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S03.E15: Quiet Minds

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I didn't know someone was going to die so I was very surprised when Bael died. But that character never worked for me, tbh. And I'm glad he's gone because I ship Hook/Emma badly. I was sure Bael/Emma was endgame because of Henry but now I have hope again XD

Anyawy, I think the episode was quite bad. I only liked the hug between Hook and Bael, Hook's comment about jelly and that last moment with Emma and Henry. I like the idea of Regina/Robin but I didn't see anything special in their scenes together, not this time. Just things we've seen hundreds of times. The actors have chemistry together, but they need better lines.

I'll be honest, to me, Bella looks stoned half of the time.

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I hope they show Zelena inserting a mind-hazing clause into the curse, because otherwise it's just silly and a disservice to Snow's character.

It would have been nice if the subplot was Snow starting to connect the dots.  I think the writers just wanted to write sardonic lines for Zelena like "I'm not going to let you have your baby without me here, mhahwahwahwah".  I agree that it was actually destructive to the Snow character and a total disservice to her.  

But I guess they had no time for that Snow subplot?  It would have made more sense to put the Regina/Robin scenes into a separate episode.  I mean, Rumple is loose and an Evil Witch is loose, and Regina takes a moment to follow Robin Hood to his camp in the woods?  Kinda like last week, she went to take a leisurely stroll by the lake with Henry?  Puleeze.  

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Could anyone tell who was circling Emma and Henry in the last scene? I was thinking the witch, but in the flashes I saw the outfit didn't seem right. Did anyone get a better look?

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Loriac - are you referring to the blackish blur in the extreme foreground?  At first I thought that flash was ominous (also had a moment of thinking a monkey would scoop Henry up before Emma reached him), but now believe it to be just another person walking in the park.  Like with Regina and Henry and all of those other park goers in the last episode.  The plot point park I don't remember seeing before then. You know, with everyone walking all leisurely in the wide open instead of hiding out from the rampant flying monkeys?  Blerg.

Edited by 2deadcows

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So I guess with Rumple dead, the Dark One curse was over, no new Dark One was created when Rumple died because he technically killed himself.

 

Then Neal resurrected the curse.  Dumbass, dumbass, dumbass, dumbass.

Well, when put into this clear a perspective it's almost a relief someone actually paid a price for giving new life to something so awful and the paying results in general awfulness. Yet another poignant aspect that could have been addressed if there hadn't been 300 other plot points that need to be quickly resolved in 40 minutes of episode.

The thing that bugs me the most about Zelena is that they are so selective about what she's up to. Yeah, in this episode she planned to get Rumple back and perfectly manipulated everybody to that end, but it's irritating that her Storybrooke aim is still so vague. I get that they need to keep us on our toes (and they're probably getting around to that this Sunday when she has to collect The Heart), but it feels like they should have showed something far earlier.

Also, I am fully lobbying for a mind-haze in the Curse because even if I could buy Mary Margaret's gullible nature and the unexpected pregnancy interfering with Snow's judgement, the amount of times Zelena touched her belly and the way the scene played out should have made Snow's Spidey-sense tingle, somewhat. I am aware it has all been already shot and edited, but what. Ever.

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It would have been nice if the subplot was Snow starting to connect the dots.  I think the writers just wanted to write sardonic lines for Zelena like "I'm not going to let you have your baby without me here, mhahwahwahwah".  I agree that it was actually destructive to the Snow character and a total disservice to her. 

GIven that Snow is one of the heroes, are we actually surprised that they murdered her character just to make a villain look more badass, though? Sadly, I'm totally not.

But I guess they had no time for that Snow subplot?  It would have made more sense to put the Regina/Robin scenes into a separate episode.  I mean, Rumple is loose and an Evil Witch is loose, and Regina takes a moment to follow Robin Hood to his camp in the woods?  Kinda like last week, she went to take a leisurely stroll by the lake with Henry?  Puleeze.

I agree with this. I didn't dislike the Outlaw Queen scenes--I actually quite liked them, as I thought Regina and Robin had way more chemistry in this ep than they did in 3x13--but their scenes felt out of place, like they belonged in a different episode. In part because I think Regina actually meeting her Happy Ending warranted more than to be the D-plot in an episode (and I say this as no fan of Regina)--it should've been the B or at minimum C plot.

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I liked the episode overall. A price was paid for magic, something I have been needing to see.

