TV RECAP: ‘Once Upon a Time’ – Ep. 301: ‘Heart of the Truest Believer’

COLIN O'DONOGHUE, JENNIFER MORRISON

Hey Oncers, it’s finally that time again. Let’s get started.

We begin with a flashback to Henry’s birth, which is emotional and painful (for viewers and for Emma). At least Jennifer Morrison has plenty of experience with this kind of thing. Emma doesn’t even want to hold baby Henry but just wait 11 years Chosen One and you’ll be falling through a magic portal on board a pirate ship to rescue your son from Peter Pan.

That’s where we pick up in present day, with the Jolly Roger splashing into Neverland waters. Meanwhile the boy in question lands in the sand with Greg and Tamara in tow. Henry tells the annoying duo that both of his moms and all of his extended family are coming to find him. Greg and Tamara are unimpressed, which makes sense since this same top notch family were unable to prevent them from easily taking the kid in the first place.

They try to phone the home office but their communicator is chock full of sand. Henry switches tactics and plants seeds of doubt regarding this mysterious “home office.” Greg doesn’t take the bait but Tamara isn’t so sure. Her suspicions are confirmed when they run into the Lost Boys, who apparently are the home office.

Back on the ship the Queen and Hook are having yet another chat about their villainy. Regina still wants her happy ending, dammit, but Hook basically shrugs it off. All he needs is his ship, savvy?

Speaking of happy endings, Emma is pissed about losing hers and she’s blaming mom and dad for Neal’s “death” and Henry kidnapping. They respond with their usual brand of gushy catch phrases (“We will get our family back”). Emma finally snaps. “How can you two be so infuriatingly optimistic?!” Seriously, right?

Taking that as the cue for his big entrance, Rumplestiltskin appears from below deck. He has his awesome leather, Dark One outfit on and he looks ready to rip out some hearts. “That’s a great use of our time. A wardrobe change,” Hook quips. Rumple, who knows he looks great, doesn’t reply but does point out that Emma is equally as infuriating as her dearest parents. Even after everything she refuses to just believe in magic. So Rumple is skipping out on this merry band to find Henry on his own. With a twist of his cane, he’s gone. I guess unlike Hogwarts, Apparating is possible in Neverland.

Rumple better hurry up too because Henry’s situation is getting worse by the minute. Lead Lost Boy (who is called Felix according to Once writers) wants the boy but Greg and Tamara refuse. They want to know what the plan is. Then out of nowhere the Shadow swoops down to riiiiiiipp Greg’s shadow from his body, seemingly killing him. Tamara gets an arrow in the back for her troubles but not before she tells Henry to run, which he does. He hasn’t gone far when he makes a new friend in another boy who is on the run from Pan too. They go off to safety together.

While Henry jogs through the forest, his blonde mom is doing chin ups on board the Jolly Roger to prepare for a fight. Hook isn’t impressed. But he does give her Nealfire’s childhood sword. They toast to Neal…

…whom Mulan, Aurora, and Philip are currently reviving. He wakes up to questions from the trio but their tone of accuasation melts away when Neal reveals he’s Henry’s father. Aurora offers to enter the firey dream world to see if she can communicate with someone and tell Emma that Neal’s alive. A nice offer that ultimately is useless.

Jolly Roger. Emma and Hook’s bonding time over not-really-dead Neal is interrupted by some boat turbulence. Snow and Charming are trying to control the ship but the storm is raging and something is in the water. Shark or whale? Kraken? Nope. Mermaids.

In definitely his best line of the night, Charming says, “I will not be capsized by fish!” He starts to blast away the mermaids with a small cannon. Snow and Emma go fishing and snag one but Regina finally remembers that she has magic. She fireballs the pod away and transports the one in the net to the deck.

Back in the Neverland forest, Henry and his new friend have a nice chat. New friend is on Pan’s naughty list for stealing some defective pixie dust. They run off to some caves where they can’t be found but are cut off by the Lost Boys. They eventually come to a cliff. Time to use the pixie dust? Yes, indeed and it works because Henry, as he always has been, is a believer. The two soar off into the air. Now if only they could find the Jolly Roger this whole thing could be over all ready.

