Neal Cassidy
Land Without Magic Character
Biographical Information




  • Janitor (formerly)
  • Thief (formerly)
Physical Description




Hair color

Dark Brown

Eye color


Current Allies
Portrayed By

Michael Raymond-James

First mentioned


First appearance


Latest appearance

There's No Place Like Home

Latest mention

Smash the Mirror

IconMoveProtect IconFA IconOUAT IconCharacter IconMale IconLWM IconStorybrooke IconEF IconNeverland IconDeceased IconS2 IconS3
This article focuses on Neal Cassidy's Land Without Magic alias. For his Enchanted Forest identity, see Baelfire.
I wanted to look for you, but I was too afraid that you wouldn't forgive me because I never forgave myself. There hasn't been a day that's gone by that I don't regret having left you.
      —Neal to Emma Swan

Neal Cassidy, formerly known as the Mysterious Man and also known as Baelfire, is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. He débuts in the first episode of the second season. He is portrayed by starring cast member Michael Raymond-James, and is the Land Without Magic alias of Baelfire.


During First Curse

At at unknown time frame, Baelfire escapes the world of Neverland and ends up in the Land Without Magic where he grows up under the name Neal Cassidy.

Neal and Emma meet in Portland when they are both trying to steal the same car. They quickly fall in love and began travelling through the country together and running cons to make money. Planning to retire from their life of crime, they choose to build a life together in Tallahassee, but Neal gives Emma the bad news he is currently wanted for stolen watches that are now hidden in a train station. Emma retrieves the watches back and they decide to meet up at a specific location after Neal finds someone to buy the watches. While doing so, Neal is confronted by August, who claims Emma is meant to do something greater rather than live a life of a thief. He shows knowledge of Neal's past persona by opening a typewriter with the words, "I know you're Baelfire" written on them. Afterwards, August tells Neal about Emma's magical history and convinces him to turn her in to the police so she can fulfill her destiny. After Emma is arrested, he runs away to Canada where he sells the watches. He asks August to send all the money plus their car to Emma, and asks August that if she ever fulfills her duty to let him know by sending a postcard. ("Tallahassee")

At an older age, Neal begins residing in New York City. August pays him another visit to inform him of his plans to help Emma break the curse. Neal dislikes the idea of his father coming to look for him when the curse is broken. Even though he and Emma can possibly reunite then, Neal doesn't think she would want to see him. Neal watches August ride off on his motorcycle and upon turning to leave, he accidentally bumps into a woman, Tamara, holding a cup of coffee, which spills all over her. He offers her his scarf to cover up the stains. They exchange numbers, start dating and then become engaged. ("Selfless, Brave and True")

After First Curse

When Emma breaks the Dark Curse, Neal resides in New York City, where he receives a postcard delivered by a dove. One side of the postcard reads, "Broken", and the other is a photo of the Storybrooke Clock Tower with the phrase "Greetings from Storybrooke", which is sent to him by August. ("Broken")

Neal receives a call buzz for his apartment room one day. When the person on the other line says there is a UPS delivery for him, for an unknown reason, he flees out the window and down the ladder escape. He runs away from his pursuer until they both careen into each other and knock heads. Neal is stunned to see the person chasing him is Emma. She accuses him and his father, Mr. Gold, of deceiving her. Not wanting a confrontation out in the open, Neal succeeds in getting Emma to a nearby bar where he reveals that he is, in fact, Baelfire and they discuss their past. Neal makes note of the fact she is still wearing the necklace he gave her, but Emma takes it off just then and hands it back to him. He suggests that they go their separate ways and that she tell Mr. Gold she lost him. Although Emma agrees, Neal decides to go back to his apartment as he knows what his father does to people who break deals with him. He stops Mr. Gold from threatening Emma and commands him to leave, but feels confused when he sees Henry, who he does not recognize. When Emma states Henry is her son, Neal admanantly demands to know how old he is. Henry shouts back he is eleven years old, which is the exact amount of years since he and Emma were together. He realizes the boy is his son. Mr. Gold blackmails Neal into talking with him as that is the only way to fulfill Emma's bargain. Neal tells Mr. Gold that since he himself as an abandoned boy never got closure, neither will his father. Emma allows Neal to get to know Henry, but warns not to break his heart. ("Manhattan")

