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S03.E15: Quiet Minds

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2 hours ago, KAOS Agent said:

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.

Yes, exactly. Not sure how anyone would think otherwise. I like how Hook doesn’t pull any punches asking him how it feels to play a villain. Neal is the truest stupid. “To hell with the cost”, smh.

The whole scene with Robin and Regina is so eye roll worthy. Sigh. The name didn’t serve you well as a tool, you truly were evil, so clueless.

During the season 3 hiatus I was really looking forward to Outlaw Queen. I like Sean. But it all fell apart so quickly and there wasn’t any angst or effort they just suddenly were a couple which is not how I like my fictional couples, I want to see them struggle. 

Amazing that Neal could keep his form until exactly when Belle told Emma that he should be dead. Very sloppy writing.

Absorbing his son is kinda creepy.

What was that outfit Belle was running around in the snow in? The hot pants just look ridiculous.

Usually when Emma cries I cry, she didn’t move me in this scene though, Rumple did.

lol they just left his body in the woods, just so weird.

The scene with Emma and Henry at the end was beautifully filmed even if the dialogue was kinda lame. I think they would have been better off doing a long shot with music and let the audience imagine the talk.

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I really love the hospital scene with Hook and Neal, I wish so much that they'd done more to set that up, to give it some real emotional resonance. We basically have to head canon nearly the entire history between those two, and it's frustrating. There's so much potential there to mine. 

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16 hours ago, KAOS Agent said:

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. 

Ironically, they actually say that in the episode. Belle tells Neal he's being an idiot to do exactly what Zelena wants him to do, and he does it anyway, just saying his father will fix it. So he's being stupid and a hypocrite, in that he left his father because he was using his magic for everything and he became very anti-magic in general, until he wants something, and then he's willing to do dark magic to raise the Dark One so he can use his magic to do stuff for him. He doesn't seem to consider that what his father did to reach him involved a civilization-destroying curse that took him a century or more to get cast.

I also don't think that Rumple "saving" Neal the way he did really counts as showing that he'd learned his lesson and was choosing his son over power and it certainly isn't a sign that he's changed and improved. He's still making the selfish choice, since he's not actually saving his son, just prolonging the inevitable, and in doing so he's handing the villain himself to use as a weapon. He made things worse for everyone by choosing the thing that made him feel good (but I guess that's par for the course on this show, where Snow letting Regina go so she could terrorize the kingdom still some more and cast the curse was considered the "right" thing).

13 hours ago, profdanglais said:

I really love the hospital scene with Hook and Neal, I wish so much that they'd done more to set that up, to give it some real emotional resonance. We basically have to head canon nearly the entire history between those two, and it's frustrating. There's so much potential there to mine. 

Yeah, I was thinking that when watching. It's really moving and all, but that's purely on the actors, who seem to have created their own headcanon for the relationship (I love how, for the rest of the series, whenever Neal is mentioned, Hook looks like he's swallowing a lump in his throat). It would have been lovely if we'd actually seen what their relationship was. This scene doesn't really fit what little we saw, so there must have been more. I also noticed that in the grief montage at the end, when David and Mary Margaret come into the shop where Hook and Belle are, and Mary Margaret goes to hug Belle and David pats Hook on the shoulder, Hook has tears in his eyes. Again, we needed more context. I also would have loved to have seen the scene between Hook and Belle before that. I guess Hook is still there guarding Belle, but had they talked? When did they get the news?

13 hours ago, daxx said:

Amazing that Neal could keep his form until exactly when Belle told Emma that he should be dead. Very sloppy writing.

I actually laughed out loud this time when the moment Belle said that Neal should be dead, Neal collapsed. It made me think of the cartoons where the coyote would be running in the air, and he'd only fall when he looked down and realized he'd run off the edge of the cliff. It was like Neal went, "Oh, I should be dead? Well, then ..."

I kind of feel like a lot of the grief for Neal is rather overwrought, considering how little he interacted with these people (that they remember at this point in the show). Emma would mourn him because he was her first love and the father of her child, but she'd also talked about wishing he was dead for good, so she would have mixed feelings. Henry here doesn't remember him. He might mourn never getting to meet him, but for now he probably also has emotional whiplash because he remembers growing up hearing about this deadbeat who abandoned his mom and got her sent to prison for his crime, and now suddenly he's being told what a great guy and a hero his dad is. Hook would mourn him because they were (apparently, not that we saw it) friends, and it seems like Hook thought of him as like a son, plus he was the son of Hook's love. Otherwise, Belle might feel bad for Rumple, but did she have more than one conversation (that she remembers at this point) with Neal? David has barely interacted with him. I don't know that Snow has interacted with him at all. Neither of them seem to be really aware of just how Emma feels about him. But everyone is acting like a core member of their community who was close friends with everyone has died and now they're utterly bereft. Granny would really have had a bigger impact if she'd died, and she's a tertiary character.

