For the Neverland location, see Dark Hollow (location).
"Dark Hollow" is the seventh episode of Season Three of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Kalinda Vazquez & Andrew Chambliss and directed by Guy Ferland. It is the fifty-first episode of the series overall, and premiered on November 10, 2013.
Mr. Gold and Regina send Ariel back to Storybrooke with an item that will allow Belle to locate a hidden artifact that could help take down Pan. But unbeknownst to them, two men have broken into the town with the intent to stop them – at all costs. Meanwhile, Emma, Neal and Hook attempt to find Dark Hollow, where Peter Pan's shadow dwells, in order to capture it, and Mary Margaret is upset with David for keeping his poisoning a secret from her.
In Storybrooke, five days from the present, Mr. Gold and Belle are seen on the docks giving their tearful goodbyes. Mr. Gold tells Belle that she has to stay in town as he ventures to Neverland with the others, but she protests and demands to know why she should stay behind. Mr. Gold tells both his love and David that Greg Mendell and Tamara were not working alone and that others will be on their way to Storybrooke. To ensure the safety of the town and most importantly Belle's; Mr. Gold pulls out a small parchment that contains instructions on how to enact a cloaking spell that will shield all of Storybrooke from the outside world, making the town impossible for anyone to find. Hearing this, Belle asks how Mr. Gold will find his way back to her. Glancing at David, the prince boards the Jolly Roger so the couple can have some privacy. Belle realizes that Mr. Gold is not returning from Neverland. The latter tells Belle that even though the Seer's prophecy ensures that Henry will be the Dark One's undoing, Mr. Gold must rescue Henry from Peter Pan since the boy is his grandson. Mr. Gold sees this heroic act is the only way to honor his late son. Belle understands, but she tells her beloved that she has faith in his eventual return, since the future is unpredictable. The couple shares a sad farewell kiss, followed by Mr. Gold boarding the Jolly Roger to embark on his suicide mission.
Belle watches from the pier with tears in her eyes as the Jolly Roger sails into a portal created by a magic bean in the water. After the vessel is out of sight and the portal has closed, Belle hears numerous footsteps and shouts behind her. She turns to see Mother Superior, Leroy, Archie Hopper, Bashful, Walter, Tom Clark, Dopey, Happy, and Doc approaching; all rejoicing about the failsafe being deactivated, saving them all. Leroy notices the tears in Belle's eyes and after realizing they're not tears of joy, Archie asks Belle what's wrong. Mother Superior asks Belle where the others are. Belle finally informs the group that even though Emma and Regina were able to use their combined magic to shut down the self-destruct, Greg and Tamara were able to abduct Henry and take him with them through a portal via a magic bean. The head nun asked where the portal leads to, but Belle is unaware of its destination. Leroy asks why Belle stayed behind in Storybrooke, which she claims she had to. Belle then proceeds to unroll the small scroll and shows it to Mother Superior. The latter reads the inscription and identifies it as a cloaking spell, but she doesn't understand why. Belle then proceeds to tell the others that Mr. Gold informed her that there are others that will soon invade their small town.
On the road outside town that is approaching the town line, a red car is driving towards Storybrooke. Two strange men are in the convertible, with one wearing glasses. Meanwhile, in the underground mines, Belle tells Leroy that Mr. Gold didn't say specifically who's coming to Storybrooke, so Archie tries to reassure the others that they shouldn't panic. Belle and Leroy disagree. All the dwarves pick up their pick axes and proceed to large rock. Belle reads from the parchment that fairy dust is needed to activate the cloaking spell. Mother Superior says that the fairy dust runs through the walls and that if a vein is opened, the magic of the spell will be carried throughout the town. Leroy, Dopey, Bashful, Clark, and Walter quickly begin to hack away at the nearby boulder. The two strangers are getting closer to the town line as the dwarves work. The dwarves stop after they create a huge crack in the rock. Belle stalls before she opens the small vial of potion that was wrapped inside the scroll since she is unsure of herself, being this is her first time casting a spell. She asks Mother Superior to cast it, but the latter tells Belle that she should do it and that she just has to belief in herself. Belle than proceeds to pour the potion into the crack in the rock, but nothing happens. Leroy advices Belle to believe a little harder; and after doing so, the spell begins to work. The magic soars through the mines and blasts through a man hole in the center of town. It rises into the air and creates a massive force field that begins to surround all of Storybrooke. On the road, the red car begins to speed up after seeing the force field lowering quickly. Just seconds before the force field strikes the ground, completely shielding the town, the car makes it under the shield, but the rear bumper manages to get torn off. After noticing that part of their vehicle is missing, the two men continue to drive through town.
