Welcome to the mess that I like to think of as my recaplet of "Going Home." This midseason finale includes flashbacks to a few different times, places, and stories. Rather than relate them in the order in which they appear in "Going Home," I'm summarizing them in what I believe to be chronological order.
Long ago, Hook and Smee set foot on Neverland. Hook and Tink meet. They share some backstory as well as some rum. Hook tells Tink that he'd risk his life for two things: love and revenge. Since he's lost one, if he loses the other while exacting revenge, it will be worth it.
In the Enchanted Past, Belle interrupts Rumpelstiltskin while he's remembering Baelfire. They have a conversation that seems to me to be a continuity error, but I have to go back over my old recaps to be sure, so let's not clutter the page with it now.
Somewhat later in the Enchanted Past, an expectant Snow and Charming are in Emma's nursery. Blue blahs about the curse and the wardrobe. She says eventually their story will be made known to Emma and she will save them. Poor Snow. All she ever wanted was to raise their child together. "That was our happy ending and now it's gone." After some comfort from Charming, Snow decides to choose to hope. Charming tells her they can find another, unexpected future. Staring at the glass unicorn baby mobile, she wills herself to believe.
Phoenix, 11 years ago. Emma gives birth and won't hold the baby. After a nurse whispers to him that Emma is giving the child up for adoption, the doctor tells her she can change her mind. Emma says, "No, I can't be a mother."
Storybrooke, October, 2011. Henry's looking at a family tree assignment. Mary Margaret asks why he didn't turn in his homework and if there's a problem. Henry feels unloved and as if he doesn't belong. Mary Margaret insists he does belong and is loved. She gives him her Once Upon A Time book. She says one day, she just found it in her bedroom closet -- like magic. She swears there is hope inside, and our lives always get better if we hold onto hope. Henry starts flipping through the book as she walks away. When he looks up at her, he sees no Miss Mary Margaret Blanchard, but Princess Snow White.
Now, in present-day Storybrooke, Felix and Panry (Pan in Henry's body) take all the curse supplies to the well. Felix doesn't even realize that he's got the most important ingredient of all -- the heart of the thing Pan loves best, and it's beating right inside tall, fair, and lanky's chest. Felix realizes his fate, too late. Panry rips out his heart, crushes it, and lets the dust fall into the well, with all the other curse ingredients. For the record, he says he never loved his own son.
Meanwhile, at the cemetery, Gold tells Operation Cobra Rescue there is one way to stop the curse, but it can only be done by the person who used the scroll. i.e. Regina, and it will come at a steep price. Before that, they need to find the wand of the Black Fairy (she turned to the dark side years ago, so Blue confiscated her wand and exiled her) and restore Henry to his own body.
Charming, Hook, Neal, and Tink set off for the convent on wand patrol. Unfortunately, Pan's Shadow has been spying and follows them. While Team Wand Retrieval tries to talk the mourning Sisters into giving up the wand, the Shadow attacks. The Sisters flee. Eventually, Tink believes in herself and gets the Pixie Dust to work. She is able to fly and trap the Shadow, which she destroys with fire. Once the Shadow has been vanquished, Blue returns to life. She praises Tink and will restore the fairy's wings.
Over at Gold's Shop, he has been preparing Hen (Henry in Pan's body). Once they have the
Elder Black Fairy's wand, they can use it to switch Pan and Henry back into their own bodies. Since Panry currently has the scroll, it should be in Henry's possession, once he's restored to his own skin. Gold then takes the magic suppression cuff (from Greg and Tamara) and puts it on Hen's wrist. Once Tink and co. return with the wand, Gold puts Hen to sleep. Pan's body convulses as Henry's essence leaves it and Pan's returns. Everyone clears out to look for real Henry, leaving Gold a few minutes with his father. Since Pan created the cuff, it doesn't work on him. He magics it onto Rumpy's wrist, and kicks him around. Pan's words are worse than the physical abuse. I'll give you the whole, gory story in the recap. Suffice it to say he does admit that he isn't just going to wipe the minds of the ones Rumpy loves; he's going to kill them.
After Pan leaves, Gold struggles to get the cuff off, but it's no use. He appears ready to cut off his hand (which, since he once healed Whale's severed arm, is less extreme than it may seem).
Out on the streets, Granny takes the lead on finding Henry. "I've got his scent." For a second, I forgot Granny is a wolf, so her line made me sillier than it should have. Henry, back in his own skin, runs out of library and gives the scroll to Regina. Nearly as soon as she touches it, she collapses on the street. Once she awakens, she explains that when she touched the scroll, she saw what had to be done. Henry asks if she's okay. Regina says, "The important thing is -- you will be."
Pan appears, magics the scroll out of Regina's hand and says, "No he won't." As Hook tries to warn everyone what Pan has done, Pan freezes them all with a wave of his hand. Rumpy arrives on the scene with two hands and no magic. That doesn't mean he is without a secret weapon though. Without any magic at all, he summons his own shadow, which returns his dagger to him. He grabs Pan, and shoves the blade into Pan's back (and I think perhaps it goes into Rump's chest). Pan morphs into Rumpy's adult father, who tries one last manipulation, but Rumpy holds firm. He kisses his monstrous father, and they both disappear in a puff of black smock. The curse scroll falls to the ground.
Regina explains that breaking the curse will make it as if Storybrooke never existed. Everyone will be returned to their old land. Henry cannot go with them though. That is the price Regina has to pay. Because Henry was born here, breaking the curse won't bring him back there. Since Emma is the savior and she escaped the curse the first time, she can leave with Henry. There is a lot of resistance to this idea, but Snow and Charming encourage Emma and finally she agrees.
As the curse approaches, there are big, tearful goodbyes between everyone at the town line (and a promising exchange between Hook and Emma). Regina takes Emma aside and says as the curse washes over Storybrooke, it will take away Emma and Henry's Storybrooke memories. To soften this blow, Regina gives Emma a parting gift. Since she and Henry are staying in this world, but Storybrooke will be erased, she can give them the gift of good memories and a good life together. They will have always been together. While their past won't be real, their future will.
Once Emma and Henry get in the car, Regina takes out the scroll and undoes the curse. Her purple magic overcomes Pan's green. Everything it touches disappears. Henry and Emma drive off into a new life, smiling at one another. The past is gone. We flash back to...
Phoenix, 11 years ago. Emma has just given birth. Holding baby Henry, the doctor tells Emma she can change her mind. She hesitates, then says, "Wait. Let me hold him." The doctor smiles as Emma takes her son in her arms. She smiles and coos through her tears. We flash forward to the...
Present. Emma and Henry continue to drive. There's nothing in the rear view mirror. No family. No friends. No lovers. No villains. No fairies. We flash forward to...
New York City. One year later. Emma's alarm goes off at 8:15. "Charley's Girl" plays, as Emma scrambles eggs and Henry waters their plants. She serves the eggs with pancakes and hot chocolate. Henry says, "Mom, you forgot something." Emma says, "Right. Cinnamon." There's a knock on the door that approaches banging. When it continues, Emma shuts off the radio and answers the door. It's Hook, but of course Emma doesn't recognize him. He reports her family is in trouble, and kisses her in hopes of restoring her memory. No such luck. Emma knees him in the crotch, warns him that she's going to call the cops, then slams the door in his face.
I'll be back with the recap, ASAP. In the meantime, please grade the episode up top, and then join us on the boards, where we're yelling at Emma to open the damned door.
We open in Storybrooke, at night. There are no scenes from previous episodes, which immediately signals this episode is going to be a detail-filled beast to recap. I'm going to need until March 9, 2014 to recover. Felix and Panry (Pan in Henry's body) walk through the woods. Felix crows about Panry outwitting Regina in less than a day. Panry says Regina's love for Henry makes her weak.
Once they reach the well, Panry announces that's where they'll cast the curse. Felix hands the ingredients over to Panry. Unless there's a heart in that bag, Felix, you'd better guard your own. Felix asks if this curse will kill all the Storybrookers. Panry says, "Worse. They'll be slaves to this new land we're making, with no idea who they once were. Death is final, Felix. Their suffering will be eternal." Panry drops ingredients into the well. We cut to the...
Cemetery. Snow and Emma ask about this new curse of Pan's. Gold says while the last curse was created to service Regina's wishes, "...this will be done per Pan's desire. I would count on something hellish." When Regina tells the gang that the curse was built to be unstoppable, Gold corrects her. "It is possible to stop it [...] by using the scroll, itself. It can only be undone by the person who used the scroll. That's you, Regina." Yeah, I think we've all got that, Gold. Thanks. Let's cut back to your little bastard of a father.
As Panry continues to drop curse ingredients into the well, he tells Felix that Regina's curse will be "child's play" compared to his own. Felix smiles. "I knew you'd win. Peter Pan never fails." Oh Felix, if I wasn't so ready to watch you die, I'd be telling you to run.
Back in the cemetery, Regina asks Gold what she will have to do. He says, "You must destroy the scroll. Both your curse and his shall be ended, but know this: there will be a price. A steep one." Gold suggests that rather than chasing after Panry, they should bring Pan to them, with a spell that will return Pan and Henry to their own bodies. We cut back to the...
Well. Felix asks Panry if they're missing something. Panry says they are. "The heart of the thing I love most." Felix figures he means Rumpelstiltskin. Panry says, "No. No. I never loved Rumpel." Felix is a little slow on the uptake, so he asks Panry,"Who you do you love?" Panry says, "Love can mean many things, Felix. It doesn't just come from romance, or family. It can also come from loyalty. Friendship."