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I won't deny Zelena had a part in Neal's death, but saying she "murdered" him is a little over the top. She didn't force him to kill himself. She definitely has blood on her hands, but it's not as simple as she "killed" him. It's really easy just to blame the villain, vow revenge, and go drink hot cocoa at Granny's, but it feels like a distraction from the fact Neal is a selfish idiot. 

1 hour ago, Shanna Marie said:

I kind of feel like a lot of the grief for Neal is rather overwrought

Spoiler

It only gets worse later. Remember that Hero!Neal portrait in the Wish Realm?

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It's not as simple, but I still consider her to be largely responsible.  Zelena set up a situation and pushed all the emotional buttons with the intent that he would commit suicide.  That's as morally reprehensible as murder in my books.  

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1 hour ago, Camera One said:

It's not as simple, but I still consider her to be largely responsible.  Zelena set up a situation and pushed all the emotional buttons with the intent that he would commit suicide.  That's as morally reprehensible as murder in my books. 

I do think she's responsible for setting it all up, but I find it hard to go in for the "I'll make her pay for murdering him" thing. It might have been different if he'd been some innocent who wasn't from that world and had no experience with magic, so she'd made it a trap it was easy for him to walk into unknowingly. But Neal was from that world, was the son of the Dark One. He knew that someone became a Dark One by taking a life and he'd heard a lot about how all magic comes with a price. He had to have been aware even before Lumiere warned him that there would be a price to pay. He went ahead in spite of knowing this and in spite of being told flat-out that this was something Zelena set up, basically with the attitude of "that doesn't apply to me because my father can fix it" (which was the attitude he left his father for). With that in mind, I tend to lean more toward "he had it coming because he should have known better" than "Zelena must pay for murdering Neal." She had a lot of things to answer for, but that was low on the list for rallying a torches and pitchforks mob. Plus, in going through with it in spite of the warnings and knowing all the dangers, just because he hoped the Dark One would help him get back to his son, Neal was just as bad as his father was in screwing everyone else over so he could get what he wanted. He didn't even have a firm plan, just a vague hope that his father could do something. There was no immediate urgency. It wasn't like he knew Emma was about to bring a flying monkey into the home with Henry and he had to warn her. There was absolutely nothing stopping him from saying, "Wow, if Zelena's behind this, then doing this is a bad idea. I'll have to think of something else. I'll figure something out."

As for the grief for Neal being overwrought,

Spoiler

and the later canonizing him as a great hero, naming a baby after him, indicating that he went straight to the Good Place because he had no unfinished business (in spite of dying to get back to a son he never saw again), and the giant heroic painting

that's what feeds my crackpot theory that A&E didn't choose to write Neal off, that it was an edict from On High to drop the romantic triangle and just make Hook the romantic leading man. They set up the triangle with Hook saying he'd get out of the way so Neal could have a chance to be with his son, and then there was all the talk about whether Emma should give Neal another chance. Then suddenly Neal's entirely out of the picture, but in a way that makes him a great hero. It's like they were forced to get rid of him (or else were forced to resolve the romantic plot that way and didn't know what else to do with Neal in spite of him having ties to just about every other character and being at the center of it all) and all the grief and other things was sort of their passive-aggressive response to the network. Like, "You wanted him gone, well now he's a hero and a martyr, so there."

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5 minutes ago, Shanna Marie said:

I do think she's responsible for setting it all up, but I find it hard to go in for the "I'll make her pay for murdering him" thing.

People are angry when someone they loved died.  It's natural to blame someone, and in this case, Zelena did way more than manslaughter.  Manipulation of emotionally vulnerable people really bother me in real life, so maybe that's why I was behind Emma, Rumple, Hook, etc. being not willing to let Zelena off the hook for her role in what happened.

Quote

that's what feeds my crackpot theory that A&E didn't choose to write Neal off, that it was an edict from On High to drop the romantic triangle and just make Hook the romantic leading man. 

