Image credit: Jack Rowand/ABC
PART OF ONCEWORLD Look at JoAnna Garcia Swisher; isn't she neat?
Ariel will reappear at the episode's end, summoned to Never Land by Regina -- who's finally decided to ditch the MBC in favor of an alliance with Rumpelstiltskin. See, within Rump's pawn shop, there's a magical item imbued with the power to sentence Pan to a "fate worse than death." Because it just so happens that mermaids can travel between realms without magical sea-wardrobes or ocean beans or anything, Ariel is the perfect delivery girl -- once her voice has been restored. What's more, Regina says, Ariel's Prince Eric is waiting in Storybrooke... which again prompts the question of exactly how many kingdoms there are/were in the Enchanted Forest.
Next week, then, we'll follow Ariel back to Maine, hopefully getting a much-needed respite from all the non-action among the Magical Breakfast Club. This week: Remember all the suspense generated by Pan telling Hook that Nealfire was alive and on the island? Yeah, it's dissipated pretty much immediately; Hook tells the Charmings about Nealfire's whereabouts, and Snow in turn relays the news to Emma. They set off toward the Caves of Contrivance -- sorry, the Echo Caves -- where Pan has moved Nealfire's cage. Hook exposits that this underground chamber is like the geological equivalent of Gretchen Weiners' hair: It traffics in secrets.
And so after establishing that Nealfire is really and truly alive, the MBC begins assembling a stone bridge by baring their souls. Hook reveals that he never thought he'd be able to let go of Milah until he met Emma. Snow says... that she's sad about missing Emma's childhood and wants to have another baby, which doesn't seem like much of a secret to me, but is apparently enough for the cave. Charming comes clean about the dreamshade arrow and the magic now tying him to Never Land. Finally, Emma tells the father of her child that she was sort of hoping he was actually dead -- way harsh! -- because mourning him would be easier than having to deal with the pain and heartbreak he makes her feel.
With that, Nealfire is free once more, and the MBC can once again start planning to plan to plan to rescue Henry. There's just one more wrinkle: Nealfire now knows that Emma never stopped loving him, and he confesses in return that he's not going to stop fighting for her. Consider this love triangle officially ignited.
NEXT: Breadcrumbs... unda da sea!