Spoilers Ahoy! Watch yourselves, mateys! Or rather, watch the episode if you haven't yet ere you venture below!
I'm a Peter Pan purist. It's one of the first classics I ever read, and to this day it remains very dear to my heart. I grew up on the book, the Mary Martin Musical, the Disney film, and various stage productions. I love Peter and Wendy and the idea of Neverland - a place where the imagination leads you on never-ending adventures.
So yeah, I've been wary about what this episode was going to do with turning the evil Captain Hook into a sexy swashbuckler.
And, well, I'm still annoyed, mostly because it becomes way too easy to romanticize Milah and Killian's story. Seriously? Nothing romantic about it. Not only are they adulterers, but Milah ran off and left her son. And Killian helped her. It may seem a romantic 'true love' story, but it's not.
Other downside? The vital part of the Peter Pan story is that Hook swears vengeance against Peter after Peter cuts off his hand and feeds it to the crocodile. That's what fuels the whole story. So what happens to Peter Pan if you don't have that? Will we ever know?
On the other hand, I thought they did do a clever job writing Rumplestiltskin as a figurative crocodile. I loved how they worked in Mr. Smee so that you didn't realize it was him until the end. And I loved it when Hook declared that they were going to Neverland.
Which, although it hasn't been confirmed, it seems more and more likely that the refugee haven is indeed Neverland, as it would explain why no one has aged over the 28 years of the curse.
Big part of this storyline was Rumple's journey to understanding that even becoming the Dark One didn't stop him from being a coward. Coming to terms with that is a huge turning point for his character, and I'm looking forwards to seeing where that goes.
The Rumbelle storyline was wonderful. I loved Belle, loved that she wasn't putting up with any nonsense - and of course, best of all, that Rumple finally gave her a library. That was a beautiful nod to the Disney film and executed perfectly. And can we all gush over Belle's clothes? They'll be featured in my write up on the Season 2 costumes, I'm sure!
And can we all love on Charming for taking on his daughter's role as Sheriff in her absence? It's kind of adorable.
Now, what threw me... Rumple killing Milah by taking out and squeezing her heart. I thought that was a Cora/Regina trademark? Of course we know now that Cora and Regina both learned magic from Rumple... so they got the heart squeezing move from him? Curiouser and Curiouser...
Now, if only we can see Captain Hook's trademark red coat at some point...