Okay, wow. Just wow. I think that is all I can say about this episode.
Actually no, I’m not that bad at my job. Strap in people, we got a lot to talk about.
Okay, as per usual, starting with the flashbacks. Now, I must start with this. I have said several things, mostly negative, about the flashbacks and the trends in the villains back stories. But, I must say this, I have always loved Rumpelstiltskin’s. His was actually interesting and very well done. Everything about his history that I have seen has always pulled me in, this was no exception. The flashback’s here were actually somewhat fun to watch, Rumpel’s relationship with his father was an interesting mirror of his own with Baelfire, and really does a lot to explain his character. His being abandoned by this father really shines a new light on his reason’s for so closely holding onto his own son, Dark One has got some major abandonment issues. His dad was actually a somewhat interesting character, if only for the parallels that can be drawn between him and adult Rumpel. Both are down on their luck, and are not accepted in their villages, one because he is a liar and cheat, the other for being a coward. Both go to drastic measures to make a better life for their son, which only causes them to loose them. The biggest difference is that Rumpel’s father cast him off for selfish reasons and didn’t look back, where as Rumpel let his cowardice overtake him and after words went to extreme lengths to be reunited with him. Now, the biggest reveal, that Pan is Rumpel’s father, that was unexpected, at least up until this point. As soon as Rumpel and his dad ended up in the island I called that he would end up becoming Pan, but in spite of that it was interesting twist for the show, and really shows just how screwed up that family tree is.
Jumping back to the present, we see the final push to save Henry, and wrap up the various plot threads that have been introduced. Snow and Charming seem to be back to a good place with each other, which is nice to see. Snow has accepted that Charming will stay have to stay on the island, and she has resolved to stay with him. What was great about this was Emma. After everything that she has been through, she is now determined more than anything to keep her family together, Snow’s comment about her rubbing off on her daughter was fantastic, because she really is. Her willingness to even be once again indebted to Rumpelstiltskin to make this happen shows just how important her family has become to her.
It was really great to see Regina and Rumpel back with the team, because we had that bit of division that came with Neal revealing the prophecy that Henry would be his undoing. This of course leads to them not trusting him, which makes sense, but was great because it shows just how dedicated Rumpel is to saving Henry. He actually gives up a tool that could be used against him to prove that. Rumpel was at his best in this episode, he is showing just much he has developed over the show, but is still showing he still himself, his obvious bitterness over having to help Snow and Charming for nothing is a great reminder that he is still the deal making imp that we saw in the first episode. In the end, he did really prove to Emma and Co that he was there to save Henry, granted that didn’t actually go according to plan. In the end Pan turned Pandora’s Box against him. This really shows just how great of a villain Pan is, the manipulation that Rumpel has, Pan has in even greater abundance. There confrontation was a joy to watch because it showed just how serious of a threat Pan is, he was able to defeat the Dark One, the big bad of the Enchanted Forest. Honestly, I think he is the best villain we have seen in this show.
After Rumpel fails to stop Pan, we see Emma, Regina, and Neal break into the scene to try and save the day. This was a great scene, you have Pan being the manipulative villain that we have come to know and love, (or hate, depending on who you are) and Emma and the others doing their best to save him. While I liked this season, I think it did have a shortcoming, Henry is an idiot. That actually hurt me to say. I have loved Henry since day one, but I just wanted to smack him in this episode. He is confronted with Pan, who freaking KIDNAPPED HIM and is telling him to give up his heart, and his family, his FAMILY telling him that this guy is lying to him, and what does he do, shoves his heart into the bad guy! I get that Henry is young, and because he is the “truest believer” is would be easy to be manipulated, but he is presented with choosing between his family, who while not perfect, has more than proved their love for him and how important he is, and Peter Pan, again, the guy who KIDNAPPED HIM and held him prisoner in Neverland! C’mon kid, get your head in the game! Now, while this did annoy me, it was a great scene. It showed just how skilled a manipulator Pan is, really how threatening he is as a villain, and now with Henry’s life on the line, the stakes have never been higher, and with Rumpel trapped in Pandora’s Box, they are short a major power on their team.
There is one more thing I need to say about this episode, and it is something that I have been thinking about throughout all of this season, but was really solidified after seeing the Dark Hollow last week and Skull Island this week, and that is how the show is presenting Neverland. In the story of Peter Pan, and the various film and stage adaptations, Neverland is always presented as this wonderful and magical place, full of joy and happiness for those that go there, but here, its a dark land, full of danger and evil. The entire place just has a feel of menace to it, from the murderous mermaids, to the deadly poison, to the soul sucking shadows. The entire place has been transformed from a child’s wonderland to a death trap, and I love it, it is a fantastic reflection of the changes made to Pan’s character to turn him into villain. It has helped to set the tone for the season thus far, the desperate mission to save Henry from unspeakable danger.
I honestly don’t have much else to say than that. This was a great episode, even if most of it felt like it was more set up for the final confrontation with Pan. Hook, Tinkerbell, Snow, and Charming all played very limited roles in this episode. There was some amusing dialogue between them all, especially Hook and Charming during the weapon swapping scene, and Tinkerbell’s reaction to Neal being Rumpel’s son, all fun to watch, and helped to make up for the limited roles they had in the episode. A lot of the time was devoted to Rumpel and Pan’s history, and the final rush to beat the clock and save Henry. I am upset that we will have to wait two weeks to see the conclusion to this part of the story.