This evening we begin back at the very moment that Rumplestiltskin abandoned young Baelfire, who has landed in London, somewhere in the 1800's. He lives on the streets for six months, and then breaks into an opulent home, looking for food. He's about to tear into a loaf of freshly baked bread when he's caught by the family dog, who barks an alarm. An amazingly beautiful young girl (seriously - this girl is incredibly pretty) comes running and realizes very quickly that Bae isn't there to harm her. She offers him extra bread, and a warm place to sleep, and then she gives him her name: Wendy Darling.
Forward to Storybrooke, where Tamara is suiting up to go for a morning run, leaving Neal in bed. Not for long, though, because he hears a commotion out his window. It turns out to be dear old Dad, terrorizing Dr. Whale because he thought Whale glanced a little too long in Lacey's direction.
Neal intercedes, reiterating once again that his father has never changed. He also harps on the fact that dad hasn't even asked to meet Tamara. Gold replies that Neal's not getting married - not as long he carries a torch for Emma. Neal tells him that he's done with him, and warns him to stay the hell away from both him and Henry.
On the other side of town, Emma and David barge into the mayor's office with guns a-blazing, in search of both her and the magic beans she stole. Regina is nowhere to be found, and according to the alarm system, someone used an override code at 6am to get in - something Regina wouldn't need to do. Emma suspects foul play - and they rule Gold out pretty quickly, since he's been so damn busy with Lacey.
Emma mentions Tamara again and David and Snow roll their eyes and tell her to knock it off, already.
Meanwhile, down at the cannery, Greg Mendell has Regina strapped to a bed, but not to enact his favorite middle-school fantasies, oh no. He's going to torture her until she tells him where his father is, via what looks like electroshock therapy.
Tamara is there as well - she's the one who broke into Regina's office, and now she has the magic beans. Greg, however, has the trigger, but he doesn't know what it is yet. "The home office is going to have a field day with all the data we've collected," Tamara crows. She tells him to hurry up with the torturing - they'll be getting their "instructions" soon.
Hook is there as well, and Regina scoffs at him, reminding him that trusting these two is foolish - he doesn't even know who they're working for. This seems to strike a nerve, and Hook bows out of the torture fest, reminding Greg that he's here to kill Rumplestiltskin, not torture a queen.
Flashback again to nineteenth centur London, and Bae is now hiding in the wall of the nursery in the Darling House. Unfortunately, Mummy and Daddy have discovered him, and to Bae's great surprise, they up and adopt him, giving him a place in their home.
One night, Wendy and her brothers, Michael and John, notice a magical shadow that comes to the window. Bae, who knows magic all too well, freaks on her and makes her promise not to go to the window if the shadow comes back because all magic comes with a price. Wendy finally agrees, just to calm him down. He also confesses to her that he's from another land, one with magic.
Forward to Storybrooke again, and Emma shows up at Neal's room, asking if she can search again. Neal is understandably over this, but Emma finds sand on the floor of the closet, when Tamara goes for her runs in the woods. She finds that suspicious, but then again, she finds everything about Tamara suspicious.
Snow and David show up at Gold's shop and Snow tells him that Regina is missing and may be in danger.
"Just the way I like her," he quips and then he tells them to go piss into the wind. He's got a hot stripper babe now and he's busy. David reminds him that he owes him a favor (for his help with Lacey), much to Gold's chagrin, and he has to honor that bargain. He whips up a potion using a tear from Regina and one from Snow. With this dropped into Snow's eye, she'll see and feel everything that Regina sees and feels.
Lacey overhears all of this, and realizes that Gold can do magic.
David drops the potion into Snow's eye and Snow immediately convulses in pain - but at least she can tell where Regina is: down at the cannery.
Back again to London, and Bae is sleeping peacefully in his bed when he hears the window open. Wendy is watching the shadow, despite her promises to Bae. The shadow takes her to Neverland.
Neal and Emma take a walk on the beach, and he busts on her again for being jealous. Emma rounds on him, blowing up and admitting that it hurt her deeply when he abandoned her, and that it hurt for him to have "found Tallahassee" with someone else. And of course, up runs Tamara, who claims that she runs in the woods, but then finishes her run on the beach. Emma has egg on her face over this girl again, and when Tamara runs off, she tries to get away, too.
