The episode begins with the Lost Boy Felix escorting Neal (Baelfire) to camp. He taunts Neal as they walk, but Rumpelstiltskin’s son outsmarts the Lost Boy and knocks him out.
Speaking of Rumpelstiltskin, we flashback to the Enchanted Forest where he brings a teenage Bael a gift. His son rejects the gift because he doesn’t want something that his father took from another person. Instead, Bael wants freedom and friends; Rumpelstiltskin refuses.
Back in Neverland, Rumpel is preparing to take on Peter Pan when another vision of Belle speaks with him. She attempts to convince him not to give up on them. He replies that Belle will eventually leave him because she knows the real him. His son is dead, so he has nothing to live for, except to save Henry.
The rest of the group meets in camp to plot their next move against Pan. The issue remains an escape plan, which isn’t really fleshed out. Tinkerbell warns them of the trouble they face.
Rumpel begins his attack on Pan’s base when Neal comes running his way. He’s stunned to see his son alive. Rumpel thinks it’s a trick and attacks him; Neal responds by calling him Papa. A stunned Rumpel drops his weapon.
In the Enchanted Forest, Rumpel comes home to find his son missing. He goes to town and blames the townspeople, but they explain that someone took their kids too. They describe the kidnapper as a “Pied Piper.”
Neal partially explains how he survived. He then tells Rumpel that he has another plan, one that wouldn’t cost him his life. They walk along the shoreline and use a shell to call a squid to the shoreline. Neal asks his father if he can use the ink from the squid to immobilize a magical creature like Peter Pan. Rumpel says he can.
Hook pulls Charming aside and asks when he’s going to tell Emma and Snow White that he’s poisoned. Charming reiterates his desire to focus on Henry since there is no hope for him. Hook says that one thing that he’s learned from these hero types is that there is always hope. Charming questions if whether or not there is something Hook isn’t telling him. Hook says no. Meanwhile, the group finds Neal’s old hiding place.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Rumpelstiltskin watches as multiple boys leave their homes and walk into the forest. He finds them dancing around a fire. Rumpelstiltskin is stunned to find that the Pied Piper is Peter Pan. The two of them argue over Baelfire. Pan notes that Rumpel is afraid that his son will leave him if given the opportunity, just like his wife and father did. He proposes a deal: if Bael wants to stay, Pan will leave for good. If Bael wants to go with him to Neverland, then he can.
Back in Neverland, Pan continues to manipulate Henry. He explains that the party is for him because he will restore magic. Pan then blows the pipe, but Henry can’t hear it. Felix arrives to let him know that Rumpel and Neal are on the island.
Emma and Hook look through Bael cave trying to find clues. They come upon a star map pointing out the way home.
Rumpel and Bael arrive in Pan’s camp. Bael fires his arrow at Pan, who scoffs when he catches the arrow. Pan notes that Bael should have known better, to which Bael replies that he did. He didn’t coat the tip, but the shaft of the arrow. Pan is left immobilized in place. Bael picks up a sleeping Henry, but Pan asks him whether or not his father told him about the prophecy. He tells Bael that Rumpel is there to kill Henry, not save him.
They get away from Peter Pan and Bael questions his father. Rumpel tells Neal about the prophecy, but his son doesn’t trust him. He uses the ink magic to incapacitate Rumpel and carries Henry into the woods alone as his father tears up.
Back in Enchanted Forest, Rumpel ignores the deal with Pan and takes his son home. Bael tells him that he would have chosen his father if Rumpel would only have asked him. He then leaves to go with Peter Pan.
Back in the cave, Hook explains that he taught Neal how to chart the stars, but he also taught him to keep his secrets. The only person who can read that map is Neal. Emma panics and expresses how upset she is over losing him.
Pan catches up to Neal and captures Henry again. He takes Neal prisoner, but only long enough to change the game board. Meanwhile, a distraught Rumpel talks with Belle. She notes that he has something to live for now, but Rumpel mentions the prophecy. Belle says that he still has that nasty habit of self-preservation. An upset Rumpel tells her to go away.
Henry wakes up with Peter Pan looking over him. Pan continues to encourage Henry to believe that he can save magic. Peter plays his pipe, and this time Henry hears it. He joins in the party and dances around the party with the rest of the Lost Boys.
Is it me or are Once Upon a Time’s writers about done with Rumpelstiltskin? The show has spent an awful lot of time going through his backstory over the past two seasons, and it doesn’t appear that there is much left for him to do. Given the amount of focus being spent on Rumpel this early in the season, it’s hard to believe that the character will remain part of the storyline much longer.
Of course, this could all be a mirage by the writers, but if Rumpel is on his way out, I hope the show gives him a fitting send-off.
Meanwhile, Neal’s stupidity is hard to believe. Yes, he doesn’t trust your father, but isn’t saving his family the whole reason he went to Neverland? Furthermore, isn’t Peter Pan a bigger threat than his father? So why on earth would he just head into the forest by himself? Neal had to have known that Pan would find him? It’s one of the rare times that the show has ignored common sense in the name of drama.
Overall, it was an intense episode that promises to have a huge impact on the remainder of the season, especially since Henry has now bought into Peter Pan.