"The Crocodile" is the 26th episode of Once Upon a Time.
The dwarfs pick up their axes and try to find fairy dust in the Storybrooke mine, and Belle's disgust over Mr. Gold's continuing thirst for power comes to a head, and she threatens to leave him if he can't change his evil ways, but a reunion with an old acquaintance could prove to be Belle's undoing. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale land that was, Rumplestiltskin attempts to save his wife, Milah, from being kidnapped by a band of cutthroat pirates.
Rumple treats Belle to a beautiful necklace.
In his pawn shop, Mr. Gold picks up a jewel case from a shelf in his glass counter, and puts it on the top of it. He then opens it to reveal a beautiful necklace to his lover, the fair Belle, who is standing before the counter. Belle smiles, in all her earnest and awkward happiness, and comments that it's very beautiful. Gold picks up the necklace and moves toward her, signaling at her to turn around. Belle does just this and asks what the occasion is; he wraps the necklace around her neck as she smiles, and tells her that the occasion is "us", and adds that they haven't gotten out much since Storybrooke awakened, so he thought they should see it together. Belle turns back to him, with a loving smile, and he admires the way the necklace compliments her neck. She kisses him, filled with joy, and says "Thank you." as she then hugs him. He tells her not to get her hopes up, because the nightlife is extremely limited. She chuckles and tells him that's not what she meant; she thanks him for what he's doing, and how he's changing.
"Oh, it's me, dearie."
Their emotional moment is ruined by the sudden entrance in the store of Leroy, the grumpy dwarf, who tells Rumplestiltskin that he wants his axe. The stern Gold/Rumple tells the dwarf that they're closed, but Grumpy moves toward him, and says that the axe is his, so he demands again that he give it back. "And yet, still closed." Grumpy says that just because Rumple has something, doesn't mean it's his. "Nothing in this shop belongs to you.", he says, before turning to Belle and asking her how she can be with such a monster. "Or maybe you're just another possession too." This last part awakens every bit of rage in Rumple's body, as the middle-aged-looking man grabs Grumpy by the collar. Gold throws him against the shutters of the window, and Belle is alarmed. Rumple tells the dwarf that if he wants his axe back, he can have it buried in his chest. Rumple starts choking Grumpy's neck, as a horrified Belle begs him to stop. "This isn't you anymore.", she says. Rumplestiltskin then turns back to her... but not in his human form anymore. Suddenly, he has turned back into the Dark One, with his leathery, gold skin and curly hair. As he continues to choke the dwarf, Rumplestiltskin tells her "Oh, it's me, dearie. Always has been, always will be."
What's Rumple up to?
Suddenly, Belle awakens. It had all been a dream, that started out wonderfully, and ended up a nightmare. She pants for a short while as she recuperates, and then looks to the side to find that Rumplestiltskin isn't sleeping next to her. She gets up from the bed and walks inside the house, barefoot, looking for him, until she finds that the back door is open. She exits into the back yard and kneels down on the grass before a window of the basement. Inside, she can see Mr. Gold sitting by the spinning wheel, spinning straw into gold. A long thread of gold curls up inside a basket on the floor as it is produced, and then Gold picks up a pair of shears and cuts himself a tiny thread, which he then plants inside a tube with a blue liquid. When the gold touches the liquid, it becomes purple and bubbles up, emanating a smoke from it. Belle watches with surprise as he does this, and Gold looks through a magnifying glass at the potion in front of him... the new magic he's created.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Rumple takes his son to find his mother.
Our flashback story begins with Rumplestiltskin, back in his days as a normal human being, entering his house in the woods, and calling for his family - wife Milah and son Bae. He brings with him a basket, and closes the door. He walks inside the house with his wooden crutch, and finds his young son, Baelfire, sitting alone at the table, in front of the lit fireplace. Rumple asks the young child where his mother is, and Bae doesn't respond, seemingly unaware of her whereabouts. Rumple tells his son that she probably lost track of time, and tells him to grab his cloak. Bae gets up from his seat and obliges, and the two leave the house. "We'll find her.", Rumple says.
Milah's new acquaintances.
Inside a local tavern, there is a commotion, on the count of the sailors that have arrived into the land recently. Lots of drinking and lots of fun all around, and Milah, the cherished wife of Rumplestiltskin, plays dice with the men, and is excited when it is her turn to drink again. Rumple appears and calls for her, and her excitement wears off immediately. She looks annoyed to see him, and Rumple tells her that it's time to go. "Good. So go.", she says, as she pours herself some more wine. The man sitting in front of her - Killian Jones - asks her who this is, and Milah tells him it's no one... just her husband. Rumple appears to be hurt by her condescending introduction of him, and Killian jokes that Rumple is a tad taller than Milah had described. This said, everyone around them, including Milah, laughs. Rumple begs his wife to come, for she has responsibilities, to which Milah replies, "You mean like being a man? And fighting in the ogre wars? Other wives became honored widows while I became lashed to the village coward." Rumple is further hurt, and embarrassed, by her harsh words, and she tells him she needs a break and urges him to go back home, because it's what he's good at. She drinks some more and then the word "Mama", uttered by a sweet, innocent young voice, gets through to her. Young Baelfire makes himself appear, and his father reminds him that he was supposed to wait outside. The young Bae can't make out what is happening, and Milah, suddenly overcome with shame and the need to protect her son, gets up from the table and leaves the tavern with her family.
Rumple tries to comfort his wife.