Their disinterest in Neal was crystal clear from the moment "Manhattan" ended.  It's equally likely that they had no idea what to do with him and they wanted to remain edgy by killing off a series regular.  Not to mention they needed Rumple to slide back to becoming a villain, and the logical conclusion was Neal must go.  The Writers clearly enjoyed writing for Hook from the get go.

Edited by Camera One
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Yeah, they really dropped the ball hard on Neal. It's one of my biggest peeves at the show, really. They take Baelfire, who was a fantastic character, and turn him into a petty criminal, which is sucky thing number one. Then they make him Emma's ex and Henry's father, which was full of opportunity for some real emotional drama but that never gets developed and is barely explored--sucky thing number two. Rumpel spent years looking for a way back to his son and contrived the whole curse and the whole reason the show is possible to get back to him and then they barely interact--sucky thing number three. Then they kill Neal off and refuse to allow any of the characters to react to that death in a realistic or satisfying way--sucky thing number four. 

Spoiler

Finally, sucky thing number five is the beatification of this very inconsistent and dodgy character and Snow and Charming's jaw-dropping decision to name their son after him

 

It was a suck-fest from start to finish. 

Edited by profdanglais
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5 hours ago, Camera One said:

People are angry when someone they loved died.  It's natural to blame someone, and in this case, Zelena did way more than manslaughter.  Manipulation of emotionally vulnerable people really bother me in real life, so maybe that's why I was behind Emma, Rumple, Hook, etc. being not willing to let Zelena off the hook for her role in what happened.

True. Good point. Zelena's the logical person to lash out at. But now that I think about it, how did they know that Zelena even played a role? Neal must not have remembered anything because he had to split from Rumple so Rumple could tell Emma who the Wicked Witch was, and didn't Rumple only know because he was her prisoner at that time? Did either of them remember how it all came about? I don't remember the conversation they had with Emma, but it seems like they just knew that Neal had the mark on his hand from the spell that raised Rumple, and aside from Zelena setting it up, him doing it didn't have anything to do with her. Even if there had been no Wicked Witch, he was looking for a way to raise the Dark One. So where did they get the idea that Zelena had set Neal up? Was it just the fact that she had Rumple as prisoner? Or did she gloat about it (like an idiot)? It definitely doesn't seem like they know that Neal was warned and knew it was a trap and did it anyway.

5 hours ago, Camera One said:

Their disinterest in Neal was crystal clear from the moment "Manhattan" ended.  It's equally likely that they had no idea what to do with him and they wanted to remain edgy by killing off a series regular.

That does sound like them -- they hear all the praise for Joss Whedon and Game of Thrones and all the shocking deaths, and they're master storytellers, dammit, so they need to kill some characters. On the other hand,

Spoiler

if they were bored with the character and didn't care enough to keep writing him, why did they keep bringing him back for cameos and retroactively make him such a great hero? Was it the reverse of their "he's a regular, so now we're bored with him" pattern, where the moment the character died, they became super interested?

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8 hours ago, KingOfHearts said:

I won't deny Zelena had a part in Neal's death, but saying she "murdered" him is a little over the top. She didn't force him to kill himself. She definitely has blood on her hands, but it's not as simple as she "killed" him. It's really easy just to blame the villain, vow revenge, and go drink hot cocoa at Granny's, but it feels like a distraction from the fact Neal is a selfish idiot. 

  Hide contents

It only gets worse later. Remember that Hero!Neal portrait in the Wish Realm?

Exactly....

It is called free will. ArseWipeFire was a lazy selfish and arrogant turd. He wanted Daddy back to get him his son back. He brought back the 'world's greatest evil' and negated the one good sacrifice of the Dark One.

Spoiler

..and this ultimately screwed over Emma, AGAIN, because resurrected Daddy dearest tried to steal Emma's magic and suck her into a hat, and she ended up the Dark One! We all know how THAT went.

Well done,  you moron. You're the gift that just keeps giving.

