TV RECAP: ‘Once Upon a Time’ – Ep. 304: ‘Nasty Habits’

DYLAN SCHMID, ROBERT CARLYLE

Oh Oncers, we’re back again for some Neverland adventures and general stupidity by all adults present.

We start with the recently captured Bae being led through the forest by Felix. “You were a Lost Boy,” Felix says. Bae isn’t interested in reminiscing so Felix continues. “You may have grown up Baelfire but it appears you have grown up stupid.” Seriously, right? Bae proves us all wrong (for once) by slipping out of his hand ties and knocking out Felix.

Flashback to Papa Dark One and baby Bae who is definitely looking like teenage Bae. Daddy gives his son a nice little knife but Bae doesn’t want anything that his dad took from someone else as payment. He wants to leave their little house and play with some friends. Rumple counters that he could build them a castle but Bae doesn’t want that either. At a loss, Rumple says he’s just concerned that his enemies will hurt Bae if the boy leaves.

“I don’t know what I’d do if I ever lost you,” he says. Go a little crazy and use your magic to weave an elaborate plan to get him back probably.

In Neverland Rumple paints his face as Belle appears to him again. She quips that he always liked a mask. He tells her that he needs the mask to make himself the monster necessary to save Henry. When she reminds him that Henry will be his undoing, Rumple says he has nothing to live for anyway. “What about me?” she and all the Rumbellers reply. “You’re not real, just a vision.” Hmmm, fair point but still. Rumple accepts that when he and his True Love parted in Storybrooke it was forever and even if he came back she’d eventually leave him. Because she knows the real him, the ugly, monster him. So he has to redeem himself by sacrificing himself to save Henry.

Also looking to save Henry and taking a different, less successful route is Emma and Co. They’re getting ready to depart based on Tinker Bell’s info on Pan. Tink says they still have to deal with the Lost Boys. “I think we can handle a few children with pointy sticks,” says Regina. Heh.

Au contraire, Tink says. The Lost Boys did quite a number on Tamara and Owen. Which brings her to her next question. What is the exit strategy? Oh that’s easy enough: they don’t have one. Charming remembers that Hook got off the island before but the pirate confesses it was by making a deal with Pan. Only Neal has made it off the island on his own.

Rumple takes care of a couple of Lost Boys with a burst of magic. He picks up one of the poisoned spears and aims it at the intruder running toward him from the forest but stops short. It’s Bae.

Back from commercial, Rumple thinks his son is a vision, like Belle. Bae tries to convince him that he’s real but doesn’t get through until he calls Rumple “Papa.” Finally the Dark One lowers the spear he has poised at Bae’s throat.

Flashback to the Enchanted Forest and Rumple comes home with a crown for Bae but the boy is nowhere to be found. The Dark One thinks some townspeople have taken him and he’s ready to turn them all to snails I think. They tell him that a Piper of some kind lured many children away from their homes last night. Commercial.

Papa and Bae catch up quickly and join together in their Henry hunt. Rumple says he wasn’t lying about being willing to die for the boy but Bae says there’s another way to defeat Pan. He picks up a conch shell and blows into it to bring forth the Kraken! Really just a giant squid. Bae thinks they can use the immobilizing squid ink to freeze Pan and rescue Henry. All he needs is one clear shot.

Meanwhile, the company of heroes and villains who can’t accomplish anything have come to a hidden cave that Hooks thinks will help with them an escape plan. In a quiet moment to Charming, Hook says the prince that he doesn’t look so hot. Charming shrugs him off. “What do you care?” he says. “Why don’t you?” the pirate replies. Apparently Charming wants to focus on saving Henry, not his own impending death or informing his family of said death. Chivalry, ladies and gentlemen, at it’s most stupid.

Inside the cave we discover that this was Neal’s Neverland home. The walls are covered with drawings and writings and maybe a clue to how he escaped.

Old Enchanted Forest. Rumple sits on the rooftop and watches all the little children follow the Pied Piper’s call. He tags along and finds a camp of boys dancing around a fire. He searches for Bae but finds the Piper instead. He rips off his hood and discovers… Peter Pan. Commercial.

Peter greets Rumple with familiarity and the Dark One looks terrified. He listens as Pan explains, with tears nearly filling his eyes, that Neverland is lonely without anyone there to play with. So he takes boys from their homes and spirits some of them to the island. Rumple says he can’t have Bae but Pan tells him only boys who unloved can hear his pipe music. He advances on Rumple to drive home the fact that the Dark One can hear the music too.

“Beneath all that power you’re just a lonely, lost boy” Pan spits. He offers Rumple a deal: ask Bae whether he wants to come home or go to Neverland and if he chooses his dad, Pan will leave forever.

ROBBIE KAY

In Neverland, Pan has another talk while a band of boys dance around a fire but this time it’s with Henry. Pan plays his pipe again but it doesn’t work on Henry and Pan looks startled. Felix arrives to report that the Dark One is in Neverland and is with Bae. Pan’s face lights up again.