Back in the family's house, Rumplestiltskin pours some freshly-prepared tea into a cup, and asks his wife, who is lying down on a bed in the room, looking pensative, if she actually wishes he'd died during the ogre wars. Milah tells him she wishes he'd fought, and asks if he doesn't. He gets up, holding on to his crutch and carrying the cup, and says that he is alive, and present - she looks bothered by his reply - with her and Bae. He sits down on her bed and she tells him, looking blue, that theirs isn't a life, not for her. Milah asks why they can't just leave. He says they've talked about that, and she tells him that he doesn't have to be the village coward. "We could start again.", she says, "Go somewhere no one knows us, see... the whole world... beyond this village." He gets up and says that he knows this wasn't the life she wanted, but it can be good where they are. She is further depressed. "At least try.", he tells her, "If not for me, then... for Bae." She tells him "Okay.", with little to no enthusiasm. "I'll try." He smiles.
Belle is disappointed in Rumple.
Come the morning, back in Storybrooke, Mr. Gold re-enters his house through the back door, and finds Belle sitting on the couch in the living room. They great each other casually, and she gets up and asks him what he's doing. He says he was going to make her breakfast, and she she points out that she meant what he was doing in the basement. He opens the fridge as she says that she saw him practicing magic. He hints that they should talk about it later, but she points out that they have to talk about it now. He tries to downplay the situation by saying it was just a couple of spells, nothing to be concerned about. She tells him to be honest with her then, and asks why he brought magic there. "I've told you.", he says, "Magic is power." She asks why he needs it, and Rumple is reluctant to answer. She insists, and he is still silent. Belle then tells him he doesn't need power, he needs courage to let her in. This said, she leaves, and he is left there, standing in the kitchen, thinking.
A knock is heard. Back in fairytale land, Rumplestiltskin opens the front door of his house to a preoccupied village woman, who urges him to get to the docks now. He asks why, and she tells him that the men who came into port the week before have taken Milah. "They're setting sail, you must hurry." Rumple looks worried.
Rumple meets Killian Jones.
A short while later, Rumplestiltskin, walking with his crutch, reaches the end of a local dock and makes it to the ship of the crew that have taken his wife. He enters the boat, and as he comes down the couple of steps that lead to the deck, he misses one by accident, which leads him to lose balance and fall on the floor. He tries to recompose himself and finds that his face is now on the same level as the boots of the captain. A sailor tells him, "On your feet for the captain.", and two other sailors help Rumple get up, not that he wanted this. The captain looks at the middle-aged man with mockery in his eyes and smile. Rumple points at the man and claims to remember him, from the bar. The captain says that it's always nice to make an impression, and all the members of his crew chuckle, almost mechanically. The captain acknowledges that they haven't been formally introduced, and states his name: Killian Jones. He then asks the man what he's doing aboard his ship, and an intimidated Rumple tells the captain that he has his wife. Jones says that he's had many a man's wife, and the shaken old man tells the captain that they have a son, who needs his mother. The captain steps down to be on the same level as Rumple and tells him that he has a ship full of men who need companionship. Rumple begs him to let her go, and the captain says that he isn't much for bargaining. However, he does consider himself an honorable man, one with a code, so, if Rumple truly wants his wife back... and before he finishes this sentence, a rusty old sword is dropped by Rumplestiltskin's feet. The middle-aged man is shaken, and the captain unsheathes his own sword, and finishes his sentence, by saying that all Rumple has to do is take her. As he says this, he points his sword at Rumplestiltskin, and explains to him, sarcastically, that the purpose is to get the pointy end of the sword inside the other guy. His crew mates chuckle again, as they observe, and Killian tells the scared old man to pick up the sword. Rumple is nearly brought to tears of fright, as the captain brings the sword up to his face and strokes it. "A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets.", Killian says, and he then moves the sword away from Rumple and turns his back to him. The weakened old man begs him once more, and asks what he's going to tell his boy, to which the captain replies, "Try the truth. His father's a coward." Jones walks into the ship's bow, and the shaken Rumplestiltskin is left disheartened.
Henry looks on as his grandfather works in the mines.
An axe is seen hitting a rock in the old mines. It is revealed to us that Dopey is the one handling the axe, and soon we find out that the dwarves have all gathered at the old mines where they once worked, trying to find if there is any fairy dust left. Leroy, working as a foreman, tells them to keep swinging their axes. David Nolan is also seen at the mine, performing the same chore, until he stops and looks at his grandson, Henry, who's watching them work. Henry smiles, and David winks at him. He keeps swinging his axe and then Ruby comes in, bringing with her the typical basket of baked goods, and hands Henry a muffin, asking him if they've found any fairy dust yet. Henry says they haven't yet, but adds that they will, and when they do they'll be able to bring back Emma and Mary Margaret. He bites away at the muffin, and Ruby tells him she'll be back later at lunch. David then stops what he's doing, and as he goes to retrieve his shirt from the hanger, he notices mine dust on his hands and wrists and shakes it off, claiming to hate mine dust. He then calls for Leroy, as he puts on his shirt, and tells him that if they find anything, he'll be at the station. The foreman asks if he's taking over as sheriff, and David confirms that he's stepping in, until Emma gets back. They shake hands and David leaves with his grandson.
Mr. Gold comes up the stairs in his house, and knocks on the bedroom's door. He calls for Belle, but gets no response. He then opens the door, telling her to at least come and eat something, not knowing she isn't actually in the room. He finds the unmade bed and the open windows, and no beauty in sight. He then leaves, slightly preoccupied.
Gold asks Moe if he might know where his daughter is.
