We begin the episode in STORYBROOKE, in Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop, where GOLD is giving BELLE a gift. He opens a small box to reveal a necklace, and Belle is clearly moved by the gift and its beauty. As Gold puts the necklace on her, Belle asks him what’s the occasion? He tells her the occasion is “Us.” He concedes they haven’t gotten out much, and he wants to see Storybrooke with her, though he warns her that the town’s nightlife is pretty limited. They kiss, and Belle thanks Gold for attempting to really change. Just then, LEROY (aka GRUMPY) barges into the shop demanding his pick-axe. He accuses Gold of being a thief, and then turns his anger towards Belle, asking how she can be with this monster. This is too much for Gold, who pushes Leroy against a wall, then begins to choke him. Belle, terrified, tries to calm Gold, telling him this isn’t him. Still choking Leroy, Gold turns to her to reveal… It’s Rumplestiltskin, the Dark One! His unmistakable countenance telling her he was there all along. Just as the shock of this settles in, Belle bolts upright in her bed. That’s right, it was all a dream. Belle rises and goes outside, making her way to a window into Gold’s back room, where Gold works at a spinning wheel, spinning gold thread. He snips a piece of the thread, and puts it into a small glass bottle, which sparks a reaction. That’s right, he’s practicing magic. Off Belle’s apprehension that her dream just might come true…
Jump to FAIRY TALE LAND, long ago. Rumplestiltskin’s house. The hovel we remember from Season 1, before Rumple became the Dark One. Rumplestiltskin enters and calls out “Milah,” then for Baelfire. We reveal Bae, younger than we’ve seen him, waiting alone at the dinner table. Rumple asks Bae where his mom is, but the boy’s silence is the only answer he needs. A sheepish Rumple tells Bae that his mother probably just lost track of time. He tells Bae to get his cloak.
A short while later, in the local TAVERN, there is raucous drinking going on, with a raven-haired woman gambling and leading a table full of drinking companions in a toast. Rumple approaches, telling Milah it’s time to go. She tells him, “Good. So, go.” A dark and dashing companion at the table asks Milah who this interloper is, and Milah further shames Rumple by telling the man that Rumple is no one; just her husband. The dashing man makes fun of Rumple, with his numerous companions joining in on his joke. Rumple tries to tell Milah that she has responsibilities, but she shoots back at him that he denied his own responsibilities as a man by fleeing the Ogre Wars. She bemoans having been lashed to the only coward in town to flee his responsibility. “Run home, Rumple. It’s what you’re good at.” Off this cold dismissal we hear the voice of young Bae, who has entered the bar against his father’s wishes. But his presence moves Milah, and she reluctantly leaves the festivities with Rumple and her son.
Back at their humble home, with Bae to sleep and Milah in bed, Rumple implores her to put aside the embarrassment she feels at his fleeing the Ogre Wars. He’s alive, and so is Bae. But Milah is unsatisfied. She wants a different life, away from a place where he’s the village coward. She wants to start again. But Rumple pushes, through this, asking her to accept that the life they have can be good. He asks her to try, if not for him than for Bae. A hesitant Milah says she will.
Back in Storybrooke, Gold enters his house to find Belle waiting. She asks him what he’s been doing. Gold, slightly nervous, tells her that he was about to make her breakfast. Belle tells him she means what he was doing in the basement. She tells him she saw him practicing magic. He deflects her concerns, telling her that it was only a couple of spells, nothing to be concerned about. But Belle wants to know why. Why did he bring magic to Storybrooke? He tells her that magic is power, but Belle immediately questions why he feels he needs it. Off his hesitation, she tells him he doesn’t need power; he needs the courage to let her in. As Gold takes in this proclamation, jump to –
Fairy Tale Land’s past, where a village woman knocks on Rumple’s door, and tells a shocked Rumple that the sailors who came into port last week are leaving with Milah. From there we go to the DOCKS, where Rumple approaches a vessel and climbs aboard, only to trip and fall. A gruff Quartermaster tells Rumple to get on his feet for the captain, and that’s when Rumple is formally introduced to the dashing pirate we saw in the bar. The man introduces himself as Killian Jones, and asks Rumple what he’s doing aboard his ship. Rumple tells him that he has his wife, to which Killian responds that he’s had many men’s wives. Rumple persists, begging this man to release Milah. But Killian isn’t interested in bartering. That said, his personal code will allow Rumple to take his wife back… if he can defeat him in a duel. A rusty Cutlass is thrown at Rumple’s feet. But Rumple is incapable of fighting, both physically and mentally. He can’t even take up the sword. Terrified and simpering, Rumple asks Killian what he will tell his child. Killian replies coolly that he should tell him the truth: his father is a coward.
