The penultimate episode of Once Upon A Time‘s second season, “Second Star to the Right” introduces us to the world of Neverland and its mysterious ruler, the Shadow. No mention of Peter Pan yet, but I think that is as planned.
When the episode opens, Baelfire has slipped through a portal into Victorian London, at the entrance to Kensington Gardens. Six months later, he’s scavenging for food. He nips into a house for some fresh bread but is barked at by a large dog, drawing the attention of one Miss Wendy Darling.
In Storybrooke, David, Mary Margaret and Emma are searching Regina’s office. She’s gone, and it only takes a few moments for them to realize that she didn’t choose to leave. Regina is under threat of torture if she doesn’t reveal the whereabouts of Greg Mendell’s father, and we learn that Tamara and Greg have been communicating with a ‘home office,’ whose purpose is to cleanse the world of ‘unholy’ magic.
Back in Victorian London, Wendy sits at the window, looking out toward the second star to the right, and tells Bae of the mysterious, shadowy figure who visits the nursery when the lights are out. Bae cautions her that magic is a horrible thing, but Wendy dreams of Neverland. She does, however, promise not to raise the window or communicate with the Shadow.
David cashes in his favor from Mr. Gold in the form of a location spell to find Regina. One of her tears, mixed with Mary Margaret’s, allows the assimilation of her feelings and sight. Mary Margaret hopes that by rescuing Regina, she can rescue herself from the darkness that has overtaken her heart.
Wendy, despite her promise to Bae, flies off with the Shadow, but returns the next day, shaken and confused. The Shadow let her go because he only wants boys, and that he will take one of her brothers, who will never be allowed to return home. When the youngest boy is trapped, Bae takes his place. He is hoisted into the air and flown off toward the second star to the right, then falls into the water and is rescued by none other than Captain Hook.
At his shop, Mr. Gold finally acknowledges his powers of magic to Lacey. “Make me immortal,” she pleads. He tells her that one can be made immortal, but this doesn’t mean one can’t be killed. He mentions the prophecy about his ‘undoing’ and Lacey scoffs, saying she thought he was the sort of man who didn’t let anything stand in his way. “I am,” he says with a wicked grin.
Regina, after taunting Greg with the truth that she buried his father, blacks out. Tamara is confronted by Emma and Neil while David and Mary Margaret take Regina to Mother Superior to be healed, where she reveals her former plan to use the failsafe. Neil realizes that Tamara never loved him. She shoots him, and makes her exit. But not before throwing a magic bean.
This is the part I never saw coming. Neil and Emma have both acknowledged regret at not being together, and as we await true love’s kiss, Neil and Emma fall partway into the portal. Neil tells Emma she needs to stay with Henry. “I love you!” she shouts. “I love you too,” he says, and lets go. For the second time, Neil has been sucked into a portal, and for the second time, Emma has lost the love of her life. We do not know where he’s going or if he’ll survive the journey. Will he be going back to the second star to the right?
The episode concludes with Tamara and Greg learning that they have the trigger for Storybrooke, and they have been told to use it. This could be the end of Storybrooke, and every single one of the inhabitants.
I am amazed at how much was packed into this episode. We’ve learned a bit more about Bae, we’ve seen the barest outline of Neverland, and we’ve seen Bae/Neil sucked into a portal. Regina, Gold, and Hook are now at odds with Tamara and Greg, but can they do something to prevent the destruction of Storybrooke, or will they have to escape by entering another portal?