Tonight, Once Upon a Time gave viewers some of the answers we’ve been waiting for. We now know how Rumplestiltskin came back to life and where Neal has been all of this time. Some of our favorite characters also came to major revelations during the hour. But the heart of “Quiet Minds” was a story of love and sacrifice that led to the end of one character’s journey.
The flashbacks took us to the Dark Castle during the missing year where Belle and Neal were trying to find a way to bring Rumple back. Their determination was awesome, but I have to admit that I was a little bothered by Neal’s attitude toward his father in these scenes. Even after everything that happened in Neverland and Rumple sacrificing himself to take out Pan, Neal still had doubts that Rumple had completely changed. I wasn’t sure where this was coming from, but I didn’t like it.
We got to meet Lumiere (the candlestick from Beauty and the Beast fame). He was trapped in the Dark Castle thanks to Rumplestiltskin and he had a way to help Belle and Neal as long as they promised that Rumple would fix him. They made plans to leave in the morning and that was when Zelena appeared. It turned out she was the one who had actually turned him into a candle and she needed him to get Belle and Neal to bring Rumple back.
Belle picked up on that fairly quickly as they were about to put their plan into action and Lumiere slipped up over how long he’d been at the castle. Belle realized it was a trap, but Neal was desperate and completely ignored Belle’s warnings that it wasn’t a good idea to complete the spell. He did it anyway and Rumple was brought back, but there was definitely a huge price to pay – a life for a life.
Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Emma and David found Rumple in the woods, but he wasn’t making a lot of sense. A flying monkey came after them and Rumple got away. Then Emma received a call that Neal had been found after he’d stumbled into Gold’s shop where Belle was waiting with Hook. Emma and Charming met Hook and Neal at the hospital, but Neal didn’t remember anything. Emma had to fill him in on the new curse, Rumple being alive and Henry not remembering him.
After a sweet scene with Hook (I always love when the show remembers the relationship they had before they were both in love with Emma), Neal headed out to the forest to join Emma in the search for Rumple. This was another great scene as the two joked about how they’d both been engaged to/dating monsters and they’d been through a lot together. Neal wanted Emma to be happy, even if he wasn’t the one who could make her happy. That’s when Belle called and let Emma know what she’d found – the mark on Neal’s hand connected the dots to the spell and he shouldn’t be alive.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, Rumple barely had time to be happy about his reunion with Belle because Neal was dying. Zelena appeared and she wanted his dagger. Rumple wanted to save his son and the only way he could do so was to absorb him into his body, something he couldn’t do while holding the dagger. Rumple let it go – he sacrificed his power to save his son. And this is where I felt guilty for side eyeing those earlier scenes because I get it now. Neal had a lifetime of doubts and now there was no question that Rumple had learned his lesson and loved Neal more than power. Excuse me while I sob in the corner…
In Storybrooke, Neal had collapsed and he told Emma that she had to use her magic to separate him from his father. Emma wasn’t sure she could, but Neal told her that she had to because Rumple was the only one who could tell them who the witch was and his life was more important. Emma did what he asked (it’s always so cool when Emma uses magic). Rumple immediately told them that Zelena was the witch and he wanted to save his son, but Neal was ready to die. He asked Emma to tell Henry that he loved him and then he said, “I love you, Papa.” Again, I’ll just be in the corner sobbing because Rumple/Bae has always been my favorite family ship on this show so this hurts a lot.
Emma and Charming raced to the loft to check on Snow, but Zelena had already left. She’d made her way back to the forest and found Rumple with his son. She reminded him that she had his knife and he had to do what she said. Rumple wasn’t amused and pointed out that people knew who she was now so they’d come for her. Zelena didn’t seem to mind all that much. She told Rumple to go back to his cage, which he did and again, it was beyond sad to see him grieving for his son. As for Zelena, she mentioned having Rumple’s brain and we know she has Charming’s courage. So whose heart will she be going after? Time will tell.
While Hook, Charming, Snow and Belle mourned Neal together in Gold’s shop, Emma found Henry by the water and told him a small version of the truth. She explained that he’d been right and there was more to the case. Emma told Henry that some bad people had hurt his dad and she’d come there to help him, but she’d been too late. She assured Henry that Neal was a good man and a hero and she was going to make the person who hurt Neal pay. It makes me sad that Neal died while Henry had no memory of him, but at least we know that Henry does have real, happy memories of him and those will come back when the curse is broken. Neal needed closure with his own father more than anything (at least in my opinion, but as always, your mileage may vary).
The one bright side of the emotional episode was Regina and Robin working together to hunt down the witch. Their first meeting in Storybrooke paralleled some of their dialogue from their adventure in the Enchanted Forest, which I thought was a great touch. Robin was flirting pretty heavily with our evil queen and she wasn’t sure what to make of it. And then she saw that lion tattoo! Needless to say, Regina freaked out and literally ran away. Again, this was a nice parallel to the first time she’d run away from the bar. Later, Regina watched him with Roland (cutest kid ever).
But Regina has much bigger problems than her love life in the next episode. Zelena doesn’t have to hide anymore and she wants a showdown with her sister in the center of town. That should make for an interesting battle.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Did Neal’s death break your heart? How surprised were you to find out that Neal and Rumple were in the same body? Are you as disappointed as I am that there was no Rumple/Belle reunion before he was forced back into that cage? Did you enjoy snarky Lumiere? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with us!