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S02.E14: Manhattan

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In this case, I don't think the multiple reunions detract because they wind up being so intertwined, thematically/emotionally as well as literally. There's a real richness in the idea that Bae's reunion with the father who essentially abandoned him comes at the moment he learns he has a son who he essentially abandoned. As I said upthread, I also think, at least in this episode, a strong parallel between Rumple's self-serving justification for wounding himself and Neal's self-serving justification for leaving Emma - both of which come down to cowardice.

It works for me, too, that part of what Rumple has to deal with here - and part of the reason, maybe, he is so wrongfooted -- is that he isn't actually the most important figure in his own reunion with Bae. I'm sure Rumple was prepared for a lot of eventualities, including, as we learned in his encounter with August last year, the possibility that Bae would want to kill him. What he wasn't prepared for was Bae telling him he didn't matter and that he was only in the room at all because of a pre-existing emotional connection to someone else. Whether Bae reacted with forgiveness or hatred, the meeting was supposed to be All About Rumple. And then, suddenly, it wasn't. 

9 hours ago, KAOS Agent said:

Deflecting a horrific action by Neal with a realistic and understandable action by Emma is a crappy tactic, albeit a typical one for this show.

On the other hand, 100% yes to this. I do think Emma was wrong to lie to Henry (she didn't have to tell him the whole truth, but she shouldn't have created the firefighter story, if for no other reason than it would have been pretty easily debunked), but what she did is very much within the realm of ordinary human frailty. What Neal did is not. The show's inability to recognize the difference between flawed behavior, unforgiveable behavior, and downright evil is one of its most persistent problems. Or, to put it slightly differently, even outside of downright atrocities, it has a problem differentiating between realistically flawed behavior and what would, for anyone who isn't a total monster, be unrealistically awful behavior. The show wants us to think that both Neal and Emma are guilty of realistically flawed behavior, when really, what Neal did to Emma is so horrible that it is hard to imagine a decent human being capable of it, and I can only avoid hating Neal entirely by essentially saying that I'm willing to suspend my disbelief and pretend it wasn't actually as bad as it was. 

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53 minutes ago, companionenvy said:

In this case, I don't think the multiple reunions detract because they wind up being so intertwined, thematically/emotionally as well as literally. There's a real richness in the idea that Bae's reunion with the father who essentially abandoned him comes at the moment he learns he has a son who he essentially abandoned. As I said upthread, I also think, at least in this episode, a strong parallel between Rumple's self-serving justification for wounding himself and Neal's self-serving justification for leaving Emma - both of which come down to cowardice.

I don't think tackling multiple collisions is a mistake for this episode, either. The whole point is that Rumple, Emma, Henry, and Neal are all intersecting and it's a trainwreck. It spikes up the drama because it's not just one or two balls in the air, but quite a few at once. Because the writers setup Baelfire as Neal (even if they did a terrible job of it), this scenario was bound to happen down the line. It's beautifully soapy, but as I and others have stated,

Spoiler

it never goes anywhere. Neal gets paired with Tamara, Rumple deals with Lacey, Henry goes on his anti-magic crusade that Neal tooooootally talked to him about off-screen, and Emma plays the jealous old flame in a Hallmark movie for the rest of the season. After this episode, it's about Cora, Greg/Tamara, and Regina's failsafe. Neal just sort of exists in Storybrooke as an unnecessary plot device.

I will never not hate Henry's whining about Emma's lie, though. His attitude gets on my nerves to this day.

Spoiler

Ah, yes. The beginning of "Shut up, Henry!" Good times.

Edited by KingOfHearts
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