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S03.E01: The Heart of the Truest Believer

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Unfriendly mermaids threaten those searching for Henry in Neverland; Henry and another escapee from Peter Pan's encampment go on the run; a still-recovering Neal travels the enchanted forest with Mulan in search of Emma's and Henry's fates.

 

Note: please use spoiler tags when referring to major events that happen after this episode to allow new viewers to choose to be spoiled.

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It was a unique take for a premiere to have it mostly take place on a ship.

 

Pros:
* Peter Pan twist and reveal.

* "And what? You'll win her over with your rainbow kisses and unicorn stickers?"

* Greg and Tamara die.

* Snow punches Regina. (It's kind of funny.)

* Neal's interactions in EF, especially with Mulan. ("What's a movie?")

 

Cons:

* The ship storm scenes are a bit violent and disorienting. Dialog is hard to hear.

* The fighting got annoying and artificial quick.

* The ship scenes didn't feel very Onceish.

* It didn't exactly begin the season on a high note.

 

It's definitely not on the list of episodes I'd specifically go to rewatch for entertainment. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either. It's slightly above 2B.

Edited by KingOfHearts

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I didn't think it was that great even the first time around.  The pirate ship scenes were really hokey (everyone hanging on in the storm just looked really fake), especially one slo-mo scene they had.  The bickering and arguing was just annoying, despite a few funny lines here and there.  There must have been a better way to have Emma step up to be the leader.  On rewatch, the Peter Pan/Henry scenes completely dragged since you already know the reveal.  I actually ended up enjoying the Enchanted Forest scenes the most, up until Mr. Idiotic "I owe your father a great debt" showed up.

 

The only scene I loved was the Emma flashback.  Overall, a rather lacklustre season premiere.

Edited by Camera One
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I was expecting so much more than that.  I got turned off the moment I realized who had the heart of the truest believer.  I'm just beyond allergic to Henry.  Pan was awesome and I wish they had done more with him. 

I wish they hadn't made him Rumple's papa, I wish they had done more Neverbacks.  Neverland is supposed to be Hook and Pan and Tink.

 

So yeah.

 

Also, Henry is a sodding twit.

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* Snow punches Regina. (It's kind of funny.)

This may have been the best Snow episode of the season, for this reason alone!

 

But seriously, one of the things that I liked about 3x01 was that it refocused the show on the core characters and their relationships, because those are by far the show's two biggest strengths. I agree that a lot of it was contrived and the episode was kind of blah overall (the pilot and 2x01 were much better season premieres, and 3x02/3x10 are head and shoulders better in 3A)--but I just remember feeling so relieved when this episode aired, like the show was getting back on the right track after the clusterfuck of 2B. (And while 3B did wind up getting off track, I think we all agree, it was not as bad as 2B.)

 

Also, I really liked Emma's blowup at Snow and Charming and Daddy Charming diving into the water to save Emma. Give me more of that, show.

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But seriously, one of the things that I liked about 3x01 was that it refocused the show on the core characters and their relationships

 

And that 

extended into the second episode of the season and that was it.  In hindsight and in rewatch, it felt like a flash in the pan (pun not intended).

 

* Snow punches Regina. (It's kind of funny.)

 

But then Regina got Snow back.  Because they're equal in their crimes.  That's why I didn't get a net gain from that.

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I could watch Snow punch Regina in the face on repeat. It just warms the heart. Yeah it gets screwed up later, but for one brief, shining moment, someone was actually allowed to tell Regina to shut it.

 

This episode isn't quite the epic that I think it was supposed to be, but I do like it. The smaller cast and focus on character interaction is very welcome, and I like the stuff we got with Neverland. Too bad this is where my annoyance with Henry really started to grow. I mean, the 2nd season finale was probably worse, in terms of wanting to hit him upside the head, but this one had a pretty big dose of "Plucky kid adventurer" that made him pretty insufferable.

 

The "What's a movie?" scene is great. I want to see more scenes where characters deal with their fictional counterparts! Make it happen!  

 

And for real, what was the point of Greg/Tamara? As happy as I was that their stupid selves were gone, it just made the whole back part of season two seem extra pointless.  

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And for real, what was the point of Greg/Tamara? As happy as I was that their stupid selves were gone, it just made the whole back part of season two seem extra pointless.

Replying in All Seasons thread.

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My favorite part is when Felix appears and says hi to Rumple and he does his little hand florish thing very self mockingly. It KILLED me the first time I saw it, I was laughing so hard. I've been dying to talk to someone else about it, but no one else seems to love it as much as I do.

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I hated the fact that the ship was so stationery - I mean in the storm it hardly moved when Emma jumped overboard.

Inertia, people! She should have been left waaaaay behind the Jolly Roger and nobody would have been able to save her. Especially with the whole Regina "my powers can lift mermaids out of water but cannot do the same with Emma and Charming" stuff.

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My favorite part is when Felix appears and says hi to Rumple and he does his little hand florish thing very self mockingly. It KILLED me the first time I saw it, I was laughing so hard. I've been dying to talk to someone else about it, but no one else seems to love it as much as I do.

