Then, bam, the spark ignited. I don’t think that was a coincidence.

Side note: Ariel being sent to Storybrooke to help Belle was a team up I didn’t know I needed. Plus, Ariel’s confusion with the modern world was pretty funny.

3×01 “Heart of the Truest Believer”


It was a like a road trip (boat trip?) to hell for the crew. Teaming up, the tensions were thick. It was an episode filled with so much angst, and I do love some angst every once in a while. Between Hook and Charming having it out, and then Regina saying the most iconic line ever, “fillet the bitch,” it was so amusing to see them all together. Oh, and let’s not forget Snow White was trying to attack the Evil Queen. Honestly.

We also see Emma take charge, and without her even knowing, she was slowly embracing the role of the Savior. She jumped into the seas, and that gave everyone reason to work together to save her. But, as Emma intended, they worked together to save her. Yay teamwork! I also liked this episode because we were introduced to Neverland. It wasn’t as fun as you thought it would be as a child. Nope, this Neverland was scary af.

Can you tell season 3 is my favorite? There was just so much to like. From the writing, to the arcs, it was pure magic. I really need to rewatch this season right this minute. What was your favorite episode from season 3? Sound off below!

Feature image by Once Upon a Time Wikia


Madeline Klepec

Madeline is a college student majoring in journalism with a minor in broadcasting. When she isn't writing for Hollywood News Source, Talk Nerdy With Us or her college's paper, she's drinking too much coffee and probably fangirling over Captain Swan. She also likes to watch Hallmark movies and mercilessly rewatches 'Once Upon a Time'.

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