Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 2 of ABC's "Once Upon a Time," titled "Lost Girl."
This week's "Once Upon a Time" saw our unlikely band of heroes and villains venturing deeper into Neverland, bringing Emma face to face with Peter Pan and forcing her to acknowledge who she really is: An orphan.
"Lost Girl" was a heartbreaking hour for Emma and Snow, juxtaposed beautifully with Snow's own journey of self-discovery, in which Charming showed his fiancee that -- as many Disney heroes have learned before her -- belief in oneself is the only "magic" a person truly needs to overcome their obstacles.
Check out our Top 5 most memorable moments from "Lost Girl."
1. Emma admits who she really is
This scene was like a punch to the gut, made all the more poignant because Snow was forced to confront the reality of her daughter's painful childhood right along with Emma. It's one thing to have unwillingly missed your child's formative years, but quite another to hear that her entire sense of self-worth was destroyed by the thought that her parents didn't want her. Jennifer Morrison and Ginnifer Goodwin played those emotional beats beautifully -- it was understated and restrained, which only made it more emotionally resonant.
We discussed the scene with Ginnifer Goodwin during our recent Q&A, and she admitted it was as difficult to film as it was to watch: "That was such a hard scene to film and those are hard feelings to face. There has been a lot, up until this point, of Snow feeling that saying sorry is enough, like there's some magical number of times that she could apologize and once she hits that magical number, everything will be okay. She is going to have to accept that there's a completely different path to ... not redemption, because there is no redemption, but redeeming these characters together that is not necessarily going to involve forgiveness." Ouch.
2. Emma meets Pan
I doubt any of us were expecting Pan and Emma to meet so soon -- nor for it to be so amicable -- but Pan's casual greeting (framed by the chilling sounds of children crying somewhere in the darkness) only served to make the villain more intimidating. Pan is already proving himself to be a master manipulator, offering Emma a very reasonable way to find Henry, but later revealing all of the strings attached to his magic map. Emma has yet to forgive her parents for abandoning her, and if Pan has his way, Henry will be equally closed off and resentful by the time Emma finds him. No wonder Hook and Rumple are scared of this kid.
3. Snow retrieves "Excalibur"
This scene is even better in hindsight, knowing that Charming clearly faked being unable to pull the sword from the stone just to help Snow regain her confidence. Not only did it give us another welcome glimpse into Snow and Charming's early relationship, reminding us how important their faith in each other has always been, it also proved just how resourceful the shepherd is, illustrating that he's even smarter and more strategic than his late twin was.
4. Rumplestiltskin reveals the truth
With Belle stuck in Storybrooke, it seemed like we were set to miss out on that fascinating "Rumbelle" dynamic for the first half of the season, but the writers found an interesting way to work around their separation. By having Belle appear as Rumple's conscience of sorts, we learned that the doll that brought The Dark One to tears last week was a gift from his cowardly father -- the last gift Rumple ever received from him, in fact. I can't wait to finally meet the man at some point and see why his abandonment cuts Rumplestiltskin so deeply -- perhaps it's simply painful in hindsight because Rumple is guilty of committing the exact same sin against his own son, but I suspect there's more to Rumple's tears than that. Any guesses?
5. Snow confronts Regina
The flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest were collectively delightful this week -- and not just because it allowed for the return of Giancarlo Esposito's Magic Mirror -- but it was especially enjoyable to see Regina getting her Evil Queen on and rocking several stunning costumes in the process. Our resident HBIC almost had Snow on the ropes simply by threatening her loyal (but not terribly brave) subjects, but it was great to see Snow reclaiming her confidence and actually drawing blood from Regina, proving once and for all that she was a credible threat to Regina's reign of terror.
Who else caught the mention of Rufio when Hook and Felix were fighting? The iconic "Hook" movie character is off-limits to the writers as the property of Sony Pictures, but they apparently couldn't resist a brief mention: "You have a writers' room that loves that movie, and so for us, it was a shout-out. We're not doing [Rufio's] backstory, but we are going to be telling you how Peter Pan became Peter Pan, and why he made the decisions he made," co-creator Eddy Kitsis recently told us.
Expect to learn plenty more about Rumple's daddy issues: "We've hinted, in the past that his father was a coward, and that his father's name was something that haunted him and that his father left him," Kitsis reminded reporters at a recent Q&A.
"We see those issues have played themselves out in his relationship with his son. So I think that whatever happened to Rumplestiltskin in his past is really creating a lot of the problems he's dealing with today," Adam Horowitz added.
Kitsis agreed, "It is something we're going to see this year. For us, it's the understanding that this is a man who wants to break the cycle of his past. He wants to be a good father, but it's like that quote, 'I can resist everything but temptation.' That's also his weakness ... He's a difficult man to love, as he said, and so just when you begin to love him, he does something so awful you go, 'aw, man.'"
Charming's in trouble:
During our recent conversation with Ginnifer Goodwin, we asked how Charming's deadly Dream Shade wound would play into upcoming episodes, and this was all she'd say: "I can tell you it is going to manifest itself -- our writers are not kidding when they say that something is fatal. In these magical worlds, there aren't easy remedies -- it's not like magic cures all. As we always say, all magic comes with a price. And therefore if they say that it's bad, it's bad." Uh oh.
"Once Upon a Time" airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
How do you think Charming's wound will affect him? What do you think is at the root of Rumple's daddy issues? Will Regina be patient enough to stick out the journey with the rest of the gang? Share your predictions below!