We are nearly at the end of this incredibly long (for us anyway) Neverland journey Oncers. Our heroes and some villains have returned to Storybrooke to reunite with all of the secondary character we know, love and miss. But of course, that wily Peter Pan keeps up his scheming even while trapped in Henry baby faced, yet suddenly much taller, body.
The episode opens on the quaint town of Storybrooke where nothing strange happens as long as everyone important is away. Belle takes Ariel to the docks where the mermaid instantly locks lips with hunky fisherman Eric. It feels appropriate to again point out that these two knew each for literally three minutes. But this is all just set up for the Jolly Roger to appear in the sky and swoop toward the dock. Credits.
The whole town has instantly gathered to applaud the arrival of the people they earlier said they didn’t actually miss. While everyone else gets hugs and kisses, Regina stands all alone. Snow throws her a well-deserved bone by saying for all to hear that they made it back because of the Queen.
Flashback to Regina interrupting the Charming wedding from the Pilot episode. After the ceremony, Snow is angry as hell about her big day being disturbed. Charming says the real way to stick it to Regina is to enjoy their honeymoon as soon as possible and I think we all know what’s really on his mind. The newlyweds share a genuinely cute scene together where Charming steals a kiss and I’m reminded that sometimes these two actually have on screen chemistry. Snow chooses the Summer Palace as their destination, later revealing privately to Grumpy that there’s something there that can help them defeat Regina.
In Storybrooke, the Neverland Company is happy to report that the Shadow is trapped in the Jolly Roger’s sail because only Pan can release it and he’s trapped in a box. That box is then magicked into Rumple’s pawn shop floor for safekeeping. Commercial.
Alone in his shop, Belle helps Rumple put himself back together again by doing up his tie. They then talk about his/their future. He’s only interested in the path that means they’re together. They kiss and Rumbellers everywhere squee with joy!
During a welcome home celebration at Granny’s, Emma brings “Henry” his storybook but the boy is unusually apathetic about it. At the counter, Hook tells Neal that he’s decided to back off of pursuing Emma because he believes Henry deserves to have his parents together. Also, he’s not so sure, what with Neal’s crappy track record, Emma’s going to choose him anyway or that Neal will stick around even if she did. Strangely inspired by this diss, Neal wants to have The Talk with Emma over lunch tomorrow.
Arriving at the Summer Palace, Charming is ready to get to the marriage bed but Snow has something special planned for tonight *wink wink*. This turns about to be grabbing all her weapons and sneaking off when he’s not looking. But he husband is more than just a pretty face, at least occasionally. He catches her right away and offers to go with her to look for the legendary Medusa. Snow thinks they can use Medusa’s stony powers against Regina.
At Granny’s, it’s “Henry’s” bedtime and he wants to go home with Regina. Emma raises an eyebrow at this choice but consents. At home, an overjoyed Regina assures her son that he doesn’t need magic to protect himself from Pan. She somehow doesn’t find anything strange with the usually magicphobic Henry’s sudden interest in spells. For the fate of all of Storybrooke, poor Regina needs some love in her life! As soon as she’s gone he opens the window and calls the Shadow from the Jolly Roger’s sail. Commercial.
The Charming Newlyweds fight on the way to Medusa’s temple. Snow is chomping at the bit to take care of Regina, even though she previously saved the Queen for execution.
Morning at Granny’s. Rumple brings Charming a potion to heal the Dreamshade forever, free of charge. The potion is so effective it puts Charming in the baby making mood but the lonesome Neal is throwing off his groove. So dear old dad goes to fetch his daughter, who is uneasy about Henry’s weird behavior. Charming, clearly blinded by his raging hormones, assures her that everything is fine!
A heartbroken Hook tries to rebound with Tink but she rebuffs him. Before he can turn the Suave-o-meter up to full power, a woman’s scream interrupts. The Blue Fairy has her shadow riiiiiiipppped from her by the Shadow. You were saying Charming? Commercial.