From this painful event we move to present day Storybrooke, deep in the Storybrooke mines. All of the DWARFS and DAVID (aka Prince Charming) chisel away at the rock as HENRY watches on. RUBY shows up, delivering food and checking to see if the group has found any Fairy Dust. Henry tells her that they haven’t had any luck yet, but he’s sure they’re going to find some soon and bring back Mary Margaret and Emma. David pauses his work, telling Leroy that he’s going to leave so he can fill in for Emma at the Sheriff’s department. He and Henry exit as we jump to –
Mr. Gold’s house. Gold knocks on the door to Belle’s room, imploring her to come downstairs and eat something. When he gets no answer, Gold enters to find Belle is gone, having apparently snuck out through her window. Gold goes to Belle’s father’s flower shop to see if her father, MOE, has seen her. Moe reacts angrily, saying he hasn’t seen her and letting Gold know he holds him responsible. Gold tells Moe he doesn’t expect him to help, but he just wants to know she’s safe. Moe says that thanks to Gold, neither one of them knows, adding, “You’re a monster, Rumplestiltskin.” As Gold takes this in, we jump to –
Fairy Tale Land, in a Tavern. Rumplstiltskin waits at a table, but this is no longer merely Rumple the man. Since last we saw him he has assumed the mantle of the Dark One. He’s joined at the table by a MAN in a red knit cap. Rumple tells the man that he had better agree with him that this meeting was worth his time. The red-capped man tells Rumple that he deals in hard to find objects, for instance a magic bean that can create a portal between worlds. Rumple’s attention is piqued, but he seems dubious. The man convinces him that he can indeed find him a bean, and admits to Rumple that he’s heard that Rumple was a coward but became the Dark One to protect his son, who he ultimately lost – The man is suddenly cut off as Rumple uses magic to choke him. Rumple wants the bean, and the man says he can get it, but his price is eternal life. Rumple tells him eternal life is reserved only for the Dark One, but that he can turn back the clock and make the man young again. The man agrees to these terms. As the man quickly leaves, Rumple notices someone familiar enter the tavern. Rumple realizes that it’s his old enemy, the pirate Killian Jones. From Rumple’s satisfaction at this development, cut to –
Storybrooke, in Granny’s Diner. Belle is relishing iced-tea, telling Ruby that she’s never had it with ice before. Ruby says she hasn’t seen Belle in here before, and Belle tells her that until recently she’s been a kept woman. Ruby guesses that Belle just broke up with someone, and Belle tells her she may be headed there. Ruby asks her if she has someplace to stay, or any family in town. Belle says she’s still looking. Ruby offers to talk to Granny about finding a room for Belle upstairs. Belle is appreciative, but adds that she also needs a job. Ruby asks her what she likes to do, and Belle, considering, tells her she loves books. Ruby tells her that the library is closed now, but given how the town is changing, maybe she could re-open it. Off Belle’s interest in this prospect, we go to –
Belle approaching the Storybrooke library, its windows covered in newspaper. She tries a door to no avail, then goes around the back, peering in through a tear in the newspaper at the shelves of books. But she’s surprised when a man asks her for some spare change. We notice the man’s red cap and recognize him as the man from FTL who Rumple made a deal with in the tavern. Belle tells him she doesn’t have any money, and after he asks if she’s meeting a friend and Belle tells him no, he suddenly subdues her, putting his hand over her mouth and carrying her off.