Some time later, Neal is building a quick relationship with Henry by introducing him to New York-style pizza and promising to take him to a museum. Neal tries to tell Emma something important, but their conversation is interrupted. Neal and Henry head back up to the apartment room to fetch a camera for the museum visit only to rush back to see Mr. Gold has been stabbed by Hook, who Emma has already knocked out. To everyone's surprise, Neal admits he is already acquainted with Hook. Mr. Gold tells Emma the wound inflicted on him by Hook contains poison and the only way to cure him is with magic in Storybrooke. Realizing that Hook's ship is the fastest way to get back, Neal offers to steer the ship and arranges to borrow someone else's car to the harbor. Emma curiously asks how he knows Hook and how to pilot a pirate ship, though he evasively says the land without magic is not the first world he arrived in, because if it had been, he would been over three-hundred years old by now. When they arrive next to a large car, Neal prepares to use the keys when the owner of the vehicle, his fiancée, Tamara, walks up to greet him, and he introduces Emma to his future wife. ("The Queen Is Dead")

With Henry's help, Neal pilots the Jolly Roger from New York to Storybrooke. While en route, Emma telephones David and Mary Margaret, to fill them in on what has happened. David explains to them Cora and Regina have possession of the dagger which can be used to control Mr. Gold. They arrive at the pawnshop, and once inside, Mr. Gold gives a piece of magic invisible chalk to Emma and tells her to draw a magic barrier across the door with the chalk. Neal jokes that he did not know she could use magic, and Emma chides at him for not telling her about Tamara or who his father is. When Cora and Regina reach the shop, they use magic to break the barrier, and end up battling Neal, Mary Margaret, David and Emma. Regina ejects David by throwing him out of the shop. After distracting Cora and Regina, Emma proceeds to draw another barrier outside the shop's back room to protect herself, Neal and Mr. Gold for a little longer. After hearing Mr. Gold's emotional phone conversation with his girlfriend Belle, Neal realizes that his father has changed. As father and son share a close moment, Cora breaks through the barrier. Though Neal and Emma rise to defend Mr. Gold, she teleports the them to the town forest. ("The Miller's Daughter")

After Cora's death, Mr. Gold visits the apartment to warn Emma and David about what Regina has planned for Mary Margaret. Henry is horrified about his family's possible intent to kill Regina to end the feud. Emma takes an upset Henry to the diner where Neal hangs out with him. He orders him a nice dessert, but Henry knows Neal is in on trying to sweeten him up so he does not try to get involved with Regina. Neal asks Henry to move to New York with him where he will be safer. Henry agrees, and then goes to the bathroom. Emma comes back to check up on them, and is incredulous that Neal fell for the "I'm going to the bathroom" trick; especially since Henry took his backpack with him. They try to catch up with him, and get to the mines with help from Ruby and realize Henry took dynamite to blow up the wishing well to get rid of magic. They hurry off to the well, and nearly have a heated battle with Regina, but Henry manages to get everyone to stop. Henry convinces Regina to not use the spell on him, and she willingly burns the paper. ("Welcome to Storybrooke")

Deciding he wants to stay in town for Henry's sake, Neal phones Tamara and asks her to come as well. At some point, he returns to New York alone and discovers Hook missing from the storeroom. While he is staying at Storybrooke's inn, Emma and Henry visit him. Sending Henry to grab three hot cocoas from the diner, Neal tells Emma about Hook's disappearance, and then reveals Tamara will be arriving shortly. She dislikes the idea of another outsider in town, and pushes Neal to tell Tamara about his true identity. The foursome have an awkward breakfast in silence, but the conversation picks up when Henry asks how the two of them met, to which Tamara briefly relates the story. Once Henry and Emma head out, Neal shows Tamara the book and tells her about his life in the Enchanted Forest; stating all the fairytales in the book are real. Perceiving this is a ploy to drive her away so he can be with Emma, Tamara angrily berates his story, and storms out. Later, in front of the sheriff department building, he witnesses a wooden August die with his last words warning Emma about "her". After Mother Superior arrives and transforms August back into Pinocchio, Tamara arrives to see the workings of magic. Unknown to Neal and the others, moments earlier, she was the one who killed August since he was trying to expose her to Emma. Feigning surprise at witnessing actual magic, Tamara decides to stay in Storybooke for Neal. ("Selfless, Brave and True")

