Gold, after his encounter this week, takes some precautions. He cuts his shadow off using the Dark One blade then instructs his shadow to take it and hide it where no-one can find it, even him. The Dark One knife is one of the few (perhaps only) way to actually kill the Dark One.
The rescue gang hike through the forest, guided by Hook who has, of course, been there before (though Regina points out she could easily have teleported them all. I think this is going to be a theme – constant rather convoluted reasons why Regina can’t use her magic to just solve any problem they come across). And Mary Margaret suggests Emma call her “mom” which is Awkward.
They reach a patch of thorns that Hook quickly stops David from hacking through- because it oozes a really nasty poison that Hook had used to almost kill Gold – proving its potency. He suggests they go round – David ignores him because… because… I have no damn clue. Seriously, is this just a “you’re not the boss of me” putting Hook in his place? Because less than a minute ago you refused Regina’s teleportation because of Hook’s superior knowledge, now you’re throwing that away because David wants to prove who is Alpha Male in these parts?
Emma and Hook continue to try and establish their chemistry with Emma telling him about all the stories he’s in (in which he is wrongly cast as the villain) and learns of twirling moustaches and perms. And they reach the top of the ridge and find that the jungle has rather overgrown since the last time Hook was there. Further, Hook adds they need to go round the Dark Jungle, which will take a while and they need to rest to prepare for it.
Both Regina and Emma are worried about waiting and sleeping while Henry is out there, but Mary Margaret reassures Emma with her own history – how they were never too late. Flashback, to Snow White in her glass coffin and Prince Charming kissing her (really Regina, you had to go with a curse. There’s perfectly good arsenic out there and no amount of molesting the corpse is going to bring her back then, but noooo, you had to go for a curse). The magic mirror shows Regina Snow White waking and their betrothal – and her plan to take the kingdom back.
Cut to Snow White rallying the crowd against the Evil Queen (“the land belongs to us!” you setting up a constitutional monarchy there, Snow? No? Ah, that would be “you” then) who are happy to chant but not fight – and they scatter when Regina shows up. She restrains Charming and expresses her contempt (totally agree with Regina here) and offers Snow a deal – Snow, the dwarfs and the Prince can all go free if they acknowledge Regina’s rule. Alternatively, Regina will kill a peasant. Snow charges her with a sword – yeah that doesn’t work – and Regina gives her until sundown the next day to give up the throne; after which she will kill one of Snow’s Followers every day
I still say some arsenic or a quick stab with a dagger would work wonders.
Back to the present and Neverland and Emma is awoken by the sound of children. She wanders into the woods on her own to check it out (Whispering “hey guys” and then leaving the others asleep isn’t calling for help. And did you really leave no look out?) and runs into Peter Pan. After holding him at sword point and some banter back and forth, Peter says he’s going to help her find Henry – and give her a map. Uh-huh because that’s trustworthy. Apparently it’s because it’s about “how” she finds Henry. And, of course, Emma is the only one who can find him. The map’s also blank – oh that’s useful – she can only read it when she “stops denying who she really is.”
Yeah she should have stabbed him
The group gathers for some more bickering and Regina suggests rather than spending their time staring at a blank piece of paper, or David running through the jungle looking for a flying boy, they could use magic on the map and reveal its secrets. Everyone vetoes that, it’s better to play by the rules set by a kidnapping eternal 12 year old. Apparently.
Flashback back to Snow White and Prince Charming, with Snow considering running from the kingdom and Charming convinced they can win and protect the people by staying. Snow wants to escape with the people she cares for rather than lose anyone – and she doubts she can help the people anyway (me too). Grumpy also asks a very important question – why does Charming, who is supposed to be in this fight for True Love, care about being king and having a castle?
This season needs more Grumpy.
With the dwarfs deciding not to back Charming because he says so (oh those were the days when people expected David to make sense rather than just following his every whim), Charming goes to make a deal with Rumplestiltskin (see, stuff like this is why people don’t trust your judgement, I’m just saying).
Speaking of, back to Gold in Neverland and a cloaked figure steals the doll Peter gave Gold. He chases them and it’s revealed to be Belle (Belle, that was daft – you stole from the Dark One and hoped he’d resolve the issue without squishing you into a fine paste). She has concerns about him going all Dark One. Gold suddenly realises this could be a trick especially since Belle isn’t really there, she’s just an image – Belle says, yes she is – but it’s Gold that conjured her.
