Magic has a price. The return of Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) in the major thread in both the current storyline in Storybooke and the flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest where Neal (Michael Raymond-James) raises his father from the grave unaware of what will be taken from him. An injured Neal’s arrival in Storybrooke, unaware of the events which happened over the past year, leads him to joining the search for his missing father, but the closer Emma and Neal get to finding him the more obvious it is that something is quite wrong. Before the end of the episode both Emma and Rumpelstiltskin will loose someone they love.
By the end of the episode a crazed Rumpelstiltskin will reveal the Wicked Witch of the West‘s (Rebecca Mader) identity to Emma and her family, thus removing the immediate threat of the witch to Snow White‘s (Ginnifer Goodwin) unborn child. However, Emma using magic to separate the suffering Neal from his father leads to Neal’s death and puts a far-less confused Dark One completely under the witch’s control.
Neal’s return is certainly short-lived, and given that Henry (Jared Gilmore) has no memory of his father or the truth of his parentage he is unable to mourn properly for the man he never met. It will be interesting to see how the show comes back to these events once Henry regains his memories. The search for both Rumpelstiltskin and the witch also reveals an intriguing fact that there is even more to the forgotten relationship between Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) than a few missed months as Regina, and the audience, catch a glimpse of the thief’s tattoo.