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Once Upon A Time 3×08 “Think Lovely Thoughts” Recap

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By Jessica Lee

Don’t let the title fool you. This episode will not leave you thinking any lovely thoughts.

We open in the Enchanted Forest that once was. Rumple is a little boy watching his father play a game of Follow The Lady. He’s attempting to cheat the participating patrons, but they quickly catch on and punch Daddy Stiltskin square in the jaw; they rob him. Rumple pleads for the men to stop attacking his father.

In Neverland, Pan and Henry are checking on Wendy who’s still pretending to be ill. Pan continues to use this advantage to manipulate Henry into saving magic. Henry’s all for it, and Pan gives a rousing speech to the Lost Boys how tonight Henry will save magic.

Team Rocket (Regina and Rumpelstiltskin) are sharing their version of a heart to heart after having a breakthrough in retrieving Pandora’s Box. Regina is glad she kicked the Charming Family and Hook to the curb and sought out Rumeplstiltskin because he always gets stuff done. She mentions how they went on some wild goose chase to find Nealfire, and then apologizes. Despite their differences, Regina doesn’t want to inflict pain by mentioning the deceased. That’s when Rumple drops the bomb he knows Nealfire is alive, and that the next time he sees him he will be putting Henry in his arms. Regina looks confused, but they carry on.

In the past, Daddy Stiltskin is leaving Rumple with two spinsters. He promises that he’s off to search for a real job so they can be together. Rumple doesn’t want to be left alone; all the lad wants is to stay by his daddy’s side. Daddy Stiltskin promises he’ll return and gives his son that creepy voodoo doll. He asks his son to give the doll a name because names make things better; names make things real.

The Charming Family, Tinkerbell, Nealfire, and Captain Hook are trekking towards Pan’s camp to execute Operation Cobra Rescue. Emma pulls her mother aside to ask if her and Charming buried the hatchet. Last week, Snow was giving her husband the cold shoulder because he lied about being poisoned by dreamshade. Snow informs her daughter that nothing is buried. For the time being, the hatchet has been put aside because they need to rescue Henry. Snow’s given up hope of finding a way to get her husband off the island, and that doesn’t sit well with her daughter.

“Maybe this is just you rubbing off on me, but I don’t believe that. There’s always a way.”

The mother daughter moment is interrupted by Hook and Charming drawing their weapons. Something is rustling in the trees. Is it the Lost Boys? No. It’s Team Rocket. Regina -who has been a total gem this season- gives a great line about them actually having a chance in saving Henry. Nealfire’s sour faced when he sees his father with the Evil Queen. That’s when he drops the bomb that the Dark One came to Neverland to kill Henry, not save him. Of course, everyone believes Nealfire because Rumple has a history with doing the wrong and selfish thing. They all draw their blades on him; Emma tells Rumple if he wants to kill Henry he’ll have to go through all of them first.

“He could spin for Queens and Kings one day!”

Young Rumple is apparently a natural at spinning. The spinsters are in awe. He asks if he can use his talent to make money so he could be reunited with his father. They tell him that everyone in the Enchanted Forest knows that Daddy Stiltskin is a cheat, coward, and liar. For Rumple and his father to be together, they would have to go to a place where nobody knew them. That’s when the two ladies’ pull out a bean.

WOAH. Hold up. Where have we seen this before? Oh, that’s right. It’s paralleling Nealfire’s backstory from season one when the Blue Witch Fairy gave the little lad a bean and manipulated the kid into asking his father to go with him to a land without magic so they could be together. Moving on-

Rumplestiltskin may be the Dark One, but he has no intention of killing or hurting Henry. He reiterates again to his son and everyone else (let’s call them Team Neverland) that he came to the island to save his grandson. Everyone doubts Rumple. Nealfire asks for Pandora’s Box because he doesn’t trust his dad, but with the box in his posession, he can stop him. Rumple hands it over. Nealfire follows that gesture with saying that if his dad performs any magic he’ll make it so that Rumple spends eternity in that box. Before they follow after Team Neverland, Nealfire asks his father what happened between him and Pan.

