So, after Baelfire was pulled through the portal that was supposed to bring him to the Land Without Magic back in ‘The Return’, he wound up in Victorian London. Seeing this makes me wonder quite a bit about the implications of this. If you’ll forgive me for bringing in sci-fi logic into this show, I think we can all agree that our world, the Land Without Magic, and the fairy tale world of the Enchanted Forest can be considered parallel realities. Does the dual time lines between these two worlds match up, and each generation in the Enchanted Forest is linked to a particular generation in the Land Without Magic? For example, the ‘origin of Dark One Rumpelstiltskin’ era of the Enchanted Forest matches up with our world’s Victorian era and the ‘Snow White vs. Evil Queen Regina’ era overlaps with the 70s-80s in our world. Or am I completely off-the-mark, and the cross-dimensional jumps are completely random in regards to the passage of time? I’m really hoping my musings on this is properly translating into writing. If it doesn’t, I apologize.
Anyway, ramblings aside, because Baelfire was thrown into Victorian London without anything to help him get started (I doubt Enchanted Forest currency would fly in the Land Without Magic), he lived as a street urchin until circumstances led him to be taken in by a Victorian family. And not just any family. The Darlings! As in Wendy, John and Michael. (And I’m not ashamed to admit it- every time they introduce a new childhood icon into this story, I have a total fangirl moment) I really feel bad that Baelfire couldn’t just live out the rest of his days as part of the Darling family, as he really seemed to mesh into that family effortlessly. But nothing’s ever cozy in this show, and he finds out through Wendy that a mysterious sentient shadow comes to their bedroom window at night. In spite of Baelfire warning Wendy not to trust the shadow (not sure how him being reasonably leery about anything magical means he just doesn’t believe, but oh well), she allows it to take her one night. She returns the next morning, apologizing to Baelfire for not listening to him, as the shadow wants to come back the following night in order to take one of her brothers away forever. It was really noble of Baelfire to allow the shadow to take him instead of Michael, just so the Darling family could stay together (although I do wonder how the kids explained Baelfire’s sudden absence to Mr. and Mrs. Darling the following morning.) Question- why was he so shocked when he saw the shadow took him to Neverland? Where did he think it was taking him? After all, hadn’t Wendy already implied that was where the Shadow was going to take him? Either way, he’s still shocked and surprised to the point when he manages to wrestle himself out of the shadow’s hold, and as a result, practically falls right into Captain Hooks’ lap.
Like with last episode, it really bugged me how everyone refused to take Emma’s concerns about Tamara seriously. As I said before, I’m not too surprised with Neal not listening to her, as he obviously loved Tamara enough to want to marry her and it’s perfectly reasonable that he’d want to think the best of her. (Besides, I don’t have much faith in Neal’s level of intelligence, anyway.) But in the case of Snow and Charming? They’re really dismissive of her suspicions. They’re practically telling her to drop it, like she’s just a little kid harping on an old grievance. Way to have faith in your own daughter, you guys. I bet they felt rotten when Emma got the confirmation that she was right about Tamara. Of course, that confirmation came at the apparent cost of Neal’s life. Seeing how this episode handled this moment leaves me in a state of bemusement. The way everyone is acting to Neal’s apparent death suggests that he and Emma actually had a shot at starting over. Really? Cause I never got that impression. While they do seem to confess their love before Neal gets pulled into the portal, I really don’t think that should count as a legit love confession, as it was more of a moment of emotionally high stress. In regards to Neal, he was all set to marry Tamara, and he seemed to genuinely love her. So much so, he up and invites her to Storybrooke without checking with anyone else, all because he apparently needs her there. When Emma tries to warn him that something’s not quite right about her, he brushes her concerns away like they’re nothing. But the moment he finds out Tamara had been playing him, he’s all ‘I love you, Emma.’ Really? Cause you have a funny way of showing it. If Tamara HAD been legit, I’m sure Neal would have gone through with marrying her without batting an eye. And yes, I’m sure there’s a part of Emma who will always care about him. After all, he was her first love. As Hook said back in‘Tallahassee,’ ‘you never forget your first.’ In addition, Neal did give her Henry, and they never actually had closure, so there’s bound to be lingering feelings. But there’s that whole betrayal thing that Neal pulled on Emma. You know, with how he had her sent to prison for a crime he committed? And don’t try to tell me he had to do that to make sure she’d be able to eventually return to Storybrooke and break the curse, because there were a million other ways he could have left her without sending her to jail. For instance, making her believe he didn’t love her, like Snow did with Charming back in the ‘7:15 A.M.’ flashback. Or even just never showing up at the rendezvous point. If all else failed, he could have even faked his death somehow. While he does claim to regret his actions, simply being remorseful isn’t always enough to fix things. (i.e. how cursed David/Charming doubted cursed Mary Margret/Snow’s innocence during the whole possible murder of Kathryn subplot towards the end of season 1. The only reason their relationship was repaired after that was because the curse broke and everyone got their memories back.) At the end of the day, Neal’s betrayal caused significant damage to Emma’s psyche. It’s the reason why she has put up walls higher than Mt. Everest around her heart. It’s why she has such a hard time trusting people and opening up to anyone, as she’s convinced that if she does let someone in, it’s only a matter of time before they let her down. It’s also the reason why she gave up Henry, because Neal’s actions left her with the feeling that she was unlovable and didn’t deserve the unconditional love her son would have held for her. I don’t think Neal could have ever made up for all of that. There are simply some things you can’t ever get past.
