Once Upon a Time Review: A Life for a Life

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It was a life for a life on Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 15 - and although I suspected that someone might die by the end of this season, I never thought it would happen in "Quiet Minds."

In the Enchanted Forest of the past, Neal and Belle were determined to bring back Rumpelstiltskin. Lumiere was unique, but quite simply just a magical prop used to lead Neal to the Dark One's vault. 

For whatever reason, the Wicked Witch couldn't open it herself but the moment Neal did, his fate was sealed. Yet it was in that moment that Rumpel gave up the dagger to save his son.

A year later in Storybrooke, Neal came stumbling through the door. His mysterious appearance had me wondering if he had been a flying monkey but had somehow turned back. 

The scene between Neal and Hook at the hospital was one of my favorites. As Hook said, their competition to win Emma's affection had completely eclipsed their friendship. Once upon a time they had been Baelfire and Killian. It was nice to see that, somewhere deep down, that bond was still there. 

Emma and Neal's conversation as they searched through the woods was my second favorite. as they joked in this Once Upon a Time quote

Emma: 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.

Again, with everything that has gone on, I'd almost forgotten about their far off plan to go to Tallahassee. How different things might have been if they had made it there.

I was a bit surprised that Emma had the power to harness the magic required to separate Neal and Rumpelstiltskin. I would think that magic like that would take practice and we haven't really seen Emma concentrate on exploring her powers.

Watching Neal die in Emma's arms was horribly sad. As someone who has been rooting for Emma and Hook, I can't say Neal's passing doesn't make that easier... but it's horrible that Henry will never get to know his father all over again. 

Neal thanking his father for showing him what true sacrifice for someone you love was all about and saying he loved him was heartbreaking. These two have gone through so much; and, when they finally had a real chance to reconcile, they were torn apart.

The other most interesting thing about this episode was Regina and Robin. I love their banter and their chemistry. When Regina saw the lion tattoo, she was completely shocked. It immediately took her back to the day she walked away from love, too scared to walk through that door.

Many years later, she stood and watched Robin and his son and I had to wonder if she was considering the life she could have had if she had been more courageous. 

And how horrible was it to watch a broken Rumpelstiltskin being put back in his cage while he grieved for his son?

Finally, everyone knows that Zelena is the Wicked Witch but what does she want with Snow White's baby and what was in the orange juice?  

Your turn, TV Fanatics. Do you wish Neal could have been saved?


Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (131 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


omg why did Neil have to die, guess he was the least important or a necessary sacrifice, oh well you win some you lose some.


I love Emma's character. She has a good heart but not as stupid as her mother.


I must be the only one here, but I wasn't that moved by Neal's death. I didn't see all that as an heroic action or something. I loved the scene between Hook and Neal, altought I don't think that if the role were reverse, Neal would have delivered the message to Emma as Hook did... anyway...I was pissed at Snow...so helpless and trusting...I loved the way the writers have modified Snow White character from the fairy tale in the previous seasons, however now she seems more like the snowhite from the book, weak and kind of helpless...please bring back her courage, I can't stand this version of her!

@ Fra

Hello.....she's pregnant. Being pregnant has a tendency to make you a bit different.

Drea xoxo

1) let henry have his family
2) hate the wicked witch element cheapens the show IMHO!
3) finally regina met him!!!
4) rumple should never have died but been transported to EF with no memory!!!


Neal's death scene was heartbreaking and really sad .
and the best part in the episode was Regina and Robin , they are very sweet couple and I can't wait to see more of these two.


Here's my problem with this episode - they're painting Neal out to be a hero, who made this big sacrifice to save the town. But it wasn't even remotely a sacrifice. Neal made a selfish move while WILLFULLY disregarding any potential consequences. He went to resurrect his father so that he could be reunited with his family, without even considering for one minute what that would mean for everyone else. Even when Belle warned him that he was being deceived and that the consequences might be dire, he brushed her off saying "I'm sure my dad will come up with something." I mean, Neal was the cause of the curse; Zelena used him like floss. I'm not saying I don't feel for the guy - anyone would want to be with their family. But Neal's death wasn't a heroic sacrifice. It was the consequence of a stupid move that cost Henry his father and Rumpel his son. If anything, the sacrifice was made by Rumple, yet AGAIN. He gave up the dagger that controls him to save Neal's life, to have Neal live inside him. He gave up his sanity for like a YEAR to keep Neal alive. Neal was a good man, no question, but his death was far from heroic or sacrificial.

@ Robin Harry

Agree. I don't understand what is heroic about it and I hate how what he did to Emma was just brushed off.


FYI Cillian is spelled with a "C"

@ Z

Disagree - because then it would be pronounced like an "S" as in Ciaran Hinds, the actor. If it needs to be a hard "K" sound before an "i", it should be "K." Another name with a hard K is Kiera (as in Knightley)

@ KansasGuest

Back when Rome was on, they did an interview with Ciaran Hinds and he pronounced his name as if it was spelled with a "K"....Kiaran.

@ KansasGuest

You're all right. Cillian is the Irish version of the name (see Cillian Murphy, actor), while Killian is the English version of it. In Once Upon A Time, it's spelled Killian.


wow that was sad. i did not see the whole neal and gold sharing the same body comming at all


Now that was a sad episode. I was on the verge of tears. Seeing Emma and Rumple so heartbroken was really hard to watch. Bae/Neal was not my favorite but it was still sad as he'll never met Henry. However, I agree that he might come back. Also, there is more hope for Hook and Emma though, not now. She will be grieving and won't allow anything to happen.
Zelena is out ! Finally ! Rumple had to tell who she was. I did notice that he was more mad than usual especially as being back in Storybrooke. In the EF it makes sense. In SB, not so much. Now however, it does make sense.
What does Zelena want with that baby. I have asking that question for a while. It's creepy. That orange juice definitely didn't help. I am so glad she won't get near Snow again. Though maybe the damage is already done...
Finally, Regina and Robin. Man I cannot wait for these two to get serious. I kept asking for Regina to see that tattoo, now she has. When she remembered who was meant to be, the look on her face... Then in the woods, when she was watching him, REgina, he is there now. You can do it. Though I suspect that a lot more happened in the EF. I cannot wait !


Neal!!! No!!!!

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