Once Upon a Time recap: Oh, Darlings

The pace quickens as we finally travel back to Storybrooke -- and learn who Pan's been keeping prisoner
Ep. 07 | Aired Nov 10, 2013

BELLES ARE RINGING And somehow, they've got an Australian accent.

Jack Rowand/ABC

Meet our next MacGuffin: A tiny cube that Belle identifies as Pandora's Box. (Not that one.) Legend has it that inside lurks the world's darkest evil -- which has to be enough to crush the boy who wouldn't grow up. But before Ariel can spirit the box away to Never Land, our sleuths find themselves at the mercy of those two wicked hipsters. They overpower the gals, tie them up, and smoothly reveal that they're working for Pan, all without ever getting a hair out of place. Then they slouch off, presumably to grab some kombucha and take in a screening of Blue is the Warmest Color before destroying the box.

Ah, but they didn't count on Ariel morphing back into the catch of the day! A quick re-fishening helps the mermaid wriggle out of her bonds. Soon enough, she's freed Belle as well, and the two set off toward the mines -- where Belle assumes that the hipsters must have gone to destroy Pandora with a dwarvish pickaxe. (Belle's intuition: Much more reliable than Emma's internal lie detector!) They arrive in the nick of time. Like, literally just as one of the interlopers tells the other one, "Here, use this pickaxe." OnceONCE. Come on, you can do better than that.

Anywho, the ladies propel a cart -- Belle's old nemesis! -- toward the tragically hip twins, successfully preventing them from smashing Pandora's box into smithereens. And after victory is won, they learn some intriguing news: The guys aren't true believers in Pan's cause. In reality, they're a pair of familiar faces who have been roped into Peter's employ against their will... because he's been holding their sister hostage for nigh upon a century.

Holy smokes -- the hipsters are none other than John and Michael Darling, all grown up! Raise your hand if you saw that coming, and not because you, like me, read actor James Immekus's IMDB page before tonight's episode began. (Yo IMDB: Way to police spoilers.)

So Ariel brings the box back to Never Land, along with a message for the Evil Rs: Along with defeating Pan, they've got to save Wendy Darling. The girl in question is currently stuck in Peter's second big bamboo box, though her captor briefly lets her out just so that she can trick Henry into believing Pan's story about Never Land's draining magic. How? Why, with feminine wiles and a fake incurable cough of death, of course. Considering how many stories he's read, you'd think by now Emma's son might know how to spot a trap.

NEXT: A love triangle with legs

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