OUAT’s most recent episode gave us a father-son-reunion. Two, actually. And really, it is starting to get a bit annoying.
* Only a few glimpses into Fairytale Land were necessary this time to get a feeling of what else has gone wrong between Bae and Rumple. I mean, this relationship is seriously messed up, as we will later see in NL, but here we get yet another reason, another starting point.
In FTL past we get to know the Pied Piper. Well, actually we first of all meet a very unhappy Baby!Bae (the young version of Bae, I mean) again, one who is fed up with his dad apparently locking him into their home because he is afraid something could happen to his son. Now we might say Rumple has never been material for the parenting award of the year – but – hasn’t he? Because if we look past all the weird and not-so-good ways he chooses, Rumple is a very good dad. He doesn’t know how to do it properly so he makes mistakes, and yes, he kills people and has enemies and that’s the main reason he had to protect Bae in the first place, but when it comes down to it, all he wants is to protect Bae. He just wants to be there for his son. He does it, as I said, in all the wrong ways, but the point still stands – it all is rooted in his desire to be a good father to his son.
The catch is that a boy of 14 or 15 can’t recognize the bigger picture (and mind you, maybe not even the audience can). He only sees what his father does – like, killing people – and how he is limited to his house, how he can’t have friends and freetime and fun like other boys his age.
As it seems, the moment a child or youth has a dream, or feels subdued in any way by their parents, they can hear the Pied Piper’s music. And so does Bae; following the music to the woods where the boys all dance around a fire as if they are on drugs, or something. I admit that I was surprised when the PP turned out to be Peter Pan (…PP?), even though I shouldn’t have been, because it was rather obvious, and after all, they never announced that they had cast the PP, so it had to be someone we knew already.
Obviously this is early Pan, as only here he comes up with the title “Lost Boys”. And as of yet, we still haven’t gotten a proper definition of what the Lost Boys are. Why did they follow the music? What drew them in? We can only assume based on what we know about Bae, that he is unhappy and all.
In the end, Rumple doesn’t trust Bae to return to him – because he knows all too well that this isn’t the nicest home for a boy to be had. So he magicks Bae away with him – only to then learn that Bae knew about the agreement Pan had made with Rumple, and that he would have come with him voluntarily – if only he had asked. This is a crucial moment I think, not because of what Rumple has done, but because of the fact that Bae would have come back with his father – he loves him, after all.
As I said, very messed up, and it actually made me wonder whether, with all the issues between Bae and Rumple, Neal would ever be able to lead a normal family life with Emma and Henry.
* And speaking of Neal and Rumple. Back in NL, Neal can free himself from Pan right hand I don’t know the name of now. He knows the jungle pretty well, it seems. As he says:

“I’m not a boy anymore, and I sure as hell ain’t lost.”

Well, I beg to differ. Maybe he’s not a Lost Boy (anymore), because he’s not a boy. But is he really not lost? With everything going on, particularly between him and Rumple, I’m not so sure, apart from the precise definition of the LB we still miss, we can call him anything else. Neal has one hell of a rocky road ahead, as becomes clear in the scenes with Rumple that follow.

“You’re here to question my resolve.”

