Relationships on Once Upon a Time are never the smoothest, but it especially rings true when it comes to the relationships between fathers and their children. However, despite all the curses, betrayals and grudges, deep down, the fathers on Once truly do love their children – and vice versa. In honor of Father's Day, let's take a look at some of the most touching fatherly moments (and one grandfather moment!) on Once Upon a Time.
"I'm sorry it took so long." "It's okay. You didn't know."
After years of thinking his father died heroically as a firefighter, Henry (Jared Gilmore) learned the truth: his father is alive… and he's Neal. A reluctant Emma (Jennifer Morrison) allows the two to finally meet; when they do, Neal apologizes for taking so long to meet him. Henry offers a wise-beyond-his-years response to his father, telling him it's okay since he didn't know.
"What am I going to tell Henry?"
In "Second Star to the Right," after learning that Neal is dead, David (Josh Dallas) tries to offer solace to his daughter. When Emma expresses her concern on how to tell Henry about Neal, her father can only offer her comfort.
"I spent a lifetime looking for you, for a chance to say 'I love you' and 'I'm sorry.'"
There's been a lot of turmoil in Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) and Baelfire's relationship – and Rumple abandoning Bae may have been a key factor. While on his deathbed in "The Miller's Daughter," Rumple gives a heartfelt (and heartbreaking) apology to his son.
"Thank you Papa, for showing me what it is to make a true sacrifice... it's my turn now."
In "Quiet Minds," Gold and Neal are trapped in the same body – and only one of them can survive. Neal sacrifices himself so his father can reveal the identity of the witch is so they can defeat her. He tells Emma that Henry just needs to know that in the end he was a good father. Neal thanks Gold for showing him that sacrifice is about saving the ones you love.
"Our grandson would rather spend time with a pirate than us – but not after today."
"I just want to make you proud, Dad." "You already have."
After winning the battle against Arthur in "The Bear King," Merida is given one more chance to speak with her father, King Fergus. He reveals that after he spoke to her the night before his battle, he had changed his mind about using the helm – and it was all because of her. Fergus also expresses how proud he is of Merida.
"How's our son?" "Great, he misses his Dad."
Before heading to the Underworld in "Souls of the Departed," Emma gets a surprise visit from Neal. Before revealing the reason why he's there – to convince her not to go to the Underworld - the first thing he asks about is their son, Henry.
"I love you no matter what. That's what fathers do."
In the Underworld, Regina (Lana Parrilla) conjures her father and makes a tearful apology to him. He forgives her and gives her sound advice to help her friends. When she tells him Cora will send him some place worse, he encourages her to do the right thing – even if it means sacrificing himself.