Once Upon A Time: A Curious Thing (3×19)

Hook: “Henry, this is a friend of mine, Mr. Smee.”

Henry: “From Peter Pan?”

Smee: “You remember?”

Henry: “I’ve seen that movie a million times.”

Hook: “‘Smee’ is a common seafaring name.”

To say a lot happens this episode is an understatement. Pretty much a checklist of everything we’ve been wondering since the second half of the season started is crossed off in rapid-fire fashion. We finally find out how the Wicked Witch can be defeated, along with how and who cast the dark curse again, and how Hook was able to restore Emma’s memories. Speaking of curses, Hook’s dilemma backfires on him in a showdown in which a bunch of memories are restored, and we take a lot of liberties with the rules of magic on this show. and there is scant time to process everything. Emma acts uncharacteristically harsh, but thankfully this is short-lived… for the most part. I’m expecting some recanting and apologizing next episode. (Pretty please?)

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow and Charming want to announce their pregnancy to the realm to inspire hope. Much like Regina, I thought this idea was eye-rollingly dumb given that Zelena is causing havoc in the world, but then I suppose the real life royal baby seems to make a bunch of people happy. Belle rushes in to tell everyone that 1) Neal brought Rumple back to life, 2) Neal is dead, and 3) Zelena has the dagger. Regina again seems a little too happy that Rumple is alive, and then Phillip and Aurora are like, “Oh yeah, Zelena wants your baby and made us tell her when you guys came back to the Enchanted Forest or else she’d hurt us. Sorry?” (Compare that to Hook who was faced with the same dilemma, except it was Emma’s family who were threatened, not himself). Zelena meant what she said though, because she flies in seconds after Aurora admits this and turns them into flying monkeys. Considering what happens later in this episode, I’d be concerned about their fates. She then freezes everyone else and does a creepy stranger feel on Snow’s baby saying it will do, and then flies away. Again the question arises, how did Zelena know that Snow and Charming were even coming back to the Enchanted Forest.

Snow and Charming call their round table council meeting where Grumpy says he’s visited all the fairies and they all say that Zelena is too powerful. Bonus blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of Granny rolling her eyes and knitting away. Snow moans that she’s about to have a baby and again someone is threatening to take her baby away. Regina balks at this saying she was always after them first; the baby was just “collateral damage.” Regina wants to know Snow/Charming found out about the curse the first time, and they tell her Rumple was the one who told them, so they decide to break into his castle where he’s being held prisoner by Zelena. Robin Hood, having broken into his castle before, offers to lead the way and Regina rolls her eyes again. So apparently they were not chummy back in the Enchanted Forest.

Cut to Storybrooke where Regina and Robin are secretly making out in the back hallway of Granny’s. They both agree they are each other’s “second chance,” and before this gets way too sappy, Henry walks in, calls Regina “Madam Mayor” and walks away, triggering Regina’s sad mood. But she’s able to compose herself (via Robin’s lips) and meets the Brain Trust absolutely giddy. Emma says they’re waiting for Hook, but Regina wants to proceed anyway saying they have no time to wait. (Psshhh, after that make-out session?) Emma wonders why Zelena would need to bring everyone to Storybrooke, and Regina also wonders what Zelena gave up to cast the curse because she doesn’t have much. At this point it’s very obvious that Zelena did not, in fact, cast the curse. Emma reminds everyone the curse was broken the first time by Henry getting her to believe, and then “true love’s kiss,” so Regina figures out that getting Henry to believe again will break the curse. Which means that Emma will not be able to whisk him back to NYC when this is all done. Emma reluctantly goes along and they decide they need to find the magic storybook again.

Hook meanwhile, is bound and gagged in the trunk of Rumple’s car, which Zelena then opens and reminds him that if he doesn’t take away Emma’s power before Snow’s baby is born, she’s going to kill people, starting with Henry. This scene was almost completely unnecessary, unless they think we’ve forgotten Hook being cursed two episodes ago, but I guess the showrunners really wanted some old-fashioned mob-style threatening, along with gratuitously running a rose down Hook’s face.

