Once Upon a Time Recap: Chamber of Secrets

Once Upon a Time Ariel the MermaidThis week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, mermaid Ariel’s pursuit of true love caused Snow White to stumble, Regina and Rumple formed a united front and (a whole lot of) the truth set someone free.

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IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS…. | Chased by the Evil Queen’s goons, bandit Snow leaped into the drink, where she was rescued by Ariel. To thank her, Snow helped the little mermaid put her best feet forward at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, where she hoped to reunite with Prince Eric, whom she once saved from a shipwreck. Sure ’nuff, Eric was insta-smitten by the flame-haired femme, and even invited her to meet him the next morning for an epic voyage. Knowing that her fin would return in mere hours, Ariel beseeched the sea goddess Ursula for a reprieve — at which point Regina saw an opportunity to pose as the tentacled doyenne and trick Ariel into transforming Snow White into a mermaid! When Regina stopped by to gloat, Ariel stabbed her with a dinglehopper and spirited Snow away into the sea. Later, Snow urged Ariel to meet up with Eric and tell him the truth — but as Regina warned, she would get no second chance at romance. And when Ariel went to beckon for Eric, her voice was gone. Sad.

RELATED | Once Upon a Time Spoilers — Tinker Bell’s Big Face-Off!

IN NEVERLAND…. | Regina is trying to teach Emma to focus, to use her magic, when Hook arrives to confide in the Charmings the news of Neal’s presence on the island. The trio decide to keep it under wraps, which lasts all of 15 seconds, after Snow blabs to her daughter. Being the most skeptical of all, Regina splits off from the group to form a super-evil alliance with Rumplestiltskin. After Regina reveals his vision of “Belle” to be The Shadow, they become confident that the two of them working in tandem can, if not kill Pan and thus save Henry, resign Neverland’s overlord to a fate worse than death. But to do that, they need something from Rumple’s shop in Storybrooke. Since mermaids can swim across realms, Regina uses a seashell to summon Ariel. Regina restores the lass’ voice Once Upon a Time Emma Neal Reuniteand promises to send her to where she can reunite with Eric — Storybrooke!

Meanwhile, Emma, Hook and the Charmings track Neal to Echo Cave and a chasm which can only be traversed if everyone shares their darkest secret. Hook goes first, revealing that in kissing Emma, he realized that he can move on from his first love, Milah (awww!) — and a portion of the bridge forms. Snow goes next, admitting that Emma is great as a daughter-in-name and all, but frankly she and David wuz robbed off the cuddlier, baby powderier parenting moments. Thus, as soon as they get back to Storybrooke, she wants to make baby! More bridge. Then things get awkward, as Charming admits that he won’t be around to start that family with her, since the Dreamshade cure he took has confined him to Neverland, forever. More bridge, yeah, but that did not fly with the Mrs. Emma crosses the bridge, but to unlock Neal must share her own secret — and it is not that she never stopped loving him and always will (which she confesses), but that she secretly hoped that news of him being alive was indeed a trick, because frankly she doesn’t want to deal with all the repeated heartbreak they’ve been through. The cage dissolves and they hug, then Neal shares his own secret: “I will never stop fighting for you, Emma.” Awww.

RELATED | Once Upon a Time‘s Colin O’Donoghue Ponders Hook/Neal Face-Off

Notable quotables:
* “No, death looks more like this.”
* “Why are you here?” “For starters, it appears I’m saving your ass.”
* “He’s just as I remembered. Less wet.”
* “You went to a long-dead dead octopus for advice, and you’re blaming me for your problems?”

REVIEW | As a whole, in terms of story movement, “Ariel” was one of the best episodes of the season. And coupled with the promo for next week, where we get a look at life in Storybrooke, it’s clear we’re entering the back half of the Neverland arc with a great deal of momentum. I mean, Echo Cave… every TV show needs one of those. That was highly entertaining, especially when Charming had to deal such a downer in the wake of Snow’s wish. In the flashbacks, JoAnna Garcia, as predicted, was perfection as Ariel (as well as at times a doppelganger for Amy Adams), and I like how they fooled us with semantics — Regina was Ursula but Regina wasn’t the Ursula. So all those folks holding out for, like, Angela Bassett or Meryl Streep or whomever get their “second chance.”

What did you think of the “Ariel” episode?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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190 Comments
  1. Kelly says:

    Ariel was perfectly cast. I think she will fit in great with Snow and Belle. I did not like Regina as Ursula and was glad they revealed she is not the real one. I like Hook’s potential bromances with Charming and Neal.

    Regina and Rumple team up was about time.

    Kudos to Michael Raymond James and Jennifer Morrison for the intense,angsty and chemistry filled cave confession, hug and Neal accepting it, not pushing and also never giving up.

    • Melanie says:

      Agree with everything you said. :)

    • Joey says:

      Perfect capsule review. :)

    • HeatherC says:

      MRJ and Jen made me cry….yeah, I’ll admit it. That was such a beautiful, honest, heartfelt moment between these two ‘lost’ kids and it really got to me. I’m definitely rooting for them to find their happy ending. JoAnna was the PERFECT Ariel and I’m glad we get to see her again. Agree with Matt that every show needs an Echo Cave…imagine that on Revenge or Good Wife, LMAO ;) This episode was amazing all the way around and I agree that it’s one of the strongest eps of the season. Bring on next week!! =D

      • DarkDefender says:

        I’ll tell ya who needs like 2 or 3 episodes of nothing except Echo Cave, is Castle. They need to start communicating on that show!! And I think every reveal would be ratings gold.

    • LC says:

      “never giving up”? You mean “I’ll never stop fighting for you?” As if he hadn’t stopped for a whole decade? I mean, I acknowledge that he did fight to get back to her and Henry after he fell through the portal, but what about before that? August sent him a postcard when the curse was broken – didn’t look for her. Literally ran into her in New York – tried to get her to leave him alone when he found out Gold was there. This means his love for her wasn’t stronger than his hatred of his father. That doesn’t sound like fighting/never giving up.
      I was all yes when he said she didn’t need to apologize after everything he put her through but got angry at “I’ll never stop fighting for you. Never.” To me, you can only say those words when you’ve been fighting, which Neal hadn’t been for a very long time.