“Peter Pan destroyed my father.”

Back in the past, Daddy Stiltskin is caught by his son playing Follow The Lady. Turns out that the spinsters were right. His father wasn’t looking for work. The disappointed kid walks off, but his dad follows him. Little Rumple just wants to be with his father. He wants to be a family and together. He asks his father if he would want to go to a place where they could start over; a place where nobody knows him. He shows Daddy Stiltskin the bean. For some reason, he agrees to the idea of a fresh start, and that’s when he remembers a place he used to travel all the time when he was a little boy. Guess where? Did you guess Neverland? You’re right! It’s Neverland. They drop the bean and jump hand in hand through the portal. (Sidenote: The dark music that starts playing tips us off this will not end well.)

Team Neverland is marching in a line through the jungle. Emma seeks out Hook asking him if there is a way her father can leave the island. Nope, there’s not. That’s when she lets Hook know that Charming told her what happened to Hook’s brother. He doesn’t want to talk about it. It seems that the pirate is still hurt from being shot down at the end of the last episode. A few episodes ago, Hook was willing to bear his feelings to Emma, but she shot him down. Now his walls are up in full force to protect himself. It’s important to see that Emma sought out Hook after speaking with her mother. If there was truly a way to save her father so that he could leave the island, Hook would confirm it. These two are peas in a pod. They fight their feelings, they protect their hearts, but somewhere in-between now and the beginning of the season they’ve grown to trust and rely on one another.

Rumple and Nealfire overhear their conversation and Rumple remarks he may be able to produce a cure for dreamshade so that Charming could leave Neverland. Emma’s interested.

“Well, if you remember, I too was poisoned with dreamshade by a cowardly pirate.”

The look Hook gives Rumple is so smug and proud, because yes, he was successful in poisoning him. Emma rolls her eyes, and Nealfire seem to be the only neutral member during his father’s speech on how he can create a cure. Of course, he lets her know that this cure will cost her and the Dark One wants a favor of equal proportion. Nealfire steps in and says no, Rumple’s going to do it without a price. The Dark One is desperate to repair the relationship with his son so he agrees. (Sidenote: you can see he’s not happy about making a deal without payment.)

Team Neverland has arrived at the back of Pan’s camp. Rumple steals Hook’s sword.

“You mind if I borrow this? You said no magic, I agreed. But I’m not walking in there with nothing but my good looks.”

Hook is grumpy, but he bites his tongue. Charming pitches his bro a sword, you know, in case his good looks fail him.

Regina casts a sleeping spell to knock out all the Lost Boys. Team Neverland rushes in, but Henry is nowhere to be found. That’s when they hear the cry for help. Emma runs over to the other side of the camp and discovers the cage holding Wendy Darling prisoner. It’s a Nealfire and Wendy Darling reunion. It’s heart warming. As the two embrace,  he asks what she was doing in Neverland.

“I came back to save you.”

“You did that for me?” He asks.

“Well, I couldn’t bear for you to be without a family. Not after you told us all how your mother and father were both dead.”

Rumple is not happy.

In the past, Daddy Stiltskin and Rumple arrive in Neverland. Nothing has changed. It’s exactly the way Daddy Stiltskin remembered it. He prompts his son to imagine something to eat and a delicious piece of chocolate cake appears in his hand. For some reason,  the kid puts it on a rock instead of eating it. Come on Rumple, that’s a perfectly good piece of cake! Moving on-

Daddy Stiltskin attempts to fly and falls flat on his face. He’s not happy. Why can’t he fly? Rumple’s theory: maybe he can’t fly because he’s not a boy anymore. That’s when Daddy Stiltskin recollects needing pixie dust to fly. They two walk off to procure some. They’re followed by the shadow.