Belle can’t find the book in Gold’s shop, and Snow reveals that the book just magically appeared in her closet when Henry was at his worst, feeling that he had no family. So they decide to head to her apartment to find it again, and I guess it takes four people because Emma hurriedly says goodbye to Henry at the diner, but he is upset that she’s not telling him exactly what’s going on. Emma withholds the information and then yells at him saying that she knows what’s best for him. Very uncharacteristically harsh for Emma; even Regina is shocked. And how exactly has their relationship devolved so much in the past couple of episodes.  Didn’t he just have his “best day ever” learning how to drive? Henry submits, then lies and tells her he needs her keys to get his “Gameboy,” (okay with that outdated but beloved technology, Emma should know that he’s lying). Then he sneaks off to her car and tries to run away, but Hook got dropped off in the knick of time, standing right behind him and not allowing Henry to drive home; he’s got a better method of transport.

The gang rip through Snow’s meticulously clean closet, Charming and Snow exchange a joke about why women always keep their shoe boxes, and the book is nowhere to be found until Emma finds a treasure-chest shaped box, which then turns out to hold only clothes. Or does it? Snow goes through and finds the book when Emma couldn’t. Was Emma lying or selectively ignoring the book or did it actually not appear until Snow looked through the box? We’ll never know for sure. Emma and Snow talk about Emma’s plan to leave town once the curse is broken and how Emma didn’t want to restore Henry’s memories if it wasn’t necessary. Snow tells her New York wasn’t home but Emma counters that it was home for them, and Snow is hurt that she would want to return to a place where they forgot about Snow and Charming.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Regina is annoyed having to follow Robin Hood’s instructions for breaking into Rumple’s castle (and her putdowns to him are a little weak considering how sharp she is otherwise), but they make it in safely where Rumple is obviously not himself, sitting at his spinning wheel in his cage. Not actually sure if there was any straw in there. He starts spouting rhymes about how dead is so much better and now he has two minds (reminding the audience that Baelfire is within him). Belle reaches out to him and he tells her that Zelena can only be stopped with “light” magic, and the purveyor of that is Glinda, who was banished from Oz. I don’t know if they were cashing in on Wicked or not, but everyone seemed to pronounce Glinda ambiguously with an extra ‘a.’

On the way to G(a)linda, Charming stops to pick a snowbell for Snow and they get all sugary sweet with each other and Regina rolls her eyes (this must be a record for her), scolding them for acting so distracted while they’re at the edge of the dark forest. They find a door to nowhere, where Rumple says only the pure of heart can go through. Snow and Charming get in, but Regina? Nope, her heart is full of vengeance. Glinda tells them that she has never been powerful enough to stop Zelena, but (very conveniently) Zelena has focused all her magic into her pendant, and only the “purveyor of the strongest light magic” can remove it. So Zelena’s giant green brooch actually serves a purpose other than shouting out to people that she’s the Wicked Witch.

Snow realizes that Emma is the one who can defeat Zelena, and immediately wants to re-enact the dark curse. So Snow didn’t think about getting back to Emma until her new baby was threatened, which yeah, I sort of understand because there was no way to come back and they were trying to move on with their lives. But getting back to Emma was much more like a solution to their current predicament rather than getting back because they missed their daughter.

Regina thinks they are crazy for wanting to cast the curse since she had to kill her father the first time, but then Charming steps up and tells Snow to cast the curse – to sacrifice him. At no point did I believe that they were going to kill of Charming, so their vows of love and sharing each other’s heart didn’t move me in the sense of Neal’s (second) death, which was set-up to be permanent. Also, they jumped onto this idea a little too quickly not knowing what Zelena wanted their baby for. But Regina agrees to it and even she gets sad ripping out Charming’s heart and watching Snow squeeze (okay now maybe I have some doubts about Charming being invincible) it into the giant cauldron sitting out exposed.  And yep, Zelena flies in and dumps her magic green mist, saying that although she can’t stop it, she can throw a few wrenches, such as wiping away their memories of the past year.

