"Nasty Habits" is the 48th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Mr. Gold makes a decision to confront Pan, but will he go there to save Henry or give in to the prophecy that the boy will be his undoing? Neal finds himself back in Neverland and in the custody of one of Pan's most loyal Lost Boys, and David struggles for his life as the poison continues to take its toll on him. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin goes in search of a missing Bae, who has followed a mysterious figure who steals away children with his music.
Previously, on Once Upon a Time...
Emma, having just woken up, turns around and finds a boy. She asks him who he is, and he replies that he's Peter Pan. ("Lost Girl") As Regina is heard telling Emma that Tinker Bell is not going to save them, the Jolly Roger crew are seen cornering Tink. Mary Margaret points out that the former fairy knows where Pan is, which she confirms. David is then seen showing Hook his poisoned wound, and telling him the Dreamshade-laced arrow barely nicked him. David asks how long it'll take for him to die, and Hook says days, weeks at most. Henry is seen telling Pan he doesn't belong in Neverland. He is then seen unraveling the old scroll that contains the drawing of him. Pan tells him he was created for a reason, and he can help him find it. ("Quite a Common Fairy") We then see Baelfire about to fall through the magic portal he's opened with a bean back in the Enchanted Forest, to take him to the land without magic, as Rumplestiltskin backs out of his deal and lets his son go through it alone. ("The Return") Back in Storybrooke, where Gold left Belle, the latter acknowledges that her lover won't be coming back. He says he has to do this to honor Baelfire. ("And Straight on 'Til Morning") Neal is then seen in his father's castle, telling his companions he knows how to get to Neverland. He is taken there by the shadow and encountered by Felix, who welcomes him back. ("Quite a Common Fairy")
Neverland's version of a perp walk.
Neverland. Neal has his hands tied in front of him, as he is escorted by Felix through the woods of the island. The Lost Boy comments that it feels like it was just the day before that he welcome Bae to Neverland the first time, and adds that he'd hoped he'd never see him again. Neal says that maybe Pan shouldn't have taken his son then, to which Felix replies that maybe Neal should've left him well alone. However, the man says he's gonna get his son back, and his "captor" asks him if he really believes that, then reminding him that he was a Lost Boy and he knows Pan isn't to be trifled with. The perpetual teenager then reminds Neal of how long Pan has been looking for the heart of the truest believer, and asks - all while Neal is working on freeing up his hands from the rope - if he really believes he'd give him up. Neal says, sarcastically, "Maybe, if I ask nicely." Felix chuckles and comments that Baelfire may have grown up, but it would appear he's grown up stupid. Neal's hands are now free. He says he has grown up, and he doesn't know whether he's stupid or not, but he does know how to tie an overhead knot. This said, he immediately turns around and punches the Lost Boy square in the face, knocking him out. Neal then looks around, removes his jacket, and says, "I'm not a boy anymore, Felix. And I sure as hell ain't lost." He then makes a run for it, leaving the jacket and the rope behind.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Young Baelfire is depressed.
We are treated to a scene of the past taking place in the Enchanted Forest that was. A teenage Baelfire is seen drawing on a sheet, sitting at the dinner table in his old home. The front door is heard being opened, and his father calls out to him. Bae looks up and sees Rumplestiltskin, the Dark One, coming in and holding up a present for his son, something to sharpen his coal with. He puts a blade down on the table, and Bae examines it and asks him where he got it. Rumple says it came from a man who no longer needed it, but Bae knows it comes from a man who couldn't pay him. Rumple brushes this off, and Bae says he doesn't want any more gifts from the people the Dark One terrorizes. He then throws the blade to the floor, upset, and his father asks him what he wants then, what would make him happy. Baelfire stands up from his seat and says, "Leaving this place," while walking past his old man. He adds that he's tired of staying in that hovel all the time, and Rumple says that can be easily fixed, and suggests a castle. He says he can build Bae a palace, so magnificent that its shadow would blanket the country's eyes. Bae turns to his father and says that's not what he means: he wants to go out, have friends, see the world beyond those four walls. He asks why his father can't just trust him to do that, and the wizard tells his son he does trust him, it's others he can't. He explains that he has many enemies beyond that door, and once he leaves, they can hurt him. Bae wonders if that's the only reason, and observes that maybe what he is worried about is that, should he leave, he might never come back. Rumple looks upset, and tells his frustrated son that he's worried about his safety, and this is the best place for him. Bae sits back down at the table again, upset. Rumple says he doesn't know what he would do if he ever lost his son.
In the present, Mr. Gold - the Dark One - is seen sitting on rocks in the island of Neverland, crafting a natural pasty paint. He presses three fingers on the paint and then uses them to smear it in his face, creating a war mask over the right side. A familiar female voice tells him he's always felt more comfortable behind a mask. Gold shows off the hint of a smile as he hears the voice. The vision of Belle, wearing the same outfit from her last sighting, sits down by his side as he tells her she was the only one who was able to see past the mask - as though it's really Belle beside him. "Past the mask of the monster." Belle puts her hand over his and asks why he'd put it back on now, and he explains that he needs the monster if he wants to save Henry, and he has decided that he'll save him. Belle reminds him that the prophecy states that Henry will be his undoing, and that to save him ensures his own death. Gold realizes that she doesn't think he can do it, and she responds that she thinks his intentions are good, but comments that a lifetime of craving self-interest is a nasty habit, one that he's never been able to break. Gold says that things are different now, and she asks how, what is. "Because I have nothing to live for." This said, Belle grabs his hand again and asks what about her. Rumple says she's not real... just a vision. And the vision replies that she - meaning, the real Belle - is back in Storybrooke, waiting for him. Gold tells her she shouldn't be, because when he said goodbye to her, they both knew it was for good. He gets up, and she says that maybe she thinks he'll come back. He turns back around to her as he says that, even if he did come back, eventually she would leave him, because she can see him for what he really is, and she thinks she sees a good man, but in time, she'd see the monster. "My son is dead. The only way I can redeem myself is by saving his son and giving my life."