Wendy Darling is telling big fat lies to Team Neverland about not knowing who Henry is or what Peter Pan wants with the heart of the truest believer. Rumple recognizes the lie right away, and Nealfire gets Wendy to admit the truth. She is lying to protect her brothers, John and Michael. Regina summaries the events of last weeks episode, and tells the girl that her brothers trusted Rumple so she should too. That’s when Wendy drops the bombshell of why Pan wants the heart of the truest believer. It’s not to save magic, he needs it to save himself.

“Pan’s dying. He needs the heart of the truest believer to absorb all the magic in Neverland, and once he does he will be immortal. All powerful.”

It’s a trade. When Pan gets the heart, Henry will die. At that very moment,  Pan and Henry are in a rowboat heading toward Skull Rock. Once they arrive, Pan casts a protection spell outside the cave’s entrance.

Team Neverland has run out of time. They need to split up to accomplish everything before meeting back at the Jolly Roger to escape from Neverland. Tink and Hook agree to wait at Pan’s camp. Charming and Snow are traveling to Dead Man’s Peak to retrieve the water needed to cure Charming once they return to Storybrooke. Rumple, Emma, Regina, and Nealfire agree to head for Skull Rock to save Henry.

Charming kisses his daughters head, and the camera moves to Hook who looks heartbroken and worried. It must be killing him to have to separate from the woman he cares about without knowing what the outcome will be when she encounters Pan. Sometimes you don’t need words to recognize how much someone cares. In this brief moment the feelings are visible on Hook’s face.

Daddy Stiltskin and Rumple reach a tree where they will find pixie dust. He tries to coerce his son into climbing the tree for him, but Rumple is just a boy and is terrified of heights. He pleads with his father not to  climb the tree. Daddy Stiltskin’s not listening, and promises to return soon.

Pixie dust is made in these enchanted pink flowers at the very top of this tree. He sprinkles dust on himself because he aspires to fly. It’s hindered by the arrival of the shadow. Viewers learn that shadow is the sole inhabitant of Neverland. Daddy Stiltskin wonders why he can’t fly. The shadow replies it’s because he doesn’t believe he can and he doesn’t belong in Neverland. Rumple, who is waiting at the base of the tree panics when his father’s shoe falls next to him.

Emma, Reina, Nealfire, and Rumplestiltskin arrive at Skull Rock. Emma sprints toward the entrance but gets tossed in the air by the protection spell. Regina shoots fire at it, but it blows up in everyones face. The Dark One simply walks in. How? He has no shadow. The spell keeps anyone with a shadow from entering. Nealfire -at last- believes his father. Rumple requests that his son return Pandora’s Box. The Evil Queen jerks it from his hands and threatens Rumple before handing him the box. Rumple rolls his eyes because she could of just wished him good luck.

Regina’s impatient and tired of waiting around. Nealfire suggests they attempt ripping off their shadows, but Regina has no idea how to do that. Emma gets the idea to block out the light of the moon because if they do they wont be casting shadows. Regina and Emma work together using magic to generate an eclipse.

Inside Skull Rock, Peter Pan reveals an hourglass. He claims the sparkly sand is how long Neverland has left before all its magic is destroyed. It’s practically empty. Pan senses Rumple entering the cave, so he asks Henry to wait a moment letting him known that he’ll be right back. Rumple pulls out his doll before meeting Pan.

In the past, Daddy Stiltskin finally makes it back to his son who is in tears because he worried something terrible happened to him. They embrace. The little boy questions his father if he got the pixie dust. He did, but he can’t fly because he’s an adult. Only children can fly. Rumple is ready to leave Neverland, but Daddy Stiltskin refuses.

“I can never be the father you need me to be. I’m too weak.”

Uh-oh. We’ve seen this before. The Stiltskin family must be cursed because they keep reliving the same story. The shadow tears Rumple away from his father. To stay in Neverland, he has to believe he can be young again, and with Rumple there to remind him, he can’t.

“We both know you’re better off without me. I was never meant to be a father.”

