As one can expect with the second half episode of a season, “Second Star to the Right” is a big event episode, both in present day and flashback.
“Second Star to the Right” has another excellent flashback. Once is increasingly mastering flashbacks which are small in scope and timeframe. The majority of scenes in early 1900s London are spent by Wendy’s window, between Bae warning her about magic, her mistake leaving, her return or Bae getting taken. By the end of the flashback, the room and characters are familiar and their decisions are beautifully written and shot. Bae getting afraid when seeing and hearing Neverland and jumping off, thus negating his sacrifice and putting the Darlings in danger again is an excellent touch. Like his father Bae had proven selfless intent and courage, but in the heat of the moment couldn’t help but fall victim to that buried selfishness and fear. Wendy likewise for her selflessness helping Bae, took the chance to leave Neverland at the cost of a brother, a self-serving and coward’s decision. All of Rumplestiltskin, Bae, Wendy have selflessness and heart, but still made a selfish and cowardly decision in the heat of the moment, making them a fascinating trio. That is, presuming Wendy is innocent. The show has a long history of characters who’s become entrapped by magic and headed down a road of bad decisions because of it and Wendy has proved she's enamoured with magic and living in a world without parents. It'd fit both her and the show's profile if the Wendy who came back had been working on the side of magic and not against it, intending for Bae to sacrifice himself. I suspect adult Wendy will be revealed to still be around in some way or another, regardless of who’s side she’s on.
The Storybrooke scenes are action packed, with a ton of enjoyable momentum and energy as Emma and company chase down Tamara and Owen. Emma and Neal do great work in this episode in their heart to heart in the beach and then separation as he falls into the portal. The revelation Regina killed and buried Owen’s father is twisted and dark but exciting. Owen and Tamara are fueled by hate, but Regina’s sociopathy is at another level. Snow saving Regina yet again proves most of her is still good, even if her real fate is downward.
“Second Star to the Right” is a really exciting episode in the present day, with another stellar flashback. The second half of the season finale should put the icing on the cake of a nearly flawless television season.
By Julien Rodger