Once Upon A Time Season 3 Review “Heart of the Truest Believer”

Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 1 Heart of the Truest Believer (4)

In last night’s season three premiere of Once Upon a Time, we pick up with Emma, Regina, Hook, Rumplestiltskin, Snow, and Charming sailing into Neverland to find Henry. We learn that Neal has survived and is recuperating in the Enchanted Forest, which suggests we’ll have another storyline of Neal trying to get to Neverland. Feels familiar.

Emma’s exceptionally high strung and not in the mood for parenting advice from Snow and Charming. She reminds them that they are all the same age, and that she has acquired just as much life wisdom as them. This conversation was long overdue. It’s a tribute to the actors that Snow and Charming seem parental in relation to Emma, despite their same ages. Hopefully, part of the story this year will be Snow and Charming learning to relate to Emma in a different way than they currently do. It far too late for them to try and raise her. Emma is right that she has her own experiences that have formed her outlook on the world. Part of that experience involved her decision to give up Henry, which is what the show focuses on in the opening scene.

I have always thought that Emma has much better chemistry with Hook than Neal, so it was nice to see a little tension between her and our favorite pirate. If Neal wants to chill for a while in the Enchanted Forest, maybe get to know Mulan a little better, that’s fine by me. It would be nice to see Emma have a romantic relationship and take down some of her walls.

While the adults battle rough waters and mermaids, Henry is on the island trying to escape Peter Pan. He doesn’t realize that the boy who is helping him escape is Peter Pan. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Peter Pan being a villain, but I could go for it if he’s not too evil. If Peter Pan was a straight up bad guy, what would’ve been the point of his battle with Captain Hook? Peter Pan should be capricious and selfish, but maybe not a murderer.

Since the end of last season, the actor who plays Henry is no longer a child (according to IMDb, actor Jared Gilmore celebrated his thirteenth birthday in May). This creates problems that need to be addressed. It no longer makes sense for Henry’s mommies to be chasing him all over the place, bickering over who has the right to call herself “mom.” It also does not make sense for Henry to act like a young child. As is natural when a child starts to grow up, whining is no longer cute and precocious – it’s irritating. This all leads to the conclusion that it’s time for Henry to go to Hogwarts and for the show to shift to other storylines.

This leads me to another pet peeve that I have with the Henry storyline. Emma chose to give Henry up. He wasn’t stolen or teleported into another realm. She chose to let someone else raise him. Regina stepped in and took care of this child. She loved, clothed, and fed him. While she is a villain and we have seen her do some bad things, there is nothing to indicate that she ever harmed Henry (the apple turnover was his own fault). For Emma to come in when Henry is 9/10 years old and shove Regina out of the way is not cool. I’ve also never liked how Henry turned on the woman who raised him. Emma is our heroine, though, so we’re supposed to want her to be with Henry. But, it is just obnoxious when Emma makes declarations on a boat about how she will prevail because she is a mother. How do we solve this conundrum of too many mothers and an ungrateful offspring? Hogwarts.

The highlight of the episode for me was the special effects. The scenes on the ship were beautiful and well done. Hook also had some great lines of dialogue, like when he commented on Rumple’s wardrobe change. For me, the charm of the show is how the fairy tale characters become more multidimensional off the page. I really don’t want a season all about chasing Henry. That would be a serious disservice to the bottomless story possibilities for the other characters.

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