Peter Pan is Rumple’s father. Yup, a new Crappiest Parent champion has been crowned this week and I think he is going to stay champion for a long while. If it didn’t already, Thanksgiving in the Enchanted Forest would REALLY suck with all the baggage we’ve added to the table.
Through flashbacks, we meet a young Rumple and his father Malcom. Malcom is an all-around perfect example of a father, at least in OUaT terms. He spends his days drinking and cheating at cards. He even drops Rumple off with a couple of spinners (which he is, of course, a natural at) so he can continue not being a father. He does give him that corn doll and reminds him to give it a name. Even after all the abandonment, young Rumple wants to believe the best in his father, because that’s what kids do. The spinners hook him up with a magic bean so that he and his father can escape to a new world. Malcom remembers Neverland from his dreams as a boy so it’s decided that they will head there. When the two arrive, Malcom tells Rumple of the joys of Neverland and the power of belief. When he first can’t tap into the magic, Malcom thinks he just needs a bit of Pixie Dust, but when he reaches it, finds out the hard truth – Neverland is not for adults. As long as Malcom has responsibilities he cannot tap into the magic of Neverland. The Shadow (interesting that it’s actually its own separate entity) tells Malcom that there is one way that he can stay in Neverland – he has to abandon all his responsibilities, Rumple included. As the Shadow pulls Rumple away, Malcom utters one of the most poignant phrases I think I’ve heard on this show: “A child can’t have a child”. We’ll discuss that a little bit more later. As they fly away, we see Malcom morph into Pan, who does seem to show some regret – at least until he starts flying around. We then find out Skull Rock was created as a consequence of the magic used to turn Malcom into Pan, and the time is limited. Once the sand in the hourglass runs out he will die. The Shadow did at least drop Rumple back off at the spinners, which seemed like a pretty decent thing to do.
First, I want to commend this show on pretty much every child actor it has cast that WASN’T Jared Gilmore. Their casting of Wyatt Oleff as young Rumple was awesome, right up there with Bailee Madison as young Snow. The way these actors nail down the speech patterns and mannerisms of their elder counterparts is downright creepy and it further emphasizes how downright terrible Jared Gilmore can be when he isn’t in a scene with Lana. In a related note, Stephen Lord did an amazing job of recreating some of Rumple’s mannerisms but putting a twist on them so they were his own (the giggle and hand wave were my favorites).
Rumple’s father put the family abandonment issue on a whole different level that I don’t know that any other parent can reach. Snow and Charming abandoned Emma to save her from the curse and to eventually save everyone in the Enchanted Forest, a somewhat noble reason. Emma abandoned Henry because she knew she wasn’t ready to be a parent and wasn’t going to be able to provide him with a good life so she put him in a position to have that better life, also understandable. Now, Rumple’s abandonment of Neal takes on a new twist for me. When Rumple made that deal with Neal, the magic bean was not in the picture. Rumple obviously had a pretty traumatic experience the last time a magic bean was in the picture, so I have started to wonder if his fear of going through the portal was not just a fear of not having his magic and power but also a case of residual traumatic feelings from his youth. Now in all three of these cases, the parent has had regret at abandoning their child, and in the case of Rumple spent lifetimes putting everything into place that he could make his way to this world to find his son. Now if we look at the Malcom/Rumple case, things are a bit murkier. Malcom tried to play the “A child can’t have a child” and “you’ll be better off without me cards” as a show that he was doing this for Rumple and he did have a moment of regret, but his actions were never about Rumple. He just didn’t want to have responsibilities and wanted to remain a child forever. The second he started flying was the second he stopped regretting his decision. And he spent the next several lifetimes figuring out how he could stay young forever and then trying to find Henry versus any effort to reunite his family. So when Pan claims that he and Rumple are just alike, I have to side with Rumple.
--- How perfect was Marilyn Manson as the Shadow’s voice? But it does beg the question, how did Pan get the Shadow to start following his orders and become HIS shadow?
--- Do we HAVE to save Henry???? I’d much rather keep Pan. He’s so wonderfully creepy.
So with that I turn it over to you. Did you love the reveal or think it was terrible? Who else do you think will end up being on that family tree? Do you want to see Henry saved or would you prefer for Pan to stick around? Is Malcom not the undisputed champ for worst parent ever? Just a reminder that there’s no new episode next week cause ABC loves their awards shows. So I hope everyone have a safe and lovely Thanksgiving, or just a nice week if you don’t celebrate.