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Recap: Once Upon A Time S 3 E 11 Going Home
Season 3, Episode 11:

Going Home

The race is on to stop Pan from enacting another curse on the residents of Storybrooke.

Tropes

  • And I Must Scream: The main cast ends up in this situation for the entirety of the conflict between Gold and Pan—frozen in place, quite able to see and hear everything (and blink, swallow, tear up...) but unable to speak or move. Also to judge by the fact she already knew they needed the Black Fairy's wand, the Blue Fairy/Mother Superior must have still been aware of what was happening in the church, trapped in or by her body but unable to act thanks to the Shadow.
  • Back from the Dead: The Blue Fairy/Mother Superior. After the death of the Shadow (the one responsible for taking her shadow and killing her), she is revived.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The Blue Fairy insists (and Snow White eventually comes to believe) that they have hope for the future—that if all goes well with the wardrobe, Emma will somehow find her way to them and break the curse even though she won't know anything about it or them. When she specifically asks about this, the Blue Fairy says cryptically, "The story will reveal itself." This comes true literally when the Once Upon a Time storybook just appears in Mary Margaret's closet when it is needed to give Henry hope—and it is touching it that lets him see Snow White for who she really is and sets off the whole plot.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Pan does die, but Gold has to kill himself for that to happen. Also, all the Storybrooke characters return to the Enchanted Forest, with Storybrooke disappearing completely, but Emma and Henry have to stay behind, without any memories of what has happened throughout the entire show.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The last of the pixie dust Wendy gave Tink turned out to be needed to help her capture and destroy Pan's Shadow.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creepy Child: Pan in Henry's body is at his creepiest here.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Just in case you forgot Henry's TRON lunchbox.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    Tink, holding him at knifepoint: Aren't you a little old to be a Lost Boy?
    Hook: I'm not part of Pan's brigade, and I can assure you I'm anything but a boy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice/Redemption Equals Death/Taking You with Me: Gold impales both himself and his father with his dagger in order to prevent Pan from killing Gold's loved ones.
  • Killed Off for Real: Felix, The Shadow, Pan and Rumplestiltskin/Gold all meet their ends in this episode.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Felix's Blind Obedience to someone he knows is a malicious, power-mad, selfish sociopath and who he knows does not love his own son and never did bites him in the ass at last, when this loyalty is what allows Pan to use his heart for the curse. It's rather delicious, and really what did he expect?
  • Life or Limb Decision: Variation—it isn't Gold's life that is in danger (although the rest of the main characters' are), but he has to make the choice of whether to cut off his hand/arm so as to be freed of the Power Nullifier cuff and get his magic back. He chooses not to, and Takes a Third Option instead.
  • The Magic Goes Away: On a more personal and heartbreaking scale than usual, since it's only a small pocket of magic which is lost (Earth never had it to begin with) but this loss means everything to the characters since they won't have their experiences or each other without it.
  • Match Cut: On the unicorn mobile.
  • Power Nullifier: The cuff that Pan invented keeps magic users from using their powers. It doesn't work on him, though, since he anticipated it might be used against him.
    Peter: Never build a cage you can't get out of.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Two of them from Gold.
    • First, when summoning the dagger back.
    Gold: You see, you may have lost your shadow, but there's one thing you're forgetting...so have I. I sent it away with something to hide.
    Gold: Ah, but I'm a villain. And villains don't get happy endings.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Henry was Gold's undoing (since bringing him back to Storybrooke brought Pan there too), but only because Gold chose for it to be.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Pan's Shadow is already a case of a creature of darkness that is Weakened by the Light (and can be trapped by it), but its final defeat and destruction takes place inside a church, and the immediate aftermath is someone coming back from the dead.
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: Rumple knew the only way that he could kill Pan was for he himself to die in the process. So he used his shadow to bring back the Dark One dagger in order to impale himself along with Pan, meaning he dies, Pan becomes the Dark One but since the dagger is impaled in him too, he also dies, ending the Dark One curse forever.
  • Series Fauxnale: Many have noted that everything is tied up so neatly in the end and the feeling of coming full circle is so great that this episode could very well be mistaken for the end of the series had it not been for its last minute.
  • Sequel Hook: Literally, as it's Hook who comes in at the last minute to set up the next story arc.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: That is one considerate curse, as it gives all our heroes ample time to talk through everything they need to.
  • Wham Episode: And BOY is it a doozy.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: While it's completely understandable why he would, not just due to his personality but the fact he thinks he's won and his son is now a weak and powerless coward once more, it's the fact Pan indulges in Evil Gloating and takes his time taunting and threatening Belle and Neal instead of just killing them that gives Gold time to gather his courage and come face him once and for all.
Once Upon A Time S 3 E 10 The New NeverlandRecap/Once Upon a TimeOnce Upon A Time S 3 E 12 New York City Serenade

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