Storybrooke – and Belle takes Ariel to go find her prince – Eric, the fishmonger! This being once Upon a Time he doesn’t decide she would be an excellent knew edition to his fresh fish counter and greets her with a kiss (I choose to believe he is checking the taste before deciding how to cook her).
And the pirate ship descends from the skies, greeted by cheering and glee by the populace. Lots of hugging and glee. In among the reminiscing, Rumple gives Neal his stick since it’s a reminder of the man he was (it’s also a walking aid because of his injured leg, you can’t just give it away). Lots more hugging and reunions and Mary Margaret notices Regina on the outside – and tells everyone that Regina contributed a lot and they couldn’t have done it without her help.
Very very true (Regina did the lion’s share after all) and nice to see the acknowledgement.
Time to flashback to the Enchanted forest and Regina’s epic pledge to destroy the newly wed Snow and David’s happiness. Snow is perturbed by this, David however wants to continue on living their lives and going on honeymoon to prove they can still be happy (and leaving a powerful sorceress to plot). Snow White is more sensible (only in comparison to David, which isn’t saying much) and points out that they can’t exactly leave the kingdom after a powerful sorceress just effectively declared war. But David convinces her and she agrees to go to the Summer Palace on Honeymoon. When David leaves, Grumpy asks Snow if she’s seriously going on holiday at a time like this – Snow refers to David but Grumpy asks what she (the actual princess, woman trained for this job and not a shepherd being used in a con-job) thinks she should do – and she assures him there’s something in the Summer Palace
Back to the present day and Rumple assures everyone that the shadow, trapped in the ship’s sail, is well and truly trapped because Pan is trapped in Pandora’s Box. Honest. Henry/Peter (Penry? Panry?) plots with Felix and promptly throws him under the bus by telling everyone that Felix really needs locking up. Rumple locks the box under his floor, guarded by a spell that only he can break – everyone assures “Henry” that he’s totally safe and he’ll never ever have to worry about the big bad Pan again and Pan will never be free while Rumple lives.
Belle and Rumple have a sweet moment (I think this episode is going to have a lot of these “yay we’re all together again” moments) and Emma takes Henry to dinner and give him his book back! Of course, Panry isn’t quite as enthusiastic about a book of fairy tales as Henry would be and Emma notices the odd behaviour. Hook and Neal have a drink and Hook promises to back off and give Henry’s parents a chance rather than have Neal compete with a “devilishly handsome pirate”. I suppose this is the only way Neal could ever win such a competition. Besides, since he was never cursed, Hook still needs to adapt to things like electricity, running water and modern hygiene. Not that he’s given up, but he’s confident that Neal, not having the best relationship history with Emma, is going to screw it up again.
Regina and Tinkerbell confront the Blue Fairy/Mother Superior to try and get Tink her wings back – but the Blue fairy refuses. The reason Tink can’t get Pixie dust to work consistently is because she doesn’t believe in herself – and if she doesn’t believe in herself, why should Blue believe in her?
Neal asks Emma on a date and Emma waffles, she doesn’t want to focus on herself when her son has just gone through trauma – something David thinks is reminiscent of Mary Margaret (lack of self-absorption? Oh please, are we talking about the same woman?).
But it is a segue to a flashback! Snow and David arrive at the Summer Palace. He’s all eager to get down to lots of sex since it has been difficult to get some alone time before now, but Snow distracts him. When he goes to stable the horses she raids one of the chests for weapons and sneaks out. Only to find David on the road waiting for her. Snow White has a plan – they hunt down Medusa, cut off her head then use it to turn Regina to stone.
Is an arrow not good enough? You need to pull out a random creature from Greeky Mythology?
back to the present day and it’s Henry’s bed time – Emma insists he say goodnight to Regina and he does – and asks to stay at Regina’s. Regina leaps at the chance and Mary Margaret rushes to reassure Emma – he just wants to spend time in his old room (and, besides, his room is much bigger and more comfortable than the cramped conditions at Emma and Mary Margaret’s).
