‘Once Upon a Time’ Recap: Like Father, Like Son

once upon a time
This week’s of Once Upon a Time is arguably the most important episode we’ve ever seen. In “Manhattan,” fans not only learned the identity of Rumpestilskin’s son Bae, but they also realized that we’ve met this man before. A seer’s predictions have finally come to pass and the wicked witches of Storybrooke discovered how to defeat “The Dark One” once and for all. Read on for all the enchanting details below!

Fairytale Land Foreseeing: The episode opens and we see that Rumplestilskin excitedly enters his house to tell Mila some vey big news. He’s been called to the front lines of the Orgre Wars and announces that he leaves for training first thing in the morning. Mila is not too happy to see that Rumple will have to take part in such a brutal war saying, “Just because you’re father was a coward, it doesn’t mean that you are.” But Rumple is thrilled to have this opportunity to change the reputation that he was born into, and lovingly tells Mila that when he returns they can finally start a family.

At the army camp, Rumple is told to guard a cage that contains a “tricky beast” and it only takes 2.5 seconds for Rumple’s curiosity to get the better of him. He lifts the sheet and sees that a young girl, with her eyelids sewed shut, is in locked in a cage. This young girl is a seer and she uses the palm of her hands to sense the world around her. Rumple gives the young girl water in exchange for a peek into his future.

The seer predicts, “Your wife will bare you a son but your actions on the battlefield tomorrow will leave him fatherless.” To prove that the seer is not spreading lies, she tells Rumple, “Tomorrow when you see the armies ride cows into battle you will know that I speak the truth.” That night, the officials announce that they will be headed into the frontlines on horseback the following morning, but that they should “grab a cow” — aka a saddle — to ride on.

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Rumple is devastated and realizes that the only way to avoid leaving his son fatherless is to injure himself instead of facing the ogres the next morning. Rumple takes a giant mallet, clubs his foot, and cries out in anguish.

Rumple hobbles home to see that Mila has already given birth to their son and bestowed a “strong name” upon him—which according to Mila is something that he is going to need now that he has to life with having a coward for a father. It’s clear that Mila no longer loves Rumple when she reveals that she wished he would’ve died in the war rather then return home as a huge embarrassment. She leaves Rumple with Baelfire and promises to never abandon him.

Years later and we see that Rumple, as the dark one, is walking through the forest and has tracked down the same seer that he once met long ago. He has come to the seer in search of his son, and she then spills everything she knows, “This will not be an easy path and it will take many years and require a curse. A curse powerful enough to rip everyone from this land. You will not cast the curse, someone else will. And you will not break the curse someone else will.” To gain the rest of the answers, Rumple steals the seer’s powers and gains the gift and burden for looking into the future.

To thank him for freeing her, the seer offers Rumple another piece of the puzzle: “You will be reunited with your son and it will come in the most unexpected way. A boy. A young boy will lead you to him but beware Rumplestilskin for that boy is more that he appears. He will lead you to what you seek but there will be a price, the boy will be your undoing.” Rumple sneers, “Then I’ll just have to kill him.”

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Storybrooke Sneakiness: In Storybrooke, a distraught Regina is having some mother/daughter bonding time with Cora, telling her that Emma and Henry have left town with Gold. Eager for his revenge, Hook says that he wants to leave town, track down the now powerless Rumple and kill him. But Cora has a better idea, she suggests that they search for the one weapon that they ultimately need to kill him: his dark one dagger.

Regina enters a hospital room to find Belle—wearing a yellow hospital gown of course—and still completely void of her memories. With one wave of her had, Regina puts Belle to sleep and then uses her magic to fish an index card out from Belle’s purse across the room.

Over in the library, the terrible threesome Regina, Cora, and hook are searching the shelves. Regina explains, “Gold wouldn’t risk crossing the town line and losing his memory without entrusting the dagger’s location to someone. My guess is she hid it in one of her beloved books.” But rather than finding a book, they find a map.

