Subtitle: Too bad this show has as low an opinion of adoptive mothers as it does teen girls who choose adoption
I’m not sure if I enjoyed this episode or I just enjoyed watching this episode with my daughter who made faces like Emma’s here throughout:
Aeris, who is eight, identifies with Henry because he, as the youngest main cast member, is the one most like her (and she told me last night she thinks I am the most like Emma, probably because I make faces like that all the time).
We start long, long ago in a galaxy far, far way with BB Rumplestiltskin watching his charlatan dad hustle. BBR is adorable and Daddystilskin is a loser. We meet him being called out by the random street thugs he dubiously decided to trick. BBR has to jump in to stop them from beating up on his Papa. Get ready folks, this entire episode is about three generations of Daddy disappointment.
In Neverland of the present Peter and Wendy are having a far easier time pulling the wool over Henry’s eyes. Part of this is practice, part of it is the assistance of a pretty girl pretending to be sick, but most of it is he’s the “Truest Believer” and believe rhymes with naive.
I spent most of every Henry scene hoping he was secretly playing Peter Pan the way Pan was playing him. I thought maybe the point of Henry being related to all sides is that he has the capacity to understand and use both heroism and villainy. But no, he is blinded by his determination to be a Hero. And to be fair, his history lines up with his beliefs. He believed his town was full of displaced fairy tale characters imprisoned by his adoptive mother and that his birth mother could free them and that turned out to be true. He believed in Emma and Regina when they didn’t believe in themselves and his faith was rewarded. And Peter Pan is the first peer Henry’s spent any real time with. There are reasons for Henry to be so determinedly trusting that the path he wants to follow and the friend he thinks he can help are real. But it is very frustrating for the audience.
Anyway, Peter tells the boys to get ready for St. Crispin’s day and rows Henry over to Skull Rock.
Tromping through the jungle part 783, Regina is so high on finally getting things done she chatters away to Rumple about how great they are together and how stupid everybody else is.
Regina: Pan told them Neal was alive and of course they drop everything as if a) that would be true and b) a grown man needed saving more than my son. Idiots.
Regina: No offense to your dead son, of course.
Rumple: Oh, Neal’s alive. We had tea.
Regina: What now?
Rumple: I know I spent hundreds of years plotting to get my son back and it included manipulating basically your entire life but that doesn’t mean that I am not being 100% honest with you about my plan NOW.
Regina: I don’t believe you for one second.
Back in yesteryore, Daddystitskin brings BB Rumple to two creepy spinner sisters I am going to call the Aunties (because imagining them making midnight margaritas makes their existence in this story four hundred times better). BBR doesn’t want to stay with the Aunties but Daddystiltskin promises it’s just a temporary arrangement until he gets his feet under him, finds a job and new digs. It’ll be fine and he’ll be back soon. BBR reluctantly agrees and Daddystiltskin gives him a doll to keep him company. We recognize it as the undead doll Pan gifted Rumple way back in the first episode of this season.
Tromping through the jungle part 846, Emma notes that Snowing don’t seem to be in a fight anymore.
Emma: David lied to you for weeks, conspired with the pirate, got himself trapped in Neverland forever and you’re okay with it?
Snow: True love, you know? Sorry.
Emma: So you’re just going to stay here with him forever? What about me?
Snow: I love you, I do, but not as much as I love Snowing and Snowing Baby 2.0. They’re my family. Sorry.
Emma: Family means being together. All of us.
Snow: But there’s no way. Sorry.
Emma: There’s always a way! Never give up, never surrender!
Emma really reminds me of Henry right here.
Tromping through the jungle part 962, Rumple and Regina meet up with the rest.
Emma: Regina! Yay!
Neal: You didn’t tell me she’d be with Rumple.
Emma: In this one instance it wasn’t our collective complete lack of communication skills, I really didn’t know.
Neal: He can’t be part of our gang.
Regina: But we have Pandora’s Box! It will trap Pan!
Neal: You mean Henry?
Regina: What now?
Neal: Rumple heard a prophecy that Henry will be his downfall!
