The story begins with Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle, Rumplestiltskin’s counterpart) giving Belle (Emilie de Ravin) a necklace. They’re going to have their first date in Storybrooke. Aww! Grumpy (Lee Arenberg, Leroy’s counterpart) interrupts them. He demands his ax, which is among Rumple’s pawnshop possessions. Gold is coy and says no but Grumpy is persistent and he insults Belle in the process telling her that she should be ashamed of herself for dating such a “monster”. Oh boy, now he’s gone and done it. Gold is livid. He throws Grumpy against a wall and nearly kills him as Belle is begging him to stop and tells him that this isn’t him anymore. Rumple, not Gold, turns around and says, “Oh it’s me, dearie! Always has been. Always will be.” Belle then, sits up straight in her bed and realizes it was all dream.
She arises and walks outside. Through a window, she sees Rumple spinning gold on his wheel. He cuts a piece off and mixes it into a potion. She confronts Gold about it later and he lies. Disgusted by his cowardice, Belle leaves unexpectedly which sends Rumple off on an episode-long quest to find her.
He asks her father, Moe French (Eric Keenleyside, Sir Maurice’s counterpart) and Moe rudely dismisses him. His next stop is to Charming (Josh Dallas, David Nolan’s counterpart)who reluctantly helps Rumple because he understands what it’s like to have a missing loved one and they search all over town until they get a hit.
Belle in the meantime goes to Granny’s and meets Ruby (Meghan Ory, Red Riding Hood’s counterpart). They talk and Belle tells her that she has no place to go and that she doesn’t know what to do with her life now. She mentions that she loves books and Ruby suggests that Belle become the new town librarian. So Belle heads off to the library, which is locked, and is able to peek inside. William (Chris Gauthier), an overweight man in an oversized red knit cap, interrupts her. He asks her a couple of weird panhandler questions before he kidnaps her and takes off. Yet another morally sound Storybrooke character.
It turns out that Moe hired William. The father and daughter have a happy reunion and Belle tells him that she was not a captive of Rumple but that she fell in love with him instead. Well, no parent wants to hear that their daughter is in love with a power-hungry, psychopath murder, so to “protect” her from going back to him, he has William whisk her away to an unknown place because clearly that makes him the better man. Apparently there is such a thing as a tiger daddy.
Back at Granny’s, Ruby tells Charming and Rumple about Belle’s appearance and she gives them a jacket that Belle left at the shop. Ruby’s senses are heightened so she offers to help by using the jacket to track Belle by smell. Remember from “Red-Handed”, she’s the big bad wolf. The scent leads them to Moe’s flower shop and he tells them that he’s sending Belle to a safe place where she’ll forget about Rumple and everyone else. Clever Rumple deduces that he’s sending her across the town line and Charming takes one look at Maurice’s dirt-covered hands and figures out that he’s using the mines to dodge the guards at the town line. The group takes off to find Belle.
They find her handcuffed to mine cart on her Temple of Doom adventure. Rumple uses magic to stop the cart and bring it back. Fortunately, Belle still has her memory and is grateful to be alive but she is still angry at both Rumple and Moe. She tells them both to stay out of her life forever. Good for her but knowing Belle, this won’t last. She’s way too forgiving.
She ends up at Granny’s where she has a proper breakfast complete with pancakes, eggs and bacon for the first time. Ruby offers her a place to stay at Granny’s until she is on her feet again and she also gives her a small gift box that someone left for her (probably Rumple). Belle opens the box and finds a key to the library inside. She leaves immediately.
Belle opens the door to the library and finds Rumple waiting for her. He doesn’t try to convince her to stay but he does tell her the truth about everything and here is where the answers are revealed. The reason why he started the curse in the first place was to travel to the land where he thought Bae was but Bae wasn’t there so he had to wait for Emma to break the curse. He brought magic to Storybrooke because he’s “still a coward” and “magic has become a crutch that [he] can’t walk without”. The price of that magic is that no one can leave Storybrooke without forgetting whom he or she is thus making it impossible to leave and find Bae again. The reason why he was making the potion earlier was to break the new curse. Belle is so moved by his admission that she invites him out to have a hamburger at Granny’s sometime. See, her anger lasted about as long as Kim Kardashian’s marriage.
