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Once Upon a Time “Think Lovely Thoughts” 

Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

This week provides so many answers that we have been longing for, explanations of who Peter Pan is, how he got his name, and what his history is with Rumplestiltskin. I’m happy to say, the show did not disappoint! 

We’ve known for a long while that Rumplestiltskin’s dad had been branded a coward from way back and it has affected (and infected) his entire life. But the depth of the betrayal was never clear until now. To see him willingly turn his back on his own son is heart wrenching, and although he tells Rumple it’s for the best, we know it’s only best for his own selfish desires. It’s much more poignant seeing it happen to such a charming and trusting young Rumple, knowing that this pivotal moment casts a dark shadow on his life from this day forward. That’s really the genius of this show, seeing how every black-hearted fairy tale villain started out as a sweet and innocent child. It’s interesting to note that in the case of both Rumple and Regina, the deepest pain, resulting in these most evil characters, is inflicted by a parent. Perhaps that’s why Snow White is able to withstand the torment of the Evil Queen, she had the benefit of an idyllic childhood to prepare her for her stepmother’s cruelty.

Understanding the betrayal of the father makes it all the harder to watch Rumplestiltskin get caught in his own trap. He spends the episode trying to be on his best behavior to show that his intentions are good, only to be thwarted by the same evil that created him. He thought he was well prepared for dealing with Peter Pan, but clearly he did not spend enough quality time in Neverland as a child to be fully aware of the power of imagination. Pan clearly has the upper hand here on his home turf, and has now proven that familial ties mean nothing at all to him. The task just got a lot harder for the rest of the group but hopefully Rumple’s imprisonment won’t go on for long, after all he is needed back in Storybrooke to save David’s life.

But who will save Henry’s life?

With Henry’s unwavering belief in goodness, magic and happy endings, it’s no wonder that he is willing to lay everything on the line to save Neverland. Little does he know he is being played. Pan uses every trick in the book to convince Henry that he can be the hero too, and Pan is gifted in the art of deception. Even with the presence of all three of his parents, Henry still chooses what he believes is right, regardless of the consequences. Perhaps having his parents witness the act is what ultimately influences his decision. Being in the presence of those he admires would surely make him want to perform heroic deeds of his own, and what better opportunity than this?

Neil lays down the law 

Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

My favorite moment of this episode is when Neil takes a stand for what is right. When Rumple tells Emma that he believes he can save David from the nightshade poison, Emma assumes, as with all magic, that there is a steep price to pay. Rumple will happily hold her in his debt but Neil steps in, allowing no room for argument, to tell his father that the cure will be provided at no cost at all, simply because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a beautiful moment, as it shows us a more mature Neil who is quickly becoming worthy of Emma’s love. In the past he has allowed his father’s betrayal to influence his choices, but now he seems to be stepping out from under the shadow of the Dark One and into the light. Part of me assumes this will turn out to be a short-lived triumph, since we’ve seen that these people can’t fight against their own innate character, but part of me hopes that Neil will succeed in breaking the cycle of betrayal that seems to be his family’s destiny and earn a happy ending of his own.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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