A simple mockup of Pan's compound.
Emma has drawn a map in the sand with a stick as a means of helping them visualize their plan to save Henry. She points out where they're keeping him, in Pan's compound... "According to, uh..." she says, "Tinker Bell," the former fairy finishes, as she walks around gathering wood for them. Emma says she knows, but it's still weird to say. The blonde tells the other blonde that "Tink" is fine, but Emma comments that she's not sure that's any better. She recounts what Tink said about there being sentries positioned across the front of the camp, which is why they are going to come in through the back entrance. Tink will talk her way in, and once she makes sure that the coast is clear, they're going to sneak on in. Tinker Bell points out that they're still going to deal with any Lost Boys once they're inside, to which Regina replies, rather snidely, that she thinks they can handle a few children with pointy sticks. Tink remarks that it's not the sticks they need to worry about, it's the poison they're dipped in. This prompts David to exchange a look with Hook... Mary Margaret points out that Hook warned them about Dreamshade, and as the former fairy starts to explain what happens with one nick of that, David gets up and interrupts her, claiming that they got it. He then asks when they can get started on that rescue mission, and Tink says that she's ready to go... just as soon as she tells them the exit plan. They all look dumb. "You do have an escape plan, don't you?" Mary Margaret points out that it was more of a last-minute trip. Tink says that if they don't have a way off the island, then none of this matters. Regina stands up and says they will figure this out. Tink, unconvinced, tells them that no one comes and goes from that place unless Pan allows it. She adds that this is a waste of time, and David says that when it comes to family they always find a way.
Tink stole from a corpse.
Tink claims that they don't get, and then pulls something out of her satchel to show them - a wristwatch. She asks if they know what is - Emma points out it's a watch. Tink says she got it from the people who brought their son there for Pan. This provokes an instant reaction in Emma, who gets up and asks her where Greg and Tamara are, and why they'd give her that. Tink says she got it off the girl's body. Emma is stunned... Tink, putting it back in her satchel, goes on to say that she spent half the night cleaning the blood off it, and adds that there wasn't much left of the other guy to find anything useful in him. This provokes an evil smirk in Regina... Tinker Bell uses this scenario to prove her point: this is what Pan does to people he employs, so what is he gonna do to them should they cross him? She then says she's not sticking her neck on Pan's chopping block without a way off that island. She starts to leave, as she tells them that, when they figure that out, they can get her where she lives. Mary Margaret is frustrated that their new aid is leaving, and David says he'll get her and bring her back, but Emma stops him, claiming that she's right. She goes on to say that if there is one thing she's learned it's to never break in somewhere unless one knows a way out. Regina asks her if she learned that in bail bonds person school, and Emma answers that Neal taught her that. Regina doesn't reply. David turns to Hook, reminding him that he got off the island before. Hook confirms this, and explains that he left on his ship, which would require some sort of magic to create a portal, which he got from Pan... in a deal he doesn't think Pan's ready to repeat. Regina asks if no one's ever left the island without Pan's permission, and Hook points out that one man did: Emma's partner-in-crime, Neal... Emma asks how, and Hook says maybe they can find out. He then leads the team elsewhere.
Gold, with his face paint on, is seen walking through the woods of the island, and he is stopped when he hears voices. He notices two Lost Boy sentries in a clearing next to him, and makes their way to them through the plants. The boys notice him, and one starts to order him to stop by order of... he is unable to finish his line, for Rumple casts a sleeping spell on them. They fall unconscious to the floor, dropping their weapons in the process, and the Dark One says he doesn't take orders. He then proceeds to pick up one of their spears, and he is caught off-guard by someone rushing through the bushes, panting. Gold prepares to hit the oncomer with the spear, but the runner is startled and stopped cold on his track by the sight of the weapon-yielding man. They then look at each other and recognize one another... father and son. The runner is Neal, who has accidentally found his way to his father. Rumple, full of surprise and confusion, says, "Bae..."
Rumple's welcoming manners are rusty.
Gold looks as though he's prepared to attack Neal, who looks at his father with confusion. Gold, looking angry, tells his son he's not real, he's dead. Neal, further confused, says he is indeed real, and asks what is going on. Rumple says he's a vision, just like Belle. Gold starts approaching him, and Neal, relatively intimidated, tries to convince him that he's the real deal, explaining that he was shot but he survived. Rumple grabs him by the throat and pins him against the nearest tree, while shouting that his son is dead, and pointing the spear at him. He shouts that the vision is just there to remind him of his failure, his weakness. Neal, horrified, insists that he's real and begs him to put the spear down, while Rumple rambles on about the vision is there to make him question his resolve, but it won't succeed: he will sacrifice his life for Henry, and nothing will stand in his way. However, when Neal calls him "papa", something is triggered within the Dark One. "Bae... is it really you?" Neal confirms this, whilst trying to gasp for air. Rumple drops the spear and touches his son's face, with teary eyes, saying that he thought he'd lost him forever... Neal tries to recover from the fright.
