[This is a review of Once Upon A Time season 3, episode 5. There will be SPOILERS.]
Tonight’s Once Upon A Time is a swashbuckling tale might be titled “Good Form” but is essentially built on nothing but lies. In fact, by the end of the episode it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t stretched the truth to suit their own purposes. A case could be made for Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) remaining pure this time around at least, and Neal (Michael Raymond-James) too; though he was a bit tied up to be doing much of anything.
At the top of the list is Pan (Robbie Kay), both in the past and the present, which is pretty much his MO so no big shockers there. Nor is the fact that he continues to lead Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) closer and closer to the dark side. At least he was telling the truth about that. It’s also no shock that Regina (Lana Parrilla) is willing to lie, cheat, and steal a Lost Boy’s heart out of his chest in order to get a message to Henry. Slightly more surprising is that it’s done with Emma’s (Jennifer Morrison) blessing and she holds Snow back whilst Regina does the deed.
Right up there with Pan on the naughty list this season is David (Josh Dallas) who has been lying his charming arse off since getting grazed by a Dreamshade arrow in episode 2. Here, though, he takes lying to a whole new level, first by continuing to hide the fact that he’s dying from his family as he and Hook trek off into the jungle. Then by failing to mentioned when he returned that he had in fact died and that the price of his resurrection is an eternal exile in Neverland. Could’ve done without the bookend make-out sessions as well.
The cleverest lie however, comes from someone who is mentioned but never seen: the King of the realm. It’s his lies that send a young Hook/Killian Jones and brother Liam (Bernard Curry) off to unwittingly seek the magical equivalent of a weapon of biological warfare. And this is the lie that tells the most interesting tale. The tale of two brothers has already been told in the show, but this one has a bit more heart than David and his brother. Sadly, it is arrogance that once killed David’s brother and it kills Liam too. The water comes a close second in the “good lies” department and it’s to Hook’s credit that he lets David in on the caveat he himself learned at a steep price.
As for the final moments, well we saw this coming: Hook and Emma’s heavily foreshadowed kiss is followed mere minutes later by the reveal that Neal is alive and well and found a way to the island. It is saved from the boring land of the cliche by the tongue-in-cheek nod to The Princess Bride, played brilliantly by Morrison and O’Donoghue, not to mention the reveal comes from Pan and is given to the character who can tease out this plot-line a bit longer and keep it interesting.
And so the question that remains after all the lies is what will Hook do with the new truth he’s acquired? He talks a good game but does he only speak the truth when it gains him the advantage? How deep is his loyalty to Neal? Is he a man of honor or is all fair in love and war?
Once Upon A Time returns next Sunday with “Ariel” @8pm on ABC.