'Once Upon a Time' Recap: Rumpelstiltskin Had a Heart Once
'Once Upon a Time' Recap: Rumpelstiltskin Had a Heart Once
Hooray! Wake up sleepy heads! Once Upon a Time has returned from its winter break and Rumpelstiltskin is still at the center of things. Emma Swan is running for office and Regina and Mr. Gold are on opposing sides of her campaign. Meanwhile, we learn the troublemaker's own secrets.

Back in the old country, Rumpel's son watches on as a young girl has just turned 14 and is drafted by the duke's soldiers to leave her family and fight in battle. Her parents attempt to take her back by force, but a hooded figure, known as The Dark One, from a distance holds up a blue orb which commands them to stand back. Rumpel's boy will soon turn 14.

Two weeks after Sheriff Graham's death, Mr. Gold informs Emma Swan that acting sheriff automatically becomes the real deal. He also encourages her to keep reaching out to Henry. She makes a stop at the office to apply her new badge only to be met by Mayor Regina. Apparently, she's appointing candidate Sidney Glass, chief editor of The Daily Mirror, as the new sheriff. He'll be just another pawn in Regina's master plan to keep everyone in the dark. This means Mr. Gold has a reason to team up with Emma. She'll be running against Sidney for the office of town sheriff.

Rumpelstiltskin attempts to run away in the middle of the night with his son. Unfortunately, the same guard finds them and embarrasses him, calling him a coward. Basically, our evil minion was once a part of a war, but he ran home and left everyone else to die. His wife didn't even want to be with the poor guy, so she left her son to live with him. They're picked up by what looks to be a harmless old man.

The harmless old man seems to know more than he should. He suggests that Rumpelstiltskin take the power, a magical dagger, from The Dark One and fight for his son. This has to be easier said than done.

Madame Mayor has a "quaint" little chat with Mr. Gold as they discuss their opposing tactics on this campaign for sheriff. As Henry shows his birth mother, Regina has aired Emma's dirty laundry for all to see. "Don't do this," Henry suggests. Evil always wins and Regina is only the lesser of two evils.

Emma pops up at the Mayor's office to confront her about her juvenile record on the front of the newspaper. Regina spits out some catty comebacks before opening a door from the stairwell and POOF! There's an explosion. A hand rail falls on Regina's legs, leaving her unable to move on her own. Should Emma fend for herself or help the witch?

The season isn't over just yet, so unfortunately Emma saves the mayor, yet she realizes that the whole thing was done on purpose. By who? Mr. Gold, of course. "You couldn't do it without something big," he says. She walks away, but it may already be too late.

Rumpelstiltskin, with the help of his son, enters the castle that has now been set on fire and finds the dagger. Reading the name on the dagger exposes The Dark One's true identity. It reads, "Zoso." Summoning and killing Zoso means that the power has now been transferred to Rumpelstiltskin, whose name now adorns the dagger. By the way, The Dark One was the "harmless old man." Old people get you every time!

In front of the town of Storybrooke, Emma comes clean and confesses that Mr. Gold staged the fire. "I can't win that way," she apologizes to Henry and all of those in attendance. Mr. Gold limps out and Regina grins proudly.

Despite her gasp-worthy speech, Regina awards Emma with her appropriate sheriff badge. The people of Storybrooke admire a leader who can stand up to Mr. Gold. Sadly, she now has the shopkeeper as a "superlative enemy."

Rumpelstiltskin is enjoying his new found powers as The Dark One. He kills the guards who try to take his son for the duke's use. But now the boy is scared of his own father. Doesn't seem to strike a nerve in Rumpelstiltskin, though. He's "not afraid of anything."

And the gut-puncher of the episode goes to Mr. Gold. He recognized desperation in Emma Swan. Now that she's Storybrooke's sheriff, there is sure to be a way for her to pay him back for the deal they made.

Next week on Once Upon a Time, the tale of Hansel and Gretel finds its way to modern day. Emma is determined to keep the two orphans together while they try to escape the grasp of the Old Witch. Tune in next Sunday at 8pm on ABC.

Jilliane Johnson
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC)