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Once Upon a Time - Episode 3.08 "Think Lovely Thoughts" - Review

This show. That is all I have to say after this week’s crazy episode. The reveal is definitely of the divde-the-fandom variety; you are either going to love it or despise it. I rest squarely in the love it camp, but I also love when OUaT embraces its convoluted depravity.

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.

Meanwhile, in current day Neverland, our heroes are finally on their way to infiltrate Pan’s base. Emma finds out that Snow is planning to stay in Neverland with Charming, and for once she’s the optimistic one about finding another way to solve the problem. The gang runs into Regina and Rumple, and Neal spills the beans on the prophecy and everyone’s pretty pissed. Rumple agrees to hand Pandora’s box over to Neal and not use any magic during the escape efforts so they let him stay. When they bust in, Henry and Pan are nowhere to be found but they do find Wendy. After some initial lie and reassurances her brothers are still alive, she spills all the beans. Pan needs Henry’s heart in order to continue living. If he gets it, he becomes immortal and absorbs all the magic in Neverland and Henry dies. At this point, Snow and Charming set off to Dead Man’s Peak to obtain some more of the magical water, as Rumple agreed to make an elixir for Charming. Hook and Tink stay behind to watch the Lost Boys, leaving Emma, Neal, Regina, and Rumple to set off to Skull Rock. When they arrive, they find Pan has cast a protection spell so that anyone with a shadow cannot pass. When Rumple can pass through it, Neal realizes he was telling the truth. Pan tries to give Rumple one last opportunity to leave Neverland, and they have a pretty awesome conversation that I wanna spend some more time on so we’ll get to that in a second. Ultimately, Pan used the power of Neverland to magic himself a fake Pandora’s box that he somehow switched out with Rumple’s and he traps Rumple in Pandora’s box. Regina and Emma figured out that they could magic an eclipse and the three show up just in time to try and talk Henry into putting his heart back in his chest. Pan has Henry completely convinced that all this is to save magic and that he’d be a hero so of course, stupid Henry does what stupid Henry does best: trust the wrong people. He slams his heart into Pan’s chest, falls over dead and a green flash of magic goes through Neverland.

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.

Aside from Henry being his stupid self, I loved this episode overall. It brought so much backstory to the table and came us some new insight to things we’ve already seen. It continued the trend of actually bringing all these bottled-up issues to the table. We finally had our heroes try and swoop in to save the day and we FINALLY learned what Pan’s end game in all this is.

Side notes:
--- 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.

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