Back in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin enters his house and immediately starts talking to his son, expecting him to be there, by saying that he was thinking that only a king should live in a castle, so Bae should try the crown he's brought home on for size. However, Rumple soon realizes that his son isn't home. He looks around but the house is empty.
The beast terrorizes Hamelin.
The sheriff of the town of Hamelin is seen standing on top of a rock pedestal, delivering a speech to a gathered mass of people in front of him, out on the streets. He is heard telling them that they will start organizing search parties immediately, but he is interrupted by the voice of Rumplestiltskin, who asks if the villagers think that they can hide Baelfire from him. The sight of the Dark One appearing before them horrifies the villagers, who start to look down, as he asks them where his son is. The sheriff swears that he isn't there, and Rumple orders him - quite loudly - not to lie to him, frightening the sheriff. The Dark One then explains that magic has led him there, to that rathole of a town. Bae's trail ends there, in Hamelin. He says he knows they're hiding Bae from him, and the sheriff steps down from his pedestal and denies this, claiming that many of their children went missing the night before, lured from their beds by some unholy music. Rumple asks what kind of music, and the sheriff explains that it came from a pipe, and only the children could hear it. Some of them tried telling their parents, but no one believed them. They were sent back to bed, and that morning they were gone. Cries are heard among the villagers. Rumple asks who was playing the pipe, and the sheriff recounts that no one saw his face, only a figure, hidden by a pied coat of multicolored patches, leading the children from their homes and into the forest. Rumple, intrigued, approaches the sheriff, who tells him it has to be the same that's taken his son. Rumple then says that, whoever this pied piper is, he's about to play his last note.
Neal and his father get straight to business.
In the present-day Neverland action, Gold, now having regained his composure, asks his son how it's possible that he's alive and there, but Neal simply tells him that it's kind of a long story, but the debt Robin Hood owes him has been paid. Neal picks up the spear from the ground as Gold asks him if he was back in their land, which he confirms, but he focuses on the fact that he's made it there and all that matters now is that he helps Emma save Henry, and asks where she is. Gold says that he left her and everyone else aboard Hook's ship. Neal is confused, but doesn't ask questions, and his father goes on to say that as noble as their intentions may be, they don't have the stomach to do what needs to be done. "Like what you did to these boys?" Neal asks, referring to the Lost Boys that Rumple knocked out. Neal starts to ask whether they're dead, unable to actually use the last word, and Gold says they're just sleeping for now. Neal suggests that they leave it that way, and goes through their artillery. Gold points out that Neal doesn't have the stomach either. Neal walks up to his father, arms in tow, saying he'll do whatever needs to be done, but they don't need to kill Lost Boys. Rumple says they shall see. Neal wonders if he has a plan, or whether his whole bit about sacrificing his life was him being dramatic. Gold says that's the only way: Pan is too powerful, and one can only beat him if they're willing to die... which he is. "What if I told you there was another way?" He hands his father back the spear and starts walking.
Later, the two of them are seen walking alongside the seashore of the island, on the sandy beach. Gold asks his son what his plan is, and Neal puts down his arrow case and starts talking about how when one holds a shell up to their ear they can hear the ocean. He crouches down and picks up a conch shell, telling him that, with certain shells, the ocean can hear them. This said, he blows into the shell, and a loud sound is produced. Rumple asks they would need the ocean to hear them, and Neal, still blowing into the shell, points ahead. Rumple looks at the ocean and Neal stops what he's doing, and they both witness a commotion starting up in the waters. Rumple asks him what he's done, and a gigantic sea creature comes to the surface, approaching the beach. Neal asks to be given the spear, which is now tied to a long rope. He hurls the spear at the beast and hits it above the head, and it screeches in pain. Father and son start reeling the beast in, pulling it closer to the beach, until it calms down. Gold points out that it's a squid, and Neal confirms this, and recounts that he believes Gold knows how to extract ink from one of those bad boys. Rumple realizes that Neal's plan involves squid ink, and his son reminds him that it can immobilize the most magical of creatures, even Pan, at least for a little while. Rumple says that he has some experience with this, and Neal asks if he can get it out, which he claims he can. Rumple then asks him how he plans to get close enough to use it, and Neal, picking up his weapons again, says he doesn't need to get close, he just needs a clean shot to get Henry back. Rumple tells him they'll leave that to him.
The Jolly Roger crew reaches a hideout in the woods, fashioned into the rocks and sealed with a sliding door. Regina asks what it's supposed to be, and Emma asks if Neal swung out of Neverland in a vine. Hook asks that someone be kind enough to give him a hand, and suggests that the savior does, but David steps in instead, holding Emma back. The two men make their way to the door and Hook tells his mate that he doesn't look so hot, as they start pulling on a rope to bring the sliding door up. David replies that such a thing isn't easy in that damn jungle, but that he's pretty hot. This said, he sort of pushes Hook out of the way and finishes opening the door. Hook says, "Ladies first", and the women start to enter the cave. Once they're in and David starts to go after them, Hook stops him and asks him how much longer he thinks he can keep up this charade, and whether he doesn't think his family deserves to know that he's going to die. David asks him why he cares, and Hook asks him why he doesn't. David wonders what the point is in telling them when there is nothing he can do to stop the poison and there is no hope. Hook says that if there is one he's learned from them hero types is that there is always hope. David asks his "mate" if there is something he isn't telling him, and Hook replies that hope and reality are worlds apart. Hook told him the truth, he's not gonna make it off the island alive. David says that this is between them then, and the only thing they need to worry about saving is Henry. David then enters the cave, pushing Hook as he does.
