Once Upon a Time left us with the question last week of: Where is Rumple? He’s running loose and that could be dangerous. More importantly, previews revealed that Neil is back. Where has he been? I have my suspicions, but I doubt we’ll know before the end of the season. Also, what will the witch do tonight? 

The Neverland Squad

Emma arrives at the emergency meeting about Rumple’s second disappearance. Regina sees the bigger picture: what is hidden in that house.

Rumple’s Stories

The witch has Rumple’s magic dagger and she calls him, but he doesn’t appear. She calls a flying monkey to find the running Rumple.

Belle learns about Rumple; Hook and Snow will stay with her in Rumple’s shop. Neither Hook or Snow is happy with this, but that’s life, group.

In the past, Belle and Neil have searched Rumple’s castle for a way to find him. Belle tells Neil that Rumple has changed while in Storybrooke and as always, Neil doubts her. Maybe we should call him Doubting Neil now. Wait, how did Neil end up with Emma’s necklace? I don’t remember that from their departure.

Help comes in the form of Lumiere, a flame that isn’t happy with his form. Belle promises to have him restored to his original form and Lumiere directs her to a book about the first Dark One’s vault. The key is in the shape of a triangle. As they leave, Neil blows out the candles but guess who relights them? Lumiere is on the Wicked Witch’s side.

In Gold’s shop, Belle’s looking at books as Neil returns. When next we see the Neverland Squad, Neil is in the hospital where Emma sees the triangle on his hand. She snaps a picture and asks Belle to research it. So, Belle is in charge of research now. All leave so Emma can tell Neil about Henry’s lack of memory. Neil’s attitude is a repeat of season two, folks.

Hook is babysitting Neil, who isn’t too happy about it. Neil learns that Rumple is on the loose and decides to help. Hook knows Neil used the darkest magic to get Rumple back! What’s this? A bromance between Hook and Neil? Oh, Hook is remembering their adventures.

In the Enchanted Forest, Neil and Belle are on their mission. They reach a snow covered area where Lumiere instructs to look under. Belle realizes that Lumiere is lying and he admits to working for the Witch. Lumiere also confesses the witch wants Rumple to do her bidding. Neil thinks Rumple has a loop hole (No, we just need to find that stupid dagger again.) Neil opens the door and Rumple appears as Neil starts to die.

Zelena knows when to appear and laughs as Neil dies. She pulls out the dagger and tells Rumple she now controls him. She goofs though because she orders Rumple to kill Belle. Lumiere and Belle make a dramatic exit.

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Emma and Neil

Neil joins Emma in her search for Rumple and they talk about Tallahassee. (My question: Did Charming beat the flying monkey?) Emma’s phone rings and Belle tells her about the symbol’s meaning. Neil should be dead! Neil collapses because he hears Rumple in his head, and asks Emma to use her savior magic to separate the two. They clasps hands and Rumple returns. As he does, Neil starts to die. (Is this the death we were told to expect? Too early!)

As he dies, Neil asks Rumple to tell Emma about the witch’s identity (Zelena). Rumple is upset and tries to save Neil’s life but he can’t. Neil tells Rumple that he showed him the meaning of sacrifice. Each share tender moments with Neil and Neil gives Emma her necklace. He asks Emma to tell Henry that his father loved him.

After Emma leaves, Zelena arrives and gloats as Rumple mourns. Waving the dagger, she orders him back to his cell. She plans to use his mind to win. Rumple tells Zelena that while she may control him, she should not count the others out. Rumple enters his prison and mourns Bae. Personally, I don’t count him out yet, folks!

Henry and Emma

Emma brings Henry’s breakfast but Henry tells her he knows something is up. Later at the pond, Emma has to break the news that the reason she came to Storybrooke involved his father. Bad people were looking for him and he died a hero. Henry wishes he had met him and she tells him that he has.

Zelena’s Helping Hand

Zelena has given Snow orange juice to drink, but my question is: what is in it? After drinking, Snow feels the baby move. Zelena’s determined to be at the child’s birth.

Later, Charming and Emma arrive at the loft in search of Zelena, the witch. They tell Snow that Zelena is the witch and Neil is dead.

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Regina’s Love

Regina goes to the cottage for clues where Robin takes a shot at her. Seemingly not having met before, they are unsure around each other. Regardless, he vows to help her defeat the witch. He’s also surprised by her “evil” moniker and she said it did what it was supposed to – cause fear. As they share a glass of whiskey, Regina remembers him. Later she watches him play with his son.

Next week: Zelena reveals her true self and the war begins. Storybrooke may never be the same again.

Catch an all new Once Upon a Time next Sunday at 8pm on ABC! 

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Linda Martindale

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV