Anytime that you have a Rumpelstiltskin-centered episode of “Once Upon a Time,” you generally know that you are going to be staring in the face of something special. Robert Carlyle is a fantastic actor, but he also brings something important to the show which is a touch of uncertainty. When you have other characters like Snow White and Prince Charming, they are so goody two-shoes all of the time that you always know where their heads are at. There is much more in the way of mystery for Rumple, since his life is so much more layered and complex. He does love others, but he also loves himself … a lot.
This complex was a central theme of tonight’s “Nasty Habits,” a solid episode that did a good job of reminding us that Tinker Bell is still around, and that for whatever reason, Emma and her team are really no closer to finding Henry than they were previously. They have just come from visiting Baelfire’s old cave, but what we really learned here is that the man formerly known as Baelfire still does not trust his father.
Neal did have a good reason for this lack of trust. We saw it play out via flashbacks as Rumpelstiltskin took him away from Peter Pan and his little band of Lost Boys, and then in the present, Neal learned via Peter Pan about the prophecy that Henry would be the Dark One’s undoing. Rumple tried to convince his son that he had changed, and he did not want to kill his grandson for his own personal gain. But did he mean what he was saying? The door was open in that regard, mostly because the idea of Neal still being alive gives him a little bit more to look forward to.
But the other biggest revelation this week took place back at Peter Pan’s camp, where Henry was clueless of the fact that he was almost rescued by Neal. In a moment that really reminded us of “Where the Wild Things Are,” he took place in the wild rumpus created by Peter Pan as he started to realize that maybe this is the right place for him, and he can live here and be happy. This is trouble for Emma and everyone else hunting for Henry, but it also came out of left field. We did not have the emotional build up we needed to really buy into this completely. While a Rumple episode always increases the grade, this lowered it in the end. Grade: B-.
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