Last night’s Once Upon a Time might have been called “Save Henry,” but there was no question that the hour belonged to Regina Mills (and Lana Parrilla). We were treated to a different side of Regina in the flashbacks that revealed how and why she’d adopted Henry and in present day Neverland, we got to see the Evil Queen rally to save the child she loved so much and it was a joy to watch. Parrilla hit each and every note and emotion flawlessly and all we could do was sit back and watch in awe.
11 years earlier…
Technically, the episode started in the Enchanted Forest before the curse hit and Rumple warned Regina that she would have a hole in her heart that she couldn’t fill. Then in Storybrooke, Regina decided that she wanted to adopt a baby and she demanded that Mr. Gold get her one since going through the proper channels would take far too long (queens wait for nothing, people). Naturally, Mr. Gold had just the baby in mind…one whose mother had just given birth in Phoenix (he left out the part about her being in prison).
Regina brought Henry home and was ready to be a mother and love him, but there was one problem: he wouldn’t stop crying. Regina assumed there was something medically wrong with him, but Dr. Whale told her that he just needed maternal love. Mary Margaret held the baby and he stopped crying, which only upset Regina further. Still convinced that it was a medical problem, Regina sent Sidney to find out who the mother was (it was a closed adoption). When she learned that the woman had been found on the side of the road near Storybrooke, she freaked out and went to Mr. Gold, convinced that he knew everything and had sent her this baby on purpose.
She attempted to return him to the adoption agency and there was already new parents waiting to adopt him. But as Regina held Henry one last time, she realized that she loved him and he was hers and she wasn’t giving him up. She left and the adoption agent told the other people that it wasn’t going to happen. John and Michael Darling (nice twist, show) swore they’d find another way to get that child to Peter Pan. Regina took Henry to her father’s crypt (weird, but okay) and told him the story of how she found her little prince and then she took a potion that would make her forget about his real mother.
Present Day Neverland
Regina casts a spell to keep Henry alive while they track down Peter Pan. After another tense debate about the right way to do things, Regina makes it clear that Henry is all she has (unlike Emma who has her parents, this person (Neal) and a pirate who pines for her) and Emma backs down and tells Regina they will follow her lead. But she doesn’t know what to do. She wants to torture the Lost Boys into telling them where Pan went, but Emma tries to talk to them as a mother instead and promises to take them off the island if they tell her where to find Pan. Felix remains defiant, but Hook is there to settle him down and the Lost Boys begin to crack.
Emma, Regina and Snow go to find Pan while the others prep the ship for takeoff. They come across Rumple’s box and Snow goes to pick it up (she needs him to save Charming), but naturally it’s a trap and the three ladies end up tied to a tree. Pan comes over to brag about how the tree will protect him because it feeds on their regrets. Emma and Snow have plenty and he imagines Regina has more than anyone. In a classic BAMF moment, Regina points out all the things that she did wrong and how she should regret them, but she doesn’t because they led her to Henry. Pan barely gets a chance to register her words before the bindings are gone and she plucks Henry’s heart out of his chest.
Set Sail for Storybrooke
The ladies take the heart (and Rumple’s box) to the Jolly Roger where Regina places it back in Henry’s chest. He wakes up and everyone is relieved. Hook sends him to the captain’s quarters to rest and Regina goes with him and they share another sweet moment. Meanwhile, Neal lets Rumple out of his box and the two hug. THEY HUGGED AND NEAL CALLED HIM ‘PAPA’. It was everything. Neal asked why he didn’t tell them Pan was his father (side note: how anticlimactic was that reveal for the characters?) and Rumple explains that he was a bad father too and Neal disagrees because Rumple came back for him (my emotions, you guys).
Emma asks Hook to get them out of there and he responds with “as you wish” causing mass swooning and heart failure in the Captain Swan fandom (it’s a good hurt and we like it).
Neal releases Pan’s shadow, Regina does her thing and the Jolly Roger lifts off as Wendy and Tink share a cute scene over pixie dust and then after a talk with Regina, it looks like Tink might still have some magic in her after all (aw!). But unfortunately, not everything was going smoothly.
Pan appeared in the captain’s quarters and attempted to rip Henry’s heart out again, but luckily, Regina had done a spell to make sure that didn’t happen. So Pan went for Plan B and started tugging on Henry’s shadow. Rumple came in and trapped Pan in Pandora’s Box, but it was too late. Pan had already used his powers to switch places with Henry so his soul is Henry’s body (or something) and Henry’s is now trapped in the box. Pan made his presence known to Felix; leaving everyone else blissfully unaware that trouble was going back to Storybrooke with them.
-It’s worth repeating that this was a fantastic episode for Regina and Parrilla was wonderful in every single scene. She hasn’t had a lot to do in Neverland, aside from keeping us entertained with her sassy remarks, but this episode more than made up for it. All hail the Evil Queen, who definitely has a heart underneath all of her bitterness and we love her even more for it.
-Even though the story itself isn’t over, we are so happy that the group has finally left Neverland. It’s going to be so nice to see everyone change their clothes and not to be stuck with the dark jungle in the background of every shot. Here’s hoping for a lot of daylight scenes in Storybrooke.
-Charming’s speech about everyone coming together and Emma’s faith paying off was great, as was the family hug. At its core, this show is about family (one family since everyone is related, but whatever) and for us, it’s the family moments that tug on our heart strings every time.
-We started to care about Pan more once it was revealed that he was Rumple’s father (see the family category above), but we’re side eyeing this latest development. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep him in the box and then let him out at some random point in the future rather than continue this ‘Save Henry’ theme?
What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Were you happy to see Regina shine? How do you think John and Michael managed to get the clout they needed to adopt a baby? Are you happy Pan tagged along or do you wish we’d seen the last of him? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with us.