Once at Regina’s, he asks her if she still has her vault full of magic – she does, of course, she’s shown him it. He insists he may need it – to protect himself from Pan, honest. Regina’s vault is sealed for a reason – it’s dangerous, besides not only can Pan not get out, but Regina will protect him. When she leaves him, he leans out the window and summons the Shadow to him from the sail.
Flashback time and David is bemused that Snow, who previously couldn’t bring herself to execute Regina, is now happy to turn her to stone for all eternity (or until Medusa dies – hard because she’s immortal and even beheading won’t do it). Snow tries to claim that Regina also threatened the kingdom – but given that they fought an actual war against her and she was massacring villages, that seems like a pretty weak excuse which even David finds dubious.
Back to the present and Rumple gives David the potion to cure his dreamshade poisoning – and for no charge. Though he does point out, since they’re family, he’s sure they will be open to him if he asks for a favour. Yeah, bad idea there Rumple – I mean, Rumple is substantially more useful than the Charmings and that family thing cuts both ways. David is elated and he and Mary Margaret plan to start on having a new baby – when Mary Margaret notices Neal waiting in his booth for Emma – she hasn’t arrived. Mary Margaret is all sad about this (ok… really? This is the man who led your daughter on a life of crime, set her up for said crime and abandoned her in prison, alone and pregnant. Sure he had “reasons” but, let’s face it, he’s not exactly ideal son-in-law material).
David tracks down Emma who is worried – Henry is acting strangely and she has a bad feeling that something’s going to go wrong and she needs to prepare. David advises her to ignore bad feelings and planning for the bad and just enjoy the good moments (reason #97785 why David would make a terrible king) and leads her to the diner. Emma does accuse him of pushing her to Neal so she won’t go with Hook and David jokes that he’s a married man, he’s not interested in Hook (Once Upon a Time, your GBLT inclusion – or lack thereof – leaves you no place to make these kind of jokes).
Hook, meanwhile, flirts with Tink who knows “second choice” when she sees it and isn’t going to be his distraction from Emma. Hook’s crashing and burning is interrupted by a woman screaming. They, Emma and David run to the screams and find the Blue Fairy running from the Shadow – it leaps at her and rips away her shadow and flies off. David checks for a pulse… but she’s dead. (She was screaming seconds ago – you could try to resuscitate?). Hook ominously concludes that the Shadow only takes orders from Pan.
Flashback! The Charmings enter Medusa’s ruin and lure her into a trap, Snow swings the sword – and it shatters against the gorgon’s neck. Oops. It’s time to abandon this poorly thought out and bemusing plan and they make a run for it – Medusa isn’t just letting them get away though – and turns David to stone.
SOMEONE GET ME A SLEDGEHAMMER!
In the present Panry uses the attack to play fearful and to turn to Regina for protection. Emma warns Regina that Henry doesn’t seem to be himself and Regina takes exception – assuming Emma means Henry turning to her. Regina snaps back that she is Henry’s mother too and that she has 10 years’ experience of soothing his nightmares, why wouldn’t he turn to her when frightened?
Regina decides the best place to keep Panry safe is in her vault of magical shinies
Flashback! Regina appears in the reflective surface of a shield (which we know Snow will use to reflect Medusa’s gaze back on herself) to mock Snow for destroying her own happiness – Snow tries to blame Regina before accepting that it’s all her fault. Then uses the reflective shield as it was obvious she was going to, turning Medusa to stone and freeing all the statues – including David. Boooooo. This continues the message of making her enemy defeat herself.
