Neal - Find Tallahassee - Imploring his loved ones to let go and find love again. In his last moments he wants Emma to move on and find happiness again.
Daniel - Love again - Ditto Neal. His last words are a plea to move on and for Regina to find happiness. He and Neal are paralleled in their selflessness and their desire for their loves to find future happiness.
Regina - Let me die as Regina - No delusions as to what she is. She knows she is not a hero. She is dying to save everyone else and to undo what she herself wrought upon them. She doesn’t pretend to be a hero. Her plea to Emma is simply one to be seen, the way Emma has always seen her - as Regina.
Hook - Let me die as a hero - Self-glorifying. It seems to imply that he believes himself to be a hero when he is not. Like Regina he is simply undoing the mess he created. Unlike Regina, he seems to believe that makes him a hero. In typical Hook fashion he is skipping the actual process of redemption whilst still assuming the label of ‘hero’. He is contrasted to Regina for his selfishness and his annoyingly hypocritical belief that he is now instantly a hero.
My point is that these last words are very telling. Neal’s and Daniel’s are pleas to move on, as is in a way Regina’s. Hook’s is all about him and the show’s desire to perpetuate him as a hero without making him do any of the hard work to become one.
As they once said, there are people who are wrong for you, those who are right for you and those you just choose.
In this instance:
Wrong = Hook and his continuing behaviour of pretending to be a hero without actually being one.
Right = Neal and Daniel urging their true loves to let go and be happy.
Choice = Regina because it is a plea for Emma to see her as Regina, not evil or good, not villain or hero but who she chooses to be and how people choose to see her.
So, I thought back to this scene with Neal and Henry
I’m not really familiar with kids, but at first I thought this was a weird way to pick up a child. Than I realized that picking up your child like this, you still have a hand that’s completely free. Like, free to grab a staff if you need one to walk.
Neal was probably holding Henry the same way Rumple did with him.
Graham, to whom the entire Chramings clan owe their lives and who Emma obviously cares about, dies an innocent victim and his death is final cause no magic can bring back the dead. And everyone accepts it.
Neal dies a hero to save everyone and his death is also final af, cause once again no magic can bring back the dead.
And all heroes who owe him their lives (and even name their baby after him) accept it..
Emma Swan accepts it even though she “never stopped loving him”, loves him still “and probably always will”…
His father accepts it TWICE right on the spot. His father! Rumple-fucking-stiltskin. The Dark One, King of Loopholes. The one who spent 300+ years trying to find him…
Neal’s son accepts it without even attempting to find a way around it. Henry Mills. The one who figured stuff out in S1 and found his birth mom at the age of 10. The one with the heart of the truest believer. The one who never gives up on those he loves…
A vile pirate scum, who literally has just opened a portal to hell and tried to kill everyone, dies after having a momentary change of heart and Emma Swan is ready to literally go to hell to bring him back…?
AND on top of that, to do so she is willing to risk the lives of her entire family, including her child, by bringing them along…?
And everyone is totes on board with it…?
Even Regina? The one who was supposed to tell Emma when she’s being stupid af…?
On the show that has repeatedly stated that nothing can bring back the dead…?