Interview: Once Upon a Time's Michael Raymond-James Teases Secrets from Neal's Past

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With the last two episodes of Once Upon a Time season 2 looming, I attempted to prod Michael Raymond-James who plays Neal/Baelfire into revealing the many secrets he knows about the characters of Storybrooke. 

Unfortunately for me, like a well trained CIA agent, he withheld information on the big twists coming up in the finale.  But with minimal torture techniques he was convinced to reveal how Neal's feelings for Emma, Tamara, Henry and Rumpelstilskin will come into play starting with tonight's "Second Star to the Right"


As many fans have speculated since it was revealed that Neal already knew Hook, it appears Neal has ties to other magical realms.  What can you tell us about Neal's past?
What I can tell you is, you will soon find out. It's a difficult show to talk about. There are lots of secrets that play into this. I'm like a cold warrior from the '80s with the KGB and CIA going back and forth. Information is incredibly valuable. I can say that we hinted before that there is a connection and I can say that if you tune in this Sunday you'll have some answers on this score.

Neal and Lacey

Does Neal have any doubts about Tamara?
At this point, no. I don't think he does. Love is blind and sometimes and it happens a lot. The eye sees what it wants to see and the ear hears what it wants to hear. And I don't think Neal is ready to acknowledge anything. I think that he's so wants to believe that Tamara is the person that he thinks she is that he's totally blind to some of that stuff. Which isn't to say that he doesn't still have feelings for Emma because I think that's been pointed out by a lot of other characters as well.

Fans are clamoring to know if there's the possibility of a future for Neal and Emma?
Stay tuned.  It's not for me to say. I think that we sort of begin…hang on I've got to look at my talking points and make sure I'm not crossing any lines here.

Didn't mean to get you into trouble.
Yeah. Come on, Christine! I don't want to get in trouble.  In the preview they show a scene of Emma and Neal on a beach where some of that unfinished business was sort of addressed a little bit.  I think you'll see a little bit more of that. So certainly the table is beginning to be turned towards that but you'll have to tune in to see the rest...God, this is hard.

Would Neal consider going back to the Enchanted Forest if it meant being with his son?
I think he would move Heaven and Hell in order to be with his son. There's a particular kind of effort to not be his father. Neal is going to go even further so as not to recreated the mistakes that his father made and the way that made him feel.  There's no end to what Neal would do to be with Henry and to make sure Henry knows that he's loved.

Speaking of dear old dad, after hearing Rumpelstiltskin pour his heart out to Belle on the phone, has it changed Neal's view of his father?
Well I think in that particular moment it certainly did. At the same time, at the moment it was a little hard to hear his father saying these things to some woman that Neal has never met, that he sort of wants to hear from his dad too. I think there was a line like, I didn't know you had that in you. Where was that all those years you said you were missing me. So I think it was a difficult moment but it was also sweet to see his father with new eyes. But then again things have been teased out where there's going to be a little confrontation between me and my dad that doesn't go so well. It appears that things haven't gone according to plan since Neal has come to Storybrooke. Not the way Neal had anticipated them working out.

Will Neal be back next season?
You know I can't answer that. Come on! Be my friend. Don't get me in trouble.

I'm trying but fans want answers! OK, here's a completely different tact. If you could star on one current TV show, other than Once Upon a Time, what would be your dream job?
Oh, that's tough. I'm happy with the job that I'm on. There are some people doing work out there. I really enjoy the show The Americans (FX) that my friend Adam Arkin produces. There's a lot of great shows out there. This is a sort of a weird, different version of a golden era for television. There's so much great television happening right now. We in the business just need to figure out a way to calculate how many people are actually watching because the Nielsen model is a little bit outdated. With the amount of choices people have and the way people can view what they want to watch, it's a little bit different. It's not the Must See TV, appointment television. Nobody is sitting down at Thursday at 8pm to watch The Cosby Show anymore. People are getting it from so many different ways but the work that's being done, there's so much great content right now that's scripted TV. It's really a golden age and it's fun to be working in that era. But I am happy on the job that I'm on.

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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