Rumple: I came to this island to kill myself for Henry.
Everybody: We do not believe you!
Rumple agrees to hand over the box and not use magic if they let him join the Nevengers. As they start up tromping through the jungle part 963 he pulls Neal over to give him vital information as cryptically as possible.
Rumple: It’s a bad idea to disarm me. You don’t know what you’re up against.
Neal: So tell me. What do you know about Peter Pan?
Rumple: He destroyed my father.
Neal: This reminds me of when Obi-Wan told Luke that Darth Vader murdered Anakin Skywalker.
Neal: I don’t get it.
Meanwhile in the past, BB Rumple is best at spinning. The Aunties tell him he should takes his awesome skills to another world and start a new life sans Dad. Because running away always works. Of course the Aunties have a magic bean for BBR but he doesn’t want to leave when Daddystiltskin promised to come back for him. The Aunties tell him his father is a deadbeat drunk and always will be.
BBR decides to look into it and finds his dad up to his old card tricks. He runs off, Daddystiltskin follows and they decide to have a heart to heart in an old back alley.
BBR: Let’s BOTH take the portal to a new world. We can start over somewhere far far away where nobody knows us and our crappy history.
Daddystiltskin: This is exactly like what will happen with you and your son. Isn’t that cool?
BBR: Not really.
Daddustiltskin: Where should we go?
BBR: There must be someplace special you’ve heard of. Stories are real you know.
Daddystiltskin: Now you sound like my great-grandson. Which gives me an idea! MY dad was ALSO a loser who ALSO abandoned me. And when I was little and sad I dreamed of Neverland.
BBR: Sounds legit. Let’s go!
BBR throws the bean, Daddystiltskin admits he doesn’t even know if Neverland is real but a portal opens and they leap.
Tromping through the jungle part 1049, Emma pulls Hook aside.
Emma: There has to be a way to get David off the island.
Hook: David is my main Bro, if I knew of a way I would have already done it.
Emma: Tell me how your brother died.
Hook: You really know how to hurt a guy.
Emma: What if he took some of the island with him. A jar of dirt!
Rumple: Or you could ask me since I recovered from the same poison.
Emma: By murdering someone else! David’s too noble for that.
Rumple: Uh huh. But point is I can now make an elixir. All I need is some of the magic water.
Emma: What’s it gonna cost me?
Rumple: Your soul.
Neal: Nothing. No deals. You’re gonna save her dad because you’re a good person.
But he agrees and Emma’s set to tell Snowing the good news when Tink pops in to say they’ve reached Pan camp. Nevengers assemble!
Tromping through the jungle part 1116. Neal has Rumple’s Box. Rumple has Hook’s sword. Hook has Charming’s dagger. Emma has Neal’s cutlass. Snow has her bow. Charming has his Charm. Tink has nothing but spite but it’s okay because she’s Wasp and no one understands her power anyways. But none of them matter because as per usual Regina does it all herself.
Tink: This is it.
Emma: Okay there are eight of us and I count five of them, what should we do?
Rumple: Can I please use magic?
Regina: I’ll do it.
Rumple: Do you remember how?
Regina: Bitch, please, Sleep is a level one spell!
She zaps them all and the crew run in to find a handful of Lost Boys but no Pan and no Henry.
Emma: I found a girl in a box.
Wendy: Who are you?
Wendy: This has become suddenly awkward.
Neal breaks her out of the box, which still does not require any confession on his part, and they chat about it.
Neal: Why are you here?
Wendy: I came here to save you. I couldn’t leave you in Neverland alone. I knew I was your only family after you told me your parents were dead.
Neal: This has become suddenly awkward.
Rumple: You told her I was dead?
Neal: Seemed simpler than the truth. My dad abandoned me for magic, lol. Look, Wendy, do you know where Henry is? He’s my son. And his grandson and her son and also her son and their grandson and sort of his stepgrandson I guess and… that’s Tinker Bell.
Tink: I am grievously underused.
Wendy: I don’t know anything about Henry or where Peter Pan took him.