 

 

I loved it too, doxamully! It was a nice little note in what I thought was an overwhelmingly "meh" episode. And I never expect much from season openers, 

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And I never expect much from season openers,

 

On paper, season premieres are supposed to be awesome, since you are picking up from all the cliffhangers and unresolved issues from the season finale.  But for many shows, they are disappointing since they end up being a reset and the resolution of the cliffhangers are often done in a contrived way, not to mention setting up for the major conflicts of that season.  

 

And with Season 3 

being split in half, we now essentially have TWO season premieres in a season.

Edited by Camera One

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I don't think this was the most exciting season opener, but I think it did a decent job of throwing these five people (once Rumple ditched them) together and establishing them as the core team. I imagine the writers felt they needed to go through some shared ordeals and teamwork building before they got to the island so they were believable as a cohesive unit (however tenuous that cohesion was, but I think necessarily so), and they maybe didn't turn that into the greatest episode ever but they did do it. 

 

Things I enjoyed:

 

  • Firebombing the mermaids. I mean, conceptually, this is just hilarious.
  • Nealfire explaining fairytales and movies to Mulan.
  • Emma's silent reaction to Rumple's "costume change"
  • The end of Greg and Tamara
  • "Filet the bitch"
  • I think Robin Hood

    shows more personality here than he has since

 

Didn't like:

 

  • I'm still not sure why Emma got to declare herself leader with very little resistance. She really is the least qualified.
  • Terrible chin-ups. 
  • All the ship fighting dragged on way too long.
  • Emma's motivational speech didn't make a whole lot of sense for her character. "The land is run on belief" "Pan already knows we're here" "We're going to need all those skills whether we can stomach them or not" I'd be fine with Rumple or Hook saying these things, but Emma really knows nothing about Neverland at this point. 
  • The questionable ship special effects weren't a patch on the truly hokey "Pan and Henry flying" special effects.
  • While I was glad to see an end to the Greg and Tamara show, the way they "resolved" that story made no sense. The whole thing was an elaborate plan by Pan and the lost boys? I mean... I don't even want to try and think through that. I'm pretty sure that whole thing was supposed to go in a completely different direction and then they got the rights to Peter Pan and went "... eh, we'll tie it up somehow."
Edited by retrograde
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  • I'm still not sure why Emma got to declare herself leader with very little resistance. She really is the least qualified.

 

Mostly, because everyone else was too busy squabbling to actually focus on Henry, and she actually has less baggage with Rumple and/or Regina than Snow, Charming, or Hook.

 

She's the closest person on the ship to a neutral person.  Not that she actually was neutral, but she's not someone with a long history of trying to kill, curse, or imprison anyone on the ship.  Plus, there's no doubt--given the True Love kiss from only a few weeks before--that her highest priority would be Henry. 

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Mostly, because everyone else was too busy squabbling to actually focus on Henry, and she actually has less baggage with Rumple and/or Regina than Snow, Charming, or Hook.

 

She's the closest person on the ship to a neutral person.  Not that she actually was neutral, but she's not someone with a long history of trying to kill, curse, or imprison anyone on the ship.  Plus, there's no doubt--given the True Love kiss from only a few weeks before--that her highest priority would be Henry. 

IA, @Mari. And Emma was the only one they would all were willing to listen to and she actually got everyone working together, tenuous alliance though it was. Regina was too ready to filet and BBQ everything in sight, Charming & Snow wanted to do things "the right way". Emma basically said "Ya'll, shut the hell up. The mission isn't about revenge or about following ethical guidelines. We get Henry and that's all that matters. Don't care how it's done just that it gets done."

Edited by FabulousTater
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So she took a literally leap of faith on her belief that the storm was caused by the mermaids.  Even though Regina should have known that.  Or maybe even Snow.  Or at the very least Hook, who arguably knows the most about all causes of storms at sea including the workings of mermaids, in Neverland waters.  Oh whatever...

Edited by Camera One

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I know, right. Kinda of a bonkers plan, but really everyone else was literally trying to rip each other's hair out and kill each other. Again, Emma was the only one with her head in the game. As crazy and WTF-worthy as jumping overboard was at the least she knew it would get Snow and David's attention long enough to stop the fighting...when dealing with a ship full of enraged lunatics I guess a crazy ass plan is the only way to go???

 

...And really, after seeing all of season 3, Emma jumping overboard to get the others to stop fighting is the least baffling thing to have happened on this cockamamie show.

Edited by FabulousTater

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Question: Is the storm "responsible" for Hook using calling Snow and Regina "slags"? Because while Hook can be a jerk, especially when it comes to women, such a derogatory word doesn't quite seem in character. Did the storm encourage them just to fight -- in which case that was on him -- or to generally act like horrible people, in which case it wasn't?

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Question: Is the storm "responsible" for Hook using calling Snow and Regina "slags"? Because while Hook can be a jerk, especially when it comes to women, such a derogatory word doesn't quite seem in character. Did the storm encourage them just to fight -- in which case that was on him -- or to generally act like horrible people, in which case it wasn't?

Hard to say, Hook doesn't usually use such coarse language. He usually goes digging in his mental thesaurus to come up with something highbrow or clever.

