This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Peter Pan gave Emma a map to locate Henry — provided she can find the “key” to unlock it. Meanwhile in Fairytale Land, Snow White’s awakening roused the Evil Queen’s anger.
IN THE FAIRYTALE LAND THAT WAS…. | After the umpteenth revisiting of Charming/Snow/casket/kiss/whoosh!, we get to see Regina receiving word (from a taunting/slightly giddy Magic Mirror) that her foe foiled her yet again. Regina offers the Charmings a deal: cede your claim to the kingdom and I’ll let you live quietly on a farm. When Snow balks, Regina says she’ll kill one loyal subject each day she delays.
After getting grilled by the Dwarfs on his agenda (“That chiseled chin ain’t foolin’ us”), Charming asks Rumplestiltskin for help in convincing Snow to fight. Later, Charming shows Snow a sword in a stone — Excalibur, he claims — and invites her to remove it, which she does. When Regina returns to nag them, Snow’s new sense of destiny prompts her to strike Regina, drawing blood: “This is my kingdom and I will fight you for it!” And so she shall — when they meet on the battlefield, Regina hisses. When Snow finds Rumple to absolve any debt, he laughs that her “Excalibur” is a fake, that Charming duped her into being emboldened. But hey, Grumpy et al make nice with the Prince, so….
IN NEVERLAND…. | Rumple detaches his shadow and charges it with hiding his dagger — even from himself. Later, Rumple catches a thief only to realize it is Belle — or at least a vision of her that his psyche summoned from Storybrooke. Rumple shares his fear that he’s a coward like his father, and is tempted to give up Henry to Pan, thus avoiding his “undoing.” Belle advises him against making the same mistake he made with Bae. (Also: some nonsense with the corn husk doll.)
Meanwhile, the rest of the gang traverse the jungle, at first led by Hook, who knows this terrain — or at least used to. When they make camp for the night, Emma is woken by Peter Pan, who hands her a map that she’ll be able to read when she stops denying who she is. After Emma recounts Season 1 to the parchment with no effect, Regina charms the map to lead them to Pan — or, as it turns out, into a trap. After a scuffle with the Lost Boys, Pan tells Emma she’s still denying who she is.
Snow asks Emma why she froze mid-melee. Emma says it’s because she saw in the Lost Boy’s eyes what used to be in her own as a foster kid: despair. She recalls how she used to cry herself to sleep, wishing her parents would come back for her. “On this island, I don’t feel like a hero, a savior…. I feel like an orphan.” And with that word, the map ink appears, handily labeled with sites such as “Pan’s Secret Hideout” and “Pirates Cove” (which can only mean one thing: mini-golf storyline!). As the hour closes, Pan warns Emma that by the time she finds Henry, he won’t want to leave. He also taunts, “You won’t just feel like an orphan, you’ll be one” — as Charming, in private, reveals to us that in battle he suffered a wound from a sword tainted with Dreamshade, fating him for a slow, painful death.
ON THE ONCE UPON A TIME SET…. | “Dreamshade is a nasty, nasty, nasty deal,” Josh Dallas shared with reporters this week. “And [Charming]’s going to have a major secret on his hands.” As for the symptoms the prince might display as the poison gradually takes effect, “I think it does change his personality, because it changes how he thinks,” Dallas said. “He’s living a kind of duality in front of some people.” As the hero of the group, yet electing not to share his compromised condition with everyone, “It’s going to test him, and that’s what Neverland does. Neverland tests all these characters.”
* “Mary Margaret’s a bit formal. You could call me Mom.”
* “If wax moustaches and perms are your thing.”
* “You’re really going to marry that?”
* “I’m winning you over, I can feel it.”
* “Say what?” “The S-word.”
* “You remember what I did to Rufio…?”
* “Just who are you, Swan?” “Wouldn’t you like to know.” “Perhaps I would.”