What You'd Learn If You Were Sent to 'Once Upon A Time's Neverland Survival Camp

Okay, so when is ABC going to change the name of this show to Once Upon A Time In Neverland? In all seriousness, the majority of the show's characters have now been trapped on the island for five episodes, and they're not even close to rescuing Henry and getting on their merry way. It's kind of disappointing, considering these guys usually wrap up their issues in a significantly shorter period of time, but I guess what's life without a few challenges?

Sunday night's episode of Once Upon A Time started the same as it has for the past few weeks, with a glimpse of how Henry's been doing as Pan's captive (surprisingly well and not even close to whiny). It's now out in the open that Hook has feelings for Emma, and daddy dearest David does not approve. (But he's so sexy, dad.) Emma's still trying to trudge through her issues with the maturity of a 15-year-old, so she has no idea what she wants and still has no idea that Neal's actually alive and well and in Neverland. We also got a glimpse into Hook's sad backstory and the reason why he's a pirate (another OUAT flashback). Emma, Regina, and Snow managed to get a message to Henry that he refused to believe was true until Emma went "Operation: Cobra" on him to jog his memory, which was a huge story development (finally). And, last but not least, Hook saved David in an attempt to convince him that he's actually a decent guy who's worthy of dating his daughter. (Swoon.)

But really what we're all wondering during these painful episodes set in dreary Neverland is what would happen if you got dropped off there for summer camp. Maybe it's just me wondering this because I never went to summer camp, but Henry and the rest of the OUAT crew are learning some pretty valuable skills.

The Power Of Visualization

During the opening scene of Sunday's episode, Henry gets terrorized by a Lost Boy into participating in a sword fight with sticks. Emma and Neal's spawn is surprisingly very good, considering he's never handled a weapon before in his life, thus impressing his captor. Little, demonic Pan, who keeps acting like he just wants to have a little fun, asks Henry how much better he thinks it'd be if they were fighting with real swords. He tells Henry, because he has the heart of the truest believer, that if he imagines a sword in his hands, it will appear. And so Henry does and it does. The power of visualization, everyone. It may not be as easy for us normal folks as closing and opening our eyes, but maybe if you imagine yourself winning the lotto every night before you go to sleep, someday it will come true.

Weaponry Skills

The characters have had extensive access to weapons since arriving on the island. Henry's gotten his hands on a few so far, including a real-life sword in this episode, and Emma and Mary-Margaret are toting a sword and a bow and arrow, respectively. So, in the case you're attacked or if you need to hunt down your dinner, you'll be learning the skills to do so. Henry showed the Lost Boy that goaded him into fighting who was boss with his imagined sword and Pan coaching him and cheering him on. Henry also got his hands on a bow with a poisoned arrow when Pan tried to set him up for target practice using an apple atop one of his minions' heads. He's learning, that's for sure. I'd think Pan would be more careful, considering Henry tried to shoot the poisonous arrow into his heart, but I guess he's a slow learner. Either way, Henry will come out of captivity being a skilled warrior.

Everything Has Consequences

Does "Magic always comes with a price," sound an awful lot like karma to anyone else? Or even boiling it down to it's basic explanation, everything you do has consequences. Magic's consequences are primarily physical, as Hook learned when he tried and failed to save his brother from being poisoned by Nightshade. Hook also learned today that by doing a great thing in saving Emma's dad and getting her to kiss him, he now has to decide whether or not to tell her that Pan told him that Neal is alive and in Neverland. If he doesn't, it'll ultimately ruin their imaginary relationship, and if he does, it'll still ruin their relationship but his choice to tell or not makes the difference between him being a good guy and a pretty shitty one. (See, Pan's the worst.) So, whatever you do in this life has consequences and you'll be forced to learn that fast in Neverland.


Well, you wouldn't be able to talk to your parents. At all. You'd have no one to make you feel better about being homesick besides yourself and, if you're lucky, a friend. Henry's in the process of learning that, even though it's in a demented and sad way that we do not condone in the real world. You might not be bombarded by hopelessness knowing you'll never see your family again (this is summer camp, not an actual hostage situation), but you won't be able to cry to them whenever you want. That means no mail, no phone calls, and definitely no care packages with King-Sized Reese's Cups. Sorry. This is survival camp — you're learning to do things on your own, and unless you snuck an iPad with wifi in with you, you won't see or hear from your family until you're done. Because magic mirrors like the one Regina uses to get their message to Henry don't actually exist.

The Importance of Music

If any character has shown us that music can bring people together, albeit in a creepy way, it's Pan. His piping brings together boys that feel unloved and lost so that he can recruit them to become his minions and take them to Neverland, where they think they'll be happily ever after. (When, really, they'll just suffer from serious Stockholm syndrome.) So Neverland summer camp would teach you how to play a basic instrument and probably have mandatory campfire sing-a-longs that would convince you that going there wasn't the biggest mistake of your life. You'd learn about music history and how it's been a cultural glue for centuries (and probably hear the legend of the Pied Piper). You also might learn how to whittle your own flute that you get to take home at the end of your stay.

It might not be for the faint of heart or the most fun summer camp you've ever been to (even though the music part sounds fun), but you'll definitely learn some valuable survival skills just in case. And who knows — you might actually win the lotto one day. Visualize, people, visualize...

Image: ABC