In Short: The action shifts to Neverland. Henry makes a new friend, and Emma takes a leap of faith.
EMMA: You say good always wins? It doesn’t.
Greetings, and welcome back to the Fairy Tale World! When last we left our intrepid crew of lovers, fighters, dreamers, and schemers, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and her parents (Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas) had taken ship – in desperation and under duress – with Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), Regina (Lana Parilla), and Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle). They were searching for Henry (Jared Gilmore), who had been kidnapped by Tamara (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Greg (Ethan Embry) under the direction of the sinister “Home Office.”Baelfire/Neal (Michael Raymond-James) had jumped or fallen into a portal – please don’t make me re-watch the episode to find out, the very thought of doing so fills me with ennui – and had just been rescued by Aurora (Sarah Bolger), Mulan (Jamie Chung), and some pasty-looking prince (Philip? He hasn’t grown on me yet).
Now, in this first episode of the new season, all the action converges on Neverland, where Henry finds himself a popular young man indeed….
Look, I’m not going to recap this thing. I’ve already lived through it once. I mean, it wasn’t a bad episode – in fact, it had at least one excellent twist, and some really good lines. On the other hand, it appears that Season 3 will suffer from the same problem that Season 2 (and, for that matter, Season 1) did – i.e., the villains are about a thousand percent more interesting, compelling, and watchable than any of the heroes – but it’s not like that’s a new issue for this particular show and anyway that’s what you get when you try to put the likes of Josh Dallas up against Robert Carlyle.
Moving along, here are some things that caught my attention this week:
- The promos and interviews promised “family conflict” among La Famille Charming, and indeed we do see Emma at odds with Charming and Snow. But this crowd is far too milquetoast to be at one another’s throats for long, and indeed, by the end they’re back to fighting Regina, the mermaids, and the elements, rather than one another.
- Best lines, part 1: “I will not be capsized by a fish!” (Was that supposed to be funny? Because it was, but Dallas delivered it so earnestly I had to think he meant to be completely serious. Discuss.)
- Henry’s scarf sort of looks kind of like Harry Potter’s, don’t you think? Is Henry=Harry=The Boy Who Lived. Interesting. (Okay, maybe just interesting to me.)
- Is Jamie Chung taking acting classes? She’s improved, which is to say that instead of being really, really wooden and bad she’s merely wooden and bad. Also, her hair looked really pretty in this episode.
- Best lines, part 2: “Filet the bitch.” And then Regina waves her hand and turns the mermaid into wood! Runner-up: “Undo your spell. Bring back the mermaid.” Not quite “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” but probably high up on the list of things the actors never dreamed they would be called upon to say.
- So the Lost Boys are the “Home Office.” I was picturing a somewhat more… organized outfit, but whatever. I’ll roll with it. For now.
- In that same vein, Greg and Tamara are…dead? Not dead? Incapacitated? Out of commission, at any rate. So long, boring people!
- Best lines, part 3: Hook complimenting Gold on his “costume change.”
- Henry is saved from DOOOOM by a mysterious runaway, who turns out to be – dun DUN – Peter “Pan” Pan himself. And Pan wants Henry because Henry possesses “the heart of the truest believer,” although what benefit accrues to PP in this instance remains unclear. There isn’t a barf bucket big enough, beloved friends and readers…
- Pan and Rumpelstiltskin square off; Round 1 decisively goes to Pan, who makes Rump weep by handing him a doll and then signing off with an insouciant “See ya ‘round, Dark One” (Best lines, part 4).
- Oh, and Neal’s still around. Something about Michael Raymond-James makes me think that in the right role, he’s an excellent actor. This is not the right role.
- My wish list: Just one thing — Ruby + Whale. I’ve been waiting patiently for an update since “In the Name of the Brother” last year. Seriously, I need this to happen.
- Okay, just one more thing. Bring back Amy Acker – as Nova the Fairy or anyone else!
Next week: King Arthur. Belle, maybe. Better CGI, if we’re lucky. The effects were terrible this week.
Mr. Gold calls someone “Dearie”: Check
Snow kicks someone’s ass: She and Regina throw down, but Regina doesn’t seem that much worse for the wear afterward.
New Characters are introduced: Check (Pan, Lost Boys, Sex-Bomb Mermaid)
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