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Given that Snow, Charming, Emma, and Regina didn't suddenly start dropping f-bombs or calling each other similarly derogatory things, my vote is that's on Hook.

But this is also where I found the infighting in 3x01 to be very contrived. Snow and Regina brawling for 20 minutes? Yes, I totally get that and cheer it on. If nothing else it's healthy for them! But David and Hook brawling for 20 minutes in the middle of a storm and while under attack? Super contrived, even if we factor in magical malarkey. Both David and Hook are too pragmatic for that, and I don't think they *care* about each other enough yet at this point on the timeline to go that nuts over each other. So I wonder if the writers felt they *had* to have Hook say something super nasty to justify David's anger.

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Given that Snow, Charming, Emma, and Regina didn't suddenly start dropping f-bombs or calling each other similarly derogatory things, my vote is that's on Hook.

But this is also where I found the infighting in 3x01 to be very contrived. Snow and Regina brawling for 20 minutes? Yes, I totally get that and cheer it on. If nothing else it's healthy for them! But David and Hook brawling for 20 minutes in the middle of a storm and while under attack? Super contrived, even if we factor in magical malarkey. Both David and Hook are too pragmatic for that, and I don't think they *care* about each other enough yet at this point on the timeline to go that nuts over each other. So I wonder if the writers felt they *had* to have Hook say something super nasty to justify David's anger.

Probably.

 

But if we're interested in giving the writers the benefit of the doubt, (I'm not so much, but I've heard the concept exists) we could reach back into tradition and mythology.  Weren't mermaids and sirens supposed to have a bigger impact on men?

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And that 

extended into the second episode of the season and that was it.  In hindsight and in rewatch, it felt like a flash in the pan (pun not intended).

Disagreed completely. It may have not gone the way you wanted and expected it to, but the fact remained that the core characters and their relationships WAS the central focus throughout Season 3....well, in 3a and the 3b finale anyway. Between then, Regina and Zelena's feud ate up the screentime, with some assorted Emma-Hook moments on the side.

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I actually rather liked this one, even in rewatch. Robbie Kay is so good as Pan, especially here playing a runaway former Lost Boy and playing into all of Henry's fantasies about heroism and magic. It may have been mermaid or storm-induced, but I liked Snow getting to actually sass Regina instead of her usual saintly forbearance. I particularly liked the scene where Hook comes upon Emma doing her Sarah Connor routine and they get a nice moment of remembering Bae/Neal -- and for once he's not really flirting and instead seems truly sincere and saddened.

 

Though the people behind this have probably never been on a sailing ship or boat of any kind. Do they think there's an accelerator at the steering wheel? I was cracking up at the scene where Regina accuses Hook, who's been standing at the wheel the whole time, of making the ship go faster. The only way he could do that would be in turning to catch the wind, which would change course. Otherwise, he'd have to leave the wheel to adjust the sails or get someone else to do so. Going faster on a sailing ship is actually fairly complicated and requires calculating where the wind is going and where you want to go and adjusting the sails accordingly. It's not easy on a two-man sailboat on a lake. On a ship like that, it's a real process, and you can't just tell the person at the wheel to speed up or slow down.

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I was expecting to hate Neverland, but liked it, generally for the reasons people said above about liking to see the returned focus on character interaction. I think the actor playing Peter Pan is amazing in a not very easy role. He's quite menacing without having a physique to lead into it. 

 

Greg/Tamara I'm viewing as the writers wiping the slate and moving on from a storyline that they didn't know what to do with, but it's a shame because I feel like if those characters had been better introduced, they could have been interesting and worked. I feel bad for the actors having to deal with such a thankless part.

 

I wish the show was going in a Hook/Regina direction instead of having Hook so Emma focused because I think there's a lot more interesting commonality with Hook/Regina and more natural chemistry. One of my favorite Hook moments from last season was when he talked with Regina about the price of revenge. I'd like more of that. I did like the Hook/Emma mourning Neal/Baelfire moment, though. It was the first time I glimpsed potential chemistry there.

 

I thought Mulan/Phillipe/Aurora were literally the last people alive in Enchanted Forest, so I'm confused by the looters/Robin stuff. What looters? Who was left to loot after the curse except the people in Cora's bubble (who she later slaughtered)?

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I wish the show was going in a Hook/Regina direction instead of having Hook so Emma focused because I think there's a lot more interesting commonality with Hook/Regina and more natural chemistry. One of my favorite Hook moments from last season was when he talked with Regina about the price of revenge. I'd like more of that. I did like the Hook/Emma mourning Neal/Baelfire moment, though. It was the first time I glimpsed potential chemistry there?

I like Regina and Hook too as frenemies/sounding board for each other. Before CS became cannon, I could see them being friends with benefits. Hook can challenge Regina in a different way then the other characters. He has done villainous acts in the name of revenge and turned his whole life over to revenge, jut like Regina, although not to the same degree. They both witnessed their first loves die from heart crushing. Rumple and Regina are good; in fact they are my crackship, but Rumple challenges her to become darker. Snow and Charming aren't coming from the same dark past outlook so Regina can't let her guard down as much. Hook and Regina being snarky to each other and to third parties could be fun. I liked that he tends to call her out on stuff without being too self righteous.

