A:N- If you haven’t seen the episode don’t read, major spoilers
One of the reasons I love this show is how what you think is the solution to something is nowhere close to what you first thought. The writers don’t go for the obvious ideas, they don’t go with the plot lines that anyone could guess. This episode is a prime example of that idea. We think we know what needs to be done or what needs to happen but in reality we are way off.
The show opened with Rumple looking much more composed than the last time we saw him. We saw him last time breaking down over a doll; one I was totally wrong about, but more on that later. He takes the knife that can undo him, cuts off his shadow and tells his shadow to run off and hide the knife, somewhere even he himself can’t find.
Rumple was told once that Henry would be his undoing. In Rumple’s mind that means his death. He is so afraid of losing his life that he never stops to consider what else the prophecy could mean. “Undoing,” doesn’t necessarily mean death, undoing is just the taking apart of something. For Rumple I believe undoing has more to do with him being the dark one. Henry is going to in some way make Rumple lose his dark one status, he is going to be the undoing of his dark side. Losing his magic and power would be more of an undoing than his actual death. It would be the total dismantling of what he believes he truly is.
I found it very interesting that Rumble was able to cut away his own shadow. Now when the lost boys cut off Greg’s shadow he died instantly. What exactly are the shadows? Obviously killing Rumple is not that simple, his death can only truly come from his knife. I thought and might still think the shadows are in some way a form of a person’s soul, but I am not entirely sure that is true anymore.
One could argue Rumple doesn’t really have a soul but I don’t believe that is true. Yes, his dark side is in control most of the time but if he didn’t have a soul he wouldn’t feel pain like he does. He wouldn’t want his son’s love or still have moments from his past that hurt him so badly. He wouldn’t truly care about anything.
Now if the shadows are souls Rumple should have become cold and uncaring when he cut it away but he doesn’t. We see later that he isn’t cold and hard. The shadow is something else, something that is still very important and essential for life, I am just not entirely sure what that is yet. I am sure soon we will learn why death follows losing your shadow, some how it is something we can’t truly live without.
This episode really got into both Snow’s weaker side as well as Emma’s. The story of Snow’s struggle to fight Regina and her lack of confidence in herself is an interesting way to parallel Emma’s struggle with herself.
Snow is awoken by Charming’s kiss, true love once gain wins. Regina gives up on trying to kill her, instead she wants to watch as Snow loses everything. Snow has a moment where she becomes frightened of Regina, afraid she can’t save her kingdom. The last thing she wants is for someone to get hurt because of her.
Regina offers her an intriguing deal. All Snow has to do is give up her claim to the throne and go into exile with Charming and the dwarves. She can live out her life as long as she let’s Regina rule. Snow mulls this idea over, truly believing she is not fit to be queen.
(Interesting side note: Both Regina and Snow fought so hard to be queen and rule the kingdom, it defined them in the past. Now none of that matters, no one is queen and neither cares about that anymore).
Snow doesn’t want to end up alone. She is terrified that in this fights she will lose everything, just as Regina wants. She has absolutely no confidence in herself or her ability to rule the kingdom. She wants to take the easy way out, she doesn’t want to fight.
Charming know how untrue this really is for Snow. Snow asks Charming why isn’t true love enough? I found this a very interesting question. True love has saved them multiple times before, it is and always be more than enough. But part of true love is letting your love live a life that will make them truly happy. It is not true love to let your love settle because they are afraid. It would not have been true love for Charming to let Snow just walk away from her kingdom. He knew she would never be truly happy that way. True love is knowing what your love really wants and needs and helping them achieve that.
Charming knows Snow. He knows she is meant to fight and is meant to win. He goes to Rumple looking for a way to remind Snow of who she truly is. In the end he tricks her with a fake Excalibur. He makes her see that all she needs it what is already inside of her. She always had the drive, desire and confidence, she just needed a reminder.
It is good Snow learned this lesson because she is going to have to teach it to Emma. Emma is broken, she has zero belief in herself. As we learn she feels like a lost little girl, afraid she will be nothing more than an orphan. Snow needed Charming to remind her of who she truly way, to wake her up and keep her awake. Now it is her turn to do the same for Emma.
