Caution: This review contains spoilers.
“The New Neverland” brings in a fresh set of questions, as Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) arrives in Storybrooke under the guise of Henry (Jared Gilmore). At the same time, Henry is trapped in Pandora’s Box, which Rumple (Robert Carlyle) has stowed for safekeeping in his ship. Everyone in the town is in good spirits now with the return of “Henry” until Emma (Jennifer Morrison) gets a gut feeling that something is wrong with her son.
There’s also a Fairy Tale Land (FTL) flashback to Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming’s (Josh Dallas) honeymoon. Snow is determined to trap Medusa to use as a weapon against Regina (Lana Parrilla). However, the plan falls apart when Charming is turned to stone, forcing Snow to destroy Medusa. The flashback, as with many Snowing scenes in FTL, seems like filler.
The more interesting questions lie in Storybrooke, where “Henry” orders his shadow to kill the Blue Fairy. Regina takes him to her crypt, giving him the chance he wanted to steal Rumple’s Dark Curse. In the meantime, Rumple, Belle (Emilie de Ravin), Charming, Snow, and Emma are opening Pandora’s Box at the town line, to kill “Pan” once and for all. Rumple and Emma clash briefly over who will do the deed. The Charmings are overjoyed to have Henry back, while Belle is confused and Rumple looks apologetic and grim.
Rumple’s concern grows all the more when they find Regina unconscious at her crypt and an open box that held the Dark Curse. He tells Emma that if the curse is cast again, her power won’t be able to stop it. It also brings the Prophecy back into play, hence his look of foreboding. It seems that “Henry” can still be Rumple’s undoing. In Neverland, Rumple initially believed that the only way to save Henry and take out Peter Pan was to sacrifice himself. One can probably assume that he may have to do that in the upcoming confrontation with “Henry” because this time, both Belle and Baelfire (Michael Raymond-James) are in danger as well. Perhaps he feels responsible for Pan’s act of vengeance because he created the curse.
Robbie Kay and Jared Gilmore make the body switch pretty convincing. Kay has a great one-liner as “Pan” when he asks Rumple not to throw fire at his face whenever the big fight comes. And Gilmore certainly comes off as a creepy “Henry” when he tricks Regina by constantly being afraid for his safety.
As in previous years, the mid-season finale will probably shake things up in OUAT. Going into next week’s episode, we can’t forget the Prophecy and Pan’s favorite line, “Pan never fails.” One thing is certain: it will be hard to stay patient during the mid-season break!
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8|7c on ABC.