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ONCE UPON A TIME There Were Snakes. Why’d It Have to Be Snakes?

Episode 310 “The New Neverland”

It only takes a moment. And fortunately, there were very few before Emma figures out there’s something hinky with Henry.

Last recap, I made the demand that the adults not be stupid upon their return to Storybrooke, and while the others are enjoying their return home, Emma still has that gut feeling special power that allows her to observe Henry acting slightly differently from his pre-Neverland days.  Peter Pan may know some things about Henry, but not everything and not enough. It’s obvious from his non-reaction to the fairy tale book, that Pan hasn’t got a snowball’s chance to pass himself off as the Savior’s son. Especially since she’s got that ability to tell when someone’s telling the truth or not.


I am so glad they didn’t draw this out. Completely clueless adults being fooled by pre-teens make me grind my teeth.

Of course, Pan virtually gives himself away by breaking the Shadow loose from the Jolly Roger, something that should have been possible if Pan was actually inside Pandora’s Box. And why go after the Blue Fairy? There are plenty of other targets Pan could choose from among the group that actually brought him out of Neverland — Tinkerbell, for one, would have been a more logical target without her fairy magic. Why kill the Blue Fairy?

And what did the Shadow do with Blue Fairy’s shadow-spine?


It’s interesting to see the dynamic between Snow White and Regina shift in the homecoming scene, as Snow announces the Evil Queen’s vital role in the success of the mission. Snow recognizes Regina’s isolation, as she has no one to greet her at the dock. No one happy that she’s back. It’s a far cry from the way Snow and Regina got along in the Enchanted Forest…

… which gives us our Flashback Tale of the Week: Snow White’s secret plot to murder Regina after threats were made at the Charming wedding. And that leads to our Clash of the Titans homage. Even Medusa’s lair was reminiscent of Clash. I almost expected to see a stone statue of Harry Hamlin somewhere, just as a wink. But the CG this week was pretty weak, as far as the snake-ridden creature goes. Medusa looked like a villain from a video game more than a fully-realized flesh-and-blood character inhabiting the same space as the actors in the scene. And how many people caught the nod to Captain America (coming soon from Disney, which owns both…) with Snow using a vibranium shield to deflect Medusa’s gaze back upon herself?

However, this flashback is off-base for several reasons, not the least of which is that we only get one episode with Medusa. We also have no emotional investment in the scene because we know how it’s going to end. Even when Charming gets turned to stone, it plays out fine. There’s no real suspense because this event takes place before the Charmings are pregnant with Emma, so we know they live. It’s just more Backstory Filler to give context to things that are said in the present day, as Charming tries to get Emma to realize she needs to take time to enjoy the little things in between the battles. Emma is pretty much stressed out over the whole “savior” thing, anticipating that it’s going to be a 24/7 job and she’s never going to get a break because Evil lurks in the hearts of men.


Regina, meantime, suckered in by Pan playing off her need to be loved, ends up taking “Henry” to her vault to be safe from Pan’s shadow. Of course, she’s played right into his hands, and he gets the drop on her quite easily — because Regina needs to be needed by her son. And she’s blind to the possibility that something’s off with him, until it’s too late.

Getting Henry out of the box, our Intrepid Heroes make it to the vault just short of too late, as Pan has already made his escape with — gasp! — The Curse. The one that brought everyone to Storybrooke with memories wiped clean and lives to live over and over and over and over again. And this time, Rumpelstiltskin says, there’s no “true love” failsafe, so even Emma would be affected.

Pan’s plan — invoke the curse, take over Storybrooke as the new leader in a town where time stands still — his new Neverland.

Got to give props to Robbie Kay and Jared Gilmore for managing to deliver each other’s body language. Kay does a better job of it, but that’s probably because he’s older and more experienced as an actor.

Other bits:

~ Ariel and Eric find each other.
~ Belle’s got a new ‘do, and it looks pretty good on her.
~ The Darlings are reunited, and it feels so good.
~ Hook’s decided to step aside until Emma realizes Neal is a heel (if he is and if she does…).

Mid-season finale next episode.

[Official Show Site at ABC]     [Previous recap: “Save Henry”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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