Once Upon a Time Season 3.15 Review: Quiet Minds
March 30, 2014 – ABC
Well, they do say be careful what you wish for. Just last week, I put Once on notice, asking for a major death to come along and shake things up and then stick. I figured that I might get my wish by the end of the season; never did I expect such a quick turn around! And while I will miss this character dearly, I still applaud the guts it took to kill off someone so beloved. And that’s not even the best part! With the episode building to this big death, everything felt more cohesive, including the extremely relevant flashback.
FTL: The Search for Darkness
Speaking of flashback, this week was all about getting Rumple back, so we rejoined Belle and Neal in Rumple’s castle where we got to meet yet another new character: Lumiere. Last week’s Rapunzel was a little bit of a let down, but Lumiere stood up to the test. Just like in Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere is a cursed candelabra who hangs out in the library. But here it was Rumple who cursed him when he failed to hold up his end of the bargain. That’s a sad fate, but I love the fact that Lumiere does not appear unless his candles are lit so that his face can appear in the flames.
Despite his hatred of Rumple, Belle convinces Lumiere that if he helps they will get Rumple to release him from his curse. So Lumiere points the way to a helpful book. It is not helpful in the way Belle usually finds books. Instead, it contains a key with a strange triangle symbol on it. Lumiere reveals that it unlocks the vault of the Dark One, “where the first Dark One was made, born out of the, well, Darkness.” Too bad all of this information is actually revealed on Zelena’s orders. She was the one who cursed Lumiere, not Rumple, and now she is calling the shots. But why would she want Rumple resurrected?
When they arrive at the Dark One’s vault, Belle calls Lumiere’s bluff when he yells about being under Rumple’s spell for 200 years. The castle has only been around for 30 years, so how could that be true? Belle warns Neal not to do anything, but he is willing to save Rumple no matter the cost, even if it means letting Rumple be the Wicked Witch’s slave. Belle was willing to find another way, but she is too late. Neal turns the key, the strange symbol is burned into his palm, and an inky Rumple rises from the darkness.
The fluidity of evil on this show is so interesting, as Once often shows good characters resorting to evil or vice versa. They did it with Snow, now with Neal. That is really what distinguishes Once from the fairy tales it portrays. No one is pure one way or the other. Everyone exists on a spectrum of evil and can move along it at any time. It keeps you guessing, and I love that.
Back to what’s important: after opening the vault, Neal lays dying, as a life is payment for Rumple’s life. But Rumple will not let go, and he brings Neal into himself. “You’ve got your son, but you’ve lost yourself,” the WW taunts upon her arrival. That explains the voices that have plagued Rumple in Storybrooke, since his head has more than one inhabitant. Either way, Rumple tells Belle to run, and with Lumiere’s help, Zelena is restrained long enough for her to do just that with Lumiere in tow.
Storybrooke: The Search for Rumple
Now that the team knows that Rumple is alive, finding him has become the first priority. Part of that is going to Belle to see if she has any insight. Belle is assigned the task of searching Rumple’s shop for clues, and Hook volunteers to research/guard duty in case the WW shows up to cause trouble. But the first person that stumbles through the barricaded door is not the WW or Rumple himself, but Neal. The man promptly collapses and they whisk him to the hospital, where the gang notices the brand on his palm. Not a good sign.
When Emma visit Neal in the hospital, she has to break the news that Henry doesn’t remember, and she also acknowledges that she doesn’t know if Henry should get his memories back. Neal does not take that news well, as suspected. Emma just wants Henry to stay as happy as he was back in New York, but I really do not understand why she constantly commits to Storybrooke and then backs off. Why would she do that to Neal after worrying so much for his safety? It’s definitely one thing to say that Henry doesn’t remember and can’t be told who Neal is for awhile and another to say that he will never be told that Neal is his father. Majorly harsh.
Hook pulls double duty and guards Neal as well, since everyone who knows him knows that he will want to be out looking for his father as well. But Hook knows Neal in a way no one else does from their travels together. He suspects that Neal had to turn to darkness to get Rumple back. When Neal scoffs and turns to go, Hook hugs him. And then Hook gives Neal a10 minute head start before he tells the others that he has left the hospital.
Meanwhile, Regina has spearheaded the search of the WW’s farmhouse. On her way there she almost gets shot by one of Robin’s arrows. Despite not knowing each other and being suspicious of their dubious FTL backgrounds, they team up to search together. He’s a thief, she’s an evil queen, but somehow it works. But for a moment, Regina does feel as if she and Robin have met before. Already, you can feel the chemistry when Robin replies, “I doubt I’d ever forget meeting you. Unless of course it was during that pesky year no one can recall.”