I am sad about how they chose to to close the Home Office storyline. I agree that A&E were trying to wrap an unsuccessful storyline up. The problem is that storyline could have been very interesting had they played it right. owen was truly a victim of Regina. His life was completely destroyed by Regina as a young child. The audience should have sympathy for him.

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Personally, I can't see much new ground out of an Owen-against-Regina plotline, but I do think there was something interesting with the idea of Owen-against-magic given that Henry and Neal were also both anti-magic. I think there could have been something interesting with Owen/Tamara not being crazy fanatic villains but more or less normal people, with a justifiable goal of keeping magic from wreaking havoc on our world the way it arguably does on the Enchanted Forest and Neverland. There was potential for new tension between Emma/Henry or Emma/Snow/Charming if Neal/Henry decided to work with Owen/Tamara, and of course, plenty of room for reluctant alliances between an Emma/Snow/Charming grouping and Regina/Rumple in that story. How would Emma handle Henry working in opposition to her goals? What would Rumple do if Neal put him in a position to redo the choice between Neal or magic? How would the other denizens of Storybrooke feel about the idea of ending magic? 

 

I read some spec somewhere that the producers didn't know if Neverland would be a go, and if not, Owen/Tamara's storyline would have wrapped up differently, but I don't know if that's true. It does seem hard to believe that the original plan for Owen/Tamara was that they were simply working for Pan on complete blind faith. 

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You hit on something I wanted to see. I would have made Neal part of the anti-magic group. At the time, lots of people thought Wendy Darling was going to be the head of the home office. I thought that was a great idea. the reason that Neal left Emma could have been that He sees the magic in her and leaves. If they wanted to make him heroic, he could have left her because he was worried his new friends would kill her. Given Neal's experiences with magic and its corrupting effect, it makes sense for him to join the group. It would set up a tension for Neal with Emma and Rumple and with his anti-magic friends. Oh well, it was not to be.

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It's a strong season opener. We've got the Peter Pan reveal, the Nevengers in action, and "Whatever happened to Neal?" This show functions much stronger as an adventure romp than a mopey soap opera. In a odd twist, it's actually nice to see the characters as their archetypes rather than angsty individuals. There's less weight to slow down the pacing and it's just more entertaining for a Disney show. I actually prefer the straight up heroes vs. villain quest formula. I don't think Potted Plant Land is much better per se, but I believe 3A shows that Storybrooke is not a necessity for the show to function at this point. Throwing the characters into uncomfortable situations reveals more about them than all that standing around regurgitating plot beats. (Although in 3A, it's mostly just "walking around" instead...) 

More mindless adventure fun, please. Leave your emo angst for Buffy.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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I agree that this show works better when there is some sort of fun adventure where the protagonists have a clear goal in mind and are overcoming obstacles to get there. When they sit around angsting or waiting for some magical MacGuffin to pop up for a whole season, it's a total drag. At least the plants provide some different scenery from Granny's.

This episode definitely shows some network influence. I suspect that the massive loss of audience in S2 had the network doing some focus groups and those people told them to focus on the core characters. Shocking, I know. While I generally hated the ridiculous Greg/Tamara stuff in 2B, this was a poor way to end it since it rendered a lot of 2B pointless. It also removes yet another of Regina's victims from the world without her ever acknowledging her awfulness. Does anyone else even know what she did to Owen and his father?

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Given what we've seen from Snow's flashbacks, she should be on the pessimism train with Emma instead of the optimistic one.  As usual, the writers are just trotting another inspirational line ("The minute I let go of the belief that things will get better is the minute I know they won't") when it suits them, like when they need to contrast Snowing's outlook with Emma's.  

The episode has a very after-school special type message about working together.  So it takes a mermaid-infused storm for Snow to actually lash out at Regina but then they have to immediately make nice?  

Who was that mermaid anyway?  

Spoiler

Was she Ariel's friend?  I am really looking forward to a deep exploration of mermaid mythology and society.  Do I need to wait 'til Season 11?

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1 hour ago, KAOS Agent said:

I agree that this show works better when there is some sort of fun adventure where the protagonists have a clear goal in mind and are overcoming obstacles to get there. When they sit around angsting or waiting for some magical MacGuffin to pop up for a whole season, it's a total drag. At least the plants provide some different scenery from Granny's.

It's a rare moment where the characters have to deal with a new situation and aren't just brooding over issues they've had for years.

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1 hour ago, Camera One said:

Given what we've seen from Snow's flashbacks, she should be on the pessimism train with Emma instead of the optimistic one.  As usual, the writers are just trotting another inspirational line ("The minute I let go of the belief that things will get better is the minute I know they won't") when it suits them, like when they need to contrast Snowing's outlook with Emma's.  

Snow's character is so inconsistent. She's either the purveyor of hope and optimism, or the first to suggest finding a ditch to die in. It makes her look like a wishy-washy hypocrite. These writers seem to think that making a character do something that's the complete opposite of what they'd normally do is "depth".

