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After a lack luster episode last week, it’s nice to see that Once Upon a Time seems to be finally figuring out how to tell stories in Neverland. It’s not a perfect episode, but it’s pretty good; for one we have an interesting backstory for Hook, interesting conflicts for his character and nice development in the way to rescue Henry. There was plenty stuff that I didn’t like, but I’ll get to that later… and it’s really not that important.



The episode starts with Henry and the lost boys. Peter pan seems to be getting into his head and as a lost boy picks up a fight on him, Pan encourages Henry to turn a wood stick into a sword (with his powers as truest believer) and Henry ends up cutting him (obviously). Then Pan says that the best thing about being a lost boy is never having to apologize. Henry then gets pumped and happy. And that was an annoying start to an otherwise great episode; in my last review I talked about how Jared S. Gilmore is a bad actor and the show’s weakest link, and this scene just further proves that he can’t handle what could have great with another kid actor. If he played it right, we would be worry about a kid growing in the wrong direction, but all that I can see is how this is so forcedly acted and I can’t really feel like the show wants me to. It’s an acting issue.

Aside from that, most of the episode is entertaining and mostly great; Emma and her party are looking for clues in Neal’s cave and Emma realizes that at some point Neal lost hope and stopped marking the days he spent on Neverland. This worries her as Henry could be losing faith himself (and she couldn’t be more right) so she decides that they have to send a message. So they will set up a trap.

Charming tells Hook to come with him to gather some vines, and he outright tells Hook to stay away from Emma. I’m kind of glad this happened, because it was so obvious that Hook had feelings for her that it’s nice that we’re not the only ones who noticed, but also the characters. I mean, you’d have to be blind not to see it. Charming collapses before he could end up his speech and Hook comes to his aid; as it seems that he only have hours to live, Hook pulls a little trick to make Charming believe that they can find something to read Neal’s inscription (sorry, I couldn’t get the name, I know it’s mentioned in the episode, but I just couldn’t get it) and so they get going (not without Charming having a cheesy goodbye with Emma and Snow, while Regina seemed to think “I hope he doesn’t say goodbye to me too”).

And off they went to get the item; in the way Hook meets with Peter Pan who offers him and Emma a way out of Neverland as long as he kills Charming before the poison gets to his heart; Hook is no idiot and he knows that, for starters, Emma would never leave Henry behind, but Pan insists that Hook could eventually pick up the pieces. I knew Hook wouldn’t fall for that, and I’m happy he didn’t, because it would have been idiotic. But Charming wasn’t as sure as I was; he overheard his little conversation with Pan and he confronts Hook, but he quickly collapses. Luckily for him, Hook had an experience like this before (I’ll get to that) and he knew that he could save Charming with some water of a magical spring, so all this search for the item was just a lie so that Charming would accept going there in the first place. So Hook gives him the water, saves Charming, but he is now bound to stay on Neverland or he’ll die instantly.

Meanwhile, Emma, Snow and Regina pull of a simple trap to get a lost boy. At first they ask nicely and try to turn him to their side (with chocolate, but it seems this kid knows not to take candy from strangers), yet soon they realize that the boy has no intention to join them, so Regina proposes to control him via taking his heart out. Of course, Snow isn't happy about it, but interestingly enough Emma is fine with it, and a very satisfied Regina goes there and rip out that boy’s heart out while Emma restrains Snow who doesn’t bear the thought of doing things the wrong way. But I couldn’t be happier that they are doing it this way; it seems like they finally taking advantage of Regina’s strengths and it just feels right.

The boy has no choice but to obey, and Regina has the brilliant idea (seriously, this woman is a genius!) to not only deliver the message, but also let Henry see them via mirrors. And it works; after so much time stuck doing mostly nothing but walking in Neverland is nice to see some development. Henry gets the message and he gets to see his mothers and his grandmother; at first he thinks it is a trick, but I’m sure that in the end he knew they were real. He had to end the transmission as Pan was getting close, but as he threw the mirror I couldn’t help but wonder if Henry is getting comfortable in Pan’s side. It’s hard to tell, as I said before Jared is a bad actor, and he could be either playing it as Henry wanted to protect his family or that he wanted to ditch them. Either way, it’s an interesting development, but one that has been a little bit forced.

