Once Upon a Time – Episode 3.11 “Going Home” – Review
I was very weary coming into this episode. We pretty already knew that main struggle coming in – Pan wants to recast the curse to create a new Neverland to rule over, but without the True Love safety net that existed the first time around. It just felt like a “been there, done that” plot and a sign that the writers were out of ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the idea of the reset button, but I feel like we’ve already used it in the show so it’s a bit too soon to go that particular route again.
That was all prior to watching this week’s episode. THIS is the show that OUaT could be every week if it really wanted to be. We had plot advancement, the answering and asking of questions, emotions galore. I freaking loved it. I still have a few reservations about the reset they just pulled but we’ll get to all that.
We got an assortment of scattered flashbacks throughout the episode. These didn’t really serve much in the way of plot advancement, but they showed some defining moments or gave us nice tidbits that would come in handy later on. We got to see Hook and Tink’s first meeting (where we learn the two things that Hook risks his life for), Snow fretting prior to the curse taking hold (and ultimately holding on to the hope that they would get some type of happy ending), Rumple lighting a candle for Bae on his birthday, Mary Margaret giving Henry the storybook (that MAGICALLY appeared), and Emma giving birth.
The show wasted no time in having Pan cast the curse, opting to open the show with it. Poor Felix really should have seen that move coming. I was a little surprised he didn’t put up more of a fight. While Pan is casting the curse, our merry band of heroes is gathered outside Regina’s vault discussing how to stop Pan, a move that would require Regina to destroy the curse’s scroll, and completely breaking the curse in the process. With the help of the Black Fairy’s wand (hello, suddenly important magical device we’ve never heard of!), Rumple can switch Pan and Henry back to their rightful bodies, giving Henry possession of the scroll. He warns them, though, that breaking the curse will come with a great price.
Tink, Hook, Charming, and Neal set off to the Blue Fairy’s funeral to find the wand, only to have the Shadow show up. Hook puts his life on the line (and gets saved by Charming – yay bromances!) to distract the Shadow so that Tink can use the pixie dust to fly close enough to capture him in the coconut shell again. Destroying the Shadow somehow brought the Blue Fairy back to life. In what has to be Blue’s most human moment EVER, she admits she was probably a bit uptight with the rules and assures Tink she has earned her wings back many times over. Say it with me now: AWH!
The rest of the gang is hanging at Gold’s shop, waiting on the wand. Emma and Snow have a heart-to-heart about regretting giving up their children. I absolutely loved this scene. Once Emma knew the truth about her parents, she has always acknowledged the sacrifice they made, but this is the first time I’ve really felt like she truly UNDERSTANDS the sacrifice, something that would come from really FEELING like a parent.
Rumple switches Pan and Henry back to their bodies and the gang (minus Rumple) takes off to find Henry (with an assist from Granny’s nose, no less). Rumple and Pan have another excellent confrontation/conversation. The whole concept of a teenager talking to a grown man about how much of a burden he was as an infant should be comical, but man did it work. Pan does end up getting the upper-hand, switching the magic-blocking cuff from his wrist to Rumple’s (of course he’d make himself impervious to it) and getting some kicks in before he goes off to wreak some more havoc.
Upon finding Henry, he gives the scroll to Regina. She passes out as soon as she touches it. When she comes to, she says she knows what she has to do, but Pan shows up before they can do anything. He freezes everyone he makes a play towards Belle and Neal. But Rumple shows up, says his peace, summons his shadow (who still has his dagger), and plunges said dagger into Pan and himself. We see Pan morph back into Malcom and make a plea to Rumple that they can start over and have their happy ending. Rumple reminds Malcom that villains don’t get happy endings and they vanish.
And now we enter the heart-wrenching portion of the episode. With Neal pleading to not let Rumple’s death be for nothing and Grumpy warning them the curse is closing in from all sides, Regina reveals the price of breaking the curse: she can no longer see Henry again. Breaking the curse will wipe Storybrooke out of existence, as if it never existed, sending everyone back to where they came from. Henry, of course, would be left behind as he was born in this world. Since Emma is the Savior, she can again escape the curse, and remain with Henry. I loved Emma’s desperation to stay with her family – although she still has some issues to work through, losing them is the last thing she wants. But with a push from her parents, she accepts the outcome.
Everyone gathers on the town line and has their tearful goodbyes. Henry and Regina’s was particular touching. Regina again acknowledges that, as a villain, she doesn’t get a happy ending, and Henry simply tells her that she isn’t a villain, she’s his mom. The show has really done a lot to redeem Regina over the course of the season, and we get the culmination of all their work in this scene. Regina tells Emma one last detail of her breaking the curse: since Storybrooke will never have existed, all of Emma’s memories of it will be lost as well. But, as a consolation prize of sorts, she will provide Emma and Henry with new memories, in which Emma never gave up Henry and they have lived a happy life all this time. As Emma and Henry drive off, we see Emma’s revamped memory, in which she did indeed choose to hold Henry.
The story picks up a year later in New York (at 8:15 no less). Emma and Henry are sitting down to breakfast when they hear a loud knock at the door. Emma opens it up to Hook. She doesn’t remember him, and Hooks attempt to jog her memory with a kiss only earns him a kick to the groin. He tells her that her family is in danger and implores her to remember, only to have the door slammed in his face.
Some Stray Observations:
— Is it bad that I’m upset they were able to switch Pan and Henry back? I will really miss that kid.
— Regina did say that they would be forbidden from returning to this world, yet Hook manages to come back. Do we think it’s a loophole, magic, or further proof that he’s not ORIGINALLY from the Enchanted Forest?
—If the storybook magically appeared in M.M.’s closet, it’s safe to assume that it could magically pop up again, yes?
And that’s all she wrote. I’ll turn this over to all of you. What did you think of the episode, and this half of the season? Is Rumple actually dead? Exactly what kind of danger have the Charmings gotten themselves into this time? Are you looking forward to the new big bad?