I’ve been observing people saying ” if it is Neal, why they didn’t just kill him at the end of Season 2?”, and I have an explanation. Neal’s part in Rumple’s story simply wasn’t resolved. Season 2 ended with Neal arguing with Rumple yet again, and going back to not trusting him. The Neverland arc focused so much on Rumple’s redemption, and patching things up with Neal was a huge part of that. Neal finally forgave and trusted Rumple during “Think Lovely Thoughts”, and furthermore after he saw Rumple sacrifice himself for everyone first hand in “Going Home.” Neal’s character arc with Emma also needed to further be addressed during these episodes, but how that relationship could progress in the future depends on who you ship, nor am I going to get into that. So whether you believe he’s getting the axe or not, that father-son relationship had to be further developed.