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