Not long afterwards, Gold enters the local flower shop, Game of Thorns, which is owned by Moe French - none other than Belle's father. Gold is then seen holding up the 'missing' poster with Belle's picture on it that Moe had put up in Storybrooke, when searching for his daughter. Gold asks if he's seen his daughter, and the old man takes the poster from Gold's hand and asks if this is some kind of cruel joke. "Would I have made this flyer if I knew where she was?", he says. He then says that the only reason she's missing is because of the deal he made with Rumplestiltskin. Moe then says he held out hope that she might have survived such a wicked trade, and the man before him says that she has. A surprised Moe asks why she hasn't come looking for him, and Rumple says that she did, and she even made a flyer like his. Moe guesses that Gold took care of it by throwing it into the trash, and Gold, retrieving the flyer from his hands, says that he doesn't expect Moe to help him, he just wants to know if she's safe. "And now, thanks to you...", Moe says, "Neither one of us knows where she is. You're a monster, Rumplestiltskin."
Rumple meets someone who makes an interesting case...
Back in fairytale land, several years after both Milah's and Baelfire's departures, Rumplestiltskin, now the Dark One, is seen sitting alone at the same tavern where Milah was first seen. A man - William Smee - approaches him and sits down in front of the Dark One, acknowledging that he's the famed dark creature. Rumple points out that the man has gone to a lot of trouble to meet him, so he better hope Rumple agrees it's worth his time. William says that he heard Rumple was looking for something, and as luck would have it, William is a man who trades in hard to find objects. A waitress approaches them and puts a beer mug down on the table, and William covers the side of his mouth with his gloved hand and says, lowly, "Like a bean. A magic bean. That can transport you between worlds." This catches Rumple's attention. He comments that he's been told they no longer exist in their land, and William tells him that they don't in their land, but the ships that dock there often bring with them objects from far off lands, treasures they don't always understand. "And yet you do?", Rumple asks, rather mockingly, and William tells him it's his job to understand, as is knowing the rumors of who can pay the highest price for such treasures. Rumple asks what rumors they could be, and William recounts that Rumple was once a great coward, but he became the Dark One to overcome that and protect a son that he lost... his talk is interrupted by a single gesture of Rumple's, which leads the man to be chocked via magic. As William is impeded to breathe, Rumple tells him it's not nice to spread rumors. He then asks where the bean is, and William, struggling to talk while still being choked, tells him he doesn't have it, but he swears he can get it. Rumple stops choking him, and William coughs, as he recomposes himself. William then tells him Rumple hasn't heard his price, to which the creature responds that, since he spins straw into gold, price shouldn't be a problem. William says that he doesn't want money, he wants eternal life. Rumple laughs, in his trademark way, and tells him that only the Dark One has life eternal. Rumple then suggests giving him youth, spin the clock back, till he's a little boy again. William says "Close enough. Deal." Rumple then tells him to remember that if he fails to deliver, he'll spin the clock forward, and turn him into dust. A slightly intimidated William thanks him, and gets up to leave. Rumple then notices something. The waitress approaches him and asks if he's sure he doesn't want anything, and Rumple looks as Killian Jones, the pirate captain who once took his wife and humiliated him, appears in the tavern and is greeted by his mates. Rumple tells the waitress that he suddenly finds himself quite thirsty. Killian starts drinking with his crew mates, and the waitress puts a drink down on Rumplestiltskin's table.
Belle makes a new friend.
Present time, Storybrooke. Ruby the waitress puts a glass of iced tea before Belle, who is sitting in one of the booths at Granny's Diner. The brunette beauty thanks the waitress, who asks her if she's okay, since it's her third iced tea this morning, and Ruby might have to call her a cab. Belle says she'd never had an iced tea before, and it's delicious. Ruby smiles at her awkward disposition, and comments that she hasn't seen her there before. Belle says that she's been a kept woman, until recently. Ruby sits down in front of her and guesses that she's been through a bad break-up. Belle says that she thinks she may be headed there. Ruby asks if she has a place to stay, any family, and Belle answers that she's not sure, she's still looking, but she's on her own for the time being. Ruby says that she could ask Granny about getting her a room at the B&B, and Belle is grateful. They then exchange their names, and Belle says that what she really needs is a life, a job, and Ruby asks her what she likes to do. Belle says that she loves books. Ruby almost immediately thinks of the library - it's been closed forever, but things are changing. "Maybe they need a librarian.", Ruby says. Belle smiles as she ponders about this.
Belle shouldn't talk to strangers...
The camera shows us the clock tower, atop the public library, which is barred. It pans down to show us the fair Belle walking toward it. She checks to see if she can open the front door, whose windows are covered with newspaper pages, but can't. She then walks along the side of the library, its windows all covered with large wooden planks, and she finds one that has several shorter plans nailed across it. She takes a peek inside, filled with an innocent enthusiasm, and marvels at the sight of all the books displayed on the shelves. "Excuse me, miss?", someone says. Belle jumps with fright. Beside her is Smee, the man who'd once spoken to Rumplestiltskin about getting him a magic bean. Belle recovers and says that the man startled her. William says he was wondering if she had any spare change, to which Belle replies that she doesn't have any money. He then looks around, and asks "What - what about a friend, are you meeting anyone here?". Belle answers negatively and asks "Why?", to which the man says that he wanted to make sure, as he turns her around, covers her mouth with his hand and grabs her, to kidnap her.
The Dark One tries to intimidate Killian.
