Tuesday , July 23 2024
What a shocker in this week's Once Upon a Time episode Quiet Minds!

TV Review: ‘Once Upon a Time’ – ‘Quiet Minds’

How can I commence this review without first saying “OMFG!”? Talk about your closely guarded secrets…er spoilers? I never saw it coming: that Once Upon a Time‘s Powers that Be would kill off Neal/Baelfire (Michael Raymond James) in this week’s episode “Quiet Minds.”  But wait. Is he really, truly, and unmistakably dead (forgive the Oz reference)? Or could Zelena/Wicked Witch’s (Rebecca Mader) demise break whatever curse fused him in the first place with his father, the newly resurrected Rumplestilksin (Robert Carlyle)? Only time (and Zelena’s defeat) will tell.

“Quiet Minds” held my attention in a way that few Once Upon a Time episodes have this season (or last). I found myself anxiously waiting through commercials to find out the “what happens next.”

The “quiet minds” of the episode title refer to the multiple voices in poor Rumple’s head as we learn how he’d saved Neal from certain death in the Enchanted Forest by holding his consciousness within his own. But his act of love has a huge cost–the sacrifice of his dagger to Zelena. Neal is saved for the moment, but Rumple, tormented with two voices in his head, becomes Zelena’s slave. zelena, snow white, once upon a time, quiet minds

But the predicament is fostered by Neal’s (perhaps reckless) desire to bring back his father from the dead, listening to the advice of an enchanted candelabra, Lumiere. Supposedly cursed by Rumple, the talking candelabra leads the Neal and Belle to the vault of the original Dark One, where Neal can use a magic key to resurrect his presumed-dead father.

Belle (Emilie de Ravin) pleads with him to think before he acts, reminding him of Rumple’s sacrifice–true sacrifice of himself for the good of others, and not to destroy that act. But Neal is desperate; all his family is gone: Henry, Emma, and now Rumple. He cares not a whit about the cost.

But Lumiere is not the product of Rumple’s dark magic, but Zelena’s, something that Belle realizes when she catches the French candelabra in a lie. But it’s too late; Neal has opened the vault–a virtual Pandora’s box. Neal’s life is forfeit (a detail Lumiere neglects to mention) and Rumple, now once again among the living, cannot imagine, nor allow his son to die in his arms. He cannot both hold onto Neal and his dagger, so given the choice, he relinquishes the dagger, and Zelena is only too happy to have it.

But where is Neal? Although his consciousness is now part of Rumple, his body has become an enslaved flying monkey. And perhaps, somehow, when Rumple breaks out of his prison cell, he is far enough removed from Zelena that Neal (or at least his body) is able to break free. Or something.

As Rumple flees through the forest, running from both Zelena and the torment in his mind, he encounters Emma. Neal realizes what has happened and what he must do: Rumple is too important to remain half crazed and fighting the voices. They must be quieted, which means Neal must end the spell and die. For only if Rumple’s mind is freed, will the good guys begin to figure out the identity of the Wicked Witch.

I have to say, Neal’s death scene brought tears to my eyes. It was a gorgeous moment for Neal and Emma, Neal and Rumple, and then all three of them as they share the grief and pain of loss, and the understanding of true sacrifice and heroism. Neal finally understands and acknowledges the good man are the core of his father, and their final moment is touching and very emotional.

It is heartbreaking to see the grieving and broken Rumple, dejectedly going back to his cell, his desire to do away with the Wicked Witch thwarted because he is under her control. But her victory is not complete over him, since he is free long enough to tell Emma that Zelena is the Wicked Witch.

But is it too late? And what is in that orange juice Snow White drinks? Zelena is seeking something that Rumple has sought for years, but has never gotten. Obviously it has something to do with Snow White’s baby–and something that transpires in the Enchanted Forest that we’ve yet to see. Hmmm.

I love the idea that Belle figures out both Lumiere’s lie and the location of The Dark One’s vault (in Storybrooke). She knows that Rumple built that library for her, and Lumiere’s insistence that he had been Rumple’s prisoner there for 200 years cannot possibly be true since the library was built only two years before the original curse had been invoked by the Evil Queen. So we also now have a timestamp on Rumple’s captivity and when the library came into existence.

Since last week, I’ve been trying to figure out which Once Upon a Time characters represent the characters we know and love (or hate) from The Wizard of Oz. Last week I speculated that Scarecrow is Rumple because he’s lost control of his mind. And Zelena confirms it because she tells him this week that she is quite in possession of his “beautiful brain.” Tada.