Rumple: Liar, liar, pants on fire.
Neal: Do you have to be mean to all of my friends?
Rumple: As a world renowned liar I know she’s lying.
Wendy: I’m sorry, if I tell the truth Pan will kill my brothers.
Emma: We will totally save them, that’s what we do.
Wendy: Save people?
Emma: Make promises to save people.
Wendy: Why should I trust the Dark One. His name is The Dark One!
Regina: John and Michael trust him. They told Belle to tell Rumple to tell you they’re okay and they love you.
Wendy: Sounds legit. Pan took Henry to Skull Rock so he can hand over his heart to make Peter immortal. In return, Henry will die.
Bum, bum, bum! The Neverngers decide to split up: Henry’s parents plus Rumple will go after Pan. Snowing will go collect magic water for Rumple to turn into a Get David Off the Island Alive Potion. And Hook and Tink will remain at Pan Camp to keep an eye on the sleeping Lost Boys. And hopefully make out?
Peter and Henry arrive at Skull Rock. Peter puts up a blocking spell. It looks like Henry is paying attention to this, wondering, perhaps who Peter wants to keep out?
BBR and Daddystiltskin arrive on the shores Neverland. BBR looks unimpressed but Daddystiltskin is beyond thrilled. He shows BBR how they can make something out of nothing but a happy thought. The result is a slice of chocolate cake but BBR places it on a rock rather than eat something an island conjured for him (BBR is NOT the Truest Believer). Daddystiltskin then tries to fly and despite crowing at lift off (because he is so obviously Peter Pan at this point, otherwise Peter Pan would have greeted them a la the brothers Jones story) he falls on his face. Aha, he remembers, he needs pixie dust! Off to Pixie Hollow they go with the Demon Shadow following (shadowing!) behind.
Team Henry’s Parents Plus Rumple arrive at Skull Rock and Emma gets immediately knocked back by the protection spell. Regina does her best Han Solo impression by blasting the invisible barrier and it ricochets back at them. But Rumple has no shadow so he gets through just fine.
Rumple: Pan knew I cut off my shadow. This spell is my invitation.
Neal: You were telling the truth about your shadow and your dagger and your intentions?
Rumple: Told you so. Gimme the box.
Neal starts to hand it over but Regina grabs it first and threatens if he doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do she will murder him fifty times over. Rumple takes that as good luck and heads up the stairs to his destiny.
Emma again decides that there is no such thing as a no win scenario and suggests Regina turn off the moon with magic.
Regina: Good idea. I’ll need help.
Emma: With magic?
Regina: Bitch, please, Superior Darkness is a seventh level spell. Now follow my lead.
Neal: I have never been more of a third wheel.
Pixie Hollow turns out to be a cluster of really tall pines with magic dust filled flowers growing in the top branches. BBR is afraid to climb because he is seven and it it seven hundred feet tall. Daddystiltskin tries to convince him flying is worth maybe dying but BBR doesn’t want to fly either. BBR doesn’t want to be in Neverland, this is his dad’s dream, not his. From his perspective Neverland is an empty, wet, seemingly storm ridden island with creepy magic thought powers and a general feeling of unease (spoiler: BBR is right). Daddystiltskin knows he’ll feel differently once he FLIES and climbs up the tree alone. He gets the dust, throws it all over, thinks happy thoughts and fails again. The demon shadow appears to yell at him that adults don’t belong in Neverland. So nyah.
As Henry and Pan make it to the top level of Skull Rock, Pan’s spidey-senses alert him to Rumplestiltskin’s imminent arrival.
Henry: What’s that?
Pan: Giant hourglass counting down my, I mean, Neverland’s life-force.
Henry: Looks low, we better do this quick.
Pan: Yeah, but first how about you sit on this rock over here while I totally don’t do anything shady or have any secret meetings with my relatives or yours, oki doki?
Henry: Sounds legit.
HENRY YOU ARE SMARTER THAN THIS.
BBR is crying at the foot of the tree his dad disappeared up who knows how long ago. Neverland sucks.