Apart from that, there is the whole iffy issue this show never seems to address. Remember how Emma claimed to have been 18 when she gave birth to Henry in ‘The Price of Gold?’ There were a few elements that popped up that seem to contradict that statement. First off, Henry was 10 when he showed up on Emma’s doorstop in the pilot episode. That event took place on Emma’s 28th birthday. Think about that for a moment. Emma’s birthday is in October, and while I don’t think it’s ever stated when Henry’s birthday is, there is a greater chance that it’s before October. Meaning when Henry turned 10, Emma was 27. That does seem to indicate that Emma was actually 17 at the time. In addition, in ‘Desperate Souls,’ we’re told that Emma’s old prison record was sealed by the courts when she got out of jail. Obviously I’m no expert on the legal system, but if her juvie records were sealed, wouldn’t that mean she was out of jail by the time she turned 18? This further indicates she was younger than 18 when she had Henry, as he was born when she was still in jail. My point is, if she gave birth to Henry before she turned 18, that would mean she was still a minor when he was conceived. Meaning the adult Neal had sex with Emma when she was still legally considered a minor. That is the very definition of statutory rape, and it does bug me a bit how that detail is never addressed in the show.
Because Belle is still stuck in her ‘Lacey’ persona, Gold/Rumpelstiltskin is not even trying to behave himself. This results in Neal, who catches him in the act of attacking Dr. Whale just for looking at Belle/Lacey, to once again disown his father. Was that what Regina was trying to accomplish when she implanted the false memories inside Belle? Was she of the mindset that if she couldn’t get what she wanted (reconciliation with Henry), then no one else could get what they wanted, either? If that’s what your train of thought was, Regina, then you are acting like a spoiled child and therefore don’t deserve to have Henry in your life.
We finally find out exactly what Greg and Tamara are up to- they’re apparently part of some kind of magic-hating society who are on a sort of witch-hunt in order to get rid of any form of magic. Basically, they’re magic-Neo-Nazis. While I know racial prejudice is a deep-rooted problem and people who have that mindset cannot easily be swayed, if they can at all, getting rid of magic? That’s not just bigoted, it might be horribly misguided. I don’t think it’s even possible to actually destroy magic. If we regard magic as a brand of power, then shouldn’t the laws of conservation of energy apply? You know, energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change from one form to another. Didn’t these two pay attention in science class? After all, we’ve seen that they’ve been using science to detect/nullify magic in the past few episodes. So, did they just fall asleep/play hooky during that particular lesson? The question still remains how Tamara got wrapped up in all of this. As I’ve said before, I get why Greg’s part of this anti-magic group. Anyone might feel inclined to do what he’s done after what he went through in Storybrooke as a kid, particularly when he lost his father, whom Regina virtually admits to have killed. But Tamara? What exactly led her to be so adamant about getting rid of magic? Was it just a matter of her being sympathetic to what Greg went through? Anyway, the episode ends with them getting orders from the mysterious ‘home office’ to up the anti- instead of just targeting the magical beings in Storybrooke, they’re just going to eliminate the whole town by using the fail-safe self-destruct gem they’d stolen from Regina.