Once Upon a Time Season 3 Chat: 5 Things the Extended Charming Family Could Learn from Lost

Let’s start out on a positive note: Robbie Kay has been killing it as Peter Pan this season. He is a wonderful young actor and welcome addition to Once Upon a Time‘s roster of villains. Sadly, he simply hasn’t had a worthy opponent in this never-ending Neverland arc. The extended Charming family have been wondering around the jungle discussing various family issues for what seems like a good decade now. In actuality, it’s been eight episodes (with one to go!), but I’m leaning more towards an eternity.

During all of these long episodes watching the Charmings bumble, Emma insist they need a plan while never formulating one, Regina quip, Neal make terrible choices, Hook flirt with Emma and Rumple angst as mightily as any man can angst, I’ve been wondering how things could have gone differently if someone had a brought a Blu-Ray player and complete boxset of Lost aboard the Jolly Roger…

1. If you’re going to get stuck on a magical island, you gotta do more than chit-chat.

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The castaways on Lost had some great conversations over the course of six seasons, but they were all fairly interesting people to begin with. I can’t say the same thing about Snow and Charming who can be boiled down to a couple of pithy catchphrases: “I’ll always find you” and something about never losing hope. Snow and Emma did have a heartfelt conversation near the beginning of their stay, but for the most part it seems the group has wandered aimlessly, snapped at each other, discussed vague plans, run into the occasional Lost Boy/Tinker Bell and then talked some more.

In the process of finding Henry, couldn’t they have at least stumbled upon the occasional mysterious landmark (minus the magic healing waterfall and Neal’s cave, both of which Hook already knew about)? Ran into some dangerous creatures? Went on a side quest that didn’t involve Hook and Charming bonding? On Lost, treks were fun because you never knew when someone would trip over a hatch, find a random bridge or discover a disappearing cabin in the woods. It made their journeys exciting even when they were secretly just about the bonding, confessionals or quests for redemption. A little action and exploration never hurt anyone, is all I’m saying. (Except for Arzt– he blew up.)

2. Put the most morally ambiguous person in charge.

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Jack was a decent man, but he was an ineffectual leader. The same goes for Snow and Charming. When you’re going up against a cold, calculating ex-conman turned demon child, then you need to fight evil with evil. Which is why Regina and Rumple should have been front and center throughout this save Henry mission. Remember that moment of cool when Regina and Emma decided the best course of action was to rip out a Lost Boy’s heart to get a message to Henry? Wasn’t that a way better use of our heroes’ time than starting fires and wringing their hands?

Regina is their Ben and/or Locke. If you want something done, she’s the one most likely to succeed. Her contributions should be bigger than throwing off the occasional snarky remark, especially when her son’s life is on the line.

3. Isolating yourselves from your less prominent friends is a bad idea.

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Two words: Cage Arc.

Those two seemingly insignificant words can make any Lost fan groan. For six long episodes, Lost sent Jack, Kate and Sawyer to hang out on a small island while the rest of the gang were back on the main island playing ping-pong and having premonitions. It was a rough time for everyone, both the supporting cast because they were underused and the main cast because they were stuck in cages.

Neverland is one giant cage arc. Our main characters can’t do anything, and our secondary characters (what’s left of them) are just hanging in Storybrooke, doing…stuff, I guess. We did get one episode to check in on Belle and Ariel and hey, guess what? They both proved they could have went on a mission too, I’m not saying they’re hiding inner Indiana Jones behind their princess facades, but Belle knows a thing or two about adventuring. They’ve got skills. Granny’s good with a bow. Dr. Whale is…David Anders.

Did they need to be sidelined for an entire half of the season? Probably not.

4. Never trust ancient island beings.

This one is aimed at young Henry. When you meet an immortal on an island, just go ahead and assume he’s not a good guy. Put your hero complex aside and think about why this guy has to lure people to his island in the first place. If he was on the up and up wouldn’t they just, I don’t know, visit on their own accord?

And don’t let him woo you with stupid ideas about saving magic or protecting some mystical, sparkly pond. He’s a life ruiner. I promise. Jacob, Smokey, Pan– all terrible, all good at getting people killed and stroking egos. They’re manipulative jerk faces. Don’t listen to them or you end up dead with the consolation prize of being reunited with a bunch of random people you hung out with on an island for a few months in the afterlife. Not your mom or your first love or Johnny Depp, the smelly guy you sat next to that one time on a plane that crashed. Think about it.

5. Get over your mommy and daddy issues.

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No one has perfect parents. Sometimes they accidentally slam the car door on your fingers (never getting over it) and sometimes they hand you over to a creepy shadow dude so they can have everlasting life. The important thing is to not let these things define you once you become an adult. Otherwise, you end up needing lots of therapy and botching rescue missions with your enormous trust issues.

Every character on Lost had this problem, and the Once Upon a Time gang is following their lead with disastrous results. Even good old Rumple got trapped in Pandora’s Box because he’s not over his abandonment issues. And don’t even get me started on Neal, Emma and Regina. At a certain point you just have to let it all go and save your really naive son/grandson.


The extended Charming crew have two weeks to worry about how to get Henry’s heart back, and that’s enough time for them to check out that boxset (it’s not like they’re doing anything else with their time). What other tips do you think they could get from a thorough Lost viewing? Maybe Neal, Emma and Hook could save themselves some time by examining the Jack, Kate and Sawyer triangle? Or Regina could get some tips on how to dress for jungle comfort? Share your ideas in the comments.

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