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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Once Upon A Time Recap: The Heart of the Truest Believer

Once Upon A Time Season 3

Well, dearies, the long wait is over and Once Upon A Time Season 3 has jumped into the portal and has landed in our TV screens! Storybrooke has been left behind as the most dysfunctional Fairy Tale family sets sail for dangerous shores in order to rescue the one thing they all have in common: Henry.

The story picks up right where we left off. Charming, Snow, Emma, Hook, and Rumpelstiltskin are aboard the Jolly Roger and sailing towards a strange and mysterious island.

The Island
No, not that one.
But there is a distinct lack of "jolly" on the Roger for our heroes...and....villains....and....anti-hero....Almost from the start they begin bickering about the best way to rescue Henry. Emma even goes so far as to question the optimism and experience of her parents. But, not to worry, because Grandpa Rumpel has decided to take matters into his own hands. What's more, he's brought the proper attire.

The Heart of the Truest Believer
All magic may come with a price, but I got these half off at Men's Wearhouse.
Meanwhile, late Season 2 baddies Greg and Tamara arrive ashore, shoving Henry along as they make their way to the Home Office. But nothing seems to go according to plan, starting with their communicator's batteries turning to sand and ending with a confrontation in the jungle with a creepy group of natives who want to take the boy, who has been deemed special by their leader.

Mr. Friendly
Closer, but still no.
Things go south quickly for the duo on a mission to destroy magic. As it turns out, Neverland is the Home Office and the Pan himself has used the magically-slighted Greg and Tamara to abduct Henry and bring him to the island. The Lost Boys (who, if they had their own Facebook game app it would be called Creepville) demand that they hand over Henry, and when Greg refuses he meets his end at the hands of a dark, shadowy, evil spirit.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Tamara is injured by what doctors call a "freaking arrow to the back", but Henry manages to escape. He is aided by a former Lost Boy who is eager to avoid the wrath of his former colleagues. They make off towards the Cave of Echoes, a place where Pan's soldiers cannot track them. Meanwhile, back on the boat, Hook and Emma bond over their shared connection to Neal/Baelfire, unaware that at that moment the Son of Stiltskin wakes up in the Land That Was. And the first face he sees is that of...

Once Upon A Time Mulan
Heyyyy.....Mulan's back everybody....greeaaaatt.....
Baelfire then recruits Mulan, Aurora, and Prince Philip in his quest to get back to Emma and the others. Meanwhile, the extended Charming family are all on the boat, lounging on the Lido deck sipping Mai Thais and playing shuffleboard.

Nah, I'm just kidding. They're getting attacked by mermaids.

As the storm rages around them, the ship is buffeted by both waves and fins as the sirens shriek and ram into the side of the Jolly Roger. Charming utilizes the firepower of the ships cannons and Regina uses the power of fire from her hands to ward off the sea-devils. It was like shooting fish in a barrel...except it was hurling magic fireballs at mythical creatures in an enchanted ocean. Luckily, they are able to capture one of the mermaids using a big ol' net.

Once Upon A Time
"Wait, is that ship of protesters from PETA or the ACLU?"
Back on the mainland, Rumpel stumbles upon a wounded Tamara, who reveals why Henry was brought to Neverland. Mr. Gold shows compassion in removing the arrow from her body, allowing her to spill the beans and ask for forgiveness. The answer, certainly and deliciously, is no. Tamara pays for her crimes against the family by having her heart crushed into dust.

While Tamara's heart is getting the ol' Rumpel Crumble, the crew aboard the Jolly Roger is getting a lesson in group dynamics as they decide what to do with the captured mermaid. As the mermaid writhed and wiggled (and boy did she do both!) the team could not decide if they should use her as leverage or if they should kill her on the spot. The mermaid (who, let's face it, is Ariel), tells them that they will wind up killing themselves...and boy was she right. Regina takes action and temporarily turns the mermaid to wood...and that's when the crew reaches the "storming" stage of group dynamics....literally. As Charming fights Hook and Regina and Snow have it out, the winds pick up, the rain howls, and the mother of all tidal waves descends upon the ship.

Meanwhile, Neal, Aurora, Philip and (sigh) Mulan arrive at Rumpelstiltskin's castle in the hopes of finding something that will lead him back to his family. They are greeted, however, by a squatter who just happens to be Robin Hood.

Robin Hood
"The rent in the Enchanted Forest is too damn high!"
As the Jolly Rogers and Rogerettes duke it out, Emma realizes that the mermaids words were coming true, that they were making to storm worse with their anger. She realizes that they need to be reunited, and fast, and so she dives into the watery depths.

The Heart of the Truest Believer
Man, water-skiing in Neverland is extreme
The plan goes a little awry as she is knocked unconscious by a piece of the ship, but it does work. The rest of the team stop fighting long enough to save her, and the storm abates.

Meanwhile, Henry and his newfound friend are still on the run from the Lost Boys but run out of space quickly as they reach a cliff. The boy has pixie dust, but he doesn't believe that it will work. And this is where, for the first time, Henry really comes into his own. Displaying the optimism and belief that helped his mother break the Curse, Henry uses the pixie dust to send him and his friend soaring through the air. I have to say, I'm not the biggest Henry fan (see most of my Season 2 posts), but he really stepped up and displayed not just childlike belief, but also leadership, courage, and optimism. I hope they continue to develop his character into this series' "Man of Faith".

Don Corleone would tell you not to play around with orange peels in your mouth.
Elsewhere on the island that Seuss forgot, the Dark One comes face to face with the Creepy One as the head Lost Boy offers Rumpel a deal. Stay out of Pan's way, let him have Henry, and his life will be spared. Well, Grandpa ain't havin' that and he promptly rejects the deal. As a parting gift, Blondie leaves behind a doll that presumably belonged to Baelfire. Rumpel is overcome with grief for the son that he believes is dead, and is left to weep in the woods. I really enjoyed this scene. Whoever this kid is playing the lead Lost Boy, he's doing a fantastic job in giving me the wiggins (yep, I've been watching too much Buffy). And watching Mr. Gold act as his old self while sticking up for his family and grieving for his son shows just how far the character has come. At least he is fighting for someone other than himself, but he's still got that Dark One flair

Once Upon A Time
Haters Gonna Hate.....then I turn them into a frog.
But Bae is very much alive. Using his father's old walking stick, Neal makes like Donatello and shows off some moves which removes a cloaking spell on a cabinet containing Rumpel's secret stash. Neal grabs an orb and, after focusing on Emma, finds her in what Aurora and Mulan believe to be their land. But Baelfire knows, much to his terror, that she is in Neverland.

As the Jolly Roger crew comes ashore, Emma takes full command of the group. Heroes, villains, pirates, and Saviors, all of them will need to work together to get Henry back. And nothing is going to stop them.

And nothing better, because as it turns out Henry's friend isn't really a friend at all. He IS the Pan.

Peter Pan
BANGRARA-ooooh crap!
I have to say, after a lull in Season 2 I was starting to think that maybe we had seen the end of the great stories that had made Season 1 such a smash hit. But the show has really upped the ante on this one. First, we are introduced to Neverland and Peter Pan in a way that is so far from what we know, we can only wait to see what happens next. We also are introduced to what I think Season 2 lacked, an over-arching theme. This season, it is "belief" that will permeate each episode...belief in magic, family, and oneself. I really can't wait to see just how this season unfolds and how, if ever, our favorite characters get back to where they belong.

We Have to Go Back
No! No! No!

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