We return to Fairy Tale Land, in an alley, where Killian Jones and his rowdy crew are passed by a hooded figure, who BUMPS Killian as he passes by. Killian calls the man out, telling him to stop, and accusing him of having worse manners than a gutter rat. The hooded figure, who we can tell is Rumple, fakes obsequiousness. Killian, finally getting a look at Rumple, remarks that he was mistaken; he’s not a gutter rat, he looks more like… a crocodile. Killian swats away the coins Rumple is holding, then pushes him over with a boot when Rumple bends to pick them up. Killian demands to know this knave’s name. But an unmistakable laugh is his reply. Rumple rises, finally throwing back his hood. Killian remembers him from their encounter on the boat, but Rumple lets him know that Rumple is only a part of his true identity. Most now know him as… The Dark One. And we can see from Killian and the rest of his crew that they know exactly who that is and what it means for them. Rumple is pleased at their sudden fear, and when prompted by Killian, asks him, “How’s Milah?” Killian feigns ignorance, but on Rumple’s threat to dig out his memory, tells him that Milah died long ago. Following this revelation, Rumple tells Killian that they never got a chance to finish their duel. Killian prepares to draw his sword, but Rumple tells him they’ll duel tomorrow at dawn, warning him against trying to flee, or he’ll kill his entire crew.
Leap to Storybrooke, where David opens the door of Emma and Mary Margaret’s apartment to find… Gold. Gold tells a very surprised David that he would like a word, noticing that David now wears the Sheriff badge. David tells him he can’t talk, he’s got a day full of cleaning up the mess Gold made. Gold uncharacteristically apologizes for his bad judgment, and David lets him in to speak his piece. Gold says he’s there to report a missing person, offering a hesitant David the Missing poster that Moe had crafted. Gold tells David her name is Belle. David says that Rumple mentioned that he was in love once, but he thought that she had died. Gold confirms this is the girl he spoke off, and that he was mistaken about her being dead. David asks how he knows she hasn’t simply run off, and Gold concedes that he doesn’t. He reminds David that he’s in a unique position to understand Gold’s dilemma (meaning Emma and MM’s disappearance). David takes this in, and we can tell that, despite his misgivings about Gold, Prince Charming will always look out for innocents.
Back in the Fairy Tale Land, it’s dawn, and Killian arrives for his duel with the Dark One. Suddenly a rusty cutlass appears at Killian’s feet. From atop a perch, Rumple calls out, telling him to pick it up. Killian tells him there’s no need, going to draw his sword, only to find it’s gone – Rumple has magically usurped it to enjoy murdering Killian with his own sword. The duel begins, and Killian is certainly an impressive swordsman, but Rumple is, well, Rumple, and easily parries or dodges Killian’s onslaught, mocking him as he does. Finally, Rumple knocks the sword from Killian’s hand, and Killian, knowing he’s lost, tells Rumple he’s ready for the sword. But Rumple has something else in mind, telling Killian that having his wife stolen from him was like having his heart ripped from his chest. “Here,” he adds, “Let me show you.” And with that, Rumple plunges his hand into Killian’s chest, about to pluck out his heart when he hears a cry from nearby of a woman telling him to stop. Rumple looks over, and to his shock sees that the woman is MILAH! She’s alive. Off Rumple’s shock at this –
Travel back to Storybrooke, in an unidentified room, where the man in the red cap guards Belle from escape. Belle demands to know who he is, and he tells her he’s just a man who procures hard-to-find objects, the object in this case being Belle. As Belle wonders who put him up to this, in walks MOE. Belle is overjoyed to see her father, hugging him, but can’t understand why he did this. She explains that she wasn’t being held captive by Gold, she chose to be with him. Moe tells Belle she mustn’t be in love with Gold, but Belle refuses, telling him that it’s her life. Moe, saddened, tells her he doesn’t have a choice and that he’s sorry. He tells the man in the red cap, “Do it.” Belle, terrified, wants to know what is going to happen to her, but gets no reply from her father but “Goodbye,” as the red-capped man drags her away.
