Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) has made a solid effort at being a nice guy in Season Two of Once Upon A Time. He’s focused most of his energy into finding his son, Baelfire/Neal Cassady (Michael Raymond-James). Last episode (Season 2, Episode 14: “Manhattan”), he finally caught up with him, but their reunion was less than ideal. Bae doesn’t want anything to do with his father. Add this to the facts that Belle (Emilie de Ravin) can no longer remember the man she once loved, and Rumple finding out Henry (Jared Gilmore), his grandson, will “be his undoing,” and things do not look good for Team Good. Will Rumple continue on the path of redemption or is he about to bang a uey back to Evil Land?
Redemption Scorecard: B+
If not for the occasional turning someone into a rat, Rumple might be a real contender for Storybrooke’s Most Improved Villain of the Year. Sure, there was that hijinx with setting the wraith on Regina (Lana Parrilla) and that little mix-up with turning the portal into a Portal of Death!, but in the end, no one actually died, so we’ll let those slide. You can’t turn good overnight, amirite?
We have to give a lot of credit to Belle for keeping Rumple in line. He admitted to her that he was still a coward because he was afraid to live without magic. Since admitting you have a problem is commonly considered the first step on the road to recovery, we saw this as a sign of progress for Storybrooke’s resident magic-holic (well, he’s one of a few, really)...And, then, Belle went and got herself shot.
Okay, it wasn’t Belle’s fault; It was Hook’s (Colin O’Donoghue) fault. As retribution for killing his love and cutting off his hand, Hook shot Belle. Rumple was able to magically repair the damage, but Belle fell over the town line in the process, losing her memories of the Enchanted Forest and her life in Storybrooke.
This was sad, but at least Rumple still had the search for his son to keep him busy. He,Emma (Jennifer Morrison), and Henry traveled to New York City and found Bae, only to discover Bae wanted nothing to do with his father. This wasn’t the only downer revelation for Rumple in this week’s ep: he also discovered that the boy prophesied to be his downfall - the boy he vowed to kill - is Henry, his own grandson. Bummer.
It’s hard to tell where things will go from here. Rumple has managed to keep his magic and temper in check despite some unfortunate happenings, but the guy is not exactly known for his self-restraint. How long until he gives up doing things the hard way and skips right to magicking people into doing what he wants?
Judging from the promo, it looks like a sneak attack from Hook might bring father and son a bit closer in the next episode (to be fair, that wouldn’t be hard). And unlike fellow conflicted baddie, Regina, Rumple doesn’t have an evil parent whispering in his ear. We give Rumple’s efforts a 60/40 chance of paying off by the end of the season. He has so much to fight for.
What do you think of Rumple’s good and bad deeds this season? Do you think Rumple will continue to be good-ish, or do you think he is due for an evil relapse? Let us know in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Once Upon a Time on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.