In present-day Neverland, Mr. Gold and Regina are on the shoreline talking to Ariel who is sitting on a nearby rock. Mr. Gold draws a map of the realms in the sand and shows the mermaid where Storybrooke is. Ariel reassures Mr. Gold that she can reach the small town, despite it being a far distance away. Mr. Gold informs Ariel that a cloaking spell should be surrounding Storybrooke and that she should surface close to the shore, so she will be inside the shield. Mr. Gold is mum on the magical object that he and Regina want the mermaid to bring back from his pawn shop because Pan is most likely listening in in some way. Mr. Gold tell Ariel that she will know what to search for after giving a certain sand dollar to Belle that the Dark One had just enchanted. Before she departs, Ariel asks Regina where Eric will be at in Storybrooke, but Regina tells her that finding her prince will come after the task is complete. Regina tells Ariel that the magical bracelet she gave her will give the mermaid legs for 24 hours. Ariel is unsure that Regina will hold up to her end of the bargain when she returns, but she has no other choice but to trust the sorceress. Excepting these conditions, Ariel ascends into the ocean and leaves Neverland.
At his compound, Pan can sense that someone had just left the realm of Neverland. Felix asks how they can stop that person, but Pan says that it's too late, but it doesn't matter; all they have to do is get word to their inside source in Storybrooke. Pan is not worried, he just needs to get Henry ready to “save magic”. He also says that he needs to have a chat with their prisoner in the alleviated cage. At their camp, David, Mary Margaret, Hook, and Emma hear Neal out on his plan to escape Neverland after they succeed in rescuing Henry. Neal informs them that capturing Pan's shadow is part of his plan of escaping and that it's that only way off the island. Neal claims that even though he learned how to navigate the stars, he can't fly; and that's why they need the Shadow. Emma thinks the task of capturing Pan's shadow is impossible until Hook informs her that the Shadow is not attached to Pan's body and that it's an entity unto itself. Emma, Neal, and Hook decide to venture off together to search for the Shadow and capture it. David then says that he and his wife will go find Tinker Bell's tree house to give her the head's up that they soon are going to raid Pan's compound, but Mary Margaret is still mad at David for lying to her about his recent dreamshade poisoning and is now avoiding him. Emma then decides that the two groups will plan to meet up later at Tink's place.
At present day Storybrooke, the seven dwarves are eating their lunches on the beach. Happy is strangely too happy about Mary Margaret and David's absence. Most of the dwarves agree with Happy and state how with the Charmings away, there is less destruction in town. Leroy yells at them to end the subject, and he proclaims that the Charmings are coming back; and that things will remain normal. As he says this, Ariel emerges from under the water and immediately introduces herself to the seven Storybrooke residents. Ariel puts the bracelet on her left wrist and begins to walk out of the bay and comes up to Leroy, asking him if he knows someone named “Belle”. From a distance though, the two strangers are spying on the group of eight via binoculars. After stating that the Home Office was right about Ariel's arrival, one of the strangers asks the other about what they are to do. The other one responds by simply saying: “We follow our orders. We find out why she came. Then we make sure she never leaves this town again.”
