Fairy Land Past
Way back in the past – with Rumplestiltskin, pre-dark one days coming home to his wife Mila to celebrate being called to the front in the Ogre War. He’s thrilled, she most certainly is not, but he’s looking forward to the chance to get away from his father’s reputation of cowardice.
At the army camp Rumple is left guarding a prisoner who could turn the tide of the war. Despite being warned it’s a tricky beast, when it calls his name he opens the covers on its cage and sees a child with her eyes sewn shut. She says she’s a seer, who sees all and shows him the eyes in the palms of her hands. She tells him some of his past to convince him of her powers and that she can see the future. She tells him that his wife is pregnant but because of his actions in the battle tomorrow, the child will be fatherless. Rumple assumes this means he’s going to die – but denies her vision. She says he’ll know it’s true when the enemy drives cows into battle.
Later he sees casualties coming back from the front and a fellow soldier remarks how lucky they are. Rumple doesn’t see how severely injured men are lucky and the soldier says they’re alive and too injured to fight – so they’ll live, unlike them. And they’re riding into battle the next day – on cows. Which is what they call saddles. Rumple panics, he realises it’s all true, he’s going to have a son and he’s going to die (well, not quite). In panic, he hits his own leg with a very heavy hammer (the source of his limp it seems) to have an injury.
He hobbles home to see Mila and her baby – but she’s already heard the rumours that he inflicted his own injury. She accuses him of being a coward like his father but he protests about the seer and him doing it so he wouldn’t abandon his child like his father did. She says growing up as his son will be worst than growing up without a father
Much later, Rumplestiltskin, the Dark One, seeks out the Seer where he explains “yes my actions on the battlefield led to my son being fatherless but it would have been nice to know all the pesky details.” The seer (after a bit of magical throttling) tells Rumple he will find his son again. She tells him it’ll take a powerful curse that he won’t cast or break. He says the information’s not good enough and makes with the strangling again. She tells him if he wants to see the path, he must take her burden, her powers from her. He does but as the power enters him he complains that he can’t see anything, it’s too much, it’s overwhelming. The seer tells him it will take time for him to be able to sort the images, what can be from what will be. He realises it is a curse, it is a torment. As a last gesture to him for taking her power she says he will be reunited with his son because a young boy will lead Rumple to him. But the boy is more than what he seems, and the boy will be his undoing.
Rumple shrugs over her body and declares “then I’ll just have to kill him.”
Real World Present
Rumple, Emma and Henry arrive in New York City and finding Rumple’s son’s home – though Rumple is extremely nervous and, as Emma puts it, Bale isn’t expecting them. But Emma has several kinds of tricks for identifying the right apartment and then calling up pretending to be UPS – which sends him running. As he runs down the fire escape, Rumple turns to Emma and tells her this is the favour – he can’t run, she needs to get him to talk to Rumple. There’s a quick foot race, but Emma sneaks through shortcuts and heads him off. The man… is Emma’s old boyfriend, Neal. Henry’s father. (C’mon, you knew that was coming, right?)
Emma realises the man she fell in love with was from fairy land and believes they played him – and starts to rather reasonably panic. He’s furious that she brought Rumple but she has the perfect come back “I am the only one allowed to be angry here!” amen to that Emma, no turning this one around and she starts ripping into him with questions about how much he knew, did he plan the whole thing, was it all fake and where is she going to bury his body (well not the last one but I think it’s an option).
Meanwhile, Rumple and Henry have a nice little (dare I say grandfatherly?) moment
In a bar Bale/Neal explains things to Emma, how he didn’t know who she was (massive coincidence) until August told him. Which doesn’t help Emma who has yet another awesome line “you left me because Pinocchio told you to?!” Well, when you put it like THAT. She has a sudden thought that Rumple was behind their meeting but Bale, who is not his father’s biggest fan, denies that since them meeting nearly stopped Emma breaking the curse, which is everything Rumple wouldn’t have wanted. It goes down to fate. He claims fate and that maybe something good came of it – she says no, not mentioning Henry, and she’s over him. He points out she’s wearing the keychain he got her as a necklace; she takes it off and gives it to him. Oh and she made a deal with Rumple to make Bale talk to him, he asks her to say she never saw him.
Confused and stunned, Emma calls Snow for advice who is instantly decides Henry has a right to know who his father is. Does no-one in Storybrooke know what adoption means? Snow gets to explain this to David including the radical concept that a child can have more than one grandfather (he’s not the brightest spark out there, is he?) And for fun, Regina is both his step mother and his step-grandmother. Which sounds all kinds of wrong. Snow has hope that this may mellow everyone out – because she’s good at the eternal optimist thing.
Henry and Rumple are still bonding and Henry comments on how nervous Rumple is. Henry asks about his ability to see the future which his book talks about and Rumple reveals he didn’t always have it and it isn’t a great gift, especially seeing the inevitable. They’re interrupted by Emma returning – saying she didn’t find Bale.