David is the Cowardly Lion, and although we’ve now seen any sign of cowardice, we do know that Zelena has his sword–the sigil for David’s courage. I believe that Henry is our Dorothy, because he continually desires only to go home and leave the surreal environment of Storybrooke, which has to represent for Henry a sort of Oz. But what, for Henry, is home? Is it New York? Or is it to be reunited with his family–including his father Neal? And I have to wonder if her demise will result in that reunion–and Neal’s return to the land of the living.

That brings us to the Great and Powerful Oz. Okay, so Regina says it herself: people know her as the “great and terrible Evil Queen.” Close enough. She’s the Wizard. Is it ultimately her mask that falls away to reveal her humanity? And is it her soul mate Robin Hood that ultimately unmasks her? Regina notes that fear has been an effective tool to maintain her power; something that she and the “great and powerful” (and quite scary) Wizard of Oz also has used.

But who is the Tinman in the remake of The Wizard of Oz? Who is missing a heart? I wonder if that would be Neal, whose heart, after all, has now stopped beating. We shall see.

Now it’s your turn. Leave your comments below, and if you’ll notice, I’ve placed a star rating system at the top of the article. Feel free to vote on this week’s Once Upon a Time episode, and be sure to tune in tomorrow night to Let’s Talk TV, where we will devote the final hour to Once Upon a Time talk.

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About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org).

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  1. As I tweeted earlier, I am MOST SERIOUSLY DISPLEASED (thank you, Jane Austen). I never ceases to amaze me how nostalgic a show Once Upon a Time can be. In an age where a fling or two substitutes for a relationship, OUAT never ceases to tell a different story. That true love is a sacrificial love. Love is meaningful when it is freely given, without condition. Thus, we share in Rumple’s and Emma’s pain, but we also marvel at the courage that the son showed in giving his life for the father and for the family that he loves so much. From small acts of courage, great events are forged. What makes OUAT so interesting is that even though almost all the characters are flawed, to varying degrees, we have seen them give themselves in the service of others. And in so doing, we become vested in their story, transfixed in their journey.
    Robert Carlyle was once again superb. Neal really is Emma’s true love. I never cared for Emma and Hook as a pair. I liked the hug that Hook gave to Neal (a moment of real tenderness between rivals). Jennifer Morrison is becoming an accomplished actress. Can I say more Belle, please? Lumiere was great. I really hate the Wicked Witch, but this just goes to show you that Rebecca Mader is doing a great job playing one of the seminal bad guys in all of fiction. I look forward to more Rumple/Zelena action. And more Zelena/Regina action.
    This has been a great season of OUAT. Robbie Kay and now Rebecca Mader. Great casting choices. Though I want to see Tink again (before she flies off to her own show).
    Once Upon a Time. Storytelling at its finest.

  2. Aside from this, Belle was amazing…kudos to Emiile; when she was told that Rumple was alive…….and then when he was ordered to kill her… The look on his face of sheer horror, as he was fighting the dagger, unwilling to ever hurt her, but afraid he would…. I think we’ll see this repeated in SB; why would WW not want him to kill her?

    I imagine that the WW will demand he kill Belle……and Gold will fight it desperately – and perhaps Belle will offer herself to him, knowing that his love for her is so great that he won’t kill her, that he could resist the dagger and break it’s hold on him. Then I could see a TLK happening – his curse has to break now, it has to; if not, there’s really no point to this entire arc of Gold’s being controlled. IMO, the curse has run it’s course.

    I wonder now what Belle’s role will be – to save him? She’s the only one who can save Gold now……she’s got the brains, she’s got the love, she’s got the motivation……

  3. Lydian DeVere Yard

    I don’t think Neal was a flying monkey. Didn’t his whole body go into Rumple’s back in the Enchanted Forest? There was never a moment where the monkey and Neal were connected in the show. I think Neal was always Neal/Rumple once Rumple was brought back and during the new curse. Emma, Hook, David, Snow and Regina were only speculating that Neal was a monkey.

  4. Lydian DeVere Yard

    I also have doubts about Neal returning to life. We’ve already had more than a couple returns from death, including Rumple’s (also The Blue Fairy, Archie’s fake death, Neal’s presumed death and Kathryn’s presumed death). It would lessen the sacrifice Neal made (a life for a life) to bring him back, IMO. There might be a chance, but I don’t want the show to keep doing that, to go against their stipulation that the dead cannot be brought back. He and Emma kind of resolved their relationship, and they seemed pretty platonic rather than in love with each other. The biggest thing about losing Neal is for Henry’s sake. He would have been a really good father to him, and that’s the biggest loss, other than Rumple tragically losing his son. That’s not a happy ending, but I’d rather they didn’t yo-yo all over the place with, “Look, he’s dead!” “Psych! No he’s not” “Oops, he’s dead again!” “Fooled ya!”