The "triangle" was resolved by showing that neither Neal or Emma had romantic feelings towards each other anymore. The rumored death is no longer rumored.

Hook apologized to Belle, I think he was actually sorry but is terrible with apologies and how do you apologize for attempted murder anyway.

Hook and Neal found closure. Rumple held on to Neal vs power and he also let Neal go finally.

Emma will be a mess for awhile, not expecting much for Captain Swan this next ep. Although we will get Captain Cobra scenes.

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Loriac - are you referring to the blackish blur in the extreme foreground?  At first I thought that flash was ominous (also had a moment of thinking a monkey would scoop Henry up before Emma reached him), but now believe it to be just another person walking in the park.  Like with Regina and Henry and all of those other park goers in the last episode.  The plot point park I don't remember seeing before then. You know, with everyone walking all leisurely in the wide open instead of hiding out from the rampant flying monkeys?  Blerg.

Yes, there was a foreground blur as she was approaching Henry.  But then toward the end of the scene, someone quickly went from one tree to another in the background.  It did make me think about flying monkeys ... it was very foreboding.  If there was just the one blur I would have discounted it as someone else in the park, but it seemed like they were deliberately making it blurry, to hide the identity of the person/monkey.

Did anyone else see it?  I am never the person that sees the things that others miss ... this is bit unnerving!

I do love the nonchalant way the react to the possibility of flying monkeys around.

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Yeah, Daxx, spot on! In a nutshell, they presented closure, addressed some lingering issues and still advanced major themes.

The main plot baggage we will always have on this show is that there are too many things going on at any given time, too many characters to address and support and too many nuances that the writers/creators will never get to fully delve into because they have too little time ( due in part to too many commercial breaks), and frankly, too many ideas!

Viewer/network/rating race ADD sets in and creates even more chaos.

The creators tread too carefully, and often times too *preciously* talking about plot lines and gaps and faux paus often using really annoying phrases: *I would be disappointed if**I certainly hope..**believe only what you hear from me..*(and then what they say is backtracked clear to kingdom come).  They talk about themselves as if there is some third party involved that actually pulls the strings. They sidestep accountability with that kind of behavior. And as always is the case when writers have a social media addiction with fans, there is *playing* involved to the nth degree. Ego and all.

Their strong suit is, and always will be, their *relentless* imagination and stepping outside the sugar coated box. For a Disney backed show, that is, in and of itself, worth watching.

It is, bottom line, irresistible, flaws, chaos and all.

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Just posing a question.  We were spoiled that there would be a permanent death this season....Might that death be the Wicked Witch and thus still to come?   Probably not, but just a thought.

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Just posing a question.  We were spoiled that there would be a permanent death this season....Might that death be the Wicked Witch and thus still to come?   Probably not, but just a thought.

Well, unless we don't take MRJ's tweets after the episode aired at face value, Nealfire's seems to be the logical one. Sure he can be brought back and flashbacked to both as Neal and Bae, but still be dead in present-day narrative.

Of course, there's still a lot of season to cover, so WWW may bite in the end (especially if she's the only truly irredeemable villain on the show).

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Just posing a question.  We were spoiled that there would be a permanent death this season....Might that death be the Wicked Witch and thus still to come?   Probably not, but just a thought.

 

With Neal at this point, it's simply a matter of going through his clothes and looking for loose change.

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I just read MRJ's tweets. It seems he's "really most sincerely dead." Too bad. Although he wasn't my favorite character, he did a good job with what he had to work with and I will miss him.

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Yay!

~Neal's dead!  Neal's dead!~

~It's your birthday!  It's you birthday!~

~Dance like you mean it!  Dance like you mean it!~

Pretty much my reaction, tho I did tear up a bit at sad rumple/Emma.

Other than the Outlaw Queen stuff, I liked the ep. It annoyed me that Rumple was all, "I told them who you are so the jig is up!" Because if she didn't already know that, it would kind of be better if things stayed that way, but since she got out of dodge before the bathroom raid, I guess she was supposed to already be aware or whatever.

At least Neal wasn't a flying monkey.

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This is my first post here.  I'm here from TWOP.  I never thought Neal had chemistry with Emma but for the love of God don't leave the poor man just rotting in the woods.  It's disrespectful.

