So, lot going on in this episode, in the interest of time (mine, not yours, I gotta about 4 hours before I have to wake up and go to work) so lets just jump right in.
Regina. I flat out, absolutely, loved Regina in this episode. While I have made my dislike of flashbacks fairly well known in the past, I actually really enjoyed them this episode. I have been finding that Regina’s backstory usually makes for the most interesting flashbacks. I freely admit that in the past I have had some gripes about the writers giving Regina a sympathetic backstory, mainly because I am tired of so many villains having one and I just want a straight up, evil to the core bad guy for once, but I must admit, the more I see of it the more I am interested in. Regina is honestly one of the most interesting characters in this show, and her fall to darkness is making for compelling television. The flashback plot for this week centered on Tinkerbell trying to show Regina that she could still find love and be happy, even going so far as to defy the Blue Fairy to do so. She saw the sparks of good that were still in Regina, and unlike so many others, she tried to fan those into flame, and for awhile it was working. You could see the joy on Regina’s face over the prospect of actually having a friend in her new life, someone that actually cared for her well being. Sadly it was all for naught as this experience just helped push Regina further into the darkness as her fear over the concept of actually being happy again drove her away from her new love and further down the road to evil. Road to hell, good intentions, you know how it goes.
I didn’t expect to like Tinkerbell as much as I did, but I must admit I really like this character, and not just because she is played by Rose McIver who I have loved since she played Summer on Power Rangers RPM. (Yes, the Goon still watches Power Rangers, and you can bet your butts that I will be reviewing the 20 year anniversary special when it airs, so get ready for that) The best part of Tinkerbell’s character was her defiance of the Blue Fairy, and how determined she was to do what she believed was right in regards to Regina. This honestly made me like her far more than the Blue Fairy. The Blue Fairy is supposed to be the leader of the fairies, these creatures of purity and goodness, and the fact that she was so ready to just abandon Regina to the darkness was just horrible of her. To me, Blue was just a monster in this episode. She willing abandoned a person to evil, ordered another fairy to ignore her own instincts and do the same, and at the end, instead of showing any compassion or understanding, she stripped Tinkerbell of everything that she was. I think I can say that I actually hate her character now.
Jumping back to the present we had some great scenes between the rest of the characters. We started to see Pan’s plot for Henry, using him to restore magic, for what I can only assume is a nefarious purpose. We also see Pan trying to turn Henry into a Lost Boy, but doing so in a rather charismatic way, trying to show Henry how its all fun and games, and that he belongs. Pan is living up to the legacy of truly manipulative villains that the show has presented us, and I don’t think that’s bad. The greatest villains aren’t the ones that do the evil themselves, but convinces others that doing evil is the right thing. It looks like Pan might be the best of these villains we have seen.
The moments between Regina and Emma were fantastic, and showed some actual development of the character’s relationship. You could clearly see Regina’s worry over Henry and her heartbreak at being apart from him, a feeling that Emma clearly shares with her. Best of all, was Emma instantly knowing that Regina’s avoidance of Tinkerbell was due to a less then pleasant past between two of them, and Emma didn’t judge her for it. She understood that Regina has darkness in her past, and isn’t judging her for it. In the past she has been one of the most avid supporters of Regina in her quest for redemption, even with Regina’s stumbles along the way. However, it was Tink’s and Regina’s confrontation at the end that made this episode for me. You saw Tinkerbell consumed with her anger, hatred, and bitterness, ready to enact her revenge on Regina, only for Regina to talk sense into her. Not to save her own life, but to stop Tinkerbell from falling into the same darkness that she did so long ago. This was an amazing moment for Regina’s character, and shows that despite everything in her past, she is not beyond redemption. The best moment though, the end when Tinkerbell said she not only ruined her life, but her love’s as well (who I will admit I was surprised to see was Robin Hood) and the look of pure anguish on Regina’s face over this, it was perfect. I eagerly look forward to seeing these two meeting face to face.
The bit between Snow and Tinkerbell was amazing as well, showing that there is a connection between the two, the desire for someplace to call home. You could easily see that Tinkerbell wants that more than anything, and I hope we will be seeing her around Storybrooke when they finally make it back.
Hook, Charming, and Snow played lesser roles in this episode. Hook knowing about Charming’s poison state, and his legitimate sympathy over this was great. It is showing those more better parts of Hook’s nature, giving evidence that Hook also has the chance of getting out of his role as villain and possibly becoming a hero, and shows the possibility of these two men actually becoming friends, which I would honestly love to see. Charming really needs a Bro, someone he can grab a beer with that isn’t a surly Dwarf.
And finally, back to the Enchanted Forest, we see Neal working hard to find his way to Neverland to help Emma and save his son. We saw our first look at the Robin’s Merry Men, and his son. Neal’s decision to use the child as bait to get to Neverland, a bit dark I will admit, but I have to say that I found it perfectly reasonable. He wants nothing more than to save his son from the most evil creature he has ever met, and if putting someone into danger to do that is his only way, than damn it that is what he will do. It’s obvious that he wants no harm to come to the child, but still will do anything he can to save his family, and try and earn his second chance at putting that family together. In the end, this pays off, Robin’s son is okay, Neal gets a one way trip to Neverland on Demon Shadow Flights, and Mulan get’s a job offer, which brings me to my final point. Mulan being in love with Aurora, or at least that is what was heavily implied so that is what I am going with. Totally did not see that one coming. Last season did a good job of hinting that Mulan had feelings for Phillip, aka Prince Wraithbait, so for the reveal to be that Aurora is the one she was in love with was straight out of left field, but honestly it was a good twist. I didn’t see it coming, it left me honestly shocked, and feeling really bad for Mulan at the end as she walked away heartbroken to join Robin Hood.
Overall, fantastic episode. Some good backstory and great set up for things to come. I hope we will see more of Tinkerbell in the future, Snow did offer her a home afterall.