Without a shadow of a doubt, we loved Once Upon a Time’s Season 3 premiere (Episode 1: "The Heart of the Truest Believer"). In the epic hour, Emma goes down swinging, Regina and Rumple’s killer instincts come out, Henry’s beliefs are used against him, and someone gets their heart ripped out.
Scroll down for Wetpaint Entertainment’s full recap, but read spoilers at your own risk! For more on Wetpaint Entertainment's philosophy on spoilers, click here.
Tamara, We Hardly Knew Ye
After a heartbreaking flashback to Emma giving birth to Henry, we’re back where we left last season, with our heroes in a ship captained by Hook as they try to save Henry from Neverland. First, Emma says she blames Snow for this. Then, Gold tells Emma he’s going for Henry, as Emma doesn’t have enough imagination for this place. Way to kick a lady when she’s down, buddy.
Henry is with his new pals Greg and Tamara, who realize their communication device doesn’t work. But the “Home Office” — which turns out to be the Lost Boys — finds them anyway. When Greg and Tamara refuse to hand over Henry, Greg gets his shadow ripped out (bummer!), while Tamara gets an arrow for her troubles. The only good part about all this? We don’t have to hear the words “home office” ever again, since that name was ridiculous.
After Emma gets done doing some pull-ups — because being on a pirate ship in the middle of nowhere is no excuse to skip your daily cardio session — the ship gets attacked by mermaids. And these aren’t the friendly kind that Tom Hanks fell in love with in Splash; no, these are the deadly kind.
When In Doubt, Punch Someone
Regina’s fireballs thwart the mermaids — is there anything those fireballs can’t do? — but then Emma and Snow inexplicably pull a mermaid onto their ship. We don’t know what this mermaid is planning to do, but we can bet she’s not going to be singing “Part Of Your World” anytime soon.
Thunder storms start to hammer the ship, seemingly caused by the not Ariel-esque mermaid, so Regina does the only sensible thing: She turns the mermaid into wood. Because why wouldn’t you want more heavy things to weigh down the ship? Shockingly, Snow then channels her inner Mayweather and punches Regina, causing Regina to punch back. Soon, Hook and Charming are getting in on the fist-throwing fun as well. Good times.
Gold is on his one-man quest to find Henry when he stumbles upon Tamara, who clearly isn’t enjoying the arrow that’s sticking out of her back. Gold gives her the power to speak, but he doesn’t exactly accept her apology for screwing over (and presumably killing) her ex-fiancé Neal. Case in point: Gold pulls out Tamara’s heart and crushes it. And you thought your in-laws held a grudge.
Nothing Like a Nice Evening Swim
Emma realizes that the fisticuffs are causing the storm, which probably makes things very easy for the weather reporters in Neverland. (“The weather will be warm and sunny today, provided no one loses their temper.”) So Emma jumps into the water, and Charming has to save her. Uh, did Emma learn nothing from that scene in
Titanic where Jack warns Rose about jumping off the ship? See, Titanic isn't just a tearjerker; it also saves lives.
Gold passes along a message to the leader of the Lost Boys that he’s ready to rumble with Pan, whom Gold clearly has a past with. Meanwhile, Henry is saved from the Lost Boys by a fellow youngster who’s trying to flee the island, and the two fly to safety with some helpful pixie dust. Sing it with us: Henry believes he can fly, Henry believes he can touch the sky.
Emma and Regina finally make nice, which couldn’t come any sooner for poor Henry. Indeed, Henry has been duped by his so-called friend, who turns out to be the very disgruntled Peter Pan summons his Lost Boys minions (after explaining that he wants the “heart of the truest believer,” aka Henry’s) and they clearly have plans for Henry that doesn’t involve sitting around leisurely and singing “Kumbaya.”
Canes Aren't Just to Help You Walk — Or to Maim People
Over in the Enchanted Forest, Neal awakens here — since he apparently thought about this land in the portal (OK, sure) — and is greeted by Aurora, Prince Phillip, and a none-too-friendly Mulan. After Aurora is unable to contact Neal’s pals through the dream world, he heads to his dad’s castle to see if Rumple left anything behind for him. Neal's like, "Oh, good — we get to go painstakingly sort through my dad's old crap." Oh, and he tells Mulan that there's a movie about her in the real world. Grab the popcorn!
After they greet a surprise visitor at the castle — Robin Hood’s back, re-cast, and more smoldering than ever! — Neal finds his dad’s cane, and voila, it releases a cloaking spell and a crystal ball. Guess Neal doesn’t hate magic quite so much anymore. Through the crystal ball, Neal realizes that Emma and Henry are in Neverland. Sounds like it’s time for Neal to go fight some little kids — and hopefully in time to save Henry’s “truest believer” heart before Pan rips it out!
Three Biggest Mysteries of the Night
1. So, is Tamara seriously gone for good from the show? That’s it? Yes, Tamara is now headed to the Great Big Home-Office in the Sky. So what about the backstory that we thought we’d learn about her, including who her mysterious grandma is? Talk about a letdown!
But Greg is presumably going to get his shadow back and survive, right? After all, we’re still hoping that the bones he found last season weren't actually his dad's, even though Greg has kinda been a pill lately.
2. What does Peter Pan have in mind for Henry? We have no clue, but it probably doesn’t involve them going on play dates together. And what is Gold’s previous involvement with Peter Pan? (Translation: This little Peter dude has made a lot of enemies.) But the biggest question we have: How come Peter isn’t wearing green tights? Isn't that, like, mandatory for a Peter Pan story?
3. How soon will Neal get reunited with Emma and Henry? And how the heck is he going to get a ride to Neverland? Then again, we wouldn’t be surprised if Gold has conveniently left something in the castle to help him get there. (Neal tells Mulan, “You guys didn’t know that my dad always leaves magic beans behind in his castle, just in case someone needs to save their loved ones?”)
What did you think of tonight's premiere, Oncers? Tell us below, and catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, October 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.