If the Enchanted Forest is heavenly, Neverland is hellish. Sure there are ogres, evil witches, and dark wizards in the forest, but Snow White and Prince Charming keep them at bay and away from the castle and surrounding lands under their protection. There seems no similar safe haven in Neverland.
Once Upon A Time‘s Neverland is rife with shark-like mermaids that would as soon kill you as die themselves, a shadow wraith that steals souls, and Peter Pan, Neverland’s equivalent of the Dark One, and his sworn enemy. Claiming to be on the run from the Lost Boys who are after his vial of pixie dust, Peter gains Henry’s trust. When he learns Henry has the heart of a true believer, he reveals himself. Peter is now in possession of the body and heart of the true believer, a parallel to Rumplestiltskin’s possession of the Dark One’s dagger. I hope Henry gets to keep both to himself.
Meanwhile, back on the deck of the Jolly Roger, Emma and Snow pull a mermaid from the deep. The mermaid (could this be Ariel?) conjures a storm fuelled by the animus the crew has for each other. Fights ensue–Hook vs. Charming, Snow vs. Regina–and Emma realizes the storm can only be quelled when they agree to bury their respective hatchets. Emma nearly commits suicide jumping overboard; the crew works together to save her. When they arrive on shore, Emma proclaims herself their fearless leader and they go in search of Henry.
In the Enchanted Forest, Neal teams with Sleeping Beauty and Mulan on a quest to Rumplestiltskin’s castle to find an enchanted object that will help them contact Emma to let her know he’s still alive. Rumplestiltskin disappears from the deck of the Jolly Roger only to materialize in Neverland’s woods for a sit down with the head Lost Boy who throws a doll at him that reduces the Dark One to tears. Intriguing.
Season three’s opener was worth the wait. Not only does it turn the page on the old storyline (please forgive the pun), it sets up a chapter of new mysteries. What is the significance of the doll? Will Neal find his way back to Storybrooke? To Neverland? Is Rumplestiltskin really destined to die in Neverland? Are Neal and Tamara really dead? Will Emma and Hook ever get a room? Will Regina be content to assume the role of follower and to Emma, of all people? Do Neal and Mulan join Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men? Will there be any tie-ins between Wonderland and the Enchanted Forest? Between Wonderland and Storybrooke? Wonderland and Neverland? I’m certainly looking forward to finding out.
Weigh in on what you thought of the season première. Was it worth the wait?