At Granny's Diner, Belle turns down a cheeseburger, just like three others that she has turned down earlier in the week. Granny wants to know if Belle's turning down her burgers because they have either too many pickles or not enough. Belle tells her that she's just not hungry. Archie, who is also sitting at the bar, overhears this and asks Belle if her declining all the cheeseburgers is because she misses Mr. Gold. Belle confirms Archie's assumption and says that she wishes she could be in Neverland to help everyone, and help save Henry from Pan. Belle's also worried for Mr. Gold, since he basically said before he departed for Neverland that he's going off to his death. Archie comforts Belle by telling her that she still is a hero and proved it by keeping the bad guys out of Storybrooke, which is just as important as being in Neverland. Belle thinks otherwise, saying that all she did was simply pour some potion over some rocks, and the dwarves did all the hard work. Belle doesn't believe that any bad guys were ever coming and that the real reason she wasn't on the Jolly Roger is because Mr. Gold didn't need her. Right after saying this, Leroy marches into the diner with Ariel by his side wearing his coat over her upper body. Granny quickly criticizes Ariel for not wearing a real shirt or even shoes; therefore she can't be in the diner. Leroy snaps back, by reminding Granny of the numerous racy outfits Ruby wore during the time of the Dark Curse. Belle wastes no time in asking Ariel who she is and why she is in Storybrooke. Ariel tells her that she came from Neverland and that Rumplestiltskin sent her. Belle is astonished to find out her beast is alive. Ariel gives an overjoyed Belle the enchanted sand dollar that Mr. Gold recently gave to her. Belle and Ariel head to the pawn shop immediately to look for this mysterious object Mr. Gold and Regina need to defeat Pan without killing him. The two women stat their quest in the back room of the shop. As Ariel is changing into more modern clothes, Belle is trying to figure out the sand dollar's purpose; and after placing it on the table, a magical hologram of Mr. Gold appears hovering above the sand dollar. Belle is glad to see at least a projection of her beloved beast. The hologram of Mr. Gold informs Belle that the people heading for town are far more dangerous than even he first believed. He tells Belle that even though he told her he was going to his death, he found a way to defeat Pan and remain alive. He says that he needs Belle to find him a certain hidden object from the shop and that with the strength of their love; she will be able to locate it. The hologram then fades away. Belle rejoices at this news from Mr. Gold, and is glad that he needs her help to save everyone, including Henry.
At their camp, Mary Margaret is collecting her things; including her arrows and her backpack serving as a makeshift quiver, preparing to leave with her husband. David tries to help her carry her supplies but she once again rejects his offer and continues to avoid him. Mary Margaret makes her ways over to the opposite side of the camp where Emma is also getting ready to leave. Emma wishes to know how long her mother will be avoiding David, but Mary Margaret doesn't respond. Emma tries to convince her mother that David was doing the right thing by not telling about his poisoning, but her mom doesn't seem to care. Mary Margaret says how Emma appears to have inherited his tunnel vision, but she doesn't press on it. Mary Margaret warns her daughter about traveling Neal and Hook, since both of the men have feelings for her. Emma says that none of that matters and that the only thing she cares about is getting her son back to safety. Meanwhile, at Pan's compound, Pan asks Henry if the boy would like to take a scroll with him to a special place. Henry refuses to go anywhere with Pan though and claims that his family is somewhere on Neverland looking for him. After Henry refuses to tell Pan why he would think his family is on the island, Henry begins to accuse Pan of keeping his family prisoner, since they haven't come to rescue the young boy. Pan tries to reassure Henry that his family is not being held captive, but Henry still thinks Pan is up to something since Pan is always disappearing into the jungle, and Henry declares that he will figure out what Pan is hiding. With this, Henry starts to walk off into the jungle by himself. Felix feels that they might be losing Henry, but Pan is not worried at the least, especially since Henry is the Savior's son and the grandson of Snow White and Prince Charming, and the need for a push is common in his lineage. Felix asks if the wooden cage should be brought to the compound, but Pan says that he has another idea in mind.