      • Amanda says:

        Amen. I thought the same thing!

      • Joey says:

        If you actually paid attention to anything Neal ever said, you’d know that he said that he didn’t go to Storybrooke after the curse was lifted because he knew what he had put Emma through, and even though he still loved her, he know that he had hurt her and she would not want to see him, which was true.

        He still loves her, and as we’ve seen in these past few episodes, she still loves him. There’s a lot of hurt in the past that needs to be worked through before they can be happy together again.

        • LC says:

          That sounds like an excuse to me. One that falls apart at their aforementioned meeting in New York. Maybe she didn’t want to see him, but oops, too late, she’s seeing him. And he doesn’t even make any attempt to talk to her for more than a few minutes until he finds out about Henry, let alone fight for her (I know he had Tamara, which brings up a whole new issue – has he dealt with the fact that his fiancee shot him before thinking about what he feels for Emma?).
          They do still love each other, and they always will. You don’t forget your first. But that is a far cry from being IN LOVE and having the potential to be happy together. Things can always change, but right now, I can’t see a happy ending for Emma and Neal.

          • Anna says:

            I would love to see Emma and Hook together. There is where I see chemistry, not with Neal.

          • Joey says:

            No one is saying they’re going to have a happy ending right now. Even Neal and Emma stated that they can’t have a happy ending right now. That’s where the whole “long road ahead” bit comes in.

          • Tenney says:

            I agree LC. Neal never really fought for Emma before and I have a hard time believing that all of a sudden their love is so great that he’ll doing anything for her now. You never forget your first love, but just because Neal was Emma’s first love doesn’t mean he’s her true love. Besides, those two have zero chemisty together. While I agree with Hook and Emma ooze chemistry, I still wish that Emma and August could be together; which I can’t see happening now since he was turned back into the boy Pinocchio, but they are in a land with magic so anything is possible.

          • AD says:

            They were kids. She was 17 and he was “22” when all of that happened. Although Neal is over 200 years old, he never grew up because in Neverland, no one ages. He stayed 12 years old for a long time. Hook is in his mid 30s and has been through love before to see what works and what doesn’t. I see chemistry between the he and Ea, but she doesn’t feel more than attraction towards him.
            And not to get all psycho-analytical on Hook’s feelings towards Emma, but he might be having these feelings for her since she is the first adult female in a long time he’s had much interaction with. Which other women has he had around him that have been “available”?? The women have either been evil bitches, or taken, or gay (Mulan). Emma seems to be the first woman he’s had any interaction with. It’s only logical he’d let himself believe he has romantic emotions for Emma. Not to mention, he might not be IN love with her. It might just be a crush. He’s only known her for a few weeks. He doesn’t really know her well enough to love her. Him being a “gentleman” to her are just his characteristics. He’s a gentleman to every decent female who’s come in contact with.
            There’s a strong connection between Neal and Emma. Henry wouldn’t be as “special” as he is pointed out to be if he wasn’t created from a grand kinda love–just as Emma. I want to be Team Hook, but Henry being “special” just tells me that Neal is Emma’s “true love”.

        • Marlene says:

          But that’s not fighting… That’s hiding.

  2. Rachel says:

    Loved the title to this. So clever ; )
    I agree completely with your review. This was a fantastic episode, and I cannot wait for next week!

  3. mkayvee says:

    perfect episode!!

  4. iMember says:

    This episode was such a let down. I was so excited for Ariel, and while the casting was on point the episode was just rather lackluster. I like Neverland, but my big problem is how slow everything is going. Mere stuff needs to happen. For example, like Revenge, which had one of its BEST episodes tonight!!

  5. John says:

    The voice of Ursula sounded familiar. I wonder who voiced her.

    I wanted more of reaction to her dad dying or not being able to go back with them from Emma. Again David&Emma continue to get robbed of moments and Emma has made no progress in 3 seasons with her issues, yet Snow and Neal have with their messed up childhoods and even evil Regina is growing.

    Hook is developing more which is great but Hook&Emma don’t work for me. It feels to forced and rushed, like a bond and connection they keep mentioning instead of allowing it to slowly grow.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      For a moment, sounded like Wanda Sykes.

    • abz says:

      I think she was voiced by Yvette Nicole Brown because her name was listed in the opening credits.

    • Zelda says:

      That’s my problem with the triangle as a whole. It feels forced. Although I agree that it’s true even more for the Hook and Emma side of the triangle.

    • SK says:

      I agree that Emma’s relationship with her parents needs to be more fully explored. Emma and Mary Margaret related more as friends. Now they are mother daughter, and can’t seem to bridge that. Both Mary Margaret and David obviously love Emma a great deal, but they all appear to have troubles relating and connecting as a family. Emma still feels abandoned by them even though she knows the reason why she was given up, and doesn’t know what to do with the fact that she now has parents when she has had to look after herself on her own all her life. Mind you, it would be weird to have parents are the same age as you–makes it hard to see them as parents. They may or may not have more life experience. Yes, they actually are hundreds of years old, but they’ve been in coma for a chunk of time. It’s really and interesting hypothetical question–how would we relate to our parents if they were the same age as us?

      Regina is growing to an extent and you have to give her credit for at least trying to work with the Charmings, and she did appear or to want to try to understand some of Emma’s experiences in the foster care system. And I would have to agree, that more so than any other relationship, the father daughter relationship with Emma and David is not being explored and some exploration in that area would be welcome.

      I’d also like to know why when the curse was broken, some characters reverted back to their fairy tale names, while others kept they names they had through the curse. I actually think to some extent, it has to do with how Emma relates to them and what she is and is not willing to accept about herself.

  6. Ginger Snap says:

    No doubt this was a great episode! I love that Regina is the only one not affected by Pan’s powers. A fate worse than death? There’s some real possibilities there.

    And way to go to on the Divide and Conquer front. Snow against Charming. Emma-Neal-Hook triangle that is sure to get more intense the closer they are to saving Henry!