In the park, Neal and Henry have fun playing with wooden swords. At the end of the day, he brings home a worn out and asleep Henry. Emma tucks him into bed and then the two sit down to talk. She casually asks him if he would go back to the Enchanted Forest if there was a way, but Neal states he spent his whole life running from it. ("Lacey")

On a rainy day, he and Tamara huddle under an umbrella as they are leaving the bed and breakfast. He returns to the guest room to find Henry waiting outside. As Henry struggles for a reason for his appearance, Neal notices that he is kicking the door. Recognizing the door tactic as his own, he bursts into the room to find Emma prying open a loose floorboard. Emma explains her suspicion of Tamara as possibly being the person August was warning them about. She also harbors doubts since Tamara has a list of everyone in town and their fairytale names, though Neal replies he gave that list to her so his fiancée can come to grips with Storybrooke and his identity. Neal goes out on a limb and allows Emma to open the floorboard, but nothing incriminating is found in it. He asks Emma whether her reluctant behavior is due to Tamara being in Storybrooke. She strongly denies it and leaves with Henry. ("The Evil Queen")

Awakening in bed, Neal sees Tamara is preparing to go out on a marathon training run. Later, Emma informs him Regina is missing, and she strongly believes Tamara is responsible. While he continues to be skeptical, Emma notices sand on the floor left by Tamara's shoes, which indicates his girlfriend has not recently been running in the woods as she claimed, but near the beach. As they comb the beach, Tamara casually jogs up, explaining her reasons for changing her jogging spot, before heading off again. Believing Emma's behavior is influenced by Tamara's presence, he expresses sympathy for her difficulty, but she denies being jealous. When Emma tries to walk away, he admits wanting to go back for her when she went to jail in his place. Neal admits he truly wanted to, but was too scared to face Emma; thinking she might never forgive him as he never forgave himself for leaving her. After learning Regina is trapped in the cannery, the pair head inside the building. David, who rushed ahead to find Regina, warn Emma via phone to be on the lookout for Greg as he is trying to escape the building. Overhearing the exchange, Neal is relieved to hear Tamara is not involved, but his ease turns to horror when Emma is knocked out unconscious by her. To his shock, Tamara confesses to lying about everything since the day they met, and though she thinks he is a good man, her job is more important. Tamara then shoots him in the abdomen and apologizes before Emma kicks the pistol of her hands. To distract them further, Tamara opens a portal, almost causing Emma to fall in until Neal grabs hold of her, while she herself flees the cannery. After Emma is pulled up, he ends up clinging to her to keep from falling into the portal. Neal urges her to let him go, but Emma fears he'll die from the gun shot wound no matter what world he lands in. Terrified of losing him, she confesses her genuine love for Neal. He reciprocates his love for her and then disappears into the portal. ("Second Star to the Right")

Through the portal, Neal focuses his thoughts on the Enchanted Forest, to which he is transported there. Unconscious, he washes ashore at a beach where three strangers, Aurora, Mulan and Prince Phillip, tend to his injuries at a palace. He wakes up to the watchful stare of Mulan as Aurora and Phillip rush to check on him. Aurora thinks he as a native of this land, but Mulan dutifully notices his clothes are foreign and similar to Emma and Mary Margaret's. At the mention of Emma's name, Neal urgently mentions he must save her and Henry. Aurora, having previously met Henry in the Netherworld, promises to look for him there again. Aurora's attempt at contacting Henry is unsuccessful, so Neal goes to his father's old castle to find an item for locating Emma and Henry. Mulan, accompanying Neal there, asks about his relationship with Emma as the blonde never mentioned him. He confesses to breaking Emma's heart by letting her go so she could break the curse, and after this, fear of rejection kept him from going back to her. At their destination, a man, Robin Hood, has already claimed the fortress for himself. However, when Neal explains that the castle once belonged to the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, and he is his son, Baelfire. Robin Hood decides to trust Neal's words and mentions being indebted to Rumplestiltskin for sparing his life in the past. After looking around for a bit, Neal picks up his father's old walking stick, which is enchanted with blood magic, and swings it around to activate a hidden door. From within, Neal discovers a crystal ball and attempts to activate it by touch, which causes no change. Mulan suggests thinking about how he feels about Emma as a guide. Neal follows her instructions, and the crystal ball shows him an image of Emma in Neverland. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning", "The Heart of the Truest Believer")

