It’s been two weeks since the last episode of Once Upon a Time but, just like this entire half season, it’s felt much longer. Just in case you forgot, last time on Once, Henry stopped using his brain and gave Pan his heart. The little snot is now on the path to immortality and phenomenal cosmic power! (Itty bitty living space to come later.)
Oh and because the Once family tree wasn’t weird enough, Pan is Rumple’s crappy father and also trapped him in Pandora’s Box. This week, Henry’s heart-lessness is resolved rather speedily, Regina remembers her maternal roots and out mothers both Emma and Snow, and Pan proves his much more than a one trick pony.
We start with a flashback to the Enchanted Forest. The curse is billowing toward the castle and Regina poofs into the dungeon where Rumple’s being held. She’s come to gloat about having cast the curse, which really makes no sense because he egged her on to do it. He just wants to pour salt in the open wound that is Regina killing her father to cast the curse.
As always, the Queen is masking her pain with swagger, saying she feels invincible even in the face of Rumple’s revelation about the Charmings’ savoir baby. He gets in one last dig before she skips off to gloat over Snow. “There’s a hole in your heart and someday you will come to me to fill it,” he sneers. Credits.
Henry’s mixed up family is trying to revive the boy, which is proving difficult because his heart is soaring off with Pan right about now.
Eleven years ago, Regina was facing a different tumultuous situation. She reveals to therapist Archie that she’s “feeling nothing.” Even a cricket turned psychiatrist can figure out it’s because the Queen Mayor is lonely. When Regina mentions she didn’t feel that aching emptiness when little boy Owen was around, Archie suggests she look into adopting a child.
Logically this means going to speak with Mr. Gold. Upon being asked to help Regina get a child: “Well I’m flattered but uninterested.” I love these two so much.
Gold agrees to help her find a child but cautions her that just because she wants a child, doesn’t mean she’s ready to have one. Nice PSA Once! Parents have to put their kids first, he reminds her, and selflessness has never been Regina’s strong suit.
Neverland. Regina casts a preservation spell on Henry and berates Neal for his useless suggestions. Seriously, right? Emma is waaay too calm considering her son is lying unconscious and without his heart. Regina snaps. Emma has her parents, her “person” (Neal) and a pirate who pines for her, she says. “All I have is Henry, and I am not about to lose him because he is everything.” Regina’s Seething Vengeance does get some good news. Emma managed to nick Pan before he soared off. “If we can hurt him, we can kill him,” Regina growls. “And we will.” Commercial.
In Pan’s camp, Regina is all gung-ho to do some torture, starting with Felix. Emma wants to try some mothering tactics instead. Speaking of mothering, in a flashback, God tells a preening Regina that he’s found a kid nearby whose adoption recently fell through. Regina meets with adoption agency, impresses them with her impeccable record and gets baby Henry.
Neverland. Emma gives the Lost Boys a sweet speech about how she was a lost girl and she found her family. They can too, she says. Felix protests that Pan cares about them and tries to keep the boys from giving away Pan’s special hiding place. But the boys are desperate to go with the Charming troupe so they tell Emma about Pan’s Thinking Tree. In return, she promises to take them off the island to Storybrooke. Commercial.
Storybrooke past. Regina is failing spectacularly at quieting baby Henry. Granny tells her to try telling Henry a story but the boy spoils story time by spitting up on his new mama. Convinced that there’s something medically wrong with her baby, Regina takes him to Dr. Whale. His prognosis is “10 ccs of maternal love.” Heh. Regina doesn’t like this dig at her mothering skills but Whale tells her the only other option to is find out the medical information on Henry’s biological parents. Regina employs her lacky, Sydney, to look into this, momentarily handing off the still crying Henry to Mary Margaret. Next thing we know, he’s happy as can be in his grandmother’s arms. Regina is pissed beyond words when she takes the kid back and he immediately starts to cry again. That’s gotta sting.
Neverland. Emma is divides up the team to go get Pan. Neal will stay behind, Charming and Hook will get the Lost Boys on the Jolly Roger, and Emma, Regina, and Snow will go get the little trickster. And break!
Flashing back again, Regina is at her wits end with the wailing baby. She pleads with him, nearly in tears herself, and he finally quiets down. About then is when Regina gets a fax from Sydney revealing that Henry’s mom was found as a child in the forest outside Storybrooke. The Queen Mayor storms into Gold’s shop with this evidence, knowing that Henry’s mom is likely the savior Gold spoke about back in his cell.
Confronted with this accusation, the pawnshop owner simply says, “What a startling coincidence.” He is completely clueless about Regina’s rage and it only serves to infuriate her more. “Play dumb all you want, you little imp!” She’s sending Henry back to Boston.
Neverland. The trio of mothers find Pandora’s Box. Snow hardly has time to dumbly reach for the object when vines ensnare all three of them. Pan comes along to say he knew their stupidity would lead them to him. Ok, he doesn’t actually say that but it’s implied.