The pixie dust transforms Daddy Stiltskin into….. Peter Pan.

“Hello, laddie.”

This is quite possibly the most heart wrenching story on this show thus far. Peter Pan is Rumplestiltskin’s father. Nealfire, is his grandson who he held captive on Neverland for hundreds of years. That means that Henry is his great-grandson. Oh, and Pan’s about to kill him to take his heart. (Sidenote: viewers should just assume that any new character with any significance is somehow related to Henry.)

Pan offers his son a deal. Stay with him on the island and they can be together like how they wanted in the past. He refuses. Pan, who is a master manipulator, begins to compare them. They’re so much alike its heart breaking.

“I never forgot about you. Why do you think I call myself Peter Pan?”

He claims it’s because he cares about him. Rumple doesn’t believe him and Pan offers once more to let him stay. All he has to do is put down the box. The Dark One attempts opening Pandora’s Box to capture his father. Unsurprisingly, the box is a fake. Peter Pan has the real box. Remember how they kept showing Follow The Lady? Yeah. Pan switched the boxes.

Peter Pan uses Pandora’s Box to trap his son. If you think it can’t get any worse, well, prepare yourself.

A heartbroken little Rumple returns to the spinsters in tears. The bean is gone. His father left him and is never coming back. They let him know that he will always have them and a home. They ask where his doll is.

“Peter Pan is gone forever.”

In the Neverland of the past, Pan is flying toward Skull Rock. It’s there the shadow tells him that when he broke the rules and decided to stay in Neverland he created Skull Rock and the hourglass. The hourglass is the time he has left to live. They two concoct a plan to save him. That’s it. That’s why he needs the heart of the truest believer. (Sidenote: Why did Pan tell all this to Wendy Darling?)

Henry is watching the hourglass. Pan returns and lets him know its time to save magic in Neverland. To do so Henry must give Peter Pan his heart. Literally give him his heart. Pan lies, telling Henry that the price of giving him his heart is that he will never be able to leave Neverland. He plays the hero card. Henry saving magic will make him the greatest of all heroes. All this kid has ever wanted to be is a hero. With grandparents like Snow White and Prince Charming, its easy to see why he believes giving his heart to save magic is noble.

Pan enchants Henry’s hand so that he can rip out his own heart. OH MY GOD HE DOES IT! HE RIPS OUT HIS OWN HEART!

Nealfire, Emma, and Regina run up just after he rips out his heart. Pan greets them all. They try remarkably hard to convince their son that Pan is lying to him. Pan ultimately leaves the decision up to Henry. By doing so, he pretty much convinces Henry that he isn’t lying. As for his parents, Henry questions why they’d lie.

“Because that’s what adults do, Henry. You know that better than anyone.”

They love him. Pan, though, he maintains that he believes in Henry and has been the only one to ever do so. Here’s what kills me. In a sense, he’s right. Even though Peter Pan has been lying the entire time Henry has been in Neverland, he has told him over and over that he believes in him. Emma didn’t believe Henry about the curse in season one. Regina didn’t believe in Henry and his love for her in season two when she kept turning to magic. Nealfire has only been around a short time, but he didn’t believe Emma and Henry when they told him that Tamara was up to no good. Peter Pan has only known Henry a week, but he has never stopped beliving in him. It’s a lie, we as viewers know that, but Henry is 11. He’s just a kid.

“We believe in you, Henry,” Nealfire says.

“Because we love you,” Emma says.

“More than anything,” Regina says.

He loves them too, but he’s sorry. Why?

“I have to save magic. I’m sorry.”

He shoves his heart into Peter Pan. A green magic erupts from Pan’s body and courses through Neverland as Henry collapses to the ground. Everyone is shaken. Hook and Tink just about fall over. Snow clutches onto Charming in total dismay. Back at Skull Rock, as his parents hurry to his still body, Pan lifts from the earth. He can fly.

Till next time.

(Sidenote: There is a two week hiatus due to ABC airing the American Music Awards next Sunday.)