From this shock we go to Main Street in Storybrooke, where David finds out that his and Gold’s search for Belle will be much harder given people in town’s hatred and mistrust of Gold/Rumple for his dark deeds. David won’t give up for Belle’s sake, though, telling Gold that they’ll try Granny’s. On the walk over, Gold asks David how things work with him and Mary Margaret, and a stunned David realizes Gold is asking him for dating advice. He tells Gold the secret was hard work and being honest with each other, drawing the distinction between merely not lying and a real honesty of the heart. As Gold absorbs this –
Jump to FTL, where we rejoin Rumple at the moment Milah has shown up to plead Rumple to spare Killian’s life. A shocked Rumple releases Killian’s heart, and the injured pirate collapses onto the ground. Killian tells Milah she has to run, but she says no: she’s not leaving without him. “How sweet,” remarks Rumple, realizing there’s much more to this tale than he knew, and instructing Milah to confess the truth. Milah tells Rumple that she fell in love with Killian, but didn’t know how to tell Rumple the truth, so she fled with Killian aboard his ship. Rumple realizes this is true love, and is about to delight in destroying it by killing Killian, but Milah stays his hand by telling him she has something he wants. Rumple is doubtful until Milah produces a very memorable red cap, telling Rumple she knows he wants the magic bean, and she’ll only give it to him if he spares their lives. Rumple tells her he wants to see the bean first.
Back to Storybrooke, at Granny’s Diner, where Ruby looks at the missing poster of Belle, then tells David and Gold she hasn’t seen her. David, sensing her hesitation, tells Ruby that she needs to tell them the truth, and that he’ll protect Belle from Gold. Ruby admits to them that Belle was in earlier, and that Ruby directed her to the library. After David reassures her further, Ruby tells them that she thinks she can help track Belle. Since things changed in town she’s found herself more sensitive to odors. Outside in Storybrooke, Ruby leads them down the street, following Belle’s scent until she loses the trail because of the overwhelming smell of flowers. Ruby apologizes, but Gold tells her not to: she’s led them right to Belle’s father’s flower shop. Gold, Ruby and David enter the shop, and an irate Moe tells Gold he’s not welcome. David reassures Moe that he won’t let anything happen to Belle, and Moe tells them that Belle is safe. Gold wants to talk to her, but Moe says he won’t let Gold destroy Belle like he’s destroyed everything else. Gold, David and Ruby have their suspicion triggered, and Gold gets serious, asking Moe what he’s done with her. After being pushed by Gold, Moe admits that he had to make Belle forget about him, even if it means she’ll forget him, too. Gold realizes that Moe is going to send Belle across the town line and wipe her memory away. Outside the shop, Gold grabs Moe, trying to get him to confess. As David pulls Gold off of Moe, he notices MINE DUST on Moe’s hands. The same mine dust David had on his hands after working in the mines earlier. David suddenly realizes: “The tunnels. They lead out of town.” David leads Moe into his truck, with Gold and Ruby joining them. From their urgent mission we go to –
Fairy Tale Land, where Milah helps a nearly incapacitated Killian on to his pirate ship, instructing the crew to get him water, and to bring up the prisoner from below deck. Rumple, appears out of nowhere, remarking that the crew responds to Milah as if she was the captain. He’s glad she finally found the family… she could never have with him. The Dark One is rarely of good humor, but we can tell as he passes Milah that he is seething. The prisoner, bereft of his red cap, is brought up, and Milah shows Rumple the MAGIC BEAN. As he reaches for it, Milah tosses it to Killian. He asked to see it and now he has, says Killian. Milah tries to confirm with Rumple that they have a deal, and will go their separate ways. Rumple gets to the point by saying what she’s really asking is can he forgive her? “Perhaps,” he says. He can see she is truly in love. As they prepare to give him the bean and complete the deal, Rumple tells her he has just one question. Milah, trying not to let her fear show, asks him what he wants to know. Rumple, getting close, asks her, “How could you leave Bae?” Rumple describes his shame at losing her, and how he had to tell Bae his mother was dead. Rumple’s anger is growing. Milah expresses her genuine regret at leaving Bae behind, but sorry isn’t enough for Rumple. Moorings on the boat start to snap loose as Rumple’s rage grows. He accuses her of letting their son go, and now we know that part of why Rumple is so inconsolable is his guilt for having let Bae go, himself. Milah says she let her misery cloud her judgment, and when Rumple asks her why she was so miserable, she tells him she never loved him. Rumple considers this for a moment, and then plunges his hand into