In Storybrooke, Regina drops off Henry with the adoption agency but starts having second thoughts almost immediately. He’s looking at her with those sweet little eyes and it’s enough to change her mind. Even after uttering poignantly telling line “Oh Henry, you deserve better than me,” Regina takes the kid back. This is a blow to the new “couple” the agency had lined up. It’s Michael and John! They were planning to nab the baby now for Pan but will have to wait another 11 years apparently.
Neverland. Pan clues the trio in to his connection with Rumple, but they’re less shocked and appalled than you’d think. He gets in some pretty accurate digs about each mother’s guilt over abandoning their child but it’s Regina who proves to be the strongest mom of them all! Or rather the most disturbed because, yes she’s killed villages of people, destroyed the lives of innocents and tried to trap everyone in a town where they’d all forget themselves.
But all of her regrets are a-okay because they brought her Henry. With that, she breaks free of the vines, rips Henry’s heart from Pan’s chest and snatches Pandora’s Box from his clutches. How all this happens is unimportant (read: confusing) because all we care about is that Regina rocks! Commercial.
Henry’s Number One Mom puts his heart back and the youngster awakens. And a great cry of relief rose throughout the Oncer audience that this storyline could soon be over!
Storybrooke. Regina is worried that one day Henry’s birth mother might regret giving him up and come searching for him. Archie recommends that she simply enjoy her present motherhood, rather than fretting about an unknown future. She takes this to mean that she and Henry should visit her family crypt and use magic to solve everything. While telling her son their fairytale, she brews up a forgetfulness potion so that all her fears will go away. Drinking: the answer to all of the pains of new motherhood.
On the Jolly Roger, Regina’s fears have all but dissipated again. She casts a spell on Henry’s heart so that no one will ever be able to take it again. He very sweetly grabs her hand in thanks, calling her mom. She’s barely out of the room when Pan appears with a knife, ready to slice out the Truest Believer’s heart. Commercial.
Neal opens Pandora’s Box to release his Papa and, contrary to every other supernatural show ever, nothing else manages to escape in the mean time. Neal decides to be the forgiving son again (whatever) and embraces his father. The Charmings embrace too because Rumple can cure David (again I say, whatever). But first, Rumple has to save the day one last time by swooping in to capture Pan in Pandora’s Box just as he’s ripping Henry’s shadow from him. See, there’s that itty bitty living space I mentioned earlier! Right before he’s sucked away, Pan pulls off a sweet switcheroo with Henry, which we know because of some low-budget eye flashing effects.
On deck, Neal release Pan’s shadow and Regina magicks it to the sail. It’s powers of flight lift the Jolly Roger into the night sky. Everyone on board is making up with each other: Neal and Henry, Tink and Regina, and Henry and Felix. Oh but wait, it’s not Henry is it Oncers? Nope, that dastardly Peter Pan has taken possession of the Truest Believer and he and his favorite crony are giddy with glee. Once they get to Storybrooke, their twisted game will continue.
Robert Carlyle’s sing-song delivery of “You shall see, you will come to me” is further proof that he deserves an Emmy nomination for playing Rumple.
Snow: “Gold is in a box and David can’t leave the island.” Only one of these is relevant to the plot of this episode sweetie. No one cares about your hubby but you.
Regina tells the adoption agent Henry was her late father’s name. When he replies that he hopes he dad didn’t suffer, all she can do is look down guiltily. Yep, she ripped out her dad’s heart and you just gave her a baby!
Did anyone else find Regina’s smile when she held baby Henry a little creepy? It was just a tad too wide, slipping into “I’m going to eat this baby” territory rather than just “I’m going to smother this baby with my desperate need to be loved.”
Why doesn’t Regina consider asking the, at that time, still-alive Sheriff to have a baby with her? That kid would’ve been gorgeous!…but probably less helpful to the plot.
Gold isn’t feigning ignorance about the source of Regina’s rage when she accuses him of purposefully getting her the child of the Savior. Series creators have confirmed that he didn’t remember anything about the Enchanted Forest until running in to grown-up Emma in the pilot episode. He’s just that good at planning, people.
So were Michael and John posing as a same-sex couple to adopt Henry? Or does this agency also let college aged brothers with paternal yearnings adopt babies?
Setting aside the ludicrously easy adoption process Regina went through to get Henry, how did a social worker never have to come check on her? Never ever?
The tree Pan ties Emma, Snow and Regina to is the same one where he gave up cute little Rumple. Nice callback Once.
My viewing companion, after Regina takes the forgetfulness potion: “Where am I? This is a creepy place inappropriate for children.”
Why Once felt the need to hold our hands through the explanation of Pan taking possession of Henry, I don’t know. We’re not morons! We saw the eye flashing!