BySteven “Geeked Out” Merced, writer at
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Steven “Geeked Out” Merced

So I spoke too soon about totally loving Once Upon a Time. I’m not hating it like I have in previous seasons but there were some elements of this episode that I did not enjoy at all. Before I jump to that let’s get to what actually happened this episode.

We see nothing of Henry this week or what’s going on with Neal in fairy tale land. We get two stories this episode: our Save Henry team and a flashback revolving entirely around Snow White & Prince Charming….AGAIN. In Neverland, Emma hears someone crying. She goes to check out what it is and meets Peter Pan. He gives her a very interesting piece of paper. He tells her that when she accepts who she is, the map will show her where Henry is. Emma fills in Hook, Snow, Charming and Regina about this and everyone but Regina thinks they should let Emma figure it out herself. Regina, in classic Regina fashion, wants to use magic on it. Emma thinks of everything. She says she’s the daughter of Snow White & Prince Charming, she is the product of true love, she was a bail bondsman and she’s Henry’s mother. Emma then says the one thing she never wants to say. That she’s the savior. But in classic OUAT fashion, that still doesn’t work.

Cut to the flashback story. Once again we see Prince Charming waking up Snow White with true love ‘s kiss. This time however, we get to see Regina’s reaction. She tracks down Snow White to a village that she is trying to rally to her side to fight against Regina. Regina offers Snow White the chance to go into exile if she says that Regina is the rightful ruler and refuses to fight her. She agrees after Regina force chokes (yes like Darth Vader) some random woman. Snow talks with the Seven Dwarves and Prince Charming and decides that she will go with them all into exile. Charming can’t accept this. He sees something more in Snow White. So he does what any normal person would do and visits Rumplestiltskin.Robert Carlyle and Emilie De Ravin as Belle and Rumpelstiltskin Once Upon A Time Season 2 Premiere

Rumple tells him that he can’t help Charming in this kind of situation. She has to want to fight Regina. Charming doesn’t end up going home empty handed. He tells Snow about a sword in a stone that will only belong to someone worthy of ruling. The sword in question is obviously Excalibur. Immediately this ticked me off. First, I’m tired of all the Snow & Charming flashbacks and second because that is King Arthur’s sword and I’d rather see his story and not Snow White flashbacks. Charming takes her to the sword and he tries to pull it to show he’s not worthy. Snow walks up and grabs the sword easily. She now feels worthy of ruling and goes back to the village.

When she arrives at the village, Regina reappears to get her answer. Snow and Regina fight and just as Regina is about to kill Grumpy, Snow is able to cut her with Excalibur. Regina flees because Regina has no time for this. War between Snow and Regina is officially declared. Snow then calls for Rumple and asks what he wants in return for her getting the sword. He shows her that it is a fake and she goes back to flip out on Charming for tricking. In typical OUAT fashion a lesson is learned here. Snow is capable of leading and she needed to see it herself. Charming helped because he saw it in her. They kiss. UGH. Honestly I wish we could get a season long break from their flashbacks. We know enough about them alreadyOUAT-season-3-episode-2-snow-queen-standoff-666x341.

Back in Neverland Regina loses her patience. She uses magic on the map and leads the group into a trap. A fight ensues and Emma gets one of the Lost Boys at her knife but doesn’t hurt him. She pauses for some reason. Pan tells Emma that he can’t cheat at the game he’s playing. She has to find Henry properly and by his rules. Emma has a bit of a breakdown and in one of the best scenes of this show she finally talks about how she feels. Emma says that she feels like an orphan despite having her parents back. She feels lost and alone and she’s exactly like the Lost Boys. She’s an orphan and will always feel that way. She finally admits to being mad at Snow White and Prince Charming for abandoning her.

That is what gets the map to finally show her where Henry is. Once she figures this out Peter Pan comes back to her. He tells her that while she may know where he is she won’t be able to save him. By the time she finds him he’ll want to stay because Henry and Emma have one thing in common: Neither one has forgiven their parents for leaving them and that will keep Henry in Neverland. I want to also touch on the big Rumpelstiltskin development. He is having a vision of Belle in this episode. She’s his moral compass. Pan is forcing Rumple to face is cowardice. He tells him he won’t kill him if he doesn’t save Henry. “The Boy” doesn’t have to be his undoing. I still have my own theory that the undoing will be all caused by Rumple and not Henry directly. Just like he crippled himself, he’ll mess this up as well. Belle comes to his mind to help him figure out what the right thing to do here is. The episode ends with Charming revealing to the camera that he was hit by those poison thorns and is now mortally wounded. GREAT JUST GREAT! I’m rolling my eyes just thinking of this.

The boy playing Peter Pan is going to end up being my favorite portrayal this year. I can just feel it. He’s menacing without forcing it. He really is a child version of Rumple. You can feel the evil coming out of him. What helps is that Hook is genuinely scared of him. Not because he can’t take him in a fight but because Pan has made this world his own game that only he knows the rules for. His smug attitude at Emma could have come off terrible but it works really well. It also helps that Emma is not afraid to pull a knife out on him. Peter Pan is a villain here and must be treated as such. I am still on board with this whole Neverland storyline. I think it is so far the best story OUAT has done. A lot of focus is now on the characters and their emotions. The writers are getting better at this. The flirtation between Hook and Emma is getting better every week. We can see that Hook clearly cares for Emma. This will be important to watch. The scene with Emma explaining how she feels all these years later is the best single scene the show has done. It was full of emotion and didn’t feel forced. It was an explanation and breakdown that was long coming. Despite this being such a fantasy oriented show, Emma was abandoned by her parents. Her parents are one the most known romances ever but they let her go and now are forcing their way into her life. Snow White is trying really hard to be Emma’s mom but Emma is not Henry’s age. It will always be easier for Emma to connect with Henry than it will be for Snow to connect with Emma. She’s almost 30 years old.

Regina this season so far is not very useful but is making me laugh a great deal. She is bratty this season. She doesn’t want to sleep on the ground, she doesn’t want to let Emma figure out the map. She’s out of her element. Magic won’t solve all the problems here. She can’t just “poof” to Henry. Her words, not mine. I like bratty Regina. She’s fueled totally by emotion and this is a different side of her. The idea of Pan playing with Rumple’s cowardly tendencies is going to pay off. I can feel it. It is his one huge flaw. I saw his one huge flaw because Belle brings out all the other good in him. He’s just a scared man and that’s what led him down the path he went down.

I have some big issues here though. I need the writers to tone down the flashbacks involving Snow and Prince Charming. We have seen enough of them. I get that the lesson was to see more in yourself but the whole thing felt really unnecessary. Especially since Excalibur wasn’t actually Excalibur. Pointless. Again I cannot stress enough how annoying I find Charming and Snow to be when they are the focus of an episode. Now Charming is hurt? Snow will save him and it will be even more annoying. For every catchy line and for every cute moment involving Hook and Emma, we get 10 annoying Snow White and Prince Charming moments. A part of me wishes that they didn’t go to Neverland with Emma, Rumple and Regina. We were given no Neal progress but another flashback of Snow and Charming??? Flip it and I can give a higher score. C+

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