Rumplestiltskin has known one thing his entire life: he’s a coward. When we first see Rumplestiltskin in this episode he is a younger man, without power and full of timidity. Baelfire is younger boy and his mother is present. However, it is because of her that we discover more about Rumplestiltskin’s desperate need for power.
Milah, Rumplestiltskin’s wife, is like a dark cloud in Rumplestiltskin’s life. She hates the fact that she’s married to such a coward. The only reason she’s probably stayed this long is because of their son. But the strong pull to get away is too much and when Captain Killian Jones (AKA Hook) floats into town, Milah can’t pass up the offer to sail into the sunset with him.
Rumplestiltskin, on the other hand, can’t bear to see her leave. He loves her and what is he supposed to tell their son if she leaves? Rumplestiltskin, mustering up the courage to board Captain Jones’ ship, he awkwardly climbs aboard only to promptly fall in front of the whole crew.
Just one more thing Milah is ashamed of: Rumplestiltskin’s bum leg, which is a constant reminder of his cowardliness.
But Rumplestiltskin can’t just let Milah leave and he begs Captain Jones to make her stay, for Rumplestiltskin, for their son!
Captain Killian Jones, being that he is Captain Hook and a great villain, does not oblige. Instead, he offers Rumplestiltskin a challenge. Fight for her. If a man truly wants something, he will fight for it.
Rumplestiltskin has used up all his courage in his plea and barely glances at the sword the captain offers him. He won’t fight. He can’t. His only weapon is his words, and even they fail him.
The captain snubs Rumplestiltskin’s begging. Rumplestiltskin must leave.
The man tells Rumplestiltskin that he can get the bean on one condition, that Rumplestiltskin makes him eternal. Shocked but overjoyed, Rumplestiltskin quickly agrees to this man’s offer. However, his price is adjusted; he can turn the man back into a little boy. That’s as close as he can get to eternalness.
The man agrees to this, but their conversation is interrupted when the swaggering Captain Killian Jones and crew bust through the door.
Now powerful, Rumplestiltskin has a bone to pick. No longer is he a cowering man in front of someone with power. Now he wields the power.
Following Captain Killian Jones out of the pub, Rumplestiltskin springs on the man. Captain Killian Jones tells Rumplestiltskin that Milah is dead. Angered, Rumplestiltskin offers the captain the same challenge from all those years ago. Fight!
This time Rumplestiltskin has the upper hand.
At dawn the two men dual. Rumplestiltskin quickly knocks the man to his knees and, pulling a Regina (or maybe that’s his move that Regina and her mother acquired) thrusts his hand into Captain Killian Jones’ chest. Before he can rip his heart out, Milah shows up. Alive!
Desperate for that bean, Rumplestiltskin lets them live. He follows the two back to Captain Jones’ ship. But then something happens.
Angered by Milah’s deception and for the fact that he had to tell their boy that she was dead, he pays her back. He pulls out her heart. Dead.
Captain Killian Jones is holding the magic bean in his right hand. Rumplestiltskin, in one deft move, chops off the man’s hand and disappears.
Later, however, Rumplestiltskin discovers that bean is gone. It was not in Captain Jones’ hand. He’d been tricked.
It’s here we are introduced to the crocodile. As some of you may know, Captain Hook had lost his arm because of Peter Pan who then fed it to a crocodile. The crocodile like the taste of Hook so much that he’d been following him around ever since to taste more of him.
For this reason, Rumplestiltskin is the crocodile, for I believe we have not seen the last of a Captain Hook and Rumplestiltskin dual!
Back on the ship, Captain Killian Jones is bleeding, but he quickly remedies that by grabbing the nearest hook and attaching it to the missing limb.
He has the bean, and with all the crew aboard, he tosses it into the water. A great vortex opens up. Where are they going, asks the crew?
Neverland! Replies, Hook.
And one lucky man aboard, Mr. Smee, the man from the pub who said he could get Rumplestiltskin’s magic bean, is promised ageless life.
Now she’s had enough of his changing moods. One day he gives up his powers for her and the next he’s back to using them. And so she leaves.
Ruby offers her a place at Granny’s and the suggestion to open up the library which has been boarded up for years.
Knowing how much she likes books, Belle goes to the library to check it out. It’s locked, of course, so she peers into the small window. Dust bunnies are running rampant but all looks to be in order.
She smiles, imagining herself amidst the pages. It’s then that she is approached by a young man. He asks her some questions, who are you, are you alone, all of those questions that parents warn their children not to answer if they are alone!
And indeed, he kidnaps her.
The two are ecstatic to be reunited. But the joy is soon gone. Her father does not want Belle to have anything to do with Rumplestiltskin. He’s a bad man and her father would do anything to keep them apart.
Even something as evil as force Belle across the Storybrooke boundary…
Rumplestiltskin is desperate to get Belle back. He’s messed up, royally, and he wants to make it up. Using Prince Charming and Ruby, they search the small town. When they get to the floral shop, Rumplestiltskin knows Belle is in there.
Before Rumplestiltskin can do any damage to Mr. French (Belle’s father), they learn of his evil plan.
He’s going to push Belle across the border via handcuffing her to a mine cart and let it wheel her across.
They must stop her before the damage is done.
Down in the mines, Rumplestiltskin uses his powers to stop the runaway mine cart and haul Belle back to them. Thankful that Rumplestiltskin saved her life, she still won’t come back to him. He hasn’t proved himself to her.
It’s a touching moment, but Belle is cautious. She doesn’t want to be bribed into coming back to him.
Rumplestiltskin then offers a long-time coming explanation. He tells her about Baelfire and their life, how his wife left him and then Baelfire. He explains about getting his powers. But he shares a piece of wisdom that he’s learned throughout his LONG life.
He was a coward, but his power did not take that away. Instead it was just a crutch for the timid man deep down. The power has only tricked him into feeling strong, but instead, he is still just a man with major character flaws.
His powers, he had hoped, would give him everything he desired, everything he could not do when he was simply a coward. But the powers backfired. He lost what he held dear. As Mr. Gold he was again powerless until the curse was broken again he was free. He hoped that by bringing back magic he would again become powerful.
For a second time, the plan backfired. The magic which was supposed to be freeing only created another barrier from the ones he loved.
Without power, Rumplestiltskin was a coward; with power his cowardliness was merely covered up; for it will not be the magical abilities that can make him strong, but his ability to overcome the magical crutch as a lowly man. Then he can be powerful and free!
Belle is pleased by Rumplestiltskin’s confession, that he finally shared who is really is with her. The truth. For that, she rewards him by making the first move into repairing their damaged relationship.
Is it enough to get to Storybrooke, an oddly named place? No, Cora says, but it’s a start. However, there might be some newly returned people in Fairy Tale Land that can lead the way…
1) What is Cora and Hook’s plan? Will it involve Emma and Mary Margaret?
2) Will Cora and Captain Hook get to Storybrooke? What will be Rumplestiltskin’s and Regina’s reaction?
3) How can Rumplestiltskin’s/Mr. Gold’s magic curse be broken so he can leave Storybrooke? Will it be broken? When?
4) Will there be any other close calls with Storybrooke’s city limits in the meantime?
5) Will Belle and Mr.Gold/Rumplestiltskin work things out?
6) Where is Baelfire? Is he alive? Does he know his father is in our world? Does he care?
7) What will Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold do to Belle’s father for his little stunt?
8) Can Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin change? Can he give up magic for her?
9) Did you enjoy this episode? Where you expecting something different?
10) Do you think we will see Peter Pan?