    • Ido think it would be a cheat to bring Neal back to life. They did a nice job reinforcing Rumple’s sacrifice. And the essential tragedy he must endure (perhaps his ultimate punishment for his hubris in constructing the entire plot). It’s not a happy ending at all, and makes Rumple all the more tragic. This truly will be his dark night of the soul.

  5. Rumple did not have to give up the dagger and the power. We see how far Rumple has come when he chooses his son over power. Neal, finally (I think), understands how much his father loves him. And this is not lost on Belle, who was forced to leave Rumple’s side. It’s an amazing redemption arc – and while Rumple did everything to get his son back (perhaps out of love and guilt), it is clear to me, at least, the Belle gave him the ability to love without condition and without fear. Rumbelle, really, is one of the quintessential love stories of our time. And the fact that we don’t always see it, that we don’t always get what is expected, makes it so much more interesting. I cannot give Robert Carlyle enough credit for his excellence in this show. Emile de Ravin, too, has been fantastic. They have a natural chemistry together. It’s really fun to watch this pair. And I would think that Rumbelle really is one of the central pillars in Once Upon a Time.
    Michael Raymond James. You were underutilized. You were great. I really would like to see Neal again. I still don’t like Emma and Hook. Best wishes on a great career. You made Baelfire a man that can inspire a lot of people. He was resilent. He was honest. He was honorable. He was able to forgive. And for that, he was able to love. Love in abundance. He will be missed.

    • To me, Rumple’s journey has been the most profound (although I thing the Evil Queen is on the road — and well on the road as well, if not there). But Rumple had so much farther to crawl from the darkness. To overcome a curse like that put upon the Dark One is truly extraordinary. And I cannot say enough about Robert Carlyle and his ability to continually pull new facets into Rumple’s character.

  6. Both Rose McIver and David Anders are in the cast of the new series iZombie. Rose McIver plays the lead role. It appears that they will be losing quite a bit of the supporting cast, though I hope Meghan Ory becomes are regular again (not that I want Intelligence to fail).

    • A loss for the cast, but the cast can use some trimming. They will add new characters, I’m sure. Best of luck to Rose and David, who are both fine actors 🙂

  7. You know everybody keeps forgetting about Hook. As far as we know he didn’t come back with the curse, his memories still seem intact. How did he get there? When he hugged Neil, it was like he was saying “goodbye “. And, we also just assumed Snow White sent him the message with the memory potion. And remember he wanted to get back to Emma also. So what did he do to get back there and where is the Jolly Roger?(under the pond?)I think he’s the “tin-man, and he may have made a bargain with the witch. Anyway he’s acting very suspicious. I can’t believe nobody’s asked him yet.

    • Interesting point PC! Hmm. Hook as the Tinman. He IS a pirate, after all, and no matter his intentions, he always will be. I’m certain that memory potion must’ve come from Rumple’s apothecary of potions–found by Neal and Belle.

  8. This, for me, was one of the best episodes of the season so far…

    I did have a feeling that Bae was going to die, but I still wasn’t ready..

    I LOVED the Belle scenes in this episode. Emilie was fantastic, great to see Belle integrated within the main group, laying the smackdown on Hook, helping out Emma and also the main part her and Bae going off for an adventure…loved the scenes with them..

    The Regina/Robin scenes were nice and surprised that she did see the tattoo, wonder what her next move will be…

    Lovely surprise seeing Luminaire, and was a bit Woah when he was working for the WW (who so needs to get a hose on her!!)

    And the shocker with Bae taking his life into his own hands and freeing Rumple and Rumple giving up his power to save his family..such powerful scenes…kudos to Michael, Robert and Emilie for those..

    and I love those ends scenes with Bae and Emma, reminiscing about what could have been…laughing and joking with each other…what could have been indeed..and then the goodbye with Bae and Rumple *sniffles*, amazing work from Jennifer, Michael and Robert.

    In those last 10 mins or so, wow heart renching stuff, and amazing work..

    Can’t wait to see what happens next, hoping that Rumple drops a house on her!

    • Belle’s scenes were fabulous. Smart, confident and courageous. I agree, that final scene between Emma, Neal and Rumple was a three-hankie affair. Devastating, and then to see both Emma and Rumple in the aftermath of it.

