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‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 3 Episode 10 Recap: “The New Neverland”

By Jessica Lee

Peter Pan never fails. Even when they think they’ve won, Pan finds a way.

This week’s Once Upon A Time opens with a heartfelt reunion between Ariel and her Prince Eric. He works at the docks and is chopping off the head of fish before Ariel approaches him. The two lock lips without any questions. It must be true love because there was no apprehension at all. Moving on…

The sky breaks open as the Jolly Roger flies through the clouds and lands safely in the Storybrooke docks. Belle is overjoyed because if the ship is back then that means Rumplestiltskin and co. have succeeded in saving Henry.

The next scene is the town cheering as Henry, Emma, Snow, Charming, Nealfire, Tink, Regina, Rumplestiltskin, a bunch of Lost Boys, Wendy Darling, and Hook embark off the ship. If you remember, Pan switched his body with Henry last week so cue the danger music when Felix steps foot off the ship and Panry stares at him.

Rumple, Belle, and Nealfire share a hug. It’s so touching. Wendy Darling spots her brothers, and they all embrace. Nealfire joins them.

“It’s time for the Darlings to go home. All of us,” John says.

This includes Nealfire. I wonder how much more of this group we’ll be seeing.

Dreamshade didn’t kill Charming, so there’s that. Regina then gets praise from Snow in front of the whole town because according to Snow, Regina saved them all. (Sidenote: She did. She is the one who saved Henry. Regina really came through in Neverland when the others were struggling.)

FLASHBACK TIME! It’s Snow’s wedding day, and Regina threatens to destroy everyone’s happiness. Charming and Snow then proceed to argue. Snow wants to take the Evil Queen down, but Charming is all like ‘nah, we need to go on our honeymoon’ – claiming Regina’s words to be nothing more than empty threats. Snow then asks to go to the summer palace, which is where his parents vacationed when they were on their honeymoon. Charming’s thrilled that she dropped the argument so easily.

Haha, jokes on him. Grumpy enters and says he overheard the conversation through the thin walls. Apparently, Snow wants to go to the summer palace because there is something there that can help take Regina down. After three years of flashbacks, this one is kind of a bummer. This is the penultimate episode before the winter finale. Why didn’t Once Upon A Time focus on Pan, or the Darling Family, which viewers know little about? How much more of Snow vs. Regina can there be?

On the docks, Panry and Felix conspire. He then decides he has to get the family to trust him, so he cries wolf and has Felix thrown in jail. Rumplestiltskin locks up Pandora’s Box in his secret compartment. As long as he is alive, Pan will never get out of that box.

Belle and Rumple are spending some much needed alone time together. He’s back in a suit and tie, while they discuss their future. She’s all happy that the prophecy was wrong. He changed his fate, and that’s the last time Rumple will ever doubt her. Now the only path he’s interested in is the one where Belle and him are together. Things have finally started looking up for Rumple. He has his son back, he is with his true love, and he believes his daddy is locked up for all eternity in darkness.

At Granny’s, Emma gives Panry Henry’s storybook. Hook is self-loathing and drowning his unhappiness is a mug of beer. Him and Emma are stealing looks at one another, so of course, cue Nealfire.

“I made a decision when it comes to Emma. I’m going to back off,” Hook informs him.

Why? Why would Hook back off? Because he wants to give the family a chance, he says. He’s really changed from last season where Hook was all about self-preservation and revenge. Almost every action, save a few from “Tallahassee,” were done in his best interest. The Neverland Arc of season three has shown he’s putting Emma’s best interest and happiness before his own. He truly believes that stepping back is what she wants. Nealfire, of course, thanks him because without Hook, he’ll have a better shot with Emma, right? Wrong. Hook leaves him with food for thought.

“Oh, don’t thank me yet. You see, I’m in this for the long haul. You’ve already walked out on Emma once. I’m not so sure she’ll let you back in. Are you?”

Tinkerbell and Regina approach the Blue Witch Fairy. Regina demands that Blue give back Tink her wings because she helped them save Henry in Neverland. Blue is salty and stiff and says she can’t do anything about it because Tinkerbell doesn’t believe in herself. She can take away her wings, but not give them back? Uh huh, sure.

