Tuesday, October 1, 2013

OUAT 3.1 - "the Heart of the Truest Believer"

Hello folks. I seem to be on a "have a headache every Sunday" schedule, so if my reviews are a little late while we get those under control, please excuse me!

Spoiler alert!

Well. Here we are again. After a long summer of anticipation, we pick up right where we left off... a pirate, a prince, a villian, a queen, a princess and a mother forming an unlikely alliance as the Jolly Roger sails into a portal... while Henry is delivered to the Shadow and Neal is discovered by some old friends.

We get one single flashback in this episode, which isn't a bad thing as the episode is already jumping between three - no, four - plotlines. And the solitary flashback is a good one - the moment of Henry's birth (with some ominous magical light flickering). The look on Emma's face when she resolutely kept her eyes trained away from Henry... heartbreaking.

And then forwards into the future, where Emma has embraced her role as mother wholeheartedly, even if (as Rumple points out) she isn't ready to be 'the truest believer.' She does however place her trust in her family's love for her by diving into the ocean to quell a storm. She knows that her parents will not hesitate to save her, and this is, for her, the biggest leap of faith we've seen her take yet. Mostly good scenes (getting Neal's Sword! Regina being sassy! Snow punching Regina! Mermaids!) although the whole sailing-over-the-wave montage was... laughably over the top.

Meanwhile Greg and Tamara meet quick ends on the Island of Neverland, which is having more and more in common with a certain island in another show inhabited by a shadowy monster... I'm not 100% certain that Greg is out of the picture, however. His body is dead but his shadow spirit might still come into play.

Henry is all of the awesome in this episode, making friends with a friendly lost boy... who looks just a little too much like Peter Pan... suspicions that are proved right when he reveals his true identity at the end. But what does he want with Henry? Why is he so evil? And what are we going to do with the hordes of newly awakened fangirls?

We only get a handful of scenes with Rumplestiltskin, but he is utterly brilliant in them. Turns out, he's been to Neverland before, and there's painful memories waiting for him there.

Meanwhile over in the Enchanted Forest, Neal wakes up to find Mulan, Aurora, and the mysteriously rescued/aliveagainbutnotazombieasfarasweknow Prince Phillip. Aurora tries to contact Snow via the dreamworld but has no luck, whereas Mulan takes Neal to his father's abandoned castle where they find magical aid and a plucky new outlaw friend. Who is enjoying the Neal/Mulan bromance? Yes, that's right, "Bro"mance. I refuse to accept a romantic pairing there yet. I'm 100% Neal/Emma all the way. Loving the new casting and slight writing change to Robin Hood. Looks like he's going to be a properly fun character, which we desperately need as we begin this obviously darker season.

Speaking of darker... I'm really not sure what to think of this Neverland. It's not at all the land I've adored since childhood, and I'm curious to see whether it was once the happy place of a celebration of imagination, or if it has always been this dark.

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