Edited by KingOfHearts
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6 hours ago, Camera One said:

Given what we've seen from Snow's flashbacks, she should be on the pessimism train with Emma instead of the optimistic one.  As usual, the writers are just trotting another inspirational line ("The minute I let go of the belief that things will get better is the minute I know they won't") when it suits them, like when they need to contrast Snowing's outlook with Emma's.  

The episode has a very after-school special type message about working together.  So it takes a mermaid-infused storm for Snow to actually lash out at Regina but then they have to immediately make nice?  

Who was that mermaid anyway?  

  Reveal hidden contents

Was she Ariel's friend?  I am really looking forward to a deep exploration of mermaid mythology and society.  Do I need to wait 'til Season 11?

 

5 hours ago, KingOfHearts said:

Snow's character is so inconsistent. She's either the purveyor of hope and optimism, or the first to suggest finding a ditch to die in. It makes her look like a wishy-washy hypocrite. These writers seem to think that making a character do something that's the complete opposite of what they'd normally do is "depth".

It really is.  Like in this episode you wonder why Snow thinks that? Is it what she truly believes after overcoming so much? Or just trying to think of something to say to her daughter? Snow's sunny out look wouldn't be so bad if it was consistent and we knew why. Emma's right even more then she knows Snow's life has pretty much sucked with only a few bright positive moments. Does she think she has overcome everything that gives her hope? Is it her coping mechanism? If they were going to really dive into the character season three would have been the perfect time. The curse broke and she was reunited with her husband, their daughter and grandson. But then she immediately ended up back in the Enchanted Forest separating her and Emma from Charming and Henry. There they had to battle Cora and Hook, she had to put herself under the sleeping curse to give Charming information only to wake up and realize he's stuck there until she gets back home. They get back and have only a brief moment before dealing with Cora, Regina siding with Cora, the murder of Johanna and learning Cora killed her mother and the stupid failsafe only for her grandson to be kidnapped. Things are hard with Emma because they are the same age and her daughter has issues from her bad childhood which should only make Snow feel worse because she was originally going to go with Emma. This would be the perfect time for her to breakdown over everything she's been through. To show anger, to talk about how she always tries to look on the bright side and be positive and what did that get her? Terrorized, her life repeatedly destroyed, her parents and nanny murdered, separated from her husband and daughter, missing out on 28 years. But nope. We don't get any of that and never will. 

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I did like this originally and watching it now doesn't change it too much. I liked seeing them together on ship while also reacting normally to each other. The Charmings aren't happy Regina's there and Hook isn't happy Rumple is there. I really thought at the time the show finally figured out to use each character and when to use them.  I thought they finally learned from mistakes in season two. It was a good start to season three.

I don't like Regina once again being surprised that someone called her a villain. YOU ARE A VILLIAN REGINA! I do love Hook's response to that remark that villains don't get happy endings pointing out if its true then they've wasted their lives. I hate Regina's "I ruined your life?" to Snow. Yes once again YES YOU DID REGINA YOU RUINED HER LIFE STOP ACTING SURPRISED BY THAT. THAT WAS YOUR ENTIRE GOAL. YOU MURDERED HER FATHER, STOLE HER HOME AND THRONE, HUNTED HER DOWN, TRIED TO KILL HER MANY TIMES, AND CURSED HER. Sorry about that. I did love Snow for once and well let's face it the last time Regina doesn't take that and goes after fighting.  Watching Snow go punching Regina was awesome. I cheered her on.   

This time around I still don't know why Charming and Hook started fighting. I know the storm but they easily could have come up with a better reason. Charming's distrust of Hook which makes no sense in later episodes makes more sense now. Hook hasn't done anything yet to show he can be trusted. Maybe Charming wonders or worries if Hook's going to sell them out to Pan. I liked the mermaids in this episode. The idea that mermaids could call the storm. It would have been nice if different people or groups, etc. had different powers. They tried to take down the ship. They were interesting. Who's side were they on? Their own? Were they always liars or just to Hook? Did he doubt cross them or they double crossed  him? 

I liked Neal telling Mulan about movies and that they made a movie about her not to long ago. I wish we could have gotten to watch them all watch movie versions of themselves. What would Mulan think of Mulan? Hook would probably be embarrassed by Hook and wondering how he could lose against that Pan. 

I liked Emma realizing it was the storm causing the fight and jumping off the ship to get everyone's attention. Then everyone helping to rescue her especially Charming. After so few Charming and Emma scenes in season one and two it was really great to see.

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There's a lot I like about this one, and I actually really watched it instead of doing other stuff while it was on in the background. I think it helped that the only flashback was the bit at the beginning and otherwise they just flipped back and forth between locations. I'm not one of those who thought they should have given up on the flashbacks, but I do think they should have been used only when necessary and didn't have to be in every episode. Some of the stronger episodes were ones in which they broke with the usual format.

It's funny that this one feels like a grand swashbuckling adventure, even though for the core characters it was essentially a "bottle" episode using one set (which I guess makes it literally a "ship in a bottle" episode). There was just the one scene for Emma and company that wasn't on the Jolly Roger set. But they were doing stuff on that set. They were taking action and coming up with plans, so they weren't just being passive. There are a lot of really good scenes, like Hook and Emma's little "wake" for Neal and Emma's rallying of the troops at the end.