Rumple says that to Bae – but not to Belle? If he believes that Bae is just another vision (like we, I think, have established Belle is), then why doesn’t he trust his son’s picture? Okay, Neal appears out of the blue while still being believed dead, so while Rumple could maybe think that Belle is somehow carried over from SB in form of a vision, Neal of course can’t be there at all, in theory.
Only when he calls Rumple “Papa”, he begins to believe that it is really his son. And huh – that easy? I mean, I loved the moment because it was kinda touching, but on second thought it was also weird that Rumple would fall for that (if there had been something to fall for, of course). It would be easy for any vision to know of the Papa thing, as would it be for Pan.
Furthermore, Rumple’s reaction confuses me. Whatever Belle says is fine, but what Neal says makes Rumple all aggressive? And I don’t think that only comes from the fact that he believes it can’t be Neal because he is dead. There’s something else – a kind of mistrust he has for his own son. Woah there.
First it seems to go all well. After the initial suspicion, they work together to get Henry back. They get the ink from the squid (giant squid, good Lord…) and then… oh look, they make it to Pan’s lair. Wait, what? I thought that was so hard to find?! That confused me a bit – it is because of Neal that they know where to go? Had Rumple already found it, but had to wait and think through his plans of what he has to and could do?
The next thing I wondered about was the sleeping spell. Did they aim it like this or did it just not affect Pan to begin with? Was it vanity to keep Pan awake, so he would have to watch how they take Henry back? Or was it impossible to affect Pan with the sleeping stuff to begin with? Also – Pan is a magical being? I know he has to be, but hearing it being said is nevertheless strange. Apparently he has to be though, what with the ink working and all (loved it how they used the arrow for that).
But as soon as they had Henry freed, all hell broke loose. More or less. Because Pan’s mouth unfortunately wasn’t paralyzed like the rest of him and – oh hey, he knows about the prophecy! Okay. I’ve missed something, or forgotten something, but whatever it is, it doesn’t add up for me. That aside – even less does add up why Neal believes Pan. He knows very well how manipulative Pan is – and yet he listens to him? Yes, there is of course a truth to the whole prophecy thing, but why doesn’t he even give his father a chance? For all Rumple has done, I think it is pretty clear that especially children he has ever since tried to protect. That was his initial motivation to get the Dark One’s dagger, after all.
Now, that Neal believes his father would actually hurt his own grandson is really stupid on Neal’s side. This is what I meant with serious issues – Neal can’t even believe that his Rumple wouldn’t hurt Henry. If he knows him that bad, then how will he ever live a normal life?
So after he has heard the whole truth, Neal demands the dagger – which, as we know Rumple has sent away with his shadow. Whereto we don’t learn, and for Neal the answer of course isn’t good enough. He believes that Rumple only seeks his own happy ending, to which Rumple replies that he – Neal – is his happy ending. Oh, and not Belle. Hello jealousy. This was very clear in the scene – not only acknowledges Neal Belle, he also shows something akin to jealousy. And I wondered – why would he be jealous of Belle? Because Rumple put more effort into keeping Belle? Because he thinks he loves her more? Really, it’s not even remotely comparable, and Neal should know that. He is Rumple’s son – Belle is his True Love. I think the grade, the amount of love is the same, just different. And why doesn’t Neal recognize that Rumple did everything to find Bae again?! The Curse, going to New York without magic, and so on. Neal must know that. Still he is jealous?!
So ultimately we get Neal taking Henry (asleep the whole time, convenient) and leaving – with a heartbreaking “Goodbye, papa”. This is actually where I thought that maybe it’s not over, after all. Neal still loves his father. Bur oh god, is there a long way ahead.
* Another thing about Rumple with Belle. What we get to see here is once again a Rumple with doubts. For one, he doesn’t believe that he’ll ever see her again. Okay, that’s understandable, because he’s there to save Henry and he’s ready and willing to give his life because assumedly that is what the prophecy says. I still think that “undoing” won’t necessarily mean death, but anyways.
The first thing he says to her is

“You were the only one who could ever see past [the mask].”