Snow and Charming enter Medusa’s lair with a very well thought out bait and switch plan that goes terrible. After his sword evaporates against the monster, Snow gets nabbed and Charming turns to stone. Another fine example of strategic planning from the couple who are in charge of an entire country!
Storybrooke. Emma asks Regina to keep a close eye on their son and the Queen thinks Ms. Swan is just jealous. I do enjoy the way the women on this show take turns being completely idiotic. Regina takes Henry to her vault, which is where he asked to go before and she denied him. Again, how blinded by maternal butterflies is she? Commercial.
Snow frets over her stone husband and gets taunted by Regina, who has popped up in the reflective shield laying nearby. “Cranky because your prince is now a statue? I can barely tell the difference.” Buurrrn! Then Snow remembers her mythology class and uses the shield to turn Medusa’s stony powers on the creature herself.
Shaken up by the Shadow’s attack, the investigative Charmings rush to Rumple’s shop and convince him to open up and grab Pandora’s Box while he’s at it. They all head to the town line and Emma pulls out her gun, which has manifested from nowhere. The box opens on the non-magical side of the line and Pan emerges. He pleads that he’s Henry and proves it by recalling the first moment he and Emma connected. Robbie Kay is such a fantastic actor that everyone believing this Freaky Friday business doesn’t seem nearly as preposterous. Meanwhile, Actually Pan knocks out Regina with a sleeping potion he nabbed in her vault. Commercial.
The newlyweds are finally alone and enjoying their honeymoon…by talking more about Regina. Turns out Regina was keeping Snow cold on the baby making front because of her wicked, wicked ways. But now Snow’s accepted the world will never be perfect enough to bring a child in to it so she and her hot hubby should just get down to it anyway. Disney life lesson: The world is always going to be full of evil. So have sex today, right now, this instant, because it makes no difference when you bring a child into the world.
At Regina’s vault, the Neverland Avengers (plus Belle) has assembled again. Rumple starts working on magicking open the door while Emma’s parents reassure her that everything will turn out peachy. Emma, who let’s recall was right all along in this episode, argues that she’ll never get to stop being the Savior and that sucks.
Inside the vault, they revive the unconscious Regina, who chastises herself for her stupidity. Well at least she knows what she did wrong. Plus she gets a consolation hug from her real son. Then she drops the bomb: Pan has taken the Dark Curse. You know, the one she cast to get everyone to Storybrooke. Well it can be cast again (for some reason) and this time it would make everyone forget who they were and stop time once more. But without the True Love Clause, it’d be permanent, which is just what Pan wants. With Storybrooke trapped, he and Felix would be left to make the town in to a new Neverland.
Upon reuniting with his beloved Belle, who has routinely been spot on about everything, Rumple promises to always listen to her in the future. He sticks to his word throughout this episode, including letting her gently cajole him into helping the Charming family with Pandora’s Box. Real world communication and trust? Just another example of why this couple is ten times better than Charming and Snow.
Rumple’s statement, “As long as I’m alive [Pan] will never see the light of day,” would carry a lot more weight if we all hadn’t already seen the promo with Pan/Henry out of the box.
Snow’s massive overcoat when being carried over the threshold by Charming was utterly ridiculous. All I could think was, “Are you already pregnant?”
Charming, about why he’s going along with the Medusa hunting plan: “I fell in love with you on a troll bridge after you robbed me and hit me over the head with a rock. I knew what I was getting myself in to.”
Emma bumps in to Hook and Tink leaving Granny’s Inn together and asks if they were, pardon the pun, hooking up. They respond simultaneously. Tink: “No of course not.” Hook: “Maybe.”
With the Blue Fairy dead, is Tink stuck without her wings forever?
How did Pan know that the bottle within reach during his hug with Regina would put her to sleep? What if it was just sand or talcum powder?
Back when Alias was on the air, there were rumors that Michael Vartan’s Agent Vaughn was going to be killed off. When this turned out to be true (sort of), I, and a ton of other fans, stopped watching the show. I say this because the Once promo for next week hints that perhaps Rumple is killed. You’ve been warned Once!