The casting person who found Robbie Kaye deserves a fruit basket and a raise. He looks so much like the illustrations of Pan from some of the storybooks, and I think he plays it with the perfect mix of mischief and menace. You can actually see the change on his face when he drops the "runaway Lost Boy" act and becomes Pan. Though the evil mermaid stuff gets amusing because it seems to have been taken right out of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides, in which Robbie Kaye played a cabin boy. 

But it's this show, so there are still problems. None of the Greg and Tamara stuff makes any sense if you look at it as them actually working for Pan all along. While he does like his games, the modern tech and the fake bureaucracy don't really seem like his style. It's rather obviously a case of "that plot wasn't working and we want to do this other story," with frantic handwaving to make the earlier plot go away.

I laughed out loud when Regina came up to Hook at the wheel and asked why he'd slowed down. Obviously, she had no idea how ships like that work. But then Hook, supposedly a sailor, acknowledged that he'd slowed down deliberately as part of a plan, and it becomes clear the writers had no idea how ships like that work. He doesn't have a gas pedal there at the wheel. He would have slowed down by adjusting the sails. A more apt way to have done that scene would have been for him to give the order to change the sails and Regina protest because that would have made them go slower. But I guess they were just setting up the conversation about villains getting happy endings, where Regina reveals the depth of her delusion with her astonishment that Greg considered her a villain. I know that most villains think they're in the right and justify their deeds, but Regina embraced the title of the Evil Queen. Being considered a villain shouldn't have come as a surprise. There's also the problem that she's already been called a hero at this point in the story, and you'd think that Step One of transitioning from villain to hero would be admitting that you are a villain and that you were in the wrong (like Hook saying they've wasted their lives). If you still think that you were in the right for all your villainous acts, you're still a villain, and you have to wonder why you're changing if you didn't think you were wrong in the first place.

The birth scene at the beginning was rather disturbing, since there was actually a scandal and an outcry about a prison for adults making prisoners give birth while shackled and handcuffed. If they were doing that to a teenager with a non-violent offense, that's the sort of thing that would bring down the officials involved. Sometimes they go too far over the top to give Emma a sad background. Her being a teenager alone and abandoned by her baby's father would have been more than enough. The shackles were overkill.

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The show is always better when Emma is being proactive and characters have a clear goal, so the episode is decent on that basis alone. The episode also, and crucially, takes advantage of the fact that Emma is (or should be) far more of a pragmatist than Snow White of Prince Charming; she's no villain, but she's willing to do what needs to be done and not apologize over it.

But while I like Emma's leap of faith and her leader speech, the show is still doing that incoherent thing they sometimes do where these characters are expected to act like they are living in a Disney movie when they are actually living in a less-graphic Game of Thrones episode. Emma's speech to her parents in which she points out that not only are her experiences different from theirs, but their experiences, too, shouldn't lead them to be so hopeful, is great, and right on target. Yet it seems clear that, without totally invalidating this perspective, the episode wants us to think that it is Emma who needs to change - that's what the leap of faith is all about. As usual, the show is trying to have its cake and eat it too - on one hand, "belief" is invoked as a positive thing, yet Neverland, which is run on belief, is also being depicted as a hellscape run by a despotic, demonic teenager. You can be doing a subversive fairy tale where a magical land of belief is actually a horror show, or you can be writing a world where wishing on a star and thinking happy thoughts pays cosmic dividends. You can't do both. 

Other thoughts:

2 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

The birth scene at the beginning was rather disturbing, since there was actually a scandal and an outcry about a prison for adults making prisoners give birth while shackled and handcuffed. If they were doing that to a teenager with a non-violent offense, that's the sort of thing that would bring down the officials involved. Sometimes they go too far over the top to give Emma a sad background. Her being a teenager alone and abandoned by her baby's father would have been more than enough. The shackles were overkill.

I noticed this too. Sadly, even today it actually isn't, apparently, that rare for prisoners to be shackled during childbirth. But  I call BS on the idea that a 17-year old serving less than a year on a non-violent juvenile offense would be restrained to her bed during labor. Even if we assume that Emma had turned 18 and been transferred to an adult prison (which I think is still technically possible if we assume Henry was actually a little bit shy of his tenth birthday in the pilot, and was rounding up his age), it simply wouldn't have happened to a minimum security prisoner being held on a juvenile charge. 

- I love the scene with Hook and Emma talking about Neal/Bae, and Hook giving Emma Bae's sword. As I've heard anti-Hook people bring up the fact that he never tells her what he did to Bae as a negative against him, I also want to note that when they cut back to Emma and Hook after the previous scene, Emma is asking "How long was he with you?" which suggests to me that in the interim he's told her at least some of the story. I'm not sure that Hook would have fessed up fully at this point, but there's at least room for thinking that Emma isn't totally in the dark.

- Only on this show can someone say with a straight face that he "owes a debt" to a guy who came close to flaying him to death because he decided not to kill him at the very last minute.