This time, it's Neal's turn to confess. He lets her know that he never looked for her because he didn't think she'd ever forgive him. He thought about her every day, and he always wished he could have gone to jail instead. He apologizes, sincerely, and there's a moment of connection between them as they both say they're sorry - for everything.
Over at the Cannery, Greg isn't making a lot of headway, despite torturing Regina in a really horrible fashion. She points out that the two of them are such fools, thinking they can stop magic. Greg confesses that he and Tamara are part of a much larger organization that is determined to cleanse the world of magic. Greg amps up the volume and fries Regina some more.
David is on the phone to Emma, meantime, cluing her into Regina's wherabouts. Emma tells him to get down to the docks and she and Neal head over there to take on Tamara and Greg.
Flashback to London again, and it's morning - Wendy has returned, much to Bae's relief. She tells him Neverland was nice, until night fell - that's when all the lost boys began crying for their parents, but once the boys reach the island, they can never leave. The shadow brought her back because it needs boys - and it's coming tonight to take Michael or John the very next evening. Bae vows never to let the shadow destroy their family.
The following evening, they prepare for battle, arming themselves with umbrellas and candlesticks and barricading the window - but it's all for nothing. The shadow manages to get the window open, and before can get them all to safety, the shadow nabs Michael. Bae gets in front of him - making a deal with the shadow. He'll go in Michael's stead if the shadow promises never to bother the Darling family again. The shadow agrees and Bae is taken away.
Ahead to Storybrooke, where Gold is showing off his magical chops to a very interested Lacey, who asks if he can keep her young (yes). He then tells her about the prophecy, and she encourages him to get rid of whoever is standing in his way.
Back over at the cannery, Emma and a still-somewhat-disbelieving Neal are looking for Regina and the bad guys, only to come upon Snow and David. Tamara and Greg start packing up, realizing they've been infiltrated. Greg pushes Regina one last time and she finally admits she killed his father, burying his body out near their original campsite.
Greg shocks Regina harder, almost to the point of death before Snow and David show up, rescuing her in the nick of time. David calls Emma to warn her, and a moment later, Tamara tire-irons her in the face, pulling Emma's gun on Neal, who is more than a little pissed that he's been played. He tries to take her down, but she shoots him, and as she's about to shoot him again and finish him off, Emma comes at her from behind, and takes her out.
Unfortunately, Tamara has a magic bean and she throws it, opening a portal that's trying to suck Neal and Emma away. She's holding onto him as hard as she can, but Neal tells her that he can't let Henry lose them both. Emma knows that wounded as he is, Neal won't survive a trip through a portal and refuses to let go. Neal take the choice out of her hand, letting go himself, just as they confess their love for each other. He disappears through the portal, and a devastated Emma is left behind.
Across town, the Blue Fairy has managed to heal Regina. All she needs now is a little shut-eye. Emma shows up, letting them all know that Neal is dead.
Flashback to Neverland now, and the shadow is bringing Bae in. He lights a match, forcing the shadow to drop him in the water. A short time later, we see him being fished out, and he lands face-down on the deck of a ship.
And this isn't just any ship....it's the Jolly Roger, and a certain outstandingly handsome and rakish pirate is standing over him.
Forward to Storybrooke again, and David is trying to comfort Emma, who is now twice as devastated at the thought of having to tell Henry his father is dead.
Regina is waking up, and realizes that Snow and David have saved her. "Despite our differences," David tells her, "We're a family." She lets them know that Greg and Tamara have the trigger, and the town is in serious, serious danger.
Tamara, meanwhile, has come upon Greg in the woods. He's found his Dad's body and is now giving it a proper burial. Tamara tells him that the folks in the home office know about the trigger, and it's time to "move to the next phase" and blow Storybrooke off the map.
I'm giving this one five malevolent shadows out of five.
There was great backstory, horror at Regina's torture, and serious feels between Neal and Emma. And I just adore young Baelfire. Adore him. Solid episode.