Is it just us or is the Neverland setting already growing old on Once Upon a Time? We’re only in week four, which means we’ve still got seven episodes to go and things are already starting to get tiresome. It probably didn’t help that tonight’s episode was nearly entirely set on the island and there was very little to be happy about.
“Nasty Habits” centered on Rumple and his relationship with his son, which is one of our favorites on the show, but somehow, tonight fell flat. Neal easily escaped from Felix’s captivity and ran off while Rumple had another imaginary chat with Belle. She reminded him that he had a life in Storybrooke worth fighting for, but Rumple was determined to repent and rescue Henry as a way to honor his son.
The two were reunited accidentally, just after Rumple had knocked out more Lost Boys with a sleeping curse. At first, he assumed Neal was a vision like Belle, but Neal calling him “Papa” broke through and Rumple was overjoyed that his son was alive. It was a touching moment and one of the few highlights of the episode. Before we get into the rest of the story, let’s talk about the rest of Operation Henry.
Part of our issue with the episode was how little balance there was. We got a scene of Tinker Bell realizing that there was no escape plan and dropping the news that Greg and Tamara were dead on the group. Hook led everyone to Neal’s old cave and they found a map he’d made before he’d escaped the island. It was nice to be reminded that Hook cared about Neal and for Emma to see that.
But then the group realized that they couldn’t read the map and Emma had a breakdown over Neal being dead. She didn’t want comfort from her parents and Charming tried to tell Snow White that she should move on if he didn’t make it. But he didn’t tell her about the poison and Snow was confident that he’d be fine because she wouldn’t let anything happen to him. That was the extent of the scenes, along with one or two quips from Regina. Everything else was Rumple, Neal, Pan, Henry, etc.
Again, we’re big fans of Rumple, Neal and their broken relationship, but the episode was just sad. In flashbacks, Rumple attempted to rescue Neal from the Pied Piper, who turned out to be Peter Pan. We learned that Rumple had met Pan when he was a boy. But Rumple used magic to bring Neal home instead of trusting his son to choose him. Self-preservation is Rumple’s nasty habit and he wants to change.
Back in the present, Rumple and Neal team up and immobilize Pan and his Lost Boys so they can rescue Neal. But Pan mentions the prophecy and Neal wants to the full story. Rumple hesitates and then fills his son in on how Henry is his downfall. Neal doesn’t trust Rumple and temporarily takes his magic before going off with Henry. Rumple has another vision of Belle and suddenly it seems that his dark side might be winning. He sends her away.
Naturally, Pan and his boys capture Neal and Henry again. Henry’s been sleeping the whole time so when he does open his eyes, Neal has already been dragged off. Pan convinces Henry that his parents are never coming for him and suddenly Henry can hear the music and wants to dance around the fire with all of the other lost boys. Basically, Pan is winning and that’s annoying.
Obviously the arc was planned out for eleven episodes so we know that good cannot prevail this soon, but we need at least one happy moment per episode. This is a show based on fairytale characters. Why does it have to be so depressing? On the other hand, this is happening next week.
We’ll have plenty so say then. Or maybe we’ll just post flailing gifs and leave it at that…