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Once Upon A Time 3×07 “Dark Hollow” Recap


By Jessica Lee

The story to save Henry continues this week as Nealfire, Captain Hook, and Emma break off from the group and journey to Dark Hollow.

Five Days ago, at the end of season two, Belle was asked to stay behind and protect Storybrooke by casting a protection spell. She watched as the man she loves disappeared into the sea completely heartbroken. Belle then had to inform the town that Henry had been kidnapped, and that Regina, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow, Charming and Emma had left on Hook’s ship to rescue him. She showed the Blue Fairy the protection spell given to her by Rumpel, and let everyone know that he believed that others were coming.

Speaking of others, two very posh men driving in a red convertible are attempting to get into Storybrooke at the same time Belle, the dwarves, Archie, and the Blue Fairy are trying to find fairy dust. They need it to cast the protection spell. They fortunately find a vein, but Belle hesitates to cast the spell. She’s never used magic. She asks the Blue Fairy to do it, and Blue declines. Her reason: Rumpel trusted this task to Belle. (Sidenote: have you ever seen anyone so nervous? I still firmly believe Blue is no good. Did she not want to cast this spell because she knew if she did it would work?) Moving on-

The posh boys make it into Storybrooke just in the nick of time. There is now a barrier over Storybrooke.

In the present, Team Rocket (Rumpelstiltskin and Regina) and Ariel are discussing their strategy. If you remember, Ariel can travel between realms. The Dark One enchants a sea dollar and tosses it to the Little Mermaid requesting that she seek out Belle. Belle will presumably comprehend what he needs her to do without any explanation. Regina explains to Ariel that the bracelets enchantment will only give her legs for 24 hours. If the mermaid accomplishes their task, than Regina will give her what she wants – legs.

As Ariel leaves Team Rocket and Neverland, Pan senses it. He lets Felix know that they’re going to need to move faster with their plan as he glances at the cage behind them.

Emma, Nealfire, Snow, Charming, and Hook are discussing how to get off the island. They require Pan’s shadow because as Nealfire put it he can navigate the stars, but he can’t fly. He proposes capturing Pan’s shadow. According to Hook, the shadow is rarely with Pan so they can get the shadow without alerting him. Emma assigns her and Nealfire on shadow duty, and Hook announces he’s tagging along because you know, they need another veteran on the island. It’s definitely not because he’s jealous or anything. HA!

The seven dwarves are enjoying a picnic by the seaside as Happy muses how peaceful it’s been since the others (Snow, Charming, the Evil Queen, and the Dark One) left. “It’s only been five days, but it’s the first five days with no killing.”

Six of the seven dwarves are voicing thoughts the fandom has probably had at one point during this show. It’s quite funny, but Grumpy doesn’t take delight in their comments. He believes that Snow and Charming are coming back. As he grumbles, Ariel emerges from the sea. In the distance,  the two posh boys spy on them through binoculars. They want to find out why the mermaid has come to Storybrooke. Home office this, and home office that. Gee, I wonder who they work for?

Belle is lovesick, heartbroken, and has rejected four of Granny’s hamburgers since Rumpelstiltskin left. She reveals to Archie that Rumpel said he was going off to his death and how she hates not being able to help him. She feels useless. Archie lets her know that she saved Storybrooke and is a hero, but Belle doesn’t think so.

Grumpy leads Ariel to Belle. Granny looks her over the Little Mermaid and asks if she read the sign: no shirt, no shoes, no service. Grumpy rolls his eyes. “I seem to recall some Ruby outfits that are seared into my brain.”

Ariel tells Belle that she’s come from Neverland, that Rumpelstiltskin is alive and that he needs her help. She delivers the enchanted sand dollar.

In Gold’s shop, Belle figures out how to use the enchanted sand dollar. Rumpelstiltskin appears like a hologram stating that he figured out a way he can live, but he requires a specific item. He knows that the strength of their love will guide her to it. Belle’s overjoyed she can help Rumpel.