Hook uses his handy-dandy pirate skills to track the location of the dagger, but it’s clear that Cora does no want him coming with them on their journey. She uses her magic to throw Hook at the wall of books and reveals her plan to her daughter: They are going to find the dagger, use it to control Rumple so that he will kill Snow, Charming, and Emma, and then Henry will fully belong to Regina.

Back in the hospital, Craig — the creepy intruder who drove his car across the Stroybrooke town lines — is telling someone on the phone that he has been discharged from the hospital. However, the overly curious stranger has no intentions of leaving Storybrooke just yet and reveals that he captured Regina performing magic on video.

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Manhattan Mysteries: Rumple, Emma, and Henry have arrived in Manhattan and although they know which building Bae lives in, they have no idea which apartment number it is. Emma rings the number that she believes is Bae’s, but rather than inviting them up, Bae escapes their visit by rushing down the fire escape. Rumple uses this opportunity to cash in his deal with Emma: ‘That favor you owe me, this is it. Get him to talk to me.”

Emma sprints after Bae and when she finally catches him (or rather, smacks into him) she is baffled to see that Bae is actually Neil — aka the only man she’s ever loved and Henry’s father. Emma is in a full-blown panic thinking that Neil was playing her this whole time and that their relationship was nothing more that a ploy to get her to Storybrooke. However, Neil promises to tell her everything she wants to know as long as they get out of the middle of the street, so a very cautious Neil and mind-blown Emma sit down in a little pub.

Neil tells Emma that he had no idea that she was the savior (“If I did I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near you.”) but that he later found out when August approached him. The scene flashes back and fans finally get to see what it is that August showed Neil in the box to make him abandon his girlfriend.

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In the box was a typewriter, and there was one short yet very straightforward sentence: “I know you’re Baelfire.” Neil goes on to tell Emma that he believes it was destiny that brought them together: “Maybe we met for a reason, maybe something good came from us being together.” But Emma is quick to guard the truth about Henry so she lies and says, “No. Not that I can think of, just went to jail that’s it.”

Emma decides to let Neil go and agrees to lie to Rumple and say that he got away. Rumple is not ready to accept defeat so he breaks into his son’s apartment in search of clues and to hopefully learn more about him. As soon as they enter the room, Emma is hypnotized by the dream-catcher hanging on the window. It’s the same one that Neil stole for her all those years ago and she is in disbelief that he still has it.

Rumple quickly realizes that Emma is hiding the truth from him and just as he was starting to get irate, shouting, “No one breaks deals with me!” Neil/Bae bursts into the room saying to leave her alone. It only takes a few seconds for Rumple to realize that Neil and Emma have a history together. While the tensions are high, Henry emerges from the other room and says the one thing that could make the situation a thousand times worse: he calls Emma “mom.”

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A shocked Neil asks how old Henry is and whether or not this is his son. Emma reluctantly says yes and Neil looks like he’s about to burst into tear and Henry is so overwhelmed that he dashes out on the fire escape. He tells Emma that she is just like Regina because she lied to him and then tells her that all he wants is to meet his father.

Meanwhile inside, Neil tells Rumple that he only has three minutes to say everything that he has been wanting to say for over 28 years. Rumple reveals that he’d like to take Neil back to Stroybrooke and use his magic to turn back time so can make up for all the years that they lost. To which Neil appropriately snaps, “I don’t want to be 14 again are you insane?!” Neil tells Rumple that he wants absolutely nothing to do with him and he should have never abandoned him.

Emma tells Neil that Henry is asking for him and warns her former flame not to break her son’s heart. Neil heads out to the fire escape and after a brief introduction, Henry and Neil share a comfortable father/son silence. Rumple is watching with envy as his son and newly discovered grandson are bonding, and he remembers what the seer told him long ago. In order to save his own life, he’ll have to kill Henry.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time? Were you surprised to see that Neil is actually Bae? How do you think the seer’s prediction is going to pan out? Cast your spell in the comments below!

Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera

[Photo Credit: ABC]

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