Once Upon A Time Episode 308 Recap: Magical Daddy Issues

This week on the True Adventures of Drawn-Out Plotlines Gone Far Too Wrong, oh, what a tangled genetic web we weave, and more daddy issues than you should try to fit in forty minutes of Sunday night programming. Also, I hope you like dad jokes, because this recap is chock full of them.

The episode opens on a Rumpleforeskin flashback to Young Rumpleforeskin on the street with his father, whose job is tricking people into picking from one of three cards in Ye Olde Greenscreen Village. Shockingly, this is not going well for the family income, nor for RumpleDad’s spleen. He gets the shit beat out of him a lot. This upsets Young Rumpleforeskin. Why can’t his dad just do normal dad things, like get invested in sports he wasn’t even that good at in high school and wearing socks with sandals?

clearly you don't respect the hustle, son

Clearly you don’t respect the hustle, son.

Some important things that keep bothering me: Why is Rumpleforeskin’s accent different than his dad’s? Why would you develop that highly specific Scottish accent if your dad does not have a highly specific Scottish accent and you have been raised by your dad and your dad only? Why doesn’t Neal have Rumpleforeskin’s accent when he was raised by his dad and his dad only? WHY DOES ANYONE ON THIS FUCKING SHOW TALK THE WAY THAT THEY DO?

Wendy’s still “sick” the way that I was “sick” when I was trying to get out of kissing my boyfriend that I had for two weeks before I broke up with him via email. Ugh, feigning straightness was such a lame boring drag, guys. Henry is still falling for Wendy’s shitty schtick like all that raising Regina did was for naught: somehow he still turned out like a fucking Charming, complete with that blank stare when the line coach is too busy shoving down a bagel. Remember when Henry was Bobby Draper, but they replaced him with a Bobby Draper who could handle a speaking part? I liked you when you weren’t happily walking into threatening situations, Henry.

it's a really good thing you're level of naivete would have you eating shit off the ground, otherwise this plot would be over in one scene

It’s a good thing you’re not an incredibly naive turd this season or my scheme would be way too easy.

Regina and Rumpleforeskin have got Pandora’s Box and they’re ready to destroy Pan with a method that is, as usual, vague and requires a lot of walking across the jungle soundstage. Regina says that they’re the only team that ever gets anything done, which is true. So far, the Charmings have managed to berate their daughter about her sex life and get themselves physically tethered to this godforsaken island. Such a useful people. Regina and Rumpleforeskin, however, are gonna conquer that shit, even if they are not the ideal pairing.


Back in Ye Olde Green Screen Village, Baby Rumpleforeskin is getting dropped off at spin class. I’m sorry, that was a terrible pun. Actually, RumpleDad is doing the old Deadbeat Dad Abandonment Shuffle and leaving Yung Rump with two random ladies who have spinning wheels in their house. Any backstory on these women is totally lost to us, but we weren’t expecting it anyway because we made the decision to tune into Once Upon A Time, where everything is made up and the points don’t matter.


Over on the other side of the ten by ten jungle soundstage, Snow and Emma are talking about, what else? Fun heterosexual stuff. Snow and the Charmin Bear are actually pretty down with this ‘stay on Neverland and conceive replacement children’ plan. I mean, they already abandoned Emma once. What more damage could they possibly do as parents who have literally told their daughter that they want to replace her with another child? It’s not like Emma has frequently alluded to her deep-seated issues involving abandonment and trust.


Note that in this episode, Charming and Snow can’t stop holding hands because they read in their Being “Good” Characters handbooks that holding hands is sex, and they’re trying to spice up the relationship. Later in the season, they will conceive a child due to what they have been calling “elbow touching.”

Troop Pollyanna Advanced has a run-on with, surprise! Team Mommy AND Daddy Issues. Neal says that Rumpleforeskin is here to kill Henry because it was foretold or something, who the fuck knows anymore. Everyone pulls out their shiny phallic objects against Rumple because Henry because prophecy prophecy blah blah blah. I love how everyone has a shiny phallic object except for Regina, who has magic hands. This show is so gay that there could be two girls fingerblasting in the background and I would not even blink an eye. Emma’s expression during this scene is priceless:


Also, what the fuck is up with Neal’s hair? It looks like someone hung him upside down and squirted lube all over his head. Has his hair always had that unfinished grey sheen to it? Jesus, is he aging prematurely or some shit? He looks rough as hell, like three day hangover and last week’s tampon rough.

