Once Upon a Time Review: Not Quite Ever After

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As heroes, villains and a pirate all worked together to "Save Henry," it looked as though Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 9 would finally give fans a happy ending.

But not so fast…

Regina Is Distraught

Heading back to Storybrooke's past, we were able to learn how Regina came to be Henry's mom. I'd always wondered what drove the Evil Queen to make such a leap.  It turned out that even after successfully leveling a curse on her kingdom and gaining revenge on those she hated, Rumpelstiltskin was right. She still had an empty space in her heart. 

The problem, if you care to call it such, was that Regina was capable of love and having felt it once, she couldn't be satisfied without it. 

That led her to look to adopt a baby and being the impatient sort she wasn't thrilled with the idea of a waitlist. So that led her to Mr. Gold. 

I really felt for Regina those first few days with baby Henry. As a parent, it's the worst feeling in the world when you feel as though you can't take care of your child. As Henry continued to cry, nothing else she'd ever accomplished mattered. Regina felt like a failure as a mom. 

Nothing was more heartwarming than seeing her face light up as baby Henry finally cooed in her arms. 

It didn't take Regina long to figure out Mr. Gold's game. He'd gifted her with the grandson of Snow White and Prince Charming which meant the baby's biological mother was the one person who could destroy her curse. 

That knowledge nearly broke her resolve and sent her back to the adoption agency to return the child. Thankfully her heart won out and she kept Henry for good. It was a nice touch to see that Peter Pan had been searching for the boy even then. 

Despite all of Regina's many flaws, she was even willing to put herself under an ancient potion so that she could forget her worries and be a good mother to her boy, even if that left her more vulnterable to the curse being broken. Never underestimate the power of love.

Fast forward to present day Neverland...

Although everyone fought to get Henry back, Regina pointed out that she had the most to lose. Emma had her parents, Neal, and a pining pirate all there for her. It may be of her own making but the only love Regina has in her life is Henry. 

So when it came to taking down Peter Pan, I knew there was nothing she wouldn't do.  And the expression on her face was one of bloodlust as she told Emma in this Once Upon a Time quote...

He can bleed. We can hurt him and if we can hurt him we can kill him.


By the time Pan had the ladies tied to the tree that fed off of their regret, I could see where this was going. Emma would always regret giving up Henry. Snow would always regret sending baby Emma away. 

But Regina…not so much regret there.

I did cast a curse that devastated an entire population. I have tortured and murdered. I've done some terrible things. I should be overflowing with regret but I'm not. Because it got me my son.


Then she walked out of the trap, tore Pan's heart out of his chest, picked up Pandora's box and she was ready to go save her son. 

I don't think I've ever loved the Evil Queen more.

Even back on the ship Regina went into mother mode with ease. Her son was ill and she took care of him, even going so far as to cast a protection spell so his heart couldn't be taken again.  Too bad that spell didn't include his shadow. 

There was that moment where Pan struggled with Henry where I knew something had passed between them but I couldn't tell what. The reveal that Peter Pan had swapped bodies with the boy was still a complete shock.

I didn't think it was possible. A hero, a villain, pirates. That we could all be untied but we were because of the most important piece of the puzzle. A leader.


But will Emma be able to lead this motley crew once they get back to Storybrooke? And how much damage will Pan do before the truth is revealed?

Will you be happy to see them all out of Neverland when Once Upon a Time returns?


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (93 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


Much as I enjoyed Regina and her "no regrets" saving the day, I'm so tired of "Henry's saved/no he's not"! I want no more of Pan, or the trouble he's going to cause in Henry's body. It would have been so much better if Pan had hijacked one of the Lost Boys and made trouble that way! Guess I'm going to have to wait this story arc out watching football!


This is more like a summary than a review.


Holy growth spurt, Batman - is it just me, or is Henry significantly taller now on the boat? I half expected his voice to start breaking. Go puberty! I was a bit disappointed, honestly. I was hoping this was the end of the Pan story - so I honestly groaned audibly when we found out that Pan was now in Henry. But at least they're off the island. My gosh, Regina is awesome. I love the evolution of her character, and Lana Parilla really nailed that scene over Henry's body. Henry really is all she has. I loved that no one made a fuss when she went to tuck Henry in. She's proven herself. Christine - you nailed it. Regina had known love, and she couldn't live without it. There's never been any reason to doubt at all that Regina loves Henry, but watching the flashback and realizing that she actually magically quelled her own thirst for revenge to care for her adopted son - that was powerful. I would have been okay if the Pan story ended there, honestly. I'm more interested now to see how this band of misfits is going to get along now that they don't have a common goal.


So I'm a tad confused...how can Charming/David leave the island? Was he somehow cured?

@ M

M, It's my understanding that he made a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to cure him with water they took from Neverland. Now that Rumpel is out of Pandora's box, Charming can leave Neverland.

@ KarenY

Confused, too. Didn't Rumpel say he needed something in his shop for curing Charming? But Hook's brother died as soon as they crossed realms?


It was not inconsistent. They could only lose their memories after the curse was broken, ten or eleven years later. Because Storybrooke people had two sets of memories. Regina never had that, she has always been the Evil Queen, in the Enchanted Forest and in Storybrooke. Just like Rumples and Henry.


I think Sgoldj is right elise, although it is a little confusing because rumple needed to do something special in order to leave and not lose his rumple memories. So glad regina ended up taking a potion in the end that made her forget stuff because i was so mad at the writers for being inconsistent about her knowing that rumple wasnt effected by the curse. Then i remembered these are the writers of lost they know what they are doing.
Was honestly disappointed that henry lived. It would have been much better for story telling purposes and much more unexpected if he died. Plus i just really couldnt find him more annoying at this point. O wait that is a lie. I could. Because as soon as he became pan and he spoke to no emotion lost boy i wanted to reach through the tv and kill him myself. The actor who plays henry really cant hold a candle to the one who plays pan and this is really going to be painful to watch so lets pray for a quick resolution to that story line.
Oh btw adored that michael and jon pretended to be a gay couple to adopt henry but couldnt help but wonder if those were the same outfits they are still wearing.


Regina was never under that part of the curse. She was the only one (Gold possible exception) who retained her memories. THerefore, she would be unaffected by the travel.


Too many inconsistencies. How did Regina go to Boston without losing her memory? Or did I miss something?

Ronald simkins
@ Elsie

Neither Gold nor Regina was affected by the "Storybrook boundary" spell.
I know I am in a minority but absolutely love Peter Pan and I also like that the "oldest" Lost Boy remained loyal to him.

@ isoron

Actually Rumpel WAS under the spell. It was once stated by the writers he remembered everything when Emma came to Storybrooke (he first met her at Granny's hotel, and that's the moment he started remembering).

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Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 9 Quotes

Now there's a hole in your heart and someday you will come to me to fill it.


Well it looks like getting rid of a baby just made my to-do list.

The Evil Queen