Once Upon A Time continues to inch Operation Henry forward with “Quite a Common Fairy.” In a shocking development, Pan’s map isn’t the magical deus ex machina he presented it to be. But Hook reckons a fairy he used to know might be able to help find Pan’s camp and Henry. However, Regina’s fraught history with Little Green complicates the matter. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Neil figures out how to get to Neverland, and the answer is alarmingly simple.
- Director: Alex Zakrzewski
- Writer: Jane Espenson
- Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared S. Gilmore, Robbie Kay, Jaime Chung, Sean Maguire, Colin O’Donoghue, Rose McIver
Episode Title: “Quite a Common Fairy”
Once Upon A Time picks up en media res on the Neverland side of things. Our flashback to the Enchanted Forest and Regina’s history with Tinker Bell, feels painfully passé. Charming reveals his poison problem to Hook, who’s basically just like, “Sorry, bro.” But he’s more helpful to the gang as a whole, proposing to find Tinker Bell. She’s the exiled fairy who Pan trusts enough to let in and out of his camp. Regina thinks it’s a long-shot that she’d help find Henry. In the Enchanted Forest, she ruined Tink’s fairy prospects by wussing out on love (with Robin Hood, of all people), even after Lady Bell stole the pixie dust to help her track her happy ending down. Back on The Island, Tink briefly debates vengeance, but Regina talks her out of it. Snow then recruits her to the cause with the promise of residency in picturesque small-town Maine. So that was easy. Although, not as easy as it was for the Lost Boys to track down Baelfire, newly arrived in Neverland. Oh, and Henry might actually be The True Savior, Born of the Union of Light And Dark, Bringer of Magic To All Worlds.
- “Even I Think That’s A Bit Precious”: Rose McIver knows her way around a pseudo-medieval village, and she fits right in as Tink. Her feral, de-winged Neverland incarnation felt like a breath of fresh air that always blows in when Once Upon A Time cuts new facets into an established fairy tale. More please (Where’s Ariel?)! Lana Parrilla also turned in a solid performance as the not-so-evil queen. Her wig continues to put Snow’s headpiece to shame.
- It’s A Game!: The game is called, ‘When is Robbie Kay amazing, both physically and psychologically, at being Peter Pan?’ You win whenever Robbie Kay is onscreen. Jared S. Gilmore cannot win at this game. He cannot win ever.
- “When I Was A Bandit” Premiering On FX in 2014: Last week, Snow and Emma’s mother/daughter issues were a bit, well, head-thunkingly obvious. But this time there were a couple of nice bonding moments between the two. Snow has decided to approach Emma with less insistence, instead of, “You can call me Mom!” Keep it up, Mary Margaret, and she just might.
- Our Powers Combined: Given that this episode was scripted by Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Jane Espenson, the beat wherein Regina propositions Emma to magic with her…you get where we’re going with this. Parrilla kind of played it that way, too. It was weird. But we’re not necessarily opposed to the idea in the future.
- Dreamshade’s The Breaks: Hook’s such a bro. The two boys’ side-quest for the pixie dust (“It’s like nuclear fairy dust!”) to cure Charming’s poison was a nice, manful substitute to their bickering last week. Listen to his advice David, and tell your wife and daughter, who are, you know, magical saviors, you blockhead.
- We No Longer Believe in You: Abandoning Storybrook for foliage-based fantasy adventures is fine. Shows do have to grow. But Horowitz and Kitsis have failed to learn the lessons of Lost. The flashback conceit taking up 22 minutes of every hour has become repetitive. Each character beat circling the drain of recognizable traits established in the first season. So Regina’s anger keeps her from believing in her own happy ending? Let up on that character development throttle, you’re going too fast! In all seriousness, please forgo the flashback where we find out how Robin got his lion tattoo.
- Search Your Feelings, Dearie: Rumple’s brief appearance and boilerplate dialog about the dark side of magic was disappointing, especially from a writer of Espenson’s caliber. Although, the roast swan – “you’ll get it later” – was a nice touch.
- Bring Honor to Us All and Stop Pining: So the Mulan-Aurora-Phillip triangle was protracted and awkward, as it always is. Interestingly, our savior of China didn’t look like she was on the verge of professing her love to Philip, per se. The show skirts the issue by having the oblivious Aurora and her equally oblivious hair reveal she’s pregnant. But the fact that Mulan has joined the Merry Men means she and Hood are free to be badass brothers-in-arms-or-possibly-more, right? In any case, good riddance to tired tropes.
“Quite a Common Fairy” is quite a common episode of Once Upon A Time. A lot of what happens here feels recycled. But at least Baelfire made it to Neverland, literally on the heels of Pan’s shadow. What’s going to happen to him next can’t be good, but we’re rooting for you, Neal.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
What did you think of this week’s episode?