Flashback – but not a long one, just back 5 days ago to Storybrooke, back to before they left (it’s only been 5 days? 5 days and Gold is willing to believe he’s hallucinating and everyone is losing their ever loving minds? Well except the Charmings who never really had minds to lose) with Belle saying goodbye to Gold and being very confident she would see him again despite the cloaking spell he put on the town to hide it from bad people.
With the ship gone, many Storybrookers gather around Belle celebrating that the town is saved – but that Belle has been left behind with the cloaking spell because “others are coming.” The dwarfs, Blue Fairy, Belle and Jiminy Cricket work to put the spell together. Belle pauses because she’s never cast a spell before – but the Blue Fairy encourages her and she pours the content of a vial onto a fairy dust vein (the act of pouring was so daunting).
We cut from there to a car with 2 men inside. I think they’re supposed to be ominous but one of them looks like a hipster – which isn’t the world’s scariest look. They have a map with Storybrooke written on it (they’re just looking for a holiday destination to enjoy before it becomes cool). Speeding forwards, the Hipster Hunters manage to get into Storybrooke just before the dome of the spell comes down, though it rips off the bumper of their car.
Forward to today and Gold and Regina give instructions to Ariel on how to get around the spell around Storybrooke and give her something to give to Belle to get the object to capture Pan – all for the future promise of Regina reuniting Ariel with Eric.
But Pan senses someone leaving Neverland – this causes him to accelerate his plans and contact his people in Storybrooke (the Hipsters?) while Pan talks to whoever is in the other cage he has.
Over to our heroes and their plan to leave the island with Neal’s help – they need Pan’s shadow since it lets them fly, navigating by the stars doesn’t help if you can’t fly; thankfully Pan’s shadow flies around on its own. And Mary Margaret is still unhappy with David over the whole “can’t leave the island” thing.
In Storybrooke, several of the Dwarfs are actually enjoying the peace without David and Mary Margaret (I kind of love that – these stories have the main characters involved in vast dramas – but at least they’re their dramas. What about the other people dragged into their stories?) Peace ends when Ariel comes to shore looking for Belle – watched by the Hipsters who exposition their orders: find out why she’s there and stop her ever leaving again.
Belle is in the diner being all mopey about Gold and refusing Granny’s cooking (she’s a braver person than I) when Grumpy arrives with Ariel (Granny complains about her clothing, Grumpy snarks back about what Ruby wore). Ariel gives Belle the item Gold gave her – a sand dollar.
Belle takes it to Gold’s home and it plays a message from Gold – warning her about Pan’s evil minions and he can live so long as he finds the item from his shop. It’s hidden but she will find it by the strength of their love. Really? Really Gold? You couldn’t just say “it’s in the safe?” or “under my bed”?
They search Gold’s shop – and Ariel finds (among the junk that fascinates her) a button just like that worn by Eric. Belle finds the hiding place by placing the chipped teacup (a symbol of their love) back where it belongs, revealing a hidden compartment. Inside which is a box – Pandora’s Box. Gold has Pandora’s box – spend a moment grasping the horror of that. Celebration is cut short because the hipsters burst into the room – with guns. The hipsters tie them up and ask what the box is – and unlike Tamara, these guys know they’re working for Peter Pan. Their mission is to ensure the box does not reach Neverland.
Belle despairs but Ariel is an optimist – annoying isn’t it? Her babble about finding Eric and loving him (so long as he lives near the beach) tells Belle about her leg bracelet. By pulling it off, Ariel’s legs turn back to her tail which loosens the ropes and frees them. Belle realises there’s only one thing in Storybrooke that can destroy something as powerful as Pandora’s Box – a dwarf’s pickaxe.
They confront the hipsters in the mine and learn that someone the hipsters care about will die if they don’t destroy the box – but Belle’s not going to let Gold die without it and runs them over with a mine cart. They beg – their sister has been Pan’s prisoner for a century. Belle assures them that they can stop Pan – and if Gold gets the box Pan is going to have far bigger problems than their sister – her name is Wendy and the hipsters and John and Michael. She is the prisoner in the other cage.