Yung Rumpleforeskin is apparently good at spinning yarn. Hey Disney, quick reminder that you never made a Rumplestiltskin movie and thus nothing about this backstory is exciting or nostalgia-bait for our childhood selves. The two ladies in the recycled plastic headwraps tell him that his father is not coming back for him because his dad is a deadbeat piece of shit, and thus he needs to take this magical crystal bean thing and go live his own life. Good thing he’s seven years old and totally ready for that!

and this is the crack rock they've been smoking in the writers' room

And this is the crack rock they’ve been smoking in the writers’ room.

Back in the present day – and by day I mean night, because it’s always night on Neverland, which has never actually been explained and thus I chalk up to lighting being outside of the budget this season – where Neal is explaining to Rumple how he doesn’t trust him and never will. But surprise! After an intense Daddy Issues Showdown, Rumple turns out to have the deepest daddy issues on this show. He hates Pan because Pan ruined his father, and his father was the reason for all of his trust issues. Because he wants people to trust him in a way that he never trusted his own daddy, he hands the Pandora’s Box over to Neal. He’s also like, wow, get a haircut and a face reconstruction, you look like three week old shit after a couple hard rains.

In the past world of Ye Olde CGI Backlot, Rumple wants to save his father from the eventual ruin of his gambling addiction, so they decide to go to Neverland because no one there knows of his father’s reputation as a cheating drunk. That’s definitely the most realistic plan.


Back to Jungle2Jungle, and the big happy family, most of which is technically family, is walking across the island to Camp Pan. Fucking finally? My question: Where the fuck are they always walking to? Why are all these furtive glances and deep conversations happening while they trek from one end of the jungle soundstage to the other? I’m pretty sure this is the first time they’re heading to the specific goal of the entire mission because otherwise they’ve just been doing random pointless side quests that involve copious amounts of walking. I feel like the tagline of this show should be “It’s Not The Destination, It’s The Journey. Also No One Is Gay, Shut Up About That, We Gave You Mulan So What More Do You Want Already, Stop Sending Us Angry Tweets.”

Emma wants to talk to Hook. Holy fuck, is anyone on this island NOT interested in pointless processing? They want to save Charmin Bear so he doesn’t have to live on the island forever, and he and Snow can go conceive that replacement baby they keep talking about. Oh, Emma. Honey. Are you really trying to help enable your own shitty parents’ abandonment of you? Rumpleforeskin says there’s a way to save Charming from getting stuck on Neverland, but he’s the only one who can do it. Of course he is. There’s no such thing as a plot point on this show that doesn’t revolve around a poorly developed gimmick about magical limitations.

Additional thought about these group scenes: I like Tink but if that bandana isn’t a hooky cover, there is just no point to it. It’s clashing with her outfit so badly that I’m convinced she got dressed in the dark after leaving a group orgy. One can only hope. Also, we know how much queers love bandanas and for those of you wondering, she is indeed flagging BDSM.

Once they get to the camp, there’s a brief debriefing on the best way to disarm all the Lost Boys. But don’t worry dummies, Regina’s got this.

wrongmovebuddyPicture 327

Ugh, Regina is so fucking effective. I swoon.


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Full-time writer, part-time lover, freelancing in fancy cheese and cider.

Kate has written 130 articles for us.


  1. “WHY DOES ANYONE ON THIS FUCKING SHOW TALK THE WAY THAT THEY DO?” I have been wondering this re: Belle’s Australian accent since day one

    • i wondered this too re: Belle and Rumple, then concluded that it’s probably about a) diversity tokens from some kind of accent-blindness involving either b) white people without American accents or c) non-white people with assimilated American accents. obviously diversity tokens don’t involve Anglophone non-white characters without some kind of standard accent. #agenda

  2. I’m really into the outfit coordinating between Regina and Emma right now – it reminds me of that moment where you roll out of someone else’s bed late for work and hung over, grab a shirt, get in the car, and only realize when you’re sitting at your desk smelling of booze and mistakes that you’re not actually wearing something that belongs to you.