  7. marina says:

    1. so everybody got a haircut

    2. so Snow the great warrior and hunter looked behind her to find a broken branch only when she turned around to look for it and it was behind her the whole time. And why would they return to the same campsite if they are looking for Henry and don’t want Pan to find them

    3. there is no way in any fairy tale that it would be proper for a single guy to ask a single girl to travel with him if they are not at least engaged, especially after a three minute dance true love or not

    4. how come Rumple has his shadow again (very visible during his talk with Regina)

    5. if mermaids can travel between realms and Ariel and Snow are friends…

    I’m probably being too nitpicky but it really bugged me

    • Stormy says:

      Well, if we’re being picky: How come Hook and Neal are all shaggy, but Charming never needs a shave? Did he bring his NoNo? Also, I found the sun shining through Snow’s ears very distracting. On the bright side the girl playing Ariel has great legs. She’s kind of a cross between Isla Fisher and Amy Adams. Just lovely.

      • abz says:

        I kept thinking I was seeing Amy Adams too, especially when she was in the water. They look so much alike.

      • Oncemore says:

        Did you ever watch the show REBA? She played the oldest daughter. I like her and was disappointed when the show she was in last was canceled.

    • Celeste says:

      I don’t think that was Rumple’s shadow. I took it as Pan’s shadow (the one he sends to get Lost Boys) playing around with Rumple’s head.

    • jenferner8 says:

      1-Really? I thought Rumple looked like he needed a trim, Regina’s hair looked a bit longer too. How can one tell with Emma and that God-awful mop she has had since season one, someone PLEASE cut her hair! Snow looks more like Mickey Mouse every time I see her, the light was even making her ears glow from behind while she was talking to Emma at one point, highly distracting. Snow’s going to be bald pretty if they don’t stop cutting her hair.

      2-I agree! I thought, seriously, Snow? All of the sudden she pulls a MacGuyver in the woods and spots THE ONE BROKEN BRANCH in Neverland?

  8. Babybop says:

    First episode of the season I watched without getting bored. Love that we’re going back to storybrooke!

    And I’m glad Regina has her bad-ass side back!

  9. Lore says:

    You forgot the best quote of the night
    “Time to swim back home LITTLE MERMAID”

  10. Lily says:

    My favorite episode so far. The scene at the Echo cave was so heartbreaking especially Snow, Charming and Hook’s confessions, very sad. I can’t wait for next week’s episode, I have been missing the rest of the gang from Storybrooke.

  11. spartan_Cheer says:

    yvette nicole brown was in the cast list so i assumed it had to be her. did sound like her but didnt at the same time…..

  12. MP says:

    I don’t ship anyone in particular, I just go with the flow, but I did not feel very excited about the whole Emma & Neal thing. I got more excited with Emma & Hook. I don’t know why, but I don’t like Neal as a character very much and I think I feel that way because of Michael Raymond-James. I mean, he makes a great, if not excellent Neal, but I don’t see him as Baelfire. And I do like Baelfire. I don’t know, I guess the logical conclusion to my premise is that I ship CaptainSwan, and I guess for the time being, I am.

    I know many people believe that Emma can’t have a happy ending with anyone but Neal, and I get where you’re coming from, but that’s a little close minded to me (not trying to insult anyone here). I mean, how many couples with children have divorced but still have managed to find another person who makes them happy? Including the kids. I know it is not a two-day process, obviously, but I think that if Emma decided to be with Hook, it would be a long way from where we stand right now, as she still has to sort out 100% how she feels about Neal and if she wants to act upon those feelings or not. If at the end she ends up with Neal, I would expect a very complicated path to get there. Mainly because, yes they still love each other as said in this ep, but they are in love with the person they used to be. They both have gone through experiences that have changed them completely. They are not 18 years old anymore, or whatever age Neal is, and it is also not just them anymore. They have Henry now, and I wouldn’t expect them to be together only for Henry. I mean, if I were Henry I would like to see my parents happy, regardless if it is with each other or not, although obviously I would rather have my parents be happy with each other.

    Well, I’ve wrote a freaking testament here, so I’ll just stop now. I just wanted to address this because I’ve been reading a lot of comments between CaptainSwan shippers and SwanThief shippers, and I think sometimes people forget that everything is not black and white. Also, remember people, this is just a show, no need to be insulting each other or hating on the cast or writers, who make this show possible, by the way. Regardless, I love how passionate this fandom is and I’m proud to call myself a Oncer. Loved this ep!

    • Ginger Snap says:

      If you have a particular dream for Emma’s love life, bear in mind that she is on Neverland. Someone is playing around with her emotions. And Hook’s and Neal’s and the Charmings. You can’t trust what you are seeing because Pan wants things to go a certain way.

      Put your hopes for Emma back in Storybrook. Or FTL. But not in Neverkand.

    • Babybop says:

      That was a weirdly elegant way of saying that… And I agree with everything you said 100%!

    • Oncer says:

      “she still has to sort out 100% how she feels” PREACH. Remember this no matter whom you ship Emma with. Girlfriend has not had a second to process.

    • Mehvash says:

      AMEN!! well said. i love how people get so passionate about whatever couple they think might best but there is no need to stoop to name calling, etc. it is after all just a show. obviously the writers are doing their job if they’ve got their viewership so invested. Frankly I still mourn the loss of my beloved Sheriff Graham. :(

      • Oncemore says:

        then go see 50 shades of Grey movie… he is the man.

        • Mehvash says:

          50 shades is not my type of movie/book, however the silver lining is that jaime dornan is about to blow up and will likely get a whole lot of opportunity from it.

      • Katherine215 says:

        Ugh, I miss Graham, too!! He’s the only one I really like her with. Well, the Mad Hatter was a good second option, but he’s not happening either, unfortunately. :(

        • guest says:

          Yes, I completely agree. No one has been able to top the chemistry she had with Graham, and the Mad Hatter was second. It’s funny how when the chemistry is good, you see it right away. Although I am still enjoying Once, the chemistry with Neal and Hook is not as good. I just haven’t liked any of the story with Neal and I’ve always thought the casting for Baelfire was not a good choice. No offense to MRJ. He’s just not who I would see in that role.

