Hooboy, this was a real steaming pile of garbage episode, huh? The title of this episode is “The New Neverland,” because just when you think you’ve finally gotten the heck out of that story arc, the writers have another coke binge and drop us right back into the thick of it. Also, it’s a Snow and Charming episode, so get out your hard liquor. You’re gonna need it. Lots of it.
We open on Storybrooke’s harbor, where Belle and Ariel are stalking that guy Ariel met that one time. Do we know anything concrete about this Eric fellow? No. Could he be a serial killer, or a sex addict, or a guy who mounts the heads of neighborhood kids in his basement lair? Yes. Besides that, Belle doesn’t know this girl from a hole in a wall, but she sure is trying to get this bitch laid. Looks like Eric’s been making his living as an LL Bean model, since no sensible sailor/fish-mongerer would ever be wearing a white sweater that clean. They walk in on him chopping up fish. Awkward. He and Ariel immediately recognize each other and start making out. Additionally awkward.
The hookup is interrupted by the ship blasting through the atmosphere and gently docking in the harbor like a ship blasting through a hole in time and space could land in water without so much as a minute disturbance. Then again, the budget for CGI in this episode was $9.32, and they were already counting quarters out of the laundry to cover that poor excuse for a Medusa. Everyone’s getting off the ship and having ooey gooey reunions like life-risking situations aren’t par for the course in this town. Regina stands awkwardly to the side because she’s allergic to bullshit. Everyone’s congratulating the usual useless subjects for saving the day, but Snow says they wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of it without Regina.
A lot of it? Is this floozy for real? We owe mother-fucking ALL OF IT to Regina. Let me recap for you dumb bitches. Y’all head to Neverland minus a plan. Who comes up with the plan? Regina. Y’all get caught up in your love triangle and conception needs. Who leaves your dead weight and finds the only other effective person on the island? Regina. Y’all need to get into the enemy camp. Who magics the Lost Boys into submission? Regina. Y’all need to do dirty work to get the end results. Who is the only one willing to do said dirty work? Regina. Y’all need to move the moon. Who has been training Emma all this time so the two of them can move the moon? Goddamned Regina. Y’all need to get out of a trap held tight by your regrets. Who regrets 100% nothing? REGINA MOTHER-FUCKERS. Y’all need to do every single one of these things and do it fast if you’re gonna save Henry, and who made those things happen? R-E-G-I-N-A.
Flashback to that moment when Regina showed up to Snow and Charmin Bear’s wedding and told everyone that they dun goofed. Snow charges out of the room, followed by Charmin, and says she needs to ice Regina. But first, let’s honeymoon! Grumpy says he couldn’t help but “overhear” Snow and Charming discussing their plans to go to a secluded place and bump uglies. Right. Snow’s got an ulterior motive to choosing the summer palace, which makes more sense than “You know where I want to go? Somewhere that reminds me of my parents. I want to be continually reminded of my parents on my honeymoon because that’s sexy. I want to be doing it but also thinking about how special this was for my parents and thinking about my parents while we’re doing it.”
Since we need to put some plans into motion that will surely fail by the end of the episode, Pandora’s Box is interred in the floor of Rumpleforeskin’s shop. There’s definitely no way that will backfire, not with this show’s track record!
Neal and Hook decide they’re both going to continue fighting over Emma in a battle of manhood that is somehow even more unattractive and cringeworthy than Twilight. Hook thinks he has the advantage because Neal formerly tooted and booted. Neal goes up to Emma and tells her that he’s going to pressure her into a situation where she can either show up and eat with him or lose him for good, which is a great idea! She doesn’t have a history of being betrayed by people who make her work for their affection, only to abandon them forever! Yet another smooth move from the king of charm and suave kindness, Captain Go Fuck Himself!
Regina and her former lover Tinkerbell confront that pinched anus of a face they call the Blue Fairy. Regina orders Blue to give Tink her wings back. Blue says oops, she doesn’t believe in herself, not my problem. Boy, wouldn’t it be great if some terrible fate befell Blue Balls? Regina needs a drink.