Killian Jones, the pirate captain, and his crew mates are seen leaving the tavern, and as they frolic around the streets, some of them visibly drunk,Rumplestiltskin, passing for a poor old man walking around under a cape and carrying a cup for alms, he bumps into Killian as he passes, and yet continues his walk unashamedly. Killian calls out for the man, demanding that he stop, and says that even gutter rats have more manners than the man just displayed. Rumple turns around and says, with sarcasm, that he's sorry. Killian notices the man's leathery skin and corrects himself, saying that it's not a rat, more a crocodile. His crew mates chuckle, as he does, and he then walks toward the old man and purposefully knocks the change cup out of his hand. The man kneels down to pick up the cup and coins and Killian says "What's your name, 'crocodile'?", then pushing Rumple to the floor with his boot. The remaining pirates laugh as the old man is humiliated by their captain, and the old beggar gets up and removes the cape to reveal himself. Killian, unmoved, points out that he remembers him, and Rumple says "Always nice to make an impression.", as he tosses a coin at the captain's feet. One of the pirates behind the captain gets all set to unsheathe his sword, and Rumple tells the captain that they haven't been properly introduced - thus still referring to the conversation they had years ago on the ship - and claims to be Rumplestiltskin, the Dark One... Killian stares at the man with some quiet surprise and Rumple proceeds to frighten his mates away. As he walks around the still captain, he comments that he can see his reputation precedes him, a fact Killian backs up, which leads Rumple to say that's gonna save them time during the "question and answer" portion of their game. Killian asks what he wants to know, and Rumple asks, "How's Milah?..." Killian asks "Who?", with a forced smile, and Rumple lets out one of his trademark subtle laughs. He then says that he's only too happy to help dig out the memory, but it gets really messy. Killian then tells Rumple that Milah is dead, and the Dark One is surprised. The captain goes on to say that she died a long time ago, and then asks what he wants. Rumple reminds him that they didn't get a chance to finish their duel, and this said, Killian and his mates prepare to take out their swords, but the Dark One stops them, saying that they don't have to do that now, but the following day at dawn, for he is not a cruel man, and will thus give Killian time to get his affairs in order. "Also...", he says, "You can spend tonight knowing... it'll be your last." Another subtle maniacal laugh ensues, and he then adds that maybe he is cruel. He then intimidates the captain further by saying that there's no point in him trying to escape, for Rumple will find him, and gut his entire crew.
Mr. Gold seeks help.
In present day Storybrooke, acting sheriff Charming opens the door of Mary Margaret's apartment to Mr. Gold, who asks if he may have a word. He then refers to Charming as sheriff, when seeing the badge on his belt, and Charming corrects him, saying that he's the acting sheriff. He then tries to excuse himself, saying that he's already late to a busy day of cleaning up the mess Rumple made. Gold gives his apologies, claiming it to be a moment of poor judgment on his part, and he then enters the apartment, walking past David, who has no choice but to give him a moment. Gold then says that it's not lost in him that he's there to ask for the Prince's help. David replies that it shouldn't be lost on Gold when he says 'no', and Gold begs to be heard first, for he is there to report a missing person. As he says this, he hands the acting sheriff the poster Moe made of his daughter Belle. Charming sighs and takes it, and Rumple recounts that Belle left his house earlier that morning. David remembers that, back in their land, Rumple mentioned he loved someone once... Rumple, knowing where he's headed, confirms that Belle is that someone. David closes the door and reminds him that he also said she died, and the middle-aged man explains that he thought she had. David suggests that he use the same tracking spell that he'd given him to find Jefferson, and Gold responds that it only works when one has something that belongs to the person they want found, and he doesn't. The acting sheriff asks how he can be sure she's gone missing and not run away, and he says that he can't. Rumple then tells Charming that the townsfolk are less than sympathetic to his plight, but David is in a rather unique position to understand exactly what he's going through. David looks at a picture of Emma and Mary Margaret. Gold asks if he'll help him, and David looks at him.
Rumplestiltskin defeats Killian in battle.
Back in fairytale land, the night after Rumplestiltskin challenged Killian Jones to a duel, the captain is seen returning to the place where they are to engage in battle. A rusty old sword is suddenly dropped by the captain's feet, and he is therefore made aware of the presence of the Dark One. Rumple, sitting on top of a tall pathway arch, tells the man to pick up the sword so they can begin, to which the captain replies that there is no need, and he moves to get his own sword from his sheathe... only to find that it is gone. Rumplestiltskin suddenly appears behind him, clearly having gotten a hold of his sword. The Dark One tells Killian that killing a man with his own sword was too delicious to pass up. Killian bends over and picks up the old sword laid before him, and Rumple squeaks with delight and holds up the sword, pointing it at the captain. Suddenly, Killian advances at it, and they start dueling ably, bringing the swords up and down and against one another in various rapid moves. Killian finally catches a break and lunges his sword directly at the Dark One, but he suddenly vanishes and the captain is left confused. Rumple appears behind him and taunts him, and they then resume their fight. The determined pirate does his best to defeat the beast, but the Dark One is more than capable to match his advances. Eventually, Killian lunges at the monster, but he swerves away and the captain falls against some merchandise laid out on the street. He recomposes quickly and the match goes on. They find themselves sword to sword, face to face, and Killian then breaks it off and tries to hit him, to no avail, and he himself is punched lightly in the face. Another swing, another miss. Eventually, during one of his lunges, Rumplestiltskin is able to disarm him, and plant his boot over the rusty old sword. Killian, defeated, looks at the beast and tells him he's ready for the sword. This said, Rumple touches the man's chin with his own sword, as Killian prepares to welcome death. Rumplestiltskin, not yet satisfied, says "No... Do you know what it's like to have your wife stolen from you? To feel powerless to stop it? It feels like having your heart ripped from your chest. Actually, let me show you." Rumple, through the force of magic, then sticks his hand inside Killian's chest, preparing to take out his heart, until he hears a womanly voice begging him to stop. Rumple looks to the side to find Milah standing there, with a look of desperation on her face, dressed in pirate's attire. Rumplestiltskin, surprised and confused to see her, says "Milah..."
Belle is reunited with her father.
