“Dark Hollow” opens in Storybrooke with the departure of Hook‘s (Colin O’Donoghue) ship and the rescue mission to Neverland. Left behind, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) is given a cloaking spell and a warning from Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) that others are coming. Although the protection spell works, it’s too late to stop two new travelers (Matt Kane, James Immekus) from making their way into its now magically-protected borders with a mission to stop the newly-arrived Ariel (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) from finding and returning to Neverland with a weapon Rumpelstiltskin believes can stop Pan.
The pair of Belle and Ariel have trouble deciphering Rumpelstiltskin’s cryptic message and neither are prepared for what they find hidden away in a magically-sealed compartment under the floorboards – Pandora’s Box. Although Pan’s minions steal the box, Belle and Ariel are able to retrieve it (as the rest of the town people seem to busy to lend a hand) and learn not only their true identities but the name of the person Pan keeps in a cage to force John and Michael to do his bidding – Wendy Darling (Freya Tingley).
In Neverland, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison), Hook, and Neal (Michael Raymond-James) set off to the darkest part of the island to try and capture shadow Pan’s Shadow while the still-bickering couple of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) seek out Tinker Bell (Rose McIver). Meanwhile, Henry (Jared Gilmore) leaves Pan’s camp looking for answers, but with Pan unable to hold Wendy’s life over her brothers any longer he finds a new use for his hostage by using her lies to trick Henry into doing Pan’s bidding.
With Rumpelstiltskin and Regina (Lana Parrilla) now sufficiently armed, and Emma trapping Pan’s Shadow (while trying to the fighting of her two would-be suitors), the rescue team is finally ready to make a run at Pan’s camp. However, Pan’s latest trick may mean it’s too late as Henry’s life and the fate of magic may both hang in the balance for what is yet to come.