    • Lysh says:

      I love how in writing this you’ve seemed to find your ship, even though you don’t ship. I don’t know. You make a lot of great points. I love MRJ, though it’s weird to think that how many hundred years ago he was Dylan Schmid. And the Emma/Neal situation is a little Parent Trap. I could see Henry wanting his parents to be together. But if they sort things out and are still not happy, that would not be good.
      And yes, this is a TV show. I can’t believe I think about this so much. haha

      • Joey says:

        For those that are having a hard time seeing Neal as Bae, well, there are a lot of similarities, but sometimes they’re not super obvious. In addition to that, I’m not sure if you guys watched the sort of recap with the writers last season (I think Alan Dale [King George] narrated it), but Eddy made the point that so much stuff has happened to Baelfire since he left the Enchanted Forest, would you expect an adult Bae to really be all that similar to child/teen Bae?

        • Stormy says:

          Maybe not, but Bae was 15 when he jumped the portal. He’d been raised by Rumpel [note the accent], he landed in London with the Darlings [note the accent], then whisked to Neverland with Hook and Pan [note the accent]. Nothing in his formative years would lead him to Detroit street hood speech. I like MRJ, but he’s dreadfully miscast here.

  13. Meg says:

    Have they said how Rumple will die if he kills Pan? I don’t remember.

    • Ginger Snap says:

      It’s part of the prophecy we haven’t seen. But the prophecy never said that Rumple would die. It said he would be undone. Rumple continues to believe that undone means death. But this is not necessarily true.

      • Lisa Benwitz says:

        Respectfully, Rumple believes the prophecy involves Henry, not Pan… so that has nothing to do with his comments on having to die in order to kill Pan. They obviously have some childhood bond, and it was almost poignant when Pan knew how childhood Rump liked his eggs… maybe I just *want* to see it, but there are times when I feel like I see in Pan’s eyes that the deepest part of his anger is really grief for all he has lost… a mother, a family, a home. Rumple will have Ariel retrieve the ticking pocket watch from his shop, don’t you think? And have her bring it to Neverland so he can somehow get time moving again and force Pan to grow up… “a fate worse than death”? I hope it’s something cool like that, anyway, and not one of those lame explanations these writers tend to come up with just when you think they’re going to blow your socks off…

    • Lisa Benwitz says:

      They haven’t said, but Rumple says it like it’s a foregone conclusion … it’s been suggested that either Rumple and Pan or brothers, both once in Neverland, but one decided to grow up and leave, and one to stay… and somehow, they share the same shadow, or maybe are even the same person; therefore, if one dies, they both die.

      • Cara says:

        Though Pan and Rumple as borthers is an interesting theory, I think it is likely a bit too complicated for OUAT. They usually don’t get that “deep” into things to be honest.

        Still love the show though.

  14. abz says:

    Great episode! Loved the casting for Ariel and Joanna seems to fit well with the cast. I was so happy to see that there is a “real” Ursula and I really hope we get to see her in future episodes to come. Regina kinda looked scared of her. Would love to see another interaction!
    Echo cave was really great. Loved all the emotion and secrets. Kinda bummed out though that Neal with the group. I liked the group just fine without him.
    Regina and Rumple together should be real fun to watch.
    Looking forward to Storybrooke next week and please more Robbie Kay. As has been said countless times before, he is amazing in this role.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      ITA her scenes with Ginny were really nice and natural. Snow could use a gal pal back in Storybrooke.

    • abz says:

      Also, I really wish they’d flashback more to the Rumple/Pan days. So far we only hear about how powerful Pan is, but I actually wanna see it more! I wanna see why Rumple’s attempts at beating him failed and all the history that’s there like how they met? Why they hate each other? etc. etc. I really don’t want Neverland to end so soon because there is so much mystery to that place and the history between the characters they could explore explore. Even flashbacks to Hook and Bae’s time there would be great. They really should consider a Once Upon A Time in Neverland spinoff or at least revisit the realm later on in the season or next season. Although, with OUATW’s ratings lately, chances of that are slim.
      Side note: I really wish once they’re done with Neverland that the next villain we meet is Cruella. Oh, that would be awesome!

      • Stormy says:

        Oh No! She’ll steal Archie’s dog! LOL

      • SK says:

        I’d also like to know more about Neverland and what happened there previously. How did Tink get there? What has she had to do with Pan? In what capacity did Hook work for Pan? How did Pan get to the island in the first place and where is Pan from? What motivates Pan’s actions? How entrenched did Bae get in the Lost Boys culture? In what capacity did he interact with Hook on the island? Why did Pan let Bae get off the island and how did he end up in our world? How did Pan know Bae and Emma would meet and how did he know Henry would come of their union and that Henry would end up in Storybrooke? How did Pan come to employ Tamara and Greg and where did he find them? How did he get them to do his dirty work?

  15. Nick says:

    I loved Ariel!! Am I the only one that thinks Snow, Charming, Emma and Neal are becoming more and more insufferable every week? Next week looks really good though!!

  16. 777 says:

    I know it’s sounds weird, but the minute I heard rumple saying that killing pan will kill rumple, all I could think about is that some how pan is a younger version of rumple, and his death will immediately result in the death of adult rumple.
    And also, this show would have been terrible with any other actress playing Regina. Lana parrilla is absolutely amazing!!

  17. Hodan says:

    I was so mad when I watched the promo last week and saw that Regina was Ursula. I am just glad to to see she was not. The best moment for me was when they showed us glimpse what Ursula is capable of. I hope we see more of her!!!

    Anyways, perfect casting for Ariel. I have loved JoAnna Garcia since Reba.

  18. Mike R. says:

    Swisher was great as Ariel, and while I thought Lana played a good Ursula, I’m pleased she was not actually Ursula, it leaves the potential for an exciting villain in a future arc. I wasn’t crazy about the Echo caves, it seemed like a gimmick, so the character could reveal deep secrets, but I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out, Hooks secret was especially touching. Surprisingly, I’m very excited for the return to Storybrooke, and hope we continue to see Ariel, since this was such a strong flashback.

  19. I think Hook has shown how much a character can grown and also how much he is willing to do to make Emma happy, even if it means breaking his own heart. Emma hoping Neal was really dead doesn’t exactly scream true love to me.

