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Recap / Once Upon A Time S 3 E 1 The Heart Of The Truest Believer

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Season 3, Episode 1:

The Heart of the Truest Believer

As Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Mr. Gold and Hook enter Neverland to search for a kidnapped Henry, they're greeted by a school of not-too-friendly mermaids who threaten to end their search before it begins; Henry finds himself on the run from the Lost Boys with another escapee from Peter Pan's encampment; and Neal, recovering from his wounds, travels through the Enchanted Forest with Mulan in an attempt to learn the fates of Emma and Henry.



  • Actually, I Am Him: That boy who's helping Henry escape the Lost Boys and Peter Pan? Yeah, he's Pan.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In her last moments, Tamara realises she's been tricked and does her best to get Henry to safety.
  • A House Divided: Henry's family nearly tore each other apart in the climax.
  • Berserk Button: As Hook found out, don't insult Mary Margaret lest you incur David's wrath.
  • Book-Ends: The first few minutes of the premiere features Emma giving birth to Henry and then saying that she didn't want him because she believes she can't be a mother. The last few minutes of the story between Emma, Hook, Snow, Charming, and Regina features Emma proclaiming that her role in the group besides still being the savior is being Henry's mother.
  • Central Theme: Belief and Faith.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Emma gave birth to Henry at 8:15.
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    • Once Mulan, Aurora, and Philip know and believe Neal's identity, and Aurora figures out he is Henry's father, she not only references her having met with him in the room of fire last season, but offers to enter the netherworld again to try and find him, as well as make contact with Emma. It doesn't work since they're neither asleep nor in the Enchanted Forest, but it's still a heartwarming moment.
    • When Neal reveals he's the Dark One's son, Robin gives him the run of the castle, because he owes Rumple his life for having spared him (not to mention allowing him to heal Marian).
  • Disc-One Final Boss: After a great deal of buildup around Greg and Tamara being the villains of Season 3, they're unceremoniously dispatched by the real Big Bad long before the end of the first episode. Although this was spelled out at literally the last minute of Season 2 ("They're merely pawns being manipulated by forces greater than they can conceive. They have no idea who they're truly working for.") Plus as mortals, there's very little they could have done without the element of surprise.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The last few minutes of the episode reveal that Robbie Kaye is not playing a Lost Boy, but Peter Pan himself.
  • Genius Loci: The weather around Neverland reacts to emotional turmoil and violence. When Snow White, Charming, Regina and Hook all start squabbling, a storm brews up in response which nearly kills them all.
  • Heel Realization: Hook and Regina share a moment where they both muse on the likelihood that they won't get a happy ending because of all the bad things they've done.
  • I Lied: What the head Lost Boy tells Greg and Tamara when they expect Peter Pan to fulfill the agreement and destroy all magic.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Word for word by Henry to Peter Pan.
  • Instant Costume Change: Mr. Gold instantly switches to his Rumpelstiltskin costume and throws down his cane, no longer needing it in Neverland.
  • I Work Alone: Upon arriving in Neverland, Rumpelstilstkin promptly vanishes to go find Henry and defeat Pan all by himself.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Right as Emma and the others set off into the jungle to find Henry, who should fly over the beach on pixie dust but...
  • Not-So-Abandoned Building: Rumpelstiltskin's castle in the Enchanted Forest has been stripped clean of anything valuable by looters (except for what has been magically hidden) and now Robin Hood is using the conveniently empty fortress as a base.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Considering we were told back in season two that there was no way to save the victim of a Wraith once it had marked you and taken your soul, the quest to save Philip from it and return him to life would have to be quite amazing and heroic. Yet...we never see it, or are told what happened or how. Instead when Neal awakens in the Enchanted Forest, Mulan and Aurora are there with a perfectly fine Philip and nothing of their quest to bring him back is ever explained. And apparently, never will be.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Mermaids in Neverland are strong and vicious enough to sink ships.
  • Redemption Equals Death: After discovering the truth about the "Home Office" and Pan, Tamara tells Henry to run and attempts to stop the Lost Boys from capturing or hurting him. She is repaid for this, first by being shot with an arrow, then by having her heart crushed by Rumple—because this isn't enough to make up for her (he thinks) having killed Neal.
  • Retcon: The scene of Henry's birth here contradicts the tie-in novel Reawakened.
  • Shout-Out: Neal tells Mulan that there is a movie about her in our world.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Baelfire may have been born before Rumpelstiltskin became the Dark One, but he can still access and manipulate the magical enchantments his father left behind (although considering what we learn about Rumple near the end of Season Six, he was apparently always magical). Bael says his father called it "blood magic".
  • Taken for Granite: Regina petrifies a hostile mermaid after being denied the chance to kill her.
  • Taking You with Me: Rumpelstiltskin is still convinced his mission to find Henry will cost him his life, and cheerfully informs the Lost Boys that he will take as many of them with him as he can.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Though they all set out with a common goal, their many differences in life outlook and mannerisms set up the rescue team for being this.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rumplestiltskin gives Emma a rather hard hitting one, noting that despite all the things she's seen and done over the course of the show, she's never taken a leap of faith, and this lack of belief is what will lead them to fail the quest to rescue Henry.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Tamara asks Rumpelstiltskin if he can forgive her after what she did to Baelfire. He says no and crushes her heart.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Rumple, as part of a dramatic exit no less.
  • Title Drop: Done courtesy of Peter Pan at the end of the episode.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When Neal wakes up he finds Philip, Aurora, and Mulan have treated and bandaged his wound, but seeing as they think it was caused by an arrow, it's clear nothing was done about the bullet. And yet Neal survives; presumably the bullet somehow missed any major organs or arteries, but how he recovers is never fully explained.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Greg and Tamara.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Charming threatens to kill their mermaid hostage, he stops only after Regina says it's a good idea.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Peter Pan can rip a person's "shadow" from their body which results in instant death. He does this to Greg.

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