Rather than chasing down that thread we zoom back to the flashback and Charming asking Rumplestiltskin for a spell to change Snow’s mind and get him that castle he wants. Wow, he wants mind control magic to make Snow agree with him? You’ve got yourself a catch, right there Snow. See, this is why falling for guys just because they have a strange thing for corpses in crystal coffins is a bad idea. He edits that to “I want her to believe what I believe!” (that would still be mind control) but that doesn’t work because magic can’t force belief. Charming refuses to take no for an answer – and insists Rumplestiltskin must have something
Charming rides back to Snow to tell her what Rumplestiltskin said – apparently there’s a magical weapon Snow can use nearby that will help her; by showing Regina who she “really is”.
Which is when we return to the present and Neverland with Emma trying to read the mask of finding oneself. Emma decides to recite her biography ending with her monumentally saying that she’s the Saviour. While everyone gasps in surprise and draws closer, that doesn’t make the map reveal itself. With this epic failure, Regina loses her patience and casts a locator spell on the parchment – leading them to Pan, which means going into the Dark jungle.
Gold continues to wrestle over why he summoned Belle, the image of Belle and what he’s wrestling with. Talking with her he drags it up – Pan offered him a chance to live and abandon Henry and he’s afraid he will repeat the cowardice of his former life and be selfish. The doll is the last thing his father gave Gold – before he left. She tells him he needs to let go of the past to not repeat its mistakes, and Gold throws the doll over the cliff.
Flashback time! Charming leads Snow to the weapon while they reflect it’s the first time they’ve been alone since getting engaged since Snow has 7 “big brothers” who don’t like Charming that much. The magical item turns out to be Excalibur; embedded in stone and, of course, only the kingdom’s true ruler can remove it. Snow pulls the sword free.
Newly armed with Excalibur she confronts Regina who promptly starts killing a dwarf, restraining the others. Snow uselessly attacks, again, only this time her wildly flailing back swing accidentally catches Regina, opening a shallow cut. The dwarf is dropped, Snow declares that it’s her kingdom and Regina decides to meet Snow and her non-existent army on the battlefield rather than, y’know, teleporting back 10 feet and burning them all to death with fireballs.
Back to Neverland present where the group finds Peter who calls bad form on their cheating at his little game. Swarms of Lost Boys move in with weapons – ooh goody, let’s see Regina roast them! There’s a brief fight scene where lots of lost Boys get pushed to the ground but very few get stabbed or impaled. Even Regina seemed to restrain herself to shocking people before the Lost Boys retreat and Pan repeats his message to Emma – stop denying who you are. Y’know, catching a Lost Boy or two for Regina to question would be so much easier.
Emma is beating herself up over the failure and Mary Margaret talks to her, asking her why she spared one of the Lost Boys. Emma remembers being in the foster system, the despair of it – of being a “Lost little girl” who no-one cared about. On Neverland she feels like an Orphan, which she has always been.
With that revelation, the map reveals itself. Of course, it’s a little bitter for Mary Margaret but she accepts that it’s true and she needs to change it.
Back to the past with Snow confronting Rumplestiltskin about the deal he made with Charming, not wanting Charming to be in his debt. He shrugs it off, he told Charming he couldn’t do anything and that was true. She points out he knew where Excalibur was and he says - yes, Camelot – and then turns the sword she’s carrying into dust. No, it is not Excalibur. He takes as payment her necklace that belonged to her mother – everything comes with a cost, including wasting his time.
The dwarfs make nice with Charming a Snow confronts him – he made up the whole ruse so she would have the confidence to confront Regina and be a ruler – which he knew all along. Awww, they kiss. Wow, really? Emotional manipulation is the key to romance.
Back in Neverland, everyone is happy with the map and Emma and Hook have some more flirting
And Gold, walking through the forest, has the doll dropped on him again. This time he sets it on fire. Only to have it appear again, in front of him. This one he keeps.
Peter drops in on Emma, pointing out she hasn’t forgiven her parents for abandoning her – which is great, because Henry doesn’t forgive her either. By the time Emma finds Henry, he’ll want to stay. He then threatens that she will become an orphan – oooh, promises promises!
We see David examining the cut he got in the fight against the Lost Boys. It’s poisoned. Of course, the sensible thing to do would be to tell the others about it…
So am I supposed to think how romantic it was that David believed in Mary Margaret even when she didn’t believe in herself? Because what I saw was her make a decisions, a decision that was meant to save lives and the lives of all she loved, and David then go and seek to MAGICALLY FORCE HER to change her mind. When he couldn’t magically make her believe what he wanted her to believe, he instead turned to trickery and manipulation.
Regina’s magic is perhaps their strongest asset, but there seems to be a habit throughout this episode of not only stopping her using it, but by making her magic an active hindrance or something to avoid. Ultimately, I think it’s because in this situation Regina is a thousand times more useful than the rest of them, so they keep her in the background with no useful power to stop the obvious – her completely overwhelming Emma. I think they did something similar by splitting them from Gold – but at least then Gold was allowed his own storyline.