Edited by PixiePaws1 · Reason: Left out a word..
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This show is so weird with its portrayal of events. It's like the writers can't agree on what's heroic and what's not, so actions on this show end up like Schrödinger's cat, where they are both heroic and villainous. Mostly though, I think that there was some belief on the writer's part that Neal was acting poorly in the Enchanted Forest. It's only later when the show goes to placate upset viewers that they pretend events happen differently. In Neal's case, because he was never given much to fix his actions towards Emma in the past and they needed him to be sympathetic and highly motivated here, they had to pretend that Neal's parts of "Tallahassee" and "Selfless, Brave and True" and "Broken" and "Manhattan" all happened differently. He screwed Emma over in a manner that was not necessary. He was more frightened of his father finding him than interested in Emma when August dropped by to tell him he was going to Storybrooke. He got the postcard and did nothing. And then he told Emma to leave and pretend like she couldn't find him. None of this jives with a Neal that had no choice but to leave Emma and now loves her so much that he can't spend more than a day looking for other options trying to get back to her.

The showrunners desperately want to be liked and they can't handle criticism at all. There are times to throw a bone to fans when they are upset about something, but there are also times when you need to tell the story you've been telling and not screw around with it because some small group of fans is unhappy. The writers on this show have a very hard time dealing with the dislike and can't stick to their story. Neal was a selfish, scared guy who screwed over his girlfriend because of his daddy issues. Rumpel was very important to his character's motives in leaving Emma. Pretending like he had no choice removes that part of the story entirely. Considering that his relationship with his father is the reason for basically the entire show, this is a terrible thing to try to erase from his history.

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I hate how they killed him off. It made no sense and didn't fit with Neal. Mr. Anti-magic throws out everything he knows and follows a suspicious Lumiere in bringing back the Dark One and continues even after he finds out he was set up even though it was very obvious that was the case. There's no reason why he shouldn't have been able to find a ton of things in his father's castle that would should get him back to LWM it was his father who wanted to get there and keep his powers not Neal. 

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Show...why would you kill Neal off like that if you wanted him to die a hero?! They could have had him push Henry aside to save him from a Flying Monkey attack, or had him get injured and run off to warn Emma about Zelena and die of his injuries from running so hard (no way would he think of using a phone) or something, ANYTHING beyond him doing something super stupid in the EF and then telling Emma to pull his dad out of him or something, just because everything on the show is too freaking stupid to figure out the bad guy on their own! Its all so stupid, and its baffling to me that they decided to do it this way. I mean, Neal in general has been a disaster of a character, who has been one stupid, asshole choice after the next (I HAVE to ditch my teenage girlfriend and send her to jail for her own good because of REASONS! I HAVE to risk my life to bring my dad back to life even though I know its what the villain wants and then I HAVE to die and ditch my ex girlfriend and son because of REASONS!) that the show seems to think is heroic for some reason for doing all of these stupid things, and its clear that after the SHOCKING REVEAL about Neal being Baelfire was revealed, they had no clue what to do with him. He was so build up as this huge part of the shows basic mythology, and his relationship with Rumple is one of the most important things in the show, and then...we hardly got any interaction between them, a half assed romance between him and Emma, and the he dies like he lived: Like a dumbass. 

It dosent help that Belle calling and being like "he should be dead!" and Neal falling on the ground instantly looks full on comedic. Like he was thinking "Oh yeah, I forgot, I need to flop on the ground and die now!" and just dropped. As for Zelena being responsible, she was the one who manipulated everything, so I would say that she does have some blood on her hands, and I can see everyone blaming her, but Neal made a lot of these dumb choices on his own, and, really, its not like she did THAT much to manipulate him. 

I do like the Lumiere design and how he was used all right. Yeah, he had nothing to do with his movie counterpart (because Once) but I do like his design and like that they used him. Although, how he ended up here in the EF and not Oz if he was cursed by the Wicked Witch, but we have already established that its super duper easy to pass between realms now, so I guess thats consistent. 

I also liked the scene between Hook and Neal in the hospital, and between Emma and Neal, and made me sad that those relationships were never fleshed out. Hook made it sound like they had this whole long relationship, and it would have been nice to actually see it. 

Ah, so we get the start of the Bold and Audacious romance of Regina and Robin! And I already dont give a shit, nor do I see any real chemistry, and am already rolling my eyes at Regina being all "I was never evil, it was all just a tactic!" and Robin smiling along. Guess Robin never met the families of her countless murder victims, or found any of the dead bodies. Lucky I guess. Also, how does Regina know how to catch an arrow with her bare hands? Is that part of her random power sets?

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23 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

Show...why would you kill Neal off like that if you wanted him to die a hero?!

