Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Once Upon a Time, Season 3, Episode 4: Nasty Habits

Peter Pan’s chief minion, Felix, has taken Neal captive to basically recap us on the fact that Neal/Baelfire was once a Lost Boy himself before Neal escapes.

We follow that with a flashback to the Enchanted Forest of child Baelfire and his dad, Rumplestiltskin. Rumple wants to buy Baelfire’s affection but the kid just wants to actually leave the house now and then – Rumplestiltskin is worried that one of his many many enemies might use Baelfire to get to Rumplestiltskin. Baelfire thinks that maybe Rumple is afraid he might leave like Baelfire’s mother, Milah.

Which brings us back to Neverland present and Gold painting slashes over his face – hallucination/projection/vision/whoknowswhat Belle appears for some psychoanalysis; Gold is more comfortable behind the mask of the monster (with Belle the only one who can see through it) and him putting it back on because he needs to be a monster to save Baelfire. Or he could reunite with the main group, pool his magic with Regina and reduce Pan to chunky salsa. This has my vote. Not Gold’s alas – Belle reminds him of the prophecy of Henry being his doom and that Gold probably won’t save him because Gold is, at heart, a selfish coward.  Gold disagrees because now he has nothing to live for but redemption – his son is dead (he is unaware of the denizens’ of the Enchanted Forest being surprisingly awesome at healing bullet wounds), he knows he’ll never return to Belle (the real one) and if he does she will eventually see him for what he is and leave; all he can do is save his grandson, his dead son’s son and sacrifice himself in the process.

Let us leave that epic mountain of angst to return to our heroes… oh gods must we? Back to the angst! Please!

Alas not; Emma is planning for their infiltration of Pan’s camp (and having real problems referring to Tinkerbell because, well, she’s called Tinkerbell). Tink warns them about the poison, which makes David all antsy, and then she realises that the dream team, consisting of 3 Charmings, hasn’t actually made any plan to get off the island, despite promising her a home and them having to escape Peter Pan. Yes, the plan is charge in and hope – of course it is. She’s less than pleased about this and shows them some things she pulled off Greg and Tamara’s bodies to prove how ruthless Pan is (Regina looks almost as gleeful over her torturers’ death as I would should David ever actually succumb to that poison).

Tinkerbell leaves until they come up with a plan that is, actually, a plan. Emma tells David to let her go because, well, she’s right. Hook only got off the island after making a deal with Pan he knows of only one person who got off the island against Pan’s wishes: Neal.

Elsewhere Gold uses his magic dust to knock out/kill 2 Lost Boys (really, after that monster speech, there’s no excuse to him not killing them) and runs into Neal. Gold is stunned to see his son – and assumes he’s a vision like Belle and goes on a full blown semi-unstable rant about his resolve to sacrifice himself for Henry. Until Neal calls him Papa that gets through Gold’s shaky grasp of reality.

Back to Enchanted Forest in the past and Baelfire has disappeared. Rumplestiltskin is not amused and tracks him to the town of Hamlyn (as in “pied piper of”) who are missing many of their own children (which they hastily try to convince a not very rational Dark One). The Pied Piper has taken Baelfire.

Back in Neverland, Gold is curious at Neal being alive but we brush past that and confirm that the Lost Boys are just sleeping (whyyyyy? Why are Gold and Regina not lining the forest with smokey corpses of Lost Boys? They are an army of eternal teenagers with poison arrows! And he knocked them out so he could secure his own LETHAL WEAPON! WHYYYY?!) Gold tells Neal he abandoned the others because they didn’t have the stomach to do what has to be done (what, giving your lethal enemies a good night’s sleep? Beware Pan, the Nytol Man is coming to get you! He has Warm Milk and Lullabies!). Neal doesn’t think killing Lost Boys is necessary (the guys with the poison arrows, I’ll remind you) while picking up a bow and quiver of arrows (I’m sorry are you confused or something? Are they special Magic Arrows of Tickling +1?). On the plus side, in between the Gold family not quite figuring out what constitutes lethal force, Neal thinks he knows a way to beat Pan that won’t result in Gold dying.

Neal’s plan involves summoning a giant squid to the shore, spearing it an extracting its in- squid ink can neutralise any magic at least for a short time.

Alas, we return to the main gang and more of Hook pushing David to tell his family about the fact he’s poisoned so they can find help or at least spend their last moments together. David still wants it a secret. They go to a cave where Neal used to live as a boy in Neverland.

Flashback – back to the Enchanted Forest and Rumple following the stream of boys enchanted by the Pied Piper’s flute. He reaches their destination, a revel around a fire – and the Pipe who is Peter Pan. A Peter Pan who recognises the Dark One. His pipes are to attract boys who feel lost and unloved so he can take them to Neverland (before this, he only saw children in their dreams – these are the first Lost Boys) which is why Baelfire can hear it – and Rumple can (who he also knew when Rumple was a boy). He accuses Rumple of not being afraid because of losing his son – but fearing being abandoned and issues a challenge: let Baelfire choose where he wants to go – Rumple doesn’t have to make deals with his power, but is he so unsure that Bael will stay?

