We begin this episode with Belle leading Ariel to Eric (and their smoochy Disney-bird reunion), just as the Jolly Roger breaks through the sky, streaking to a perfect landing (of course) in Storybrooke harbor.
The cheering crowds welcome our heroes home, and the Lost Boys are shuffled off to God knows where because we never see their sorry, scraggly asses again.
Belle tearfully hugs Rumple as Neal brings Rumple his gold-handled walking stick. Rumple tells his son it’ll be a reminder of the man he is no more.
Wendy finds her brothers, who are also thrilled to see Neal before they all head back to London, also never to be seen again.
In the middle of all these happy reunions, Snow directs everyone’s attention to Regina, giving her the praise she deserves as someone who really came through for them.
Aaaand back we go to the old Enchanted Forest, back to the scene where Evil Queen Regina breaks into Snow and David’s wedding, and in the aftermath we see Snow in a tizzy of worry over Regina. David tries to soothe her to no avail, but finally he talks her into just relaxing with him on a honeymoon. Snow suggests the summer palace, and as he rushes off to make preparations, Snow confides in Grumpy that there’s something at the summer palace that will help them defeat Regina once and for all.
Forward again to Storybrooke, and Pan’s shadow is safely trapped on the sail – the only person who can release it is Pan. Rumple takes Pandora’s box to his shop, where he seals it in a spell-protected spot in the floor. “As long as I’m alive,” he assures Henry-who-is-really-Pan, “that boy will never see the light of day.”
Rumple and Belle share a touching conversation about their future now that they have one, while Emma puts the story book down in front of Henry during the celebration party at Granny’s. She’s being watched from nearby, however, by a lovesick pirate, who has decided to do the right thing for Henry’s sake:
One caveat to this, however. “I’m in this for the long haul,” he tells Neal (swoooooon). “You already walked out on Emma once. I’m not so sure she’ll let you back in.”
Neal sidles up to Emma, asking her if they can spend some time together. Emma isn’t so sure, but Neal says he’ll be waiting at Granny’s for lunch the next day and she can show up or not.
Emma rolls her eyes as he walks away and her parents are clearly on Neal’s side, letting her know that she owes it to herself to show up.
And now for the showdown as Tink and Blue come face to face. Regina goes to bat for Tink, but Blue tells Tink she has to believe in herself before Blue can do it, too. And somehow she manages to sound really bitchy while encouraging someone to have higher self-esteem.
Flashback to the summer palace in the Enchanted Forest, where newlywed David is ready to get a little something going, but Snow puts him off. She promises she’ll be worth the wait and David, anticipating snowy-white lingerie, heads off to check on the horses while she preps.
Snow throws off her cloak, revealing her bandit wear and takes off into the woods only to run right into David, who saw right through her. She confesses that she’s after Medusa, hoping to use her head as a weapon to defeat Regina. David reluctantly agrees to go along if it’ll get her to freaking relax and put on the damn lingerie.
Forward again to Storybrooke, and Emma tells Henry it’s time for bed. Henry asks if he can stay with Regina instead (much to Regina’s obvious delight and Emma’s odd feeling of discomfort) but she allows him to go – taking the storybook with him. While he’s at Regina’s he’s asking about her vault, claiming he’s worried about Felix (who is safely locked up in jail). Regina assures him that she’ll protect him, and tucks him into bed. Henry/Pan waits until she leaves the room and then he throws the window open and calls his shadow, freeing it from the sail.
Back again to the Enchanted Forest, where David fails to see how turning Regina to stone is any different than the execution Snow previously stopped. Snow keeps arguing with him in a really pointless and irritating way.
At Granny’s for lunch the next day, David is eating his lasagna when Rumple shows up with his cure. David drinks it down and starts talking about getting his wife knocked up when Snow interrupts him point out poor Neal, sitting all alone in the neighboring booth.
David tells her to let him handle it, and he goes in search of Emma. She’s sitting and pondering, but not Neal. She’s worried about Henry because he’s not behaving like his normal self. She’s got a bad feeling about this, and in Storybrooke, bad things seem to happen an awful lot. He gives her a warm and fuzzy talk about looking for the good moments in life, and puts a plug in there for Neal. Emma agrees to go, but can’t help but wonder if dear old Dad is trying to keep her away from Hook.
“You think I’m interested in Hook?” he deadpans. “Emma, I’m a married man.”
Speaking of our favorite pirate, he’s somewhat inebriated right now and hitting on Tink, who sees right through his nonsense. “You want me to take your mind off Emma,” she tells him, but before she can get her rant on, they’re interrupted by screams. The two of them rush out to the street and run into Emma, who looks from one to the other and asks:
“Wait, were you two…?”
“No!” Tink reassures.
“Perhaps,” Hook teases, obviously hoping for a reaction. Unfortunately, his bait goes untaken because Blue is getting attacked by Pan’s shadow, and it rips her shadow from her, killing her dead.
This is not a good thing (despite Blue being dead), since the shadow only takes orders from one person. Pan must be free somehow. Regina takes Henry/Pan down to her vault to keep him safe.
Back in the Enchanted Forest again, Snow and David go to fight a very bad CGI Medusa who looks like a recycled CGI Ursula in a CGI cave that casts a horrible, yellow CGI jaundiced glow all over their skin.
David ends up getting turned to stone before Snow figures out how to make Medusa see her own reflection on a shield, killing her and restoring David to life. By making Medusa defeat herself, she realizes she’s been self-defeating all this time, too, and David is thrilled to hear it because now they can get their honeymoon on.
Forward to Storybrooke and Neal offers to go get the candle so they can trap the shadow again. Before Regina can wisk Henry away, Emma lets her know that Henry’s acting weird but Regina takes immediate offense, letting her know she’s got the mother thing down, thanks. She installs Henry/Pan in her vault, making him promise not to touch anything.
Emma rushes to Gold’s demanding the box, since it’s obvious Pan is out and about (having released his shadow) and they all drive to the town line. Emma plans to release whoever/whatever is in the box on the other side of the town line since there’s no magic there. She steps across with the box with a loaded gun, and Rumple opens the box. Pan emerges (but of course, it’s Henry in Pan’s body) and he tells them that he’s the real Henry.
Emma asks him to tell her something only Henry would know. She takes Dad’s advice about life being made up of moments and suggests he tell her about the first time they connected – not met, but connected. He tells her about the first time they sat in the castle together, and Emma’s a believer.
Now we go to Henry/Pan down in Regina’s crypt. He schmoozes Regina good, then takes a potion off the shelf and knocks her out with it. Clearly, he’s there with an agenda.
Flashback again to the Enchanted Forest, where Snow is telling Charming she’s ready to start a family, and Charming is enthusiastically okay with that.
Over at Regina’s crypt, they find Regina on the floor – but Pan is gone. Rumple revives her, and she realizes what he’s taken: the curse. The big curse. The one that started it all.
Henry/Pan is going to cast the curse, and without Snow and David’s true love woven in, not even Emma can break it. Time will stand still, everyone will lose their memories, and Pan will turn Storybrooke into the new Neverland – forever.
I give this one three hooks out of five.
Despite some wonderful pirate moments, the whole Pan/Henry body swap is kinda lame and Snow was insufferably whiney.