Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
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Emma reunites Maleficent with Lily, who is still hell bent on seeking revenge against Mary Margaret and David. Meanwhile, Regina and Robin struggle to cope with the implications of Zelena's pregnancy.


Ron Underwood


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle French (credit only)
Colin O'Donoghue ... Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones
Jared Gilmore ... Henry Mills (as Jared S. Gilmore)
Michael Socha ... Will Scarlet (credit only)
Robert Carlyle ... Mr. Gold
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Maleficent
Agnes Bruckner ... Lily Page
Patrick Fischler ... Isaac Heller
Barbara Hershey ... Cora Mills
Rebecca Mader ... Zelena
Sean Maguire ... Robin Hood


Lily has transformed into a fire breathing dragon and she's out for blood. After failing to make her daughter see reason, Maleficent is forced to ask Snow and Charming for help. Meanwhile Regina locks away the now pregnant Zelena. Regina needs the author's help more than ever. She will stop at nothing to see her sister punished, but when the moment comes, just what will she ask the author to write? Back in the Enchanted Forest we see The Evil Queen mourning over the anniversary of her true love's death. What will she do when the person she fears most shows up? Blood is shed in this spectacular episode that tests everyone's inner darkness. Written by g-wass30

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 May 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This episode titled Mother airs one week before Mothers Day. The 2-hour finale airs on Mothers Day. See more »


Cora Mills: Now, we both know you're not going to drink that, so put it down and we can fix this.
Evil Queen: You don't think I'm strong enough to do this?
Cora Mills: Stupid girl. You think it'll make you strong to hurt yourself?
Evil Queen: Oh, it does if it hurts you more.
See more »


References Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Maternal love and vengeance
11 June 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When 'Once Upon a Time' first started it was highly addictive and made the most of a truly great and creative premise. Really loved the idea of turning familiar fairy tales on their heads and putting own interpretations on them and the show early on clearly had clearly had a ball. Watched it without fail every time it came on and it was often a highlight of the week. Which was why it was sad when it ran out of ideas and lost its magic in the later seasons.

Season 4 had a lot to live up after Season 3 being as impressive as it was. At this early stage of the season, one can see a lot of promise, some may argue that it is capitalising on 'Frozen's' success but there is much more to the season than that. This promise was apparent from the get go, with a great season opener in "A Tale of Two Sisters". As far as the previous Season 4 episodes go, they were all decent to brilliant with the only small dip being "Family Business" and the best being the "Smash the Mirror" two parter and "Best Laid Plans".

"Mother" for me is a wonderful episode and one of the best of the fourth season. Certainly one of the most interesting and most emotionally investable. It sets things up for the season finale in a way that makes one excited for what is to come, but also advances both the characters and storylines. In particular dimension is added to Regina's past without making the mistake of reiterating what we know already or going round in circles.

All the subplots work, a lot happens and the characters have plenty to do yet it thankfully does not feel over-stuffed or like there is too much crammed in. Particularly good are Regina's/Evil Queen's past, elevated by its emotional impact and Lana Parrilla's and Barbara Herschey's performances. Regina and Robin's subplot of struggling with the aftermath of the big revelation seen in the previous episode "Lily" avoids being melodramatic or veering into soap-opera territory, not many previous 'Once Upon a Time' episodes made one genuinely feel for Regina but my heart out to her very tortured and conflicted characterisation here.

Gold and Hook's subplot has intrigue and tension, showing signs of plot advancing and promising setting up. Have always loved the character of Gold and how he is written, "Mother" is no exception. The Maleficent/Lily arc doesn't show signs of repetition or reiteration of things known already, credit is due for giving dimension to Maleficent without softening her too much while Lily shows signs of wanting revenge and getting more dangerous in motivations.

All the acting is strong, with Lana Parrilla masterly and Kristin Bauer von Straten on imperious form as Maleficent. Rebecca Mader is on point as Zelena, as is Sean Maguire, while Robert Carlyle and Barbara Herschey bring class and intrigue to the episode.

Furthermore, "Mother" is a very handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie cutter. It is photographed beautifully too. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable theme tune.

Writing has the right balance of humour, pathos, mystery and intrigue, or corn or cheesiness here. This aspect has come on such a long way since when 'Once Upon a Time' first started, much more complexity and nuance.

In conclusion, wonderful and a Season 4 high point. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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