The race is on to stop Pan from enacting another curse...but just like what the Dark One always says, all magic comes with a price. And for Peter Pan, Rumpelstiltskin, Regina, Emma, Henry, Tinkerbell, and the rest of the residents of Storybrooke, the price is something that will change their lives forever. The question is, will it be for the better or worse?
- 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 even if all doesn't go 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:
- Again a seething cloud of magic pours out of the wishing well...only this time, instead of simply bringing magic to Storybrooke, it is casting Pan's terrible new curse.
- Grumpy is again the one who announces the arrival of the curse.
- "Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a powerful thing."
- The song which is playing during Emma and Henry's breakfast at the end is the same one from our first scene with Neal, at the start of season two.
- The time Emma wakes up in the morning at the end is 8:15 AM.
- Creepy Child: Pan in Henry's body is at his creepiest here.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Pan's exact words for his curse, and the description seems apt: everyone in Storybrooke once again forgetting who they are (this time including Regina, Emma, and Henry too), time frozen forever, with all of them as Pan's slaves.
- 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.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: So, Peter Pan has to kill the one he loves the most to enact the Curse. Which happens to be Felix. But don't worry:Peter Pan: Love can be many things, Felix. It doesn't just come from romance or family. It can also come from loyalty; friendship.
- 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.
- Karmic Death: Not only is Pan killed by Rumplestiltskin, the son he had abandoned, but he also reverts back to his adult form, allowing him to die as the miserable human he really is.
- 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 butt at last, when this loyalty is what allows Pan to use his heart for the curse.
- 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.
- Averted: Earth does have its own magic as revealed in Season 5 episode 22, but the characters won't know that until then.
- 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.
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.
- First, when summoning the dagger back.
Gold: Ah, but I'm a villain. And villains don't get happy endings.
- And second, when Pan tries to tempt him with the chance to start over and have a happy ending together.
- 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.
- Averted: The Dark One curse lives on via retcon as the Darkness that makes a person the Dark One simply returned to its vault in the Enchanted Forest waiting for someone to resurrect a Dark One which is done later on when Neal resurrects Rumple; again, none of the characters knew this, but Rumple surely did, via his memories from the past Dark Ones if nothing else.
- 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.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Pan uses Felix's heart to complete a curse without a second thought.