This Sunday on Once Upon a Time, Emma and Neal dealt with some unfinished business during their hunt for a big bad, while in Victorian London, Baelfire dealt with a dark shadow.
IN VICTORIAN LONDON…. | Upon being betrayed/released into the portal by his father in Fairytale Land, young Baelfire lands in 19th century England, where he makes the acquaintance of Wendy Darling. The lass regales her new friend with tales of The Shadow, a mysterious figure who lords over Neverland, an island devoid of grownups and rife with children, mermaids, faeries and the like. The catch, Wendy soon learns: At night, the parent-free kiddies cry, forbidden to leave the isle once they have set foot on its soil. Plus, The Shadow wants a boy, and thus is determined to take one of Wendy’s wee brothers.
Having already warned the Darling sibs that magic always comes with a price, Bae intervenes when The Shadow visits that night, and lets himself be spirited away instead. Then, midflight — after a whirlwind, Disney theme park-ready tour through London, including a spin past Big Ben set to 8:15 — Bae wrestles free from his abductor and falls into the sea below. Ultimately, Bae is found and pulled aboard the Jolly Roger. “The name’s Hook. Captain Hook,” says his familiar, guylinered rescuer.
IN STORYBROOKE…. | Regina is missing — and so are the three magic beans she pinched. Emma’s more convinced than ever that newcomer Tamara is behind it all, and goes to search her place again, questioning Neal why his fiancée is tracking in sand when she allegedly trains for her marathon in the woods. As Neal helps Emma comb the waterfront, they have a heart-to-heart about their years-ago split under extraordinary circumstances.
“What do you want me to say, Neal…?” Emma starts. “That it killed me that you never came looking for me after I went to prison? That it didn’t hurt that you ‘found Tallahassee’ with someone else?” Neal explains, “I wanted to go to jail for you…. It kills me that I let August talk me into letting you go. I wanted to look for you, but I was too afraid you’d never forgive me…. There hasn’t been a day gone by that I don’t regret having left you.”
As that apology sinks in, Emma gets a call from David and Mary Margaret (who thanks to a potion from Mr. Gold was able to “see” where Regina was being held). Their clues lead Emma and Neal to the cannery, where Greg (with little help from a somewhat repulsed Hook) is using electro-shock to force the Evil Queen to cough up his dad’s whereabouts. Just as Regina comes clean — she killed Kurt Flynn the instant his young son left, burying the body at their campsite — David comes in gun a-blazing, but Greg gets away. Elsewhere, Emma gets KO’d by Tamara, who then pulls a gun on her fiance. When Neal demands to know how long this charade has been going on, she says it started the day she spilled coffee on him in NYC: “I had an important job to do, one you could agree with” — to rid this world of “unholy” magic, as others like her and Greg have done before.
Neal won’t let Tamara carry on her crusade, but when he moves toward her, she puts a bullet in him. Before Tamara can go in for the kill, Emma gets the jump on her and an awesome melee ensues, ending with Emma flipping the bad girl onto the floor, hard. But just as Emma reclaims her gun, declaring Tamara’s treachery over, Tamara smashes down a magic bean, opening a portal in the middle of the floor. Emma tries to keep wounded Neal from getting sucked into the chasm, but he argues, “Henry can’t lose both of us, and grow up like we did.” To that, Emma counters, “I need you! I love you!” — but Neal’s fate is sealed. He echoes, “I love you, too…,” before succumbing to the supernatural swirl. An emotionally devastated Emma sobs, collapsing in a heap.
Back at the Charmings’, just as the Blue Fairy gets Regina on the mend, a frazzled Emma shows up with the Neal news, and her dad comforts her. Regina then awakens, surprised to learn that Mary Margaret saved her life. Mary Margaret explains her reasons for turning the other cheek, but instantly regrets them when Regina reveals that she had created a “trigger” by which to destroy Storybrooke (and its residents) after she spirited her and Henry away to FTL. But now Tamara and Greg have the diamond-esque device, and thanks to the mysterious “Home Office,” they know exactly what it’s capable of. “They want us to move to the next phase,” Tams reports to her cohort. “We have to blow Storybrooke off the map!”
Elsewhere: Lacey learned that Mr. Gold is capable of magic — and likes it! As for the prophecy about the person who is fated to be The Dark One’s undoing, the tart retorts, “Then get rid of them!”
What did you think of “Second Star to the Right” aka Part 1 of the Season 2 finale? Did Emma losing Neal just as they were rediscovering each other wreck you? What do you anticipate happening now that young Bae is in Hook’s company? And what are your other predictions for next week’s finale? P.S. My original, Pulitzer-worthy title for this recap was “The Lost Baes,” but I feared it’d be too spoilery.