In Neal's old cave, Hook, Neal and Emma are looking for Neal's makeshift candle/star map that made from a coconut. Emma goes to a part of the cave separate from where Hook and Neal are so she can go retrieve the coconut, which she recently hid. While they are alone, Hook thanks Neal for being so understanding about the passionate kiss Hook and Emma recently shared. The kiss is news to Neal, much to Hook's surprise, since he assumed that Emma told Neal about her and Hook's dalliance. Neal is obviously saddened by this and when Emma returns with the coconut, he explains that the item is not a star map; it's what's going to be used to capture the Shadow. Despite Hook being skeptical about the use of a magical coconut, the trio proceeds to leave the cave for a place called Dark Hollow where Pan's shadow resides, which according to Hook it's “the darkest spot on the entire island. Any light that makes it way in is snuffed out by the shadows that call it home.” It's a place that even Hook avoided during his time in Neverland.
Back in the pawn shop in Storybrooke, Belle and Ariel are still searching for this mysterious object while spot numerous different items, such as a corkscrew and a golden button that once belonged to Eric that has an anchor symbol on it. Ariel briefly tells Belle who Eric is and that it didn't work out between him and Ariel. From this, Belle says that reuniting with Eric is another reason the two women need to succeed in their mission. Reflecting on what Mr. Gold said in the message about the item will be found with “the strength of our love”; Belle figures out that Mr. Gold must have been talking about the chipped cup. After taking the cup off of the table and placing it in the cabinet nearby, magic begins to physically emit from around the cup and flows down to the wooden floor and once it hits the floor, a secret hiding space appears. Belle lifts the lid off the recently appeared hole and finds inside what she classifies as Pandora's Box. Belle tells Ariel that she's read about this ancient object, but she had no idea it existed, or that Mr. Gold possessed it. Belle also explains that the box has the ability to hold within it the world's darkest evil, which partly concerns Ariel. Before the two women can talk about Ariel bringing the box back to Neverland, the two strangers wielding guns walk into the back room ready to shoot Belle and Ariel. With the taller of the two invaders holding the two women at gunpoint, the shorter man is tying Belle and Ariel up as they're sitting in chairs back-to-back. Ariel keeps squirming and the taller man keeps ordering her to stay still. Ariel doesn't see why she should, but Belle tells her that she should obey him because he has a gun, much to Ariel's confusion. After they are fully tied up, the two men interrogate Belle and Ariel about what the box is, and what Rumplestiltskin told Ariel about it, but the mermaid refuses to tell them. Belle simply says that the box is magic and that the two men shouldn't worry about it because all they want to do is destroy it. After saying that their boss want to know about the box, Belle assumes that the two don't know that their real boss is Peter Pan. But the two men quickly correct her, claiming that Greg and Tamara didn't know, for they were patsies. The two men claim that they all fully aware of their real mission, which is making sure Mr. Gold fails, and that the box never makes it back to Neverland.
