Once Upon A Time, in the Enchanted Past, Snow and Charming marry. Regina crashes the wedding to taunt them. Charming hurls his sword at her, so she disappears in a puff of smoke. Hey, I already recapped this.
After the wedding, Charming suggests a honeymoon. Snow resists at first. She can't relax with Regina on the loose and hellbent on revenge. Eventually, though, she suggests they honeymoon at her parents' summer castle. I can't decide what castle or palace they're in, when she makes this suggestion. I don't think Regina ever vacates Knifingham Palace, until she creates Storybrooke.
Snow makes her summer castle suggestion because she has a hidden agenda. Medusa lives in a cave nearby. Snow wants to cut off the Gorgon's head and use it to turn Regina to stone. Charming figures it out pretty quick, and quips that since he fell in love with Snow on a Troll Bridge, after she'd robbed him and hit him over the head with a rock, he knew what he was getting into when he married her. Poor Charming. You should have stayed a shepherd. In the course of their Gorgon hunt, Medusa makes eye contact with Charming, turns him to stone, which surprises no one.
Regina appears in the reflective center of a discarded shield to taunt Snow some more. The Evil Queen laughs that about the fact that she didn't have to lift a finger to destroy Snow's happiness. Snow did so on her own.
Snow realizes Regina is right, but also realizes how to defeat Medusa. She peels the leatherwork off the shield, so the entire surface is reflective, summons Medusa and holds up the shield. Medusa is, as most of us are, her own undoing.
In the denouement, Snow and Charming share a quiet moment. Snow confesses she wants to start a family. Charming feels the same way. Snow realizes she was so focused on defeating Regina, because she didn't want to bring a child into a world filled with such badness. Now Snow knows there will always be problems; they have to find good moments between the bad. This is a reminder I desperately needed, Show (and Show), so I thank you for that.
Now in Storybrooke, Belle reunites Ariel with Eric. Operation Cobra Rescue, Wendy, Tink, the Lost Boys and Panry (Pan in Henry's body) return to Storybrooke. I hope Belle has unlimited texting on her phone plan, because after she spies the Jolly Roger flying back into town (and there is a visual effect that marks it passing through a portal) the whole town arrives at the docks to welcome the hometown heroes (and villains).
None of the reunion feels right, because it isn't right. Jared Gilmore does a fine job as Panry. But Pan isn't quite as adept at pretending to be Henry. During the welcome home party at Granny's, Emma quickly twigs to the fact that "Henry" isn't himself. When Panry decides he wants to spend the night at Regina's, Regina is too blinded by love to see the truth.
In other developments, I think we might be rid of the Darlings. As soon as Wendy reunites with her once younger but now older brothers, the Hipster Doofi suggest returning home. This is another moment that's scripted and shot as if it's happy, but I can't help but think that their parents must be dead (unless Pan did some as yet unknown thing), and that someone else could be living in their home.
During the party, Hook and Neal have a moment, when Hook confides that he's going to stand aside and give Neal a fair shot at winning Emma's heart. He's explicit that he's doing so for Henry's sake. He also admits that he's in it for the long haul, though, as he's unconvinced that Emma can overcome the fact that Neal abandoned her. In the context of Hook's history with Milah, and how that affected Baelfire, Hook's comment about standing aside for the sake of the boy is such an understated redemptive moment. Don't screw it up, Killian.
Of course Hook tries to botch his long game, the very next day, in a clunky attempt to seduce Tink. While Blue refused to restore her wings, Tink's in full possession of her intuition. She knows Hook just wants to use her to get over Emma, and has no interest in a Hook up (how could I not...). Still, Hook and Tink inadvertently rouse a smidgeon of jealousy from Emma and Hook does try to capitalize on it.
Emma's too busy to have a life, right now, though. She knows something isn't right with Henry. Soon after Pan's shadow steals Blue's shadow (is she permanently dead?), Emma has nearly figured out the puzzle. Panry manipulates Regina into taking him to her vault, to protect him. Since Emma knows something is off about the boy, she tries to warn Regina, Regina assumes Emma is just jealous, and hurries Panry off to the last place he should ever be.
Emma convinces a reluctant Gold to give her Pandora's Box. He, Belle, Snow, Charming and Emma drive out to the town line. Emma crosses the line. Gold opens the box and places it outside of the town limit's, where Pan will have no access to magic. Henry, in Pan's body (Hen) finally appears and has to convince Emma not to shoot him. He does so by telling her when they first connected (not met): when they were on his castle play structure and he admitted he knew she only gave him away to give him his best shot. On paper, Henry's reunion with his family is heartwarming. In my living room, though, it leaves me cold, since it's Robbie Kay in the role. He's talented, but he's not my Henry.
Meanwhile, back at the mausoleum, Panry uses one of Regina's own potions against her to knock her out. He then ransacks the vault until he finds the Dark Curse. He breaks Felix out of the town jail and shares his plan. He'll cast the curse and create a new Neverland. Watch out for your heart, Felix. Read the fine print. Actually, your heart is probably safe. I guess Gold should watch out for his heart, but if this story is true to Pan's character, that should be about as effective as when Regina sacrificed her prized stallion. The thing Pan loves best is Pan. Nothing short of magic will convince me otherwise.
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 hiding that Once Upon A Time book from Panry, because he's already read way too much of it.
Once Upon A Time, there was a beautiful mermaid named Ariel. One dark and stormy night at sea, she came upon a shipwreck and saved the life of Prince Eric, and later pined for him, and a human life, from afar. Finally, thanks in part to our own Snow White, Ariel met her prince. Because he had been unconscious at the time she saved him, he didn't know Ariel was a mermaid, tail and all. He didn't know she was only at his castle to meet him, thanks to a one day leg clause in her mythology. He felt like he knew her, though. Rather than court her, he immediately invited her to go on the road with him. Um? Ariel was afraid to tell him that she was actually a mermaid. Then, well, Regina happened, as is her wont. Later still, Regina happened again, in that she cast the Dark Curse, which swept Eric off to Storybrooke. Then Regina happened in a different way than Regina usually happens. Well, somewhat. She needed something from Ariel, and after that mission had been accomplished, she gave Ariel a magical bracelet which allowed her to have legs or a tail. Ariel returned to Storybrooke.
Now, in Storybrooke, Ariel's new old friend Belle locates Eric for her and brings Ariel to the docks to meet him. They find Eric filleting fish. After he chops the head off of one, Ariel says to Belle, "Wow, he must really hate me." Yeah, that should be a cute joke. Eric's chop is swift, brutal and matter of fact. Ariel's horrified expression is priceless, and her line delivery is smooth. The problem is, the joke makes no frigging sense at all, in the context of Ariel's backstory (on Once Upon A Time) because Eric barely knows Ariel, and that she never admitted she was a mermaid is a huge point in their OUAT history, to date.
The first time Ariel and Eric met, he was unconscious. The second time they met, they had one dance, a largely awkward conversation and a rather presumptuous invitation to a road trip. As a "couple" they have had none of the experiences that makes the audience root for them, or even care about them, so when they "reunite" and kiss, it is beyond hollow. Any good will the audience has for this pairing was front-loaded by the Disney film, The Little Mermaid. It was not earned by Once Upon A Time.