This week on Once Upon a Time, with Tamara and Greg set to “blow Storybrooke off the map,” a most unlikely hero stepped forward to declare that the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few (or the one). But as the season drew to a close, one additional twist found our heroes setting course for an altogether different fate.
IN STORYBROOKE…. | Gold is at the playground, entertaining a dark daydream about pitching grandson Henry — aka his “undoing,” per the seer — off the swings and into a craggy rock. He is however interrupted by the Charmings, who report that Neal/Baelfire was shot by Tamara and then plummeted into a portal. Though devastated, Gold has no revenge on his mind. “They didn’t kill my son; I did,” he posits. “I brought magic to this world to find Bae, and now he’s dead. I’m prepared to pay the price.” But with inaction, Mary Margaret makes clear, “We’ll all die!” “I’ve made peace with that,” Gold whispers.
Down in the mineshaft, Tamara and Greg reveal to a skeptical Hook the next step of their plan — the destruction of Storybrooke and all who are not of this realm. After Hook attests that he’s willing to die for his vengeful cause, Greg uses one of the dwarfs’ pickaxes to activate the trigger, rattling the town with quakes and sending vines snaking through Storybrooke, as it begins to transform back into a forest.
As Mary Margaret, David and Emma pick Regina’s brain about the “trigger” that Tamara and Greg activated and will leave Henry orphaned in this world, Hook arrives to say he values his life more than revenge, and thus wants to help thwart the ne’er-do-wells. David and Hook track down Greg, but Tams intervenes and bullets fly/a melee ensues. T & G get away — again! — but not before Hook snags one of the two remaining beans.
With the destruction of Storybrooke underway, Gold arrives at his shop to find what he thought was the dwarves looting the place, when really they are just seeking an old stein of Sneezy’s, so that he could drink a potion cooked up by the Blue Fairy and get his memory back and die among family as a dwarf, and not as “Clark.” Will Gold use the second dose, supplied by Grumpy, on bad girl Lacey?
Down in the mineshaft, Emma gleans that to even slow down the destruction, Regina must give up her life: “When you said goodbye to Henry… you were saying goodbye.” Regina asks Emma to “tell Henry that in the end, it wasn’t too late for me to do the right thing. Everyone looks at me as the Evil Queen — including my son. Let me die as Regina.” And with that, madame mayor goes about working her magic, as we wipe away a tear.
Gold toasts “the end of the world,” then decides — after Lacey carelessly uses Bae’s scarf to mop up a mess — he doesn’t want to die alongside a stranger. So he resurrects her shattered teacup (Chip!), has her sip the potion, and they are reunited (for now). “I’ve failed,” Rumple cries to his long-lost love, now aware of his losses. “I’ve failed.”
At the diner, David arrives with the bean he and Hook pinched from Greg, while Emma informs Henry that Regina won’t survive her effort to slow the trigger. When the lad mentions the wraith, Mary Margaret gets the idea to send the trigger through a portal, saving Regina. Though Emma is skeptical, Archie argues, “Snow White and the Prince always led us before, and we always won.” Adding to that, Mary Margret tells her daughter, “We haven’t had a lot of chances to be parents but give us this one” — and Emma sees her point. “I just don’t want Henry to be alone and grow up the way I did.” Hook threatens to bail, but the “quite passionate” Miss Swan (seemingly) convinces him not to, and he (seemingly) turns over the bean. (He also then learns that Henry’s father was (is?) none other than Baelfire.) The Charmings return to Regina in the mine, only to realize that Hook’s pouch is empty! We then see the nefarious pirate steering his ship away from Storybrooke, portal-opening bean in hand.
As the forest consumes Storybrooke and Regina’s “battery” reaches a single bar, Emma pulls “Mom” (!) and “Dad” (!!) into a hug, while Henry embraces Regina. But Emma then is prompted to wonder if adding her own magic to the effort could dispatch with the device. (Um, coulda had that epiphany sooner!) And after great effort and with a boom, the trigger is shut off — but Henry is now missing! Tamara and Greg have grabbed the boy, with the latter explaining, “We came here to destroy magic, but then we found something more important, something that changed everything — you.” With the good guys in pursuit, Greg lobs the last bean into the ocean, and he and Tamara leap with Henry into the portal it opens.
Just as everyone — grandpa Rumplestiltskin included — is about to give up hope of finding Henry, Hook returns on the Jolly Roger and offers his services to track Henry with the last bean. Rumple leaves Belle in charge of keeping Storybrooke safe, using a cloaking spell he wrote down for her, “The boy is my undoing, but he is also my grandson,” he explains of his mission/defying of the prophecy. “I will see you again,” Belle insists, and they kiss, lots. And just as Belle says Baelfire would be proud of his father, we see that Neal has washed up in Fairytale Land, where Aurora, Phillip and Mulan tend to him.
“Where did they take Henry?” Regina asks, as Rumple conjures his magical globe. “Neverland,” Hook notes, gravely. As everyone braces for the ride into the portal, Rumple announces that Tamara and Greg are but pawns who have no idea who they’re working for, someone whose power is greater than they can conceive. (And he also makes a mediocre peanut butter.)
IN NEVERLAND-ADJACENT…. | Hook and Smee speculate about the boy they fished out of the ocean, whose clothes “are certainly not of this land.” When Smee suggests that the boy belongs to a mysterious “him,” Hook sees an opportunity to assure their survival in Neverland. Chatting up their catch, Hook learns that a pirate killed the boy’s mother and his father is a coward. “What’s your name, boy?” “Baelfire.” Hook lets that bombshell sink in, then welcomes his enemy’s son to the ship: “It’s a pirates life for you!”
Believing that “providence is at work,” Hook refuses to give up Bae to the Lost Boys, lest he lose the key to his revenge against The Dark One. Felix, the lead Lost Boy, says “he” has a particular interest in the boy who was seen floating in the sea, but their search of the Jolly Roger comes up empty. Felix warns Hook against cheating “him,” explaining, “He rips your shadow right from your body — r-r-r-r-rip!”
As day breaks, Hook gives Bae tips on steering a ship and they bond over difficult childhoods and lost parents. Bae ‘fesses up about his dad being The Dark One, revealing his weakness — the dagger. Later, Bae finds Hook’s drawing of Milah and lashes out at “the pirate that killed her.” Hook counters with the truth of Milah’s death and Rumple’s role in it, claiming that he and Milah planned to one day come back for him. But Bae wants to go back to his “real” family, the Darlings. Since Hook can’t help with that, Bae begs off the ship and later gets taken away by the Lost Boys. “You have the boy,” he says to Felix. “He will be pleased…?”
The Lost Boys deliver Bae to Neverland, only to learn that he is not the boy he wants, and thus shall live. The child he does want? Henry, as revealed in a drawing. “It may take time” to locate their leader’s prey, Felix allows, “but Peter Pan never fails.”
What did you think of Once Upon a Time‘s Season 2 finale? Any early casting suggestions for Peter Pan? (What’s Cathy Rigby up to…?)