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Recap / Once Upon A Time S 2 E 21 Second Star To The Right

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Season 2, Episode 21

Second Star to the Right

Emma, Mary Margaret and David go in search of Regina when they discover that she—along with some magic beans—have gone missing. Against Neal’s protests, Emma believes that Tamara had something to do with Regina’s disappearance; and Mr. Gold contemplates telling Lacey the truth about his ability to conjure magic.

Meanwhile, after Rumplestiltskin abandons his son and lets him travel alone through a portal, young Bae finds himself back in 19th century London and is taken in by the Darling family—befriending their daughter Wendy.



  • Anti-Magical Faction: Greg and Tamara reveal they are part of this, something called "the Home Office", whose mission is to find magic whenever it crosses into our world and destroy it. Supposedly it has done so numerous times before Storybrooke (other fairy tales?), and they have destroyed it many times as well. Although it will be revealed in a couple episodes that matters are not at all what they believe.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Neal, after the kiss-my-boot incident.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What Greg was inflicting on Regina, to get information about his missing father Kurt.
  • Continuity Nod: Quite a few.
    • Rumplestiltskin demanding that someone kiss his boot. That it's Dr. Whale is probably even more delicious from Gold's point of view.
      • And when Neal catches him, he comments that he was surprised Gold didn't turn him into a snail, referencing the fate of the man that winged Bae with a cart.
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    • Neal is once again dangling over an ominous green fiery portal. Except this time he chooses to let go.
    • Neal's realization that Tamara never really loved him is something that also happened to his father. Twice.
    • The clock in London reads 8:15.
    • The necklace that Gold gives Belle is the one from her dream in The Crocodile.
    • David calls in the favor Gold owes him (for helping him woo Lacey) to get the spell to find Regina.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Snow references this obliquely (likely thanks to Gold's talk to her in "Welcome to Storybrooke") when she points out that if they can find Regina and save her, this could not only make up in some small way for her killing Cora, it would be a way to help heal their family. When they do finally rescue Regina, she comes at it from the other side—that while they are angry at her for planning to use the failsafe to destroy Storybrooke, she knew they were planning to abandon her when they went back to the forest, but with the bigger worry of Greg and Tamara now having it, they need to set this back-and-forth blame and revenge aside.
  • Decomposite Character: In the original tale Peter Pan was the one who befriended the Darlings; here it's Bae.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Emma and Neal confess about each other but if the latter really dies is ambiguous.
  • Electric Torture: What Greg does to Regina.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Neal to Tamara: "Come back to bed. I'll give you a workout."
  • Heroic BSoD: Emma suffers this after a mortally wounded Neal is dragged into the portal.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bae offers himself to the Shadow in place of Michael. Later, Neal lets go of Emma so that he won't drag her into the portal, too.
  • History Repeats:
    • Neal once again falls through a portal after letting go of someone he loved. At the same time, this happens in order to prevent the trope in another sense—if he hadn't let go, both of them would have fallen in, and then Henry would have been left to grow up without his parents, just as happened to both Neal and Emma.
    • In a less critical (and much less dire) moment, Emma asks Henry to stand guard for her while she searches Neal and Tamara's room at the B&B, and kick the door if someone comes. Only a short time later Neal finds Henry in the hall, and when he unobtrusively tries to let Emma know, Neal recognizes the move as one he himself taught Emma, thus figuring out what's up. Which is also a small Call-Back to Henry outsmarting him with a move similar to his own means of giving people the slip, back in "Welcome to Storybrooke."
  • Internal Reveal: Lacey, listening in while Gold gives Snow and Charming the spell they need, learns he does know how to use magic. This in turn leads him to tell her, after revealing his magic can make them both immortal, that he can still die, and that there's a prophecy one would be his undoing. Which in turn compels Lacey to tell him to "get rid of them" so they can be safe.
  • My Greatest Failure: When Emma admits (after Neal once again claims she's only after Tamara because of her being his fiancee) that she still holds resentment for how he left her, Neal invokes the trope by saying listening to August and leaving her in jail is his biggest regret...and that it's fear she would never forgive him for it that kept him away all this time.
  • Oh, Crap!: Regina, when she realizes Greg and Tamara have the failsafe, and thus, are capable of wiping Storybrooke off the map. Snow and Charming have the same reaction when she tells them.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Neal dismisses Emma's suspicions of Tamara with this trope, namely that Emma is jealous of his fiancee, her new rival. One has to wonder if Tamara wasn't just using Neal to learn about Storybrooke and magic, but also planned to invoke this trope all along in order to avoid being found out (since she knew Neal had once been involved with Emma, and that she was in Storybrooke, from listening in on Neal and August talking).
  • Seeing Through Another's Eyes: A spell from Gold (incorporating both of their tears) allows Mary Margaret to do this with Regina, thus finding out where she's been taken.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • Charming and Snow think Regina just took the beans from her office and left. But not only does Emma point out she wouldn't have left evidence (like the bean plants) behind, she discovers the security alarm for the office had been overridden...something Regina would not have had to do. (Presumably Hook learned the code when he was there with her last, and gave it to Tamara.)
    • Also, Emma believes she's gotten the goods on Tamara by finding sand on her running shoes in the closet (since she had told Neal she would be going through the woods). Then she shows up and claims she'd just decided to change course to the beach at some point. But later when the spell Mary Margaret uses lets them see Regina is being held captive in a place near the waterfront, the evidence starts swaying Neal.
  • Stealth Pun: Lana suffers the Parrilla.
  • Take Me Instead: Young Baelfire uses this to get the Shadow to take him in place of Michael. In the present Neal uses a non-verbal form of this when he's dangling over the portal and lets go to save Emma.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Mr. Gold is acting even more jerkish than usual to impress Lacey.
  • Weakened by the Light: Although it is able to douse all the lamps Bae and the Darling children light in the nursery, Pan's Shadow can't take it when Bae lights a match and holds it close. Of course this results in him falling into the ocean, but he understandably found that preferable.
  • Wham Episode: Tamara is found out, Neal is shot and falls through a portal to seemingly die, and Greg and Tamara find out how to use the failsafe trigger.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Regina admits to Greg that she killed his father as soon as she couldn't use him to keep Greg in Storybrooke as her adopted child.

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