Panicking over finding another pathway to Neverland, Neal searches all over for something that could be of use, but to no avail. Just then, four of Robin Hood's allies from their group, the Merry Men, enter into the castle. From beneath the leading man, Little John, a four-year old boy, Roland, crawls out and runs into Robin Hood's arms. He finds out the child is Robin Hood's son, to which he suddenly comes up with the idea of how to traverse worlds. Neal suggests Roland can use a summoning incantation to call the Shadow so he himself can gain a pathway to Neverland. Once Robin Hood learns the Shadow is notorious for snatching away young boys and whisking them away, he is extremely resistant to the idea. However, Neal reminds him how his father saved Robin Hood's wife, which allowed her to give birth to Roland, and as such, this makes him in Rumplestiltskin's debt. Robin Hood finally relents in his decision. Roland summons the Shadow, who attempts to pull him away, but Mulan severs one of its arms. Neal quickly latches onto the Shadow and is flown back to Neverland. After a rough landing, he is greeted by Felix. The Lost Boy welcomes him home, and promises Pan will be very happy to see him. ("Quite a Common Fairy")

With his wrists bound, Neal walks behind Felix through the jungle, but undoes his restraints without the Lost Boy noticing. At the right time, he knocks Felix unconscious and then flees. Neal runs straight into Mr. Gold, who thinks he is an illusion to remind him of his failures and attempting to sway his decision to save Henry. Mr. Gold then tries killing Neal, who pleads by calling him Papa, which makes the latter realize his son is not dead. As they talk, Neal learns his father is serious about giving up his own life for Henry, however, he decides to kill a squid so Mr. Gold can extract squid ink, which they will use to paralyze Pan. After Mr. Gold puts all the Lost Boys as well as Henry to sleep, Neal shoots an arrow coated with squid ink at Pan, who catches it in his fist and becomes paralyzed. As the father-son pair make off with a slumbering Henry, Pan tells Neal of a prophecy that Mr. Gold wants to keep from happening by murdering Henry. Once they leave Pan's camp, Neal demands an explanation. With reluctance, Mr. Gold acknowledges that the prophecy spoke of a boy, presumably Henry, who will help him find Neal, but ultimately is his own undoing. His father insists this was before discovering Henry is his grandson, but Neal asks for proof he's changed by handing over the Dark One’s dagger. Mr. Gold swears it's hidden a place even he doesn't know where, which sounds like another empty excuse to his son. Afraid his father will go back to his old ways, Neal tricks him into being paralyzed by squid ink. On his own, he leaves Mr. Gold and carries Henry away. Arriving at a deserted camp, Neal suspects Emma was recently there, and as he is examining the snuffed out fire, Pan and the Lost Boys surround him and take Henry. Pan reminds him that no one walks off the island without his leave, to which Neal boasts he once did. To this, Pan smugly implies he allowed it to happen, and everyone is exactly where he wants them. When Henry begins waking up, Neal is dragged off by the Lost Boys on Pan's orders. ("Nasty Habits")

Drugged and placed in a cage, Neal slowly drifts into unconsciousness when Pan arrives to check up on him. On his orders, the Lost Boys hang the cage up next to another confined prisoner. ("Good Form")