Emma wonders where she is.
Inside the cave, Emma calls out for Hook, as she and Mary Margaret look at the walls. The men enter the premise and the blonde asks the pirate what that place is and what they are doing there. The captain tries to use his hook and a rock to light a fire on a torch, but David simply uses his pocket lighter. Emma then notices the drawings on the walls, and realizes that Neal lived there. Hook confirms this, going on to say that Baelfire spent some time in Neverland when he was a boy, and that was his home. Mary Margaret asks him if he thinks Bae may have left a clue as to how he escaped there, and Hook says, "Well, let's hope so. Or we'll be lost just like he was." Emma continues to look around.
In the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin is seen sitting on top of a window ledge in a random house in Hamelin, at night, playing the waiting game. Suddenly, he can hear a soothing pipe music playing, coming from nowhere. As the song starts, several teenage boys start to emerge from their houses, going so far as climbing down ropes onto the street, to follow the sound of the music. Rumple watches as the boys line up to follow the sound, and then he himself follows after them.
The Dark One looks for his son.
Shortly afterwards, Rumplestiltskin has made it to a clearing in the woods nearing Hamelin, where a large bonfire has been set up and the teenagers are dancing and playing music around it, all covered with facemasks. Rumple looks on at them, as they flip around in the air and act carefree, and calls out for Bae. He starts grabbing boys at random, hoping to identify his son, but doesn't seem to find him. He then spots the cloaked figure playing the pipe, and dashes over to it magically, grabbing the man and taking his musical instrument from him. He demands that the "piper" give him back his son, and breaks the pipe in half, then throwing both halves to the ground. The piper turns around as he asks if that is what they are calling him, and then says they both know who he really is... he then removes the hood of his cloak and reveals himself as Peter Pan! Rumple is shocked, and Pan tells him it's been a long time, but he's glad the Dark One could make the show.
Celebrate good times, come on!
Rumplestiltskin has been faced with an old acquaintance of his, Peter Pan, who is the figure that was behind the disappearances of the teen boys. As the young men keep dancing like crazy around the bonfire, Pan tells Rumple that he seems surprised to see him, but he doesn't blame his old friend, for he's a little surprised himself. Pan says it's good for him that he grew up to become the Dark One. The latter asks Pan what he is doing there, and the eternal young man replies that it was lonely in Neverland, the only friends he has are the ones who visit him in their dreams and they can't stay, but the boys he takes back with him will. Rumple realizes that Pan is there for his son, which the nasty kid confirms. Rumple says, with determination, that it's going to take a lot more than a magic pipe to get his son, and Pan says that the only thing magic about that pipe is that only certain boys can hear it: boys who feel unloved, boys who feel lost. Pan acknowledges that that must be why Rumple can hear it, and the Dark One tells him not to pretend to know him, because he doesn't anymore. Pan thinks he does, however, and comments that beneath all that power, Rumple is nothing more than an unloved, lonely lost boy. Pan then smirks and says he likes the sound of that, and decides that that's what he'll call his new group of friends: the "Lost Boys". "Has a nice ring, don't you think?" Rumple says he can call them whatever he likes, but Baelfire will not be a part of it. Peter responds that Bae is already a part of it, and the question is, what is his father willing to do to get him back? The Dark One replies that he's gonna make him regret ever asking that question. Pan says that he understands Rumple's upset, for most parents' worst fear is that their child might be taken away from then. But Pan then adds that that's not Rumple's fear, however: he's not afraid Baelfire might be taken from him; he's afraid Bae will leave him. He brings up that being abandoned is something Rumple is good at, for everyone he's ever known has left him, like Bae's mother, Milah, not to mention his own father... Pan wonders why Baelfire should be any different, and Rumple tells him he's wrong. Peter suggests that they find out, by having Rumple asking Baelfire if he wants to come to Neverland with Pan, or stay here with him. He then says if Bae wants to stay, he'll leave them be. "Deal?" he asks. Rumple replies that he doesn't have to make any deals with him, and Peter asks why he wouldn't, if he's so sure Bae will stay. Rumple looks at him with uncertainty in his eyes.
Henry is no fun.
We are treated to a similar bacchanal taking place in the present-day Neverland. Henry looks pensive, sitting with his back turned to the festivities of the Lost Boys, who dance, stage fights with their rain sticks and make noise around a bonfire in Pan's compound. Pan, holding his blade and pipe, looks at Henry, and walks over to him, asking if he doesn't want to join the celebration. The boy says he has nothing to celebrate, and Pan says this whole party is to celebrate Henry. Henry asks why, and Pan answers that it's because he's come to save magic. Henry isn't convinced, but Pan says he can't think of anything worthy of celebrating more than that. Peter tells him to just look at them, which he does. He then turns back to his captor, however, and says he's not like them, or like him. Peter says he is, he's still a boy. The leader then thinks a song might get him on his feet, and starts to play on his pipe, but Henry claims not to hear anything. Pan claims that this is interesting, and explains that the pipe is enchanted and can only be heard by certain children. "Like who?" Henry asks, but Pan doesn't answer right away, for his attention is caught by Felix entering the camp, alone. Pan promises he'll find out soon enough, and gets up to meet Felix. Pan doesn't look pleased as he claims that he knows the look on Felix's face, and asks him what happened. Felix says Baelfire got away. Peter asks why Felix didn't get him back, and his minion explains that he tried, he followed Bae's trail but found two of their sentries knocked out by a sleeping spell. This triggers something in Pan, who realizes that the Dark One is involved then. Felix nods, and Peter acknowledges that father and son have been reunited, referring to Gold and Neal. Felix says they'll be coming for Henry, so they should move him somewhere safe, and Pan tells him not now, and asks where his sense of adventure is, then adding that they can't end the party when the real fun is about to begin. Henry continues to sit isolated, unbeknownst to all that is going on.
