This Sunday on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the many Storybrooke reunions were ruined by the realization that Peter Pan was still in play. But what is the Lost Boy’s endgame?
IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS…. | In the immediate wake of the Evil Queen crashing their wedding, Snow and Charming squabble over what takes priority — plotting a defense, or their honeymoon. Snow appears to acquiesce to Charming’s want by suggesting they retreat to the summer palace, but once there, she sneaks off on a secret agenda… only to be caught mere steps into her trek. She explains that a creature named Medusa resides nearby, and that with one look she turns people — hopefully Regina next — into stone. After Charming raises the valid point about how Snow a few dozen FTL flashbacks ago granted Regina a stay of execution, she explains that now she’s acting in defense of a whole kingdom.
In Medusa’s cave, Charming accidentally locks eyes with the sorceress and turns to stone. But a kinda random “appearance” by the Evil Queen — razzing Snow from the reflection of a torn shield — gives Snow the idea to foil Medusa with the mirrored surface and petrify her, thus freeing Charming. Back at the summer palace, Snow acknowledges that she was obsessed with defeating the Evil Queen because she couldn’t fathom bringing a child into a world amid that looming threat. “But there will always be something else,” she rationalizes. “We have to find the good moments in between all the bad ones.” Cue royal bow-chica-wow-wow.
IN STORYBROOKE…. | As the Jolly Roger splashes down in Storybrooke, there are many reunions to be had. Ariel and Eric (who is, gulp, a fishmonger)… Ariel and Snow… Rumple and Belle… Tinker Bell and Blue Fairy (who can’t restore Green’s wings until she believes in herself again)… and Wendy and her brothers (whom she quickly recognizes despite last seeing them much younger?). “Henry” briefly confabs with Felix, then “turns him in” for appearance’s sake, and Charming hauls the gangly lad off to the pokey. After Rumple seals Pandora’s Box beneath his shop, Belle asks him what’s next, now that there are no prophecies to fret about and so many paths before him. “There’s only one path I’m interested in,” he says. “Where you and I are together.” And the Rumbelle fans squee. Over at the diner, Emma’s worried by Henry’s non-reaction to the storybook and his choice to crash at Regina’s that night, while Hook tells Neal he’s going to “back off” Emma, so that Henry’s parents can have a second shot at romance. But, he stresses, “I’m in it for the long haul,” and Neal has already walked out on Emma once before.
Come bedtime at Regina’s, “Henry” asks some kinda-conspicuous questions about her vault, under the premise that he’s worried about having magic to ward off Pan if he escapes. Once alone, Pan leans out the bedroom window and frees the Shadow from the ship’s mast. The next day, Charming and Emma are on their way back from a father-daughter pep talk (about Neal) and Hook has just gone down in flames after making a play for Tink (“Never gonna happen!”) when they discover that the Shadow has killed Blue, creating a climate of fear that prompts Regina to take her son to the vault. Emma, suspecting that Pan is somehow controlling things from within the box, coaxes Rumple to retrieve the box so that she can release its contents beyond the town line. There, “Pan” appears and professes to be Henry, her son — and luckily passes Emma’s test. Meanwhile in the vault, “Henry” pinches a flask of something or another and KO’s Regina with it.
Emma, Rumple et al arrive at the vault and revive Regina, but Pan is gone — as is the parchment bearing the curse Regina used to create Storybrooke. And if Pan’s game is to cast it again, Rumple notes, there will be no “true love” loophole to restore everyone’s memories. And as Pan reveals to Felix atop the hill overlooking the town, that is his plan — to create a “new Neverland” for them to lord over.
IN REVIEW…. | I very much enjoyed the reunions at the top of the hour — once the Ariel/Snow connection “clicked” for me, I may have let out an audible “Awww” – as well as the “let’s pause and take stock” moments for Rumple/Belle, Neal/Hook, the Charming/Emma chat. And since they had Regina so easily duped by “Henry,” I’m glad they noted in the dialogue that it was because he was saying all the things she wanted to hear. Also, per my Twitter, Hook’s “Perhaps” greatly amused me, and props to Robbie Kay for obviously trying to “play” Henry. As for Blue’s death (or being “gone,” as Charming put it), is this to set up Tink to save the day/her boss, or create a vacancy in Storybrooke for Green to fill?) … The FTL stuff accomplished little, save for likely ruling out Medusa as Rebecca Mader’s mystery villain, providing the origin for Charming’s “good moments” speech and inviting us to play Find Ginny Goodwin’s Baby Bump.