At another time, Neal, while still in the enclosure, is brought into an Echo Cave as bait for rescue on a platform. He awakens to see David, Emma, Hook and Mary Margaret standing at the other platform end of the cave. Separated by a gaping space between the two sections, Hook, Mary Margaret and David all satisfy the requirements of the cave by revealing a guarded secret about themselves, causing a bridge to form, allowing Emma to cross over to Neal. Emma attempts to cut Neal free, which is all in vain, when he implies that she, too, must also follow the cave's requirement. With reassurance from Neal, Emma tearfully acknowledges that she still loves him since the day they met again, but had hopes he wasn't alive because their relationship has given her a lot of pain and she just wanted to move on. The cage bars melt away as she and Neal embrace each other. When they reach the outside, they decide to regroup with Tinker Bell first and then continue the mission. Left alone with Neal, Emma is sorry about what she said to him earlier, though her feelings cannot be changed. Neal doesn't believe she has anything to apologize for, but affirms he won't stop fighting for her. ("Ariel")

Neal familiarizes the group on a tactic for flying off the island using Pan's shadow. Since the Shadow is mostly solitary, they can capture it without going near Pan. Emma steps up on "shadow duty" with Neal as Hook enlists himself as well. They all agree to meet back at Tinker Bell's tree house once the Shadow is nabbed. Neal, Emma and Hook revisit the Lost Boy cavern. While Emma goes off to fetch the star map, Hook accidentally discloses the kiss he shared with her, which Neal was unaware of until now. This causes some uneasiness in Neal, but he excuses it as something Emma must've forgotten to bring up. Next, they go in search of Dark Hollow, which is home to all captured shadows. On the way there, Emma lends Neal a weapon to cut through tall grass. Neal recognizes it as his old cutlass, and after learning Hook gave it to her as a memento, he angrily snips at the pirate before walking away. After heading into Dark Hollow, Neal briefs on drawing the Shadow in by lighting the candle and trapping it by putting the lid on. He and Hook end up fighting over the lighter when three shadows show up to attack just as Emma grabs the coconut halves. Both men are thrown against trees as their shadows are almost ripped out, but Emma saves the day by using magic to light the candle and entrap the Shadow inside. On the journey back to Tinker Bell's tree house, Emma settles the competition between Hook and Neal by stating the only person she is choosing is Henry. After showing Tinker Bell proof of the Shadow as their ticket off the island, she agrees to do her part in taking down Pan. Emma stays behind with Neal, who calmly accepts what she said earlier and thinks of Henry as the best thing that came out of them being together. She agrees. ("Dark Hollow")

While moving ahead to Pan's camp, a rustle from the jungle causes the entire group to assemble for battle, but it turns out to be only Regina and Mr. Gold. Regina tells them about the power of Pandora's Box while Neal's distrust reaches a pinnacle. He blurts out Mr. Gold's objective to kill Henry and prevent a seer's prophecy from coming true. Subsequently, Emma and everyone else turns against Mr. Gold by drawing their weapons. To keep him at bay, Neal forces his father to hand over the box and warns him against using magic. As they all file past to continue on, Neal cautioned by him about underestimating Pan's power. He tries for an answer concerning his father and Pan's history together, but Mr. Gold remains silent. Later, Mr. Gold offers his services to make an elixir so David can be out of Neverland's waters without dying. The catch is, as usual, his father wants a favor out of the deal, which Emma is willing to partake, but Neal can't stomach it. He strikes down the asking price by pushing Mr. Gold to help for the right reasons rather than for his own personal gain.

After Tinker Bell gains access into the perimeter of the encampment and the Lost Boys are put to sleep by Regina, neither Henry or Pan are found there. Instead, Neal frees an old friend, Wendy, and brings her back to camp to inquire about Henry. Forced to act on Pan's wishes, Wendy lies to them. Mr. Gold calls her out for not telling the truth. With some encouragement from Neal, Wendy opens up about Pan's real reason for needing Henry's heart, which is to save himself from dying and then become immortal. As a trade, Pan lives, but Henry will die. By rowboat, Neal, Emma, Mr. Gold and Regina ascend onto Skull Rock to stop Pan. Instead, they are stopped by a barrier, enacted to keep out anyone with a shadow, blocking their path up the stairs. As Mr. Gold is the only one without a shadow, he is able to enter through. This fact surprises Neal, who had previously thought he was lying about ripping away his shadow. The box is handed over to Mr. Gold, but while he is gone, Emma and Regina use magic to block out the moon as well as their shadows. The trio rush up to the upper level to witness Henry pulling out his own heart. All three attempt to dissuade him from the sacrifice, but through Pan's manipulations, Henry chooses to give up his heart. They cry out in horror as he plunges the heart into Pan's chest, causing all of them to be thrown back from the impact, and Henry collapses. As they rush over to check up on his unmoving body, Pan rises into the air. ("Think Lovely Thoughts")