Emma discovers something admirable.
Emma is seen looking at the drawings on the walls of Bae's old cave, admiring them. Hook asks if she's spotted anything important, and she can't tell yet. She then points out that she didn't even know Neal liked drawing, which Hook says he got from his mother. A silent moment ensues. The rest of the crew scavenge the cave, looking for anything useful, as Emma hopes that he did in fact leave something useful there, such as a map. Emma asks that David hand her a candle, which he does, lighting up a candle that is contained inside one half of an empty coconut shell. She asks Hook if he's had any luck, and the pirate makes it clear that he hasn't. Emma holds up the candle to the walls, passing by drawings of the entire Darling family as he knew them, as Hook tells her that there are other drawings in the far wall but as far as he can tell that's all they are, probably just a way to pass the time and keep him occupied. Emma realizes that Hook knew him pretty well, and the captain reminds her that he and Bae spent some time together. She doesn't know how to react, and he asks her if she's alright. Emma says it looks like he's right, they're just a bunch of pictures, and she then turns to Mary Margaret and asks what it is she's examining. Her mother answers that they are just some cups and bowls Bae fashioned from things he found, and David holds up another half of an empty coconut shell, unsure of how good a cup it could have been, since it's filled with holes. Mary Margaret opines that maybe it was a small colander, and Regina replies sarcastically that surely young Baelfire cooked a lot of pasta as a pre-teen. Her old nemesis gives her a look. Emma examines the half of the shell and tells them to hold on. She asks Hook to snuff out the torch, which he does, and then she puts the half on top of the other half she was holding that contains the lit up candle. The light from the candle emerges through the holes on the top half of the coconut lamp, and Regina asks if she's supposed to be impressed that he made a night light. Emma looks up at the ceiling and tells them to do the same, which they do. The light reflects above them, forming little dots over them. "Stars..." Mary Margaret says, with a smile. Hook says it's a map, and David asks where to. Emma, smiling with hope, says, "Home..."
Villains never stop talking.
At Pan's compound, the Lost Boys are still enjoying their festivities, while Henry merely sits down all by himself still. Suddenly, the camp is hit by a wave of magic that knocks everyone unconscious. Everyone, that is, except Pan. The camp is darker now for the wave put out most sources of light as well, and Peter Pan, amused, gets up and says, out loud, that they have a guest, who is no doubt someone who knows how much he likes guessing games. He wonders, playfully, who it could be, and then he lights the bonfire back up and guesses... the Dark One. Rumplestiltskin is seen before him when the light comes back up. Neal is then seen lurking in the bushes, as Pan is heard asking Gold if he's come to save his grandson. Pan calls this exciting, the notion of the Dark One ready to sacrifice his life for his family, and he then says - speaking of family - that Baelfire can come out, after he lights up a torch near where Neal is hiding. Rumple's son appears from behind the tree, aiming his crossbow at the villain, and says that his name is Neal now. "New name but the same old tricks," Pan says. He then comments that it's heartwarming to see father and son working together, especially after Rumple abandoned Bae. A real family reunion. Gold asks his son what he's waiting for, and Neal says he's got this... and promptly fires the arrow at Pan, which he catches mid-air before it hits him in the neck. Pan deems it clever, but reminds him that they've been through this before, and he remembers nothing. Neal, taking down the crossbow, claims to remember plenty, which is why he didn't coat the tip of the arrow. Pan disposes of the arrow but is then put under the effect of the paralyzing squid ink. They rush to grab Henry, and Pan says that he's impressed, but then asks Bae if he's sure he's really saving Henry, and Neal asks what could be worse than leaving him with his captor. Peter suggests that he ask his father, for sometimes the people we should fear the most are the ones closest to us. Neal asks his father what he's talking about, and Gold tells him not to listen to Pan, as the perpetual young man tells Baelfire about the prophecy. Neal asks what prophecy, and Pan answers that it's the prophecy that says Neal's been tricked, for his father isn't there to rescue Henry: he's there to murder him...
Family feud. The kind with no money prizes.
