Episode 3X15 aired on Sunday on “Once Upon a Time” and left fans clutching their hearts. An anticipated return and an unexpected death made this a surprising and moving episode according to a March 30 report on Celebrity Dirty Laundry.
In Fairy Tale Land
Belle tries to explain to Neal why she loves Rumple. Neal wants to find the Dark One because he is the key to reuniting Neal with those he loves. In the library, they meet Lumiere.
Lumiere can only communicate when his candles are lit because of the curse Rumplestiltskin put on him. Belle says Rumple has changed and begs Lumiere to help them. He directs them to look in a specific bookcase where they find a book that contains a key to the vault of the Dark One. Lumiere promises to lead them to the vault in exchange for Rumplestiltskin to return him to human. Once they leave, the witch appears and it is clear she is controlling him.
Neal and Belle discuss the two different Rumples they each know. Snow begins to fall and they come to a clearing. They light Lumiere and he tells them to clear away the snow. As they clear the snow, Belle catches him in a lie. He admits the witch changed him into a candelabrum in order to get Belle and Neal to bring the Dark One back. Belle wants to stop but Neal is impatient to get back to his family. He opens the vault and the key burns his hand. He, Belle and Lumiere watch as something materializes out of the ooze below. It’s Rumple.
As Rumple steps from the vault, Zelena appears. Rumple realizes what has happened and that Neal will die. He wraps his son in his arms to protect him. Zelena won’t let him leave and orders him to kill Belle. Rumple throws down his dagger, takes Neal in his arms and vanishes. Lumiere uses his flames to temporarily bind the witch and yells for Belle to flee before he loses his grip. Belle makes her escape.
A meeting at Granny’s between Emma, Mary Margaret, David and Hook is held to figure out where Rumplestiltskin is. Hook thinks Neal was behind Bringing Rumple back but Regina is more concerned about with why the witch had him in the first place. She heads back to the farm house to look for clues.
Elsewhere, Zelena tries to summon the Dark One with the dagger but he doesn’t respond. She sends a flying monkey to search for him because Rumple has escaped and is running through the woods.
Emma tells Belle that Rumple is alive and asks her to look for a clue as to how he might have gotten back. Hook offers to stay with Belle to protect her in case the witch comes. Mary Margaret goes home to rest while David and Emma leave to try to track Rumple. While Belle and Hook rummage through the back room, they hear a noise at the front door. Neal forces his way into the shop and collapses.
Emma returns to her apartment to check on Henry. He lets her know he’s on to her. He knows there’s more going on then what she’s admitted to. He presses for answers and she promises to fill him in later.
Emma gets a call and learns Neal is in town. She goes to the hospital to see him. David, Belle and Hook are there. Neal has a strange mark on the palm of his hand and has no idea how he got there. He wants to see Henry and Emma explains Henry doesn’t remember anything. Neal wants Henry to know who he is, though. Emma doesn’t want him to deal with all of this and wants him to remain ignorant of the past. Neal isn’t happy about this.
Zelena visits Mary Margaret and brings orange juice. Mary Margaret feels useless because she can’t aid in the search for the witch. Zelena offers encouragement and promises she won’t let Mary Margaret have this baby without her.
Regina reaches the farmhouse and discovers Robin of Loxley, who shoots at her with his arrow because he thought she was the witch. They partner up to find the witch.
Hook stays with Neal at the hospital. Neal wants to leave to go look for his dad. Hook won’t let him leave because he is weak. Instead he hugs Neal because he remembers him as the boy he once knew. They make their peace over their recent differences and Hook lets Neal leave.
Emma tells David that she and Henry will be going back to New York once the curse is broken. They find Gold writhing on the ground, yelling “Too many voices.” The flying monkey finds them and attacks. David holds it at bay while Emma tries to get Gold out of there. Gold bolts and she loses him.
Regina and Robin search the farm house. Robin flirts with her and tells her he doesn’t think she is evil at all. After some friendly banter, he pours them each a drink and she sees the lion tattoo on his arm – the one Tinker Bell pointed out to her when the fairy said he was the love of Regina’s life. She panics and runs off.
Neal catches up with Emma and they set out to find Rumple. Emma tells Neal about her life in New York and Walsh, the flying monkey. HE reminds her that he was once in love with a minion of his grandfather Peter Pan so he understands how she might have fallen in love with a creature from Oz. They laugh about their shared experiences. Belle calls and explains the emblem on Neal’s hand is from the key that opens the Dark One’s vault. She found the lore behind it, too. In order to resurrect the Dark One, it says another life must be sacrificed. If Neal resurrected the Dark One, he should be dead.
Neal drops to the ground, clutching his scarred hand and writhing in pain. His face begins to distort. It switches from Neal to Rumple and back again. When Neal is in control, Emma tells him Rumple is inside him. That’s what Rumple meant when he said ‘too many voices’ – Neal was inside his head. Neal begs Emma to use her magic to separate them. Emma tells him he will die if she does. He knows only Rumple can defeat the witch and save everyone including her and Henry.
Emma takes his hands and Rumple and Neal are separated. Rumple is his old self but horrified because he knows Neal will now die. Neal asks Emma to tell Henry he was a good dad in the end. Then Rumple and Neal tell each other of their love and Neal dies in Emma’s and Rumple’s arms. Rumple tells Emma that Zelena is the Wicked Witch.
Emma leaves to find David and they go to protect Mary Margaret. When they get to Mary Margaret’s house, Zelena has gone. Emma tells her mother about Rumple and Neal. Then Mary Margaret and David go to tell Belle.
Rumple stays with Neal and Zelena appears, laughing at the situation. She holds the dagger and orders Rumple to return to his cage. He does because she now controls him.
Emma finds Henry at the stream and tells him they came to Storybrooke to help someone, his dad. She did find him but it was too late. Some bad people had gotten to him first and he’s gone now but he died a hero. She promises to get the person responsible.
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