Snow then gets the idea of splitting her heart in half to bring Charming back to life before the curse takes effect, because they have always shared the same heart. This is another one of those liberties they take with this show regarding magic and its inconsistent rules. So Regina does what Snow wants and Charming comes back to life (I told you they weren’t going to kill him!), but what does this mean in the big picture? Are they each going to live half as long? Does this mean any true love couple can bring the other back to life if one of them dies? If either of them gets their (half) heart squeezed, do they both die? I’ll go with this for now, but there has to be some repercussions to this. Also Charming almost died the first curse getting Emma to safety, and then he actually dies the second time. Let’s give this poor man a break, shall we?

Back in Storybrooke Hook introduces Henry to Smee, who will steal a boat and get Henry back to NYC. Since Henry wants to run away he might as well take advantage of the fact Zelena wants to hurt Henry and get him to safety. But flying monkeys interrupt and they run to a boathouse where Hook conveniently finds a gun and starts shooting and they disappear into poofs of air. (If Phillip and Aurora don’t show up by the end of the season, oh man what a way to go). Just as Hook runs out of bullets and Henry is about to be taken, Emma (with the aid of GPS tracking) shoots and then Charming throws his sword into the last one. Okay, now Henry is a bit confused. Emma brings the storybook to him and apologizes to him for lying and asks him if he trusts her, and if he believes her. He says yes and she gives the book back to him and restores his memories. Just as she is about to kiss him, Zelena whisks him away.

Now is where Hook’s curse becomes a problem, as Zelena calls him out for failing her, blasts Regina with magic, and then proceeds to strangle Henry. But Emma’s light magic to the rescue! She focuses and burns Zelena with pure literal light (much cheaper than CGI) and Henry is safe and Zelena warns them she’ll be back. Henry goes to an unconscious Regina and tries to wake her up. When she finally does she gives him a kiss and voila! The curse is broken and everyone gets their memories back. (Having Emma break the curse that way would be too repetitive… and I’m sure they’re saving her kiss for something else. They’d better!) Snow and Charming admit that they cast the curse.

All seems well now. Henry is raving about NYC to Regina, and then they talk about Robin Hood, who shows up, and they’re all a little too giddy considering Zelena just tried to kill him. Emma then confronts Hook about what Zelena was talking about, asking if he was working for her, and all Hook manages to say is that she backed him into a corner and threatened Henry because she wanted Emma’s power, and that they both knew Emma is the only way to defeat Zelena. Emma is mad and said saving Henry should have been her choice, not his, and that he’s a liar. She’s also mad that he was trying to shuttle Henry back to NYC. I hate these types of forced situations where a character can’t reveal the whole story because they get interrupted. What Hook should have been able to say is:

  • Zelena used my guilt and love of you to curse me
  • Threatened to kill your whole family if I warned you
  • Kidnapped and threw me in the trunk of a car and threatened Henry again
  • Then I found Henry planning to run away so I gave him a hand to protect him

What is he supposed to do?? But no, then Charming and Snow confirm that Hook is a liar because they never sent a bird with a memory potion to him. Hook stamps his feet and says someone did.

And he is not lying. Because back in the Enchanted Forest, Zelena cooks up two memory potions, one for her and one for Rumple – only if he wants to remember how his son died for him. Rumple plans to drink the potion until Neal/Baelfire is able to wrest control, and ties the potion to a bird’s leg, telling it to find Killian Jones of the Jolly Roger, Captain Hook. A nice callback to our first introduction of Neal in the season 2 premiere when a bird dropped off a postcard to him saying the curse was broken. And another reminder that Neal trusts Hook and knows that he will do what it takes to find Emma again. *sniff*

Emma and Henry have a sweet heart-to-heart at Neal’s grave, talking about how difficult it was for Emma to come back but that she knew that’s what Henry would want her to do. Operation Cobra is back in action. And then Snow goes into labor, and oh boy next week should be a good one.

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