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Once Upon a Time- Episode 3.04 "Nasty Habits" Review- The show is going on circles right now

At times it’s hard to write about the show; sometimes it has multiple storylines all happening at the same time, some other times the episode is unbalanced, sharing both good moments and boring moments. This time we face the latter; at first the episode looked quite promising with Neal’s arrival to Neverland and Rumple’s conflict, but by the end I was so bored and unimpressed that I rested my face on my hands in the final 5 minutes. I’m going to approach this review (this time only) a little different than usual: I normally would describe what’s going on and put my thoughts about the plot on it, but this time I think it’s better if I just outright tackle what I think the episode did right and what it did wrong.

What was done right: While flash backs to the Enchanted Forest almost never really amaze me (and this doesn’t stand out either) it’s an improvement from what we’ve seen the last two weeks. Baelfire and Rumple’s rough relationship is old news by now, but I liked how the twist was added when Peter Pan was involved. The thing is, we know that the first time Neal goes to Neverland is after his father leaves him behind and he ends up in our world, rescued by the Darling family, but I would have never guessed that he knew Pan before handed. Also, one of the things I love about Rumple is his insecurity, how much he doubts himself and those around him; he wasn’t even able to trust his own son because he though he wasn’t worthy of his trust, and so he kept him captive. And every chance he had to make things right with him he has chosen poorly because of that same insecurity. It’s a nice character flaw and one that has been consistent through most of the show while never getting too repetitive. It’s one of those themes the show has known to tackle with the right timing.

In fact, the moments we spend with Rumple in this episode are mostly great; he keeps seeing Belle who is reassuring him that there’s more to him than the monster that he is, and his interaction with Neal (both in the flashback and in Neverland) and Peter Pan (mostly in the flashback) are also quite interesting. His relationship with Peter Pan could lead to some very good storylines and I see a lot of potential there. I enjoyed quite enough getting to know that they knew each other since they were children, and I loved his face when he found out he was the flautist that took Baelfire.

I also like how Neal uses his knowledge about Neverland to his advantage (not to shabby for an ex-lost by); it was a smart move to not only cover with ink the point of the arrow, but the whole thing instead.
There’s also the thing with Neal’s cave; though it doesn’t actually reveal anything it all, it’s always interesting to see the way Neal lived in Neverland, and how he left a map indicating the way back home. Sure, nobody can read it (until Neal inevitably meets with the party, creating some tension between the whole Emma/Hook relationship), but it’s worth seeing how it affects Emma, and once again Jennifer Morrison proves to be having a good season acting wise.

And now we are onto the bad:
For starters, I hate to see how the writers are losing every single chance they got to make Charming/David a more interesting character; he is utterly predictable, and though I get why he thinks is useless to worry his family about his death if he is going to die anyway and that it would only distract them from saving Henry, but that’s not different from what we’ve seen in the last couple of episodes. Here’s what could have worked better: what if he actually was scared of death? What if the writers took the chance to explore the character fear as he, for once, sees that he is unable to do anything to save himself? That would have been a better approach, it would have let us know another part of Charming that we were unaware of, and that would have actually humanized him a little bit, which is always good. But the show it’s starting to go on circles with him.

There’s hasn’t been any development in Snow either; remember the entire interesting theme with her darkened heart last season? It seems as if the show has forgotten about it, and it was a big issue at the end of last season, and I don’t think that helping Regina by the season finale cleared Snow’s heart. The darkness she was growing into was one of the things the show used to humanize Snow and it did wonders with her characters, but where is that right now? Is she still trying to redeem or is she not worried because she already did? All she seems to care about know is to help Emma, and that’s ok, two episodes ago both Snow and Emma shared a very good scene together, but now it’s getting to repetitive.

Also Regina and Hook are mostly in the background for this episode; that’s not very good, considering how good characters they are. (I took pleasure at Regina’s half smile when she learned that Gregg was dead, though).

It’s not just the repetitive side of the show that is getting me frustrated, it’s also that there are some stupid choices. Why the hell would Neal listen to Peter Pan if he is the enemy? Sure, what he says is right, but they got complicated history, so why would he be so eager to believe him? I get it, because he doesn’t trust his father either, yet it doesn’t feel like what one would do on his position. For starters, I would have run away from there, no questions asked, no chit chat with Pan so he couldn’t get in my head. But no, Neal had to listen to him, and then he had a little spat with his father, left with Henry leaving his father behind (the ink thing was good though), lost Henry to Peter (how predictable… because if someone is going to rescue Henry it got to be Emma, right? Why? Because REASONS!) and he has to start all over again (oh man, the repetition in this episode…).

And by the end, Henry finally falls for Pan’s mind games; hearing Neal’s voice while he was drowsy made him lost some hope, apparently as he now believes Pan when he tell them that his mothers are not going to save him after all and that they can be a family. It’s a real pain watching Jared Gilmore’s acting, he has always been the weakest link on the show, and to see his character falling for such a cheap trick and dancing around with the rest of the lost boys isn’t really a perfect ending for me, in fact his performance was just outright sad in that scene (even more than in others he had).

I was really excited by the season premiere quality; I thought the show was finally headed on the right direction, that the writers could put the characters on interesting places, but now I’m just hoping the Neverland arc ends soon, because I’ve lost a little bit of hope today. But I’ve felt this way before with the show and it has found ways to correct itself, so I’m crossing my fingers so this let down is only temporary.

Grade: C+

Stray Observartions:

-So we are not seeing anything from Storybrooke until we get finished with Neverland? Ok… (I was eager to know how the show would handle Ruby’s departure).

- Emma: “This is where they’re keeping Henry: Pan’s compound. According to, uh…”
Tinkerbell: “Tinkerbell.”
Emma: “Yeah, I know, still weird to say.”
Tinkerbell: “Tink is fine.
Emma: “Not sure that’s any better.”
At least the show is still able to deliver some funny lines.

-The whole dance around the fire was weird, I don’t see how that could be considered fun at all.

-Next week: get your shipper hats on! Emma is about to Hook up! (Get it! Hook! Hook up? Never mind, ignore my bad puns…)

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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