Panry is studying Henry’s book of fairy tales. As he’s doing that, Nealfire and Emma are talking. Nealfire is diving in for his chance with Emma by asking her on a date. Well, it’s more like giving her an ultimatum because nothing shows how much you love someone then saying be here tomorrow for lunch or I’ll leave you alone forever, right?

Emma is a person with walls higher than a mountain. She has trust and abandonment issues. If Nealfire truly understood the way she felt, he wouldn’t propose abandoning the fight for any relationship between the two if she didn’t meet him for a date.

Snow and Charming are completely oblivious to what happened between their daughter and Nealfire in the past, so Snow shoots off her mouth saying Emma owes it to herself to go on this date. Emma can’t think about herself right now, she tells them. Not after what Henry went through.

In the Enchanted Forest that once was, Charming is carrying his wife bridal style into the summer palace. Tarps cover all the furniture. Charming is ready to get down and dirty on the floor, but Snow talks him out of it. She promises she has a surprise lined up for him later that evening. She tricks her husband into tending to the horses. The reason Snow wouldn’t let him unrobe her is because she’s in her bandit outfit. The first thing she reaches for after Charming leaves the room is a sword and a bow.

Her husband isn’t a fool and is waiting for the Princess on the road with folded arms. He knew the look on her face that she was up to something. As a child, the servants used to tell Snow stories about Medusa. She wants to cut off Medusa’s head and turn Regina to stone. Charming goes along with this crazy plan because he’s just as insane. What are these two doing? It’s their honeymoon…

Emma tells Panry it’s time for bed, but instead of him going home with her, Panry asks to go home with Regina. She is elated. Emma’s upset, but because she thinks something is wrong with Henry.

At Regina’s house, Panry asks about her family mausoleum. He claims it’s because he needs the magic to protect him from Pan if he escapes. Regina has grown because her response is, “magic’s not the answer.” She loves Henry and promises him that she will protect him no matter what. After she leaves him, Panry goes to the window and releases his shadow from the sail of the Jolly Roger. Looks like the shadow is about to wreck stuff up in Storybrooke.

In the past, Snow and Charming arrive at Medusa’s cave. There’s not much to report besides the fact that Medua’s victims can only be saved if they kill Medusa. They discuss Regina too, but it’s the same song we’ve heard 100x before.

At Granny’s, Rumple gives Charming the cure to Dreamshade. He drinks it. Snow and him kiss. He suggests starting on making that baby, but Snow is more focused on Emma standing up Nealfire who is drinking a cup of coffee alone in a booth behind them. Charming will go set this straight for his wife because the way to get someone to do something they clearly don’t want is to peer pressure them, right?

So where was Emma? Funny thing – she’s at the docks. I wonder why… Hmm. Who would more than likely be at the docks if not drunk off his butt at Granny’s where Emma is supposed to be on a date right now. More on the pirate later.

Charming approaches Emma at the docks. Blah blah blah, same old discussion about Regina and Henry. Emma thinks life is a series of unfortunate events.

“There’s more to life than looking for the next fight,” he tells his daughter.

Life is made up of moments. Good moments, bad moments. Moments. Got it Emma? Yeah, she got it. Daddy Charming believes that her meeting Nealfire for that date is a moment she should have. He coerces her into letting him drive her back to Granny’s, but not before letting her ask the question on everyone’s mind.

“You sure you don’t have other reasons for pushing me toward Neal?”
“Like what?” Daddy Charming asks.
“I don’t know. Keeping me away from Hook.”
“You think I’m interested in Hook? Emma, I’m a married man.”

We all know the real triangle of this show is between Emma, Daddy Charming, and Hook.

Speaking of Hook, he’s at Granny’s. He stumbles through the back completely drunk. This is the first time Hook has been seen drinking since admitting his feelings for Emma in the echo caves. It parallels a heartbroken Snow from season one when Charming picked Catherine over her. The first thing she did was go to Granny’s and drink. That night ended up with her sleeping with Dr. Whale. Hook bumps into Tinkerbell and proceeds to hit on her by offering her a drink. His quest of getting someone to accompany him in his self-loathing is shot down by the fairy.

