Previously on Once Upon A Time, literally nothing. We’ve been chasing Peter Pan around Neverland in the most drawn-out storyline in television history. Seriously, this “Save Henry from Peter Pan” business has been going on longer than Ryder’s catfishing storyline did.
We open a long, long, long time ago, where a cute little boy is watching a man do a magic trick on the street. The man’s sleight of hand is revealed, and the gentleman who was swindled pins the magician to the wall. The little boy says it’s his father, but the man steals their money anyway. The magician tells the boy they’ll be alright. And calls him Rumple.
Rumple’s dad takes the little guy to a house, telling him that he’s going to stay with the nice ladies with the spindles who I have decided are a sweet old lesbian couple because why not. Rumple doesn’t know these women from a hole in the wall and would much rather stay with his father. His father gives Rumple a little doll and tells him to give it a name, because names always make things better, they make them real. Thus begins the legend of Rumplestiltskin, his knack for spinning, and his obsession with names.
Back in present-day Neverland, at Camp Lost Boy, Peter Pan asks Henry for the thousandth time if he’ll save magic, once again parading Wendy and her dramatic cough for leverage. Henry is like “Yes, I will help you save magic, like I told you four episodes ago. Can we please get on with it?”
Meanwhile, Team Storybrooke is (finally) getting ready to take some action. Mary Margaret is totally ready to abandon Emma again to stay in Neverland with David (to be fair, she’s known him longer) but Emma believes there must be another way. And for once, she out-optimisms her mother.
During their traipse, they run into Regina and Rumple. Neal reveals Rumple’s prophecy about Henry being his undoing, and Regina takes a visible step away from him, the one she thought she was most like. They all draw their weapons on him and he’s like, “Seriously, guys? Still with this?” He offers to pinky swear that he is not going to kill Henry, but Neal says he can just hand over Pandora’s box instead. That way they don’t even have to trust him. Seems like a raw deal, but Rumple agrees.
Flash back to Little Rumple being taught to spin by his new mommies. As it turns out, he has a gift for spinning. The tiny boy is surprised to hear this, because he didn’t think he was very good at anything. And he’s sure if he can be the one to make the money, his father would stick around. (Sorry for all the noise, that was just my heart breaking into a thousand pieces.) The women take pity on the boy and offer him a magic bean. They tell him that his father is definitely not looking for work, and that he should go off to another land and lead a fatherless life.
Little Rumple is quite determined to spend his life with his dad, so he goes off in search of him. Just as the women predicted, he was in the pub and not job hunting. He shows his dad the bean and, after putting his foot down on the idea of selling it, says they can start over together. His dad giggles just like grown Rumple does, wiggly hands and all, and says he has an idea. They can go somewhere he used to go in his dreams. The toss the bean down and jump on in, being sure to think lovely thoughts as they do.
In Neverland, Emma pulls Hook aside mid-march and asks if he’s sure there’s no cure for dreamshade. Rumple overhears and says that he might be able to make an elixir…for a price, of course. Neal steps in and says no dice, he does it out of the kindness of his heart or he doesn’t do it at all. Rumple agrees, but he makes the same face I did when I promised my friend I’d go see Twilight with her.
Tink! Bless Tink. How she’s put up with these commoners this long is anyone’s guess. Anywho, she’s found a way into Camp Lost Boy!
They had made a no-magic rule for Rumple, but Regina doesn’t have to abide by it. Rumple asks Regina if she remembers the spell and she looks at him like “bitch, please” and knocks all the Lost Boys out in one fell swoop.
They look at all the bodies but they don’t see Pan or Henry among them. Suddenly they hear a cry for help and Emma finds Wendy in her cage. Wendy looks genuinely surprised to see adults on the island and it suddenly occurs to me what a twisted, lawless, child-run island this was before we even got here. Neal tells Wendy that he’s Baelfire all grown up and he asks her why she’s here. She says that she came back to save him because he told her that he didn’t have a family. Rumple is a bit put off by this, and I’m sure Wendy is a little miffed, too.
Wendy feeds Pan’s lies to Emma, but Rumple can see right through them. He growls and pulls out his sword and everyone else is like “Dude, it’s an eleven-year-old girl in a nightgown, calm down.” She admits she lies for Pan because it’s the only reason he’s keeping her brothers John and Michael alive. Regina tells her that they trusted them, by way of Belle, and knowing that her brothers are okay, Wendy fesses up. She says that Peter Pan is dying and that he needs to absorb all the magic to become immortal. Worse still, if Peter Pan lives, Henry will die.
“Once Upon A Time” recap (3.08): Ship on a ship