Forward to Neverland present where all the Lost Boys are celebrating – celebrating Henry and him saving magic! Henry doesn’t want to party – he sees no reason to. Pan tries to use his pipes to get Henry dancing – but Henry can’t hear them which surprises Pan.  More revelations are delayed when Felix arrives to tell Pan that Gold and Neal have reunited.

Gold and Neal catch Pan on his own and after Pan’s eternal monologuing, Neal shoots Pan with the crossbow. Pan catches the bolt, mocking Neal – only to find that it’s the shaft that’s covered with squid ink, not the point. Hah, gotcha. While he stands there, helpless and immobile, they stab him repeatedly in the head, dismember him, burn the body parts and scatter the ashes over different bodies of fast running water.

Hah! No, that would make far too much sense.

Instead they grab Henry and then decide to listen to Pan while he warns Neal that taking henry back to Gold would be far worse – that the prophecy means Gold isn’t there to rescue Henry but kill him. Are we listening to Pan now?

Evidently they are, but at least they leave the camp first. Neal demands answers and Gold reveals the prophecy and his plan to sacrifice himself (which, if Neal remembered Gold’s ranting when he thought Neal was a vision, makes sense) and Neal doesn’t think he’s out to kill Henry – but the fact he was willing to kill another boy until he found out it was Henry doesn’t endear him either. Neal tells him to go away and that he can’t trust him

Flashback again and Rumple uses magic to teleport him and Baelfire away, not trusting him to come willingly. At his home he explains – he knew Pan when they were very close as boys and that Pan betrayed him and that he’s “darker and more repulsive than anyone else.” But Baelfire says he’s not worse than Rumple – who didn’t give him the choice, that Bael knew the deal Pan offered and saw that Rumple didn’t trust him, wouldn’t let him stay by choice.

Back to the present and Gold asks how he can win Neal’s trust – and he says he wants the Dark One Dagger. But Rumplestiltskin had his shadow hide it where even he couldn’t find it. Neal grudgingly accepts that but asks what about tomorrow – if Gold does get back and is reunited with Belle, is he still going to be willing to die for Henry, or to let Henry live knowing what a risk he is? Neal uses the squid ink on Gold and leaves while he’s paralysed; he decides they’re safer without Gold.

*headdesk* really? Because Gold who may be a threat in the future is more of a threat than Peter Pan here and now? Henry, I said before you’ll grow up to be an amazing Sorcerer, the sad part is you will also grow up to have zero decision making skills.

Over to the heroes in Neal’s old cave they continue to look for clues on how to leave the island. After some snark from Regina (she does good snark), more exposition that Neal and Hook spent some time together, they find a coconut nightlight star map leading home. Well, if you have a good sense of imagination. Hook confirms he taught Baelfire how to navigate by the stars on his ship; but also to hide his maps in code because he’s a pirate – only Neal can read it

Emma leaves the cave distraught at losing Neal, at needing Neal at the years she spent thinking Neal didn’t care. Mary Margaret follows before collapsing on David because she can’t comfort her own daughter – she has no idea how she’d cope if David died so how can she help Emma through the same – which leads to David having poison angst.

Neal tracks Emma – and is ambushed by Pan and the Lost Boys. Henry gets captured again. Neal is a fool, Pan gloats extremely annoyingly and reminds Neal that he can’t leave without his permission.

Gold angsts and has another Belle vision who, among the angst, encourages Gold to focus on the fact his son is alive. But Gold is disturbed – if he has something to live for, then what about Henry? Does his cowardice raise its ugly head again? Gold refuses to answer the Belle vision

Henry wakes up in Pan’s camp, he said he dreamed of his father – but it can’t be real because his dad is dead. Pan again talks about Henry’s dreams bringing the magic back and the Lost Boys being his family

And this time he hears the pan pipes.

Why is Gold knocking out Lost Boys to steal a spear so he can stab Lost Boys? We have seen him throw fireballs. Fireballs. He doesn’t need a spear. And if he’s going to steal a lethal weapon like a spear, why not just KILL the boys carrying it? Pacifist or not – pick damn it!

I know I probably sound awfully blood thirsty here but since when does Gold – who just abandoned Emma et al because they’re not nearly ruthless enough for him – care so much about the sanctity of life that he won’t kill Pan while he stands there, helpless? It makes no sense except in Fairy Tale land where you can never ever kill someone or because the characters are, again, being rejiggled to fit the story which is, frankly, poor writing.

I am glad Henry can’t hear the pipes – if he could that would imply that he felt unloved or a Lost Boy – and it would add to the idea that adopted = abandoned and sad and has no family trope that Once Upon a Time has been pushing hard for so long now. He has had a family, a home and a mother for as long as he can remember, followed by Emma, Mary Margaret, Gold and Neal all cuing up to be included in his family in the last year.

At least that was my initial thought. Then it closes with him hearing them – so scratch all that and reverse it. Henry is a Lost Boy? Unloved? Really?