Back at his compound, Pan orders Felix to travel to the other side of the island so he can deliver some supplies. Felix is about to go when Pan tells him to make sure Henry doesn't find out what his right-hand man is up to. Felix heads off on his trek, but apparently unknowing to him, Henry has been listening behind a nearby tree and then proceeds to follow Felix to his destination. While on their hike, David offers Mary Margaret some water but she still refuses. David tries to convince her that all he was trying to do was be fair by not telling her about his previous poisoned condition, even though it appeared the other way around. Mary Margaret still dodges his excuses and proceeds to walk in the direction of Tinker Bell's home. In another part of the island, Neal, Emma, and Hook are nearing Dark Hollow where Neal notices the entrance to it is blocked by a thicket of branches and vines. So he can cut through it, Emma lends Neal his old cutlass that Hook gave to her back on the Jolly Roger. Neal is obviously not happy that the blade was a gift from Hook and displays a very bad attitude as he starts to cut through the vines to make a passageway, leaving Emma and Hook alone. Hook tells Emma that he assumed Neal heard his secret revealed in the Echo Cave, and he also assumed that Emma told Neal about the kiss. Emma asks Hook why he would assume this and Hook says that he was hoping the kiss meant something to his Swan. Emma states that telling the rest of the group that Neal being alive is what meant something. Emma is a bit surprised that Hook didn't keep Pan's information about Neal's survival to himself since he is a pirate after all. She is also astonished to hear that Hook chose to save an old friend from dying, even when that friend is vying for the same woman he is. Hook tells Emma that despite the fact that he is a pirate, he believes in good form. Hook then promises Emma that he will eventually win her heart; and that when he does so, it will be because Emma wants him, not because of trickery. Emma tries to shut Hook's claim down by saying that there is no contest between the Neal and himself. Hook believes otherwise since neither Neal nor he is going to give up. Emma is not interested since all that's important to her is saving Henry. Hook doesn't doubt Emma's power to succeed and that after Henry is safe, that's when the fun begins. Suddenly, Neal returns from cutting away a passageway to the trio's destination and he gives the cutlass back to Emma, who proceeds to sheath it. The three of them then make their way into Dark Hollow, which is a prison for all the victims of Pan's shadow, forced to spend eternity in the hollow's darkness.
In the pawn shop, Belle and Ariel are struggling to break free of their binds and Belle begins to lose faith in herself because every time she tries to be a hero, it seems to her like it always backfires. She apologizes to Ariel because she won't be able to be with Eric, but the latter is still optimistic and after telling Belle about the power of her bracelet, Belle is able to remove it from her new friend's wrist. When Ariel's legs transform back into their natural tail, the two women fall over and Ariel is loose enough now for her to untie herself, along with Belle. Ariel puts her bracelet back on and they immediately leave the shop. Belle is able to deduce that the two men are going to try to destroy Pandora's Box by using one of the dwarfs’ pickaxes from the mines. So, Belle and Ariel hurry to get there. Meanwhile, David and Mary Margaret are almost approaching Tink's home and David is trying to break up the tension between the two of them by suggesting that the surrounding area would make a good spot for either a hut or perhaps a tree house. David yells at her and calls her “Snow.” He demands to know when she will speak to him again. After yelling that she has to say something, she finally responds and by saying that she shouldn't have to say anything since he didn't earlier. Mary Margaret begins to yell even more and David tries to calm her down with no avail. He says that he didn't tell her about the poison because he didn't want to worry her, but she demands to know why he didn't tell her about his condition after he found a cure from Dead Man's Peak. He finally admits that he was scared and that he didn't want his wife to suffer the price of his survival by staying with him on the island. She says though that she would gladly stay in Neverland as long as she had him by her side, but she wishes he would have told her. They come together in a heartwarming hug as she forgives him, telling him that “You needed to believe in us.”
In Dark Hollow, Hook, Emma, and Neal begin to wait for Pan's shadow to show up as Neal explains to the others that all you have to do is simply light the candle inside one of the coconut halves and if the Shadow is close enough to the flame, it will be absorbed into the coconut. Hook complains that there is no way to ignite the coconut because their lanterns went out the second they entered Dark Hollow. Neal pulls out a lighter and teases Hook for his non-modern ways. Neal has trouble lighting the candle and when Hook offers his services, Neal accuses him of just trying to impress Emma. Hook takes the lighter and tries to light up the candle but also fails to do so. The two guys fight over the lighter until it flies over into a nearby stump. As they both walk over to retrieve it, Emma reprimands them for acting so childish. Suddenly, Pan's shadow along with some others it is controlling appears and attacks the trio. A couple of shadows quickly grab Hook and Neal and thrust them both up against separate trees, and begin to rip their shadows from their bodies while Emma is on the ground gripping the coconut and trying to protect herself with her sword. As both of them are dying, Neal and Hook yell at Emma to leave and save herself. Multiple shadows attack Emma, but she is able to focus hard enough to use her magic to ignite the small candle and absorb Pan's shadow into it. She then seals up the coconut and the shadows attacking Hook and Neal disappear, causing the two men to fall to the ground. Neal asks Emma how she made the fire and she tells him about how Regina's been teaching her magic.