Flashback to old Fairytale Land. Rumple comes home and finds a very young Baelfire (Sebastian Wilkinson) sitting alone. His mother is nowhere to be found. They go together to a bar where Rumple finds his wife, Milah (Rachel Shelley). She is sitting amongst a group of men, drinking plenty of wine and having a ball. Rumple meekly asks her to come home and she refuses. Actually, she’s quite rude. She accuses him of being a coward because he ran away from the Ogre Wars and she embarrasses him in front of her friends. She doesn’t grow a conscious until Bae asks her to come home. Then she gets embarrassed and leaves too. Upon arriving to the house she asks Rumple why they can’t leave and travel the world instead of being known as the town cowards but Rumple is too cowardly to not be known as a coward. That’s pretty pathetic.
The next morning Rumple gets a knock at his door. It’s a woman telling him that the captain has taken his wife. He boards the ship and meets Killian Jones (Collin O’Donoghue, Captain Hook), an attractive young man with two functioning hands and the same guy from the bar sitting with Milah the previous night. Rumple begs for Milah back but Jones challenges him to a duel instead. Rumple backs down and leaves. Cowardice strikes again. To be fair, Jones is a jerk. He’s a charming jerk but he’s a jerk nonetheless. Rumple definitely should have fought but you got to acknowledge the bad behavior on the other end too.
Flash forward a few years and Rumple is now The Dark One. He is sitting in the same bar where Milah was a few years before when William approaches him. William deals in obscure objects and he happens to have a magic bean. This peaks Rumple’s interest since he needs that bean to find Bae. William’s price for the bean is eternal life. Rumple alters the deal and says that if William delivers, he will become a boy and will get the chance to grow up again. If he fails, then he will grow old and turn into dust. William takes the deals and heads off. As he leaves Jones enters and Rumple sees his opportunity.
He waits until Jones and his gang leave and bumps into Jones without apologizing. He’s dressed as a beggar so Jones doesn’t recognize him. Jones, being the bully he is, calls him out on it. He notices his hard skin and calls him a crocodile. (Apparently Rumple is not only the beast from Beauty and the Beast, he’s also Hook’s crocodile. It’s starting to look like the Once Upon A Time writers are just looking for ways to call Rumplestiltskin horrible and ugly). He reveals himself as The Dark One and Jones remembers him from their encounter on the boat. He’s not so boisterous anymore. Rumple inquires about Milah and Jones says that she’s dead. So Rumple challenges him to a duel the next morning.
They meet and Rumple uses Jones’ sword to defeat him. Rumple then reaches into Jones’ chest to rip his heart out and he is stopped by Milah who now looks like Xena: Warrior Princess. (Let’s be honest. This isn’t a surprise. You knew Jones was lying). She tells Rumple that the night she met Jones she fell in love and she left with him to see the world. Now Rumple has an even better excuse to kill Jones but Milah produces William’s hat. She offers a trade: the magic bean in exchange for their lives. Rumple must choose between revenge and his son once more.
The three arrive on the boat together and Milah shows Rumple the bean but gives it to Jones. She asks if they have a deal. Rumple, in turn, asks how she could leave Bae. They argue back and forth until Milah reveals that she that she never loved Rumple. Mistake! Rumple rips her heart out and crushes it into dust. She dies in Jones’ arms. Jones’ stands up to fight and Rumple cuts off the hand that held the magic bean. Jones uses the other hand to lodge a hook in Rumple’s chest but Rumple is immortal so it’s ineffective. Rumple’s response to this is to leave Jones alive so that he can experience the same pain that he felt when he lost Milah. He leaves and Jones vows to find a way to kill Rumple. Upon arriving home, Rumple opens the hand home only to find out that the bean is still with Jones.
Jones with William, who has revealed that his last name is Smee from the Peter Pan movie (another perk of ABC being a Disney company) uses the bean to take the ship to a place where they will never grow old: Neverland. Well, now you know where Bae is. How much do you want to bet that Bae turns out to be Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up?
Back in Storybrooke, after Rumple leaves Belle, he goes to his cellar where Smee is tied up. There he questions him about Jones whereabouts. Soon everyone will be on the same page.
However, Rumple doesn’t know that in present day Fairytale Land, Hook and Cora are in cahoots. She shows Hook the flask with wardrobe dust and the two plot to get back to Storybrooke and enact their respective revenges. The End.
This was a good episode. It answered a lot of questions so for that reason alone, it was totally worth watching. The only drawback is they advertised Hook as being more evil than Rumple and it just didn’t come through. He was a bully and a jerk but Rumple makes shady deals and is now the killer of his first wife and the mother of his son along with being the Fairytale Land and Storybrooke’s resident terrorist. Somehow, that trumps bully any day. 3 and ½ out of 5 stars.
Tune in next week when Regina’s long lost love, Daniel, returns doing his best impression of Gage from Pet Cemetery.