Back in Storybrooke, inside a tool shack, Belle is sat on a chair by the man who kidnapped her, Smee. She asks him who he is and what he is doing, to which the captor replies that he is just a man who procures hard to find objects, and in this case the object was her. She asks who put him up to this, and then the door to the shack is opened and in comes Moe French... formerly Sir Maurice. Belle, surprised to see her father, gets up from her seat and they embrace, overcome with emotion. The old man apologizes to her, over the way they were finally reunited, but claims that he had no choice and begs her to understand. Belle is still a little sad that she was kidnapped, which was rather traumatizing, but Moe explains to her that after the curse broke, he searched all over for her, and discovered the Dark One still had her captive. Belle tells her father that he wasn't holding her captive, she chose to be with him. Moe, not satisfied, asks if she means that she's in love with him, and Belle nods affirmatively, but adds that she fears it may be over now. Moe tells her it must be, and begs her to promise him that she no longer loves Rumplestiltskin, and that she'll never see him again. Belle breaks away from his grasp and tells her father, rather angrily, that she's not a child, and he says she doesn't understand what that man would do to her, what he's already done. Belle responds that he himself doesn't understand: "It's my life!". Moe claims not to have a choice then, and says "I'm sorry." Belle looks at him with confusion, and Moe then says, to William, "Do it." William moves to grab Belle and she tries to reach out to her father, trying to understand what is going on, and he just tells her, "Goodbye, Belle. I love you!", as the captor and his victim leave the shack.
Gold asks for advice from David.
Mr. Gold looks on as David Nolan, acting as sheriff, questions a local young man about Belle. However, they seem to be talking about Gold instead, and when David finally makes his way back to his creepy middle-aged companion, he asks Gold if he remembers turning a butcher into a pig. Gold seems surprised to hear this and claims not to remember it, then asking why. David tells him that the young man he just interrogated does, and the butcher was apparently his father. This said, David gives Gold the drawing of Belle back and tells him, as he walks away, that he's beginning to understand why nobody wants to help him. Gold walks after him and asks if the young man has seen Belle, to which the acting sheriff replies negatively. Gold asks what is next, and David tells him that they're going to Granny's, and quips that they can see who else he terrorized there. Gold then asks David, very awkwardly so, how his relationship with Mary Margaret works. David asks if he's looking for dating advice, and Gold brushes this off in a way. David sighs and tells him, "Honesty. It's how we did it. Hard work and being honest with one another." They resume their walk and Gold tries to justify himself by saying he doesn't lie, and David responds that there is a difference between literal truth and honesty of the heart, and nothing taught him that more than this curse.
Rumplestiltskin is faced with someone he never thought he'd see again.
The story of Rumplestiltskin attempting to rip out Killian's heart resumes, and the Dark One is surprised to find Milah, his missing wife, in his presence. He removes his hand from inside the captain's chest and the latter falls to the floor behind him, much to Milah's worry. Rumplestiltskin, looking at his long gone wife, asks "How?", and Killian tells her that she has to run. Milah tells Killian that she is not leaving without him, and Rumple, irritated, says "Oh, how sweet.", sarcastically. He then says that it appears there's more to this tale than he knows, and tells her to explain it to him. Milah begs him not to hurt the pirate and she will explain, to which he replies, with blatant anger and hurry, "Tick tock, dearie, tick tock!". Milah recounts that the night when Killian and his crew came to the tavern, he told stories about the places he'd been and she fell in love with him. This prompts Rumple to stick Killian with the sword, causing him to moan with pain, and Milah resumes her tale, explaining to Rumplestiltskin that she didn't mean for things to turn out this way. "I didn't know how to tell you the truth.", she says, "I'm sorry." Rumple, not amused, understands what is happening now, she's come to save the life of her true love, the pirate. He says that he didn't realize the power of true love, and it's impressive. He says he'd hate to break it... but then immediately takes it back, in a sarcastic quip, telling her that he would actually love to. He sticks Killian further with the sword, and Milah catches his attention by saying that she has something he wants. Rumple stops what he's doing and tells her that he finds that very difficult to believe. This said, she takes out a red hat - the one that belonged to Smee. Rumple, instantly recognizing it, asks her where she got that, to which she replies that he knows whom she took it from. She then claims that she may not know what the Dark One wants with a magic bean, but she has it. Rumple senses a proposal coming on, and Milah says, "The magic bean in exchange for our lives. Deal?". He walks up to her, menacingly, and says he wants to see it first.
Ruby plays dumb.
In Storybrooke, Ruby is seen holding the poster with the drawing of Belle's face on it. She has just been questioned whether she's seen the young beauty, and tells Charming and Rumple that the name "Belle" doesn't ring a bell. David can tell she's not being honest because of the presence of Mr. Gold, and tells her that if she's come across Belle she needs to tell him, and he'll make sure nothing bad happens to her. Ruby says "Yeah, but what about him?", and David reassures her he's got him, and begs her to trust him. Ruby caves and says that Belle was in earlier, which catches Gold's attention, and adds that the beauty was looking for a job, and Ruby pointed her in the direction of the library. Gold asks if she thinks Belle went there, to which the waitress replies that she doesn't know. Ruby goes behind the counter and tells them that when they find her, they can give her the coat she left in her booth. Gold instantly says the coat is his, which confuses Ruby, and the old man says that Belle didn't have anything for the cold. Ruby, somewhat moved, turns to David and asks for reassurance that he'll watch out for Belle, which he gives her, and Ruby then says she thinks she can find her. She goes on to say that lately, since things changed, she's been a little more sensitive to odors. A confused Gold asks if she can smell Belle, and Ruby takes the coat from him and says "I guess it's 'cause of the wolf thing." She then proceeds to sniff the coat.
Ruby follows Belle's scent.
