So, we finally see the wrap up to the Neverland story arc, sort of. We’ll get into that later.
As per the norm, lets start with the flashback segment. It was boring, I was not thrilled. While it was nice to see more of Regina’s caring side and a few of the Storybrooke characters we haven’t seen in awhile, the flashbacks were, as per usual, rather pointless and a bit of a time waster. The only part of them I thought was in anyway enjoyable was a few of Gold’s lines as he Regina discussed the adoption, but that hardly makes up for wasting half the episode.
Alright, bad part out of the way, lets get to the other part, I suppose that would be the good part. Or was it? Actually yeah, the parts in Neverland were actually enjoyable to watch, but not without flaws. We pick up where the last episode left off, Henry is now heartless (I was disappointed with the lack of young boy smiting him with a giant key at this point) and Pan is sitting at full blown, final boss, levels of power. We now have a race against time to stop Pan get Henry’s heart back, and this is where I started feeling a bit let down. I was expecting an epic struggle of good against evil for the fate of an innocent’s boy life, instead we had a heartfelt speech, uneventful walk through the forest, and Regina ripping a guys heart out (does no one in this show know any other finishing moves? This one is getting a bit stale.) Honestly, for having spent all of the last episode building up to the fight against Pan, this episode fell pretty flat in that regard. What was most disappointing about this is because you knew that something was going to happen after they got Henry’s heart back. How could anyone not know that Pan would be coming back before the episode’s end? He was built up as too big of a villain for him to be taken down that easily. And the whole body swap with Henry, poorly executed twist. I honestly would have found it better if Pan had succeeded in ripping off Henry’s shadow and escaping with it. So yes, the actual confrontation with Pan was just poorly done, I am upset with the writers at this one. Bad writers, bad bad writers.
Now, that is not to say that this episode was all bad, because it wasn’t. Where this episode had its strengths was in the character interactions. Snow and David accepting that they will be staying on Neverland, Snow going with Emma and Regina because she wants to have as much time with her daughter as possible, Neal and Rumpel finally making amends, Regina and Tinkerbell showing signs of friendship, pretty much everything that happened on the Jolly Roger were amazing bits to watch. Despite the fact that it wasn’t, it felt like it could have been a fantastic wrap up to the first story arc of the season, so it was a solid effort on the writers part to make the whole body swap come as a surprise. The scene that really stood out here to me was Emma’s speech to the Lost Boys, it shows how far she has come as a character. From being the Lost Girl, to the Savior, to a mother, Emma was amazing to watch here.
So to talk about the whole Henry/Pan swap thing. While predictable, I don’t hate that they did it. While I do wish we had an actual showdown against Pan in Neverland, I am excited to see Jared Gilmore be a villain, at least for awhile. Given Pan’s manipulative nature, and everyone suspecting he is gone, I can’t wait to see what sort of chaos he will unleash in Storybrooke.
Overall, this episode could have been better, hell it could have been one of the best of the series to date! But it wasn’t. It wasn’t a horrible episode, but it was far from great. Kinda like that last episode, this one felt a bit like set up for the next. Not to the same extent as the last episode as there was some actual wrap up to plot threads, but far from the amazing episode it could have been.