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OUAT Nasty Habits: Self-Preservation vs. Morality

Don't let the boyish charm fool you. Peter Pan isn't as sweet as he looks.
Don't let the boyish charm fool you. Peter Pan isn't as sweet as he looks.
Promotional photo courtesy of ABC/Jack Rowand

Once Upon A Time - Nasty Habits


Episode Cast:

Jared Gilmore (Henry Mills), Michael Raymond-James (Neal Cassady/Baelfire), Jennifer Goodwin (Snow White), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Josh Dallas (Prince Charming), Emilie De Ravin (Belle), Colin O’Donoghue (Hook), Robert Carlyle (Rumplestiltskin), Robbie Kay (Peter Pan), Parker Croft (Felix), Rose McIver (Tinker Bell)

There’s nothing quite like a well-told morality tale. This episode of Once Upon A Time revealed that father and son have a history with Peter Pan and it revisits the bad blood between Baelfire and Rumplestiltskin. It also introduced the Pied Piper and revealed what happened to Neal after being captured by Felix. So take a trip to Neverland and find out who has Nasty Habits.

Fairytale Land Flashback

Back in pre-curse Fairytale Land, a teenaged Baelfire and Rumplestiltskin are fighting again. Bae accuses his father of believing that he will leave him like everyone else has, which comes to fruition the very next day. Peter Pan in the guise of the Pied Piper has lured all the town’s children away and now Rumplestiltskin is faced with an unwelcomed choice.

Rumplestiltskin has a history with Pan. They were friends in their youth but Pan betrayed him. The exact details were never disclosed but now they meet again and Pan proposes a deal where Baelfire chooses between him or Rumplestiltskin. However, the cowardly Rumplestiltskin can’t take that chance and he whisks Bae home only to find out that Peter Pan told Bae about the deal. Oops! Bae becomes angry that his father didn’t trust him and runs off anyway.

Boys ‘N The Wood

Neal is a seasoned Lost Boy so he knows the ins and outs of Neverland. After all, he is the only one to leave. He escapes Felix and accidentally finds his father. After a rough start where Rumplestiltskin almost kills his own son, the two work together to catch a squid. They use the squid ink to temporary immobilize Pan and save Henry but it's all too easy.

Pan talks cryptically about a prophecy, forcing Rumplestiltskin to reveal the seer’s prophecy that Henry would be his undoing and exposing his plot to kill his own grandson. Now that’s love. He tries to smooth it over but Neal has heard enough and immobilizes his father as well. He runs off into the woods with an unconscious Henry and as expected, Pan recaptures Henry and takes Bae prisoner.

Rumplestiltskin, on the other hand, uses Bae’s betrayal as an excuse to reclaim his nasty habit of self-preservation, meaning he’s back to the business of killing Henry.

Map To The Stars

The Fairytale Friends (Charming, Hook, Emma, Snow, Tinker Bell and Regina) are in search of an exit strategy. Hook takes them to Neal’s old hideaway and they look for a way out of Neverland. They find a coconut shell with holes in. When lit, it provides a map to the stars and a way out of Neverland. The only problem is that it’s coded so only Neal can read it and they all think he’s dead.

Peter Pan Is A Diabolical Mastermind

After Henry wakes up, Pan continues to try and corrupt him. He’s already tried to use the Pied Piper pipe once to lure Henry but it didn’t work because only boys who feel unloved and misunderstood and can hear it. He reinforces that Henry’s encounter with Neal was all a dream and that his father is really dead. Then he presents The Lost Boys as a new opportunity. As a result, Henry can hear the music and joins the lost boys in their tribal dance.

Analysis: Mind Games and Core Beliefs

If there is one thing that we learned is that Peter Pan loves a mind game. He twists the Lost Boys (a name which was inspired by Rumplestiltskin) into his personal minions and even makes you question whether or not he allowed Baelfire to leave Neverland in the first place as apart of his plan. Robbie Kay's brilliant performance makes this whole Peter-Pan-Is-A-Bad-Guy storyline believable and incredibly entertaining. Again, great casting.

The remainder of this episode was about core beliefs. Rumplestiltskin’s core belief is that he is unloved and expects everyone to leave him, so they do. Bae’s core belief is that is father is evil and untrustworthy and he would rather risk losing his son than to trust his father. Henry’s core belief was healthy but it shifted from "I am loved" to "I am alone" when Pan lies about Neal’s death. That’s three generations of men hindered by their own wrong beliefs and it makes for a sad tale. Another strong episode. 4 out of 5.

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