Once Upon A Time -- The Price of Magic
How Rumpelstilkskin Became Who He Is
Viewers are introduced to a very different Rumpelstiltskin who is working at his spinning wheel. He ran from the Ogre Wars and because that his wife runaway from him. The thing he holds dearest in his life is his son Bay. In a few days time his son will have his birthday and the Duke's soldiers will come for him to make him fight in the Ogre Wars. The soldiers are backed up by someone they call The Dark One who wields his magic against the parents of a girl the soldiers come and take away.
Feeling there's nothing left to it but to run, Rump and Bay run. The soldiers catch up with them and leave Bay alone after they humiliate Rump by telling Bay the truth about him and make him get down and kiss the boots of the head soldier in front of his son.
After the soldiers leave a kindly old man offers to take Rump and Bay in and be their benefactor. When Rump says he has nothing to give the man, he says Rump can just pay him what he can. The old man tells Rump the way to stop the soldier's from taking his son is to break into the Duke's castle and to steal a sword. The sword is how the Duke controls the Dark One. If Rump could kill the Dark One then the magic would be his.
Desperate with no other objection, Rump sets the Duke's castle on fire and steals the sword. Then he uses it to kill the Dark One. It isn't until it's too late that Rump discovers he's been tricked, for the old man is the one they call the Dark One and he wanted to be freed. Now the magic belongs to Rump.
He returns home and makes the same soldier how made him kiss his boot, kiss his foot, then he slaughters all the soldiers before the eyes of his horrified son. Rump succeeds in saving his son, but since his son is also terrified of him, the price was ultimately losing him. That was his price for magic.
In Storybrooke Gold asks Emma to his shop to see if she wants any of Graham's belongings. He even suggests it's time Emma took her place as sheriff of the town. Regina has other ideas, as she intends to fire Emma and make Sydney Glass the new sheriff.
Gold shows Emma the town charter that reveals Regina can only appoint a sheriff nominee, but the people get to vote for who they want as sheriff. So Emma throws her hat in the ring. Things don't look good when Regina via Sydney puts in a paper that Emma was in jail when she gave birth to Henry. However, fortune seems to be smiling on Emma when she goes to confront Regina for revealing her past and a fire breaks out and she's witnessed saving Regina's life.
Emma, however, realizes the fire was no accident and Gold was behind it. At the debate, where Sydney is saying what Regina told him to say, Emma confesses to the truth. It actually wins her the election because she was brave enough to stand up to Gold. Regina gives Emma the sheriff's star happy that Emma made an enemy of Gold. However, Gold reveals it was all part of his plan and he knew Emma would tell the truth, winning her the election. He also reminds her of the favor she still owes him.
Be afraid, Emma, be very afraid.
The interesting thing of how Rump became Rump was there was a time he was just like Cinderella. He spoke from personal experience when he told her she would be happier as she was; he was happier as he was than as he is. The magic seems to be almost a curse to him and the Dark One before him. You also have to wonder if the reason Rump wanted Cinderella's child was to replace his own child, who he surely lost after what he witnessed his father become to save him.
Realistically, Rump could make his deals without demanding a price, but since he paid such a high price himself, he wants everyone else who uses magic to have to pay a high price, themselves.