    • Joey says:

      Did you even listen to what she said other than “I wished you were dead”? She stated outright that if he was still alive, then she’d have to deal with her still very strong feelings for him. Before she got to Storybrooke, she had been running for a long time: from her feelings for Neal, from her feelings towards her birth parents (who at the time she didn’t know), and from her feelings about giving Henry up for adoption. She’s had to deal with a lot of those feelings since the show started, but she hasn’t really been dealing with her feelings for Neal, seeing as how season two wasn’t nearly character-driven enough for her to have done so.

      • Me says:

        I agree with several of the above comments that you never forget your first love. That being said I am just not feeling the Emma Neal connection. Neal has really done nothing until this season that says he loves her. He abandoned her to take the blame for his crime after unknowingly getting her pregnant, he didn’t come for her when the spell broke, he moved on himself and got engaged, and the daddy issues he has would stop anyone from a healthy relationship. So this new “I will never stop” trying to be with her just doesn’t ring true for me. It seems when things get tuff he runs.

        I am not saying Hook is a great option either. His character looks out for #1 which is himself. So when we met him he would easily change sides on a whim depending on who might help with his ultimate goal. I don’t think that will ever completely go away either.

        Also Emma’s parents clearly prefer her with Neal, so you can draw your own conclusions about how Emma will react to that.

        • Joey says:

          All of your arguments against Neal have already been dispelled by multiple people, so I don’t understand why people like you insist on continuing to use them as if they’re somehow valid.

          • Mary says:

            When were they dispelled? How can anyone dispel stuff like that? Hook is no saint but neither is Neal.
            Also what I got from Emma’s speech was that she hates the fact that she is still in love with him and probably always will be, and that she hoped he was dead so she could move on without having to face the horrible things he put her through.
            If it was all unicorns and rainbows between Swanthief she wouldn’t have felt the need to apologize after her speech

          • Joey says:

            @Mary: Here are the points they made:

            1. “He abandoned her to take the blame for his crime after unknowingly getting her pregnant” – The writers have stated at multiple events that this isn’t what happened and they haven’t shown exactly what happened that night after August told Neal about Emma.

            2. “he didn’t come for her when the spell broke,” Okay, for a second, look at it from Neal’s perspective. From what he knows, Emma just thinks that he left her to get arrested (and she said as much in Manhattan), and that he didn’t care about her at all. So, if you weren’t with someone you were in love with, and as far as you knew, that’s all they knew about you, wouldn’t you feel the same as him? That your significant other wouldn’t want to have anything to do with you? That’s how he felt, and he didn’t want to drudge up the past and wind up hurting her again. Again, Neal stated that outright in an episode.

            3. “he moved on himself and got engaged” Yes, he used that as a way to attempt to get over Emma, but, as he stated, he never really loved Tamara. All of the characters knew it themselves. Rumpel could tell in The Queen is Dead and said so again in Second Star on the Right; Tamara knew it in Selfless, Brave and True…Do you really need every single character to say it straight out?

  20. Alichat says:

    The episode was good, and I liked it, but I found all the Ariel stuff boring.

  21. aaron says:

    I wasn’t that big of a fan of them handling Ariels “origin” story and Regina being the one to do the classic stuff to Ariel. Ursula needs to be Ariels big bad, she doesnt need Snow Whites left overs. It is pretty bad when the Disney movie version is darker.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Yeah, if you watched the episode, it wasn’t really Ursula taunting Ariel. So, save for the brief vision of her in Regina’s mirror, we have yet to meet the real Ursula.

      • aaron says:

        Yeah I know, thus Ursula needing to be Ariels big bad and not Regina.

      • courts says:

        What does that have to do with the person’s comment though? Regina did all the Ursula stuff from The Little Mermaid thus the Ursula as Ariel’s nemesis that people wanted is Regina, not the ‘real’ Ursula.

  22. I kinda chuckle to myself.. when im watching this how much I root for Hook and loathe Pan… its a turn that makes me giggle… and I love Ariel.. I had guessed she would play an important role in the Neverland story when they revealed her.. I hope she stays for a while!

  23. Andrew says:

    I really enjoyed tonight’s episode. I think they made the story of Ariel work perfectly. I was also very happy when the real Ursula threatened Regina. A couple theories that I wanted to throw out there. First when Gold mentioned a fate worse than death for Pan, my immediate thought was magically forcing Pan to grow up. What could be worst thing for a little snot who revels in being a irresponsible and childish? Forcing him to face childhood’s end. Why do I get the feeling that they are setting up Ursula to be a major villain in the future?

  24. Sheila says:

    I found this episode to be boring. I’m trying to be supportive, but the show’s been pretty lackluster this season. The whole Ariel story felt tacked on just to introduce the character. And the special effects get worse every week!

  25. Anna says:

    Honestly? I wasn’t feeling this episode. I LOVED everything in Neverland, and the confessions really showcased what Once does best, but the Ariel flashbacks were a mess. Not only were they cheesy (more so than usual) with HIGHLY questionable CGI (more so than usual), but they just felt shoe-horned in order to introduce Ariel to the plot, rather than connecting to or reflecting on the present-day storylines. I cringed every time they flashed back, and that’s never really been the case before (except for maybe that S1 story with Grumpy/Leroy). It’s a shame because the Neverland stuff was really good this week! Hook’s confession was crushingly romantic, JMo continues to astound, and the Snowing conversation was just heartbreaking!

  26. Eric says:

    Honestly, the highlight of the night was when Hooke yelled “I kissed Emma!” But with the accent, it sounded so much like he said “I kissed a man!” Did anybody else have the same issue? It got me a good chuckle, but all that aside, tonight’s episode was really great. I really loved how they did the whole episode and I loved JoAnna as Ariel. And on that note, I can’t wait to see Yvette Nicole Brown as the real Ursula. That will be magnificent.

    • Lyria says:

      I thought he was looking at David and said, “I kissed her, man,” because David had previously warned him away from Emma.