The reunited family has made their way to a clearing far from Pan's compound, and Neal puts the unconscious Henry down on the ground so that he may rest, and immediately turns to his father, asking him what Peter was talking about. Gold tells him not to mind the villain, and Neal starts to freak out, spitting out that Pan said Rumple was gonna murder Henry. The Dark One turns to his son and says that Pan plays mind games, and the important thing is they got the boy and they got away. Neal asks where they are, and his father answers that they are on the other side of the island, and that they're safe there for the time being. Neal tries to get Henry to wake up, and Rumple says he can't hear him. Neal tells him to wake the boy up then, and Gold states that pulling him out of the spell could be dangerous, he'll awake naturally in a few hours and be fine. Neal says that his father can explain to him what Pan meant then, the prophecy, and him saying Gold would kill Henry. Rumple tries to brush this off, explaining that he meant to create a wedge between them, and Neal points out that this is not a denial. He then says that this has something to do with when his father found him and thought that he was a hallucination, he said he would give his life to save Henry. Neal asks him what he meant, and Gold calls him by his original name, which leads him to shout that he's named Neal now. He orders his father to stop dodging and to tell him what is going on. With some hesitance, Rumple explains to his son that there was a seer who told him of a prophecy: that a boy would help him reunite with his son, and that boy will be his undoing. Neal realizes that he means Henry, and Gold makes it clear that he didn't know the boy was gonna be his own grandson, until he found Neal in New York and discovered he was his father. Neal concludes that his father was planning on getting rid of the boy, whoever he was, to try and cheat fate, get around the prophecy. Neal calls his old man a cold-blooded son of a bitch. "You were gonna kill him." Rumple confirms this, with difficulty. Neal orders his father to get back and stay away from Henry, and Rumple explains that that was then and things have changed, he didn't come to Neverland to hurt Henry, he came to save him. Neal asks him if he's supposed to believe him, and the Dark One, saddened, tells his son he wouldn't lie to him. Self-preservation has been a nasty habit he's had his whole life, but he came there to break it, do the right thing and save Neal's son, even if it meant sacrificing his own life. Rumple tells him he has to trust him, and Neal asks how he can. Rumple is disheartened.
Rumple can't recognize his son.
In the flashback, Rumplestiltskin looks around with confusion and uncertainty at the Lost Boys dancing around the bonfire, as he stands next to the dreadful Peter Pan. The latter points out that the Dark One can't even recognize his son, and Rumple asks how he could if Bae's wearing a mask. Pan observes that he is indeed wearing a mask, but that's not the reason. Pan then points at Baelfire, telling Rumple to look at him, and comments on how he's doing, playing with other boys, out in the world. He states that Bae is happy, which is why Rumple doesn't recognize him. Rumple stops Baelfire and removes the mask from his face, asking him if he's alright. Bae says he's fine and asks him why he's there. Rumple says that he knows his son thinks he doesn't care about him, but he does, and he's there to prove it. Bae asks him how, and Rumple isn't sure of what to say. Pan tells him to go ahead, but Rumple, undecided, grabs his son. Bae asks him what he's doing, to which Rumple responds that he's protecting him. This said, the Dark One envelops his son in a cloud of crimson smoke and makes him disappear. Pan, annoyed, tells Rumple he'll regret not taking his deal, and the smoke covers the Dark One as well.
Bae is further aggravated by his father's decisions.
Father and son show up together from the crimson smoke, back in their old home, and Bae breaks off their contact, ordering him to get away. Rumple tries to soothe him, telling him it's alright, he's safe. Bae fires back that he was never in danger, because the piper was his friend. Rumple says he may have wanted Bae to think that, but he has to believe him: the piper would've hurt him. Bae asks why and who he is, whether he's another person the Dark One's abused with his power. Rumple explains that the piper's name is Peter Pan, and he's known him since he was a boy. Growing up, they were incredibly close. Bae realizes Pan is immortal too, and Rumple says he wasn't always, but he went to a place called Neverland. Rumple adds that Pan betrayed him and can't be trusted. Bae asks what happened and Rumple merely states that all that matters is that Pan fooled him for a long time until he finally saw his true nature, and it is darker and more repulsive than Bae should ever be exposed to. Baelfire says Pan can't be any worse than his father. Bae tries to defend himself saying he had to protect him, he didn't have a choice, and Bae lashes out at him, claiming that he knows his father did, he knows about the deal Pan offered him: all he had to do was ask his son if he wanted to come home. Pan told him, said that way he'd know whether his father really trusted him, if he really cared. Rumple is saddened that his son is hurt, but Bae continues, going on to say that his father didn't need to do this, he would've chosen to come home, he would've chosen him. "If only you asked," he says, "Maybe we could've found a way to be a family again." As he says this, Baelfire starts to walk away from his father. Rumple tells him they can be, but Bae leaves the house, as his father calls out for him.
Neal opens up to his old man.
In the present, Neal is seen sitting down in front of the unconscious Henry, with a yellow piece of leaf on his hand, and Gold, standing before him, asks what he has to do to gain his trust, and he'll do it. Neal requests that he be given the Dark One dagger. Rumple is caught off-guard. Neal claims to know him, and he knows Rumple wouldn't have come all the way to Neverland without it, it's the only thing that can control him, stop him, so he wouldn't take any chances with it. Rumple claims not to have it, and Neal asks why he's lying, to which Rumple replies that he isn't. Rumple says that he hid it so that Pan wouldn't get it and stop him. Neal orders that he unhide it, and Rumple says that his shadow took it. Neal laughs this off, gets up and observes that his father has an answer for everything. Rumple swears that he's telling him the truth, and Neal considers that maybe he did hide it and maybe he is trying to do the right thing, but that's "today", and Neal is worried about "tomorrow". Rumple claims that he's changed, and Neal reminds him that the prophecy still stands: he saves Henry, and he's still Rumple's undoing. Gold steps his foot down, saying he's still willing to die for him, and Neal wonders what happens if they get back and he's reunited with Belle, and he realizes that the only thing standing between him and his happy ending is Henry, and suddenly "undoing" doesn't sound so great. Rumple, heartbroken, tells his son that he is his happy ending, this is, because it's his redemption. He says that he can be strong, if Neal has faith in him. Neal grabs his father's hand, and they both join theirs, and he then tells his father that when he was living there, sleeping in a cave, he used to dream about Rumple coming to rescue him. But then he'd wake up and remember of how he left him behind... Rumple starts to tear up, as Neal recounts that he left his own son behind for the power of that dagger, so how could he think that things would ever be any different? Neal moves away from his father and Gold realizes that he has the bit of leaf Neal was holding attached to his hand. He shakes it off and notices the squid ink on his palm. Suddenly, the paralyzing ink works its magic on him, and Gold asks his son what he's doing. Neal picks up the unconscious Henry, puts him over his shoulders and says that he's going to find Emma and the others and get off that island, and then he's going to get his family back home. He starts walking away and Gold says he can't go in the jungle alone, for without his power to protect him Pan will capture them both. Neal stops to look back and says he has no choice, for they are safer without him. "Goodbye papa," he says, leaving the paralyzed Rumplestiltskin powerless and crying.