So far, so good. He confirms here himself that Belle knows who he is, all of him. The good sides, and the bad ones. She’s seen him at his worst – when he was ready to kill just to teach someone a lesson, so basically out of fun and for no good reasons (well, useful, as if there are ever good reasons to kill). Belle knows the ‘monster’, and she’s still with him (or would be), still loves him. She does, we all know that. Because, as Rumple says, can see past the mask of the Dark One, the monster, the beast.
Yet we see Rumple doubt that Belle will forever love him. Aside from the fact that he doesn’t think he’ll see her again, he also doubts she’d stay with him any longer. Eventually, she has to leave him, that is what Rumple is sure of. But why? Why does he doubt again? I thought we had reached a point where he had started to have faith in Belle, and more so, in her having faith for both of them.
But here we see him reduced to a pitiful individual mourning his bad situation, because he doesn’t believe he’ll ever see Belle again, because he’s long since lost hope because of it, and because he doesn’t trust Belle to stay with him if he returns, after all. Basically we’re back to square one, and I get the feeling we have sort of reached a dead end (no pun intended).
And then comes the ending, and Belle encouraging Rumple of “breaking the nasty habit of self-preservation” – or, telling him that he should sacrifice himself. Because that is what is behind her words. Vision!Belle tells Rumple to go and give his life. Um, huh? I think this is where we get to the bottom of things – and the true nature of the vision. Following my own speculations that it could be a grand scheme of Pan’s to have his influence on Rumple, here now seems to be the next puzzle piece to this. Of course I could be totally wrong, but I don’t trust the whole thing with belle being good in that vision; it just wouldn’t make sense. Unless she’s entirely in Rumple’s head, but that also doesn’t make sense; it has to have something to do with NL and Pan.
* Then there is this thing that is emphasized – between Bae and Rumple – that Pan can only be beaten if one is ready to die. Is that the answer to the question? Is giving oneself up the solution to fleeing? Is this the way to escape Pan’s influence? But then, what does it mean?
* Pan and Henry are starting to get along. Not at first, no, but oh boy, is Pan good at talking to people and influencing them. Sweet-talking we can actually call it, being all sympathetic, with his gentle voice and nice words. Henry is clever at first, but… well, here’s my theory.
He’s not awake when the whole Rumple/Neal argument happens, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t register what goes on around him. He may as well have heard it, though only in his sleeping mind, his dreams. He remembers, after he has woken up, that he has dreamt of his dad, so he must have heard him.
At first, before the whole rescue thing happens, Henry doesn’t hear the pipe. That’s the thing with kids only hearing it when they lose hope or miss something in their life, have unfulfilled dreams. At that point, Henry’s faith in his parents, in Emma and Regina and whoever else there may be, to rescue him is still strong. After the whole rescue episode with Rumple and Neal, and the argument, his faith might have been diminished by hearing the argument – and Neal breaking with Rumple. And, of course, Rumple’s prophecy. So consciously, he doesn’t know anything about it, but his subconscious is now taking over, influencing his conscious decisions and thinking – and his emotions.
So ultimately, his faith starts to waiver, and he suddenly can hear the pipe because he’s no longer all that strongly convinced that everything will be fine,
Which also means that the whole rescue mission Rumple and Neal started is what made Henry one of the Lost Boys, or sent him on his way to becoming. He can already hear the music and dances to it – I don’t know when you are defined to be a LB, but I don’t think there’s not much left to this, Pan’s, goal.
* Last but not least we have the Quintett… now a Sextett (not for long *coughs*). On Tink’s protest, the group at first wants to try and find a way off the island before they get Henry. So they follow Hook’s lead and arrive at Neal’s former base, a cave where he lived. A “nightlight” is the key to showing a star chart on the ceiling – unfortunately no one of them can read it, because it is coded.
So far, so good.
What we learn here is important though:
– No one can get off the island without Pan’s permission. Even Hook had it when he left (still wanna know how and why, but okay). The only one who, allegedly, only ever managed to get away without said permission is Neal, and he had the star chart the group has found now… or did he? Because at the end of the episode, when Pan has caught Neal once again, it is indicated that he let him go as well… only that Neal didn’t know that. So that means that there is no way off the island, after all. It also means that Pan must have had one good reason to let Neal go… maybe because he has some means to see the future and knew that Neal would father Henry one day, and Henry would be the boy Pan needs?!
– There’s a lot we apparently don’t know about Neal. And it’s not only us – it’s also Emma. She realizes, when she sees the cave, how less she knows about the man she admits she still loves, the man who is father to her child, and who she has lost (or thinks so) – and yet barely knows.
– At the same time we have Hook who looks honestly stricken by all that, and it becomes clear how close he and Neal must have been once. I’m really looking forward to learn more about their history, and what happened between them. Maybe Neal fled and left Hook back?
– Where do they stand now? Can they still be friends, or friends again? And more importantly, seeing how the thing between CaptainSwan develops, will it break things between them for good if they have to start to fight each other for the same woman?
– Then there is the nightlight thing, and the map, and me wondering – when they say it’s a map that will lead them home, which home do they think of then? Would young Neal – Bae – plan to a land where he has never been? Let’s think about where he came from to NL – it was from London, from the Darlings family. Is this where the map leads? But how can a map lead out of a world that can only be left through a portal? Or would he have tried to use his own Shadow to transport him out? Is NL maybe not even in another world, but in ours, only hidden somewhere in the middle of the ocean, and the fact that no one ages there comes from something on the island, not the world itself?
* Okay, one last thing: The Charmings, and especially David’s injury. Hook’s concern is a great thing here, I absolutely love it. Even more I loved that exchange:

Hook: “Your family needs to know you’re going to die.”
David: “Why do you care?”
Hook: “Why don’t you?”

Okay, first of all: Hook’s comeback is gold. Straight out confronting David with the facts, because this is exactly how you react to such a question. Until we know better, we have to assume that Hook is worried, and even David should recognize it. Therefore his challenging/defiant question is unnecessary, and Hook’s reply great, because it totally nails it – all that is important that David is quite selfish with keeping his injury a secret.
Now, I think I talked about that last week already, but once again I wonder about it. I want to believe that it is simply genuine concern, especially in the light of Hook’s soft spot for Emma (and that’s a huge soft spot…) – he doesn’t want her to get hurt anymore, and David suddenly falling seriously ill, or even dying, would be a much bigger shock than knowing it now and maybe at least getting the chance to help. As audience, we don’t have to assume that David will actually die, but the group sure does have to.
On the other side there is still this suspicious part of me that also sees the possibility of Hook having been working with Pan all along. If losing hope is a way to strengthen Pan’s influence, then the rest of the group – or at least Emma and Snow, who would be affected by it – learning that David most likely is going to die could seriously shake them; even distract them enough so they’d momentarily stop looking for Henry. That would serve as another advantage for Pan, who’d have yet more time with Henry…
Fun moments:
* Emma struggling with Tink’s name because it is obviously too strange for her 😀 (says the daughter of Snow White)
* Hook trying to light the torch with his hook and some sparks… unsuccessfully, until Charming walks past and uses his lighter. ROFL. This is the kind of subtle humor I like. If he had stood there with Emma at his side, it might have worked. The spark thing I mean. :->
* Not exactly a fun moment, just something… funny in a sense of weird: What was up with Rumple’s voice in the FTL part? Or better, what had happened to Bobby there? He sounded like he had a cold… O.o

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Tags: Emma Swan, Emma/Hook (CaptainSwan), Hook/Killian Jones, Lost Boys, Neal Cassidy/Baelfire, Neverland, Once Upon A Time, OUAT, Peter Pan, Rumbelle, Rumplestiltskin