In Neverland, Emma doesn’t understand why Mary Margaret is giving David the full silent treatment over keeping his wound secret so they can focus on the mission – Mary Margaret makes a passive aggressive little comment about Emma inheriting his tunnel vision. Mary Margaret warns her about Hook and Neal having feelings for her, while Emma does the Tunnel Vision thing (which I call being goal orientated and staying on topic) and is more focused on the shadow they need to catch. Mary Margaret and David head off to Tinkerbell’s with more passive aggressive silent treatment
After a long march of the silent treatment, David demands Mary Margaret talk and they argue about him keeping secrets and Mary Margaret is angry that David didn’t think she’d stay with him. But he didn’t want her to stay with him – didn’t want his love to trap her on the island. She rejects that – she’d happily live in a treehouse dodging poison arrows if it meant doing so with him.
At the Lost Boy camp, Pan continues to try and convince Henry that his family has abandoned him (why would Henry even begin to believe this? We’ve had the best part of three seasons with Regina and Emma fighting over him – how likely are either of them to abandon him to the strange boy with the nasty poison?). Pan has Felix, his second, handling some kind of task which he is eager to keep from Henry. Which would probably work better if Henry weren’t right behind them hearing everything
Henry follows Felix until he finds Wendy, in a bed, apparently sick. She claims that the island’s power is fading which is why she’s sick. Henry promises he’ll come back for her and find a way to make her better
After he leaves Pan arrives – it’s an act of course, an act to convince Henry to help restore the island’s magic and join Pan. Pan needs the truest believer to believe what he wants – to believe in Peter Pan.
Pan catches up to Henry later to further spin his lies – Henry is the only one who can save her and only by saving magic. Henry agrees to help and Pan takes him to skull rock where their salvation lies.
Emma, Hook and Neal pick up Neal’s magic coconut (yes Hook snarked the idea as well but with everything else around you can hardly draw the line at a magic coconut), Neal and Hook have an awkward “I kissed Emma” revelation and the next stage involves heading to the Dark Hallow. Which sounds like such a fun destination. They travel and Neal is all surly and Hook all pouty but Emma thanks him for telling them Neal was alive when he could have kept it secret and not had to deal with his love rival. Emma, again, insists that she’s focused on her son not love interests and Hook assures her she will succeed – he’s never seen her fail.
They arrive in the Dark Hallow, where the victims of Pan’s shadow reside. The plan is to light the candle in the coconut which sucks in the shadow then trap it with the lid. Neal and Hook childishly squabble over who can use the lighter. While they bicker, shadows swarm in and attack – pinning Neal and Hook and trying to steal their shadows. Emma lights the candle’s flame with magic. Pan’s shadow is captured and the others disappear.
As they walk out Emma chews them both out for fighting over a lighter and if she chooses anyone, she chooses Henry. They make it to Tinkerbell’s camp, joining Mary Margaret and David.
At the beach, Regina and Gold wait for Ariel to return and Regina is surprised to realise that Gold truly loves Belle. Ariel arrives with Pandora’s Box and Regina enchants the bracelet to always give Ariel legs when she wears it. Ariel passes on Belle’s message about rescuing Wendy.
The timeline is messed up. For most of the season we’ve seen Henry slowly come to Pan’s point of view – and even had a whole dramatic episode that revolved around giving Henry hope so he didn’t despair that they’d abandoned him – while looking sadly at all the markings on Neal’s cave walls. But it’s been 5 days. 5! What kind of desperate helicopter parents are we dealing with here who think Henry will give up after less than a week!
Mary Margaret is upset. I get that. I think David keeping the poisoning secret was the very epitome of foolishness as I mentioned before. But passive aggressive pouting while trying to rescue a kidnap victim is… monumentally selfish. The same applies to Hook and Neal squabbling like children.
I’m with Emma on this – goal orientated. When you have a crisis, you don’t indulge in your fee-fees