Before Pan flies off, he reveals Mr. Gold is now powerless and trapped in the box. Neal proposes they look for Pan at the Lost Boy camp, though Regina lashes out over the ridiculous idea since their nemesis wouldn't risk going back there. Unable to come up with a plan, they bring Henry's body back with them to the Lost Boy camp where Regina casts a preservation spell on him to last one hour until they track down Pan. Emma manages to get some of the Lost Boys to open up about Pan's current location at his "thinking tree" in Pixie Woods after promising to bring them off the island. While Emma, Mary Margaret and Regina go to find Pan, Neal and the rest of their party plan to regroup aboard the Jolly Roger. The three women come back in time to place the heart back in Henry as he gasps to life. Additionally, the box has also been retrieved and given to Neal. He is astonished by find out Pan is actually Mr. Gold's father. After releasing his father from the box, the two make up over their past differences and problems. Neal sees his father truly cares about the well-being of Henry, and feels badly for not believing in him. Mr. Gold expresses fears that he turned out just like Pan by leaving his own son and being selfish. Though Neal has always held a grudge against his father for that abandoning him, he now recognizes Mr. Gold has changed for the better. Home bound, Neal releases the Shadow over a lit cannon, firing the creature into the air, to which Regina projects it into a sail to fly everyone home. ("Save Henry")

Following a safe journey out of Neverland to Storybrooke, Neal is given a shot to court Emma after Hook resigns himself to step back for Henry's sake. Immediately, he uses the opportunity to ask Emma out for a low-key lunch at the diner. The following morning, Emma doesn't show up, to Neal's disappointment. Trouble once again arises in town when the Shadow kills Mother Superior. After regrouping with the others, it is suspected Pan is behind the attack. Neal, Hook and Tinker Bell go to fetch the lighter and coconut halves from the ship in case they need to catch the Shadow again. They attempt to enter the vault where Regina took Henry to keep him safe, but the door is locked. Belle, Emma, David, Mary Margaret and Mr. Gold bring back Pan, who is actually Henry, since the two switched bodies. When Mr. Gold breaks open the vault, they discover Pan took the spell for the Dark Curse. ("The New Neverland")

Mr. Gold shares with everyone of the only viable way to stop Pan's curse is for Regina, as the original caster of the Dark Curse, to undo it by destroying the scroll, though there will be a steep price for this. They plan to switch Henry back to his own body so he will be in possession of the scroll and bring it to Regina. Mr. Gold can perform the spell, but needs a strong outlet in order for it to work. Tinker Bell has knowledge of a powerful Black Fairy wand that Mother Superior kept. Neal, David, Hook and Tinker Bell ask the convent nuns for the item just as the Shadow attacks. On Neal's urging, Tinker Bell uses her vial of pixie dust to light a flame on the coconut half and flies into the air to trap the Shadow; disposing the being for good by burning it in a fire. With the Shadow gone, Mother Superior returns alive and hands the Black Fairy's wand to them. The three men arrive at the pawnshop with the wand. Once Henry's spirit returns to his own body, everyone except Mr. Gold runs off to find the boy. With Granny's tracking skills, they reunite with him. Regina passes out after taking the scroll and awakens with knowledge of the price for stopping the curse. They are accosted by Pan as he steals back the scroll and freezes them in place. Pan chooses Neal as his first kill when Mr. Gold shows up. Mr. Gold summons the dagger and stabs Pan as well as himself with it, killing both of them, while Neal watches in shock. After learning the price of stopping Pan's curse is all former Enchanted Forest inhabitants must return to their old world, Emma and Henry will leave town together while Regina crafts new memories for both so they forget everything. Before this, Neal says goodbye to them with the promise they will see each other again. As the two cross out of Storybrooke, Regina stops the curse from taking over as everyone inside the town is sent back to the Enchanted Forest. ("Going Home")