her chest! Killian calls out to Milah, and runs to help, but with a wave of Rumple’s hand he sends Killian to a nearby mast, where ropes magically wrap around him, holding him fast. Rumple pulls out Milah’s heart. Killian frees himself and rushes to her, but it’s too late, Rumple has crushed her heart, killing her. Killian tells Rumple he may be more powerful, but he’s no less of a coward. Rumple demands the bean in Killian’s clenched fist, but Killian tells him he’ll have to kill him. Rumple says no, he’s not going to kill him, then suddenly cuts off Killian’s hand! Rumple collects the closed hand from the deck of the ship, then tells Killian that he wants him to live so he can suffer the way Rumple has. As Rumple strides off, Killian picks up a shiny HOOK from the deck of the ship, rushes Rumple and plunges the hook into his heart. Rumple seems stricken by the blow, until he rises and laughs it off, letting Killian know it’ll take a lot more than that. Killian replies that even demons can be killed, and that he will find a way. Rumple tells him good luck living long enough, then dematerializes, the hook in his chest clattering to the deck of the ship, where Killian collects it, thinking.
Down in the Storybrooke MINES, the red-capped man handcuffs Belle to the coal car he’s placed her in. The man gives Belle a flashlight and tells her the key to the handcuffs are on the floor. Once she crosses the town line and loses her memory she can make her way out. Belle, not knowing until now the consequences of crossing the town line, pleads with the man not to go through with this, but it falls on deaf ears. He sets the cart in motion, heading down the tracks, deeper into the tunnel. Belle frantically tries to find the key to the handcuffs, and she succeeds, but as she tries to unlock her wrist she drops the key! Just as the cart seems to be gaining real speed, and things seem doomed, the cart suddenly slows, stops, and then reverses back up the tracks. We reveal that Gold is at the mouth of the tunnel and is using his magic to bring the cart back. As the cart reemerges at the mouth of the tunnel, Gold uses magic to stop the cart and pop off her handcuffs. David helps Belle out of the cart, and Gold asks her if she’s alright. She says she thinks so. He asks her if she remembers him, and she says she does. They embrace. But Belle breaks the moment by telling him that while she’s grateful for what he did, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s too cowardly to be honest with her. Moe, trying to seize the moment, tells Belle to come with him, which she absolutely refuses, considering what he’s just tried to do to her. She tells both Rumple and Moe that they don’t get to decide what she does or feels; she does. She exits the mine, but not before telling Rumple and Moe that she doesn’t want to see either of them again. Off Gold taking in this crushing development, we go to –
Granny’s, where Ruby serves Belle a breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes, explaining how to use maple syrup. Belle thanks Ruby, and Ruby tells her that Granny is happy to have Belle stay until she is on her feet. Ruby also gives Belle a small box, telling her it’s a gift that someone dropped of for her at the front desk. Belle opens the box to reveal a KEY, and a label to the side of it says “Library.” As Belle ponders this, jump to –
Outside the library, where Belle eagerly comes to the front door and opens it with her key. Entering the library with appreciative awe, she hears a familiar voice. Gold reveals himself, and Belle asks him if he was the one who gave her the key. He confirms this, adding that there’s an apartment for the caretaker upstairs. Belle is suspicious that he’s trying to win her back with this, but he tells her it’s not why he’s here. He came to tell her that she’s right about him; he is a coward and has been his whole life. He tried to make up for it by collecting power. He couldn’t give it up, even when it meant losing his son. He reveals to Belle and to us that he found Regina’s curse and brought about its use so he could come to this world and search for his boy. Asked by Belle why, if that’s the case, did he need to bring magic back, Rumple confesses it’s because he’s still a coward, and that magic is a crutch he can’t walk without. And even if he could, he now knows he can never leave this place. Belle gets that if Gold goes looking for Baelfire, he’ll forget him. He tells her that’s what she saw him doing when he was working with magic: he was trying to break this new curse. Gold tells her that he’s lost so much of what he loved, that he didn’t want to lose Belle again without her knowing the truth. Belle is moved as Rumple touches her cheek and tells her goodbye. As he leaves, Belle asks him if he’s ever had a hamburger. He turns, tells her of course. She says she hasn’t , but she hears Granny’s makes a great one. Maybe they could try it sometime? Gold says he’d like that, then exits, leaving Belle to ponder all she has learned.
