The residents of Storybrooke fight to save their town from the now activated self-destruction trigger. Back in fairytale land, Hook and Baelfire encounter the Lost Boys. Here is a recap and review of "And Straight on 'Til Morning."
Aboard Hook's ship on its way to Neverland, Hook learns who Baelfire truly is. The Lost Boys invade the ship looking for Bae, but cannot find him. Hook bonds with Bae over their fathers abandoning them. After Bae finds a drawing of his mother, he attacks Hook, but Hook reveals that he loved Milah. Bea wishes to leave the ship, and Hook has the Lost Boys take him away. In Neverland, the Lost Boys reveal that Peter Pan is not looking for Bea, but Henry.
In the mine, Tamara and Greg activate the trigger. Tremors and vines rock Storybrooke. Regina says it cannot be stopped, but she can slow it down while they send everyone to the Enchanted Forest. Emma accompanies Regina to the trigger's location. Regina begins slowing the trigger and reveals it will drain all of her strength. Greg and Tamara escape from David and Hook, but not before Hook snatches a bean. Leroy tells Mr. Gold that Mother Superior made a potion to regain memories - one dose for Sneezy and one for Lacey. It works; Belle's memories come back.
At Gold's shop, Henry pleads with Emma to save Regina; Mary Margaret agrees and the townspeople support a plan to send the trigger through a portal. Hook gives Emma the pouch that contained a bean, but once the Charmings are ready to use it, Emma realizes the bean isn't there, so she joins forces with Regina. They succeed in stopping the trigger, but Henry is now missing. The Charmings plus Regina discover Greg and Tamara took him, but they aren't quick enough to stop them from jumping through a portal.
As Emma begs to follow them, Gold, Belle, and Hook show up. Gold gives Belle a cloaking spell, telling her to stay behind and protect the town. Gold's magical globe indicates that Henry is now in Neverland, so they open a portal and sail into it. Prince Phillip, Princess Aurora, and Mulan find Neal on the beach.
Once Upon A Time concluded the second season with a fairly strong episode that not only delivered a heartfelt and dramatic hour of television, but also promised a change of scenery for season three. While "And Straight on 'Til Morning" did not make up for the first run of episodes this season, the way in which it handled the trigger storyline was commendable.
The trigger enlivening vines and pine trees that sprouted up throughout the streets of Storybrooke posed a different, yet fitting, threat than I expected, which was that Storybrooke would simply be zapped off the map and its residents would be obliterated. The literal destruction of the town was much more haunting and concerning for both the audience and the characters, and it prolonged the event in order to provide us with a few sweet moments among family members.
Regina held her own as a positive force in this episode. Having worked so hard throughout the season to prove her ability to change, she achieved what she desired. By being willing to sacrifice herself for others, Regina demonstrated that could look outside of her own wants and put the lives of others first. Watching Emma realize that Regina believed she was saying goodbye to Henry for good was one of the best, saddening scenes of the hour.
In addition, Emma finally calling Mary Margaret and David "Mom" and "Dad" was a long-awaited and beautiful moment. Although it still seems slightly strange with them all being around the same age, it was a testament to Emma's growth in the same way as Henry lovingly embracing Regina as his mother.
This episode was not without a few flaws. First, Baelfire does not present himself in a way that reminds the audience that he is the younger version of Neal. Sometimes it is easy to forget this bit of information, and that was especially apparent in "And Straight on 'Til Morning." The casting of Bailey Madison as young Snow White was spot-on because of both her appearance and her mannerisms, but for Bae and Neal it is much less exact.
The scenes aboard the Jolly Roger were partially intriguing because of Hook's desired revenge against Bae's father making his actions captivatingly devious, but theses scenes were also partially awkward. Bae so easily confessing that his father was the Dark One came off as forced because their bonding was not strong enough for this to be believable. Furthermore, Bae moving from an attitude of hating pirates to cooperating with hook back to hating pirates was too quick and flimsy.
Tamara and Greg are still unappealing and unbelievable characters. How did they know about Henry's importance if he was not their mission? As outsiders to Storybrooke, this knowledge would not be readily known. And why would their employer have informed them about irrelevant information? Also, why would they obey someone with this type of mission without knowing who it is? Perhaps we will learn the answers to the questions in the fall.
Looking forward to next season, I am intrigued by the probability of them exploring a different land and overcoming new obstacles while searching for Henry, especially if this version of Neverland includes a certain red-headed mermaid and a little blonde fairy. However, my main concern is that it could come off too similarly to Mary Margaret and Emma searching for a way home from the devastated Enchanted Forest earlier this season.