  27. Abby says:

    I absolutely adored this episode. This season just keeps getting better and better!
    My big questions: when will we find out who was in the other cage and who is it?
    Also, the Hook/Emma/Neal triangle has me torn in a good way!

    • Tiffany says:

      The other cage bugged me the entire episode. After last week, we all were left to speculate on who was in there and tonight we didn’t even see the second cage at all? Seems off to me. Too big of a detail to leave out. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we have Neal or another Shadow.

    • Sara Arnoldi says:

      last week I thought it was Eric in but now we know from Regina that Eric is in Storybrook so I dont know what to think. Maybe is a Pan’s enemy, someone from his past? hope we get to know soon.

      • Laney says:

        I feel like it could be a character not even mentioned yet- like Tiger Lily! We haven’t seen the Indians so it would be interesting to see if the show is incorporating that element of the original Peter Pan story

        • SK says:

          Yes, what has happened to Tiger Lily? I would like to see the Indians. At the same time, there are already getting to be too many characters. I wish they would just few and really explore them more fully and how they relate to one another. It starts getting too cluttered if they are always introducing more characters.

  28. Elle says:

    Well, after watching tonight’s episode, it pretty much went as I expected. And while both Captain Swan and Swanfire had good moments, I still think the direction it is going to go is pretty obvious. Emma is not ready to just forgive everything – in fact, she even said that she didn’t want it to be true, that she hoped he was dead so she could continue moving on. I’m really glad that she didn’t just drop everything and go right back to Neal – she seems like she is going to want distance from both of them while she works out her own feelings. She did say that she loved him, that she probably always would (probably being the operate word here), but she noticeably did not say she was IN love with him. The game is not determined after tonight’s episode. Emma has to work through all this Neal stuff before she can decide who she really wants.

    And all is not lost for Hook, either. Not by a long shot. Regardless of the fact that Emma said “it was just a kiss”, her body language and behavior for the rest of the episode told a very different story. I would dearly love to know what she was about to say to Hook after he confessed his love for her. She started to say something and then Mary Margaret cut her off.

    Because he did confess his love for her. He absolutely did, and that’s not a light little throwaway moment. He put himself out there in front of Emma and the Charmings, not only to confess but to test the magic of Echo Cave and save Neal. What an honorable, wonderful man. He also told the others about Neal right away, just as I called it. Killian’s cave confession is what I’ve been saying all along. “I never thought I’d be capable of letting go of my first love, my Milah. To believe that I could find someone else. That is, until I met you.”

    AND THEN I DIED BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS WHOLE TIME THAT SHE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS MATTERED TO HIM SINCE MILAH.

    The game is just beginning. Neal says that he isn’t going to stop fighting for Emma, but he has stopped before. And Hook doesn’t just put his emotions out there for nothing – he’s going to fight for what he wants as well, but he’s not going to make Emma’s decision for her. He knows her well enough to not force anything. I still think that Hook and Emma are the final destination for this story, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

    • rachelle says:

      Are we the same person?? Your name is half of my name and you’re literally writing everything I was feeling/thinking about this episode! I just love Hook and appreciate the huge risk he took tonight by baring his heart the way he did. I want Captain Swan! Seeing Emma with Neal and leaving Hook heartbroken would make me so sad.

    • Ana Fisch says:

      Totally agree!! Love Hook and Emma together.
      And I m not a real fan of Neal… too silly.

    • Sara Arnoldi says:

      I’m more a Swanfire fan because Hook always takes other men’s women!

      • abz says:

        Hook never took Milah from Rumple. Milah left Rumple and abandoned Bae and wanted to be with him. And Emma isn’t Neal’s woman and like his mother did to him, he abandoned Emma as well.

        • Stormy says:

          IMO Hook loses points because he could care for a woman who turned her back on her child. He lacks character and ethics.

  29. Matthew says:

    I am thinking there is some kind of family connection between rumple and pan

  30. Matthew says:

    I wouldn’t be shocked for pan to be rumples older brother

  31. neha says:

    Am I the only one bored of Snow White/Charming? I know that they have “true love” and I enjoyed some of their early moments in the flashbacks, but they are so vanilla in the present-day. Other than that, I loved the episode.

    • Christina says:

      I’m just upset by what their story has become. Such wasted characters. They had the potential to be great, but they’ve been overlooked in the ensemble. If I was Ginnifer Goodwin, I’d be pissed. Same for Josh Dallas, who gave up Thor 2 for this.

  32. Melinda says:

    PLEASE tell me somebody caught the Aladdin reference in tonight’s episode!!!!!!!!

    • YES !! I’m wondering if we are going to see a bit of Agrabah this season… maybe an interaction between Aladdin and Prince Eric who knows ! It would be nice to see Jafar from OUATiW too

      • Sara Arnoldi says:

        I think there will be at least a flashback of Aladdin character as Jafar actor is also in Wonderland and he was once in Lost

        • Sara Arnoldi says:

          I wrote wrong, my English’s a little bit bad…. what a meant to say was as Jafar actor was in Lost and now in Wonderland I think he will appear in OUaT as well.
          So if Jafar is there, Aladdin hes to be too!
          btw I hope there will be a flashback of Eric meeting Aladdin while he (=Eric) is travelling around the world.

    • Bonn says:

      I am thinking that would be the fate “worse than death” Rumple and Regina was talking about… That is, to become a genie, bound to the lamp for eternity serving masters after masters…

  33. Pilar Moreno says:

    Even though JoAnna Garcia was great as Ariel, I was not crazy at all about the backstory, the story of love with Eric was just forced and rushed, not credible.

    And also, I always shipped for Ariel to have a waist-down paralyzed Storybrooke couterpart…

  34. DarkDefender says:

    Matt.. Weren’t you also totally waiting to hear Eric tell Ariel (at the “Enchanted” Under the Seas Ball) that she was his Density. ;)

  35. Taryn Groves says:

    the guy who plays prince eric looks awfully familiar, but i dont know where i have seen his face before.