Back in Bae’s old cave, nothing helpful has been discovered until Emma finds two coconuts to put together with a candle in the center. “Am I supposed to be impressed that you made a nightlight?” Why yes Regina because that nightlight creates a map of stars on the ceiling that shows the way home.

In Pan’s camp, a sweep of sleeping dust takes out everyone but the boy himself. Rumple and Bae confront the villain and Bae shoots his arrow true at Pan’s chest. He catches it just as easily as he’s done before and chastises Bae’s ignorance. But Neal has wised up in his years away from Neverland. He cleverly coated the arrow’s shaft, not the tip, with the ink, and Pan is frozen in place. Bae grabs Henry but is stopped when Pan says Rumple is really in Neverland to kill Henry, not save him. Commercial again.

Away and safe with Henry still asleep, Bae wants an explanation for Pan’s accusation. Rumple tells his son about the Seer and prophecy and admits that before he knew it was Henry he was planning to kill whomever “the boy” was. Neal is aghast and doesn’t believe his father when he pleads that he is ready to sacrifice himself for Henry, not kill him.

In another flashback, Rumple is facing a test of trust again with his son. Pan says Rumple can’t recognize Bae because the boy is finally happy. But Daddy Dark One finds his son and poofs them away from the party with magic. Bae is furious even when Rumple explains that he and Pan were friends growing up. Then Pan went to Neverland, revealed an inner vileness and betrayed Rumple. Bae doesn’t care because he knows about Pan’s offered deal. Bae says if Rumple had just asked him to come home, he would’ve chosen his father over Pan/the Piper. Bae storms out of the house. Teenagers.

Present day father and son try to come to an agreement but Neal demands the Dark One dagger as proof that his dad is being truthful. Rumple says that he sent it away with his shadow he knows not where. Neal is fed up with his dad having answer for everything. He seems to soften when Rumple explains that he is still willing to sacrifice himself for Henry even if they returned to Storybrooke because Neal is his happy ending. As long as Neal is there, nothing else matters. The son embraces his dad’s hand and recalls how he always hoped Rumple would come to rescue him in Neverland. But then he remembered how Rumple chose the dagger over him oh so long ago. He immobilizes Rumple with ink and stomps off with Henry in tow. Rumple tearfully listens to them go, unable to follow.

Back once more in the cave, the company is still staring at the star map. Hook says he taught Bae how to read the stars and to code his maps. Neal is the only one that can read the map and he’s dead. Emma tromps off upset. “I’m not sad,” she says. “I’m pissed.” She was heartbroken when Neal left her before and confused when he came back and angry now that she’ll never have the chance to just talk about everything with him. After she goes off to be pissed alone, Snow tells Charming that she understands because if Charming died she’d be devastated too. Her husband tries to get her to think differently and prepare herself to move on with life should something suddenly happen but she shakes off the notion. Face it, Charming; you’re screwed.

If only they hadn’t spent so much time staring at the star map, Emma would’ve been at the camp when Neal shows up. But no, he’s alone until Pan ambushes him. The Lost Boys retake Henry and Pan suggests that he let Neal leave the island last time. And now he’s back to play an elaborate game of keep away with Henry as the object. Neal bellows to his son that he’ll save him but the little tyke is still conked out.

A morose Rumple unfreezes. He talks with vision Belle who comforts him that she knows he was true and honest in his words to Neal. She thinks Rumple should be happy because he has something to live for now that he knows his son is alive. But having Bae there makes it harder to think of dying for Henry and Rumple has a habit of self-preservation. “Habits can be broken, can’t they?” Belle asks sweetly. The Dark One isn’t up for optimistic musings though. He sends Belle away so he can be alone in his anger and sadness.

Pan’s camp is alive with fire and dancing boys again when Henry wakes. Pan lies that he just took a little nap and Henry says he thought he heard Neal’s voice. He chalks it up to a dream since his dad is dead. Pan looks positively delighted to hear the measure of depression in Henry’s voice. He plays a special song for him. This time Henry hears the Pied Piper’s music and is enticed to dance wildly around the fire with the other boys.

Fairy Dust

My roommate about Rumple with his face paint: “He suddenly looks like Rambo.”

Regina’s nasty smile when Tink mentions Owen’s body was deliciously evil.

Regina after Snow suggests that the coconut half with holes in it was a colander. “Yes, because pre-teen Baelfire probably made lots of pasta.”

There were a lot of emotional conversations tonight involving Rumple including this one. As Rumple tries to explain about the prophecy to his son, he keeps calling him Bae. Already emotional strung out and getting more infuriated by the second, Baelfire bellows, “It’s NEAL!”

“I’m saying everyone’s where I want them,” Pan to Neal.

Can we all just agree that as weird as the whole Peter Pan storyline is, Robbie Kay is doing a helluva job as Pan? He holds his own with everyone in this cast, including the always top-notch Robert Carlyle as Rumple.

When Pan retakes Henry, the boy is still asleep but everyone else who was under the spell is awake. What?

I know Henry responding to the music at the end is supposed to make us think that he thinks he’s been abandoned but I just don’t buy it. One “dream” about his dead dad did not change his whole mentality.

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