Previously on Once Upon A Time, Emma and Regina did magic together and saved the world, saying “we” more than ever. While they were getting lost in each others’ eyes, Henry got kidnapped. Then, half the town hopped on the Jolly Roger and set sail for Neverland, because Tamara and Stranger Greg have taken Henry to Peter Pan, and apparently, Peter is not the friendly storytelling dreamer we once knew.
We open eleven years ago at 8:15 (of course); Emma is ankle-cuffed to a hospital bed as she gives birth to a screaming baby boy. Emma doesn’t want to be a mother, so she makes the doctors take the baby away, wanting nothing to do with it.
Flash forward to present day, where Emma is swinging from the ropes of a pirate ship, traveling through time and space to save aforementioned child. She, along with her ragtag crew of storybook characters, are on their way to Neverland.
Already in Neverland are Tamara and Stranger Greg, with kidnapped Henry in tow. Henry is not worried about his safety, though. He’s pretty adamant that his moms (both of them!) will save him. He starts throwing shade at Tamara and Stranger Greg, since they are blindly following instructions to destroy magic, starting with the hub, Neverland. Through Henry’s incessant nagging and the fact that their communicator was actually a toy, they’re slowly realizing that they maybe should have rethought their “ask no questions” policy.
On the Jolly Roger, Regina sidles up to Hook and is all, “Can you believe we’re on a boat with this lot?” Hook cannot believe it, since he spent a large number of years doing exactly the opposite of heading toward Neverland with Rumplestiltskin on board as a passenger. Regina tells Hook that once Stranger Greg called her a villain and said that villains don’t get happy endings. Hook says he sure hopes that’s not true, because if it is, what was it all for? It was a pretty deep mostly-reformed-bad-guy moment.
Snow and Charming approach their daughter, and try to comfort her, and tell her that all this isn’t her fault. She looks them square in the eye and says, “Duh.” She tells them it’s all THEIR fault. She doesn’t think their fairytale optimism has a place in the real world. She also tells them that, while she appreciates the effort, it’s a little weird being scolded and coddled by people her own age.
Rumplestiltskin interrupts this family meeting by emerging in an outfit that makes him look more like a crocodile than ever. He has decided to take it upon himself to save Henry, because Emma doesn’t believe. She argues that she did fight a dragon once, what’s to believe, and he says that’s exactly it. She only believes in the things that are shoved in her face. Heck, she didn’t even see August turning to wood right before her eyes at first. She has never taken a leap of faith, and she’ll never survive in Neverland with a shoddy belief system like that. Plus, she’d starve at all of Rufio’s dinner parties.
When the Evil & Annoying Duo finally find their “home office,” they are dismayed to find that it’s just a bunch of Lost Boys. Stranger Greg and Tamara were lied to, the plan was never to destroy magic after all. Before they can argue, the Shadowman swoops in and rips Stranger Greg’s shadow right out of his body. I’m assuming Tamara didn’t even have a soul or shadow to steal, because Shadowman just lets an arrow get her. Henry scampers into the forest, unscathed.
Someone grabs Henry off the path and hides him while the Lost Boys rush past. He says he’s an Ex-Lost Boy, and that he’ll help Henry get away. He says that he stole some pixie dust to try to escape, but it didn’t work, and now they’re after him, too.
Out at sea, Emma is doing pull-ups to stave off sexual frustration stay in shape.
Hook comes in and can’t help a smarmy remark or two, and I honestly I can’t even fault him this time. He gives Emma a sword that used to be Baelfire’s and they take a shot in his memory. (Which is how I would like to be remembered, take note.)
However, they might have been pouring one out a little preemptively. Cut to the Enchanted Forest, where Neal awakens to see Mulan and Aurora standing over him. (Prince Wren is there, too.) Mulan, quick as a whip, recognizes his clothes to be the same as Emma’s and Neal perks up at the mention of her name. Aurora works out that he must be Henry’s father and is delighted at the opportunity to be useful again. She offers to go through the fiery expanses of the sleeping curse world to deliver any message whatsoever that he could dream up. He basically says, “Tell her I say hi.”
Meanwhile, the good ship lollipop has hit some troubled waters. They see something lurking beneath the surface. Is it a whale? Is it a kraken? No, it’s mermaids! They look more scared than excited. I look excited.
Hook screams out that mermaids are unpleasant, so they surround the boat. Then Charming shouts that they’re just a bunch of fish, so they start rocking it. Seriously, guys, if you had just sang a reprise of “Part of Your World,” I’m pretty sure this all would have worked out fine.
Instead of singing, Charming starts shooting canons, and Emma and Snow throw a net overboard. Regina gets bored with their mortal ways and starts shooting fireballs out of her hands.
Within seconds, she has eliminated them all, with the exception of the one Emma and Snow have caught in their net.