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Once Upon a Time “Save Henry” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand
Photo Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

After spending so many weeks watching the group wander the island in search of a way to rescue Henry, this episode finally pays off on all that waiting.  Not only do we see Henry returned safely to his mothers’ arms we are also given the hope of a happy reunion for the other children, Wendy, the Lost Boys, even Tinkerbell gets a hint of hope for her future.

But all is not rainbows and roses, after all, Pan never fails.  Even when everyone is sure he is defeated, he manages to wrest success from seeming failure.  I can’t help but wonder what tragedies in his past made him such a devious adversary.  He was a failure as a flim-flam man in his other life, how did he develop such a keen mind for magic and trickery?  He thwarts Regina’s best efforts to protect Henry, and even while being drawn into Pandora’s Box still manages to pull the wool over the eyes of Rumplestiltskin.

There were many moments in this episode that strike a chord, Emma playing mother to the Lost Boys, David telling Emma she made a great leader, Neal and his father reunited, as well as his heartfelt promise to Henry to always be there for him.  But the moment that stands out over all the rest is when they have us rooting for Regina to succeed.

Three cheers for the Evil Queen

The women are all trapped, tempted by Pandora’s Box sitting unattended they play into Pan’s hands and get caught by the tree.  But no ordinary tree, this tree bore witness to Pan’s original betrayal and now feeds on the regrets felt by others.  Mary Margaret feels the regret of missing out on her daughter’s life, Emma feels the regret of missing out on Henry’s, and Regina?  The one who has more to regret than anyone feels no remorse whatsoever.  As she admits to many sins of a most heinous nature yet still breaks the bonds of the tree with ease, we can’t help but cheer her on as she forcefully removes Henry’s heart from Pan’s chest.  It’s a moment when the true brilliance of this show is revealed yet again.  That they can take these beloved stories from our childhood and with little more than a gentle twist and a little back story can make us boo the heroes and cheer on the villains is truly a feat worth celebrating.

This was an excellent episode, but I confess I’m looking forward to next week even more.  With the return of the Jolly Roger to Storybrooke I’m eager to see what the rest of the town has been doing while these select few have been away.  Has Ariel returned to find Prince Eric?  Has Pongo perhaps found Perdita? And what have the Dwarfs been up to since the town has been so much quieter without Snow White and Prince Charming?  Much like Wendy and Tinkerbell, I feel a sense of hope for a bright future after such a long visit in the darkness of Neverland.

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

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