Emma and the others meet at Granny’s to discuss the possibility of Mr. Gold still being alive. The question of Neal’s whereabouts also arises. Hook volunteers to protect Belle should the Wicked Witch come looking for Rumplestiltskin. The pregnant Mary Margaret also stays behind. Zelena orders a flying monkey to find Rumplestiltskin. Belle believes her lost love has finally returned when someone breaks through a barricade into the shop. It’s not Rumple though. It’s Neal. He falls to the floor unconscious.
One year ago, Belle tells Neal that only Rumplestiltskin can help him defeat the witch and restore his family. She leads him to a library filled with books on history, witchcraft and more. They are not alone when they arrive. Fire in the flames of a candle fixture form a face. The fiery figure speaks. He introduces himself as Lumiere. He only awakens when his candles are lit. It’s the result of curse that was cast upon him by the Rumplestiltskin. Lumiere leads Belle and Neal to a key to vault of the Dark One. He will show them this place. Neal and Belle have no idea the Wicked Witch is puppet master pulling Lumiere’s strings. Or wicks.
Neal and Belle travel to an open clearing on a snowy day. Lumiere says the entryway to the vault is under the ice. They are about to use the key when Belle realizes their fiery guide is a liar. Lumiere admits that the Wicked Witch is the one who cursed him. She wants them to bring back the Dark One so she can control him with his dagger. Regardless of that, Neal wants to get his father back. He uses the key. It becomes white hot and leaves a mark on his hand. The vault opens. The Dark One arises.
In Storybrooke, Henry realizes that something is up with his mom. He wants to know the truth or he wants to go back to New York. Their conversation ends abruptly when Emma gets word that Neal is back. He has a strange marking on his hand. He has no idea how it got there. Neal is crushed to learn that Henry didn’t get his memories back. Elsewhere, Zelena presses Mary Margaret for information while having her drink lots of orange juice. She assures her that she’s not letting her have the baby without her.
While investigating the farmhouse, Regina finds Robin Hood there, too. They partner up on the witch hunt. Regina has the sense that the two of them have met before. They are obviously attracted to each other and end up sharing a drink. When Robin holds out a glass, Regina recognizes the lion tattoo on his hand. It’s the one Tinker Bell told her was worn by her soul mate.
Back in town, Neal wants to leave his hospital. Hook stops him with a hug. He still remembers Neal as the young boy he cared for many years ago. He’s all grown up now and he needs to look for his father. Hook knows this. That’s why he lets him go. Mr. Gold is out there and he’s in pain. Emma and David find him agonizing over the voices in his head as a flying monkey attacks. Neal catches up with Emma, who says his father took off. The search for him is on once again.
Belle learns that the symbol on Neal’s hand is from an ancient talisman on a key that opens the vault of the Dark One, who can only be restored in exchange for another life. If Neal used the key, he should be dead. Past and present events now coincide. Neal collapses before Emma in the woods as well as before Belle by the vault. A fully restored Rumplestiltskin rushes to his son’s side. The Wicked Witch appears. She controls the dagger as Rumple sucks Neal into himself amidst a protective energy cocoon.
In the present, Neal asks Emma to use her magic to separate him from his father. She reluctantly does so. Mr. Gold is back. He says that Zelena is the Wicked Witch. He knows that there’s no way to save his son. Neal gives Emma the special locket he held onto through all this. He wants her to tell Henry he was a good father. Mr. Gold desperately wants to save his boy. However, this is beyond even his power. Neal declares his love for his papa thanking him for showing what true sacrifice is. He then dies in Emma’s arms.
Emma and David rush home to Mary Margaret. Zelena escapes just as they arrive. Emma breaks the news that Neal is gone. Back in the woods, Zelena approaches a grieving Mr. Gold. She still controls him with the dagger. She orders him back into his cage. Mr. Gold continues to grieve, as does everyone else in town. As for Emma, she tells Henry that some bad people wanted to hurt his father. They succeeded in killing a good man. These evildoers got away. Emma assures Henry that she’s going to find them.