I didn't see who wrote this ep, but what they delivered was awesomeness on a Joss Whedon-esque level.
There's so much to talk about, it's hard to know where to start, but I think I'll start with the twist on the classic Peter Pan story that was presented to us, and branch out from there.
I don't know who here is familiar with Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's Starcatchers novel series, but there were a number of things about tonight's ep and the writers' take on the Peter Pan story that reminded me of that series, the biggest one being the nature of the Shadow. It's almost as if the writers took the character of Lord Ombra from the Starcatchers series and merged him with Peter Pan, which, quite frankly, is a stroke of brilliance.
Making the Darlings Bae's foster family was another stroke of brilliance, and Bae making the sacrificial gesture of going with the Shadow really strengthened his character, especially when you consider that he makes the same type of gesture later on as an adult with Emma.
I also loved the way the writers answered the question of how Bae/Neal knew Hook; I so totally wasn't expecting things to go down as they did, and I'm really intrigued as to what Hook and the Jolly Roger were doing in our world to begin with.
I'm a die-hard SwanThief, Rumbelle, and Snowing shipper, and loved the moments/developments for the three ships that tonight's ep gave us. My heart especially broke for Emma when Neal basically did for her the same thing he did as a teen for Wendy and her brothers and let go in order to close the portal that Tamara opened.
Speaking of, she and Greg are basically 'Anti-Starcatchers', which is awesome. What's also awesome about these two is that the writers had us as an audience believing that Tamara was the bigger threat individually, only to reveal that Greg's worse than she is.
The end with Regina and the Charmings was also great, and a perfect example of the old adage 'The enemy of mine enemy is my friend'.
This coming week is going to be excruciating because of how this ep set up the finale and what, based on the promo, the writers have planned for that ep (which, based just on the promo, sounds like it might rival Becoming and The Gift when it comes to epicness).