Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore), Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin), Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Prince Charming (Josh Dallas), Regina (Lana Parilla), Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), Neal Cassady/Baelfire (Michael Raymond-James), Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green), Aurora/Sleeping Beauty (Sarah Bolger), Mulan (Jamie Chung), Greg Mendell (Ethan Embry), Fugitive Boy (Robert Kay), Julian Morris (Prince Phillip), Parker Croft (Felix)
Where We Last Left Off:
Human villains Greg and Tamara, have kidnapped Henry and taken him to Neverland to destroy magic. Meanwhile reluctant in-laws and sworn enemies Snow, Rumple, Regina, Prince Charming, Hook and Emma have all boarded Hook’s ship to save Henry using a magic bean portal to take them to Neverland. Henry’s father, Neal, has gone through his own portal and ends up in back Fairytale Land but this time with Aurora, Mulan and Phillip. Ok, go!
Present Day: Off to Never Neverland (Spoilers)
The ship is in transit to Neverland and the band of misfits find themselves trying to get along while questioning their lives so far. As they contemplate the next step, Rumple decides to leave. He basically says that no one can save Henry except for him because Neverland is a place of imagination and he’s the only one who has one. So with a spin of his cane, he flies off to Neverland, literally.
Emma, in the meantime, is trying to prove Rumplestiltskin wrong by doing pull-ups in the ship’s hull since his tirade was primarily directed at her. Hook cheers her up by giving her Baelfire’s sword. However, the talk is short lived when they are forced to return topside due to screeching mermaids attacking the boat. (That’s right, mermaids.) Anyway, Regina scares off most of the mermaids with fireballs and Emma and Snow catch a raven-haired mermaid who quickly turns the tables on them using a conch shell to sound a warning. It causes a storm. Not just any storm, The Perfect Storm from the movies, complete with the wall of water.)
Instead of figuring out what they should do about their impending doom, the group bickers and then starts fighting amongst each other. (Seriously.) Regina and Snow have at it, while Charming and Hook swap blows. (Think The Avengers before Agent Coulson “dies” and you’ll get an idea of what’s going on.) So in an effort to get everyone’s attention, Emma throws herself overboard. The plan works so well that it not only gets everyone’s attention, it also Emma gets knocked out by a loose part from boat. Again, this harkens back to Agent Coulson or the time Henry ate Regina’s apple turnover to prove magic is real.
The team pulls together to save Emma with Charming jumping overboard, while the others reel them in. As Emma comes to, she sees the storm break and they make it safely to Neverland…where they fight as if nothing just happened. Emma appoints herself as leader and she convinces the others to be themselves, good or bad, in order to save Henry because they are going to need each other to survive.
Where did Rumple go?
Rumple meets in the woods of Neverland with Pan’s hooded representative, Felix. He issues an ultimatum that if Rumple goes after the boy, he will die. Rumple sarcastically agrees with this dire prediction…but he vows not to die alone. With both threats received and tension mounting, the meeting in the woods comes to an end but before Rumple goes, Felix gives him a straw doll. This sends Rumple straight to his knees in a pile of tears. Did it belong to Baelfire? Rumple thinks he’s dead, so it would explain a lot. However, the encounter begs the question, if Rumple’s been to Neverland, why did he fail to find Bae? Was Baelfire a friend of Peter Pan and did he hide Bae and spare Rumple at his behest? One can only wonder.
Fairytale Land Again
Meanwhile, Baelfire, aka Neal, is found in Fairytale Land wounded. His wakes up in Sleeping Beauty’s bed (Get your mind out of the gutter) and Mulan, Phillip and Aurora all rush to his aid. They all introduce themselves to each other and Aurora agrees to help Neal by contacting the others through the dream world again.
As she slumbers, Neal and Mulan make small talk and Neal explains what the human world thinks of Fairytale Land’s residents.
“They made a movie about you. It’s actually pretty good,” says Neal.
(Cute.) Aurora can’t make contact so Neal decides to go to his father’s castle to see if Rumple has left anything behind. Mulan and Neal make the journey together. (Love triangle, anyone or just wishful thinking?)
They get to the castle and are stopped by Robin Hood who is now living in there. Neal introduces himself and Hood reveals that he knows Rumple from the past and that Rumple spared his life, which is odd because Rumple doesn’t give mercy lightly.
Neal finds his father’s staff, wields it and reveals a hidden door. He opens it and finds a crystal ball, which he then uses to reveal Emma’s location…Neverland.
Greg and Tamara arrive in Neverland with Henry and immediately try to contact their bosses, which they refer to as the Home Office. Their two-way radio is full of sand and Henry, being the precocious boy that he is, calls them on the stupidity of doing a job and not knowing why they’re doing it. They are basically soldiers who do, but don’t ask. They’re only goal is to destroy all magic and according to them, Neverland is the hub.
Unfortunately, they find out that The Lost Boys are actually their bosses. (Oops!) Then Peter Pan appears as a shadow and kills Greg by ripping out his shadow. (Now we know what happened to Patrick Swayze’s character in Ghost). Tamara gets shot in the back with an arrow as Henry takes off and is found by a boy who is on the run from the Lost Boys as well. Rumple later finds Tamara wounded and heals her, only to kill her after she reveals Henry’s whereabouts.
Henry and the Fugitive boy run through the woods and are finally cornered at a cliff. Henry calls on his ever-present childlike faith and jumps off the cliff with the Fugitive Boy, using fairy dust. They have an ET flying moment sans bikes and make it safely over the cliff only to find out that the Fugitive Boy is actually Peter Pan. (Shocker!)
He needs the heart of a true believer and Henry proved that when he jumped off the cliff. As he explains how he got Greg and Tamara to cooperate, he utters the best line of the episode:
“It is so much easier to get people to hate something than to believe.” – Peter Pan
The episode ends with Henry surrounded by hostile Lost Boys.
Once Upon A Time sure knows how to make a strong start after last year’s so-so season. There was the surprise of Pan at the end, which if you paid attention, made sense. No one escapes Pan’s eyes but this boy has somehow been able to hide out in a cave on the island undetected? Yeah, okay. Whatever.
Then there was Neal with the funniest lines of the night, clueing in the Fairytale Land characters that they’re accidental movie stars in Storybrooke. It’s cross-promotion on Disney’s part, but who cares? It was comedy gold for everyone else.
There wasn’t a bad thing anyone can say about this episode. It delivered and it delivered BIG! You can’t ask for anything more. 5 out of 5.