This week’s Once Upon a Time was a great episode that moved forward a lot of different storylines (including the Baelfire search) and solved a few mysteries from the past (including what August showed to Neal to convince him to leave Emma). Here’s what happened in “Manhattan”:
The Baelfire Reveal. After Emma, Mr. Gold and Henry arrived at Bae’s apartment in New York, Bae pulled a runner. Emma tracked him down and, unlike about 95% of Once Upon a Time viewers, she was shocked by the reveal: Baelfire is Neal, her former con artist boyfriend. And, let’s not forget, Henry’s father. As the two spoke for the first time in years, Neal explained that sequence of events: he had escaped the fairytale land and, in a moment of pure coincidence (or fate) met with Emma. He had no idea who she was when they were together. Then August approached him and showed him something inside of a box. It’s contents? August’s typewriter with the words “I know you’re Baelfire” typed on a piece of paper. Now convinced that August was telling the truth about Emma’s destiny, Neal chose to leave Emma to fulfill it.
Emma’s Big Secret. Emma was furious about Neal’s abandonment of her years ago, but he protested that he did everything for her sake. When he remarked that perhaps something good had come from them being together, she refused to speak the truth: that Henry is his son. She called Mary Margaret for advice (which later led to an amusing family recap of familial relationships by David) and her own mother said that it was only right to tell Neal about his son. But Emma held steadfast, believing that keeping the truth was the only way to protect Henry from getting hurt.
Neal and Gold’s Rocky Relationship. From the moment Neal met with Emma again and she angrily accused him and Mr. Gold of playing her, it was clear that Neal wanted absolutely nothing to do with his father. “I spent a lifetime running from that man,” he explained. “I’m not going to let him catch me.” When Emma explained that she had a deal with Mr. Gold to reunite father and son, Neal insisted that she lie and say she had lost him during the chase. While Emma agreed to these terms, Mr. Gold was immediately suspicious about her story. He broke into Neal’s apartment and continued to accuse her. When a heated argument began, Neal burst into the apartment and demanded Gold stop yelling at Emma. Thus father and son were reunited.
Angry Reunions. Neal still made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with his father, but Gold was insistent that Neal speak to him. At the same time, Henry popped into the room and Neal was immediately suspicious. When Henry revealed his age, Neal put two-and-two together and realized he was his father. Emma tried to console Henry, telling him that he kept the truth because Neal wasn’t a good person, but all Henry knew was that Emma had lied to him just like Regina. Inside the apartment, Neal remained steadfast that he would never want anything to do with his father because all he remembered was that Rumple had chosen his magic over his own son. Later, Emma told Neal that Henry wanted to meet him and the two had a nice discussion out on the fire escape.
Finding the Dagger. Regina brokenheartedly told her mother about Henry leaving town with Emma and that led Hook to come up with a plan. Knowing that Gold would lose his powers once he crossed the town’s borders, they decided to try and track down his dagger so that they could control or kill him. Regina went to Belle for help, believing that Gold would entrust the information about the dagger’s location to someone. They found a map in the library and Hook was able to decode it, but Cora immediately turned on Hook and revealed her plan to Regina: she wanted the dagger to control Gold so that he could kill Mary Margaret, David and Emma and Regina could remain blameless.
Seeing the Future. In the fairytale land that was, we saw the earliest version of Rumple yet. It seemed like it was the early days of his marriage to Milah. One day he came home with good news: he had been drafted to fight in the Ogres War. For him this was an opportunity to prove that he wasn’t a coward like his father, despite Milah’s worry about the dangers of the war. But a pivotal moment came when Rumple was asked to guard a prisoner who turned out to be a young Seer. In exchange for water, she told him his future: that Milah was pregnant and that he would never actually get to meet his son because he would die in battle the next day. While he was initially disbelieving of her powers, the hints started adding up. Faced with the possibility of never seeing his son, Rumple decided to injure his own leg so that he would be sent home. But Milah and everyone else had heard of his actions and immediately thought he was a coward like his father. Despite that, Rumple was overjoyed at the prospect of having a son and insisted that he had done all of this to spare Bae from growing up without a father.
A New Target. After Bae disappeared in the fairytale land, Rumple went searching for the young Seer he had met during the war, although she was all grown up now. She was insistent that everyone was powerless to escape their fate and revealed how he would find Neal (which would involve a curse). But her details were sketchy and so she proposed that he take the burden of her powers so that he could see all. He soon realized that seeing the future was a puzzle with many pieces that needed to be sorted and moments before the Seer died, she told him one more thing: “You will be reunited with your son and it will come in a most unexpected way. A young boy will lead you to him. But beware, for that boy is more than he appears. The boy will be your undoing.” That led Rumple to only one conclusion: “Then I’ll just have to kill him.” In other words, Henry is a major threat now to Gold and he will likely trying to kill his own grandson.
It looks like Once Upon a Time is on hiatus next week, but the show will return on March 3 with a new episode.
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