Daddystiltskin: I’m back!
BBR: Daddy! Did you get it?
Daddystiltskin: Yup! But pixie dust doesn’t work on adults.
BBR: That’s okay, this place is creepy. Let’s go home.
Daddystiltskin: I’m too weak to go home. Or to try anywhere else. I’m the worst dad, I know it. I know you’d better off without me. I wanna give you your best chance by giving you up.
BBR: Wait, are you supposed to be echoing Emma giving up Henry here? Because that is really screwed up and horrible. Why does this show hate teen girls?
Daddystiltskin: Everybody hates teen girls. Take him, demon.
The Demon Shadow grabs BB Rumple, Daddystiltskin lets go of his hand and as BBR is dragged away, Neverland turns Daddystiltskin back into a boy. The boy we know as Peter Pan.
Bum, bum, bum! (we called that episode 3.1 btw)
Rumple makes it to the top of Skull Rock so he and Pan can have a heart to heart about being horrible fathers.
Rumple: At least I regretted my actions and spent my entire life manipulating other people into helping me get my son back so he can tell me in person what a horrible dad I am.
Pan: That’s what you’re doing now! Also I named myself after your doll! Come on, let’s let bygones be bygones. Help me kill Henry and we can hug it out.
Rumple: You mean your great-grandson?
Pan: You were gonna kill him too!
Rumple: That was a week ago. Now I’m a Nevenger. Pikachu, I choose you!
He waves his hand over the Box but nothing happens. Pan laughs out loud and produces the Real Box. He has become the master of Neverland’s creepy magic thought powers AND finally figured out how sleight of hand works. Grinning, Pan traps Rumple in Pandora’s box.
BBR shows up at the Aunties’s cottage and they dry his tears and tuck him into bed. They seem nice if a little off their rockers. They provide a home, a vocation, comfort and kindness, they even want to buy BBR a new doll because he dropped his in Neverland. Too bad this show has as low an opinion of adoptive mothers as it does teen girls who choose adoption.
Aunties: You can give your new doll the same name as your lost one.
BBR: No. Peter Pan is dead.
Back on Neverland, BB Daddystiltskin picks up the doll and Peter Pan is born. The Demon Shadow brings him to his lair of skulls, that he conjured up in his head because he has lots of issues, and explains he can only live as long as the hour glass says because he cheated by turning back into a kid.
And thus we have arrived at the moment of truth.
Pan: Gimme your heart.
Henry: What happens to me?
Pan: You’ll be best hero ever.
Henry: Okay but magic always has a price so saving magic must have a price so what is that price?
Pan: You have to stay in Neverland forever.
Aeris, my 8 year old daughter: He’s leaving out the most important detail that you will be DEAD in Neverland forever.
Henry: Sounds legit.
Pan casts a spell on Henry’s hand, like Regina did that one time with Hook when she sent him to kill her mother (memories). Henry rips own heart out, just like Regina did that one time when she wanted to save Tinker Bell’s soul (memories). And just in the knick of time Team Henry’s Parents arrive!
Parents: Please don’t do whatever Pan wants you to do with YOUR HEART.
Henry: Dad, you’re alive?
Neal: Obviously. Let’s talk after your heart is back in your chest, okay?
Parents: Please, please put your heart back.
Pan: Don’t listen, Henry. They are liars who are testing you. Heroes are always tested! And adults always lie!
Henry: I want to be a hero.
Parents: You’re our hero.
Neal, literally: We believe in you.
Emma, literally: Because we love you.
Regina, literally: More than anything.
Henry, literally: I believe you. But I have to save Neverland.
Henry thrusts his Truest Believer heart into Pan’s chest and falls over. Aeris my eight year old daughter screams. Pan rises into the air. Green magic shoots through Neverland interrupting Snowing’s tromp through the jungle part 1286 and whatever it is Hook and Tink are doing at Pan Camp. The Parents surround Henry’s fallen form as the camera focuses on Peter Pan’s sinister smile and cuts dramatically to black.
How will they #SaveHenry (and Rumple) now?