Once Upon A Time season 3 episode 10 review: The New Neverland

Review Kylie Peters 9 Dec 2013 - 06:31

Peter Pan is causing more trouble in this week's Once Upon A Time. Here's Kylie's review...

This review contains spoilers.

3.10 The New Neverland

Tonight’s theme is “nobody in this show is every going to be happy so they better just get used to it.” How uncharacteristically sensible!

The episode begins with all kinds of happiness, although it’s slightly less happy for the viewers, who know that this is not the real Henry but Peter Pan in Henry’s body. But Rumple and Belle are cute, and it’s even better to see the Darling siblings, plus Neal/Bae finally reunited (despite some of the show’s signature weird age differences being involved).

Most of the episode revolves around Pan’s machinations for Storybrooke domination in Henry’s body. Jared Gilmore does a good job as body-switched-Pan, which I take as proof of my theory that Gilmore is not a bad actor, Henry is just a poorly-written character. Robbie Kay, playing body-switched-Henry, is significantly less convincing this week. I rest my case.

Body-switched-Pan targets Regina, playing on her insecurity over Henry’s affection for her to get what he wants. Emma, meanwhile, notices almost immediately that something is off about Henry. It’s hard to accept that Emma, who met Henry no more than a year ago, knows him better than Regina, who raised him for ten years. Realism aside, I wasn’t happy with the implications, either; it’s back to the old Emma’s-the-real-mom notion the show keeps surreptitiously pushing. The situation does, however, allow for a nice glimpse of the emotional side of Regina and a sweet reunion between her and the real Henry at the end.

These days the love triangle has to make an appearance every week, and this time it comes in the form of a sad-sack Neal and a petty, horny Hook. This whole situation is doing a lot to erode my respect for these guys. Hook claims he’s going to back off from Emma for Henry’s sake, but tops off this declaration with a prediction that Neal will ditch her. Then he goes and hits on Tinkerbell. Real mature. Neal sits alone at a table at Granny’s making sad faces and hoping Emma will show, while Emma ignores her parents’ attempts to convince her to give him a chance. Sorry man, but if you’ve even got the parents on your side and that’s not working, it’s a lost cause.

Surprisingly, Charming is actually one of the most entertaining characters this episode. He makes a few slightly naughty jokes and has a really cute advice-giving daddy-daughter moment with Emma.

In flashbacks, post-wedding Snow is obsessing over Regina’s threats, drags an unwitting Charming on a “honeymoon” that is really a mission to claim Medusa’s head so they can turn Regina to stone, and in the end learns that she should stop worrying and just be happy. Does that sound a lot like all the other Snow/Charming flashbacks? It is. Does it sound really really boring? It is. And to top it off, the CGI on Medusa is even worse that unusual. They must have just given up and cut the CGI budget entirely. A flash animation program and some unpaid interns ought to cover it, right?

In the end, body-switched Pan gets a hold of Regina’s curse, which he says will cause everyone in Storybrooke to lose their memories, leaving an opening for Pan and Felix to take over. Apparently, amnesiacs accept teenage dictators as entirely legitimate. I thought we were done with the curse plotline? Does that really need to be resurrected?

In next week’s winter finale, Pan unleashes the curse on Storybrooke. In the promo, Regina says “Everyone will go back to where they’re from.” Does that mean Pan is wrong about the curse, and that it will actually return everyone to the Enchanted Forest? If this is the end of the Peter Pan arc (as it seems to be), some Enchanted Forest world-hopping might be a set-up for the second half of season three.

Read Kylie's review of the previous episode, Save Henry, here.

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