Group meeting at Granny’s to discuss Rumplestiltskin being out and about – Hook points out that the now vanished Neal was looking for Rumple to try and get him back to Storybrooke and Emma and Henry – so could be a possible cause. Regina doesn’t care how he’s back – she’s more concerned with what he’s up to and is going to search again – and make it clear she’s ready to take on any other witches
Zelena also wants to know – because she’s lost Rumplestiltskin and the dagger doesn’t seem to be able to summon him. Told you it was a bad idea to hold Rumple prisoner. Though at the minute he looks less menacing as he flees through the wood.
The gang talk to Belle about Rumple and hope she can find some clue in his shop for how he managed to come back from the dead. Guarded by Hook who, Belle points out, tried to kill her twice. He does apologise though (yes I laughed, yes it was wrong). From there it’s time to track in the woods – without Snow White despite tracking being one of her very very very very very few skills (sogginess is not a skill) because she is The Pregnant Lady and must be carefully shelved.
Go back to a year ago – before the most recent Amnesia curse – and Belle and Neal looking for a way to bring Rumple back from the dead to defeat the Wicked witch – because having the Dark One on side is always a good thing. They also face the uncomfortable truth that they’ve both pushed Rumple to avoid his dark side but, ultimately, that’s what they need. But first they need to do some research in the library – apparently helped by a talking fiery candlestick – Lumiere.
And back in the present Hook and Belle’s research is interrupted by the arrival of Neal. Awwww, one of the best points of this half of the season was the disappearance of Neal. Couldn’t he have been a flying monkey?
Emma has a moment with Henry – who tells her he knows she’s lying a whole lot and the whole town is in on it as well. He doesn’t like it but he’ll trust her for now when Emma goes running to see Neal-who-should-be-a-monkey. Not-Monkey Neal as the same memory loss as anyone else, is confused at the idea of his father being back – and has an odd triangular brand on his hand (which isn’t a monkey paw, but should be). He and Emma have a moment and he learns of Henry’s amnesia – and also that Emma is not 100% eager to get Henry his memories back, because he is happy.
Back to the past and Lumiere; who made a deal with Rumple and failed to fulfil his part – so now is a living candlestick who can only communicate through the flames when the candles are lit. He’s, obviously, not thrilled to help Rumple be resurrected but Belle assures him that Rumple will release him from the candles. He shows them the hiding place of a key (the head of which looks just like the brand on Neal’s palm). It’s the key to the Dark One’s vault, apparently where the first Dark One was created. But when they leave Zelena appears – Lumiere is working for the Wicked Witch (though not eagerly).
And in Storybrooke, Zelena is being extra creepy and super useful and reassuring to Mary Margaret the soggy. While Regina is investigating the witches cottage and catching a bolt from Robin Hood when he mistakes her for the witch. Catches a crossbow quarrel, with her hand. And they re-introduce themselves to each other. In the hospital Neal and Hook talk – about being good after being a pirate – and doing no doubt evil dark magic to get Rumple back – and they have a moment when Hook remembers Neal as the boy he looked after in Neverland way back when. All these people aging at different rates can create complications. Despite being told to keep Neal there and not let him go out looking for Rumple, Hook gives him a 10 minute head start.
Emma and David walk through the woods doing something or other – but mainly talking about then bemusing idea that Emma wants to go back to New York (actually not bemusing) and that she’s quite happy for Henry to remain memory-less (more bemusing). The discussing is interrupted by Rumple – screaming and clutching his head because there are too many voices in his head. Which is probably not a good thing. They’re attacked by a flying monkey and Rumple runs, Emma follows leaving David to “hold off” the monkey
David, it’s a monkey. With wings. You don’t “hold it off”. You stab it, kill it then join them – this creature is menacing only to people made of straw. It’s one of the most decidedly unmenacing monsters every imagined, up there with the weremolusc.
Regina and Robin flirt a little – until Regina sees his tattoo. She quickly leaves.
Back to the past and Belle and Neal, with Lumiere, find the entry to the Dark One’s Vault in a clearing; but Belle catches him in a lie. They confront the candle and he confesses it was the Wicked Witch who transformed him, not Rumple. The Wicked Witch wants to bring Rumple back so she can enslave him with his dagger – Belle wants to bail. Even if they can resurrect Rumple, he died for his family, for good – to bring him back to be a slave for evil would completely go against the meaning of that sacrifice (also he’d make a really dangerous enemy – but both Neal and Belle are too soggy to think of that). But Neal thinks this is Rumplestilskin. She wants to enslave him? Yeah, good luck with that. But also he doesn’t care about the cost if it gets his family back which, as Belle points out, is exactly what Rumple did when he created the curse to find Neal.
Neal uses the key – and it burns his hand – and the vault fills with black goo that forms into a person
Back to the present and Emma and Neal meet up in the woods. They bond over there very very very bad past relationships when Belle calls with research! Yes the key resurrects the Dark One – but it kills someone to do it. Neal should be dead. He promptly collapses
What, is it like one of those cuts that only hurts when you look at it? “Shit I should be dead? Damn I messed up my lines!”
Time for an explanatory flashback – Rumple saw his son dying to bring him back and rushed forwards – in time for Zelena to mock him and force him to make a choice. He can use his power to hang onto his dagger or Neal – not both. He chooses Neal (who should be a flying monkey). I think we can all agree that it’s a very bad decision. He saves Neal’s life but Zelena has the dagger and it seems to damage his sanity. She tries to get Rumple to kill Belle, but Lumiere uses nifty flame power to give her chance to run.
To the present and Neal is in pain because of his father inside him, his voice in his head. Which is why we never saw Neal until Rumple escaped – they were sharing the same body. Neal begs Emma to separate them with her magic for the sake of everyone even if it kills him (hey, it’s even better than turning him into a flying monkey! Go for it). She’s screws up her eyes, which apparently replaces magical training, and splits them in two. Rumple appears, Neal collapses (yay and double yay!) Rumple knows who Zelena is – which helps – but there’s nothing he can do to save Neal. Tragic goodbye scene with lots of talk of love, family and sacrifice.
Emma, David et all rush to Mary Margaret to capture Zelena but she’s already done a runner. Zelena tries to mock Rumple over his dead son but he taunts her that the SAVIOUR knows who she is and doom is upon her. Personally I think that Rumple working with all his facilities is way scarier. Though she’s sure she has him under control. Rumple returns to his cage to grieve.
Also, Snow White’s baby is apparently the goal.
Regina’s angsting over something else, presumably Robin. And David and Mary Magdalene spread the word of Neal’s death to everyone so they can join in the sadness. Emma goes to Henry who, of course, has no memory; she tells him she came to help his father – but that he died. Henry is so very very confused.
Ok, I have to admit I grinned like a very very silly person over Lumiere’s appearance. It almost made up for Neal not being a monkey.
I’m not real comfortable with the idea that Emma wants to keep Henry ignorant because he was happy with the lies. After all, before he lost his memory he seemed pretty happy too – and it’s dubious to say the least that keeping him ignorant also separates him from the rest of his family who also love him, care for him and make him happy.
Besides, I’ve never been keen on the whole “keep them ignorant for their own good” trope – it’s disrespectful to say the least. And if ANYONE in Storybrooke is capable knowing the truth, it’s the boy who knew it before anyone else (except the instigators anyway).
Is Neal gone for good? And do I have to pretend to be sad about that? I would probably have found that scene way more touching if I weren’t on the edge of my seat whispering “die die die – c’mon die before they bring out the life saving woo-woo! Ooooh tragic music – it’s actually happening!?” Now I’m in the “don’t you dare resurrect him” stage.