Shortly afterwards, Ruby is walking around the streets of Storybrooke, following the scent of her newfound friend Belle, as Charming and Rumplestiltskin follow her. When she reaches a certain point, she gets turned around, confused, and David asks her what is wrong. They are standing outside a flower shop, and Ruby tells them that she had her, but she lost her trail. She then sneezes, and guesses that it's because of the flowers. She then apologizes to Gold, saying that she can't track her anymore. He tells her not to be, because this is Belle's father's shop. He then enters the florist, followed by his two companions, and Moe is irritated to see him and demands that he get out, for it is a private establishment and he isn't welcome. Gold simply asks where Belle is, rather menacingly, and David, the acting sheriff, tells Moe that he won't let anything happen to his daughter. Ruby says they're just worried, and Moe tells them not to be, for she's safe, and they can stop looking. Gold asks to be given a chance to talk to her, and Moe tells him he'd destroy Belle like he destroys everything else, and he won't let that happen. A preoccupied and angry Gold asks the florist what he's done with her, and Moe starts babbling about how there was only one way to fix things, and Gold taps him in the chest with his finger, forcefully, and asks again what he's done, to which Moe replies that he had to get her to forget Rumple no matter the cost, even if it meant she'd forget her own father as well. Gold has a sudden realization: Moe is sending Belle across the town line.
Gold does what he has to in order to get some answers.
Charming opens the front door of Game of Thorns and escorts Moe outside, asking him where he's sending Belle across the town line. He reminds Moe that they have patrols near the line to make sure no one crosses accidentally. He asks how he's planning to pull it off, and they make it to the florist's van and David slides the door open. Mr. Gold lunges at Moe, forcefully, choking the elderly man with his walking cane, demanding that he tell him. David breaks them off, telling Gold he's going to kill the man if he keeps this up, and when Moe tries to recompose himself, David notices the dark dust on his hand and realizes he's been down to the mines. He is then reminded that the tunnels lead out of town, and he pushes Moe inside the van. He and Gold enter after him, and we see that Ruby is already in the driver's seat. She starts the engine as Gold slides the door shut.
"You left him! You abandoned him!"
We are treated to an oversight of Killian Jones' pirate ship. As his crew prepares to set sail, a tired and hurt Killian is brought onto the deck by his companion Milah. The quartermaster asks her what happened, and she throws William's red hat at him and tells him to fetch some water, and to get the prisoner from below deck. As the crew abides by her commands, Rumplestiltskin makes himself appear and comments, with snark, that it seems as though she's finally found the family he could never have with him. She is left standing there, silent, uneasy. Smee, the prisoner, is brought onto the deck, hands tied and mouth gagged. Milah takes his pouch from him and walks over to her former husband. She takes the magic bean out of the bag, but when he reaches for it she throws it at Killian. The pirate holds it inside his closed fist and tells the Dark One that he asked to see it and now he has. Milah asks him if they have a deal, if they can go their separate ways. He asks if she means whether he forgives her, if he can move on... He walks around her and says that perhaps he can, for he can see she is truly in love. She thanks him and turns around to walk over to Killian, but Rumple stops her, claiming to have one more question for her. She asks what he wants to know, and he says: "How could you leave Bae?". This said, the anger of the Dark One is made visible when the ropes that hold the sails in the air are torn from the hooks they wrapped around and the winds blow more forcefully. He asks her, as she tries to get him to calm down, if she knows what it's like to come home and tell their son that his mother died. She tries to explain that she was wrong to lie to him, and that she was a coward, and he lashes out at her, screaming that she left and abandoned her child. Milah tells him there's not a day that goes by that she doesn't feel sorry for that, and the irritated Rumplestiltskin tells her that sorry isn't enough, because she let him go, to which she replies that she let her misery cloud her judgment. "Why were you so miserable?...", he asks; "Because I never loved you.", she replies.
Killian hurts over the passing of his lover.
This said, Rumple and his former wife stare at each other with apparent disgust and uncertainty. Then, suddenly, Rumple lunges his hand at her chest and enters it to grab her heart. A horrified Killian tries to stop this, but with a wave of his hand Rumple throws him at the mast and some ropes that hold a hook wrap themselves around him, imprisoning him. Rumple then takes out Milah's heart, under an enchantment, still beating. Killian screams "No!", and Milah, with a look of despair and horror on her face, starts to lose her strength and fall backwards. Killian sets himself free and grabs her from behind, lowering her down. She touches his cheek and says, lowly, "I love you..." This prompts Rumplestiltskin to squeeze her heart until it turns to ashes and Milah dies in her lover's arms. Rumple allows the wind to sweep the ashes away from his fingers. Killian rests his lover on the floor, and turns to Rumple to say, with hurt and anger in his voice, that he may be more powerful now but he's no less a coward. With a wicked smile, Rumplestiltskin tells him he'll have what he came for now. Killian, with his fist closed, tells the Dark One that he'll have to kill him first. Rumple tells him that's not in the cards for him. He then unsheathes his sword and, with a single thrust, he severs Killian's left hand. The captain kneels down grunting with pain, and Rumple picks up the hand from the wooden floor of the deck. Rumple then brings his sword close to Killian's neck and tells him that he wants the man alive because he wants him to suffer the way he did. He then lets out yet another one of his trademark squeals as he puts his sword back in its place, and Killian looks around for something to use against the beast. He notices the hook from the ropes nearby and stabs the villain in the chest with it. Rumple brushes this off with a joyful squeal, telling the pirate that killing him is gonna take more than that. Killian tells him that even demons can be killed, and he'll find a way. Rumple wishes him good luck living long enough, and then materializes in a cloud of crimson smoke. Once he's gone, the hook attached to its chest falls to the deck. Killian picks it up, and then looks at his dead lover, and back at the hook.
Belle is set up to lose her memory.