Back in Baelfire's old Neverland hideout, the Jolly Roger crew is still seen to be admiring the star map that's imprinted on the ceiling above them, emerging from the coconut lamp. Mary Margaret asks Hook how he can be sure it's a map, and the pirate recounts that there was a short time in that realm when Bae was aboard his ship, and he taught him to navigate using the stars, so what they're looking at is the fruit of Hook's labors. Regina thinks he can read it, but Hook sadly denies this, which catches Emma's attention. David reminds him that he just said he taught Bae how, but Hook explains that he also taught him that the key to being a pirate is secrecy. The best captains conceal their maps in codes, and Bae was an apt pupil. Mary Margaret points out that he's saying the only person that can read that map is Neal... and Emma states that means the only person who can read it is dead. She puts the light down and rushes out of the cave, looking upset, and her parents follow after her. David tells her to wait, and she tells them now is not the time. Snow says that she can't even imagine the sadness Emma must be feeling, but the blonde tells her she's not sad, she's pissed. Even though Neal just died, she lost him years ago, all that time thinking that he didn't love her, only to find out that he did and it was too late. Emma can't even tell him how angry that makes her, or how much it hurt when he left her, or how terrified she was when he came back because she knew the moment she saw him that she never stopped loving him. Emma says all this trying to fight back the tears, and is eventually forced to leave her parents' side so that she may go and break down by herself. Mary Margaret is hurt for her daughter. David tries to comfort her, saying Emma will be okay, and that they have done everything they can. Snow tells him that's the problem, she has no idea how to comfort her daughter, it is the first thing a mother learns and she doesn't know how. David says he feels the same way, but Emma is so upset. Mary Margaret isn't pleased to hear this, asking him how they could even blame her, for if he died she herself would not be able to move on. This triggers something in David, who tells her that she must. She is confused, and he tells her that everyday they are in Neverland something bad could happen, and if it did, to him, he'd want her to move on, to continue to be happy. Snow touches his face and says that's really sweet, but nothing is going to happen to him, not while she's there. She hugs him, and David looks guilty.
The game has changed, but it feels like the same thing all over again.
Neal finds his way to the clearing where the Jolly Roger crew has set up camp, with the sleeping Henry over his shoulder. He puts the boy down on the ground and feels the hot air around the bonfire, indicating that someone - Emma, he concludes - had been there recently. He is startled by the sound of Pan's voice telling him he came so close to finding them, however, and the villain and his army of Lost Boys make themselves appear, surrounding Neal. Pan tells him he disappoints him, for he though he'd taught Bae better: never break in somewhere unless he knows the way out. Neal says he'll remember that the next time, but Pan responds that there won't be a next time. Felix moves in to retrieve Henry, as Peter tells Neal not to blame himself, for his father could've protected him indeed, but then who would have protected Henry from him? Felix now has Henry over his shoulders, and Pan makes a comparison to the metaphor about a rock and a hard place. Neal walks up to him and says he will get his son back, no matter what it takes. Pan says he's not getting it, for that's not the problem. He got Henry, and Pan got him back: it's the game. His real problem is that there is no escaping Neverland, no one gets off that island without his permission. Neal smirks and says he's done it before, sure of himself, but Pan questions him. Neal is confused, and the villain tells him to look where he is now... it's like he's never left. Neal asks if he's saying he let him go, and Pan answers that he's saying everyone is where he wants them. Henry starts to regain consciousness, and Pan, now in a hurry, tells Neal this is something to chew on. He then tells his Lost Boys they know where to take him, and two of them grab Neal to escort him elsewhere, while Felix takes Henry away. Neal calls out for Henry, and Pan tells him it won't be for very long, just until he resets the board. Neal shouts at his son that he's alive, and that he'll come after him, as Pan starts to walk away and says that the game is about to change.
Nobody knows what she's doing there.
The magical effects of the squid ink that was paralyzing Rumplestiltskin vanish, and he is able to move again. He removes the hay doll that his father gave him and the Belle vision makes itself appear again, sitting next to him and telling him she's sorry, and that Neal should have trusted him. Rumple asks how he could, after everything he's done, and sits down next to her. Belle tells him Neal may not know what is in his heart, but she does. Belle knows he would've protected Henry and that he would even have given his own life to show Neal that he's changed. Rumple asks her if she's asking him or if she truly believes it. She says she knows it with all her heart, what she doesn't know is why he's so upset now, since Baelfire is alive and he has something to live for. Rumple says that the prophecy remains, however, and stands up. Henry is still his undoing. Belle realizes that's why he's upset, he was prepared to die for the boy but now having his son back has brought back his nasty habit of self-preservation. "Rumple..." she addresses him, "Habits can be broken, can't they?" He doesn't answer right away, and when he does, he says, "Go away, Belle. I don't wanna talk right now." The vision disappears. He is left alone.
