'Once Upon a Time' Season 3 Premiere Recap: Only Pure Hearts Survive
'Once Upon a Time' Season 3 Premiere Recap: Only Pure Hearts Survive
Linda Martindale
Linda Martindale
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Once Upon a Time season 3 opens with our band of heroes/villains bound for Neverland. Unfortunately, we all know when you mix good and evil, something has got to give and there are always fights. All summer, we have been urged to "save Henry" and I believe that this group can do it, but they will need help. This week's premiere promises that we will know who the truest believer is. Instead of doing this recap action-wise, I'm going to do it story-wise. So much happens that I am reminded why this show is so good!

As the story opens, we see our group of explorers on Hook's ship, the Jolly Roger, heading to Neverland. Emma has a flashback to Henry's birth. While we know most of this backstory, the actual birth is new. Regina and Hook are at the wheel and discussing Tamara and Owen. Owen told Regina that she was a villain and didn't deserve a happy ending. While believing in the need to save Henry, this group of misfits just cannot get along.

I had wondered when Emma would confront her parents about their action and we get it here. Emma tells Snow and Charming that it is their fault that Henry is missing. Emma realizes what her life could have been like if they hadn't sent her through the wardrobe. Emma and her mother are the same age, for goodness sake! While Snow tries to reassure Emma, Charming tells us that the family is always optimistic. While the family talk, Rumple/Gold appears in his "Dark One" attire, and tells Emma she hasn't taken a real leap of fate but relied on facts and evidence. He will be the one to get Henry back; he disappears and leaves his cane. Rumple is back in true form with mysteries of his own.

Later, Emma is doing pull-ups in the hold when Hook comes in to talk. He tells her that he's sorry about what happened to Neil and that he and Bae (Neil) had spent time together. Ah, Hook is not only good looking but maybe has a heart too. He pours both of them a drink and they toast to Neil. As they drink, the ship starts tossing, and Hook and Emma arrive on deck to find out that they're being attacked by merpeoople. And we have the "Littlest Mermaid" story starting, folks. Not only are they fighting the fish, they are fighting each other.

The ship captures one of the mermaids who calls down a storm. As it rages, their infighting continues and the mermaid refuses to stop the storm. Regina turns her into a statue and the Charmings demand she undo the deed. Emma realizes something drastic is called for after words don't work and jumps in the stormy sea. She is hit in the head by a piece of rigging. Charming goes in to save her and brings her safely on board.

Neil has landed in the Enchanted Forest" and been found by Philip, Aurora and Mulan. I'm glad these three are back. Maybe Aurora will have a backbone this time and fight! He awakens in a room and mentions Emma, which suddenly catches Aurora and Mulan's attention. Needing to contact Emma, Aurora offers to go to the fire room and send a message that's he's alive.

Aurora can't find them in the dream room, and Neil says he must go to his father's castle to see if there is something there to help them. He has to admit he's Rumple's son, but he and Mulan strike out for the castle. Once there, they find Rumple's cane which holds "blood magic" that only family can activate. Robin Hood enters the castle he has claimed as his own and Neil gives it to him. After activating the spell, Neil finds a snowglobe and sees Emma in Neverland. 

Once Upon a Time Season 3 Spoilers: Pan's Plans for Henry, Flashbacks, Family Bonding and More >>>

On the island, Owen, Tamara and Henry have arrived and they decide to head for the home office. When their electronic devices don't work, they build a fire as a beacon while Henry cracks, "Are we making s'mores?" This boy has a sense of humor after all. A rustling is heard and the Lost Boys appear, lead by a captain. Owen and Tamara are surprised that they are teenagers and Henry mentions their destruction of magic. The captain corrects Henry and tells him that they do. Suddenly a wraith attacks Owen, who loses his life and Tamara tells Henry to run. The boys use an arrow to wound her and the chase is on to find Henry.

In the woods, Henry meets another young boy who offers his help to escape Pan's tribe. The boy tells Henry that Pan's eyes are everywhere. As they run, the boy seems sincere in trying to save Henry from Peter's group. He is wearing pixie dust, but it doesn't seem to have any power. After being told about Echo Cave, Henry tells him that is where they need to go. When all looks lost, Henry tells his friend that the pixie dust will help as long as they believe. He yanks the dust from his "new friend" and they fly over Neverland.

Rumple, meanwhile, is on the island and finds Tamara alive. He questions her on Henry's location. While Tamara is scared, Rumple finds a way to get the information. He heals Tamara, who admits everything. After telling Rumple that Pan wants Henry, she apologizes, which Rumple doesn't accept. He takes her heart and squeezes. She dies as her heart turns to dust. Well, folks, the death tally for the episode is the Lost Boy/Wraith one and Rumple one. And that is before the halfway mark!

As Rumple walks through the woods, he calls the captain of the Lost Boys out. The captain welcomes Rumple to the island and tells him that Pan welcomes him. He may stay but with one caveat. He cannot take the boy. If he does, Rumple is told he will die. Rumple accepts this but asks the Captain how many of the tribe will go with him. As the captain starts to leave, he turns and throw a doll at Rumple, which reduces him to tears. Could this doll have belonged to Bae? Only time will tell!

While Emma starts leading her ragtag team off (much to Regina's displeasure), Henry and his new friend reach the caves. There the boy addresses Henry by name and Henry realizes that all is not as it seems. The boy Henry has been traveling with is really Peter Pan. When Henry asks why he lied to Owen and Tamara, Pan tells him that he lied to get their help. The pixie dust convinced him of who Henry was. Pan needs Henry because he has sought something more important than magic. He has sought the person who has the heart of a true believer. Having been tricked by Pan, Henry is set to face his worse fears! And it is going to be an unbelievable ride, folks.

Next week, all seek Henry, and Emma faces Peter with a sword demanding to know where is son is  This season promises to be good and I'm glad to be around for the ride.

Want to add Once Upon a Time to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.

(Image courtesy of ABC)