While the group is following Pan’s map, they discover Pan has pulled a fast one and moved his camp to a new location. This leaves everyone with the question of how they’re supposed to make it to Pan’s camp and rescue Henry if Pan is only going to keep moving it whenever they get too close. Hook, once again showing his knowledge of the island, suggests seeking out the fairy Tinkerbell, stating she might be able to assist them. However, Regina is instantly opposed to this idea. The reason for her reluctance is revealed in the episode’s flashback, which takes place during that span of time between Regina marrying Snow’s father and the events that were shown in ‘Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.’ Regina is growing increasingly frustrated with her lot in life, much like a tiger in a cage. When she accidentally falls off the balcony, she is saved at the last minute by Tinkerbell, who’d happened to be passing by. (That must have been one shoddily-placed railing to have broken off after Regina simply hit it a few times. Exactly how hard was she slapping the thing?) The two instantly become BFFs, and after bonding with each other by discussing the late Daniel (ugh, I almost forgot how annoying Regina could be when she insisted on pegging Daniel’s death on Snow), Tinkerbell vows to help Regina find a new soulmate. She eventually locates one in a man who’s staying at a nearby tavern- a man who is later revealed to be Robin Hood (who we also learn had lost Maid Marion in the present day, sometime after the events of the ‘Lacey’ flashback). But Regina chickens out at the last minute and doesn’t go up to meet Robin. As horrible as it may sound, while Tinkerbell’s motives were certainly pure, I do think it was a good thing that Regina didn’t allow herself to meet Robin Hood back then. After all, she was technically still married to King Leopold at the time. Let’s not forget how he reacted when he suspected Regina had a secret admirer back in ‘Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.’ If Regina had gone into the tavern and spoken to Robin as planned, the guy might very well have been executed. So, in a way, Regina’s actions kinda saved Robin’s life. As for Tinkerbell, because she defied Blue’s orders in her attempts to help Regina, she was stripped of her wings and banished from the fairy kingdom.
Speaking of Blue, she is such a major snot. I get she’s obviously the head fairy, but that doesn’t give her the right to be all high-and-mighty, treating the other fairies like figures in her own personal life-sized dollhouse. ‘I would be the judge of what is fairy-like.’ Whatever you say, Queen B, supreme ruler of everything. One question- do you mind if I slap you? Is there anyone out there who actually likes this character? I wouldn’t be surprised if she was universally hated. First it was her preventing Nova from being with Dreamy/Grumpy, and now this. Blue, you do realize that being the head fairy doesn’t mean you can have unbridled control over the lives of all the other fairies, right? I’m surprised you haven’t magically stripped them of their free will and given them all hive minds.
Getting back to the story, the group eventually finds Tinkerbell, who hesitantly agrees to help them infiltrate Pan’s camp when Snow offers her the chance to leave Neverland with them. Here we do get a small moment with everyone back at camp. While Snow and Charming are cuddling with each other and Hook and Emma are enjoying some coconuts (and who else saw the way Tink was eyeing those two? You think she kept her ability to recognize soulmates even after losing her wings?) Tinkerbell ends up stepping away to sit with her old BFF, criticizing her for never going back later to find the man with the lion tattoo/Robin, stating that doing so ruined his life as well.
Meanwhile, Neal’s still bumbling around Rumpelstiltskin’s old castle, trying to find a way for him to travel to Neverland after Emma. Until he discovers the existence of Robin Hood’s small son, Roland. The moment he sees Roland, you see the rusty cogs in Neal’s head start to turn as he devises his evil scheme. Remembering how the shadow almost abducted Michael Darling back in Victorian London until he’d stepped in to take Michael’s place, Nealfirebagelperson decides to use Roland as bait to lure Pan’s shadow to them so he can then force the shadow to bring him to Neverland instead. Our hero, ladies and gentleman- someone who purposely endangers another man’s beloved son for his own personal gain. Have I mentioned that I hate this guy? What makes me even more irritated about him in this episode is when he’s talking to Robin and Mulan about how he messed up with Emma. But the mistake he mentions making with her was waiting too long to respond to her ‘I love you’ before he got pulled through the portal. As if that was his only transgression that he needs to be forgiven for. Oh come on, Neal! Don’t pretend like the whole ‘sending her to jail for your crime’ thing didn’t happen! Because THAT’S what you should REALLY be sorry for. Stop being all ‘no biggie’ about it!
It just astounds me that there were people who actually wanted to see this guy get back together with Emma. Even if I could overlook all the moronic and selfish stuff he did, I never saw any sort of chemistry between them. At all. And I’m someone who thought there might have potentially been something between Boy Baelfire and Morraine (who’s most likely dead by now), or even between him and Wendy. Adult Neal had way more chemistry with Mulan than he did with Emma, and Mulan ended up being revealed as a lesbian. (I guess this means Shang doesn’t exist in OUAT’s reality.) I don’t know, maybe the role of Adult Neal was just miscast. I’m sure actor Michael Raymond-James is a great guy and that he’s acted well in other stuff, but in OUAT, his character just always seems to be as bland as wonder bread. Even his nonverbal acting seemed off to me- no matter what’s going on in the show, this guy almost always seems to have the same facial expression of apathetic disinterest. Watching Adult Neal react to anything just reminds me too much of the ‘Expressions of Darth Vader’ T-shirt.
Anyway, despite Robin’s justifiable misgivings about Nealfirebagelperson’s diabolical plan, it does end up working. (Still doesn’t change the fact that Neal was very self-centered in endangering little Roland.) Anyway, once he’s gone, Robin offers Mulan a place among his band of Merry Men. At first, Mulan hesitates to take the offer, as she has romantic feelings for Aurora. But when she finds out Aurora is pregnant with Prince Phillip’s baby, she decides to continue keeping her feelings a secret and accepts Robin’s offer. While I do feel bad for Mulan, I do have to question her reasoning. She must have known her feelings were going to be one-sided, particularly since they went to such (unseen) lengths to get Phillip back from the wrath.
While I should probably mention Henry, there’s just not that much to talk about. Just Pan being all creepy and whatnot, trying to force Henry to act out the famous scene in William Tell and informing him that he’s some prophesied Chosen One who’s going to help save magic. Which is kind of weird, as Henry actually tried to destroy magic midway through season 2. Again, not much to discuss in terms of Henry’s subplot at the moment.
Oh, yeah, and Charming’s slowly dying of Dreamshade poisoning. But despite Hook’s very sensible advice, he insists on keeping it a secret from Emma and Snow. Just to mention that, as it’s gonna be an issue for the next two episodes.