Emma and co go to Rumple to fill him in and get the box – she has an idea to permanently remove Pan as a threat since he seems to be controlling the shadow from within the box. Her idea is actually a really good one – release Pan outside Storybrooke’s borders where there is no magic and Emma can deal with him (Rumple wants to since he can retain his memories, but Emma overrules him with the good sense that she not having her magic doesn’t weaken her like it does him. Of course there’s nothing stopping them both leaving…)
Emma draws a gun and they release Pan. (Ok, releasing him across the border? Great idea. Releasing him within 6 inches of the border? Not so much, but I guess the box needs magic to work). “Pan” quickly speaks up claiming to be Henry and how Pan switched their bodies. Rumple wants her to shoot – if Pan gets the gumption top cross the line they’re all dead, after all – but Emma asks him to tell her things only Henry would know. (Fine but… Henry was with Pan for some time – who knows what Henry told Pan? Which Snow points out). Emma keeps talking – and asks about more emotional moments, like when they first connected. Not simple facts, but meaning. He answers and Emma believes him – they cross the line back to Storybrooke (once they get a promise from Rumple not to incinerate them). Rumple apologises to Henry for locking him up – and David wonders where Pan is.
Really, David? He swapped bodies with Henry? Henry is here. His body isn’t on the floor comatose. Shall we guess? My gods he’s not one of the smart ones, is he?
In the vault, Panry again says how lucky he is to have Regina protecting him – they hug, and he opens one of her jars of white gas that knocks her unconscious.
Flashback! Snow White reveals why she was so obsessed with defeating Regina – she wants a family. And she can’t see herself bringing a child into the world with Regina still a threat. But She’s realised they need to have a family because Regina or another big bad will always be out there, they can’t allow worry to define their lives, they need to make good moments in among the bad.
In the present the gang heads to the vault, with Henry/Pan asking Rumple to not throw fireballs at his face at least. They join up with Hook, Tink and Neal at the entrance of the vault – which is sealed. Even Rumple can’t just open them. While he struggles with them, Emma angsts about never having chance to be happy and that it’s the price of being the Saviour – until Rumple opens the doors.
They find Regina inside and Rumple heals her – she’s upset because she wanted so badly to believe what Henry was saying that she put all doubts aside. But Henry – in Pan’s body – tells her that he does want her to be his mother and they hug
And what did Pan take? He took the Curse. The Curse that ripped them from the Enchanted Forest in the first place. Rumple explains that if it was cast again without Snow and David’s True Love woven into it, Emma couldn’t break it (Rumple’s little sabotage). Henry explains to Felix what it will do – everyone will forget who they are (including Rumple?) time will stand still again – and Pan will be in charge. Letting them make the new Neverland.
Am I the only one a little weirded out watching them all hug Peter Pan?
Could David be any more self-absorbed? Snow is marginally better – but only a little, especially since she does drag David out on the carpet and explain to him what being a King means. I get that he wasn’t raised to be a Prince, but Snow was raised to be a princess – and their worries about Regina seemed to be entirely “she will find a way to hurt us!” The problem with these characters is that it has always been focused on their story – will they be happy, will they be together, will they get their kingdom? Without ever really considering that kingdom – take Storybrooke. David was set up as a huge leader of Storybrooke in the last season and then he just vanishes on his quest for Henry – I get that he loves his grandson, but if these two are benevolent, wonderful rulers then they need to actually, occasionally, consider the kingdom they purport to rule. The kingdom is treated as a gem, a bauble, a shiny thing, a prize. I’m not saying that there haven’t been considerable kings in actual history who have treated their kingdoms exactly the same way (yes Richard Lionheart I’m looking at you), but that makes them bad, selfish rulers.
Ok, I also have to concede that this is, somewhat, the nature of fairy tales – but only because fairy tales tend to end where Once Upon a Time began – we never see the “ruling” portion of the story and whether a king with a fetish for crystal footwear makes a decent ruler.
And, really, if on your honeymoon you can’t just sit down with your new husband and discuss what you need to do for the kingdom and instead have to deceive and sneak out? That’s not a good sign.
So last week’s epic episode about Regina, where she claimed her motherhood and had it acknowledged, was a set up for Panry manipulating her (especially since Regina has already had a full storyline of a loved one manipulating her with Cora).