This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Regina’s belief in her wicked ways paid dividends during a pivotal confrontation with Peter Pan. But would Neverland’s It Boy nonetheless end up having the last laugh?
IN THE STORYBROOKE THAT WAS…. | Following a brief flashback to Fairytale Land, where just prior to the curse Rumple told Regina that trading her father’s heart for power has left her with a hole in her heart that one day she will come to him to fill, we revisit Storybrooke circa 11 years ago. There, Regina shares to Archie this “nothing” feeling she has. He says that being such a driven woman can leave “a hole,” that while she may love the life she has created, she has no one to share it with. Remembering how that visit from young Owen Flynn sparked something in her, Regina in fact asks Gold for help in adopting a child. He is happy to oblige — “I’m sure you’ll make… well, a mother of some sort” — yet warns that wanting and being ready for motherhood are different things, that it will require putting the child first no matter what.
Soon enough, Gold notifies Regina that a Boston couple’s adoption of a baby born in
a Phoenix prison fell through. At the Beantown adoption agency, Regina is reminded this is a closed adoption, meaning she and the bio parents can never make contact. Back home, Regina has her hands full trying to soothe wee Henry — even a semi-earnest “Once upon a time…” story only earns her a glop of spit-up. The diagnosis, per Dr. Whale: “He’s a crying baby.” The prescription: “Ten cc’s of maternal love.” But that’s not good enough for Regina, who wants to ascribe Henry’s unhappiness to a malady, so she summons Sydney Glass to get the 411 on her baby’s folks. When that fax comes through, Regina roars to Gold: “You knew!” — that Henry’s mother had been found in the woods outside Storybrooke 18 years ago. Gold, though, has to play dumb — remember, Regina at this point wasn’t sure that he was in on the curse — so he has great fun in making her jump through verbal hurdles. (“His mother is… what?”) Determined to have her revenge, Regina returns to the adoption agency to cede the baby, but ultimately changes her mind, telling smiley, googly Henry that he’s the only one in all the realms who believes in her. Who is thus out of luck in laying their hands on baby Henry? John and Michael Darling.
Back in Storybrooke at the family crypt, Regina tells baby Henry another “Once upon a time…” story — this time, her own. In doing so, she explains how she can’t raise him worry-free if she knows that “evil” (aka his mother the Savior) is lurking out there, so she ingests a potion that makes her forget that none-too-small fact, affording the two of them a chance at “happily ever after.”
IN NEVERLAND…. | Regina casts a preservation spell on Henry, giving them about an hour to retrieve his ticker. The first step: Rounding up the Lost Boys and playing upon their own anxieties/need for a home to coax intel about Pan’s whereabouts. Though Felix is impervious to their angle, one of the other boys blabs that Pan is probably at his “thinking tree.” Emma, Snow and Regina make tracks for the tree, where they are promptly ensnared in its vise-like vines. “Don’t you know Peter Pan never fails?” the brat boasts as he emerges from the jungle. Applauding the mothers’ tenacity, he says that the only place they will reunite with their dear Henry is in death.
Pan shares the tree’s history, how it is where he gave up his own son, Rumplestiltskin, as to be young forever. (Sadly, the ladies aren’t allowed anywhere close to a sufficient double-take at this bombshell.) Pan then explains how the vines feed off the regret inside you, such as what Emma feels for letting Henry down or what Snow feels for being a bad mother herself. Snarky Regina then interrupts, “There’s one problem” with Pan’s plan. “I did cast a curse that devastated an entire population. I have tortured and murdered. I’ve done some terrible things,” she recounts. “I should be overflowing with regret — but I’m not. Because it got me my son.” And on that note, she busts free from the vines and thrusts her mitt into Pan’s chest to reclaim Henry’s heart, and soon after transplants it back into her kid, aboard the Jolly Roger. (For good measure, she casts a spell to keep Henry’s pumper from being pilfered again.) Later, as the ship’s about to set sail, Pan sneaks into Henry’s cabin and attempts to steal his shadow — but Rumple, freshly released from Pandora’s Box, intervenes, sucking Pan into the magical cube. Or so we thought….
We realize at episode’s end that the cry of “Noooo!” that Pan let out as he was entrapped was not his own, but Henry’s — that Pan used his last bit of magic to swap his soul with the lad’s, meaning the true Henry is now in Pandora’s Box. “Henry” shares his sleight of hand in private with Felix, saying, “Now it’s time to play….”
“Storybrooke is a hidden a gem… like a fairytale.”
“We don’t meet a lot of Henrys these days. It’s very Old World.”
“You have your parents, you have this… person, and a pirate who pines for you….”
What did you think of “Save Henry”? Next week: The penultimate Neverland episode.