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The Hook-Baelfire-Rumple relationship triangle had developed into one of the most interesting relationships on this show, I think, so it's great that the writers gave it some actual attention...but it's too late, for everybody. That gives me the sads. Neal came back and Rumple was just darking around with Lacey after roughly 328 years of trying to get Bae back. Neal came back again and he and Hook just get into a lighter fight. From their point of view, they would only have had, like, a few days all together without trying to kill each other.

So...That's it? That's what ends the story of the plucky young man who basically got this main story all rolling? There wasn't even an epic battle, it was just five minutes of Swan Thief fan service followed by a nearly immediate, "Emma kill me with magic."

I could watch the Hook-Baelfire hug over and over. The muffled "what the hell" against Hook's leather coat and the hug and the carnelian-studded bro first to the chest and the capital-s Significance of addressing the captain as "Killian"...where was this, all season?

It's like, that all doesn't happen until right before it's about to all end it makes me saaad.

 

It sort of worked, but it was all so rushed.

And I feel so sorry for Emma, I'm projecting Graham flashbacks into her mind.

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I could watch the Hook-Baelfire hug over and over. The muffled "what the hell" against Hook's leather coat and the hug and the carnelian-studded bro first to the chest and the capital-s Significance of addressing the captain as "Killian"...where was this, all season?

It's like, that all doesn't happen until right before it's about to all end it makes me saaad.

Yes! Same with that Neal-Emma scene in the woods. Why did it take them this long to do something like that? They could have easily added scenes like that to their wanderings in Neverland and I would've been more invested in all of it and saddened by Neal's death. Instead, I was just "Meh, glad we don't have to discuss that spoiler to death anymore [pun intended]."

At the same time, I'm kind of glad they killed someone off. I just feel like there are way too many characters to deal with, similar to how I felt sometimes watching Lost -- and you can understand the comparison with Eddy and Adam at the helm. There are times when it can be done right and times when it can't and I feel like Neal was a miscalculation.

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I kind of yelled at the TV that it wasn't fair- everyone Emma has ever loved romantically has either died in her arms or turned out to be a villain.  I can see why she is so reluctant to let Hook in!

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At the same time, I'm kind of glad they killed someone off. I just feel like there are way too many characters to deal with, similar to how I felt sometimes watching Lost -- and you can understand the comparison with Eddy and Adam at the helm.

That, and I liked having a real, actual, concrete price for use of magic. I liked seeing someone play with fire and actually get burned for it (er, no pun intended ... Neal's poor hand). It ups the stakes a bit, you know? Plus, like I said before, I really like the irony that Rumple now has to live the rest of his life without the one person he's done all this for. I don't think his scheming and dealing and not caring who he hurt in the process should be rewarded. Morality is problematic enough on this show; the last thing I needed to see was Rumple thinking all he'd done was worth it because it got him what he wanted in the end.

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This is more simplistic than most of these analyses, but I think the writers got me as they planned to.

The "I had no choice but to abandon you" and Emma's sincere "I know"--between this and the mention of Neal as Emma's real true love, I was screaming at the TV. I thought they were actually going to try to resurrect the shambling worm-eaten zombie that was Swanfyre. I think it wasn't clumsy ret-conning so much as a quick attempt to fool viewers before killing Neal off.

But between those early scenes and Belle forgetting her pants I thought I had slipped into an alternate universe.

It seems obvious from the prolonged death scene, the orchestral swellings, and the different reactions scenes following it that Neal's death is Permanent. It was a big difference from Rumple's and the Blue Fairy's deaths. It must be a real relief for the actor to escape this less than well-loved character.

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That, and I liked having a real, actual, concrete price for use of magic. I liked seeing someone play with fire and actually get burned for it (er, no pun intended ... Neal's poor hand). It ups the stakes a bit, you know? Plus, like I said before, I really like the irony that Rumple now has to live the rest of his life without the one person he's done all this for. I don't think his scheming and dealing and not caring who he hurt in the process should be rewarded. Morality is problematic enough on this show; the last thing I needed to see was Rumple thinking all he'd done was worth it because it got him what he wanted in the end.

We already have that character who thinks everything she has done is okay because she got what she wanted in the end.  Amen about problematic morality.

 

What I find a bit ironic is that Neal, despite his hostility towards Rumple and despite the condmenation of his actions, turned out to be exactly like him.  Neal always seemed to make the wrong decision most of the time, and always seemed a bit of a coward and the guy who took the easy way out. 

 

The "I had no choice" is as big an example of self-delusion as anything Regina thinks about herself, though  of course Neal's abandonment of Emma doesn't match the genocide, rape and multiple murders committed by Regina.

