Monday, November 11, 2013

Once Upon a Time...Father and Son

I realize that I am now several episodes behind this season.  Between various Halloween events and a three day convention for which I was one of the event organizers, I have been very busy of late.  I am going to try to have episodes 4 and 5 up in the next couple of days, then a much-needed book post, followed by episodes 6 and 7.

Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 4: "Nasty Habits"
In the fairyback, Rumpel keeps Bae as a prisoner in his own home, refusing to let him roam freely for fear someone will hurt him in an attempt to get to Rumpel.  One day, Rumpel returns home to find him missing, so he goes to the nearby village in search of him, where he discovers the villager's children have been led away by the pied piper.  He waits until nightfall, when the piper plays again, and follows the children who are lured from their homes.

Reaching a clearing in the forest where masked youths dance around a bonfire, Rumpel searches for Bae.  The piper reveals himself to be none other than Peter Pan, who Rumpel knew as a boy.  Pan tells Rumpel to ask Bae who he would like to stay with, but fearing rejection, Rumpel magically transports Bae back to their home.  Bae tells Rumpel that, had Rumpel asked, he would have chosen him.

In the present, the conjured Belle warns Rumpel of the prophecy that foretells his death.  Rumpel feels the only way to atone for his past misdeeds and the loss of his son is to save Henry, even if it means he will die.  Meanwhile, Neal is found and captured by Felix, who seems to be a higher-ranking Lost Boy, but Neal manages to untie his restraints and escape.  As Rumpel stalks through the forest, he comes upon two Lost Boys, upon whom he casts a spell.  Neal comes up behind him, and Rumpel attacks (much as he did the conjured Belle several episodes ago), certain that it is a trick of Pan's.  After reassuring Rumpel that it is truly him and he survived the gunshot wound, Neal is released and the two continue the search for Henry together.

As the rest of the Storybrooke gang plans their strategy for attacking Pan, Tinkerbell is disappointed to learn that they have no exit strategy.  She reminds them that no one ever leaves Neverland without Pan's permission and implies that their planning is futile if they can't escape.  Since Neal had previously escaped from Neverland, Hook hopes to find some clue in the cave where Neal once lived.  The walls are covered in drawings and tally marks, none of which make any apparent sense to the group.  Emma finds a coconut that has been crafted into a lantern of sorts that shows the constellations.  She hopes that Hook can use it to devise a way off the island, but he states that it's coded and only Neal would know the meaning.  Devastated, Emma runs into the woods.  Upset by the fact that she has no idea how to comfort their daughter, Snow turns to David, saying she would react the same way if he were to die.  Knowing that he will likely die of the dreamshade poison, but still refusing to tell his family, David tells her she would have to be strong for Emma and Henry.

At the Lost Boys's camp, Pan notices that Henry is not an active participant in the boys' songs and games.  He plays his pipes for Henry, but the boy hears nothing, as he does not yet consider himself lost.  Two boys arrive with information for Pan, who excuses himself from Henry.  The boys report that they have seen Rumpel and Neal working together.

Soon after, Rumpel and Neal arrive at the camp.  The two use a two-pronged formation, with Neal stalking behind Pan with a bow and arrow.  When Neal fires, Pan easily catches the arrow in his hand, exactly as  Neal had predicted and hoped, for the arrow was coated in a squid ink that immobilizes magic.  Pan claims that Rumpel is only there to kill Henry, an attempt on his part to distance the duo.  The two flee with Henry, and once a sufficient distance from Pan, Neal demands an explanation. Despite Rumpel protesting that he has changed and no longer plans to harm Henry, Neal is skeptical.  Neal orders Rumpel to give him the dagger for safekeeping as proof that his father has truly changed, but, Rumpel's shadow having hidden it, Rumpel cannot comply.  Neal takes his father's hand and dips it in the ink, then leaves with Henry.  When the spell wears off, the conjured Belle warns Rumpel of falling into his old habit of self-preservation, but he imagines her away.

Neal is captured by the Lost Boys and Henry returned to Pan.  While Neal insists that he can escape from Neverland again, but Pan hints that it was a part of his scheme to allow Neal to escape, meet Emma, and sire the truest believer.  Once Henry wakes, Pan plays the pipes for him again.  Henry, able to hear them now, joins the other boys dancing around the campfire.

I was disappointed to learn that this was one of the least-watched episodes in the show's three seasons, as I thought it was one of the best thus far this season.  Both Robert Carlyle and Michael Raymond-James have proven that they are assets to this show, so any episode where the two get to interact is likely to be one of the better ones.  That being said, I did have a couple of things to nitpick.

Given the animosity between Pan and Neal, I found it a bit unrealistic for Neal to believe what Pan said about Rumpel.  Yes, I realize that the relationship between Rumpel and Neal is extremely strained and that Neal has yet to see a positive side of his father, but I would think that even given those factors, he would believe Rumpel before Pan.  Of course, it was far more dramatic to have Neal immobilize his father, but I hope in future episodes, he'll reflect more on who is the greater evil: Rumpel or Pan.

A minor issue for me was how quickly Henry was able to hear Pan's pipes.  I imagine it's an issue with pacing, but it doesn't seem like he should go from feeling hopeful to feeling forsaken in the span of the same episode.

There were probably other minor details that annoyed me, but it's been a few weeks since I watched this episode, and they're not immediately coming to mind.  I hope that Henry won't be the death of Rumpel because this show would be quite dull without him.

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