That's so true. If they wanted Neal to be remembered as a hero who sacrificed himself for others, then they made some really odd choices -- he goes against all of his values and beliefs for a very selfish reason, disregards all the warnings, and basically kills himself to hand a prize weapon over to their enemy, and his "sacrifice" is giving up what must have been a hellish non-existence in order to let them know the information they should have figured out for themselves. As with so many things on this show, just a few tiny changes might have helped. Like, if he was desperate enough to raise the Dark One in hopes of finding a way back to the World Without Magic not just because he wanted to be around his son (who wouldn't even know him) but because he'd learned Zelena had sent a flying monkey after Emma and Henry and they would be helpless if they didn't know about magic. Or maybe if Lumiere didn't warn him about Zelena setting it all up.

The thing about Rumple absorbing Neal is also incredibly creepy. I keep wondering what the point was. Did Rumple think this was something he could fix once he got the dagger back, so absorbing him was buying time? Because otherwise, it didn't do Neal any good. Neal wasn't living that way. It just made Rumple crazy. The show tries to tell us that Rumple finally made the right choice and chose his son over power, but it was really a selfish choice, since he chose to do something that made him feel good even though it didn't benefit Neal and it meant their enemy would have a pet Dark One. It might have been interesting if the show had explored that bit of moral complexity, where even when Rumple tries to make the right choice, it ends up being selfish or where he has a real dilemma because he finally has a chance to make a different choice regarding his son, but this time around the only right choice is to choose power over his son.

Not to mention, if they wanted everyone to be devastated at Neal's death, maybe they should have shown him interacting with people at some point. At this time in the show, when most of them don't have their Missing Year memories, they would have barely known Neal. Hook, Emma, and Rumple would have had reason to be devastated. Henry might be upset at lost potential, that he would now never know his dad (and talk about whiplash, since he went from Emma being open about how Neal got her pregnant, let her go to jail, and abandoned her to Emma telling him what a great hero his dad was). It's hard to tell how close Neal would have been to Tink and the Lost Boys. The Lost Boys probably thought of him as a traitor. I don't know that Belle even spoke to him more than once or twice, though she would have been sad on Rumple's behalf. The Charmings would have only been around him a little bit. Even if they got back their Missing Year memories, Belle would have been the only one to gain any real memories of Neal because he didn't interact with anyone else. And even with the ones we know would have reason to miss him, we have to just guess at what their relationships actually were. Emma seemed to have very mixed feelings and seemed to just want some closure to put him entirely in her past. We can assume Hook was close enough to him to know where his hideout in Neverland was and how to get in it, but we didn't see what their relationship became. Tink wouldn't have been in Neverland long before Neal left.

I think they expected us to be all devastated because of this big, dramatic death of a main character, but they forgot to actually make him a main character and they gave him an incredibly lame death.

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I was hoping during the speculation period before the episode that Zelena had resurrected Rumple and forced him to cast the dark curse using Neal as the sacrifice. She could have manipulated Belle or even some red shirt into resurrecting Rumple then immediately taking possession of the dagger by threatening Neal’s life. Then controlling Rumple cast the curse.

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5 hours ago, Shanna Marie said:

Tink wouldn't have been in Neverland long before Neal left.

The show screwed up here because they implied that Neal left before Hook, but that doesn't work out timeline-wise unless Neal was in his 30s when he met Emma, which makes things seriously icky. However, if Neal is closer to 20 than 30 when he meets Emma, that means he left Neverland about ten years after Hook, which would give him a decade to get to know Tink better. 

In terms of feeling bad about Neal's death, they needed to have him show actual remorse for the way he treated Emma rather than handwaving it all as him having no choice. They tried to rehabilitate his image in the later parts of 2B, but it wasn't enough to overcome the real trauma he'd caused in the main protagonist and he didn't have enough development outside of silly romantic triangle nonsense to make me anything other than relieved that he was gone. The way he died certainly didn't do anything to aid in improving my perception of him.

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13 hours ago, daxx said:

I was hoping during the speculation period before the episode that Zelena had resurrected Rumple and forced him to cast the dark curse using Neal as the sacrifice. She could have manipulated Belle or even some red shirt into resurrecting Rumple then immediately taking possession of the dagger by threatening Neal’s life. Then controlling Rumple cast the curse.

That would have worked. It would have been much better then what we got. Or what if Neal's death is Rumple's cost for creating the curse and manipulated everyone to get it cast? Similar to how losing Henry was Regina's cost. That bring him back means he has to pay the price which is Neal's death?   

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