Hello everyone. I’ve never posted to these forums before, but I was surprised to see so many negative responses to the events in this episode (by people whose opinions I respect and have usually agreed with in my time lurking here) that I just wanted to post my own two cents. In my opinion this episode (while it had some story-contrivances unavoidable in even the best tv-shows) had some of the best writing and some of the strongest themes of the series so far. To me the themes of the series are indeed hope, as well as redemption, love, healing and sacrifice. Rumplestiltskin’s quest for his son has been a defining aspect of his character for a long time. When he let go of his son’s hand in the Enchanted Forest because he was afraid to let go of his power, it became a wound he was desperate to heal. He searched for his son for hundreds of years, being willing to sink to the lowest depths to reach him. He may have let go of Bae’s hand, he never gave up hope on one day meeting him again. And against all odds, hundreds of years later, Bae was still alive. And Rumple found him. Yet his attempts at healing the rift between them had mixed results at best, and so when Bae was thought dead last season, Rumple lost it completely. He thought he had failed his son. Bae had died without knowing his father loved him, without forgiving him, without believing in him. It was devastating. And again, father and son were given a new chance. Bae was alive. And Rumple learned a valuable lesson. When he first found Bae again, he told him he could change him into a child again. They could start over. It’s not what Baelfire wanted. He had lived a life that was longer than most people. He didn’t want to start all over. No, Rumple did not need to change Bae. He needed to change himself. And he did. By sacrificing himself to save his family and kill Pan. This was a sacrifice that was in no way without meaning. It showed not only Bae, but the entire town, that he had more courage in him than anyone had given him credit for. (Except for Belle, who believed in him all along already, awww…) Cue “quiet minds” in which Bae, now desperate to get back to his own son, throws all caution to the wind and risks everything. As Belle points out, he makes the same mistake his father made. And in doing so, he finally truly understands him. They become one, in more ways than just the creepy body-switching CGI we’ll see later. Bae I’m sure realizes his mistake once he sees the burn-mark on his hand. But hope prevails. This time Rumple refuses to let go of him. This time he chooses to gives up his power, healing the final rift between him and his son. He does exactly what is needed. What he couldn’t do before. And Bae (oh Bae…) “awakens” in the Enchanted forest, where he is reunited with Emma. And I’m sure it soothes his soul to learn that she is happy. That she is strong enough to move on, despite her love for him. And their son is happy. He now knows the normal live he couldn’t have growing up in Storybrooke. Henry has friends and videogames and icecream. When the time comes to make a choice, Bae chooses to move on. He chooses to be brave, knowing that his sacrifice will help Emma, his son and his father. And he knows that Emma will tell Henry that Neal died a hero.
This time it is true. Some people have complained that Bae’s death scene goes on too long. I completely disagree as every moment here is so incredible important.
Bae tells his father exactly what he needs to hear. What he has needed to hear for several hundreds of years. The culmination of all Rumple has sacrificed.
Bae dies telling his father that he loves him. Even more than that, Bae lets him know he respects him and is inspired by his courage. “Let go” he says. And he’s right. After centuries of holding on to his lost son, it is time for Rumplestiltskin to let go. It is thanks to those words alone that I believe Rumple, despite the pain of losing his son, finally has a chance to begin healing. (Assuming he gets away from the wicked witch first, ofcourse – but that’s an entirely different tale). His son has lived a very long life and died a hero. And he has left behind a family that I’m sure Rumple will now be motivated to protect on his behalf. No matter how much time passes, no matter how terrible the mistakes we make, there’s always a chance for redemption, for forgiveness. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a “happy ending” (does anything ever truly end?). Life can be harsh and unfair, but hope and love shine through in even the most unlikely of places. And it’s these moments that make everything worthwhile, worth fighting for. That’s what this show is about for me and I can’t wait to see where it will take us next.
Love this post & couldnt agree more with you 🙂