Enchanted Past. Baelfire (Neal) uses the magic bean Blue gave him, to transport himself and Papastiltskin to a land without magic. Papa chickens out. Bae ends up in Victorian (or newly post-Victorian) London, so the bean moved him through both time and space, as Blue suggested it would. After six months, Bae sneaks into the Darlings' home, to steal food. Wendy Darling (Freya Tingley) catches him in the act, but then ensconces him in the nursery's crawl space, and feeds him.
Eventually, the Darling parents figure out the scheme and decide Bae can live with them. They put him in the nursery. They put him in the nursery which contains not only their two little boys, but also his age equivalent, Wendy. (Is it just me, or is this Baelfire the young woman's Ralph Macchio?) My eyes roll so far across the floor I have to enlist the dog to help me find them.
Peter Pan's shadow has been visiting the nursery. One night, it convinces Wendy Darling to fly off to Neverland with it, despite Bae's warnings that all magic comes with a price. The next morning, Wendy returns with Neverland tales of woe. Bae helps Wendy, her brothers, and Nana defend the nursery against the Shadow, but resistance is futile. The Shadow returns and wants a boy to accompany him.
Bae offers himself in Michael Darling's stead. When the Shadow and Bae are nearly to Neverland, Bae (based on an earlier warning from Wendy) lets himself fall into the water (rather than set foot on Neverland soil). He is rescued by none other than Captain Hook. Before we flash forward, I must give my kudos to whomever is wielding the casting magic. Freya Tingley is every bit as much Wendy Darling, as Ginnifer Goodwin and Bailee Madison are both Snow White (and each other).
Storybrooke. Present. In a waterfront warehouse, Tamara and Greg torture an impotent Regina, for fun, profit, and Kurt Flynn's location. Emma searches Neal and Tamara's room again, and convinces Neal to tag along on her investigation. Neal continues to believe in Tamara, until he sees her clock Emma, and until Tamara shoots him and then opens a magical portal. Neal saves Emma from the portal, but slips in, himself. Emma tries to save him, but is unsuccessful. Before Neal disappears, Emma tells him she loves him and I cry, for more reasons than you might suspect.
In other news, the Charmings save Regina and Blue heals her (and removes the cuff, so Regina has magic again, which can't be good). Tamara absconds with the black diamond, which serves as the trigger for the Dark Curse Fail Safe. The audience ends the evening with their faces in their palms.
"Second Star to the Right," is entertaining and exciting. Bae's stop in England and trip to Neverland do the heart good. Still, I can't help but feel that so much of this season squanders characterization at the feet of plot. I don't hate that Emma loves Neal. I do hate that she's confessed it before he's earned it back, and that she confessed it first. I don't hate that the Charmings save Regina from Tamara and Greg...Owen...Growen...Groan. I do hate that Prince Charming speaks of their rescue as if it were a favor owed Regina.
I will be back with the full recap, ASAP. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum, where we're shooting Neal and then shoving him into a portal. Repeatedly.
Previously, on Once Upon A Time, Greg... Owen... Growen... Groan and Tamara enlist Hook to help find Groan's father. Grumpy, Charming and Snow discover the beans are gone. Regina is keeping a small beanstalk in her office. She tells Hook she plans to escape the destruction of Storybrooke, which will be brought about by triggering a failsafe built into the Dark Curse. Emma tells Neal that his fiancée is the "She" that August warned them about. Regina takes Cora's wrist cuff from Hook. Tamara and Groan have rigged it with something that blocks magic, which is explained with an Inarticulate Explanation The Stupid Audience Should Mistake For Science. Even more previously on Once Upon A Time the Blue Fairy gives Baelfire a magic bean, which can transport Rumpelstiltskin to a place where he can no longer use magic. Bae uses the bean to open a portal. When he starts to enter it, Rumpy panics at the thought of living without magic. Bae begs his Papa to come with him. Rumpy resists. Bae calls him a coward and accuses him of breaking their deal, then slips away.
Currently, on Once Upon A Time, we open in the not so Enchanted, yet still Enchanting Past. It is nighttime when Baelfire crashes into our world. Rising, he calls out for his Papa to no avail. When he's almost run over by a carriage the boy takes a look around and notices he's at the gate to Kensington Gardens. With wide eyes and a tear still trickling down his cheek, Bae wonders, "What is this place?" He turns toward the sound of chimes to see Big Ben in the distance. A chyron dopes slaps those of us who didn't already realize Bae has landed in London, England. Personally, I would have liked to see a year there. I suppose I could figure it out myself, but I'm already watching TV instead of reading a book for a reason. Title card.