- While I love Mary Margaret finally being allowed to have it out with Regina, as usual, she is only able to do so in scenes where her righteous anger can be framed negatively. All of the squabbling parties are supposed to be in the wrong, and presumably supernaturally influenced (at least, I hope there's supposed to be some supernatural influence, or else David apparently trying to stab Hook with his own hook really becomes overkill). 

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8 minutes ago, companionenvy said:

the episode wants us to think that it is Emma who needs to change - that's what the leap of faith is all about. As usual, the show is trying to have its cake and eat it too - on one hand, "belief" is invoked as a positive thing, yet Neverland, which is run on belief, is also being depicted as a hellscape run by a despotic, demonic teenager.

This was a problem for me.  You had Rumple snidely challenging Emma on not having the belief necessary to help Henry. 

Spoiler

I don't remember off-hand whether that was even necessary for the eventual "saving" of Henry.  

Were the Writers saying that Emma was going into a mission into a magical land and she needed to change her perspective and not think in terms of the "real world"?   I feel like Emma did already take a few "leap of faiths" last season.  

Quote

While I love Mary Margaret finally being allowed to have it out with Regina, as usual, she is only able to do so in scenes where her righteous anger can be framed negatively. All of the squabbling parties are supposed to be in the wrong

Exactly.  As I mentioned above, even if MM had it out with Regina, it was pretty much an equal exchange since Regina also got Snow back.  They needed everyone except Emma to start fighting on the ship, so since David and Hook were "left over", then they got to do the squabbling.  I just saw the strings behind the puppets for too much of this episode to truly enjoy it as a swashbuckling adventure.

In the other plotline, we have Henry being "active" and believing and using the pixie dust, but ultimately, he's doing exactly what Peter Pan wanted him to do.  To me, that's just frustrating to watch.  

Spoiler

Henry was just a gullible pawn for the entire arc.

Edited by Camera One
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26 minutes ago, Camera One said:

Were the Writers saying that Emma was going into a mission into a magical land and she needed to change her perspective and not think in terms of the "real world"?   I feel like Emma did already take a few "leap of faiths" last season.  

I agree - on top of everything else, Rumple's charge against Emma didn't even seem accurate. I get that learning to believe, or coming to terms with her past, or letting down her walls, is an ongoing process and that everything wasn't solved by the TLK at the end of S1. But at this point, Emma has admitted that fairy-tales are real, fought a dragon, saved her son with a kiss, climbed a beanstalk in the Enchanted Forest to retrieve a magical compass from a giant, won a sword-fight with Captain Hook before jumping through a portal between realms, sailed on a pirate-ship made out of enchanted wood, and accepted her own magic at least enough to help Regina stop the failsafe - right after calling her same-age parents Snow White and Prince Charming "mom" and "dad" for the first time. I'd say she's doing okay on the whole belief thing.

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And we begin our trek through the island of potted plants I MEAN NEVERLAND! Well, its certainly a better start than the horror show that was 2B. 

Its great to have everyone on a quest, with an actual goal, and mostly focusing around the main characters and their interactions with each other. I especially liked the interactions between Hook and Emma, and Emma and her parents. I especially liked the back and fourth between them where Emma basically said that they cant give her mom and dad advice, because they're all the same freaking age, which really is a weird thing to deal with. You find your long lost parents, and they're basically the same age as you. Its really weird, and it was nice to see it brought up, even if it wasn't for long. Alas, there was a lot of dumb too. Rumples whole speech to Emma about how she doesn't believe hard enough just seemed to be totally random. Emma has taken a lot of leaps of faith here, how much more does she need? To climb another beanstalk? To fight another dragon? Emma still gets weirded out by magic stuff (we got a classic "Oh come on!" Emma reaction when she saw the mermaids) but I think she is fully on board now. Also, SHUT UP REGINA! Yeah, after several mass murders, your totally a villain! And yes, you ruined Snows life! Several times! You could make trading cards out of all the peoples whos lives you've ruined! My God, the woman's lack of self awareness is truly remarkably. I loved watching Snow yell at her, and give her a good punch in the face. Yeah, it was some magic storm crap, but I dont care! Its like Regina's dream about being burned at the stake, I will take the catharsis where I can get it! 

Greg and Tamara, what a couple of putzes. I mean, when freaking Henry is telling you what an idiot you are, you have truly crossed into a new low of stupid. Wow, we just ended up on this creepy magic island, where our mysterious boss we have never met told us to go for reasons unspecified! THIS SOUNDS LEGIT! I swear, the more times they said the stupid "home office" stuff, the more I laughed! I just cant with those two, I just cant. And while I am glad that they nixed the whole thing (and it REALLY looks like A&E frantically trying to ditch an unpopular story and characters) it just makes them so totally pointless. Greg especially is just such a waste of a character. A person whos life was ruined by Regina as a child, whos father Regina killed in cold blood, who wants to expose and destroy magic as he believes its evil after what it did to him, and...he shows up as a cackling, unsympathetic villain who gets easily played by another villain, and gets killed off out of hand, with no one ever caring that he existed, and Regina never having to answer for what she did to him. UGGGGGGG.

