In Season 2 of [Once Upon a Time](tag:720994), the season premiere started off with a normal looking dude coming home from work. At first, he was a man of mystery but later, he was revealed to be Neal Cassidy—Emma’s first love and Henry’s father. While that was a big enough twist for fans to take in, Adam Horowitz threw us another curveball by also revealing that he was Baelfire, Rumplestiltskin's son who escaped to the mortal world. From there, Neal wanted to have a relationship with Henry and even Emma as well. He went to Storybrooke with them, saved Henry’s life in Neverland, and even saved his father whom he hated for so long. And then, out of nowhere, he dies.
Sure, his sacrifice may have been heroic, but his death came way too soon. And while other characters never seem to stay dead (Cora, I’m looking at you), Neal never gets mentioned again. According to the actor, Michael Raymond James, the killing off was purely for plot development and not because of any drama on set. Regardless if that’s true or not, Neal has been missed ever since. As soon as he left the show, people were constantly tweeting the writers asking if and when he was going to come back. Even William Shatner seemed to be on the Neal train.
Since Once Upon a Time has Emma going to the Underworld this season, it would be a perfect opportunity to see our favorite thief once again. Here are five reasons why Neal should come back:
1. He’s Henry’s father
Henry has plenty of love from Regina and Emma. but he barely got to know his father. When Henry was kidnapped and taken to Neverland, Neal did whatever it took to rescue him (even though it ended up with his capture). It would be great to see them bond together after being apart for nearly two seasons, especially since Henry was possessed by Peter Pan when he died and didn’t really understand what was happening.
2. It could show a new side to Mr. Gold
One of Mr. Gold’s biggest goals in the mortal world was trying to find his son, Baelfire (Neal), who ran away after he couldn’t deal with his father’s darkness. Even though their estranged hellos were very rocky, Neal eventually forgave him and even sacrificed his own life to save him. Even if he sees him for a short time in the Underworld, it’s a much needed reunion. If Neal comes back for a bigger role, then he could be an important factor in Gold’s storyline.
3. He was just killed for fan service
While this wasn’t entirely confirmed, it always felt like Horowitz killed off Neal quickly so that Emma could fall in love with Hook. About a few episodes after Neal dying, the latter happened. Many fans cheered over their romance (and still do to this day), but many others think that Hook is just a pretty face and Neal was Emma’s true love. Even if Emma did fall in love with Hook, Neal could have easily found another love interest and contribute to the adventures in some way.
4. Everyone else comes back from the dead!
If someone dies in Once Upon a Time, don’t ever think they’re gone forever. Every single villain who has died has come back with vengeance, and every single good guy has come back at the perfect time to help when needs are dire. And since all of the big villains are going to be re-introduced this season, it would make sense to see Neal once again.