  36. RobD381 says:

    Honestly, when Ariel responded to Regina’s heartfelt “thank you” for saving her life by saying “no problem” I wanted to hurl. Not only is it completely inappropriate (there has to be a problem, before there can be ‘no problem’) in today’s world – woe to the one who next tells me ‘no problem’ instead of ‘you’re welcome’) when I say thank you — this wasn’t about TODAY but A LONG TIME AGO. Doesn’t anyone proofread what writers write?
    This series has gone so far off-rail I’m not sure I can watch much more, even with today’s wrong language infiltrating it, dude. Ya know what I mean? Uh-huh.

  37. Jo says:

    Neverland is close to surpassing The Walking Dead’s farm as ‘most tiresome alternate location for a show’ ever. Please tell me it’s almost over.

  38. Zelda says:

    The Regina and Rumple scenes came with a strange sense of relief. I like the Charmings, but it’s time for the Neverland story to move forward and R&R achieved more in two scenes of sassy brainstorming than team good guys did since episode 2. I’m growing a little impatient with all the side quests that keep distracting them from saving Henry. And it felt good to have a character express the same feeling. Of course it helps that Carlyle & Parrilla are brilliant together and the joy they get out of working together jumps at you through the screen in their scenes.
    I’m torn about the flashbacks. I like Andersen’s fairytale better than the Disney version and I don’t think OUAT has ever been this close to the Disney take right down to details with their take on a story than this time with Ariel’s. The actress did a good job. And it was enjoyable in its own right if you look at it only as a DIsney reference. But I would have liked the tale as a whole to be a little darker. And I agree with those who said the Ariel and Eric felt rushed and Eric was almost more like a prop.

    • SK says:

      I also disliked the Disney treatment of the Little Mermaid. While I loved the music and the songs, and the fun characters of Sebastian and Flounder, I disliked how Disney changed the ending. This was a tale of unrequited love. The Anderson version had a beautiful pathos to it and Disney undermined the integrity of the story by smacking on a happy ending.

      With respect to OUAT, I agree that the actress playing Ariel did a wonderful job capturing the Disney version, but I don’t feel they really needed to introduce yet another character. We already have lots of interesting characters that we don’t know enough about.

      • abz says:

        I’m not familiar with the other version of The Little Mermaid, but I think the version that Disney made was fitting considering the audience the movie was made for.
        I don’t think it was a complete waste to have Ariel be introduced especially in terms of plot development. Of course, I’d love more focus on other characters like Emma (please more backstory!), Regina, Hook, Pan, Rumple. and less Charmings (for me at least because I’m so sick of them), Ariel seems somewhat important for the events in Neverland because she’s a mermaid and can travel between realms easily so she can go and retrieve what Rumple needs. She’s also a way of connecting the show back to Storybrooke. I’m hoping that maybe the reason they went so deep into her backstory is that perhaps they’re setting up the real Ursula as a future villain.

  39. Irene says:

    It seems everyone forgets that Neal was ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED like a week ago. So much for never stop fighting for Emma.

    • Stormy says:

      I’m no fan of Neal, but it is human nature to try to move on and find someone to fill the holes in your life. Neal never knew Emma had his child and most likely thought she was better off without him. Which IMO she was.

    • Ginger Snap says:

      “I will find you” wasn’t the first thing that happened between Charming andI Snow. But now that they have acknowledged their feelings for each other, it will be” I will fight for you.” Which means a rocky road and lots of adventure ahead for Neal and Emma. And someone to keep breaking them up. Just like the Charmings.

      The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you know.

    • Cass says:

      It seems everyone forgets that Neal says that leaving Emma was the worst mistake of his life. He’s NEVER supposed to get a second chance when he knows how badly he screwed up and wants desperately to change?

      • TL says:

        He hasn’t forgiven his father for leaving him but expects Emma to? There seems to be a lot of pots calling kettles black. Emma can’t forgive the Charmings but expects Henry to?

        • Stormy says:

          Technically Bae left Rumpel, not the other way around. He cant’ forgive Rumpel for not going with him. And he hasn’t grasped that Rumpel had reason to fear other worlds. He’s pretty selfish. I won’t mind if he disappears. As for Emma, she had it a lot worse. Bae was nearly grown when he left. I think Emma should blame August more than Snow & Charming. And since you can’t keep a child with you in prison, or take custody when you are a minor yourself, yes Henry should eventually grasp that and forgive her.

  40. Pat says:

    I was not impressed with the intrduction of Ariel. Next week looks like they will use her character much better. Also, I could not believe how fast they rescued Neal. I thought for sure that it would take longer then it did. I still do not see the chemistry between him and Emma. Hook most definetly has strong feelings for her and I think she has conflicting ones for him, even though she told Neal that she loves him. One last thing, what is with Snows hair? She looks like one of the boy’s. Way to short for her face.

  41. J says:

    Im so baffled by all of the hate Neal gets, and al the love Hook gets. Its like Hook can do no bad, so tired of all of the people who just because Hook is better looking than Neal, he gets all the love. Should I remind all of you Hook loving idiots that Hook PUSHED Emma when trying to get to Rumple?. He HIT/SLAP Bell, when she couldn’t help him to kill Rumple, RIPPING Aurora’s heart, almost screwing Emma and Company when they were looking for the compass. I get it Neal is no saint.

    • suzi says:

      I don’t even like Neal and I agree some of Hook’s are obsessive and repetitive with their hate.

    • Kira says:

      I completely agree. Yes Neal has done some messed up things but I still don’t get all the hate for him. Apparently falling for the criminal and someone who is violent is acceptable but falling for “coward” is appalling?? And people are soooo sympathetic for practically anything Hook does or says but Neal gets no slack. Makes no sense to me

      • Cass says:

        What’s comical is that people have been hating on him for the last year for not fighting for Emma–yet when he outright says he was wrong, it was the biggest regret of his life, and he won’t stop fighting now, they are hating on him with even more vitriol. The guy agrees with you! Give him a break.

    • Stormy says:

      I don’t hate Neal, I strongly dislike Michael Raymond James’ portrayal of Neal. Due to MRJ’s 21st century street hood persona and lazy delivery he brings nothing to the character. Where is the fire in Baelfire?