But, of course, Henry got taken in by Pan too. Maybe everyone on this show is kind of an idiot? I do love Pan though, he really is a great, memorable villain, especially after Smug and Smugger as our last bad guys. 

Speaking of being an idiot, we meet Robin Hood 2.0, who is just super indebted to Rumple for managing not to murder him. Wow, the EF must be a terrible place, because they have really low standards on being a good person. Its nice to see Mulan, Aurora, and Philip again, and them interacting with Neal is actually pretty good. They actually did bring up being considered fictional in the other world, and that they have stories and movies about them. Of course, they cant get too into that, it might be too interesting!

Spoiler

Of course later, when we do get some explanation with how that all works, its not about the characters seeing themselves in Disney movies, or dealing with the implications of the multiverse of a possible fictional reality, its so we can get in more Henry/Rumple/Regina worship, and we can meet the Authors and their unmarked white vans driving around the multiverse, being the peeping toms of the magical world. Also, did we ever find out how the heck they managed to save Philip?!?!

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I am so behind in the rewatch, but since I got access to Season 3, I decided to watch this episode.

There was stuff to like in this episode, even though I remember being very disappointed in it the first time 'round.

Tamara really upped her sinister grin for this final episode, though she tried to get some redemption in the end.  It was sort of fun to see Henry talking back to them.  "We don't ask questions.  We just believe in our cause."  But they don't have the hearts of the truest believer?   

I question Regina's intelligence when she said this to Hook about Greg.  "He said something funny to me.  He said I was a villain and villains don't get happy endings."  I mean, seriously?  She can't figure out that he considered her a villain since she killed his father?  So now it's a new idea that villains don't get happy endings?  

What mermaids are good and what mermaids are evil?  I was a bit appalled that Charming was firing cannons at them.  If they hadn't netted the mermaid, maybe they wouldn't have had the storm.  It's like they cause their own problems.  Emma jumping overboard could very well have done nothing to stop the mermaid's spell.  She jumps and it's instantly broken?  Another lucky break.  

I liked seeing Aurora, Philip and Mulan and their interactions with Neal.  Those mashups are the most fun aspect of this show.  Their walking around and hanging out was more fun than any of the contrived danger.  

I liked Mulan asking Neal what a movie was, but Robin Hood somehow understood what Neal meant by "You want to see my ID".  Alrighty then.

Since when did Baelfire know how to wave around the magical walking staffs?  I suppose Rumple could have used it in his little hut way back when.  And Mulan knew how to use the magic locator crystal ball?  It's too bad Aurora couldn't communicate with Snow and the rest of the Sleeping Curse gang.  That would have been fun.

Emma's speech at the end about how they shouldn't be at each other throats felt like a Henry insert.  How did Emma know that Peter Pan knew they were there?  Hook supposedly knows way more about Neverland but she dismissed his plan of sailing up the river and taking Pan by surprise (even Regina was talking about repairing the Jolly Roger and following Hook's plan).  

I felt like weeping myself when I saw that doll again.  I can't wait to find out Neal's response when he finds out Rumple killed his fiancé.

So now we get to see if everyone's skills are needed on this mission as the rousing speech suggested.  

Edited by Camera One
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2 hours ago, Camera One said:

I question Regina's intelligence when she said this to Hook about Greg.  "He said something funny to me.  He said I was a villain and villains don't get happy endings."  I mean, seriously?  She can't figure out that he considered her a villain since she killed his father?  So now it's a new idea that villains don't get happy endings?  

I've always enjoyed that scene. Regina is at epic levels of denial if she sees anything she did to Owen and Kurt Flynn as reasonable or non-villainous. I don't even know how you could twist your logic to make Regina in the right in killing someone for not wanting to stay in Storybrooke. I've given up on Regina ever making sense or the writers portraying her as gaining personal insight or empathy, but Hook is at a much more interesting point in his development. 

After his spoken realization in "The Evil Queen" and having turned around to help in the finale, he still fully admits to being a villain while hoping the idea that if he acts differently maybe something good can still come of his existence. Regina again misses the point of any of it, but that's typical.

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I really still like this episode. Love Hook’s wasting our life line when he and Regina talk about happy endings.

Everything about the scene belowdecks is fantastic. Drinking to Neal/Bae, passing Bae’s sword to Emma so she can fight. The snark about “don’t stop on my account”, “I thought it was a natural state”, then telling her he has something for her.

The look Hook gives Regina when he follows Emma at the end is priceless.

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I think my favorite scene in the episode is when Rumple runs into the head Lost Boy, and he kind of does a half hearted version of his imp Rumple hand gesture, then just rolls his eyes like "yeah, I am not in the mood for theatrics right now." Cracks me up every time. 

I also loved Hook snarking at Rumple about him wasting time changing into his EF outfit on the boat. It really is too bad that Rumple left the group so quickly, Hook vs Rumple snark offs are epic in scale and annoyance. 

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20 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

I also loved Hook snarking at Rumple about him wasting time changing into his EF outfit on the boat. It really is too bad that Rumple left the group so quickly, Hook vs Rumple snark offs are epic in scale and annoyance. 

I don't like that Rumple got separated from the group so quickly.

Shadow!Belle and the doll are so lame.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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