Once Upon a Time recap: A Family Affair

Once's twisted genealogy gets a little more tangled as we learn Rumpelstiltskin's true connection to Peter Pan
Ep. 08 | Aired Nov 17, 2013

BAMBOOZLED Emma looks like she just heard who's Rump's daddy.

Jack Rowand/ABC

Eventually, though, Pan discovered that there was a way for him to stay young forever: by acquiring the heart of the Truest Believer, a.k.a. his great-grandson Henry. A reunited Magical Breakfast Club and company -- including Rumpelstiltskin, Baelfire, and Tinker Bell -- learn as much when they actually bother to launch Operation #SaveHenry. After weeks of buildup, they finally, finally invade Pan's camp... but the Big Bad himself is nowhere to be found. Neither is  Henry.

Instead, the crew discovers poor Wendy Darling, still trapped within her bamboo cage. After some hemming and hawing, Wendy comes through with the truth: Pan has taken Henry to Skull Rock. He needs Henry's heart so that he can absorb all the magic in Never Land. Once he does so, he'll be immortal and all-powerful... and Henry will be deader than Sheriff Skinnyjeans.

Change of plans! Henry's parents (all three of them) plus his paternal grandfather leave for Skull Rock to stop Pan. Snow and Charming trek back to Dead Man's Peak, where they'll gather some water from its magical spring; turns out the water is enough to keep David alive until the gang gets back to Storybrooke, where Rumpel says he's got a cure for dreamshade poisoning. How convenient! Tink and Hook, meanwhile, head back to the Jolly Roger, where they'll kick back and relax, perhaps with an early copy of Disney's upcoming film The Pirate Fairy.

The new Core Four -- Regina, Rumpelstiltskin, Emma, and Nealfire -- discover that Pan's placed a protection spell on the beach at Skull Rock; anyone who casts a shadow is prevented from crossing it. Rumpel intuits that the spell is meant as a signal for him, and elects to go to Pan alone, wielding Pandora's Box -- which has the power to Hoover up Pan, thus trapping him forever.

Rump approaches his long-lost father, magic box in hand. There's a dash of "join me, and we can rule the galaxy as father and son!"; there's a pinch of "we're not so different, you and I."  In the end, though, Rumpelstiltskin snarls that he's nothing like his father, moves to open the box... and discovers that it doesn't work. Why? Because trickster Pan has switched it with a fake version he conjured up by thinking lovely, malevolent thoughts. Rump can't live out his Oedipal fantasies after all; instead, his dad's the one who traps him inside the box. So much for a family reunion.

NEXT: Shoot for the moon! Also, Breadcrumbs

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