Snow wants to be called mom, she wants to play that role, same as Emma does for Henry. This is her chance. She has to take her broken daughter, take her out of her complaisant state and make her see what she truly can do. It will probably take some tricks and underhanded moves but in the end Emma will be as thankful a she was to Charming.
While hunting for Henry, Emma runs into Peter Pan, who doesn’t try to really hide who he truly is. He doesn’t run from Emma. He approaches her and offers a way to find Henry. He gives her a map that will only work once she accepts who she truly is. This offering from Pan truly confuses me. Why does he want to find Henry? Why doe she have to accept who she is? What is his endgame? The map is a great example of how the writers go in a totally different direction then the one I had expected. I truly thought Emma had to accept she was the savior, to accept that she is part of the fairy tale world. I thought she she had to accept all of who she is to find the strength to continue on, but I was wrong.
The map revealed itself after Emma confesses how she still felt like and orphaned scared little girl. She tearfully tells Snow how she used to cry herself to sleep because she couldn’t understand why her parents would abandon her. She had to accept that she was and would always be a lost girl. She has to see this weakness and understand it.
Emma says that in Neverland she feels like nothing but an orphan. She doesn’t feel like a strong hero or a savior. This island feeds off of that feeling, it is built on that feeling. This island is built from and for the lost and downtrodden. All the boys are lost, even Peter Pan is a lost soul. The question is why does Emma need to know that? Why does Pan want Emma to understand this side of herself? To me, now that she knows this about herself she can use it to fight, to build her strength. Why does Pan want her to be able to fight?
While Emma is struggling with the map Rumple is struggling with the doll from last week. I was again wrong about who the doll belonged to. I firmly believed it was once Balefire’s but actually it was once Rumple’s. It was the last thing his father gave to him before his father left Rumple and his family.
Rumple conjures a vision of Belle to fully understand what is going on inside of him. Belle always saw the good in Rumple the man, she sees what he can’t see. She asks him what she is supposed to be showing him now. He confesses that he is a coward, afraid to once again make the selfish choice. Belle tells him, “Letting go of the past is the first step.” He has to throw the doll away, let go of his past fears and failures. He has to forget his hurt over his father and over his own past actions to be able to save Henry.
The past is not that simple to outrun. If it was no one would be destroyed or constantly haunted by the past. We constantly see this in the show, how the past follows you around, defining you in some manner. The doll comes back to Rumple, he tries to burn it but it won’t disappear. For some reason the island does not want him to release this part of himself. In the end he pockets the doll, he pockets his weakness.
The island won’t let him just walk away from his fears and issues. He has to live with and work with this aspect of himself. You can’t outrun your past or your weaknesses as we saw with Emma. I believe in the end these moments of accepting weakness will bring out the true strength of both Emma and Rumple.
The episode ends with Pan meeting up with Emma once again. Pan tells her that Henry has never forgiven her for abandoning him like her parents did to her. He says when she finds him he won’t want to leave and she will be an orphan once again.
Pan feeds on Emma’s worst fears, losing everything she has gained. I think Pan will have a lot of work ahead of him though. Henry is a strong minded child. He won’t give into Pan so easily. He trusts and loves so fully it will take a great magic or brain wash for him to abandon that trust he has in those he loves.
A small note on Regina. She uses her magic and yet again it leads them in the wrong direction and straight into danger. She at one point last season tried living without magic for Henry. She is going to have to remember why she did that because her magic use causes nothing but grief and problems for her and others. Regina has to put her crutch of magic aside if she is ever going to truly win.
“It is never too late,”- Snow- Snow and Charming’s motto basically. A motto I believe they are all going to have to remember to survive this place.
“Magic can’t create belief”- Rumple- An idea I think Regina is really going to have to learn. Magic is not an end all solution. It is just an aid and always has a consequence.
“ Cheaters never win,’”- Pan- there will be no getting out of this with tricks and short cuts. They are going to have to play by the rules.
“Sometime we think we know ourselves but we need a push to know the reality”- Snow- We need others to help to learn who we truly are.
-What are the shadows exactly?
-Who’s side is Hook on?
-What does Pan actually want?
-Why is Pan working with Emma?
-What does this have to do with Henry’s heart?
Does he want a way out?
What will the doll mean for Rumple?
What happened to Pan, how and why did he become as he is?
Will Charming live?