Before Second Curse

After Regina takes magical preventive measures to undo Pan's casting of the Dark Curse, all the inhabitants of Storybrooke pay the price by returning to the Enchanted Forest, and reverting to their prior personas. In a group, they manifest in the land of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip. A plan quickly assembles for everyone to make their way to the Queen's old palace. Before they set out, Neal mentions to Prince Charming that he wants to go to his father's castle to find a way to reach Emma and Henry. Snow White persuades Neal that there is no way to cross the realm again without another curse while Prince Charming believes even if a way is breached, Emma and Henry will not remember anyone. During the trek to the palace, Belle expresses hopes to Neal that he will see his family again. She also thinks Rumplestiltskin is not truly gone since they did not see where his dagger went. Later, Friar Tuck, Little John, and Robin Hood of the Merry Men join their party. Baelfire has a cheerful reunion with Robin Hood as does Belle. Upon arriving at the outskirts of the palace, Regina discovers a protection spell, cast by whoever is currently residing inside, is keeping them from going in. For the time being, Robin Hood suggests everyone can take shelter at Sherwood Forest. ("New York City Serenade")

As they depart for Sherwood Forest, a flying monkey attacks, nearly knocking into Neal, but he manages to dodge in time. The creature is quickly dispensed of when Regina turns it into a stuffed animal. In a group discussion, Belle shares knowledge about the flying monkey's origins in the land of Oz, so Regina determines the person in the palace is the Wicked Witch. A plan is set up to wait for Regina to bring the shield down and then mobilize the whole group into the palace. Once night falls, Grumpy gives the signal when he spots the dissipating barrier, meaning Regina was able to lower it, so everyone begins assembling towards their destination. ("Witch Hunt")

Hoping to defeat the Wicked Witch, Neal scours Rumplestiltskin's old castle with Belle for a way to resurrect his father. In his possession, he reveals the swan necklace that once belonged to Emma and represented their life together. While Neal is unsure how it is still intact since leaving Storybrooke, Belle believes it's because the necklace was born out of true love. Intending to gloss over books for information, Belle lights candles, accidentally summoning a person trapped inside, who calls himself Lumiere. He claims to be imprisoned due to a broken deal with Rumplestiltskin and only helps them when Belle promises they can free him. After being directed to a book, Neal and Belle obtain a key hidden inside that can lead them to the vault of the Dark One where they can revive Rumplestiltskin. On the walk to the vault, guided by Lumiere, Neal talks to Belle about relating to Rumplestiltskin since they are both willing to do anything to be reunited with their sons. Arriving in a clearing, Neal, with Lumiere's instruction, brushes away the snow on the ground's center to reveal a vault seal. Before Neal fits the key in, Belle figures out Lumiere is lying, after he states having lived in Rumplestiltskin's library for two-hundred years, though the room wasn't built until prior to the Dark Curse. Caught in a lie, Lumiere admits he is confined due to the Wicked Witch, who had him manipulate them into bringing back the Dark One so she can control Rumplestiltskin with the dagger. Though Belle warns Neal about the consequences should this happen, he ignores her and places the key into the seal. The key burns a triangle tattoo in his palm, resurrecting Rumplestiltskin, but at the cost of his own life. On the brink of death, Neal is saved, temporarily, when absorbed into Rumplestiltskin's body. ("Quiet Minds")

