We’ve been waiting for a certain moment on “Once Upon a Time” ever since the early stages of season 2, and thankfully, the writers did not make us wait long on “Manhattan” Sunday night: giving us the reunion of Emma and Neal Cassady. Did you ever really doubt that Baelfire was also Henry’s father? The signs were there during that introduction during the premiere, and despite this shock of this moment not really being shocking at all, this still managed to be overall the strongest episode of the entire season.
There were a few great moments within the hour that really stand out, beginning with just the knockout performance of Robert Carlyle. We learned so many important things about Rumpelstiltskin in this story, beginning with the fact that he only received his “coward” label because he was afraid of a warning from a seer that if he was to participate in the ogre wars, he would lose his life and never meet his son. This is why he has a limp (as he injured his own leg), and it is also why his wife left him. It is a chain reaction for Rumple, and becoming the Dark One led to Baelfire leaving to begin with.
Watching the pain on Rumple’s face during the flashbacks was fantastic, but watching it in the present blew everything out of the water. He was desperate to try and rebuild a relationship with his son, but there were two things holding him back:
1. The fact that Emma had no interest at first in telling Rumple the truth.
2. Neal’s disinterest in wanting the man to be a part of his life.
Jennifer Morrison was also brilliant this week as she tried to explain to Henry why she lied about his father being dead, and through the closing sequences of this episode, we ended up learning how nugget that changes almost everything: Rumple was informed by the dying seer later on in the flashbacks that while Henry would be important to his future, he would also end up being the cause of his downfall. How will he contend with this? Once again, the man has his own motives that are separate from everyone else, and it will be enchanting to see how he ends up reacting to this news in future episode.
How stunned were you by the rage and the pain in Carlyle’s performance this week? Be sure to share your thoughts below, and you can see some more scoop on what happens next on the show over at the link here.