Monday, September 30, 2013

TV Recap: Once Upon a Time 3.1 - The Heart of the Truest Believer

I was told that I had to start my recap of last night’s Once Upon a Time with the line, “Unlike last year, this year’s premier didn’t suck.”  Of course, I did like last year’s season premier.  It definitely took things in a new direction, but once I adjusted, I thought it was good.

Unlike last year, there was nothing especially earth shattering or show changing.  It was the logical next step in the story they set up in the finale last year.  And it was so great to have the show back.

Let’s start with Henry. 
Our first glimpse with his is with Greg and Tamara as they are arriving on shore of Neverland ready to contact the Home Office.  They pull out the walkie talkie they had been given only to find that it doesn’t work.  In fact, it never worked.  The battery compartment was filled with sand.

They build a signal fire, and the lost boys show up.  That’s when Greg and Tamara learn the truth – they’ve been working for the lost boys all along.  And their true mission?  Find Henry and bring him to Neverland.  As Greg and Tamara try to resist and protect Henry, the lost boys call in a wraith that steals Greg’s soul and then shot Tamara with an arrow, leaving her for dead.  Henry takes off running into the jungle, however.

As he is running, he meets another boy.  This boy is also on the run from the lost boys, so the two team up.  He’d stolen some pixie dust he wanted to use to get home, but it doesn’t work.  Henry’s new friend also explains that if they can make it to the Echoing Caves, the lost boys won’t be able to find them there.

They almost make it to the caves, but the Lost Boys pick up their trail and start closing in.  Henry and his friend are trapped on the edge of a cliff, but that’s when Henry spots the pixie dust again.  He takes it and reminds his friend that they have to believe.  “And I’ve got enough belief for both of us.”  So saying, he sprinkles the pixie dust on them and leads a running charge to the edge of the cliff.  Sure enough, the two take off flying.

Meanwhile, on the boat, our unlikely alliance has arrived in the waters outside Neverland.  Mr. Gold, dressed as Rumplestiltskin, quickly gives a speech and magically leaves the ship.  When next we see him, he’s found the place where Greg and Tamara are.  He magically hears Tamara to find out where Henry is.  She points in the direction where Henry ran off.  She also tries to apologize for what went down in the factory last season and says that Neal/Bae is stuck in some other world.  Gold does not accept her apology and kills her.

Gold’s last scene of the night finds him meeting and talking with the leader of the Lost Boys.  The leader says that Pan welcomes Gold back to Neverland as long as Gold is not there for the boy.  If he is there for the boy, Pan will kill Gold.  Gold then says that the only thing to wonder about, in that case, is how many of the boys Gold will take out before he is killed.  Then the leader gives Gold a parting gift, an old toy of Bae’s.  Gold breaks down as the leader walks off.

So let’s get back to the rest of the crew on the ship.  Not too long after Gold leaves, they are attacked by something from the water.  It’s mermaids.  They are losing until Regina starts throwing magic fireballs into the water.  That drives them off.  All of them except the one that Emma and Mary Margaret have managed to catch.  They haul her aboard, but she refuses to talk.  And a storm with giant, boat crushing waves, begins to attack the ship.  The crew begins to argue about what to do with the mermaid.  Mary Margaret is the biggest component of releasing her while Regina wants to kill her.  Regina finally does that, turning her into wood, but the storm only gets worse.

As the crew turns on each other, Emma makes a discovery.  The storm is caused by their fighting.  She tries to get their attention, but they ignore her, so she does the one thing sure to get their attention – she jumps overboard.  What she doesn’t count on is a pulley from the rigging breaking off and knocking her unconscious in the water.

Fortunately, her stunt worked, and Charming is quickly tied with a rope and dives overboard where he rescues her.  When she comes to back on the ship, the moon is coming back through the clouds.

Our last shot of them is on the island.  Emma finally gets what Gold was trying to tell them earlier.  This island is fed on imagination.  And they are going to have to work together, using all their skills, if they want to survive.  She sets herself up as leader and heads off into the jungle with the set of them following her.