    • neha says:

      This show has a lot of issues with violence/rape – aka, I love Lana Parilla and her acting, but her character is a rapist and serial murderer. If I want to continue watching the show, I just have to push that aside. I do the same with Hook, who is also very, very bad. The thing that I like about Hook, though, is that he’s honest about who he is. He admits that he is a backstabber, a user, capable of harm, etc. Whereas, Neal pretends to be this guy who has spent his entire life loving and protecting Emma. And, he HASN’T!! He abandoned her in jail. He never looked for her. He didn’t believe her when she told him that his fiancee was untrustworthy.

      • Kira says:

        That’s my biggest problem with the show too. I haven’t liked Hook since he hit Belle and tried to kill her, more than once. I wish they would address those issues. It would be easier to like some of the characters if they did.
        Neal did own the fact he was wrong for what he did. I do think he truly loves Emma. Tamara was nothing more than an excuse to ignore his feelings and what he did to Emma. Neither him nor Emma wanted to deal with their past when they first ran into each other and I can understand that. Doesn’t make it right but I get it. And I think in his own way he thought he really was protecting her. Neal’s biggest problem is he suffers from the same thing Rumple does, cowardness. Definitely a family trait lol I’m not saying he should end up with Emma but I think he should be given a second chance to prove that’s not who he really is. Every character has a flaw they need to overcome and I would like to see Neal overcome all the mental and physical abuse he suffered all these years. I did like how Neal accepted what Emma told him in the Cave of Echoes. I liked that he didn’t try to justify what he did or change her mind.
        I just wish some of the fans would tame some of their craziness. Say you’re a Swanfire fan and the Captian Swan fans flip out on you and vice versa. Crazy lol

    • TL says:

      People like Hook for the same reasons people like Rumple and Regina. Yes they are evil and do evil things, but there is growth and signs of redemption. It’s not always about looks. It’s about chemistry and like ability towards a character. Look at the character Loki in the Thor/avengers franchise. They keep bring him back because people LIKE him and he is not overly good looking.

  42. Jenn says:

    What a fantastic episode! Ariel was perfectly cast.. Once seems to have a knack for getting just the right people for each role. Hook, Pan, Ariel, all perfect castings! Looking forward to seeing Ariel in Storybrooke! I will admit that Hook broke my heart 1st when he told his secret then knowing that he may have lost Emma. Colin expresses so much through his eyes! Can’t wait to see how this all plays out!

  43. tarasa says:

    I love that you called the fork a dinglehopper. Raises the review a notch!

  44. Brandon says:

    I can’t believe Yvette Nicole Brown from Community was the voice of Ursula!

  45. ABBY says:

    I know they had just found Neil and were still half-way through his rescue when Charming cofessed his confined to life in Neverland but I felt like there should have been more reaction to that, Emma barely blinked and Snow seemed sad but not like her whole life just changed because she is either going to leave her true love to go with her child/grandchild or stay with Charming and say goodbye to Emma and Henry.

    • Stormy says:

      Maybe between R&R they can conjure up a nice little gated community on Neverland and they can all stay. LOL

    • Christina says:

      Yea, felt a bit underwhelmed by that reveal. I’m expecting them to deal with it more in future episodes though. I hope…

  46. Ginger Snap says:

    Okay, it’s official. The Charmings always said: I will find you. I will always find you.

    Neal gave us the tag line for Emma/Neal: I will fight for you. I will always fight for you.

  47. LaLa says:

    OK, I’m confused. Maybe I’m expecting things to happen too fast, but WTH? Emma confesses her neverending love for Neal and he just chucks her on the shoulder? I expected them to fall all over each other. I like Hook – I think he deserves to be with someone – but I’m all for Swanfire. Can’t help it.
    And it is about time that R&R FINALLY decided to work together. But how did she find him so fast? Like what, are they right there in the next camp circle? Why haven’t all of them run into each other before now? The layout, spacing, scenery of Neverland is driving me crazy.
    I thought the Cave of Wonders – excuse me, the Echo Cave, was pretty good. I loved everyone’s reveals. I’m so glad that Regina is not THE Ursula, and also very happy to read here that she’ll probably be played by Yvette Nicole Brown. Although, I have to say, I thought Regina (Lana) did a very nice job, very reminiscent of Pat Carroll from Disney’s “A Little Mermaid.” A very nice buildup for next week. Way to go OUAT.

    • John 1138 says:

      “Emma confesses her neverending love for Neal ”

      Well when that’s coupled with the strong wish that you had STAYED DEAD, the ardor might get dialed back just a notch.

    • gdv says:

      I, too, was expecting a huge kiss between Emma and Neal when he got out of the cage. They hugged, but that was it? Really? Even when they got out of the echo cave, they seemed to be standing awkwardly far away from each other when he confessed that he will never stop fighting for her. I mean, if the writers want it to be a tough choice between Neal and Hook, they could at least give Neal some “moments” with Emma. I’d go for Hook, too, at this point.

  48. A.B. says:

    It is way too early to be shipping anyone or saying Emma and Hook or Emma and Neal are the end game, it’s only season 3. These guys may want to milk this show till season 6 or 7. That’s another 3-4 years, a lot can happen in that time. One or both may be killed off and others may take their place. Or are we to be subject to another 3-4 years of a love triangle? It’s still way to early in my opinion. Who knows maybe it all ends with Emma laying on the grass starring up at the sky dying and then the shows starts back at the beginning at Snow and Charmings wedding and this time Charming actually kills Regina or better yet time goes all the way back to when Rumple made the decision to leave the army and get branded a coward which led to Milah leaving and which led to the Dark One and started it all. I guess what I’m saying is sit back and enjoy the show and whatever happens happens.

    • Stormy says:

      But Rumple was on Neverland with Pan long before that, wasn’t he?

      • A.B. says:

        Oh I don’t know. I was just throwing out ideas from what I know so far. I guess we will see more of Pans connection to Rumple when they show the episode with Rumple’s father.

  49. Mika02 says:

    Great episode. I love everything that happened. I think probably one of the best episodes so far. Can’t wait to see how next week progresses. I like the pace of this season but I may be the only one. My daughter also said it was a great episode (she’s 12 we watch together).

  50. B says:

    This season has been excellent and I loved this episode it was enchanting