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria, Macarena!
Henry wakes up fully, back in Peter Pan's compound. The Lost Boys have resumed their festivities, dancing, fighting and making music and noise around the bonfire, as though nothing happened. Henry sits up to find Pan kneeling down before him. Henry asks what happened, and Pan answers that he feel asleep. He says the night is still young. The boys keep celebrating, except for Felix, who is sitting down, looking worried. Henry then claims to remember something: when he was asleep, he could've sworn he heard his dad calling for him. Pan asks, "Really?", feigning interest. Henry claims that it must've been a dream, and Pan wonders how he can be sure, to which the Mills boys replies that his dad's dead. Pan gives him his regards, and says that it makes sense to dream about the things one's lost, and the things they hoped for, like his father being alive or his mother coming to find him. He adds that eventually Henry will find new things to dream about, and when he does, they'll start to come true. Henry asks him how he knows, and Pan answers that that's what he did, and now Henry's there. He says Neverland used to be a place where new dreams were born, and Henry can bring that magic back, and they can be his family. Henry gives this some thought. Peter then stands up and says out loud that he'd like to play a song. Henry stands up too, beside him, and Pan explains that the song is for their guest of honor, Henry. Henry smiles, and Pan starts to play on his pipe, as the boys continue to celebrate. This time, the music seems to have an effect on Henry, who starts to move around to it, shaking two rain sticks. "You can hear the music now, can't you, Henry?" he asks, and the boy simply replies, "Yeah," rather excitedly. He then joins the Lost Boys, dancing around the bonfire with them. Pan is thrilled.
"Mr. Van Winkle"
Mr. Van Winkle is sent to sleep.
A man is seen rushing through the woods of the Enchanted Forest, apparently being chased by something, when the words of Rumplestiltskin echo over him: "You can run, dearie..." the Dark One starts to say as the running man trips over a log; he then sits up to see Rumple himself approaching, and he finishes with, "But you can't hide." He goes on to say that the terms of their deal were quite clear - payment at first light - and the man explains that he had a few pints at the tavern and overslept; he says he just needs a little more time. Rumple squints at him before asking why he didn't just say so, telling the man that he can have all the time in the world. The man is surprised to hear this and Rumple explains that immortality breeds patience; "Shall we say a hundred years?" The man comments that that's generous, but wonders how he'll still be alive to pay his debt. Rumple assures him that he'll take care of that, noting that the man likes to sleep and offering him a nice, long nap, then revealing his name to be Mr. Van Winkle. Mr. Van Winkle screams in defiance as he realizes what's about to happen, but it's too late; Rumple waves his hand, works his magic, and Mr. Van Winkle falls asleep for 100 years. The Dark One giggles maniacally before robbing the sleeping man of the sheathed dagger on his belt.
- The title card of this episode features a Lost Boy, wearing a cape and dancing around a bonfire.
- This is the first episode of the season to feature the entire credited regular cast.
- The title of this episode was revealed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on August 18, 2013, along with a photograph of the script's cover.
- This episode was written by David H. Goodman and Robert Hull, marking the 9th writing credit for the former with the series, and the 4th said credit for the latter, as well as their 3rd shared writing credit. It was directed by David Boyd, his 1st such credit with the series.
The episode scored a 2.0/5 among 18-49s with only 6.98 million viewers tuning in, down four tenths from the previous airing. However, it was the #1 show on the night of its original airing in the key demographic.
- In a review from Entertainment Weekly, Hillary Busis says, "Although tonight's Once featured plenty of thumping music, rowdy dancing, and barbaric yawps, the episode's plot wasn't nearly as driving and insistent as the Lost Boys' delirious bacchanals. Instead, "Nasty Habits" focused more on character than incident -- namely, Rumpelstiltskin's ongoing struggle to redeem himself, and his continually fraught relationship with his own lost-and-found son."
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN was impressed with the Neal/Rumplestiltskin storyline, adding that "Michael Raymond-James has taken Neal in an interesting direction over the past season, and any time he gets to be on screen with Robert Carlyle it's good for everyone."
- Amy Scales of Entertainment Outlook gave it 5 stars: "Once Upon a Time was on fire tonight and the show is as good now as it has ever been. Nasty Habits was an hour so jam-packed with revelations that my head is still spinning. Squids, magic flutes, long overdue confrontations and the complete knowledge that this is most certainly a game and Pan is most certainly the one in charge."
- Gwen Ihnat of The A.V. Club gave the episode a C rating, saying: "Remember those “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were” posters from the 1970s? Not to inflict bad wall art on anyone, but our OUAT characters could learn a thing or two from that old cliché."
Gallery of photographic stills used to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "TV Ratings Sunday: 'The Mentalist' & 'Once Upon a Time' Hit Lows + 'The Good Wife' & 'Betrayal' Up", by Amanda Kondolojy, Zap2It.com, October 21, 2013.
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time' recap: Let the Wild Rumpus Start!", by Hillary Busis, EW.com, October 21, 2013.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time: "Nasty Habits" Review", by Amy Raycliffe, IGN.com, October 20, 2013.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time – “Nasty Habits” 3.04 Review", by Amy Scales, EntertainmentOutlook.com, October 21, 2013.
- ↑ ""Nasty Habits" S3 / E4", by Gwen Ihnat, AVClub.com, October 20, 2013.