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Once Upon a Time S03E07: "Dark Hollow"

Should I pour the champagne or do you want to? I feel like celebrating. And not just because I realized who the Darling boys were the moment I saw that teddy bear rearview mirror decoration. Just, like, I feel like we should celebrate the Hook-Emma-Neal triangle kind of dissolving into its own silliness within one episode. You may say it’s too soon to pronounce the Hook-Neal-Emma love triangle dead, maybe I’m too optimistic (and goodness knows I’m too, too thirsty). But Hook and Neal arguing back and forth over who would light a candle in a coconut to the extent they ended up in a "woop woop"  Three Stooges fight? BOTH OF THEM immediately getting pinned up in trees and getting purple nurples from teen shadow demons?! Have you ever laughed harder?!

I always like to imagine a business tourist from like Serbia or Korea something tucking in for the night in their Doubletree hotel room and turning their TV on to see this, context free:

Haha! That’s horrifying. I’m sorry.

Emma and Hook’s smooch and Neal and Emma’s bad romance have been triangulating on the show for a while and this episode really forced the issue to a boiling point. Well, technically Hook forced the issue, boasting to Neal about his "dalliance" with Emma’s lips. He then had a super breathy conversation with Emma about how he would win her, but he wouldn’t fight dirty for her, because he believes in good form, mate! (How can you not cherish Hook as a character? He has the pure, earnest love of a guy in middle school who has a really intense crush and wears only black T-shirts and is maybe learning guitar.) 

Then cruel circumstance literally triangulated both of her beaux: Neal and Hook were pinned into two trees equidistant from Emma, and were relentlessly diddled by wraiths. With time to save only one of them, the audience was forced to ask: Would she choose to save Neal or Hook from the shadow wraiths?

In this moment of truth, Emma curled up in a ball and thought of Regina.

Look, I don’t make the news, I just report it! Hungry Eyes and Deadbeat Dad fell out of their trees once the coconut shell candle was suddenly, magically lit, and they were all, "How did you do that?" and Emma whispered "Reeeegggiiiiiinnnna" into the wind like a prayer. Emma then pulled herself together and further clarified she was #TeamHenry #TeamResponsibleParenting #NoMoreDrama #CoolItDudes. This was also what she told Snow when Snow tried to have a hot gossip sesh in the woods and was all, "Those two both have feelings for you and that’s dangerous! Oooooh my gosh they should call this place Temptation Island amirite?!" and Emma was like, "Focus, mom, focus: Henry could be dead." Good for Emma, because Henry is about to take a field trip to a Skull Shaped island so Pan can rip his heart out, so shake a leg guys.

Snow did get a chance to talk to Charming about why he was dead wrong for not telling her he’d drank healing waters that would forever bind him to Neverland, in a fight that was basically about how much they loved each other.

You guys are adorable. Quick theory, will Snow and Charming stay on Neverland in a tree house and adopt all the Lost Boys to raise once Pan inevitably is conquered? Are there any Lost Baby Boys? The dwarves (and everyone else, I imagine) would not mind if the Charmings took a little bit of a hiatus from Storybrooke, that much is clear. Did y’all catch Happy sighing (happily) about how few people had been killed in the last five days and how he was enjoying Snow and Charming being on vacay? Haha, Happy you are two-faced frenemy and there will be a reckoning.

Still, wasn’t it fun to check in on Storybrooke? I absolutely loved going back the five days to when the Jolly Roger blooped into the ocean. It was simply awesome hearing Belle tell the Blue Fairy that Rumplestiltskin asked HER to cast the spell that would enclose Storybrooke in Stephen King’s Dome. The Blue Fairy looked butt-hurt. 

I guess that’s what you get when you use your magic to re-cast hot guys with child actors, beeyotch! Anyway, Ariel, who had gotten the necessary supplies for magical legs from Rumple and Regina, made it across the waters betwixt realms in, like, an hour? Twenty minutes? She strolled up on shore and asked the dwarves where she could find Belle, and Grumpy was like, "Follow the trail of burger wrappers."

J/K, Belle was so hurt Rumple didn’t ask her to board the Jolly Roger that she’d turned down four burgers in four days! (Did she order them, then turn them away? Or Granny just saw her coming and slapped a patty on the grill... four days in a row?) Relationship drama can send your appetite straight down a slippery Crocodile Mile straight to hell, girl. All Belle'd had the strength to do the last five days was put on her tights and 5" platform heels, go down to Granny’s, and shake her head when Granny put a burger in front of her—which was still technically more helpful than anything the Blue Fairy was up to (setting her fingerwave curls while Amy Acker unsmilingly paints her toenails).

Ariel had rolled up to Storybrooke with a Sand Dollar from Rumple that somehow Belle knew to pour liquor on. (Did I miss something there? How did she know?) At the touch of fiery alcohol, a holographic image of Rumple in his extremely Deep-V pantsuit appeared out of the Sand Dollar, and Rumple told Belle to find an important object in his shop by thinking of the strength of their love. 

As she and Ariel poked around, Ariel was all "Look at this stuff!" ("Isn’t it neat?" everyone said in their living rooms. The echo was deafening. If Disney programmed us to become super soldiers with subliminal messages in their movies, that might be the activation phrase.) It was a humorous reference, and I have to say this episode in general was full of weird, self-effacing humor, from Granny pushing burgers on Belle, to Happy’s gleeful trashtalk, to Grumpy mentioning Red’s outfits being "seared" into his memory (miss you, Red). Anyway, just as Belle found Chip and used Chip to find the latest macguffin, the Darling Boys broke in with a gun, took the bedazzled Hellraiser puzzle box that Rumple needed, and tied the girls up. Hilariously, Ariel did not know what a gun was. ("Wait, why are we doing what they say?" she asked, tied to a chair.)

Thankfully, two minutes of conversation in the mine between the four of these adorable doofuses cleared everything up. No one had to hold anyone at gunpoint after all! The Darling boys were not working at cross-purposes with Belle and Ariel. They were enslaved by Pan, they had to do his bidding in this world, because he still has Wendy. So how did they know to head for Storybrooke even before Pan knew someone had left the island? How did Pan know to send them to thwart Rumple’s plan before Rumple officially had a plan? Don’t worry about it. Hey, Wendy!

Because Peter Pan is a master manipulator who is simply not satisfied unless he is controlling people in multiple dimensions like so many wooden marionettes, he staged an elaborate ruse to make fugitive Henry (who had run away from Lost Boy Sleepaway Camp earlier) feel like Wendy was dying on the island from a lack of magic. Now Henry is in league with Pan to restore magic, if only to save the 110-year-old girl’s life. Okay, cool. Elaborate, but cool.

So they’ve got Pan's wraith in a coconut shell (which apparently ISN’T a star map?), Tinker Bell is now on board, Rumple and Regina have their evil puzzle box, and Ariel is headed back to Storybrooke to find Eric. Intrigued! It looks like things are coming to a head! Now I just have a few questions...


... Please explain the Darling situation to me. Wendy has been on the island since childhood, the Darling boys are aged like 15 years and look roughly 20s in the present day, so... huh?

... Do you think the mid-season finale will involve characters asking the audience to break the fourth wall and clap their hands and believe to save Henry?

... Does Pan intend on ripping out Henry’s heart or killing him another way?

... Are you super psyched for Emma and Regina bringing down the moon?

... Hook/Emma/Neal: Is this triangle shelved officially or just heating up?

... How’re Snow and Charming going to figure out Charming’s situation?

... Have you ever refused four burgers?

... What'd you think of "Dark Hollow"?

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