By Emily Konopka
On this week’s Once Upon a Time the search was on for Rumplestiltskin and a beloved character made the ultimate sacrifice.
This episode was jam packed with big moments so I’ll try and break it down to the nitty gritty details.
As we know Rumplestiltskin is indeed alive, but there is a catch…he has so many voices in his head because Neal is living inside of him. Yikes! In their quest to find a way to resurrect Rumple, Belle and Neal discovered a way. Neal was willing to do it no matter the cost. Belle and Neal get some help from a certain candle named Lumière, but he isn’t everything he appears to be. Zelena planted him in Rumple’s castle so Belle and Neal could find out how to bring back the Dark One. Zelena wants him alive so that she can control him. What Neal didn’t know when he decided to unlock the vault of the Dark One to get his father back was that he would be trading his life for his father’s. Rumple magically absorbs Neal in an attempt to keep him alive. Because of this he chooses to surrender his dagger to Zelena. It was nice to see Rumple make the right choice in the end and choose his son over power.
In Storybrooke everyone is still trying to piece together the puzzle of the Wicked Witch, and now additionally how Rumple could even be alive. Regina decides that finding out why the Witch had Rumple captive is priority number one so she heads off to the farmhouse to look for clues. Hook, Emma, and her parents head to Gold’s shop to fill Belle in. Which brings me to one of my personal favorite parts of this episode. In what seemed to be prompted by only a slight look from Emma, Hook volunteers to stay behind in Gold’s shop to protect Belle in case the witch comes. Belle is obviously wary because Hook has tried to kill her, twice. Colin O’Donoghue does a marvelous job playing Hook in his awkward transition away from his villainous past. Hook offers up a cheeky grin and a sorry to Belle, which she accepts. Later on Belle thinks it is Rumple bursting through the door of the shop, but it actually is Neal.
Regina gets some unexpected company at the farmhouse, and not from whom she was expecting. Robin Hood is camped out there waiting for the Wicked Witch. Some flirtation ensues and Regina asks if she has met Robin before. He tells her that he doubts he would forget meeting her. Outlaw Queen as the ship has been dubbed is well on its way. But right out of the gate Regina hits a roadblock and freaks out. Robin finds some whisky in Zelena’s kitchen and pours himself and Regina a drink. As he hands it to her she notices the lion tattoo on his arm, which causes her to abruptly run away. Sean Maguire and Lana Parrilla have so much chemistry already. I cannot wait for more scenes with the two of them.
Speaking of characters that have great chemistry, Hook shows up to ‘babysit’ Neal, at the request of Emma. If this episode proved anything, it proved how Hook would literally do anything for Emma. In an adorable gesture Hook brings Neal some jell-o, a food that if you’ve seen the season 2 deleted scenes you know has mystified our one handed pirate before. Neal thanks Hook for getting Emma’s memories back and asks what it is like being the hero. He says it is unfamiliar and in return asks what it feels like being the villain since Neal probably had to use the darkest form of magic to bring his father back. Neal is determined to get out of the hospital but Hook stands in his way. Hook does something unexpected and pulls Neal into a long overdue hug. He tells him that sometimes he forgets that underneath everything Neal is still that young boy he cared for. Neal says he hasn’t forgotten. Hook says that they let a woman, whom I took as both Emma and Milah, stand in-between their good relationship. He gives Neal a 10-minute head start before he will alert the others that he has gone. There is so much bromance potential between these two, I’m sad we won’t get to see it unfold.
And now to the tragic events of this episode, Emma and David find Rumple in the woods muttering about how there isn’t enough room for all the voices in his head. Rumple gets away from Emma and while she is looking for him she runs in to Neal. He and Emma set out to look for his father and along the way share some friendly conversation. Emma tells Neal that she isn’t sure she wants Henry to get his memories back because he was so happy with their life in New York. They joke about how Emma almost married a flying monkey and how Neal almost married his evil grandfather’s minion. Neal tells Emma that he just wants her and Henry to be happy, even if it isn’t with him. Their conversation is interrupted when Belle calls to tell Emma that she thinks she knows what Neal did to bring back his father, and that if she is right he should be dead. Right on cue Neal drops to the ground and his face starts to morph into Rumple’s.
Emma realizes that Rumple is inside of Neal, and he tells her that she needs to use her magic to get his father out. Emma knows that if she does this Neal will die, and he says he doesn’t care because they need the information Rumple has about the Wicked Witch more than they need him. Emma uses her powers to separate father and son and Rumple discovers that his son is dying. Emma tells him that she is sorry he never got to see Henry again. Neal says that all Henry needs to know is that he was a good father in the end. He gives Emma back her necklace and tells her that he just wants Emma and Henry to be happy and that she deserves to find Tallahassee with someone. Rumple wants to try to fix it, and Neal asks him to let him go. He thanks his father for showing him what making a true sacrifice is all about. With his dying breath he tells his Papa that he loves him. This moment was heartbreaking, but I’m glad the writers chose to center his death on making amends with his father and doing what his father couldn’t do at first and sacrifice everything for his family.
In the end Emma decides that it is time to tell Henry the semi-real reason they came to Storybrooke. She tells him that the reason they came back was because someone bad was trying to hurt his father. Henry asks if Emma found him and she says that she was too late. She lets him know that he was a good man and would’ve been a good father. She says that the one thing she needs him to know is that his dad died a hero.
What is your reaction to Neal’s death? Do you think his character got a good send off? Who do you think is going to be the ‘Tinman’ in this story now that Zelena possesses Charming’s courage, and Rumple’s brains?
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