Back in Fairy Tale Land, Rumple takes Killian’s hand from his cloak, and opens the fingers to reveal… NOTHING. The bean isn’t there. Rumple, furious at having been tricked, upturns a table, sending Milah’s drawing of Bae to the floor. From there, we travel to –
A hand holding the bean. Pull back to reveal the hand belongs to Killian, his other hand being the stump that Rumple left him. He’s aboard his pirate ship, in open water, watching as the crew send Milah’s wrapped body into the sea. After a solemn moment, Killian demands the prisoner be allowed to speak. The man tells Killian he wants his bean, but Killian informs him that on his ship he makes the demands and the man will follow them. The bean is now his, and the only price he’s willing to pay for it is to let the man live, and to give him a chance to join his crew. The man finds this unfair until Killian tells him they’re bound for a land where none of them will ever grow old, giving him time to figure out how to kill Rumplestiltskin. The man agrees to this, and, when asked his name, says it’s William. William Smee. He asks for his red cap back, and things start to become clear. Killian throws the bean into the water off the side of the boat, then tells his crew to get ready for bumpy seas. Smee asks Killian the name of the place they’re headed, and as Killian affixes the shiny HOOK in place of his missing hand, he tells him, “Neverland.” Killian, soon to be better known as Captain Hook, turns the wheel, guiding his ship into the vortex. From this fateful act, we go to –
Storybrooke. The back room of Gold’s shop. Gold enters and walks up to… SMEE. He’s captured him. Gold tells Smee he’s probably wondering why he brought him here. He found Smee’s hat in the mines. Smee tries to apologize, but Gold cuts him off. He wants to know about the man he works for. Smee says he’ll tell him whatever he wants to know about Moe, but Gold corrects him. Not Moe. His captain. Where is he? Smee tells him that he’s never seen him in Storybrooke. Somehow, he must not have been taken. Gold, close and menacing, “Then where is he?” We get our answer when we leap to –
Fairy Tale Land. Hook looks at something through a telescope, and we see that it’s… The Island Encampment where Snow and Emma just left to search for the wardrobe. We’re stunned to realize that we’re in Present Day FTL, and that Hook is there. As he puts away his telescope, using his hook to collapse it, CORA comes up, greeting him with “Hello, Hook.” He returns her greeting, though we can tell he’s wary. He tells her she said she had something important to show him. Cora presents the bottle containing the ashes of the wardrobe that she picked up last episode. “Sparkly dirt, wonderful,” he quips. She tells him it’s the remains of the wardrobe that can enable them to travel worlds. He asks her where their next destination is and she tells him “Storybrooke.” She adds, somewhat cryptically, that’s where she is, and that’s where he is. Hook likes the sound of this, remarking that it means Cora will get to see her daughter, and he’ll finally get to skin himself a crocodile. And off this promise and his passionate hate, we –
Written by Brian L. Ridings