Back in Storybrooke, in present time, inside the local mines, Belle can be seen sitting inside a cart, being handcuffed to a side handle by Smee. She begs him to stop and asks him what he's doing, to which he responds that he's sending her on a little ride over the town line, and once she's crossed it, she'll forget who she was in the other realm and who she loved. He then gives her a lit flashlight, telling her it should help her find the key, which she left at the bottom of the car. He then wishes her good luck and pulls the lever. The cart starts riding down the tracks and William leaves. As she rides along the mine, Belle, looking back, scared out of her mind, begs him not to do this. She then notices the small silver key at the bottom of the cart and reaches for it. Once she grabs a hold of it, she tries to unlock the handcuff, but the cart hits a bump and she drops the key to the floor and squeals with fright. The cart continues its ride and Belle gives in to despair, but suddenly the ride comes to a halt. The cart is stopped, and sparks come flying from the tracks as its wheels are stopped. It then starts riding backwards, being pulled by a magical beam of blueish light. Belle wonders what is happening and finally the cart makes its way back to the beginning of the track, where Rumplestiltskin is waiting for her, he of course being the one responsible for the magic beam. Ruby is impressed by all of this, and once the cart stops, Rumple makes a single thrust with his hand and the handcuff keeping Belle imprisoned is opened. David proceeds to help her get out of the cart, and Gold comes up to her and asks if she's alright. She says that she thinks so, and he then asks if she remembers who he is. She eases his mind by saying that she does, and he moves in to hug her. Moe is none too happy about this. Belle, however, breaks off the embrace, clearly wanting some space, and Gold asks her what is wrong. Belle thanks him for what he just did, but it doesn't change the fact that he's too cowardly to be honest with her. As Gold tries to justify himself, Moe urges his daughter to come with him, to which she says, "After what you just tried to do to me? You're no better, father. You don't get to decide what I do or how I feel, I do." She walks past them and says, "If either of you cared about me, you would've listened. I don't wanna see either of you again... ever." This said, Belle starts to walk away, and Gold looks disheartened.
Belle is grateful towards Ruby.
Ruby puts down a plate with pancakes, eggs, bacon, oranges, and strawberries on the counter at Granny's Diner, and tells Belle, the person the platter is for, that this one is a classic. She then goes on to explain that the syrup goes on the pancakes, which are the round things, but she personally likes it when it gets on everything. Belle smiles and thanks Ruby, not just for the plate, but for everything. Ruby tells her not to worry, and that she can stay there until she is on her feet, and Granny will be fine with it. Ruby then claims to have almost forgotten one thing, and takes out a small box from her pocket, handing it to her and saying that someone dropped it off at the front desk for her. Ruby then goes back to her work and Belle unwraps the tiny box and opens it to find a key with the word "Library" written on its key chain. Belle is somewhat stunned, and happy.
A frank conversation.
Some time later, Belle makes her way over to the Storybrooke library, and uses the key given to her on the front door. She opens it and enters the neatly organized library, clearly delighted. Then, she hears a familiar voice uttering a popular quotation by Sir John Lubbock: "We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth." She turns to the source of the voice, Rumplestiltskin, who makes himself appear, coming from between some bookcases. Belle realizes he gave her the key, and he shares that he heard about her interest and made some acquires. He then tells her there's an apartment for the caretaker, if she wants it. Belle starts to tell them that if this is some way to win her back after everything he did... he interrupts her, saying that's not why he's there. He walks toward her and says he came because she's right about him, he is a coward and has been his entire life. He then explains that he tried to make up for it by collecting power, and the power became so important that he couldn't let go. "Not even... when that meant losing the most important person in my life." Belle is reminded of his son. He tells her his name: "Baelfire". He goes on to say that after the child left, he dedicated himself to find him, and went down many paths, until he found a curse that could take him to the land where Bae had escaped. Belle realizes the land is here, theirs, and Rumple says that now that he had found himself in this little town, there was only one thing left to do: wait for the curse to be broken so that he could leave and find Bae. Belle reminds him that instead of looking for his son, he brought magic, and Rumple justifies this by claiming to still be a coward, saying that magic has become a crutch that he can't walk without. And even if he could, he knows now he can never leave this place. Belle acknowledges that everyone who leaves forgets the people they love. "So, when you go to look for Baelfire... you won't know him." Belle appears to become moved by his situation, and so does Rumple. He then tells the beauty that he has to break this new curse, which is why he was using magic the night she saw him down in the basement. Belle is disheartened for him. "I have lost... so much that I loved.", he says, "I didn't wanna lose you again... without you knowing... everything.", he says, filled with emotion. He then moves in closer and touches her cheek, and says "Goodbye, Belle." She is left teary-eyed as he starts to walk away from her, and she then stops him by asking if he's ever had a hamburger. He turns around to face her and says "Yes, of course." She tells him she hasn't, but she hears Granny's makes a great one, and suggests that maybe they could try it sometime. Gold responds that he would like that. He then turns back around and leaves and she looks at him as he goes.
We are shown a hand drawing of teenage Baelfire, leaning against something on a table at Rumplestiltskin's house. The Dark One puts down the severed left hand supposedly containing a magic bean inside, and looks rather hopeful. He looks at the drawing of his son and smiles. He then proceeds to open the fingers of the hand he cut off from Killian, and gets a little anxious when he realizes that there is no magic bean inside it. He opens the hand completely and then stands back straight, surprised and livid. "No... he tricked me!", he says, filled with rage, as he pushes the table to the floor, breaking several objects that were on top of it. The drawing of Baelfire is also dropped to the floor.
"There's bumpy seas ahead!"