So what about Neal?  He awakes in Enchanted Forest to find Aurora, Phillip, and Mulan tending to him.  He is anxious to get back to Emma and Henry, and he figures that Rumple’s castle will have something to help, so Mulan leads him there.

When they arrive, they find a squatter living there, Robin Hood.  But he quickly stands down when Neal explains who he is.  After all, would anyone claim to be Rumple’s son who wasn’t?  While searching the castle, Neal finds Rumple’s old stump and waves it around.  That reveals a hidden door with magical items behind it.  Neal takes a ball and on the second try, gets it to show him Emma.  But he is upset to learn she is in Neverland and not back in Storybrooke.

Speaking of which, we don’t check in there at all in this episode.  I’m wondering how much time we’ll be there in the 11 episode Neverland arc.  We’ll just have to see.

There was also only one flashback at the very beginning of the episode, and that was Emma giving birth to Henry.  The lights were flashing.  I’m wondering if that was caused by magic or not.  If so, I’m wondering just how much magic Henry might have.

Speaking of whom, we need to get to the final scene of the episode.  And I am smacking myself for not seeing this coming sooner.  Henry and his friend land after their flight, but something changes about the friend.  Then he addressed Henry by name.  “But I never told you my name.”  That’s when we find out the friend is really foe, more specifically Peter Pan himself.  And he is searching for Henry because Henry has the heart of a true believer.  No idea what that means or why it is important, but as Pan calls the lost boys in and they surround Henry, we fade to black.

As always, lots of stuff packed into the hour.  I’m not sure where they are going at the moment, so I’m not sure I have any theories to expose.  We will obviously be hearing more about belief and doubt since that was the topic of a conversation between Emma and Mary Margaret and David early on and it’s what Emma realized at the end of the episode.  Plus it is why Pan wants Henry.  But what will this all mean for the story or the characters I don’t know.

And yes, that is a new Robin Hood.  The one from last season got a new show, so they had to recast.  Honestly, I don’t really remember the old Robin Hood, so I’m very willing to go with this one.

How will Neal meet up with Emma and Henry again?  Will he be able to help with rescuing Henry?  When had Rumple been to Neverland before and what is his relationship with Pan from the past?  Lots of questions.  Any and all speculation is welcome.

And let me know what you thought of the episode.


  1. What a great line: I was told that I had to start my recap of last night’s Once Upon a Time with the line, “Unlike last year, this year’s premier didn’t suck.”

  2. After all, would anyone claim to be Rumple’s son who wasn’t? Another great line.

    The show ended before we could see Rumple "hear" Bae from the Enchanted Forest. Right now, he's on a suicide mission, but that will likely change when he realizes that his son is still alive. Peter Pan was deliciously creepy, and I loved the fight between Snow and the Queen. FINALLY, she says what we're all thinking!

    1. You are right, when Rumple learns that Bae is still alive, that will change things.

      But remember that Henry will be Rumple's undoing. So what does that mean?

  3. The actor playing Peter Pan is really good! You can see the change in the look of his eyes from this frightened boy to a mischievous villain. That said, I did suspect him being Peter Pan for a brief moment right before they jumped off the cliff (I rewinded to see if his shadow was attached, and when I saw his shadow, I ruled that possibility out).

    That leads me to the shadow. If his shadow is in-tact, that means the shadow figure we saw was not of Peter. So what could it be? Or can he turn into the shadow form at will? I also wonder what happens to the ripped shadow, and if shadows can be reattached (and thus revive the person)

    And what does Peter need Henry's heart for (I kept thinking about Kingdom Hearts during that scene)? Does it grant the owner magical powers? In any case, I'm really excited about the adventures ahead for Team Emma (a Knight, a pirate, a huntress, and a sorceress... Classic RPG line up!)