The team is a bit lopsided, though, since Regina is doing the heavy lifting looking for magical objects that only she could sense. So Robin just watches Regina work and asks questions about objects in our world that he is not yet caught up on. Like whiskey. While I love the idea of Robin and Regina having a drink together, I find the circumstances a bit odd. They don’t really have the time to stop and chat, and for a second I feared that something nefarious was going on beneath the surface. I guess it’s all for good since Regina sees Robin’s tattoo as he hands her a drink and remembers Tink’s speech about finding her soulmate. She leaves the farmhouse without a word, which I hope will get addressed sometime in the future (although it looks like she might be a bit busy in the near future according to the preview for next week)
In other news, Charming banishes Snow home for rest, leaving their best tracker on the bench. In the spirit of March Madness, that is not the best way to win the game! And sadly he puts her in more harm’s way by doing that, since she is quickly visited by Zelena. I hope we get to see soon why Snow’s baby is so important to the WW. Does she just want a family of her own and is glomping on to the first baby she sees? Somehow I doubt that. I also worry that she might have done something to affect Snow earlier on in the pregnancy in FTL.
Before she drops by the Charmings, Zelena tries to summon Rumple with his knife, but it doesn’t work. Luckily she has winged monkeys to do her bidding anyway. It’s difficult to be in two places at once, so delegating to the monkeys is a great idea for a busy witch on the run.
Storybrooke: Too Many Voices
Emma and Charming find Rumple, who is once again being plagued by the voices. “There’s no room. No room! Too many voices! Too many voices!,” he cries with hands on his head. His crazy rant is interrupted by the arrival of a flying monkey, so Rumple and Emma run away while Charming fights the monkey. That is a pretty silly looking fight. I mean, the idea of flying monkeys is scary, but in reality, they aren’t as impressive unless you are really up close to those vicious teeth. But the monkey serves its purpose by distancing Charming from the group so that Emma can have a necessary heart-to-heart with Neal, who shows up to join the search for the once again missing Rumple.
But something is wrong. Belle calls to tell Emma that the symbol on Neal’s hand means he opened the vault in FTL and should now be dead. Cue Neal morphing into Rumple. No wonder Neal was missing all of this time. He was actually in that cage! When Neal was supposed to die in the FTL, Rumple had temporarily saved him by merging him with himself. So now there are two souls in one body, fighting for supremacy.
In a heart-breaking moment, Neal begs Emma to use her magic to separate him from his father, fully knowing that he will die on his own. He knows that Rumple is the one who can save the town and everyone that Neal loves, and it was Rumple who showed him what it means to sacrifice for family. Neal says his goodbyes to Emma and Rumple and then dies for good. Really, as Emma and Charming run off to protect Snow from who they now know is the Wicked Witch, Zelena comfronts Rumples over his son’s dead body. And once that scene has played out, Neal is all we see. And he does not open his eyes. In case you had any doubts that this death would stick, I think they have made it clear enough that this is final. I know I asked for a death, and Neal is certainly a huge death at that, but I will definitely miss him. Even if I lean more toward Emma and the bad boy Hook, I also loved the relationship between Henry’s biological parents. And really, what fun is there is there isn’t a love triangle? I felt cheated that Neal died as soon as he returns to Emma, but that makes the death even more unexpected and poignant. The only question remains, will we see Neal at all? We certainly saw the most important portion of his time in FTL, but will he play a role in someone else’s story? According to early scope over at TVLine, Michael Raymond-James will not exiting the show now that his character has died, but I will happily live in denial for a bit longer.
Anyway, on to the last important moments:
- Now that Rumple and Neal have separated, the Dark One can once again be controlled by his dagger. Zelena commands Rumple back to his cage where he cries for his Bae. *sob*
- With Neal’s death, Emma decides to tell Henry the truth. Somewhat. She tells him that she came to town to help his dad but that she was too late. But she does tell Henry that his father was a good man and died a hero. Henry wishes he had a chance to know him. *sobs again*
Quotes of the Night
Neal: “Nothing like a green blob to get the appetite going.”
Hook: “Well I gather it has great medicinal properties.”
Emma: “He proposed. And then he turned into a flying monkey… Go ahead and laugh, I almost married a monster from Oz. It’s hilarious.”
Neal: “I almost married a minion of my evil grandfather, Peter Pan, so I know what you’re saying.”
Regina: “Not exactly. But it is a liquid that can conjure courage, give strength, or even act as a love potion of sorts… It’s called whiskey, and no it’s not magical. Especially the next day.”
Robin, looking at Regina from behind: “From this angle, the evil moniker seems somewhat of an overstatement. Bold and audacious perhaps, but not evil.”
Next Week: Now that the cat is out of the bag, Wicked and Evil have a throwdown in the middle of town. I imagine there will also be a lot of tears for the dearly departed Neal. More to look forward to, I suppose. See you next week!