This episode opens with Belle having a nightmare about Rumpelstiltskin being The Dark One again and, after she awakens, she finds he is still practicing magic. Flashbacks highlight the strained relationship between Rumpelstiltskin and his wife, Milah, played by Rachel Shelly (The L Word, Casualty), who ends up running away with a pirate. After the last episode, I really needed my Rumpelstiltskin fix. Robert Carlyle, as always, did an amazing job bringing this complex and engaging character to life.
Colin O'Donoghue finally joins the cast as the much anticipated Killian Jones (Captain Hook). Killian quips that Rumpelstiltskin, due to his appearance, is "like a crocodile", which was their way of referencing the original story. I thought it was cheap but it worked so no complaints here.
Meghan Ory reprised her role as Debbie Gibson... er... Ruby who, for whatever reason, was dressed like it was 1988.
Rumpelstiltskin, now also The Dark One, tracks down his estranged wife and Killian Jones. Milah tries to bargain for their lives by offering him the magic bean he has been searching for, with the hope that he can use it to find Baelfire. Rumpelstiltskin kills Milah by literally ripping her heart out and crushing it before cutting off Killian's hand (turning him into Captain Hook) both to punish him and to obtain the magical bean. This is now the third fairytale character combined into Rumpelstiltskin (Rumpelstiltskin, The Beast, and Crocodile). Initially, I was a little disappointed with the writers' choice to kill off Milah so abruptly because it was anti-climactic and lacked the potential creativity one would expect of The Dark One. In retrospect, however, I am now starting to appreciate the profound simplicity of her death.
At one point the writers had Killian borrow a line from The Mask of Zorro, in regard to swordplay, saying "The pointy end goes [in] the other [guy]". Unlike the last few introductions, I actually enjoyed the addition of this new character and look forward to seeing more of him.
Rumpelstiltskin finally opened up to Belle about his addiction to magic and his quest to find Bae. He said he couldn't leave Storybrooke to search because of the curse, which doesn't make sense to me because both he and Regina were not affected by the mass amnesia before he brought the magic to Storybrooke. So if Rumpelstiltskin reverted to Mr. Gold, which is how I understand the border curse to work, he should still retain his memories.
The episode ended with both Cora and Captain Hook plotting together to find an entrance to Storybrooke. I think it's safe to say this will be a matter of "when" and "how", rather than whether or not they will.