    1. I'm glad you mentioned the shadow. I was wondering the same thing. Is it Pan's shadow? Is it something else? It's pretty scary evil, that's for sure.

    2. I don't think of Peter not having a shadow since Wendy sewed it back on right away. Frankly, I'm thinking that shadow is a wraith who is doing Peter's bidding for some reason.

      I have no clue why Peter needs Henry and his heart so much. And I don't even feel like I have enough to theorize at the moment.

  4. Good episode, but so much jumping around! Great lines tonight too. Especially enjoyed Bae telling Mulan they made a movie about you, it was pretty good and she says, what's a movie? ha ha.
    And Snow slapped the Queen - yes! My daughter and I both cheered :)
    Loved the boy they cast as Peter Pan - just the right gleam in his eyes. I didn't even realize they had recast Robin Hood so I guess the first actor did not make that much of an impression :)
    I really have no theories about what is going on at this point. I am glad Greg and Tamara are gone, never did like them or their characters.
    I thought I saw Belle in the preview so maybe that means we will go back to Storybrooke.

    1. Yeah that Mulan moment cracked me up.

      The trailer is very intriguing. It looks like Belle is pulling out a sword in the stone. Is her story crossing over to King Arthur? If that's a case, will Rumple play Merlin now too?

    2. Yes, so many great lines and moments. Considering how dark they want to make Neverland, they certainly had some funny moments here.

  5. Oh and a few things that were bugging me during this episode that probably will never get addressed in the series:

    1. How was Neverland immune to Regina' curse? I believe Cora's magic only saved wherever Sleeping Beauty was in (yet Malificent somehow got transported to Story Brook)
    2. Pan is the Home office? I find that hard to swallow. All this time they're against magic, yet they somehow trusted a magical being from a magical land? And all that science talk from season one is just for show? If they indeed visited Neverland before, shouldn't aging stopped for them too? I'm having a hard time buying the whole Pan is Home plot twist...

    1. 1. They've already established the existence of different worlds - ours, Neverland, Wonderland, Enchanted Forest.... Enchanted Forest is the only world that was placed under the curse. So it actually makes sense that Neverland is fine. I believe that Frankenstein is the only person stolen from his world for that matter.

      2. I thought aging on stopped in Neverland as long as you stayed there. Leave, and you start aging again. And I don't know that Greg and Tamara had ever been to the home office. I don't think they knew who or what they worked for. Someone probably contacted them in our world and gave them the walkie and pointed them in the right direction.

  6. Okay, took me a while to catch up (thanks Watch ABC app) so some of the mysteries have been tipped off. Just a couple thoughts on the first episode.
    My impression was that the walkie talkies had worked before, but it was the magic of Neverland that turned the batteries into sand. I was a little surprised to see those two offed right away. It almost feels as if the creators were responding to people who didn't like last season by eliminating them in the first episode. Perhaps we'll see them again however. Greg certainly could have been a Lost Boy after leaving Storybrooke.
    Second, I won't say I missed the first actor, but I didn't recognize the new one as Robin Hood when he first showed up.
    Last, I agree on the curse being limited to the Enchanted Kingdom and Neverland being separate (like a parallel world) but I am wondering now about the politics. If Snow's parents were the rulers of the Enchanted Kingdom, what was Charming's "dad" king of? (And when will that hinted reunion ever happen?)

    1. I hadn't had that impression with the walkie talkies, but that would explain a lot. I was but wasn't surprised to see them offed. I'm not really sure where else they could go with those characters. They had one purpose on the show, and they pretty much served it.

      Greg is old enough that I don't see how he could have been a Lost Boy. Definitely couldn't have been one for very long if that since he's the right age for having found the city as a kid and then finding it again now 27 years later.

      There were multiple kingdoms in Enchanted Forest. At least that's the impression I've had so there can be many, many princesses. As to that reunion, I don't know if it will ever happen. They've gone off in another direction, so we may never see Charming's "Dad" again.