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Once Upon a Time - Episode 3.01 "The Heart of the Truest Believer" - Review

Once Upon a Time is one of the craziest shows on TV. And by crazy I mean a show where logic has no place whatsoever. Now when it’s at its peak, that craziness leads to some amazing television. When it’s not so great, it leads for lots of head scratching and a significant increase in the number of sarcastic remarks on my part. The show is also known for awesome premieres and finales, with the quality in between much more of a roller coaster.

As ABC has been drilling down into our brains since May, “The Heart of the Truest Believer” established that a vary majority of our time for the first part of this season will be spent in Neverland. As hinted last season, this Neverland is a much darker place than what we were exposed to in our youth.

I’m going to start off by discussing the Greg/Tamara issue so that I hopefully never have to discuss them again. How can two people be that idiotic to know not one thing about the people they are working for? Even Henry, who trusts random strangers more than anyone I’ve ever met (more on that later), calls them out on how little they actually know. And, of course, they end up working for Pan himself, and things don’t end well. For them, anyway. Personally, I was one happy camper. These two were, hands down, the worst thing about season two and I am so happy for them to be gone. One thing I wasn’t 100% clear on and would welcome any clarification: was Pan ripping Greg’s shadow away or was it ripping his soul out? If it’s his shadow that would suggest it could be returned (in a similar vein to the story) and he could be alive again, which would make me terribly sad.

Now that we have the dead weight out of the way, we can get on to talking about the meat of the episode. We knew that having these six characters isolated together for an extended period of time was going to lead to a lot of tension, sparks, fighting, etc. I honestly expected it to take a little bit longer for everything to start coming to a head, but I’m glad to see us starting to deal with some of these issues.

Emma’s conversation with Snow and Charming was long overdue. And her point is entirely valid. The curse has resulted in her being about the same age as her parents, and no one has quite figured out how that dynamic should work. Snow and Charming have tried on occasion to play the parent role but, when your daughter still has very apparent abandonment issues, it’s a very difficult line to walk. However, being in these magical realms does give them an advantage. Rumple was entirely correct that Emma lacks imagination and belief, and she is in no way ready for Neverland. Snow and Charming do have that and it does give them some wisdom to impart. It doesn’t quite make for a parent/child relationship, but it could allow them to figure out how their relationship should work.

Regina and Hook also had an interesting conversation at the beginning of the episode. Neither one has actually viewed themselves as the villain in their respective situations. Additionally, they have both exhausted a great deal of time and energy in the name of revenge. Ultimately, neither has ended up with what they ultimately seek: a happy ending. Hook has realized that, even if he ultimately exacts his revenge, he’s still alone and unhappy at the end of the day. Regina is equally unhappy, although much more in denial about the cause of her unhappiness. She still seems surprised that people view her as a villain and, as such, incapable of a happy ending. I think as we delve further into this season we will see their true colors rise to the surface.

Rumple also had a few interesting moments in this episode. He is convinced that his undoing equals his death. And although Henry is supposed to be the cause of that undoing, he feels he has a responsibility to Neal to save Henry. This has a resulted in a Rumple that really feels like he has nothing to lose at this point. That sarcastic hand wave probably made my week. I’ll let you know next review if it held up. The voodoo-looking doll was the most intriguing part of the episode for me. It obviously has a great deal of meaning to Rumple. I’m wondering if it has something to do with his father. Time will tell I suppose.

Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Neal is suddenly ok? Did they take the bullet out? Is Aurora’s pedestal able to magically heal people? I guess this is just another thing to add to the growing list of logic-less things that happen on this show. And it’s good to know that despite the curse, volumizer and hair color supplies in the Enchanted Forest were not depleted. Neal and Mulan end up doing some bonding wherein she essentially calls him a baby (not my first choice, but what I’d like to call him isn’t family friendly) for not fighting for Emma from the start and he lies to her about having a good movie (the ONLY good part of that movie was the ridiculously yummy Szechuan sauce McDonald’s had as a promotion). I wonder if Neal’s admission that not fighting for Emma was his biggest regret will spur Mulan to admit her feelings for Phillip. Eventually, Neal has to start using some magic – more accurately, BLOOD magic – to find some items that help him find Emma. Blood magic was also added to the list of anti logic. I’m seriously gonna need a ton of paper for this list if they keep this rate up. Neal now knows that Emma is in Neverland, so we’ll definitely be seeing him try and get back there. How many episodes they’ll drag that out remains to be seen.

So while the bulk of his family is off being at each other’s throats and his dad is traipsing around with Mulan, Henry is again being the most trusting person in the history of the universe. I mean, seriously, Henry???? You’re just gonna trust some random person who claims to want to help you? You never once thought it might be a trap? So of course, he ends up right in the hands of the guy who wants him for purposes we aren’t yet sure of. I’m not 100% sold yet on Pan as this big villain, but that’s more because we don’t know enough about why he wants Henry and what the plan for him is. But the boy is SUPER creepy, no?

Moments of the episode:
- “Filet the bitch” and “You’ll win her over with your unicorn kisses and rainbow stickers.” Regina always gets the best lines.
- Charming’s reaction to mermaids – gun ‘em all down.
- Emma and Hook bonding over Neal. There has got to be some more to the story of Hook and Neal that we have yet to learn.
- Rumple’s sarcastic wave. I had to rewind that and watch it again I loved it so much.

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