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"But between those early scenes and Belle forgetting her pants I thought I had slipped into an alternate universe."

Hahahahaha. Really, just what exactly WAS going through the costume designers mind at that particular point???

I've gotten used to the *speed* addiction of the creators of the show (even with the more drawwwwn out five days in Neverland season 3A) They tied up some loose ends in one sentence dialogues without having to account for much depth, and yet, I feel they did stay relatively true to their *Magic Comes With a Price* theme. Bae was a fascinating child, Neal was not a fascinating adult. But his death scene was singularly poignant.

I am still waiting to read if anyone else noticed that Zelena pretended she was going to step on lifeless Neal's head while tormenting Rumple. A true badass moment that kind of makes up for her cotton candy lipstick, doofus clothes and Kidman voice.

On a Hook note, I am fully prepared to have his pain and emotions torturously ignored by most of the characters. Emma in particular abuses his angst. He hides his pain behind snark, so until we find out what really happened with the Jolly Roger, I doubt there will be any wildly satisfying romantic relationship scenes and they will continue to play the viewers with that for awhile. (Though when A&E suggest *it will be a long time before______* you can usually bet that long time to be addressed within the next four scenes.)

They at least are calling him Killian with regularity now,
 

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This is my first post here.  I'm here from TWOP.  I never thought Neal had chemistry with Emma but for the love of God don't leave the poor man just rotting in the woods.  It's disrespectful.

I thought he no longer had his own body, as he shared with Rumple.  When he died, he didn't leave a body behind.  But I could be wrong, as I'm still not entirely sure how he and Rumple were able to combine both their bodies and personalities.

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When Emma worked her magic, Neal was "ejected" from Rumple's body, so his body was lying there and Rumple closed his eyes.  

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Rumple was still there with Neal's body when Emma left to go find the witch and get her away from Mary Margaret. Neal was only left alone after Zelena ordered him to leave. So Emma didn't leave him alone, and Rumple only went after he was ordered. Since I don't think Emma was with David and Mary Margaret when they showed up at Gold's shop to comfort Belle and Hook, I suppose she went back to the woods (possibly with some dwarfs) to get Neal. She must have gone right after the hug from her mom, so it's not like she just left him there, rotting.

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Just once, I would like to see a character drop off in the middle of The Long Death speech. How's about leaving half of it unsaid? How do they always manage to make it to that last gasped out sentiment?

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At least Neal wasn't a flying monkey.

I was so sure this was the case, Neal was always so smirky, even in serious scenes...like he was suppressing a perpetual monkey grin. But RIP Baelfire for Rumple's sake; that bloodline is dwindling FAST.

oops! Moving a question that requires speculation to the proper place.

Edited by jette

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#2 and #3 would be the same... all the flashbacks since the Wicked Witch has been flashing back to that missing year when they returned to the Enchanted Forest.

There was brief moment where certain characters had a memory of the Fairy Tale Land before the original curse (eg. Regina and Tinkerbelle), but that was just momentary to remind us where she had seen that tattoo before.  I thought that was unnecessary or they could have included that in the "previouslies".   

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Well, now we're 

visiting Oz for the first official time this Sunday, so there's another time-table to wrap our heads around.

Yeah, these people could potentially drive a person crazy trying to keep timelines on track. Heh.

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I think that's my biggest problem. multiple time periods and stories being presented all over the place. So glad I can come here and try to sort it all out later.

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I can't really buy this show anymore.   I thought killing off Bae was beyond ridiculous since he was basically the catapult behind the curse. I know his adult version was not always well received, but nevertheless, I had a soft spot for Bae. I don't like the way they assassinated  his character, at all!  In my mind, he was one of the most sympathetic characters on the show, and the writers messed up in the way they portrayed him.

Plus, I am starting to feel like I am watching Saturday morning cartoons, which isn't really what I signed up for! 

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I'm not sure either were really sad for losing Neal, so much as they were sad for the people they loved who lost Neal. Snow believes Neal was Emma's true love, and now Emma's lost him. Belle knows Rumple must be devastated and he can't even mourn properly, locked away in a cage.