What I liked the most is that, at the end, Snow comes to terms with the way they worked this out, she ended up accepting that taking that boy’s heart was what they had to do, and that’s really good considering how obsessed she has been about to get things done “the right way”. It’s always nice to see some gray moral areas. And it’s even better when Regina takes the blame on what was done (“She didn’t. I did. That’s what I’m here for”), because now it feels like they are a real team. Regina is ready to do everything that goes beyond the moral areas, she is willing to get her hands dirty and it seems she is ok with being the only one with blood on her hands. I really love how it got to this.

And as Charming and Hook return alive and well, Charming kisses Snow and makes a toast in Hook’s name for saving his life. After that Emma and Hook get some solo time and they finally make out. This has been expected since early season 2, and it was about time as their chemistry on screen has been only increasing with time and it would be criminal if there wasn’t some progression on that. Sadly, Emma does what Emma does and tells Hook that it was a one time thing; we know how Emma has some trust issues and how hard is for her to let people in, but I have no doubts she’ll open up eventually and I believe that not even Neal will get in the way.

Talking about Neal, Pan tells Hook that he is on Neverland in order to make him nervous about his chances with Emma. And the episode ends with Neal being caged, and his cage being hanged up in the air beside someone else. Now, who could that be?

And I left the flashback for the end; it’s an interesting flashback which shows us that Hook once was an honorable man who travelled with his brother, the captain, in a flying ship in order to search for a plant that the king desires. It’s good that the flashback shows the good in Hook, because it mostly states that Hook is indeed a good man deep down, he has those qualities and we can see them on the episode, so the flashback really echoes to what is happening.

Sadly for Hook and company, the plant they were looking for was on Neverland and it turns out to be so deadly that it could kill an entire army. Pan warns Hook and his brother about this, but they don’t believe him, and as they get to the plant, Hook’s brother decides to show him that the plant is probably not poisonous, so he cuts himself with the thorns and he collapses. Pan shows up and he tells Hook about the spring that can save his brother, but it comes with a price. Hook saves his brother, but as they leave Neverland the water loses effect and Hook’s brother dies. With his anger gather inside him, he convinces his crew to become pirates as they can’t serve a corrupt king, one who took his brother, and so it was born the Jolly Roger.

Despite some flaws there and there, I loved all the progression in both story and characters. There’s enough good will to let all my worries about this season to wash away, at least for the moment. OUAT tends to be an inconsistent show, at times shining and at times being a drag, but as long as we find these good episodes, I’m good to go.

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

-Lately I’ve been making some little mistakes in my reviews (whoopsie daisies if you may). Two weeks ago it was the Mulan confusion, and then it was the Jared Gilmore character/actor mix up. If you find any mistake like that, please let me know and I’ll fix it right away.

-Emma: “It’s operation Cobra rescue. We’re coming to get you”.
Even though I don’t like Henry as a character (and much less the actor who plays him) it was nice to hear this callback of the days they had operation Cobra… the old glory days of season 1.

-As Charming comes back with Hook and kiss Snow we have some funny bits with Regina.
1: Snow: “Wow, I’m not complaining but…” *gets kissed by Charming again*
Regina: “Well, I’m complaining. What I wouldn’t give for a sleeping curse right now”.
2: Charmin: “To Hook!” *passes the drink to Regina*
Regina: “I don’t do rum!”
Epic Regina is epic!

-So, how long until Emma get to know that Neal is alive and well? My guess is as soon as next episode.

-Next week: It’s Ariel for you! It’ll be an interesting episode for me; my three year old niece has seen the movie about 100 times, and so I’ve watched it with her about 10 times. With such a fresh memory about the movie it’ll be fun to see what spins OUAT makes out of the story.

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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