A story of hope was that the Stiltskin line was a sad story of a cycle of abandonment of fathers and sons – Malcolm and Rumple, Rumple and Bae, and then Neal abandoned his son without even knowing it, but from the moment he discovered he had a son he did everything he could to be there for him. Neal was determined to break the cycle, and he was doing it. THAT was about hope.
Henry having to bury his father, with no memory of who he even was, is not a hopeful story. Neal dying without his son remembering that they loved each other, is not a hopeful story. The cycle of abandonment in that family continuing, despite the fact that Neal did everything he could to make it stop, is not a hopeful story.
A story of hope was at the end of 311, when Neal told Emma and Henry that he would see them both again.
Him never actually getting to see his son again before he died, is not a hopeful story.
Rumple accepted responsibility for his actions and GAVE HIS LIFE so that his son could have a happy ending. That was a hopeful story, that even villains, who have abused many people in their time, can achieve redemption, eventually do the right thing to try and make up for it, and have some good come from it.
Rumple GIVING HIS LIFE to make up for his mistakes, so that his son could have a happy ending, and then having the son die, is not a hopeful story. What’s the point of villains trying to do better, if all they’re gonna get out of it is this. Everything that Rumple put everyone through in a bid to find his son, was for nothing, because now the son is dead. THE WHOLE STORY THE SHOW WAS BASED ON, EVERYTHING EVERONE WENT THROUGH, WAS FOR NOTHING IN THE END. How is there any hope in that story?
Neal was a good guy, contrary to what his death scene would want you to believe, he ALREADY KNEW what it was to selflessly sacrifice yourself for others, because he had done it multiple times. He didn’t learn that lesson from Rumple, if anything it was the other way around. He got beaten down time and again, from the time he was a child. He wasn’t perfect, he did things that hurt others, but he owned the guilt of his mistakes, and he apologised, and tried to do better. That was a story of hope, that even if life deals you a CRAP hand, and even if you make some choices you’d go back and change if you could, that as long as you hang in there and keep fighting, that you can be the better, stronger person, and keep striving for that happy ending.
Killing a character that was the embodiment of those qualities is NOT a story of hope. Many people believe that the whole message of the show has been a lie. Personally, I’m VERY disenchanted with the show now, not just because of fact they killed one of my fave characters, but because the way it happened alters the entire message of the show from, “Hang in there, keeping fighting the good fight, and you’ll get a happy ending,” to “Life’s a bitch and then you die.”
And I don’t give a crap if sometimes real life IS just a bitch and then you die, because while this isn’t “just a TV show”, it IS a TV show, that real people look to for hope in their own lives, hope that even if they’ve made similar mistakes to these characters, (and I’m talking about all the characters, not just Neal), even if they’re in the same crappy position in their own lives, there’s still a happy ending out there for them to keep dreaming about, because everyone deserves a happy ending. That message has been shot to crap now, and people are feeling on a VERY PERSONAL level.
So please, if people could refrain from commenting that Neal fans should just get over it and move on, just don’t go there, because this show is about FAR more than just characters on a screen, it affects people on a personal level, it affects how they think about their own lives, and you cannot tell someone to just get over something that affects them on a deep emotional level. It’s not just about Neal dying, it’s about the message that, “nope, you’re probably just screwed,” is the message that this death is sending. I feel like I’ve interpreted the entire message of the show incorrectly, and that’s just sad, the whole story feels like a waste now.
I honestly fail to see how killing a character like Neal was a natural progression of the HOPEFUL story they claim to have been telling. They had Neal’s story on a hopeful trajectory, and then they just abandoned all hope for him, for Rumple, for Henry, for Emma. Emma who has been saying that as Saviour, she doesn’t get the happy moments in life, and her parents have been trying to convince her otherwise, and now this man she loved, the father of her child, is dead, essentially proving her fears about her life correct, that crap will just keep happening to her. We all know that Henry will get his memories back at some point, but all Emma knows now is that her son’s father died without him knowing that they loved each other, and that’s something she’ll have to carry around for the rest of her life, alone, not being able to share it with Henry, then their grief over this SHOULD be shared. Or she’s probably thinking that if Henry DOES remember, does remember the love he had for his father, and then has to grieve for him, that will be painful for him. Henry will forever live with the knowledge that his father died when he didn’t remember him. That he stood by his grave with no memory of who he was.
How is any of that a hopeful story in ANY way for anyone?