Quick question for the writers: Regina’s son has been returned home after a grueling and scarring ordeal, and yet we have not seen the two of them together as mother and son or together, period. It’s been fifteen minutes of screentime already, and Regina’s acting like Henry is a friend of a friend she ran into in the grocery store. You know, like when you see them in the meat section but you kind of avoid making eye contact and then you run smack into each other in the cheeses so you have to actually say hi and acknowledge each other but then you keep passing each other in the more narrow aisles and do you smile or do you keep saying hi or do you laugh awkwardly or do you stare at your feet or what? ANYWAY. I really hate when you guys, the writers, which is a term I am using loosely, shove the characters around in miniature episode interactions that completely deny them their actual personality traits or actions congruent with their arcs thus far. But hey, I’m the one who sat down to watch this festering sore of a show. I knew what I was in for when it started, and I should own my mistakes.
Everyone who is legal is double fisting beers, but no one looks like they need those beers as much as Emma. Wouldn’t you just love a situation where every single person you know is in a tiny-ass restaurant watching you be shuffled between all of your sexual mistakes? And then your mom spies you talking to the other mother of your son and she moves to your side with the speed of light to keep your eyes on the heterosexual prize. Because Neal is such a fucking prize. This episode is yet another exercise in horrific parenting because I’m pretty sure the last person you should be physically shoving your daughter towards is the guy who has literally knocked her up, locked her up, and then left her ass high and dry. I guess Snow and Charming want to make sure Emma is abandoned in love as well as family.
Back in CGI Kingdom, Snow and Charming stare around the summer palace and pretend to be amazed by whatever they’re imagining on the green screen. Charming needs to hi a ho, but Snow says he has to wait because she’s prepared something extra special for tonight. I think she means that her chastity belt is too tight and she’s going to need it surgically removed before he can get out his dwarf and mine for her jewels. Then she sends him out of the room so she can jump out the window and take off on a hunt for…Medusa? Medusa wasn’t even in Hercules for more than a blink in a song montage. Seriously, they couldn’t have marched out one of the other multitudes of Disney villains? Now we have to drag the fucking Greeks into this splattered turd of a show, may the writers have mercy on their storied culture and legacy.
Snow’s wearing a garment that could only be described as the least appropriate thing to wear on a high-stakes manhunt, especially with that drowned poodle of a wig she’s sporting. Think of all the stuff her hair’s gonna get caught on, think of all the ways those long unnecessary strips of fabric could trip her ass up. Snow’s plan for taking care of Regina is killing Medusa and using her head to turn Regina to stone. Surely there must be an easier method of defeating one’s enemies than hunting down a highly dangerous mythical beast, slaying it, and then transporting its remains to the lair of your enemy where you will somehow kill your enemy on her own turf where she has the clear advantage.
Panry’s skulking around Henry’s room looking for clues? Henry’s hidden bukkake stash? The bare threads of a story arc that will get them out of this endless Neverland spiral? He asks Regina if her magic vault is open because they’re probably gonna need it. Regina’s in her silk pajamas, which continue to haunt the dreams of many a bedfellow-less lesbian, and she reassures Panry that the vault is sealed and it ain’t cracking. Panry waits for her to leave before going to the window and delivering some truly awful lines that are straight out of the mouth of a Scooby Doo villain. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for the lesbians and those inept secondary characters with the bad wigs.
Snow and Charming are eating at Granny’s, which I guess is the only place anyone is eating in this episode because they all conveniently forgot how to prepare meals in their own homes? Snow wants her eggs fertilized as soon as possible, because the clock’s a tickin’ and Charming’s Neverland-cursed spunk isn’t getting any frothier. They start to make out on the table, I’m not even kidding, but then they stop when they see Neal sitting by himself behind them. Has Neal ever fucking smiled? Why does he always look like he just fell off the back of an ATV and owes a hundred grand? Am I the only one who thinks he looks kind of like Sarah Palin’s husband? Why would we ever make this character a love interest when his go-to romantic gesture is an ultimatum?
Charming takes off across town to track down his daughter and convince her in person that she should throw herself on Neal. Say what? Apparently this is all because Snow is worried her daughter is never going to settle down and start popping out her own set of kids to shove into tree trunks, and Charming, lacking any will beyond the will of his wife, gives her a talk. Special bonus in this scene: The powers that be take a giant leaky dump all over the Hook/Charming shippers by making a joke about that particular coupling. Ha ha it’s so funny that two men could be together, that’s so hilarious. Because neither one of you often seems like a flaming
Everyone hears screaming, which is generally not a good thing. They run across town only to find Blue’s had her soul sucked out by a shadow, and lady is cold as a corpse. Because she is a corpse now. Because she’s dead. This freaks everyone out. You know, on one hand I’m glad to see a nasty lady get hers, but on the other hand this show has a severe lack of snarky bitches and way too many self-righteous buttplugs, so I’m going to miss Blue. Yeah, I said it. Regina can’t be the only picking up the sass slack these days.
Henry asks to stay with Regina instead of Emma, which makes Emma super suspicious and makes Regina blind and defensive. Oh my Christ on a stick, are they really going here right now? Emma’s got a gut feeling, but Regina can’t see that her own son is obviously different? We’re back to Emma the heroic bio mom and Regina the self-centered adoptive mom who is making it about jealousy. For those of you who think I’m reaching, this is why I’m pissed – given Regina’s dogged determination to shut down all the petty personal shit and save her son, this characterization is totally out of sync with her growth over the last handful of episodes. Watching this show is like reading a shitty fanfic where the author keeps slipping in and out of OOC shit and you can’t even leave them a comment to call them out because they’ll ignore you and make your favorite characters related so you can’t ship them anymore.
Since the shadow is on the loose, everyone knows that Pan’s back in the saddle. They decide to drag out the Pandora’s Box, take it the town lines, and shoot it with a gun. When Pan emerges from the box, it turns out to be Henry stuck in Pan’s body. So they switched bodies, but Henry in Pan’s body speaks with Pan’s accent? But accents wouldn’t be a trait carried in a physical sense?
There is a scene in this episode involving Snow and Charming taking on a Medusa that looks like she’s straight out of a Sega Genesis game, and it is ridiculous. I can’t even describe to you the completely ludicrous nature of this scene, I really can’t. Maybe it’s because everything besides Snow and Charming was computer animated in such a way that it made my eyeballs melt. Maybe it’s because there are times when they wield computer-generated weapons. Maybe it’s because Charming gets turned into stone, and what little joy we get from this moment deflates when we realize that Charming, of course, will never die. Snow kills the Medusa with a shield after Regina appears in the shield, looking very therapist on the USS Enterprise, and then Charming conveniently comes back to life. They head back to the summer palace, since this plan backfired and now there are parts to insert into other parts. Ick.
Back at Summer Camp CGI, Snow reveals that the reason she’s obsessed with destroying Regina is because she needs to get her fields sowed and plowed STAT, and she doesn’t want to start pumping out babies in a world where Regina is still at large, representing grey morality. Then she gives a speech about how they don’t need to make their own happiness when they can just have a baby to make the happiness for them which is the worst reason to have a child ever. This is the first time they’ve ever bumped nasties and they’re doing it to conceive? Kids, if you’re simultaneously losing your virginity and having procreative intercourse, I want you to look at your life with an extremely critical eye and make sure you are 100% ready to face the consequences of that decision. Because I am 99.9% sure you are not.
Everyone, and I mean literally everyone except for Ariel and Eric, who we assume are having the clam bake of a lifetime, shows up to Regina’s vault. Before they can resume the “defeat Pan” mission, they have to stop and discuss how little time Emma has for a social life anymore. Her job is really getting to her and no matter how many times her parents insist she find herself some happy moments – which apparently translates to getting boned by dudes? – it’s just not enough. Again, there are lives in danger and time is of the absolute essence, but apparently there are minutes to spare in which a valuable character can talk about how her career path is making it harder to get her wheel greased. I give up.
After this unnecessary conversation, Rumpleforeskin opens the door and they run downstairs to find an unconscious Regina. Drat, she says. Foiled again by my desperate need to be loved by my child! For real, though, writers. For real? It’s like the other fucking episodes didn’t happen. It’s like all that progress she made as an unapologetic mama bear who always put her son first, who never questioned the importance of their mission, was for naught. But there I go again, expecting continuity and coming away disappointed when nothing about this show has ever suggested that I should expect continuity. I keep going to the orange tree asking for bananas, so I only have myself to blame when there are no bananas.
So what do we find out? We find out the dumbest shit in the world. Pan took the spell and now he’s going to fucking redo the spell, resetting everything? No. I just…no. These people have had their brains fucked with so many times that it’s a goddamned miracle they can operate a toaster, much less remember things that happened in the multiple versions of their lives they have been forced to live up until this point. If the curse gets recast and we’re back to square one, I will officially show up to whatever dark pit of Hell the writers are assembled in, and I will burn the whole situation down. Recapper out.