Rumple goes a little off the deep end and breaks into Bale’s apartment. Emma begs him to stop, there are laws, eh could be arrested (rumple adds another awesome line “and then my son will have to testify against me and we will be reunited”). Inside Emma is distracted by their dream catcher Bale has hung in the window and Rumple realises something is up and that Emma has lied to him. He loses his temper and starts questioning her and she sends Henry away so they can talk. Well shout and rage at each other and he starts threatening her (which is REALLY not going to work on Emma. And you may be able to take down Hook Rumple, but I think Emma will drop you, to be honest) and even throwing about the furniture – which causes Bale to burst in to tell him to leave Emma alone. Dramatic music!
Bale says he came back for her because he’d seen what Rumple does to people who breaks deals. And Bale doesn’t want to talk to him. Rumple realises, to his shock, that Emma and Neal/Bale know each other. Which is when Henry enters as well, calling Emma “mom”. Oh someone call Jerry Springer, this is getting complicated. Bale/Neal demands to know how old Henry is and starts yelling until Henry says “11” which stuns Bale/Neal. Bale/Neal asks if Henry is his son, Henry tells him what Emma told him, about his father being a dead fireman but Emma holds Henry and tells him, yes, Bale/Neal is Henry’s father. Henry shakes his head and runs out the fire escape, followed by Emma.
Rumple grabs Bale/Neal before he can follow and asks to talk, he insists that Emma’s deal with him was to get him to talk to Rumple, not just see him so to fulfil it, he has to talk.
On the fire escape, Emma explains why she lied to Henry, that Bale/Neal wasn’t a good man, that he broke her heart and how it was a part of her life she wanted to forget. That she didn’t do it to protect him, she did it to protect her. Henry says she lied to him like Regina did – and says that he wants to meet his father.
Rumple’s talk with Bale/Neal isn’t going well. He wants to make everything right for Bale even take him back to Storybrooke and make him 14 again and take away his memories. Bale/Neal is amazingly not thrilled with this proposed solution. Rumple claims to have changed by Bale/Neal points out he’s still trying to use magic to fix his problems. He adds that he remembers Rumplestiltskin letting him go into the portal, letting go of his hand and not following him, abandoning him.
Emma tells Bale/Neal that Henry wants to speak to him and Bale/Neal tries to get on his high horse about not being told about Henry but Emma won’t have it and warns Bale not to break Henry’s heart. Bale/Neal says he won’t do what Rumple did to him, Emma points out that Neal/Bale did the same thing to her. She’s not cutting him slack or letting him weasel round this.
Henry and Bale/Neal have a stilted introduction and Rumple watches, pensive as he considers his “I’ll just have to kill him” declaration now the boy is revealed to be Henry.
In Storybrooke, Cora (looking very unusual in non-fairytale clothing) is comforting Regina about Henry being missing, assuring her he’ll be safe. And Hook hears that rumple has left Storybrooke, he’s out there without his magic and helpless, Hook and go get his revenge. Since none of them have been cursed they will keep their memories (so did Rumple so why did he need a spell?) but they will lose their magic if they leave town. Hook announces he’s after Rumple since he doesn’t need magic for his revenge (oh really? I seem to recall Rumple beating him down with minimal effort). But Cora has a better idea – while he’s gone take the chance to find his dagger.
Regina goes to see the amnesiac Belle and searches her bag to find a reference number: 915.63. to the library! Hook doesn’t understand why they’re not ransacking Rumple’s home and shop but Regina says they’re too obvious. They find a hole where the book was – and a crude map that Hook can read.
He shows them how to read it and Cora and Regina turn to leave – Hook is outraged that they will rob him of his revenge and Cora knocks him flying with her magic. Regina questions this – is all this about getting the dagger so they can have Rumple’s magic? Cora claims with the dagger they can command Rumple to kill Emma, Snow and Charming leaving Regina blameless in Henry’s eyes.
Also in Storybrooke, Greg the outsider from the car accident is calling someone and saying he’s going to hang around in town for a while – because he now has video footage of Regina using magic to levitate the contents of Belle’s purse.
Y’know, with Rumplestiltskin as a grandfather, Regina as a mother (and grandmother) and Cora as a grandmother (and great-grandmother), there’s no excuse for Henry not being a supremely all powerful sorcerer by the time he’s 20.
I have a soft spot for tricksy prophecy. So the Seer scares Rumple which convinces him to desert, which has him branded a coward which means he becomes the Dark One, scares Bale away and forces him to grow up fatherless, fulfilling the Seer’s prophecy.
Rumple smashing furniture around and threatening Emma I don’t rate at all – he’s been violent with his enemies and even had a short temper but this is an extra level.
Aaargh Reina is being so obviously and blatantly manipulated – someone kill Cora already.
All of Rumplestiltskin’s awesome plotting now kind of falls flat with him getting so much help from a seer. I much preferred the idea of him being an awesome Machiavellian plotter.