Meanwhile, Henry is still stalking Felix on his hike to an unknown location when the former accidently snaps a twig; which causes Felix to turn around to see nothing, for Henry is hiding behind a tree just in the nick of time. In Storybrooke, Belle and Ariel have arrived in the mines without the dwarves because there is no time and they catch the two men preparing to destroy Pandora's Box with Happy's pickaxe. The shorter man points his gun at the two women as Belle begs them not to destroy the box; because if they do, people Belle and Ariel care about will die. The two men claim that the same thing will happen to someone they care about if they don't destroy the box. Belle questions them about what they said but they are quiet about it. When it seems the two men are going to destroy the box, Belle grabs and pulls down a lever that causes a cart of the track to run right into the two men, causing them to drop their guns and fall to the ground. Belle and Ariel rush over and Belle grabs the box and kicks the gun away. The two men try to convince Belle not to do this because all they wanted to do was save their sister that has been Pan's prisoner for over a century. Belle says that's impossible because she would be dead by now; but because time stands still in Neverland, people don't age. The two brothers also claim that Pan has used his magic to keep them alive as long as they have, as long as they serve him; and if they don't, he'll kill their sister. But if they do, he'll eventually free both them and their sister. Belle says that now is the time to defeat him but the two brothers tell them that they once tried to defeat Pan but their sister was captured in the process. Belle convinces them that if Pandora's Box gets back to Neverland in Mr. Gold's possession, Pan can be stopped. Belle also promises to rescue their sister if what they say is true. Ariel asks what the sister's name is and they say: “Her name is Wendy. Wendy Darling. If you see her, tell her John and Michael are waiting for her.” Back in Neverland, Pan unlocks the cage and releases Wendy from it. She asks him if she is free but he says no, but that doesn't mean she can't come out and play.
At the shoreline in Storybrooke, Belle is saying goodbye to Ariel as the latter says she will deliver Belle's message to Mr. Gold. Ariel then takes off her bracelet and becomes a full-fledged mermaid before she descends into the water, leading to Neverland. In Neverland, Felix is coming across a small cave that contains a ladder in it that goes up when he drops a sack full of apples and other supplies on the ground near the cave. Felix then proceeds to walk into the jungle away from the cave as Henry picks up the sack and climbs up the small ladder to investigate the loud coughing heard from within the higher level of the cave. At the top of the ladder, Henry sees a young girl in a bed badly coughing. She tells him that he shouldn't be there but Henry says that he thought Pan was keeping his family in the cave. He asks her why she's so far away from Pan's camp and she says that she's greatly sick and that Pan's doesn't want anyone else to catch it. She introduces herself as Wendy Darling and he tells her his name is Henry. He asks her why she's sick and she says the power of the island is fading, that she's been in Neverland for a long time, and that she's being affected more than the others for some reason. She tells him that he looks like Baelfire when she knew him long ago. She convinces Henry to leave so he can't catch her illness; saying that Pan is already doing all that he can, but not before Henry promises to come back for her. He leaves the cave and walks off into the jungle. Back in the cave, Pan reveals himself from behind the bed in the shadows. He commends Wendy on faking so well, but she says she doesn't like lying to him. Pan says not to think of it a lying; but instead to think of it as providing Henry motivation to do “what needs to be done”, because he has the Heart of the Truest Believer, and Pan wants Henry to believe in him. Pan then orders Wendy to return to her cage.
