‘Once Upon A Time’ S2 Ep 21 recap: We’re off to never never-land

S2 Ep 21
Get ready for Neverland! (Photo credit: ABC)

Sunday night’s “Second Star to the Right” was loaded with twists which answered some questions and, as always, raised a few new ones. This week’s fairytale flashback takes us on a journey with young Baelfire. We discover what happened after Rumple abandoned his son and banished Bae to an unknown world without magic. Meanwhile in Storybrooke, the Charmings realize that Regina has been abducted. Mary Margaret and David call upon Mr. Gold to help track down Regina’s whereabouts, while Emma follows her hunch and tries to prove that Tamara is behind it. In the midst of all this mayhem, we learn that Storybrooke is in grave danger because Tamara and Greg work for a mysterious group of people who have made it their life’s purpose to rid the world of magic.

Fairytale Land/Victorian London/Neverland: “You don’t need magic. You have family right here. That’s all you need.”

We pick up exactly where we left off in last season’s “The Return” when Baelfire used a magic bean to open a portal to a world without magic. We watch as Rumple coldly and cowardly breaks his promise to Bae, allowing his son to vanish into an unknown world. Bae travels through the portal and winds up in Victorian London. For six months, he roughs it out on the streets, living Oliver style. One day, he sees a batch of freshly baked bread in someone’s house, so he sneaks inside to grab some grub. Wendy Darling catches him red-handed and realizes that the sweet homeless orphan needs help.

After a few weeks of hiding Bae in her bedroom crawlspace, Mr. and Mrs. Darling call Wendy out on her secret houseguest. In an act of complete kindness, Mama Darling welcomes Bae to their family. During his first night bunking with the three Darlings (including John and Michael) Wendy tells him about the mysterious Shadow who paid her a visit the first night Bae spent in their home. She said the Shadow would return for her and take her to a magical land where there would be no grown-ups to spoil all of their fun. Bae warns Wendy that magic is dangerous and begs her to stay away from the Shadow. Wendy simply thinks that Bae doesn’t believe in magic, so when the Shadow returns, she takes his hand and goes off with him to Neverland. Bae stays up all night waiting for her to safely return home.

The next morning, the Shadow drops Wendy off and she apologizes to Bae for not listening to him. She says the Shadow will be coming back for her little brother and she is afraid of what will happen to him in Neverland because once the Shadow takes a boy to his magical world, he never lets him leave. Creepy! Right, Oncers?

Who else was disturbed by Peter Pan’s shadow? Although it is a clever move to hold out on introducing Peter Pan until next season, so far, this version of Peter is yet another dark take in true ‘OUAT’ fashion. Is the Shadow doing Peter’s bidding or is it the everlasting boy’s dark side? We’ll share more thoughts on that later. Let’s get back to the recap.

Bae speaks from experience and tells Wendy that family will always be more important than magic. He promises to protect the Darlings from the Shadow. That night, they try their best to lock the Shadow out and arm themselves just in case he is able to break in. When the Shadow trespasses into their room and reaches for young Michael, Bae does the noble thing and takes the little boy’s place. The Shadow takes Bae on a bumpy flight through the London sky and off into Neverland. As they enter the magical new world, Bae pulls out a lighter and burns himself free from the Shadow’s clutches. Bae falls into the ocean and the Shadow flies away. Moments later, Captain Hook and Smee bring young Bae aboard their ship, the Jolly Roger.

Storyrbooke: “I wanted to love you. I was too afraid. …That you would never forgive me because I never forgave myself.”

Tamara and Greg have restrained Regina on a gurney, preparing her for some extensive electroshock treatment. When they have a moment alone, Regina tells Hook that Tamara and Greg cannot be trusted. She makes him think twice about how much of their bidding he really wants to do. When Greg asks for Hook’s good hand in helping torture Regina, the savvy pirate takes his leave and says he’ll be back when they are ready to kill the crocodile. With Hook gone, Greg resumes his interrogation and repeatedly shocks Regina, hoping to learn his father’s whereabouts. Greg and Tamara make it very clear that they are not on this mission alone. The magic-busters are part of a larger organization full of operatives who believe in magic and want to destroy all of it. Who could they be? Where are they located? We have no clue. All Tamara reveals is that they are in contact with and are given orders by the “home office.” Meanwhile, the Charmings soon realize that Regina is missing and begin searching for her.

David and Mary Margaret think Gold is behind her kidnapping, so they stop by his shop. There we see that Gold and Lacey’s new relationship is blossoming, but he still hasn’t confessed the truth about his abilities. Gold asks Lacey for privacy while he has a chat with the Charmings. Gold has nothing to do with Regina’s disappearance, but he is pleased by the thought of her suffering somewhere. David says Gold still owes him a favor and asks him to pay up now by helping them magically locate Regina. Gold concocts a potion by combining one of Regina’s tears with a fresh tear from M.M. The potion will connect the two of them by enabling Mary Margaret to see and feel from Regina’s perspective. After the Charmings leave, Lacey confronts Gold about the rumors and he admits he can do magic.

Gold magically produces a diamond necklace and as he puts it around her neck, Lacey gleefully relishes the thought of what they could accomplish together. She asks if Gold could keep her young, so that they can be together forever. Gold says he can, but he warns her that immortality doesn’t mean that you can’t be killed. Once again, we see how Lacey will bring out the worst in Rumple. If Lacey and Gold are falling in love with each other for all the wrong reasons, can their love ever be true? Could Lacey and Gold’s True Love’s kiss break the curse and bring our sweet Belle back to Storybrooke? Let’s hope so! In the meantime, there are bigger problems to deal with in town.

David tells Mary Margaret that she does not have to risk taking the potion if she doesn’t want to, but she feels helping Regina will bring some lightness back into her hear dark heart. David drops the potion into her eye and she immediately feels Regina’s pain. She sees that Regina is being held somewhere dark and cold and she feels the pangs of electroshock. They give Emma the update as she continues following her gut instincts on Tamara.

Emma stops by Tamara’s hotel room and shares her suspicions with Neal. He says Tamara has been training for a marathon and is out for a long run in the woods, but her sneakers have tracked sand back into the closet. Emma and Neal go to the beach to see if they can catch Tamara in a lie. However, Emma is disappointed yet again when Tamara comes jogging along the seaside. After Tamara runs off, Neal finally admits that he never forgave himself for abandoning Emma the way he did. Although he loved her, he was afraid. Every day he has regretted leaving her and he apologizes for everything. Emma is sorry too. (Aww, at least they’re making some progress.) Moments later, Emma gets a call from Mary saying that she saw sardines. Emma sees the cannery up ahead and the Charmings plan to meet up there.

Over at the cannery, Tamara looks on as Greg tortures Regina for info about his father. The Evil Queen finally confesses that she killed Kurt Flynn and buried him at the campsite shortly after Greg left Storybrooke. Tamara sees the Charmings coming and heads out with the magical evidence she has gathered, including the magic beans and the curse’s failsafe. Just as Greg raises the dose to deliver one last lethal shock to Regina, David and Mary Margaret swoop in to save her. David quickly calls Emma to say that they caught Greg. As Neal points out Tamara’s innocence in the shady situation, she sneaks up on them.

Tamara knocks out Emma and pulls a gun on Neal. He asks if it was all a lie. Tamara doesn’t hold back on telling him the bitter truth and mercilessly shoots Neal. As she closes in to shoot him again, Emma wrestles the gun out of her hand. When Emma tries to reprimand Tamara, she throws one of the magic beans and opens a portal. Tamara runs away, thinking she has left Emma and Neal for dead.

Neal and Emma struggle to stay out of the portal, but its force is too strong. Emma grounds herself and reaches out for Neal’s hand. She begs him to hold on and stay with her. Neal is afraid he will pull Emma down with him and leave Henry an orphan. Neal and Emma finally admit that they still love each other, then he lets go of her hand and falls into the great magical unknown.

Later that day at the Charmings’ home, heartbroken Emma doesn’t know how to tell Henry about his father. Sadly, she assumes Neal is as good as dead. (But we know better, Oncers, don’t we?) While, Emma is overwhelmed with grief, Regina reveals an upsetting load of information.

David and Mary Margaret quickly catch Regina up on everything that happened. Then the Evil Queen shares some severely troubling news. She tells the Charmings that Tamara and Greg are in possession of the failsafe that will wipe Storybrooke off of the map. Naturally, David and Mary are enraged. They can’t believe Regina planned on taking Henry back to the Enchanted Forest and killing everyone in Storybrooke. Regina dismisses her wicked plot and suggests they all focus on stopping Tamara and Greg, who literally hold Storybrooke’s fate in their hands.

As the episode concludes, Greg digs up his father’s skeleton exactly where Regina said she had buried him. Tamara apologizes for his loss and then gets back to business. The “home office” wants them to use Regina’s black diamond failsafe and destroy Storybrooke for good.

What did you think of “Second Star to the Right”? How do you feel about our first glimpse at Peter Pan’s shadow and the Darlings? What are your latest thoughts on Lacey and Gold’s relationship? Are you surprised by what happened to Kurt Flynn? Were you satisfied with Neal and Emma’s heartbreaking scene? What do you think will happen to Neal? Was he sent to Neverland?

Check out the promo for next Sunday’s season finale. How will everyone make it out of Storybrooke alive? Who will sacrifice their lives to save their loved ones? Can magic save Storybrooke from Regina’s failsafe?


  • Peter Pan: The show-runners assured fans that we would not see Peter Pan this season and they found a clever way to introduce him without revealing his identity. What do you think about Peter’s shadow? Were you surprised that he came off as a bad guy who trapped little boys in a magical world far away? Did the Shadow meet your expectations? Why do you think the Shadow is gathering young boys in Neverland?
  • Bae’s past: Bae’s storyline has unfolded very nicely over the past two seasons. It will be very interesting to see what his life was like with Hook in Neverland. Did he become a pirate? Did he run away from Hook and join Peter Pan’s clan of Lost Boys? Did he ever see Wendy again? How did he finally leave Neverland? Where did he grow up in the real world?
  • The “home office”: Who are Tamara and Greg working for? What kind of magical encounter did the head of this organization have? Are people from other realms working with them to rid the world of magic? Will we meet the higher-ups in Season 3? So many questions! This is a very interesting new nemesis to add to the show. What do you think, Oncers?
  • Neal and Emma: Thankfully, these two finally admitted their love for each other. Sadly, Neal had to leave Emma again. Why did Emma act like Neal was gone for good? She assumed he plummeted to his death, but she should know better by now. Anything is possible with magic, so she shouldn’t give up on him so easily. Once she tells Henry the whole story, you know he’ll want to search for his father. Henry would never give up hope.
  • The finale promo: After watching the promo, we know that Tamara and Greg activate the black diamond failsafe. It looks like Regina is risking her life trying to buy everyone else enough time to flee Storybrooke before it self-destructs. Do you think Regina will die in the finale? How will everyone escape? Will Hook step-up and join the good guys?

Share your thoughts below!

‘Once Upon A Time’ airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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