As far as keeping hope, Neal dying would be the most devastating to that theme.
We all know whether he is downright killed or sacrifices his life, it will be extremely devastating for every character (even as Molly mentioned, Regina will feel the consequences with Henry, etc). We didn’t even see that portion when Neal fell down the portal in S2/s3A because Henry was kidnapped. But no matter how heroic and valiant they make it, it will be a feeling of “the end”. This is it. This is a gigantic hole, and it will take its toll.
If Hook sacrifices his life and does the heroic thing, while Hook fans and CSers alike will mourn, it will be a different kind of mourning. It will be a pirate becoming a hero. As devastating as it will be for them, it will be like Rumple sacrificing his life-it will exude hope in a way that this show does. Someone who consistently does cowardly things, with a glimmer of hope, back and forth, back and forth, finally doing the heroic, brave thing. Neal has already done heroic things and already sacrificed so much. It will be a sad sad story of a boy, then a man who could never ever get it right no matter how much he sacrificed for anyone. That doesn’t give me hope. That makes me feel like… “the end”. That’s it for him and there’s no more hope.
I’ve said before, I don’t hope Hook dies. NOT AT ALL. But if/when it happens, I will probably cry like I did at the end of Going Home. Because it will stir a place in my heart that is inside all of us– we want to believe people can change. Hook desired to change for Bae, even though we know he had a hidden agenda. Bae was his connection to Milah, so I have to believe there was a part of him that wanted to, even if he didn’t know how and had no intention of actually doing it. The want to want to change is sometimes what gets the process going. Not even the want. The want to want. I’ve seen it happen with people I’ve known in my life even.
Hook’s conversation with Regina in 3×01 will always stay with me. And even their convos at the end of s2. Hook has this conflict within himself and I think the navy captain from his good form days has been lured out by the heroes around him.
I’m not saying Hook’s death would give people hope. I’m saying the circumstances around his death could actually speak more, mean more, and be of greater value to the lessons and story of hope they’re trying to portray than killing off Neal.
Sigh. Just kinda threw up all my thoughts and not sure how to close…
Keeper Nealfire's/Bae's scarf, Henry and Neal's bribery ice cream sundae, Baelfire's sword, the coconut map, and more.