Back in Neverland, Snow is giving her husband a much deserved cold shoulder. Emma doesn’t seem to like her parents fighting and asks her to forgive him. Evidently Snow thinks that Emma’s inherited her husbands tunnel vision.

Pan approaches Henry, but Henry is back to distrusting him. He thinks that his family is on the island and that Pan has been lying to him. “Henry, I promise you I’m not holding your family prisoner.”

He isn’t, but like Rumeplstiltskin, he omits the key information which is that his family is indeed on the island searching for him. Henry is determined to prove that Pan is a liar. As he storms off, Felix approaches Pan. The two scheme a way to win back Henry’s trust.

In Nealfire’s cave, he is rummaging for his star map. Emma runs off to go get the coconut, which leaves Hook and Nealfire alone. Now Hook presumes that Nealfire had heard everything in the Echo Cave. In the past, keeping his relationship with Nealfire’s mother a secret cost Hook a chance of having a family with Nealfire. It’s understandable why he’d do what he does next. He cares about Nealfire, and also Emma, and if he is to keep both of them in his life, honesty is the only way.

“I want to thank you for being so understanding.”

“Understanding about what?” Nealfire asks.

“Emma and me.”

Uh-oh. Turns out Nealfire had no idea there was an Emma and Hook. It’s incredibly awkward for the two of them. I can’t imagine what it feels like for Nealfire to find out that the woman he loves has kissed the man who loved his mother. He was also a father figure to him. Sometimes Once Upon a Time has more confusing plotlines than a daytime soap opera. Moving on-

It turns up the star map isn’t a star map but a way to capture Pan’s shadow. Their next stop is Dark Hallow. It’s the darkest place on the island where the shadows ripped away from bodies are damned for all eternity. Poor Emma wishes it was something more cheerful like Rainbow Cove. They haven’t really caught many breaks in Neverland. Happy moments have been few and far between.

Back in Storybrooke, Ariel finds a button that belonged to Prince Eric’s jacket when she rescued him long ago. The item and love story seem to spark something in Belle because she figures out that the item Rumpel’s enchanted is her chipped cup. This little cup has been through a lot, just like their love. She places it in the cupboard and a sparkly yellow magic emerges. It guides her to a compartment on the floor where she uncovers Pandora’s Box. Rumpelstiltskin has quite the collection of trinkets in his shop.

As the two lovely ladies discuss the box, the posh boys show up with a gun in tow.

Ariel and Belle are being tied up by the posh boys.

“I don’t understand. Why do we keep doing what he tells us?” Ariel asks.

“Because he has a gun!” Belle responds.

“What’s a gun?”

They question the two lovely ladies’ what the box does. Of course, they have no idea. Like most bad guys, they give up why they’re in Storybrooke and what they’re doing because they believe they are about to escape. They unsurprisingly work for Peter Pan, and well, they want to destroy this box.

In Neverland, Pan and Felix do a terrible job acting because they know Henry is listening in to their conversation and really gullible. Felix is to deliver supplies to the other side of the island.

“Just be certain Henry doesn’t find out what you’re up to.” Pan informs.

So, because Pan is a master manipulator, and Henry is an impressionable kid he follows after Felix.

Charming is pleading with his wife to speak to him. She’s still giving him the cold shoulder. Hook, Nealfire, and Emma make it to where the entrance of Dark Hollow should be. They have to cut their way through, so Emma gives Nealfire his cutlass. He asks where she acquired it, and she said Hook gave it to her. He didn’t realize the pirate was sentimental. Heard that line a few times now, haven’t we? Hook responds that he just wanted to give Emma something to remember him (Nealfire).

“Oh thanks, but she has me now.”

Nealfire then stomps off in a huff slashing the cutlass against the jungle growth. Hook tries to make his way past Emma, but she stops him asking what the hell is going on.

“I assumed he’d heard my secret. And I also assumed that you’d told him of our shared moment.”

Emma wants to know why.

“Because I was hoping it meant something.”

He moves closer to her, and she doesn’t move back. Emma thanks Hook for telling them Nealfire was alive; that is what meant something to her. She understands Hook didn’t have to tell the group about Nealfire being alive because Pan could of offered him a deal. Last week, when Hook notified Charming and Snow about Pan letting him know Nealfire was alive, when Charming asked why, Hook’s answer was he didn’t know. This week, in front of Emma, whom he understands and has placed his trust, he straightforwardly answers Pan told him that Nealfire was alive to test him. He wanted to see if the Captain would save his friend when he knew that they were both vying for the same woman.

“And you chose your friend.”

“Does that surprise you?” He asks.

“You are a pirate.”

This conversation mirrors a conversation with Charming. When Charming calls Hook a pirate he stays stoned face, but when Emma does it, even though it is mostly in jest, you can see how much it effects him. Glimpses of Killian Jones appear around Emma more and more each week. It’s clear he wants to be seen as something more to Emma.

“But I also believe in good form. So when I win your heart, Emma -and I will win it- it will not be because of any trickery. It will be because you want me.”

It’s during this moment that Emma’s expression changes from confused to awestruck. Perhaps it’s how honest Hook has been with her yet again, or maybe it’s something more. The fact of the matter is that Emma doesn’t shy away;  she doesn’t interrupt him or deflect his honesty. Hook says eventually Emma will have to choose (there’s that reoccurring Hook and Emma theme again). She lets  him know all she has to choose is the best way to get Henry back. Hook tells her he knows she’ll get him back. Emma lets her walls down for Hook asking if he really believes that, and he does. It’s as if she needs his reassurance. Emma has told everyone over and over that she will get Henry back, but her doubts have never come to the surface in front of anyone except for Hook. She trusts him, and his belief in her, well, it shows on her face just how much it means to her.

Nealfire comes back. Our love triangle trio venture into Dark Hollow. A gust of wind blows out all their lanterns.

Belle and the optimist Ariel are struggling to find a way out of their bind. Belle cleverly discovers a way out of the ropes. She rips Ariel’s enchanted bracelet off, and she turns back into a mermaid. Both girls topple over and free themselves. As they exit the shop, Belle figures out the posh boys will use a pickaxe to break Pandora’s Box. The two runoff toward the mines.

Snow and Charming are still moving through the jungle to find Tinkerbelle. Snow is still ignoring Charming. Fear is what kept Charming from being honest with his wife. He didn’t want her to be stuck on the island with him. He thought he was trying to protect the person he loved by keeping the secret.

“I would happily build a tree house and spend the rest of my days dodging poison arrows and Lost Boys as long as I had you by my side.”

He should have told her. In Neverland, Charming has forgot his personal motto: true love is never easy you have to fight for it. Keeping this secret, driving this wedge between them and letting fear cloud his judgement was not fighting for the woman he loved. He lost belief that their love could overcome this. The two embrace as he sheds a tear.

Emma asks Nealfire if they’re supposed to wait for Pan’s shadow to show up. According to Nealfire, when you light the candle in his coconut, the shadow is drawn to it. Once he gets close enough they will be able to trap it. Hook asks how they’ll light it since all their lantern were out. Nealfire whips out a lighter and says, “welcome to the 21st century.”

Actual five year old Nealfire is joined by actual five year old Hook in an embarrassing clash of jealously. The two begin to bicker over the lighter like two children throwing a tantrum on the playground. Emma incredulously watches as they both struggle to light the candle, chastise one another, and then physically wrestle over the lighter. They toss the lighter across Dark Hollow then stomp off together to retrieve it. As they do, the shadow appears, and it’s not alone. The shadow’s controlling several others. Pan’s shadow grabs Hook and slams him against a tree. Emma screams out for him. She’s terrified. Right after, another shadow slams Nealfire against a tree. Emma is holding the coconut watching as Hook’s shadow is being torn from his body. Both Hook and Nealfire scream for her to leave, but she channels her emotions and lights the candle with her magic. Pan’s shadow, like Nealfire said, is drawn toward the light. She traps it, and looks over toward Hook who is alive and struggling to get up. She breathes a sigh of relief.

Nealfire asks how she lit the candle.


“She’s teaching you magic?”

The look he gives her is similar to looks he’s given his father. Nealfire has run his whole life from magic. It will be interesting to see how Emma learning to use it will affect their relationship.

Back in the jungle, Felix is being followed by Henry.

Belle and Ariel are walking through the mines searching for the posh duo. They beg and plead for them not to destroy the box because if they do the people they love may die. Seems they share something in common, because if the posh duo doesn’t destroy the box, someone they love will die. Belle pulls a lever and a mine cart crashes into them knocking them over. She kicks away their gun and grabs the box. Turns out they’re trying to save their sister, and that is why they’re doing Peter Pan’s dirty work. Their sister has been a prisoner in Neverland for over a century. Belle tries to reason with the boys saying that if they work together with them they may be able to save their sister. It seems they believe her.

So just who is their sister? Wendy Darling. The posh duo are none other than John and Michael Darling.

Peter Pan opens the door to the other cage, and Wendy is its prisoner. (Sidenote: over a century in a cage? This is horrific.)

Ariel and Belle are on the beach. She asks Ariel to deliver the message to Rumpelstiltskin. They share a goodbye before Ariel transforms back into a mermaid and heads under the sea.

Felix drops the bag he’s been carrying outside of a treehouse. Henry runs up, grabs the bag and heads inside the treehouse. He meets Wendy Darling who pretends to be ill. She tells him that Pan keeps her away so that others wont get sick too.

“I’ve been here a long time, but well, for some reason, its affecting me over the others.”

Magic is fading on the island, according to Wendy Darling. Henry seems to believe her right after she lets him know she knew his father and he would do anything for her family. Before Henry leaves, he promises to come back for her. Pan emerges from behind the screen in the room. Wendy doesn’t like that she had to lie to Henry, but he assures her it was necessary. His reason: he needed Henry to believe in him.

Team Rocket is waiting for Ariel to return from Storybrooke. Regina asks if he believes Belle can succeed in finding the object. He does. Rumpel asks if Regina is jealous that he has someone and she doesn’t. Her face gives him his answer.

Ariel returns with Pandora’s Box. Regina enchants the Little Mermaid’s bracelet so she can have legs whenever she wants. Ariel can now go find Prince Eric. Rumpel asks Ariel that when she returns to Storybrooke to tell Belle that he loves her. Before she leaves, Ariel asks Rumpel to save Wendy Darling. It’s what Belle wants. Looks like the Dark One will try.

Nealfire apologizes to Emma for screwing up. She berates both men. They almost lost their chance at capturing Pan’s shadow because they were childishly fighting over a lighter. Hook tells her it isn’t the lighter they were fighting over. Duh. She knows that. Emma informs Hook and Nealfire that if she had to choose someone she’d choose Henry.

“He’s the only one I have room for to love in my life.”

At Tinkerbelle’s treehouse, Nealfire comes out of the jungle with coconut in hand letting the others know they succeeded in capturing the shadow. Tink looks so happy to see Bae. It’s Neal now he tells her. Hook is disgruntled. He wants to get this over with and save Henry. After Snow, Charming, Hook, and Tink walk off to discuss their next plan of action, Nealfire and Emma share a small moment. If anything good came out of their relationship it was Henry. She agrees. I don’t know what brought this on. Perhaps it was her using magic, or perhaps he’s wanting to make amends for the lighter incident, but it seems like he’s starting to see Emma differently. She’s no longer the girl he loved 11 years ago. Time has changed Emma. Time has changed them both.

“Why so glum chum?” Pan asks Henry.

He wants to know why Pan lied to him by keeping Wendy a secret. Pan feeds him some story about not wanting to pressure him into helping save magic by knowing that a young girl’s life depended on it. Henry believes him. The poor kid never really stood a chance as it’s in his nature to want to help others. He’s ready to save magic, so they venture to the cliffs which overlook Skull Rock.

“Are you up to the task?”

“Yes,” Henry replies.

This can’t be good.

Till next time.