I'm late to the game, but I totally agree with this.  I also think that Snow (at least past Snow, I can't really say much for Season 3 Snow) is so caring and compassionate and is not only concerned for Emma at this point, but is also being compassionate toward Belle because Emma and David were able to find Rumple in the woods but were not able to bring him back to her.  He is still under Zelena's control and Snow knows this is hard for Belle.  I've never really thought of Snow and Belle as being particularly close, but Snow's nature (and Mary Margaret's, for that matter) is to be compassionate.

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Neal always seemed to make the wrong decision most of the time, and always seemed a bit of a coward and the guy who took the easy way out.

 

Neal, yes, but Baelfire no. Baelfire was courageous and just good. He leapt into Neverland to save the Darlings. But one of the losses is that 2B was so poorly written that we never got to see how Baelfire's experiences in Neverland turned him into petty thief/hustler Neal. It's all part of why the two characters seemed so different to me. This was a good Neal episode, but I'm not sad the character's gone just because the difference between Neal and Baelfire remained jarring.

 

I didn't have a problem with Neal's "I had no choice" in regards to abandoning Henry because that was true. He didn't even know about Henry's existence. He really did have no choice. But Neal obviously had a choice in regards to Emma, and his apology to her back in 2B was undermined by the denial of responsibility here. It was a false note in the episode that could have been avoided by writing the exchange better. 

 

I want to know what the costume designer was thinking with Belle's outfit. It was horrible! It made no sense for OuAT general costuming feel or for the character of Belle. Likewise, I want to know why the makeup designer made Wicked Witch Zelena's makeup so horribly shiny.

 

Regina/Robin had good chemistry, which shocked me since I haven't been a fan of the two. I still think the forced pairing is stupid, and it's hard to see how the two characters could work as people, though. 

 

In general, I'm enjoying this arc. I wish we had a clearer idea of Zelena's goals or motivations, though. The whole jealousy of Regina doesn't make a lot of sense to me since Zelena and Regina seemed to have ended up in similar places in their lives, at least pre-Storybrooke curse. Also, Zelena's main motivation being implied to be a family is contradictory with the Oz mythos where she has a close relationship with her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East. And if Zelena wants family, why would she so specifically want to steal Snow's baby? Snow's baby isn't connected to Regina at all. 

 

I also don't want this storyline to try and sell me that Regina should be grateful for Cora. Cora was an abusive mother, and there is nothing about how Cora treated Regina that Regina should be grateful for! 

 

The absence of the Blue Fairy is getting ridiculous. I'm wondering if the show forgot that the Blue Fairy developed the memory potion and not Rumple. Why isn't Emma going to her for another dose to give Henry?

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But Neal obviously had a choice in regards to Emma, and his apology to her back in 2B was undermined by the denial of responsibility here. It was a false note in the episode that could have been avoided by writing the exchange better.

The way that conversation was written was as if the writers were walking on eggshells trying to figure out how to not piss off his fandom even more. Bae might have been a good character, but the writers should have just accepted that (whether they intended it or not) Neal was a douchebag.

 

The absence of the Blue Fairy is getting ridiculous.

 

The absence of the Blue Fairy will never not be ridiculous. The writers should have just kept her dead in the Season 3 midseason finale because the main characters never ask for her help anyways.

Edited by Curio

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I want to know what the costume designer was thinking with Belle's outfit. It was horrible! It made no sense for OuAT general costuming feel or for the character of Belle.

 

You mean you don't think hot pants are the appropriate attire for a trek through a snowy forest? 

 

 

In general, I'm enjoying this arc. I wish we had a clearer idea of Zelena's goals or motivations, though.

 

This is one of the reasons people lost interest in this arc. They claimed they were writing it as the heroes solving a mystery, but the mystery went on way too long and even then, it's still really confusing and convoluted. I mean, it took them three episodes to figure out the newcomer in town, who wears a giant emerald brooch, might possibly be the Wicked Witch they're looking for. How dumb are these people? God knows how long it will take them to figure out what she wants. 

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I mean, it took them three episodes to figure out the newcomer in town, who wears a giant emerald brooch, might possibly be the Wicked Witch they're looking for.

