Once Upon a Time brought a big shocker as the action picked up again in “Think Lovely Thoughts” last night. Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) and Rumple (Robert Carlyle) have an epic showdown. We also learn more about Rumple’s past with the story of his father, Malcolm (Stephen Lord). Malcolm is a cheat at card games on the streets and he has a bad reputation everywhere. He leaves Rumple with a couple of creepy spinsters, who complete each others sentences. Malcolm gives Rumple the little straw doll as he promises to return later.
The spinsters tell Rumple he has to make a fresh start for himself, that his father is not trying to get a new job; his father only wanted to get rid of him and continue to frequent the taverns. They give him a magic bean, which mirrors the time when Baelfire gets a bean from the Blue Fairy. Rumple ventures back to the village and finds his father just as they said; still determined to be with his father, Rumple offers the bean and invites him to come with him for a fresh start. Malcolm picks Neverland, a place he visited in his dreams as a child. They jump through the portal and reach their destination.
Undoubtedly, you may have wondered, “Where is Peter Pan?” Young Rumple is at first happy to be in Neverland, when he imagines a piece of cake and gets one in his hand. Malcolm wants to go further and fly, but as much as he believes, he cannot fly. He climbs a tree to fetch pixie dust but encounters the ominous shadow (voiced by Marilyn Manson) that is all too familiar to us. Unfortunately for Rumple, Malcolm makes a deal with the shadow, which snatches Rumple and takes him back to FTL. As Rumple cries out for his dad, Malcolm is enveloped with the green light of the pixie dust and changes into … Peter Pan! Yes, Peter Pan is Rumple’s father, which was one hot theory. This family tree just got even more complicated.
In the present day, Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Adult Rumple meet back up with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and the others. No one trusts Rumple once Neal (Michael Raymond-James) reveals the prophecy. Neal insists that Rumple refrain from using magic during Operation Cobra Rescue Henry. In addition, Rumple must hand over Pandora’s Box. Emma talks to Rumple about making an antidote for Prince Charming and again, Neal interrupts and says Rumple will help because “it’s the right thing to do”. Rumple complies with his son’s demands and takes Hook’s sword, insisting he won’t step into Pan’s camp with “just his good looks”. They storm the camp and Neal gets reunited with Wendy, who tries to lie about Pan’s plans at first.
Pan takes Henry (Jared Gilmore) to Skull Rock, where there is an hour glass showing the time limit on his youth and power. Once the glass runs out, Pan will die. Pan wants to take Henry’s heart into his own body to become immortal, an act which will kill Henry. Everyone gets to Skull Rock, but only Rumple can pass through Pan’s protection barrier (which keeps out anyone who does not have a shadow). Neal realizes Rumple told the truth about getting rid of the dagger and he (and Regina) give back Pandora’s Box.
Rumple kept looking resigned and weary during the episode, particularly when Neal was giving him a hard time. It was also striking to see that expression as the group was rowing toward Skull Rock. His encounter with Pan, his father, at the end of the episode is pretty riveting with the big reveal. In spite of the mistakes and evil Rumple has carried out, you know he loves his son and wants to do the right thing, whereas Pan/Malcolm is completely selfish, ruthless, and childish. It certainly opens the possibility in ones mind that Rumple could redeem himself.
Unfortunately, Pan switches the box out for a fake one, causing a look of shock on Rumple’s face (a look which many Oncers may have also displayed at that moment). Pan uses the device and traps Rumple inside. There’s the prophecy, that Henry would be Rumple’s “undoing”. Pan returns to Henry, lying that the price for saving Neverland is that Henry must stay there forever. Henry pulls out his own heart just as the others arrive. Sadly, he does not listen to their pleas to stop and he shoves the heart into Pan before collapsing.
The next episode will air on December 1st. After all the build-up of the Neverland storyline, hopefully the showdown with Pan will continue to pack a lot of punch. With the powerful Dark One out of commission (only for the moment, one prays!), who will step up and take down Pan? How will they save Henry? I suppose in addition to #SaveCharming and #SaveHenry, fans will want to launch a #SaveRumple campaign as well.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8|9c on ABC Network.