Neal chats more with Mulan and Co. about a few trivial things: Mulan has a movie made about her, everyone back in our world thinks everyone in the Enchanted Forest is just a character in a story and, oh yeah, he’s the Dark One’s son. No biggie.

Daddy dearest has come up Greg and Tamara, the latter still clinging to life, the former thankfully still dead. Rumple heals Tamara’s wound just so she can answer his questions about Henry. She then pleads with Rumple that she didn’t know who she was working for. As my watching companion pointed out, that didn’t stop her from trying to kill basically everyone. We also agreed that her pleas were pointless because Rumple doesn’t forgive even if Tamara is so very sorry about Neal. In true Dark One fashion, he crushes Tamara’s heart into a pile of dust. Now she’s definitely dead.

And we’re back to the Jolly Roger. Could this episode jump around more? Captured mermaid sounds the alarm with a shell conveniently lying next to her. The storm rages worse than ever and arguing about said hostage commences. “Threatening her isn’t the way to motivate her!” Snow says to Regina. “Well I’m all out of fish food!” The Queen snarkily replies. More fighting and the ship begins to take on water before we get another awesome Regina line.

“Now may I resume killing her?!” “No!” Snow/Charming reply. To make everyone shut the heck up, Regina compromises by turning the mermaid into wood. Seems fair. Until you see the giant tidal wave ahead. Maybe turning her to stone would’ve worked?

JOSH DALLAS, JENNIFER MORRISON, GINNIFER GOODWIN

This episode is apparently all about heart to hearts because now Mulan and Neal are having one. He pines for Emma and regrets not trusting himself or her enough to stick around. Mulan sympathizes…either because she pines for Philip or Aurora, depending on which camp you’re in. Mulan and Neal arrive at the Dark Castle and find a new, blonde Robin Hood. He’s taken up residence since the Dark One disappeared after the curse. Neal uses his “I’m his son” line once again and Robin lets him look around. Right away Neal finds his dad’s old walking stick and expertly swings it around to reveal a hidden door. There he finds and uses a magic orb (oh irony) to locate Emma and is worried to discover she’s in Neverland.

The storm is kicking everyone’s butt and testing everyone’s temper. Snow starts screaming at Regina to bring back the mermaid. “And what? You’ll win her over with your rainbow kisses and unicorn stickers?!”

Then Hook and Charming start going at it and Emma is left alone to finally figure out the storm is responding to the tension on board. But Charming and Hook and Snow and Regina are too busy trading punches to notice. So the golden girl jumps over board and gets hit by a piece of the ship for her trouble. But hey, the fighting stops and everyone works together to save her from the water. Something tells me Emma might have to pull this overboard maneuver a couple more times this season.

Back to yet another member of Henry’s family. Rumple and Felix have a nice little tete-a-tete. Basically, Rumple is welcome on the island…as long as he’s not looking for Henry. Which he is. So he’s not so welcome after all. He reveals his plan involves his death and as many Lost Boys as he can take with him. Felix gives Rumple a parting gift: a wicker doll, presumably Neal’s, that causes the almighty Dark One to break down into tears. Dude, at least wait until Felix is gone. You’ve got a rep to protect.

The Jolly Roger crew finally land and Emma gives her best effort at an inspiring speech. “It’s time for all of us to believe. Not in magic. But in each other.” Regina isn’t buying it but she follows along as Emma leads her family troupe into the woods. Too bad no one looked up because Henry’s RIGHT THERE.

He and new friend land far away from the Lost Boys, safe at last. Then new friend crushes Henry’s hopeful little heart by revealing that he’s Peter Pan and he wants Henry’s extra special, believer heart. Bummer.

Pixie Dust

I know his name is Felix, but come on! He’s totally corrupted Rufio.

The slo-mo storm action scene as the Jolly Roger climbs the tidal wave was both cool and a little over-the-top.

The sarcastic way Rumple pulls off his signature wrist flick in response to Felix’s greeting is fantastic.

As always, the villains on this show have the best lines. See Regina’s two gems from tonight. Also, Hook to Emma: “Actually I quite fancy you from time to time when you’re not yelling at me.”

Next week’s sneak peak shows what looks like Belle in Neverland. Rumbellers rejoice!

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