 

Technically, they never figured it out. Rumple just told them. I didn't mind them not thinking the emerald brooch was significant, though. Unless I've forgotten something from either the books or movie, the Wicked Witch of the West doesn't have any affinity for emeralds or the color green. She just has green skin. She's not connected to the Emerald City. Also, I liked the midwife/Snow interactions. I'm sad that all that came of it was Zelena stealing the symbol of Charming's courage. I was looking forward to some creepy Rosemary's Baby-esque stuff. :)

 

Zelena being a newcomer also wouldn't seem so suspicious if the show had any consistency in who lives in the Enchanted Forest and who survived the original curse. I am still so confused about that. I really thought Philip, Aurora, and Mulan were the last people alive after the Cora massacre. I guess Robin and his Merry Men moved from Sherwood Forest into the Enchanted Forest when Robin became a main character or something? So Zelena's just a totally not suspicious midwife who moved into the curse-stricken wastelands of the Enchanted Forest from somewhere else that was untouched... okay, strike that--they all probably should have been more suspicious of Zelena. (or more accurately, the writers should have done a better job of writing her explanation of who she was to Snow so that their lack of suspicion was justified) 

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If I recall correctly, in "Witch Hunt" they sent Grumpy to go spread the word about how they'd figured out the memory potion or whatever and not one person in the diner, including Grumpy, found it at all suspicious that this random new person runs out of the diner without paying and leaving her uneaten food immediately after this announcement. I mean really?  And about the brooch. Everyone in this show knows that the stories aren't exactly like they are written in our world, so you should absolutely start looking at new people in town and any and all associations they might display with regards to the Oz tale.

 

I am still so confused about that. I really thought Philip, Aurora, and Mulan were the last people alive after the Cora massacre. I guess Robin and his Merry Men moved from Sherwood Forest into the Enchanted Forest when Robin became a main character or something?

 

You can join the club on that. I believe, though, that with regards to the Cora massacre, that was just a group of people who'd banded together for safety from the ogres after Emma started time moving. It wasn't everyone that had been caught in the Coradome. Robin & his men had to have been under the dome because they didn't age. I believe they took refuge in Rumpel's castle. To further confuse things, Zelena was unknown to anyone in the Enchanted Forest and was presumably in Oz at the time of the curse, so why didn't she age? Does the town line still remove your memories if you cross it? Or is it only flying monkeys that stop you? If it's flying monkeys, why not get a bus, arm everyone on it with guns, crossbows, whatever and bust out of there? Did the newcomers get the real world download? How many are there? Are only Robin's men living in the woods? So many questions, zero answers.

Edited by KAOS Agent

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If I recall correctly, in "Witch Hunt" they sent Grumpy to go spread the word about how they'd figured out the memory potion or whatever and not one person in the diner, including Grumpy, found it at all suspicious that this random new person runs out of the diner without paying and leaving her uneaten food immediately after this announcement.

The way they staged that was really crazy because immediately after he ran into the diner to say they'd figured out the memory potion, Grumpy turned his back on the room so that he didn't see Zelena jump up and run off. There were others facing her who didn't seem to think anything of it, but the real idiocy is that if you're spreading a piece of information for the sole purpose of seeing if anyone reacts, wouldn't you position yourself to see the reaction? Why would he immediately turn his back so he couldn't see if anyone in the room reacted?

 

I think the main failure for this episode was the lack of motivation. There was no concrete reason that Neal had to raise the Dark One NOW, that he would be so desperate that he'd keep going with the key even after learning it was a trick by Zelena. He just wanted to see Henry again. It wasn't as though he'd learned that Henry was in danger. There was no reason (other than idiocy) for him to insist on going through with it rather than saying, "Oops, maybe we should rethink this and find another way" after learning that it was a trap. He knew it was a trap and he walked into it, for no really good reason.

 

And the whole absorbing Neal thing was just plain weird and rather icky, maybe the most disturbing thing ever on this show. I'm still not sure why that was considered a good and loving thing to do. All it did was end up putting everyone else in greater danger by giving Zelena her very own pet Dark One, especially since Neal ended up dying anyway and it wasn't as though Neal had any kind of life while being kept alive that way.

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And the whole absorbing Neal thing was just plain weird and rather icky, maybe the most disturbing thing ever on this show. I'm still not sure why that was considered a good and loving thing to do.

 

As an emotional move, it made sense that Rumpel - who might have been a just a wee bit foggy seconds after being raised from the dead -  would reflexively save his child, and then not be able to figure out how to get free of it. (Did he know he'd instantly go crackers when he did it? I can't remember.) Rumpel has never been rational or logical when it comes to Bae.

 

It might not have been so icky

if they had actually done something with it - if it had been a way to Rumpel and Nealfire to understand the lives the other had lived, or if they had been able to communicate, for example - but it was yet another "wouldn't this be COOL?!" throwaway things by the Master Storytellers that ended up amounting to a big, fat nothing.

