Last night was one of the saddest episodes of Once Upon A Time. I didn’t think it could be worse than Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan’s back-story, but it was. And once again, a father and a son were at the center of it.
First thing first – do not invade Regina Mills’s personal space. The Wicked Witch did that and that has made Regina angry. So everyone is looking for Rumplestiltskin and so is Zelena. Since she can’t get the dagger to work like a compass and find him, she sends one of her flying monkeys after him. This flying monkey is the ‘beautiful one’, apparently. Fail to see how. Meanwhile, Rumple is running through the forest, looking more harried than ever.
Emma and David leave Hook with Belle, to protect her in case the Wicked Witch comes looking for Rumple around, which is ironic since he tried to kill her twice before. Hook totally says sorry, though.
One year ago, in the enchanted forest, Belle tells Neal that, ultimately, his father did come through and got out of the dark parts in him. And suddenly, Lumiere lights up. (Yay! Instant memories of Beauty and the Beast.)
Back in Storybrooke, Neal barges in Gold’s shop, half-dead. While his father is half-dying, Henry is busy complaining about the quality of bagel that his Supermom Emma got him. Kid, there is nothing wrong with that bagel. Before Emma can deal with the bagel, her phone rings, informing her of Neal’s appearance.
In the hospital, Neal wants to meet Henry but Emma tells him their son remembers nothing of Storybrooke and him.
Lumiere agrees to help resurrect Rumple when Belle promises she would make him reverse the enchantment on the candles and set him free. He points them to a volume of book, befitting the Dark One. Inside is a key that goes to the vault of the Dark One, where the first Dark One was borne out of darkness. But of course, Lumiere is creepy and works for the Wicked Witch. All Beauty and the Beast memories get corrupted.
Meanwhile, Snow STILL hasn’t figured the connection between this random Zelena nanny and the Wicked Witch. I mean, she’s making pregnancy jokes.
Robin Hood and Regina bump into one another. Actually, he shoots at her, thinking she’s the Wicked Witch. She calls him a thief, he calls her the Evil Queen. Cue OTP. In a parallel from the first time they met, Robin tells Regina he wouldn’t dream of getting in her way and she stops, as if remembering, and asks if they’ve met before. “I doubt I’d ever forget meeting you,” Robin says. They are my new favorite couple here, just so you know.
Hook brings Neal green jello and says the thing must have medicinal properties. I can assure you, it doesn’t. But then Hook goes ahead and hugs Neal, remembering the little boy he brought up. Neal calls him Killian, once again. And cue the foreshadowing, because this scene was too fluffed up.
Back in the enchanted forest, Belle and Neal discuss Rumple’s sacrifice on their journey to find the vault. There’s a lot of snow, are we in Narnia? No, still here.
David and Emma find Rumple delirious, going on about no space and too many voices in his head. The ‘beautiful’ monkey swoops in and David engages it as Emma chases after Rumple.
Regina and Robin are examining objects in Zelena’s house. He tells her she may be bold and audacious, but not evil. They have a couple of drinks and she sees the lion tattoo, having a crazy flashback of Tinkerbell talking about her true love.
Back in not-Narnia, Lumiere, who is a douchebag, leads them to the vault. Belle figures he’s lying when he says he’s been in the library for two hundred years – the library was built for Belle thirty years ago. He confesses about the Wicked Witch immediately, telling them she wants Rumplestiltskin back so she can control him with his dagger.
Neal kind of makes the same mistake as his father and opens the vault. The key burns up, branding his palm. The price of bringing back a life was to give a life.
Rumple rises from the vault, all shadows and creepy black liquid forming into his body. He magically absorbs Neal to save his life from being sacrificed, losing his own consciousness and going mad. The Wicked Witch arrives and now controls Rumple. To test it out, she tells him to kill Belle, and he would have if Lumiere didn’t turn heroic for about a second and helps Belle escape.
Emma figures out Neal is alive because Rumple’s inside him, coexisting as one. She needs Rumple to tell her who the Wicked Witch, so she has to use her magic to separate the two, which means Neal has to die. He gives his necklace to Emma and calls Gold ‘Papa’ one last time and as he dies, there is sad music all around and you wonder if Rumplestiltskin can ever be happy?!
While everyone now knows who the Wicked Witch is, Zelena takes Rumple back to his cage, controlling him with the dagger as the sad music continues.
The melancholy spreads in the final scenes as Regina watches Robin and his kid play, Belle and Snow hug, David and Hook just look sad. Emma decides to tell Henry his dad is dead, and that he was a hero. Henry wishes he had known Neal, and Emma says he did, which must have made so much sense to the kid who doesn’t remember anything.