The magic bean is then seen resting on the fingers of Killian Jones' right hand. His stump is covered up by a black, plastic cover. The camera moves up to reveal his dismayed face. His ship has set sail and it can now be seen cutting through the waves of the ocean. The crew members lift up a wooden board with Milah's wrapped up body, and they bury her at sea. The saddened captain starts to make his way to the bow when his attention is caught by the grunting prisoner they've captured, William Smee, who calls out to him through his gag. Killian tells his crew to allow him to speak, and they remove the gag from his mouth and the rope from around his wrists. William walks up to the captain and says that he wants his bean, to which the pirate tells him how things work on his ship: he makes the demands, William follows them. Killian then says the bean is now his, and William says that he has to give him something for it. Killian says he gets his life, and the chance to join his crew. William tells him it's not right that he must scrub blood off his deck rather than get eternal life. Killian then makes it clear that they're about to set sail to a land where none of them will ever grow old... and where he can discover how to get his revenge on Rumplestiltskin. William smiles and says he could live with that. Killian says "Good." and then asks what his name is, to which the man replies, "William. William Smee." William notices one of the crew members wearing his red hat, and asks if he can have it back. Killian signals at the man to hand it over, and he obliges. William puts the hat on, and Killian welcomes him aboard. He then holds up the magic bean and throws it into the ocean. A swirl is formed from it, and Killian tells his crew to get ready to set sail, and that there's bumpy seas ahead. William watches with surprise and confusion, as the crew prepares to head toward the swirl. He then asks the captain for the name of the place they're headed to. Killian attaches a hook to cover up for his missing hand and says "Neverland!". He then moves the steering wheel and the ship is seen entering the swirling waters.
Smee is held captive. Must be Sunday.
Mr. Gold is seen opening the door to a darkened cellar. He comes down the last few steps and then closes the door behind him and the light is further drained from the place. The camera pans away slowly to reveal William Smee, tied up yet again, sitting on a chair. Gold approaches him and says that he's probably wondering why he was brought there. Gold shows him the red hat he always wore and claims that he found it in the mines. He then rests the hat over his lap and calls him "Mr. Smee". William starts to apologize for what he did, and Gold tells him he's not interested in apologies, only information... about the man he works for. William says he'll tell him everything he wants to know about Moe, but Rumple claims not to be interested in Moe... but in William's captain. Smee is surprised. Gold asks where the captain is. Smee swears that he's never seen the captain in Storybrooke, because for some reason when the curse hit, it didn't take him. Gold moves his face closer to the captive man's, with a menacing look, and asks where Killian is then.
A surprising alliance...
Killian Jones is seen, this time in the present, back in fairytale land, on the seashore. His hook for a hand, he looks through a monocular at the safe haven where the survivors gathered to escape the perils of the land. Cora, the wicked and powerful mother of Regina, is then seen approaching him. He uses his hook to retract his monocular, and she stops by his side, saying, with a smile, "Hello, Hook." He returns the greeting, and reminds her that she told him she had something important to show him. Cora reveals the bottle where she stored some of the ashes from the burnt wardrobe, and they are seen inside a cloud of purple light. Hook comments, sarcastically, "Sparkly dirt. Wonderful." Cora explains that they're the remains of a wardrobe that can travel between worlds. His interest is caught, and he asks if it's enough to get them to where they need to go, to which she replies, "Not quite. But it's a start." He then says, with a smile, that they're almost ready to set sail then. He asks what their port of destination is, and she answers that it's Storybrooke. He says it's a curious name, and starts to ask if that's where 'she' is, but Cora finishes the sentence for him, and says that it's where 'he' is as well - referring to both Regina and Rumplestiltskin. "Excellent.", the pirate captain says, "You'll be able to see your daughter... and I can skin myself a crocodile." They exchange wicked and determined looks...
The door to Rumple's shack is seen opening and the humble Rumplestiltskin himself enters. As he closes the door, Bae is seen to be watching, and utters, "Papa?" Rumple limps over to his son who asks when his mother is coming home, at this, Rumple stops and painfully says that she isn't. Bae appears confused and Rumple proceeds to sit opposite him, tearing up. "Because she's dead, son," he utters with tears. He pulls his boy in close and hugs him as he says he's sorry, and Bae cries into his father's shoulder, devastated by the news. "But I promise you," Rumple says, "I'll never let anything happen to you. We'll always be together... Always..."
- The title card features Captain Hook's pirate ship, the Jolly Roger.
- Although credited, Ginnifer Goodwin (Mary Margaret Blanchard/Snow White), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan) and Lana Parrilla (Regina Mills/Queen Regina) are absent from this episode.
- This is the first episode of the series not to feature any one of these main actresses.
- As of this episode, no character has appeared in every episode of the show.
- The title of this episode was revealed by executive producer and co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on September 22, 2012, along with the title for episode 2.05 and 2.06.
- This marks the sixth writing credit for David H. Goodman and the first writing credit for Robert Hull. It also marks the third directing credit for David Solomon.
This outing provided a boost in the ratings for the series, earning a 3.3/8 among 18-49s with 9.89 million viewers tuning in, making this the second most watched episode in the show's second season behind "Broken."
- Entertainment Weekly's Hilary Busis had high remarks for this outing, especially about the performance of Colin O'Donoghue, who was just added to the main cast even though he was a guest star in this installment: "Admit it: You let out a little squeal of glee when that pirate ship came lurching out of the shadows during tonight's title card. A guyliner-festooned Captain Hook just has that effect on people. What else can explain how the pirate garnered a die-hard fan base of 'hookers' weeks before he officially appeared on Once? (Word to the wise: Do not Google 'once upon a time hookers' unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences)."
- The A.V. Club gave the episode a B, noting that "this episode does for Rumpelstiltskin what 'We Are Both' did for Regina, putting him on the path to redemption when his relationship with Belle falls apart."
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN gave it a 9.5: "Last night’s episode of 'Once Upon a Time' featured love, swashbuckling, revenge, and Belle being completely lovable. In other words, it was pretty fantastic."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.