Once Upon a Time (2011–2018)
1 user 2 critic

Best Laid Plans 

Maleficent puts Storybrooke under a sleeping curse in an attempt to steal the page that the Author is trapped inside. Mary Margaret and David struggle with their guilt as flashbacks show them go to extreme lengths to protect their unborn child from darkness.


Ron Underwood


Edward Kitsis (created by), Adam Horowitz (created by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Mary Margaret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison ... Emma Swan
Lana Parrilla ... Regina Mills
Josh Dallas ... Prince Charming / David Nolan
Emilie de Ravin ... Belle French
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
Eion Bailey ... August W. Booth
Kristin Bauer van Straten ... Maleficent
Merrin Dungey ... Ursula
Patrick Fischler ... Isaac Heller
Victoria Smurfit ... Cruella De Vil
Keegan Connor Tracy ... Mother Superior


Snow and Charming are lying to everyone they care about. Their secret unfolds back in the Enchanted Forest where we also see just how Cruella and Ursula ended up in this world. Regina struggles to keep up her evil act while Henry finds a way to release the author. We see just how much Maleficent's child ment to her when Gold reveals what happened the day she lost it. Will Henry be able to save the author before the villains get their hands on him? Will Emma ever forgive her parents after what they've done? Written by g-wass30

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 March 2015 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


When August is telling Emma about the history of the author and how there have been many over the years, he mentions a man named 'Walt' - a nod to Walt Disney See more »


Emma Swan: [about August] Oh, Killian. Now's not the time to be jealous.
Captain Killian 'Hook' Jones: Why would I be jealous? Though I do know you're partial to men in leather jackets.
See more »

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User Reviews

Sleeping curses and dark guilt
7 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.

It is a shame that "Best Laid Plans" is as of now one of the season's most lowly rated, high still but it seems to indicate it being one of the worst episodes. Actually, to me "Best Laid Plans" is one of the best episodes of Season 4 and the best since "Smash the Mirror". This is coming from someone who's really liked to loved all the previous episodes of Season 4, with the exception of the decent but underwhelming "Family Business".

Maleficent has not been in the show for long but already she is a very interesting character and a villain that is not derivative of previous villains too soon, instead she's really quite different. There are revelations about her that makes one see how she came to be that way and it's remarkably identifiable. The role of the author revelation is also handled neatly and surprising without being pat.

"Best Laid Plans" is one of Season 4's most successful episodes in fitting the pieces from the past into place while connecting it with the present with no signs of disruption or jarring. Really did get a better understanding of Maleficent and appreciated that the episode didn't try too hard in softening her too much.

We also get a better understanding of Mary Margaret and David and their actions in the previous episodes start to make sense here. Regina still remains interesting and more complex than one would think.

'Once Upon a Time' once again returns to its roots, while also showing once again how far it's come.

Credit is due for the continuing character and plot progression, with some big answers and explanations to much needed questions and motivations revealed and a cliffhanger that keeps one on the edge of their seat.

All the acting is strong. Kristin Bauer von Straten is a revelation as Maleficent, and cannot fault the performances of Lana Parrilla, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas.

Furthermore, "Best Laid Plans" 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 episode and one of the fourth season's best. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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