Is it bad that I found the flashback in this episode boring? Because I did. It was just explaining what we already knew- that Boy Baelfire was growing increasingly frustrated with how badly his father was spiraling downward while Dark One Rumpelstiltskin continued to brush off his son’s concerns and try to cover up the issue with grandiose promises (like magically creating a huge castle for them to live in). But we already got the point in ‘The Return.’ The ONLY thing that was particularly noteworthy was the reveal that Pan is also the Pied Piper of Hamilton, which I suppose sorta makes sense, as he must have gathered up his Lost Boys with more than just his shadow. It all ends with the wedge between father and son getting even larger, as Baelfire gets ticked that Rumple didn’t even give him the choice between staying with Pan or going back home with his father.
There was a short deleted scene that showed where Dark One Rumpelstiltskin got that small knife he tried to give to Boy Baelfire in the start of the episode- a scene that showed that Rip Van Winkle was a real person in the Enchanted Forest. Does this mean we might also get other American Folklore figures popping up for brief cameos? Like Pecos Bill, Ichabod Crane and Paul Bunyan? Oh, please tell me we’re gonna get to see Paul Bunyan! I wanna see Babe the Blue Ox get the OUAT treatment!
The story arc with Gold/Rumpelstiltskin and Nealfirebagelperson in the present day also left me feeling disinterested. Yeah. They’re reunited with each other and team up to save Henry, but Pan taunts them with the seer’s prophesy, leaving Nealfire to turn on his father again, which only results in him getting captured by the Lost Boys and Pan getting Henry back in his clutches. Henry’s starting to lose hope, and I AM SO BORED! Okay, I will admit the whole thing with Rumple and Nealbagelperson using the squid ink to immobilize Pan was pretty cool, but that’s about it. Although, how did Nealfire know blowing on the shell would call the squid? Granted he lived on Neverland for who knows how long, but that doesn’t really explain it. Knowing you can summon a squid to come to shore just by blowing into a shell? That’s a pretty random bit of know-how to just stumble across by accident or chance. Maybe if there was a flashback with Boy Baelfire spying on a mermaid that summoned the squid, I might have been able to understand that scene better. But there wasn’t, so I’m still in the dark on this one.
What was the point of this episode? I mean, seriously. Yeah, Gold/Rumple is struggling to choose between protecting his grandson and self-preservation, Nealfirebaglelperson is somewhat estranged from his father, and Pan is a miserable little devil spawn, but we’ve already gathered that from earlier episodes. We KNOW this already, don’t we? They could have easily skipped all the family drama between Nealfire and Rumple/Gold. We wouldn’t really have lost anything plotwise if they had shown Neal running into Felix in the last episode and then immediately cut to Neal in the cage. Granted we’d be short one episode, but I’m sure they could have thought up something to remedy that. Like showing us what’s going down back in Storybrooke right now, considering the mayor, the sheriff and even the main royal couple are currently absent. I’d be interested in seeing how the town is fairing in the absence of Storybrooke’s main authority figures. And it could give more screen time to the background characters. I see no downside to that.
I’m sorry to say I was once again a bit disappointed in Henry, particularly since he can’t seem to figure out what Pan’s doing. Yeah, he’s being told he was brought to Neverland to save magic. But Henry never stops and says ‘then why didn’t you just ask me instead of having me kidnapped?’ I know he’s only a kid, but as I’ve said before, he’s supposed to be a smart kid. Are we supposed to realize that it’s the curse of the island that’s making him forget? Was that what they were going for? I really don’t know. This episode seems to imply that he’s losing hope because he thinks he only imagined his birth father’s voice. I’m just having a hard time getting why Henry is seemingly so broken up over Neal’s apparent death. Yeah, he’s his father; I got that. But he’s only known him for a week or so, right? Even if that week was enough to get Henry to completely love his dad, why is Henry apparently forgetting about Emma, who he was so sure was coming for him? After all, Henry has spent WAY more time with Emma than he did with Neal, and it was established at the end of season one that he has complete faith in her. Why does him thinking he imagined Neal’s voice make him start to lose hope completely?
I honestly have to say that the only time I remotely enjoyed in this episode was when the action shifted back to Emma and company. That was when the good stuff happened. They finally get their plan-of-action figured out and are ready to rescue Henry. Until Tinkerbell points out the one flaw they’ve all neglected to even consider- how are they going to get out of Neverland after rescuing Henry? Knowing the only person who has ever left the island without Pan’s permission was Boy Baelfire, they make their way to the cave where he'd made his home in the hopes that they’ll find some sort of clue how he managed that feat. But while they do come across what seems to be a star map, they cannot figure out how to read it, leaving them back at square one with Emma having an emotional breakdown due to the stress of wanting to save Henry and how she never got actual closure from Neal, who she still thinks is dead.
There’s also the continuing subplot of Charming slowly dying from Dreamshade, and his ongoing refusal to tell anyone. Charm, I know your heart is in the right place, but seriously! Listen to Hook, will ya? Just because you don’t think there’s anything that could be done to save your life, you’re doing your loved ones a huge disservice by not letting them know you’re gonna drop dead in a day or so. Snow even told you how much your death would hurt her, but you chose to force her to possibly go through that without any warning whatsoever. Dude, you’re an idiot.
I’m just really sorry that this episode analysis is so short. I simply have nothing of merit to say about it. Nearly everything was nothing more than a rehash of what we already knew/picked up on from earlier episodes. Thankfully, the next episode is where things start to get interesting again.