 

This is my absolute least-favorite episode in the entire series (so far). It's a pile of cat barf shaped in the form of a TV script.

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This is my absolute least-favorite episode in the entire series (so far). It's a pile of cat barf shaped in the form of a TV script.

I actually kind of like some of the present-day stuff. There were some good scenes. I liked the bits in Gold's shop with the whole group, Belle demanding an apology from Hook, the scene in the hospital between Neal and Hook. The scenes with Neal and Emma were perhaps the first time with them together when I didn't want to hit him (though I'm not crazy about the idea that he was in any position to give her "permission" to move on). I liked the scenes with Neal, Emma and Rumple. I even liked the montage o' grief. It was just the stuff in the past that made it all really weird and wonky and made little sense and made Neal look like an utter moron. Even just moving these events toward the end of the missing year rather than near the beginning would have made it make more sense, and it doesn't seem like it would have changed the story one bit.

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I agree that having Neal be more desperate to reach Henry because he'd spent months and months searching for a way to get back to this world would have worked much better. It made no sense for him to act so rashly into what he knew was a trap when they'd been separated a month at most. Also, just to be clear, his actions did not make him a hero. Outside of the story, I was upset that Neal died because it ended what should have been an interesting dynamic between Rumpel and Neal. Robert Carlyle agreed and I think his upset at the turn in the storyline did make him lose any remaining interest he had in playing Rumpel. He was very flat throughout much of the back half of the season.  

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Outside of the story, I was upset that Neal died because it ended what should have been an interesting dynamic between Rumpel and Neal.

 

I don't think there was space in the structure of OuaT to explore that dynamic. Unfortunately, Neal was a character that worked better on paper than on the show. He didn't have the chemistry with Emma needed to create any meaningful competition with Hook. He's Henry's father but Henry already has two parent/child relationships, so it's not particularly interesting to see Henry re-establish bonds with Neal. Neal/Rumpel could have had an interesting dynamic in a show centered on the two of them, but as supporting characters it was more of a distraction. To do the Neal/Rumpel story any justice, it needed to be front and center, but the show is about Emma/Regina/Snow and there's no logical role for them in a Neal/Rumpel relationship story. 

 

So I'm not upset that Neal died. I think Neal's death could have been a bit better written, but I thought it was still a powerful episode. My preference, though, would have been to have Neal stay in NYC and pop into Storybrooke as a recurring character in the context of being Henry's father. I don't think Neal's coming to Storybrooke ever made sense given his feelings about magic and Rumplestiltskin and the lack of change the show needs from Rumplestiltskin. It seemed to be a way to bring in Tamara and well.. we'd all have been better off with that not happening. I will never understand why the show went the Greg/Tamara route instead of having Cora-in-Storybrooke the whole 2B plot.

 

I think the main failure for this episode was the lack of motivation. There was no concrete reason that Neal had to raise the Dark One NOW, that he would be so desperate that he'd keep going with the key even after learning it was a trick by Zelena.

 

Yeah, given where the flashback was placed, I think Neal and Belle either should have been tricked or they should have gone to the vault with full knowledge of the price. If Neal had simply been duped, the result would be tragic but not impetuous. If Neal/Belle hadn't been tricked, there could have been a conversation to establish their motivation for doing something which really was terrible (re-releasing the Dark One, not resurrecting Rumplestiltskin).

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Putting aside the flashbacks, which as always are terrible, I did enjoy the dynamic of this episode.  I thought Emma and Neal falling into this good place where they were friends was weird.  I think he got in the hospital scene that he and Emma were just not happening and he decided to change gears and be all about Henry which is fine because Henry is his son.  The whole no choice business always makes me angry though.

 

I always like how the show plays with Emma's magic.  They show her as being hopeless once second and then they're like well she has magic, so let's have her extract Neal from Rumple's body which is so eye roll worthy, like how the fuck did she even know how to do that?

 

The final montage of the episode when Emma goes to talk to Henry, and David puts a comforting hand on Hook's shoulder and Rumple on his knees is just very sad.  No matter how many rewatches, it's still a very sad scene.  I had major issues with the Neal character, mainly that he and Baelfire were absolutely nothing alike and on some level, I understood the reasons behind it, he probably realized that the world isn't as white or black as he thought it was.  But Baelfire was good and Neal was (a bit of a) scumbag and I just could not reconcile both characters in my mind.  