At the shoreline, Regina asks Mr. Gold if he truly believes Belle can succeed in retrieving the box, at which he says yes. Regina believes Mr. Gold's feelings are blinding him; but he thinks the opposite, believing that his feelings are illuminating him. Regina is surprised to find out Mr. Gold really loves Belle; which he sees as jealousy, not of Belle, but of having someone. Saying this leaves Regina speechless until the two are interrupted by Ariel who has just resurfaced off of the shore. Ariel gives the box to Mr. Gold and Regina enchants the bracelet again so Ariel can have legs or fin whenever she wants. Mr. Gold tells Ariel to seek out Eric when she returns to Storybrooke; but before she goes, Ariel informs them that Wendy is being held prisoner by Pan and Belle wants to make sure the girl's safe. Regina is reluctant to agree to saving her but Mr. Gold says they will do their best. Right before she leaves, Mr. Gold tells Ariel to tell Belle he loves her and that she was right, he will see her again. Elsewhere on Neverland, Emma, Neal, and Hook are nearing Tink's tree house when Emma tells them that they both almost screwed up their chance at capturing the Shadow because of their ridiculous fight over a lighter. Hook says it wasn't the lighter they fighting over. Emma tells them that if she had to choose someone, she'd choose Henry; for he is the only love she has room for in his life. David and Mary Margaret are waiting for Tink at her home when she arrives carrying a sack of coconuts. She tells the couple that she's surprised to see them again and that she still refuses to help them if they don't have a way off the island. Just then, Emma, Hook, and Neal walk up with Neal holding the tied up closed coconut as proof to Tink that they have an escape route ready to go. Tink is surprised to see Neal, calling him “Bae.” Tink now says she will help them infiltrate Pan's perimeter. As they all walk off together, Neal stops Emma to tell her that she's right that Henry is most the important thing and that if he is the only thing that came from them being together, then they did already, which Emma agrees with. Close to the coast, Henry is still walking in the jungle when Pan stops him from behind. Henry tells Pan that he found Wendy and after Pan “admits” that Wendy is dying, he tells Henry that if the boy “saves magic”, she will live. Hearing this, Henry asks Pan how he can save magic. Pan responds by saying: “The question isn’t how, Henry. It’s where.” Pan then takes Henry out of the jungle and onto the rocky coast where he shows Henry a small isle just off the coast that Henry easily identifies as Skull Rock. Pan tells him that inside the skull-shaped cave, the Heart of the Truest Believer must make a heroic sacrifice in order to “save magic”. Hearing this, Henry agrees to do so.
- The title card features the Storybrooke clock tower.
- The title of this episode was announced by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on September 15, 2013.
- MUSICAL INSPIRATION: Once Upon a Time co-creator Edward Kitsis is a noted fan of the band Grateful Dead. This episode shares its name with a song from their 1973 live album History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice) and their 1981 double live album Reckoning. The song was originally recorded by folk singer Bill Browning in 1958. It opens with the lyric "I'd rather be in some dark hollow where the sun don't ever shine", which parallels Emma's comment when she hears about the Neverland location of the same name: "Really? Why couldn't it be called something like Sunshine Valley or Rainbow Cove?".
- REUSED FOOTAGE: When the cloaking spell is released, the shot overlooking Storybrooke is recycled footage from the scene where the curse is broken in the Season One finale "A Land Without Magic". The wave of magic travelling towards the camera has been digitally replaced by a magical shield.
- The original shot is later reused for the scene where Regina releases Storybrooke's magic from the Olympian Crystal in the Season Five finale "An Untold Story".
- The shot is reused once again for the scene where Mr. Gold breaks the Black Fairy's curse in the Season Six finale "The Final Battle Part 2". The rainbow-colored wave of magic was replaced with a wave of light for this scene.
- REUSED FOOTAGE: The digital background plate used for a shot from the scene at the rocky cliff from which Skull Rock can be seen in the distance, is reused for a montage shot in the Season Six finale "The Final Battle Part 2". In the latter, Skull Rock itself has been altered to look more decrepit and the number of stars on the night sky has been reduced. However, the identical cloud cover is a dead giveaway.