    Actually that’s pretty much how I picture every night in Storybrooke secretly went for them.

  3. “and then some other guy was like “Great idea, Stan! Pass me that cocaine, will you? We’re going to do lines off Carol. Congrats, guys. Everyone’s doing a bang-up job this season!””

    still laughing about this

  4. RUFI-O

    Kade, you need to draw a family tree for those of us not watching the show because wut?

  5. These dad jokes are the absolute best.

    Also Neal’s hair is totally making him look like Terk from Tarzan, which p.s. when are the Tarzan gorillas going to make a Neverland jungle appearance? I’m now convinced that Neal (as Terk), will find Tarzan and take him home to meet his mom, who never really died, just was turned into a gorilla. Just wait for it.

  6. “What is this, Once Upon A Fucking West Virginia*?”


  7. When Douchebag Dad turned into Peter FUCKING Pan, I actually shouted “Seriously?!” at the screen. This plot is endless and so fucked up. It’s like all the actual writers left to go find some hookers and a hot tub or something and three unfortunate interns are just trying to hold the fort and hoping nobody notices.
    “Write another scene where they walk down the same path, discussing saving Henry but not actually getting any closer to doing anything about it”
    “Good one, we could also stretch the Charming-Imminent-Death-Concerns-While-Also-In-No-Immediate-Danger-Whatsoever thing for another week. That should buy some time”

  8. So much laughing, the best.

    Uhhh Lana Parillaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    So can Henry stay dead so Emma and Regina can at least have mutual grief sex? Maybe Neal can somehow end up in Pandora’s Box with Rump, Charming and Snow can stay and make another baby on Neverland and Hook can steward Regina & Emma home to Storybrook then peace out.

  9. Oh my gosh this recap is awesome! I laughed for a solid minute about the L word reference on the picture of Neal.
    Oh and Lana Parrilla has become an obsession recently and I think I need help.

  10. HAHAHA. This fucking recap. I can’t.

    Also, 1) Neal really needs to fake die again. Or actually die. 2) I don’t understand the accent situation either, wtf. 3) Regina is soooo fine and obviously the best character on this show. I will never stop rooting for her. 4) Finally on board with this Swan Queen thing yesssss. 5) I was sure there was gonna be a lesbian joke about those two old spinster “roommates.” So gay. Prob the only actual lesbians we’ll see on this show.

  11. Despite all of the raging flaws of this show, I’m totally hooked, and as a rule I don’t like television.

    One of the things that drives me crazy about the show is the stupid “true love’s kiss.” Unknown to many people, Disney did not create ANY of these stories, nor did the Brother’s Grimm or Hans Christen Andersen. Many of these stories are centuries old and were far darker than their modern versions. In the original versions, no one wakes up from the sleeping curse from a “true love’s kiss.” Sleeping Beauty (original: Sun, Moon, and Talia) was raped by the king while she was asleep and gives birth to twins all while she is still asleep. There’s a summary of this story on Wikipedia. Snow White was also only supposed to be seven-years-old when the evil queen sent her off to be killed (and she asked for her liver and tongue, not her heart), so she wasn’t any older than eight when ‘Prince Charming’ decided he wanted her to be his wife. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” should really be called “Snow White and the Pedophile.” In some versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” the wolf rapes the grandmother, then eats her, then rapes Riding Hood, and eats her. No one gets saved at the end.

    Not that I wish these fates on any of the characters in this show, but at least they could have un-Disney-ified them a little more. Disney made up “true love’s kiss” and “happy endings” and this show is a little too obsessed with both of these tropes to truly suspend my disbelief.

  12. What the actual fuck is going on? I’m just watching this now. What is wrong with Henry!! He’s the most frustrating. This show makes absolutely no fucking sense.

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