The Once Upon a Time season premiere gets underway with a flashback to Henry’s birth. The doctors help Emma push one last time, and Henry is born. No one notices, but a couple lights burn out in the hospital room. The doctor tries to give Emma the baby; she refuses. He tells her that she can change her mind about giving him up, but Emma says that she can’t become a mother.
In present day, Emma and the rest of the crew arrive in Neverland. Meanwhile, Greg and Tamara arrive in Neverland with Henry, who asks them if they can really trust the person they work for. Greg and Tamara pull out their radio and attempt to check in, but they find that the radio was nothing more than a toy. Henry was right.
Back on Hook’s ship, he notes the irony of his situation to Regina. He did everything he could to leave Neverland and kill Rumpelstiltskin, and now Hook is back in Neverland with his nemesis on board the ship. Hook states that it wasn’t quite the happy ending he was hoping for. Regina says that Greg told her that she is a villain, and villains don’t get happy endings. She asks if Hook believes that’s the truth. Hook replies that he hopes not because then they’ve wasted their lives.
Emma blames Snow White and Prince Charming for what happened to Henry. She believes that if she hadn’t listened to them, then she’d have her son back. They try and talk to her, but Emma recounts all of the people she’s lost and wonders how they could remain so optimistic. Rumpelstilskin tells her that he’s going to get Henry. He believes Emma doesn’t have enough faith to get Henry back. Rumpelstiltskin drops his cane and disappears.
Meanwhile, the Lost Boys approach Greg and Tamara and demand Henry. They refuse until they receive instructions. The Boys reveal that their plan was never to destroy magic. They resist the Boys’ instructions, which results in Greg’s soul being pulled from his body and Tamara being shot in the back with an arrow.
Henry runs from the Boys and is rescued by another teenage boy. He claims to have escaped from the Lost Boys. The two run away together.
Hook gives Emma Baelfire’s (Neal’s) sword.
Neal wakes up in the Enchanted Forest with Mulan and Princess Aurora questioning him. Mulan realizes that Neal came from Storybrooke due to his clothing. Aurora offers to try and make contact with Emma and Henry through her sleep. Neal requests that she tell Emma that he loves her.
Mermaid attack Hook’s ship. Everyone on board works as a team to defeat the Mermaids. They capture one in the process.
The boy tells that Henry that Peter Pan is after him because he stole some pixie dust. The boy tells him that if Pan wants him, he’ll get him.
Aurora is unable to help Neal. He believes that his father would have left something at his castle in times like this, and decides to go there.
Rumpelstiltskin finds a still-alive Tamara and heals her in exchange for information about Henry’s whereabouts. She apologizes for what happened and asks for forgiveness. Rumpelstiltskin refuses and kills her.
Emma and the crew onboard Hook’s ship debate what to do with the mermaid, who blows into a shell and warns them to let her go. A massive storm begins to overtake them as they argue over the mermaid. Regina freezes the mermaid thinking that her actions will stop the storm. Instead, they plow straight into a large tidal wave.
Neal and Mulan arrive at Rumpelstiltskin’s castle where they are greeted by Robin Hood, who questions them. Neal identifies himself as Baelfire and tells Hood that he’s looking for a magical object of his father’s. Hood says that the place was stripped clean before he got there, but Neal finds his father’s walking stick and opens a cloaked room.
Snow White and Regina come to blows over the Evil Queen’s decision to turn the mermaid into wood. Hook and Charming soon come to blows as well. Emma pleads for help in steering the ship through the storm but eventually gives up on her fighting shipmates. She jumps overboard and is hit in the head by an object flying off the ship.
The boy and Henry reach a cliff and have nowhere else to run. Henry grabs the boy’s pixie dust and jumps off the cliff with him. They fly away from the Lost Boys.
Charming jumps into the water after Emma and pulls her out. The storm clears up as she wakes up.
Rumpelstiltskin meets with an emissary of Peter Pan’s. He refuses to back off of his quest to find Henry and acknowledges that he’s going to die, but he’s going to take as many Lost Boys as he can with him. The emissary then gives Rumpelstiltskin a doll of Baelfire’s, which causes him to break down.
Emma lays it out for the rest of her crew. She understands that Neverland is built upon belief, and she needs all of them to believe in each other if they are going to find Henry, villain or not. When Regina questions her, Emma tells her to either get on board or get out of the way.
The boy and Henry land in a clearing, which is where the young man reveals himself to be Peter Pan. He reveals that he’s been looking for someone with the power of belief, and now he’s found Henry.
What a fast-paced and compelling season premiere! One of the best features of this show is the writers’ ability to consistently surprise viewers with differing depictions of the characters we know and love. Peter Pan is a character that used to remind us of the joys of childhood while Captain Hook was the villain of his story. Once Upon a Time has successfully reversed their roles.
We now see Peter Pan as a devious villain who strikes fear even in Rumpelstiltskin. He’s a character who is more than willing to manipulate a child to get what he wants. That’s excellent writing.
Unfortunately, there are a couple scenes in the story that both me. For example, Neal is found in the Enchanted Forest by Mulan and Aurora, of all people. It would have made more sense for Neal to wake up in the Enchanted Forest alone and embark on a quest to get back to his family. Mulan and Aurora find Neal is too much of an easy way out.
Furthermore, Emma’s decision to jump overboard is ridiculous. Sure, let’s jump off the Jolly Roger during a major storm! Brilliant! The writers got lazy here.
Overall, it was a fun episode that kicked off season three with a blast. The writing could have been a little better, but there were definitely more highlights than low-lights.