- The Storybrooke events occur in various places of the overall timeline.
- The Neverland events occur after "Ariel" and before "Think Lovely Thoughts".
- Mr. Clark references the Wraith attack, which occurred in "Broken".
- Doc mentions a giant stepping on his car, alluding to Anton's rampage in town during "Tiny". The car is damaged again during a witch fight in "It's Not Easy Being Green".
- The Ruby outfits "seared into Leroy's brain", were seen in Season One episodes like "The Thing You Love Most" and "Red-Handed".
- Hook and Emma's kiss is mentioned, an event which took place in "Good Form".
- Emma mentions being given Baelfire's sword by Hook, which occurred in "The Heart of the Truest Believer".
- Hook promises that he will win Emma's heart, which he eventually does in "There's No Place Like Home".
- Sand dollars are used to deliver messages again in "Heroes and Villains".
- HIDDEN DETAILS: John Darling attempts to destroy Pandora's Box by using Happy's pick axe. Happy's ax is has also been stolen by others for breaking or attempting to break other magical items: Greg Mendell uses the ax to enable the trigger in "And Straight On 'Til Morning" and Emma tries to get Excalibur out of the stone by using Happy's pick ax in "Siege Perilous".
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the Peter Pan story, focusing on the appearance of Peter Pan, the Lost Boys and John, Michael and Wendy Darling, and the adventures in Neverland.
- This episode features the mermaid from "The Little Mermaid" fairytale and the ugly duckling from the titular fairytale.
- 🍎 APPLES: When the Storybrooke counterparts of the seven dwarves are eating lunch, Happy is holding a red apple, a reference to the evil queen's weapon of choice in the "Snow White" fairytale.
- Fairy dust is needed to activate the cloaking spell. This substance originates in the Peter Pan story.
- Hook says to Emma that he believes in good form, a reference to the Peter Pan novel, where "good form" is important to the character. The phrase is used several times in the novel.
- How Henry meets Wendy is similar to the opening of Peter Pan.
- Pan shows Henry the island of Skull Rock. In the Peter Pan story, Captain Hook and his pirates bring Tiger Lily to Marooners' Rock (renamed Skull Rock for the Disney film) and leave her there to drown in the rising tides.
- PAUSE AND READ: According to the marked route on the map possessed by John and Michael Darling, Storybrooke is in the vicinity of Thomaston, Maine, a small seaport just west of Rockland.
- HIDDEN DETAILS: The Greek text carved into the lid of Pandora's Box says "ΛΕΙΤΟΥΡΓΕΙ ΜΕ", which translates as "WORKS WITH". Alpha and Omega (Α and Ω), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, are carved into the side of the box. The phrase "alpha and omega" means "the beginning and the end" and is used by Christians as a title for Jesus.
- ON-SCREEN NUMBERS: The Darling brothers' license plate number is 0920 EAW. The expiration date is February 2014.
- BRAND INFO: Belle's outfit consist of a Miu Miu Spring 2012 White Printed Long Sleeve Cropped Shirt, an McQ Alexander McQueen Zip-Front Knit Peplum Jacket in Black/Oxblood and a Candace Skirt from Club Monaco (all three are no longer available).
- BRAND INFO: Ariel is wearing a By Malene Birger Forest Green Hania Tie Neck Blouse and a pair of Smoking Loafer Pumps - Lorena High Heel from Via Spiga (no longer available).
|Finnish||"Pimeä notko"||"Dark Hollow"|
|French||"La Boîte de Pandore"||"The Pandora's Box"|
|German||"Reich der Schatten"||"Kingdom of Shadows"|
|Hungarian||"A sötét üreg"||"The Dark Hollow"|
|Italian||"Alla ricerca dell'ombra"||"In Search of the Shadow"|
|Polish||"Ciemna pustka"||"Dark emptiness"|
|Portuguese||"Buraco Negro"||"Black Hole"|
|Spanish||"Agujero Oscuro"||"Dark Hole"|