WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE 3/30 EPISODE AHEAD:

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In last night's episode of ABC's Once Upon a Time, Neal (Michael Raymond-James) sacrificed his life to save his family. Series creators Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz discussed the twist in yesterday's "Quiet Minds" episode with The Hollywood Reporter:

Pivotal episode last night with Neal's death, which brings me to my first question: He'sreally dead right?

Adam Horowitz: The death is real and the character has really died. The aftershocks of that will probably be felt for some time amongst our characters and how they deal with all the things going on. We want to deal with it in a real way and let our characters and our audience mourn the character.

How early on did you know that Neal's death would be part of the season plan?

Horowitz: We knew pretty early on. The way we like to approach each season is by doing big-picture planning of the big character moments for the year and decide how it will fit in on the long-term planning. This death was a part of that planning and it was something we wanted to build to because where the story was going with our characters and the larger story for the show we're trying to tell, it's something we take very very seriously. We love Michael Raymond-James, he's a great actor, and we loved the character we created and him having played for almost three years now. And hopefully the audience has an attachment to the character, so it's very difficult all-around but when you're telling a larger serialized story there are tragic events that's part of the drama.

Eddy Kitsis: We felt like in this character's evolution, him sacrificing himself for his family when given the chance -- as his father did for him in the winter finale -- we loved that aspect and growth of his character breaking the cycle of that family's bad parenting. And of course to bring someone back from the dead -- as we say, magic has a price -- so you see it extracted. What we loved from a character basis was the son realizing that he was almost following his father in an obsessive pursuit and that in the end when he had a chance to do the right thing, he did.