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I’ll be honest with you; this episode let me down a bit. It’s not that I hated the episode (in fact, I had a good time), it’s just not what I expected. Sure, there’s a little of action which is always nice to see, there’s Emma accepting who she really is, Peter Pan playing mind games, Rumple trying to let go of his past… and there was the flashback. Seriously, I think that flashback was almost unnecessary and I didn’t understand the point of it until near the end of the episode, but by that point I already endured many scenes that were quite dull and seemingly had nothing to do with the main story. You see, the key to flashbacks are that, when you are using them, you can see that there’s a meaning to it, that it echoes strongly with the story’s main theme. But that doesn’t happen here until near the end of the episode, and for a long time it felt like a waste of potentially good material.

Aside from that, this week’s episode was fun. We start with Rumple hiding his dagger from everyone, including himself which is a smart move; I have to mention that the shadow he summed looked a lot like the one Peter Pan uses to kidnap children, coincidence? There must be a story there that we don’t know yet.

Meanwhile our heroes venturing around the island; Hook leads the way as he knows the place the best, while Charming and Snow try to cheer Emma up who has been noticeably anxious about finding Henry and quite insecure about her own skills. She, of course, doesn’t buy her parents’ optimism. It’s nice territory to explore and the episode makes sure to cover that ground in depth.

As everyone sleeps soundly, Emma wakes up in the middle of the night and she finds Peter Pan, who leaves her a map which should lead her to Henry, but there’s a catch: she has to accept who she really is, otherwise the map will remain blank. When Emma goes back to the camp and tells everyone about it Regina says that it might be a trap, but Hook points out that Pan doesn’t need to set up traps as the whole island is a trap itself. So Emma tries to play Pan’s game, but even while she admits everything she is (including that she is a savior, which is embarrassing for her), nothing happens; there’s something she is still denying.

Regina gets anxious, and she decides to take matters on her own hands and cast a location spell in the map so that they can find Peter (and hopefully Henry), but they end up being surrounded by Lost Boys. This leads to a fight scene which, although not perfectly executed, it was really fun to watch. Our heroes hold their feet quite well (with Regina being a total badass wiping out some of those boys with her magic) and Emma is about to reach Peter, but before that she ends up fighting another boy and when she has the chance to kill him (or at least take him as hostage) she just stops: she looks on the boy’s eyes and she freezes as she sees something in him that reminds her of what she is. Long story short, the boys retreat, Charming gets (probably lethally ) wounded, but acts as nothing happened, and our main party is back to square one.

Snow and Emma share a good moment as Snow pushed her daughter to admit why she didn’t kill the boy, and Emma confess that it’s because the look on the boy’s eyes is the one of an orphan, and she was an orphan herself, and that’s a part of her that will never banish, even after finding her parents. It’s a strong moment, and just as last week’s scene with Henry’s birth, I’ve been constantly surprised with Morrison’s performance so far; last season I thought she lost some focus, but as right now I think she is having her best season acting wise. We’ll have to see how it plays out in the following episodes.

Finally, after accepting who she is, the map shows Henry’s location and Emma has yet another encounter with Peter, who tells her that even if she finds Henry he won’t go back to her as he hasn’t forgiven her for abandoning him. This could be really interesting; aside from Peter messing with Emma’s head, if we actually see Henry being turned around against his mothers (yes, against Regina too) the show might actually give Henry proper use, something it has always struggled with.

Now, in the B-plot, we have Rumple wondering around Never Land, looking for Henry. In his way, he sees an illusion of Belle, who is constantly trying to help him move on from his cowardice so he won’t make the mistake of abandoning Henry, just like he did with Baelfire. Do you remember the doll he was given in last week’s episode? It turns out it was given to him by his father before he was abandoned, and this is some kind of symbol to the person he used to be, the coward he used to be. And so Belle pushes Rumple to throw the doll away to leave that behind it. Interestingly enough, even though he did throw the doll away to the sea, the doll came back and even after he tried to burn it down, it kept coming back; it seems Peter Pan doesn’t only like to tease Emma, but Rumple as well, and he decides to keep the doll with him as destroying it won’t make it go away, still this could also mean that he is holding on to his coward self, something like that it’s not easy to leave behind.

Now, here we go… the flashback… this is the part of the episode that disappointed me and that it seemed like a complete waste of time. If we were shown this flashback back at season 1, I would have understand the purpose of showing us this, heck, even in season 2 it would have made sense, but now we’re in season 3 and the whole dispute of Snow White and The Evil Queen seems almost water under the bridge. Sure, they have their differences, but as in the season finale Snow and Charming stated that they are family with Regina, it seems that the show has already moved past the original conflict between these two characters; and we weren’t shown anything we didn’t already know. Regina was an evil queen that had no trouble terrorizing innocent people and Snow was so good that she even considered giving up her land just to save some people as she thought she couldn’t face Regina. What does all of this have to do with the current quest to save Henry? Nothing at all; the excuse for this flashback is that Snow had to find herself before stepping up to Regina and claiming back her land, and as she found herself back then (thanks to Charming and a little trick with a fake Excalibur sword) she can advise Emma how to find herself so she can release the spell that kept the map from showing Henry’s location. This could have been made with a flashback that actually echoes not just to that specific scene, but rather the whole episode or the season. Regina as the evil queen tends to be cartoonish and so Snow White and Charming, but in this week’s flashback it all seemed a little bit too over the top.

The good moments came whenever we were in Never Land, with Hook leading out party through the island, Regina being anxious, Emma being insecure, and Snow and Charming trying to keep Emma’s spirit up. Those moments showed us the real tension that is generated through this whole situation that is Henry’s rescue and there are some good character moments. But when we spend time in the flashback it just tells us, once again, information we already know. If they are going to show us the past, I recommend that they actually reveal something we don’t know about the character. We didn’t learn anything new about Regina, Rumple, Charming or Snow, we merely were told that Snow went through a process of finding herself and that’s it; it took it about 15 or 20 minutes that could been spent more wisely. I hope the show doesn’t do something like that again.

Flashback aside, the episode was mostly good, entertaining, though not really memorable, it was a good time killer, but I’m still waiting for an episode that makes me think “this is great television”, because I know OUAT can do that, it just needs more focus.

Grade: B-

Stray Observations:

-Hook: “On those stories, what I was like? Other than a villain and handsome”.
Emma: “If wax, mustaches and perms are your thing”.
Hook: “I take it by your tone, perms are bad”.
I love when the writers make scenes with these two.

-Charming: “I agree with the pirate”.
Hook: “I’m winning you over, I can tell that”
I rephrase my sentence above; you just gotta love Hook.

-Things we actually learnt in the flashback: there was this one time when the dwarfs thought Charming was a gold digging. It was worth a laugh or two.

-I almost forgot to mention it: Charming got badly hurt in the fight with the Lost Boys! I doubt his life is in true danger, but it’s interesting to ponder how intense OUAT would get if they actually pulled the trigger on this.

-Next Week: Tinkerbell comes to the show, and she has a face off with Regina! I loved Regina centric episodes last season, so let’s see how this plays out.

Pablozky
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing articles and some reviews as well

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