As affirmed by the banished Good Witch of the South, Glinda, only Emma is capable of defeating Zelena. Thus, Snow White, armed with this knowledge, secretly casts another Dark Curse, but Zelena interferes by adding a potion to erase everyone's memories of the last year in the Enchanted Forest. After taking a potion to retain her memories, she passes the vial to Rumplestiltskin. Left alone, he prepares to ingest the liquid, but suddenly passes out after Neal temporarily breaks free from his father's body. Using his last bit of strength, he writes a note, without disclosing himself as the sender, to Hook asking him to give the potion to Emma, and he then attaches it to a messenger bird. Afterwards, Neal returns to his father's body. ("A Curious Thing")

During Second Curse

During the new curse, Mr. Gold escapes the confines of Zelena's prison. Within Mr. Gold's body, Neal helps him resist Zelena's orders, which she uses via the dagger. Neal later regains control, though unaware he and his father are in the same body. He passes out after breaking into the pawnshop and is taken to the hospital where his palm is discovered to have a strange marking. Neal also learns his father may be alive. In a talk with Emma, he is saddened to know that Henry doesn't remember him. Afterwards, Neal attempts to leave the hospital, only to be blocked by Hook, who hugs him. The pirate recounts, with a sentimental affection, of his memories of Neal as the boy he cared for. In turn, Neal recalls the same about him. Hook is apologetic for the mess they got caught in because of Emma, and allows Neal to go. While in the forest, Mr. Gold returns in his body while Neal becomes dormant. Emma chases after a fleeing Mr. Gold, but doesn't see when he reverts into Neal, who then runs into her. As they comb the woods together, Neal admits to still caring about Emma, but wants her to be happy, even if it's not with him. In a phone call, Emma is notified by Belle that Neal's palm marking is a symbol from a key which opens the vault of the Dark One; meaning he must have used it at some point to bring Mr. Gold back. However, only the Dark One can be restored while the latter will perish. Soon, Neal collapses in agony while hearing his father's voice in his own head. He persuades Emma to use her magic to separate them, despite that it will cause his inevitable death. Emma cradles Neal during his last moments, in which he returns the swan necklace and implores her and Henry to find happiness without him. He thanks his father for teaching him what it means to sacrifice for his loved ones and passes away shortly after. Neal's body is later put to rest in a funeral ceremony, in which the townspeople pay their respects to his passing. ("Quiet Minds", "It's Not Easy Being Green")


Character Notes

  • The name "Neal"[1] is of Irish Gaelic origin derived from the name "Niall" that possibly means "champion" or "cloud".[2]
  • The surname "Cassidy" is of Irish Gaelic origin derived from the surname "Ó Caiside" that means "descendent of Caiside". By itself, "Caiside" is a given name that means "curly haired".[3]
  • His name is similar to Neal Cassady, an infamous thief who served eleven months in prison for possession of stolen goods; just like Emma did when Neal let her take the fall for his crime.
  • The song playing on his iPod during the walk to his apartment is "Charley's Girl" by Lou Reed. ("Broken")
  • Has many vintage items in his apartment such as an array of old radios, old microphones, classic cameras, records and record player, old pencil sharpener and old telephone. ("Broken")
  • There is a sign in his apartment that reads "Cleaner & Hatters". ("Broken")
  • He has a large collection of clocks, just like his father, Mr. Gold, and his son, Henry. ("Broken")
  • The dream-catcher hanging in Neal's apartment was given to him by Emma. ("Broken", "Tallahassee")
  • According to his wanted poster, he was born on March 23, 1977 in New Jersey.[4] Since Neal and Emma met in 2001, he would have been twenty-four while she was seventeen or eighteen at the time. ("Tallahassee", "There's No Place Like Home")
  • His wanted poster reads as, "Neal Cassidy has a scar on his left arm from a knife wound."[5] ("Tallahassee")
  • The address of his apartment is 89 Wooster Street, New York, NY, 10012.[6] ("New York City Serenade")
    • His apartment is situated across the street from the back building of real-life Italian pasta supplier Piedmont Ravoli Co. Inc.[7] located on 162 Mulberry Street[8] in New York.

Production Notes

  • The casting call describes him as, "in his 20s or 30s, charismatic, sexy and mysterious, but also loyal and kind, and he's running from his past in a land full of danger."[9]
  • The casting call name for him was "Jack".[9]


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

  • Neal appears in a photo in "Breaking Glass".