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This episode followed Lost's formula of intentionally making a character finally likable, only to kill them off in the same episode. Though present day Neal was a pleasant surprise, I still can't get over how positively idiotic he was in the flashbacks. It was one of the dumbest moments on the show. Dumber than a box of hair, indeed.

Neal's character was "dead" long before this episode. His potential was very wasted. Killing him just felt procedural. I got a little shock value on first watch, but that was probably because of the quick pacing.

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The problem with the Neal and Rumple relationship goes back to season 2. When they had Neal back in town and Rumple barely noticing because he was too focused on "Lacey," and then all the problems and issues, including the fact that Rumple murdered Neal's mother, were wallpapered over later with an "I love you, Papa," there was nowhere to go with them. They hampered themselves with their usual unwillingness to actually deal with and develop the situations they created. This reconciliation should have been difficult and should have taken time, but they never addressed any of the problems. Rumple was still the same person Bae fled in the first place. All the stuff Rumple pulled to cast the curse to reach him and all the effects and ramifications of it should have horrified him. Even if he might have been a little touched that Rumple did go to all those lengths to reach him, it was the perfect evidence that Rumple hadn't learned anything because it was exactly the attitude Bae wanted to get away from, the idea that everyone else in the universe was a meaningless pawn toward Rumple getting what he wanted. Then there was Milah's murder. Bae grew up thinking that a pirate murdered his mother, then learned from Hook what really happened. The last we saw from around that time, Bae still didn't believe. In the present, it looked like Bae and Hook had become friends, and Neal certainly seemed to trust Hook. There was that big hug in this episode. So, either Bae became friends with and trusted the man he still believed murdered his mother, or he never felt the need to discuss it with his father and totally reconciled with him in spite of knowing that his father murdered his mother. Either way, he was apparently totally okay with the man he believed murdered his mother.

 

All that takes away some of the power from Neal's death and the scenes with his father.

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They hampered themselves with their usual unwillingness to actually deal with and develop the situations they created. This reconciliation should have been difficult and should have taken time, but they never addressed any of the problems.

 

Yeah, I don't know what the writers were thinking with how they wrote Rumple/Lacey in 2B. It introduced so many problems and had no purpose. I did like the way Neal/Rumple were written in Neverland, with Neal still wary and aloof (as he should be). If Neverland had been a season-long arc rather than a half-season, Neal/Rumple's story may have had the space for proper development.

 

I found the death and scenes powerful, but Neal's dying "I love you, Papa" did take me out of the moment. I agree that it wasn't earned. I think Rumple needed to do more than sacrifice himself; I think he needed to acknowledge that his cruelty was wrong and to show that he would choose Neal over power even if it meant living without power. (yes, Rumple sort of made that choice when he tossed the dagger to Zelena, but Neal had already made the sacrifice and Rumple gave up freedom but not power).

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And the whole absorbing Neal thing was just plain weird and rather icky, maybe the most disturbing thing ever on this show. I'm still not sure why that was considered a good and loving thing to do. All it did was end up putting everyone else in greater danger by giving Zelena her very own pet Dark One, especially since Neal ended up dying anyway and it wasn't as though Neal had any kind of life while being kept alive that way.

 

It was for the sake of the Plot Twist.  This was the last thing anyone expected.  A&E probably loved the idea of having Rumple TURN INTO Neal and back again, and in hindsight we would "realize" that they never appeared at the same time in this episode until the end, and go, "wow, how clever".  

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Poor Neal. He was cursed with Milah's plot device gene, which he conveniently passed along to his son. In addition to that, he was boring and was too well aware of his father's worst tendencies towards evil. Neal made a much better leash than Belle and that just could not stand because Rumpel needs to be able to be evil when the plot calls for it. Their differences were even laid out in this episode where Belle romanticises his sacrifice as saving the whole town and Neal is very quick denial that he did it only for Neal & Belle. But of course, Belle loves every part of Rumpel, even the dark parts. I'm sure Belle even loves the part that flashes a giant sign saying "Wife Murderer"

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I just want to reiterate that doing exactly what the villain wants you to do is not at all a heroic action. If you have to sacrifice yourself and die because of your stupidity, you're still not a hero. All you are is an idiot. 

Also, Neal had a choice not to abandon Emma or at the very least, not do it in the manner in which he did. Simply having people say differently does not change the actual facts of the story as shown on the show.

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