Act 5. The Pirate Ship. An elaborate stage direction sets the scene on the boat. Smee is sitting at his sewing machine, "which lends a touch of domesticity to the night." Hook goes on the deck smoking a double cigar and notes how still the night is, before talking about the fact that the kidnapped children on the boat will soon have to walk the plank. He is sad that the children do not admire him more, saying, "No little children love me. I am told they play at Peter Pan, and that the strongest always chooses to be Peter. They would rather be a Twin than Hook; they force the baby to be Hook. The baby! That is where the canker gnaws."
Hook discusses the fact that the children think Smee is "lovable," but he is interrupted by the entrance of all the pirates, who hoist the kidnapped boys onto the deck. Hook says that six of them will walk the plank, then says he has room for two cabin-boys. Tootles and Slightly think their mother would disapprove of them becoming pirates, but John and Michael entertain the idea for a moment, refusing only when Hook tells them they would have to denounce King George.
The pirates bring Wendy up to the deck, and Hook asks to hear her last words to the boys. She says, "These are my last words. Dear boys, I feel that I have a message to you from your real mothers, and it is this, 'We hope our sons will die like English gentlemen.'"
The pirates tie Wendy to the mast, and they prepare the plank, but are interrupted by the ticking sound that the crocodile makes. The audience see that the ticking noise is coming not from the crocodile, but from Peter, who is flying around the ship. Peter climbs on the ship, motioning for the Lost Boys not to make a fuss. When a pirate, Whibbles, sees Peter, John covers Whibbles' mouth and Peter throws him overboard, before hiding.
The pirates open their eyes and think that crocodile is gone. Hook sings a song, then tells Jukes to "fetch the cat." Hook is interrupted by the sound of Peter defeating Jukes in the cabin and following his victory with a triumphant crow. A pirate, Cecco, announces that Jukes has been stabbed, and Hook tells him to go into the cabin, which he does reluctantly. Peter kills Cecco as well.
Hook sends the captured Lost Boys into the cabin to investigate who is killing the pirates. The stage directions read, "Relieved by Peter of their manacles, and armed with such weapons as they can lay their hands on, the boys steal out softly as snowflakes, and under their captain's hushed order find hiding-places on the poop. He releases Wendy; and now it would be easy for them all to fly away, but it is to be Hook or him this time. He signs to her to join the others, and with awful grimness folding her cloak around him, the hood over his head, he takes her place by the mast, and crows."
Hook and the pirates think that the boys have been killed by the deadly bird in the cabin and prepare to throw Wendy overboard, suggesting that she is bad luck. As they go to make her walk the plank, Peter reveals himself, along with the boys.
Hook picks Michael up with his claw, then shakes him off, and the pirates and the boys begin to fight. Peter and Hook fight with swords, as Peter exclaims, "I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg." Eventually Peter manages to lure Hook to the water, where Hook falls into the open jaws of the crocodile.
Act 5. Scene 2. The Nursery and the Tree-Tops. Mrs. Darling is asleep on a chair near the window, and wakes with a start, having a dream about her missing children. Liza comes in to announce that Nana's dinner is served.
Mr. Darling is sitting on the ground near Nana's kennel. He and Mrs. Darling discuss the fact that they have become celebrities because of the loss of their children. He goes to close the window, but she tells him to keep it open for the children.
As Mrs. Darling goes into the next room, and Mr. Darling crawls into the kennel, Peter appears in the room and orders Tink to close the window, so that when Wendy gets back she will think she is unwanted. He has a moment of doubt, and they leave, leaving the window open.
Michael, John, and Wendy fly into their home, and peer in at the room where their mother is playing piano. When she sees them, she thinks they are an apparition, then suddenly realizes they are real. They come into the room, followed by Mr. Darling with the Lost Boys, who have also arrived. Liza looks at Slightly and tells him that she is his mother.
Wendy sees Peter out the nursery window and says hello, but the Darling parents cannot see him, because they are old. Wendy flies to Peter and asks him, "You don't feel you would like to say anything to my parents, Peter, about a very sweet subject?" He does not.
Mrs. Darling asks Peter if she can adopt him, but when he learns that it will entail going to school and becoming a man, he declines. "I want always to be a little boy and to have fun," he says.
Wendy asks her mother if she can go with Peter, but she doesn't let her. "I shall let her go to you once a year for a week to do your spring cleaning," Mrs. Darling says, magnanimously. The scene shifts and we see Wendy the next year, helping Peter with his spring cleaning, and bidding him goodbye. She wants to help him, but goes home instead.
We see, in this section, that Hook's villainy stems chiefly from his insecurity about his own ability to be loved. As dastardly and evil as he is, he laments the fact that he is not granted more respect, discussing the fact that when the children play Peter Pan, no one wants to pretend to be him. Thus we see that Hook has a tender side, a part of him feels left out of the adventurous fun of life, and the memories of his time as a youthful mischief-maker. It is this loss that has made Hook such an evil man, that has so soured him to youth.
Even in the moments of elevated stakes and dramatic tension, the play maintains a childlike humor. For instance, when Hook tells the boys that he could spare two of them to be cabin boys on the ship, Tootles and Slightly both agree that their mother would never approve, while John and Michael decide they cannot denounce King George. Wendy tells the boys that she hopes they will "die like English gentlemen." All of the children maintain a precocious attitude towards their imminent demise, which casts a humorous light on rather dire circumstances.
The play is filled not only with dreamy and vivid scenes of the paradise of Never Land, but also a great deal of conflict and high-stakes struggles. On the pirate ship, Peter and Hook engage in a sword fight that Barrie describes in florid detail. He writes about each moment in the fight with a spirit that mirrors Pan's adventurous heart.
In this final section of the play, the children return home, and Peter's ambivalence about mothers is revealed once again. He goes with Tinker Bell to close the windows, so that the Darling children think they are unwanted. He witnesses the fact that Mrs. Darling is crying, barely registering what the emotion means, when "a funny feeling comes over him," and he decides to flee with Tink, admonishing "silly mothers" as they go. Part of what makes Peter such a noble hero is his independence, but it is this independent streak that also alienates him from his primary trauma, the loss of his mother.
By the end of the play, the audience cannot tell if Peter's way of life—never growing up and only ever having fun—is a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, he evades the aging process, staying a little boy forever, while Wendy and the others age. On the other hand, he has no attachment to meaning or time, and he forgets things more quickly than does Wendy. His gift of eternal youth also means that he never learns any of the benefits of maturation and aging. He is isolated by his age, and never able to connect with the people in his life.