‘Once Upon a Time’ Review: Curse of ‘The New Neverland’

ABC/Jack Rowand

It was a welcome return to Storybrooke on last night’s Once Upon a Time. The final episode before the big midseason finale had a lot going on, but at the same time, there wasn’t a lot of story movement happening. Instead, it seemed like there were a bunch of random scenes that led to a big moment to take us into next week.

The New Neverland” started with Ariel finding Eric in Storybrooke. It was great to see Ariel again and even better to see her happy with her prince, even if it was a ‘blink and you miss it’ scene. Minor characters or not, I have to admit that I was expecting to see more between them than an instant recognition, followed by a kiss before the attention was turned to Hook’s ship appearing in the sky.

Of course there wasn’t much time to dwell on it because there were other happy reunions once the Neverland crew got off the ship. Rumple and Belle were reunited and Neal was there to cheer them on and return his father’s walking stick (I will never, ever get tired of happy moments between these two).

But that wasn’t the only reunion for Neal to participate it. Wendy was reunited with her brothers and Neal got to hug all of them too before they announced they were returning home (We hardly knew you, but fair enough).

Regina wasn’t getting any love so Snow pointed out to everyone how she’d helped. This was a sweet gesture as was the fact that Snow was the only person to run to Regina when she was crumpled on the floor in the tomb (more on that later). I like these little moments that remind us that despite everything, some part of Snow does care about the good person that Regina can be.

Flashback Snow felt different. After Regina interrupted her wedding, Snow picked out a honeymoon destination that included a side trip to track down Medusa so they could use her to turn Regina to stone. Even though Charming was on a baby making quest, he naturally did what his wife wanted and ended up getting turned to stone (whoops). Snow eventually defeated Medusa and realized the error of her ways and I’m sure there was a message in the flashback, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the episode so I missed it.

Back in present day, Regina went to bat for Tinker Bell and tried to get the Blue Fairy to give her wings back. She wasn’t budging though and when Tink tried to show her that she’d made the pixie dust work, she couldn’t do it again. Blue Fairy made a snide remark about not believing in Tink if she can’t believe in herself (this bitch). That was the last dig Blue Fairy would get in because Pan (in Henry’s body) freed his shadow from Hook’s ship and the first thing it did was kill Blue Fairy (oh well).

Did that seem completely random to anyone else? Was it just because she was the first person it saw? Or was Pan trying to send a specific message? Or is it something even more complicated than that? I saw this theory on Tumblr so I can’t take credit for it, but to cast the curse, Regina had to sacrifice what she loved the most. Was that what Pan was doing? Does he have some kind of past with Blue Fairy? Is she related to Henry too?!?!?!

Stepping away from that for a moment, let’s talk about how Hook was basically staring at Emma while she sat with Henry. He’s so smitten. But he wants to be the bigger person. Hook told Neal that he was going to stand aside and give him a shot to give Henry a two-parent family (go ahead and swoon). He also added that he’s in it for the long haul and he thinks Emma will come around to him eventually (in other words, he intends to be her last love. Klaroline fans know what I’m saying). I definitely approved of this approach because I agree that Emma will not be able to stay away.

I did not, however, agree with Hook attempting to seduce Tinker Bell. What kind of nonsense was that? I loved her response that she still had her dignity. I’m so curious about their past. I don’t really get an ex-lover vibe. I’m hoping the show plans to fill in some details sooner. Emma caught a glimpse of the two of them together and jumped to the wrong conclusion. Tinker Bell denied it, but Hook just said, “Perhaps.” Emma seemed a little bothered by it, but she had other things on her mind, mainly Blue Fairy being dead and her suspicion that something was wrong with Henry.

Emma convinced Rumple and company to head to the town line with her so she could let Peter Pan out of the box. Once she did, he insisted he was Henry and started spouting off stuff Henry would know. Emma pointed out that it’s not just facts, but little moments that make up a person’s life and she wanted to test him that way. He passed and everyone hugged. It was a little strange seeing everyone hugging Peter Pan, but whatevs. Emma was right and that meant Henry’s body and Regina were in danger.

Poor Regina. She wanted so badly to believe that Henry chose her and missed her and still needed her that she didn’t see the signs that he wasn’t himself and that he was just manipulating her into showing him where her magic was. But once Rumple woke her up, Henry assured her from Pan’s body that he did still love and need her and it was really beautiful. Unfortunately, as Rumple discovered, they had a much bigger problem.

Pan as Henry had stolen the curse, THE CURSE, the one that Regina used to wipe everyone’s memories and bring them to Storybrooke. As Pan-Henry explained to Felix, he wanted to use it again and turn Storybrooke into the new Neverland with them as its rulers. How horrifying does that sound? Obviously everyone is going to team up to try and stop them next week, but if you saw the preview after the episode, you know that there’s definitely some kind of curse spreading through Storybrooke.

So there you have it. I know there were some moments I missed, including poor Neal sitting by himself in the diner (I am Team Hook, but I still hate seeing Neal sad), Charming joking about being a married man when Emma mentioned an interest in Hook and an interesting moment when Rumple reminded everyone that Pan was his father when it seemed like they wanted to take him out for good. That’s what I mean about this episode – so much happened that it’s hard to remember it all, but it’s also hard to think about anything other than what’s going to happen next week and what it all means for the show when it returns in the spring.

In the meantime, we want to know what you guys thought. Hit the comments and share your favorite moments from the episode and any theories you might have as to what’s going to happen next week!

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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1 Comment

  1. Well, most people in the Facebook OUAT forums I visit are not much happy with this episode – except for the rumbelle moments. I actually enjoyed it, though I think that Save Henry and Think Lovely Thoughts were much better. I think that the Snowing flashback was a pure waste of time – the Charmings could have taught the “you must look for the good moments” thing without that. (they make me remember He-Man and other moral cartoons of Funimation). Same thing that happened in Dark Hollow – if you want rumbelle, you must put up with some snowing in it. The confront between Tinkerbell and Blue Fairy, honestly, was disappointing for me – I expected a big fight, perhaps they exchanging remarks of conflicts in their pasts and Tinker tossing something on Blue or slapping her bitchy face – in my point of view, Blue is much guilitier than Regina for Tinker´s disgrace. Blue´s death looked kind of senseless – why, from all people, the Shadow has chosen her, specifically? Because she was closer? Ok, Pan wanted to distract people as he deceived Regina… but why no one but Emma noticed “Henry”´s lack of reaction for Blue´s death? Blue was Henry´s friend and the poor boy would be devastated at her death. Like Emma, I think that the Hook/Neal dilemma should have been pushed aside, there are more things to think about (I used to be Swanfire, but this love triangle,honestly, is boring – makes me think of Donald, Daisy and Gladstone from Disney comics) . Good moments of tension in SB limits and the Mill´s grave. It was amusing to see Regina´s shame after playing fool. And the rumbelle moments, of course. Maybe there are too much “good” characters around, but I was glad to see Belle around the main group, even though she still interacts only to Rumple (and Neal, now).

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