**SPOILERS! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE EPISODE OR PREVIOUS SEASONS!**
My first recap post for season three of Once Upon A Time. I might as well let you know that I am a complete Peter Pan fangirl, and there is very little they could have done to disappoint me with this episode since we are about to embark on the path to Neverland. Needless to say, The Heart of the Truest Believer didn't let me down.
In keeping with Once Upon A Time's tradition of starting the season with a scene that leaves you with a lot of questions, we begin season 3 with Emma giving birth to Henry. The lights flickering as Henry is born immediately has me curious. Was it Emma? Henry? The two of them? If it's Henry that makes him even more special than I expected. It was a sad moment in that we learn Emma didn't even hold Henry first. She didn't even look at him. Makes me look back on the whole show differently, because the first time Emma laid eyes on Henry was when he showed up on her doorstop in the pilot. Emma protests that she 'can't be a mother' were heartbreaking, and parallel nicely with her speech at the end of the episode where she declares herself a mother.
Putting Regina, Snow, Charming, Hook, and Emma on a ship together was an effective way to cause drama. Barely into the journey and fists are being used, disagreements are plentiful, and each is wanting to claim leadership. Some fun one liners were tossed, and we get introduced to MERMAIDS! Not your friendly ones either. They try to capsize Hook's ship. The vicious mermaids make me happy, and I can't wait to see more of them (ARIEL!!!!). Regina and Hook in particular are full of fun venom in these initial scenes.
Regina and Hook have an interesting conversation. I may have to start shipping them. She ponders whether or not they, as villains, deserve happy endings. It's insightful, and I want more of this character development from both of them. It's a moment where they are both totally self aware, and I hope they learn from it.
I am so proud of Emma. She jumps into the water when she realizes that all the fighting is causing a massive storm. One that is going to sink Hook's ship. She TRUSTS that her parents will save her. Or Hook will (Pretty sure she doesn't trust that Regina will). Emma, the person who doesn't NEED anyone is starting to let her guard down. She does it without thinking. She just knows that they have her back. It's a huge step for her character. Also, I totally LOVED Papa Charming coming to the rescue!
Rumpelstiltskin's encounter with Felix (the head Lost Boy?) left me with a ton a questions. Obviously, as we learned in the finale, Rumple knows Peter Pan. How? I believe we have a clue in the doll that Felix gives Rumple. Upon seeing it Rumple breaks down crying. It's something important from his past. I have a bad feeling that I know where this is leading. *An aside... Robert Carlyle has played like 10 different versions of this character, and he is phenomenal*
Neal/Baelfire admits that his biggest mistake was not going after Emma when he had the chance. *SWOON*. It's apparent that he is going to fight like crazy to get back to her, and I was turned into a puddle of mush by him thinking about Emma and how much he loves her in order to active his father's crystal ball. That thing lit up immediately when he thought of his love for her. Now that he knows Emma is in Neverland, I hope he finds his way there..immediately. It appears that both he and Emma are going to have to come to terms with things about themselves that they may not want to accept. He has to accept that he's Baelfire and Rumpelstiltskin's son. Emma has to accept that she's the savior, and part of this magical world. Providing more Emma/Neal feelings is the fact that Hook gives Emma his sword! She'll be carrying it around and it will help her get back their son. The toast between Emma and Hook to Neal's memory was a lovely touch.
We also learn about blood magic via Baelfire's visit to his father's castle. Robin Hood has been hiding out there, and questions why when Baelfire touches his father's old walking staff it opens a portal when he has handled it numerous times and nothing happened. It's explained that his father used 'blood magic'. I am guessing it's going to be important later. This scene made me a mess of Baelfire/Rumple feelings. That old walking staff? Used to keep track of young Bae's growth via nicks in the wood. This prompts Baelfire to quip "it might not always seem like it but family was important to dear old dad" *sobs*
I got a chuckle out of Mulan and Baelfire's exchange regarding our world, and how we view these characters. Him telling Mulan that they made a movie about her and her reaction ('what's a movie?') was priceless.
Hook obviously has his sights set on Emma now. He admits that he 'fancies' her from time to time. (Something I am sure the Hook/Emma fans will LOVE) but I don't see it. Perhaps it's my own bias towards Baelfire that is clouding my judgement but she rolls her eyes at him, and seem exasperated whenever he flirts. Also, her mind is clearly on saving Henry. Emma, by the end, has rightfully stepped into the leadership role. Her insistence that they either 'help me find my son, or get out of my way' had me applauding. FINALLY! After all the bickering, and fighting one of the group is taking charge. Perhaps Henry isn't doomed...
Poor Henry is having a bad day. He's kidnapped, and brought to Neverland. I love that he shows a little bit of sass here. He's totally Emma and Baelfire's son. He is often smarter than the adults around him, and proves it again here by questioning Tamara and Greg's blind faith. His remark "good thing you guys don't ask any questions" made me chuckle. When a 12 year old is smarter than you....
Henry gets away from Greg and Tamara after the shadow comes and rips Greg's shadow from him, and the Lost Boys take out Tamra (her death aided by Rumple a little later in the episode). Pretty sure nobody is going to miss them. Henry runs into another young lad who happens to be hiding from the Lost Boys as well. Oh Henry, you might want to be a little less trusting. Of course the young boy that befriends Henry is none other than Peter Pan himself. Have to admit I saw that reveal coming, but it was perfectly done, and getting to see pixie dust (and FLYING) caused me to have a mini freakout. Upon revealing his true identity, it isn't long before he reveals what he is really after - the literal heart of the truest believer. Bad news for Henry? That's him. Pan calls for his Lost Boys who surround Henry and Peter's shiver inducing words of 'Let's play' are accompanied by him pulling out a dagger. EEEP! Looks like Henry is in trouble.
Robbie Kay is perfectly cast as Peter Pan. He even resembles the Disney cartoon version a little. His chilling delivery of "Let's play" to close out the episode brings to mind The Lord of the Flies. The entire manner of the Lost Boys seem to be reminiscent of that novel. The main takeaway is that Peter is not someone to be messed with, and he's actually really dangerous. Someone who has control of a group, and nobody to keep them in check? Yeah, dangerous.
With Peter literally wanting Henry's heart, our 'heroes' spending more time fighting than searching for Henry, and a darker/deadlier Neverland should make for an exciting season three. Belief seems to be the theme of the season. Emma having to believe in herself and her family, Henry's unwavering belief that his family will always find each other seem to both be an important aspect to this season.
Until next Wednesday.... Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust!