Well Oncers, it seems ‘Once Upon A Time’ has delivered another shocking and upsetting twist. Just when we think things will be settled, more trouble arises for our band of misfit heroes. In “Save Henry” sweet flashbacks reveal the story of Henry’s adoption and expose Regina’s softer side. Henry has been her one weakness in life. As Regina works with the Charmings & Co. to save her son in Neverland, she vows to stop at nothing to save the boy who is everything to her.
Fairytale Land/Storybrooke past: “You must put your child first no matter what.”
Grumpy sounds the alarm as the Evil Queen’s curse hits the Enchanted Forest. While everybody freaks out, the very stoic Regina pays imprisoned Rumple a visit. During their chat, Regina assures Rumple that nothing can stop her from exacting revenge and taking her father’s heart was simply a price to pay in the grand scheme of things. Rumple begs to differ and tells her that “The Savior” will foil her plans in the future. But that’s not all… Rumple foresees that Regina will have a hole in her heart. He says, “Someday you’ll come to me to fill it…There’s more you need.” When Regina wonders if Rumple wants more than the deal agreed upon for his new life in Storybrooke, the Dark One tells her, “I’m exactly where I want to be.” Nearly a decade later, Rumple’s prophecy comes to pass.
Eleven years ago in Storybrooke Regina opens up to Archie about the emptiness in her life. “I’m feeling nothing,” she laments. Life is meaningless if there is no one to share it with. Thanks to her short stint of playing house with Owen (aka Greg), Regina realizes she needs a child. She storms over to Mr. Gold and tells him she wants a baby. I absolutely love his response: “I’m flattered…but not interested.” Regina isn’t amused and gets back to business. It will take two years to adopt, so she wants Rumple to put a baby on the fast track. He asks if she’s ready to make the necessary sacrifices a child requires. This is something Regina needs, no matter what it takes.
Gold works his magic and an adoption in Boston falls through at the last second. Regina agrees to the terms of the closed adoption and doesn’t care about the boy’s past because his future is what really matters. As she holds the baby in her arms she sweetly says, “It was fate wasn’t it?” and she names him after her father, Henry. Once Regina returns home to Storybrooke with baby Henry, she learns that motherhood is harder than it seems.
When Granny’s suggestion to tell Henry a bedtime story doesn’t work, Regina takes the crying baby in to Dr .Whale for a check-up. He promptly prescribes “10 ccs of maternal love,” but Regina isn’t feeling his cheeky attitude. She’s afraid something is seriously wrong. If there is a problem with Henry, it could be genetic, so Regina orders Sydney to get the scoop on Henry’s family tree. While she barks her orders over the phone, she hands Henry to Mary Margaret. Suddenly, Henry stops crying. Aww. Regina is heartbroken to discover that she is the cause of Henry’s troubles. But sadness quickly turns into rage when she discovers his true identity.
She storms into Gold’s shop and confronts him on orchestrating this whole scheme. Regina knows Henry’s mother is the Savior and she doesn’t understand why Gold would want the curse to end. She vows, “Nothing will tear me away from my revenge.” Regina returns to Boston Angels Adoption to give the boy back.
As Regina prepares to give Henry away she admits to the baby, “You deserve better than me.” But then she has a change of heart. Baby Henry is the only person who believes in her and she decides to keep him. Unlike Emma, she is mother who would never let go of her son. Once Regina’s decision is finale, we discover Wendy’s brothers, Michael and John, were second in line to adopt Henry. Peter Pan seems to have been one step ahead all along.
Although Regina decided to keep Henry, she is worried about the future. What happens when the Savior shows up? Archie gives her some more good advice; she should “revel in love” and enjoying being a mom. With that, Regina visits her father’s tomb and goes to her secret room below. She tells Henry the story of the curse. She says how she felt all alone until she found her little prince. Unfortunately, they could not live happily ever after because evil lurked in their future. Nonetheless, Regina chooses to put her child first and concocts a forgetting potion, which helps her forget her troubles. Regina drinks the potion and forgets her fears about the future, so that she may live happily in the present with Henry.
Now it all makes sense. It always seemed strange that Regina was surprised by Emma’s arrival and her destined role as Storybrooke’s Savior. I have to admit, despite Regina’s craziness and evil acts of vengeance, she has been a good mother to Henry for the most part. Even after Emma’s arrival, Regina tried to maintain her bond with her son. Now, more than ever, Regina proves that Henry truly is the most important thing in her life.
Neverland present: “Pan never fails.”
We pick up where we left off. Henry lies heartless on the cave floor. Peter Pan assures Neal, Emma and Regina that he will maintain possession of Pandora’s Box, containing Rumple. Emma takes a stab a Pan with her sword. He says that nothing can hurt him anymore and flies away in victory.
Regina immediately casts a preservation spell on Henry to keep him alive until they can get his heart back from Peter Pan. Emma lets Regina “run the show” after hearing how much Henry means to her. In a beautiful and vulnerable moment, Regina tells Emma, “You have everything…All I have is Henry…He is everything.” We are truly seeing Regina at her very best and Lana Parrilla is knocking it out of the park in this episode. Regina takes the lead by pointing out Pan’s weakness. He bled when Emma slashed him. If they can hurt him, then Regina believes they can kill Pan. They just need to find out where he’s hiding.
They join the others and bring them up to date. Mary Margaret fears she and David will never be able to the island now that Rumple is stuck in the box. David shrugs it off; he made his peace with being stuck on Neverland long ago and they should focus on Henry instead. Regina is ready to fry the Lost Boys to get the info she needs, but Emma insists on taking a softer approach by giving the Boys something they never had- a little love and tenderness. Emma promises they’ll take the Boys back to Storybrooke if they just reveal where Pan is hiding. She identifies with them as an orphaned Lost Girl and assures them they will have a family when they get to Storybrooke. Pan’s loyal pal Felix resists, but the little ones cave in. Pan is hiding in his “Thinking Tree” located in the Pixie Woods. Neal stays behind with Henry and Hook prepares the Jolly Roger, while Mary Margaret, Emma and Regina go after Pan.
Once the three mommas find Pan’s tree, he binds them to the trunk and taunts them; they will only be reunited with Henry in death. Pan then explains the significance of the tree. This is where Pan “let go” of Rumple, his son. Like us, the women are shocked by this revelation. Pan then explains that regret is what is holding them back and keeping them bound to the tree. But Pan is in for a surprise: Regina regrets nothing. She breaks through the bondage, rips out Henry’s heart, takes Pandora’s Box and leaves Pan in shock.
They board the Jolly Roger and Regina quickly replaces Henry’s heart. He still says he wants to save magic and gradually realizes what has transpired. Hook cutely offers him the captain’s quarters. Before letting Henry catch up on some much needed rest, Regina casts a spell on his heart so that it can never be taken again. Henry says, “Thanks, Mom.” Regina sweetly replies, “We’ll be home soon my little prince.” So sweet!
Once Regina leaves, Pan approaches Henry. Sadly, everyone is too preoccupied with the commotion above board to realize there’s an intruder below.
Neal opens Pandora’s Box and releases Rumple. He hugs him and calls him “Papa.” He asks why Rumple never revealed Pan’s identity. Rumpy was ashamed because they both abandoned their sons. Neal assures him that they are not the same because Rumple came back for him. With Rumple’s return, Mary Margaret is relieved. The Charmings can be a family and live together in Storybrooke. Suddenly, Rumple senses that something is wrong and rushes downstairs to Henry.
Pan couldn’t take Henry’s heart, so he starts tearing off his shadow. Rumple bursts in, Pan’s eyes light up, then Henry’s eyes glow. Rumpy opens Pandora’s Box. As Pan gets sucked in he screams for dear life, “Noooo!”
Rumple and Henry go back above board. Rumpy compliments Regina, “He’s a strong boy, Regina. You raised him well.” Despite all of her wrongdoings, Regina managed to be a good mother. You can tell that this accomplishment means the world to her. They crack open Neal’s magic coconut and release Pan’s shadow. They bind the shadow to one of the sails, making the Jolly Roger fly once more. Emma asks to leave Neverland and without missing a beat, Hook quips, “As you wish my lady.” (Sigh. This will never get old. I’m glad ‘The Princess Bride’ reference is sticking around.)
Scattered sweet moments begin to fill up the ship:
David goes over to Emma and expresses his paternal pride. He didn’t think they could pull it off, but Emma stood up as a leader and made everyone work together despite their major differences.
Tinker Bell tells Wendy she’ll be reunited with her brothers in Storybrooke. Wendy gives Tink back her pixie dust. When the fairy fears she’ll never make it work again since she’s lost her wings and magic, Wendy says she still believes in her.
Neal tells Henry that he will always have a dad “now and forever.” He promises never to leave his son. Aww.
Tinker Bell is proud of Regina’s progress. She always knew the Evil Queen would be able to truly love someone. As she says this, the pixie dust lights up. Regina brings this to her attention. For a second, Tink believed in herself, so there’s still hope she’ll regain her magical mojo.
Just when everything seems to be going so well, ‘Once Upon A Time’ throws yet another curveball. Henry takes Felix some food and is extra friendly. Henry even thanks Felix. When the Lost Boys resists his act of kindness, Henry whispers, “Pan never fails.” Peter Pan switched places with Henry! I don’t know how he did it, but he must’ve worked some kind of spell when both of their eyes lit up moments before Rumple trapped him in the Box.
In possession of Henry’s sweet little heroic body, Peter Pan snickers, “Now, let’s play!”
This is not good, Oncers. This is actually super annoying. The only upside is that the cat comes out of the bag in next week’s episode. I really hope the Pan issue is resolved before the winter hiatus. This kind of treachery is unbearable to wait out. Jared Gilmore is such a sweetheart, it will be hard watching him play the bad guy. Although, this must have been great fun for Gilmore and Robbie Kay. It will be interesting to see how they capture each other’s likeness.
The promo for “The New Neverland” teases Ariel’s reunion with Prince Eric, Regina’s plot for more revenge, and Henry’s grand reveal as Pan! Will they believe him?
Get ready for another wild ride next week!
What did you think of “Save Henry”? Were you surprised by the switch? Did you sense that something like this was going to happen? How did you feel about the Storybrooke flashbacks? Did you enjoying seeing Regina’s softer side?
Share your thoughts below and stay tuned for more news!
‘Once Upon A Time’ airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.
I have an insatiable passion for TV, Film, Music & Entertainment news (which is really a fancy way of saying I'm a TV addicted couch potato). I'm currently a National Examiner for "Galavant," "Once Upon A Time," "Saving Hope," and "Sleepy Hollow" on Examiner.com. I provide detailed, thoughtful, witty, and occasionally saucy recaps/reviews, as well as some fun and interesting interviews. You'll frequently see me tweeting away about my favorite shows. If you love chatting about TV as much I do, then join the fun and Talk TV with Tiffany!