“You want me to help you take your mind off Emma.”

Tink tells the captain that him and her are never going to happen. Next thing you know, a woman is screaming. Hook runs out of Granny’s, followed by the fairy. Coincidentally, they run into Emma.

Oh, my. Someone is jealous.

Emma asks, “Wait, were you two…?”
“No,” Tink flat out responds.
“Perhaps,” Hook says.

Everyone remembers there’s a woman screaming in terror and runs toward her. They get there just in time to see Pan’s shadow rip off the Blue Witch Fairy’s shadow. IS SHE DEAD? They think so. There’s no pulse. (Sidenote: Maybe I’m wrong about Blue, but we’ll see.)

In the past, Snow and Charming try to kill Medusa. Charming lures her to where Snow is hiding with a sword. When Medusa runs by she slams that sword into Medusa’s neck but it disintegrates. These two done screwed up. Now what? Well, before they can escape. Medusa traps Charming and he looks in her eyes and turns to stone.

Back in Storybrooke, Regina arrives with Panry to where the allegedly dead Blue With Fairy is. Panry plays scared, and Regina suggests protecting him in the one place Pan can’t get him. Unsurprisingly, it’s the mausoleum. Regina and Emma spar with one another about Emma’s gut feeling that something is wrong with Henry. Regina thinks Emma’s jealous that Henry chose her to comfort him instead of Emma. Maybe, maybe not. They don’t really clarify.

At the mausoleum, Panry promises not to touch anything.

The best part of this flashback is Regina appearing in the mirror of a shield and laughing at Snow for how idiotic she’s behaving on her honeymoon.

“I didn’t realize I could just sit back and let you destroy your own happiness.”

This has been the most lackluster flashback of season three thus far. Snow rips off the rest of the paint on the shield and uses it as a mirror to turn Medusa to stone. Yay! She saved Charming.

Charming, Snow, and Emma run to Mr. Gold’s shop to ask for Pandora’s box. They give him the run down on the shadow being loose and stuff feeling wrong. In the next scene, everyone is at the town line. Emma steps over it and Rumple releases Pan who is actually Henry from Pandora’s Box. Emma asks that Pan who is actually Henry prove that he’s Henry. He does by sharing the moment they first bonded at his castle. They embrace. The race is now on to find Panry, and there’s only seven minutes left in the show. (Sidenote: Robbie Kay deserves all the awards because he’s amazing as Henry.)

In the mausoleum, Regina tells Panry she loves him. They two embrace and the sneaky boy grabs a potion that he opens in her face. It knocks her out. He laughs to himself that this was so easy because Regina loves him.

We’ve reached the wrap-up of tonight’s flashback. Snow wants a family and that’s why she wanted to get rid of Regina with Medusa. The two agree that Regina will always be a problem, but they shouldn’t let that deter them from being happy. So that’s the lesson of the episode. I think it was conveyed better in the speech Charming gave Emma earlier.

Emma is desperately trying to get a hold of Regina but has no luck. The group meet Nealfire and Hook at the mausoleum, which is sealed shut by magic. Rumple uses his powers to break it open after a few minutes. Snow finds Regina knocked out on the floor and screams. Rumple uses his magic to wake her. Poor Regina is really upset that she fell for Panry’s tricks because she so desperately wanted to believe that Henry needed her to be his mother. Thank goodness he reassures her that he does, and then embraces her. As this is going on, Rumple is examining Regina’s magical items. Something is missing. Something really bad is missing.

“Please tell me you didn’t keep it down here.”
“Where else would I keep it?” Regina retorts.

What did Pan take? THE CURSE.

Panry has broken Felix out of jail to gloat like the typical bad guy does before he’s about to do something diabolical. He’s going to cast THE curse.

“When we’re done with it (Storybrooke), it’s going to be the New Neverland.”

I hope he succeeds. Do you?

Till next time.

Grade: B-