      • That Belle was…

        I wonder what Emma and Rumple will do in their next steps…although with Rumple still under the spell of the WW, I’m getting nervous what he would do…especially that Belle is in SB, the WW might use her….

        • She might. And Rumple could be threatened with Belle’s death in order to make him compliant (even if he struggles against his enslavement). Especially now that Neal’s dead, who else does he have?

          • Indeed, i wonder when belle sees rumple, she might have a plan herself to free Rumple..somebody needs a plan to get him out..

          • He has his grandson. And an extended family. And who knows what Cora wrought.

  9. I’ll say this again. Any show that reminds us that a community is about sacrifices that we make for one another for the betterment of each other can’t be bad. This show, Once Upon a Time, is great. This show, first and foremost, is about family. Yes, it’s fantastical. And yet, who doesn’t yearn for a sense of belonging, for a sense of self, for a sense of family, for a sense of being part of a greater whole. A sense of honor, a sense of duty. Making hard choices. Not always getting what you want. And yet, somehow, not being poorer for doing the right thing. In fact, though it may not always be immediately apparent, being richer for it. It is the embodiment of what we humans, in hope and love, can be.

    Does anyone notice that Emma’s magic works when she is doing something out of love?

  10. I just watched “Quiet Minds” last night, and it was incredible. This episode will probably stand as one of the best OUAT episodes I have seen so far. Everyone truly brought their A game; I love it when all of the main cast is involved. Neal/Bae’s death as sad as it was, and I had a feeling this was going to happen, also seemed kind of necessary for Rumple’s arc, because in that last moment when Neal was dying he finally saw the good man within his father, and he forgave him; thus closing that part of Rumple’s story (which of course was the foundation for the plot).

    On a lighter note, Belle was great and her adventure outfit was so cute 🙂 She was certainly smart, confident, and courageous. I’m so glad that Emma and the Charmings are finally acknowledging her existence (lol). They even got Hook, *cough* The Outsider *cough*, to act as her bodygaurd. All kidding aside, it was great to see Belle interacting with the main cast; Hook’s actions against Belle in season 2 didn’t go unnoticed (he didn’t give her a sincere apology, but at least he kind of acknowledged his wrong doing), for the first time Emma asked Belle for help, and the interactions between Neal and Belle in the Enchanted Forest were just great.

    The beginning of the Outlaw Queen (Robin and Regina) relationship was also cool. I’m not sure how this relationship is going to pan out for the rest of the season and/or the series, but I’m certainly intrigued 🙂

    • Hi Connie. Can’t agree with you more. We have too rarely seen Belle interacting with the main cast, and it was delightful to see her tough and smart. I do think it will be Belle who ultimately saves Rumple (unless he saves himself). I also am interested to see how Regina’s relationship with Robin Hood might change her. If she has a new chance at love and maybe the possibility of a happy ending, will it redeem her from her bitterness?

  11. So what does this mean for Rumbelle? He LOVES her so much, with all of his body and soul. He needs her, he wants a future with her…a family. That, I’m sure, hasn’t changed. He sacrificed for her as much as for Bae…….I’m SICK of their separations already. Honestly? It’s time to either let them deal with life together (she is grieving as well) or just break them up forever.
    I have to very much disagree about Regina. I don’t want to get into who’s “worse”, but I really don’t buy her redemption arc at all, mostly because she has never, not once, expressed an ounce of remorse……and she still treats Belle like nothing. IMO, Gold’s arc has been astonishingly profound – his entire arc, really, changed with Belle’s presence. Bobby constantly talks about how Belle is his anchor, his strength, his moral center.. I miss Bobby and Emilie together. We don’t get NEARLY enough of them

  12. I saw the promo picture for episode 18. What’s up with Rumple and Zelena? This is also the same episode that Rose McGowan is returning as the young Cora. What’s going on? Don’t tell me that Zelena is some sort of Cora clone (too much sci fi). This episode could be VERY interesting. But all the Rebecca Mader episodes with Rumple have been great. Any chance they make her a series regular? The other news, that the Knave of Hearts is Returning to Storybrooke is welcome. He’s about the only thing in OUATWL that is worth saving.

    The ultimate irony would be if Cora’s heart is actually in Zelena and the heart that Regina put back inside Cora was Zelena’s. If this is actually a possible plot line, then can Cora come back?

    Are the writers that intent on making Rumple and Belle go through another bump on a bumpy road?