In town, Hook has been reassigned from protecting Belle to watching Neal and making sure he doesn’t run off in search of Rumple on his own. Neal calls Hook a hero for bringing Emma back when he did, and Hook points out that if Rumpelstiltskin is back, Neal probably used dark magic, so the scripts are totally flipped. Hook then looks upon Neal and no longer sees the stubborn and mopey man before him, but the little Baelfire he once knew. He hugs him and tells him that he’ll give him a ten minute head start.
Emma and David are already in the woods of Storybrooke, looking for Rumple, and chatting about Henry and his memories. Emma once again mentions that she isn’t sure she wants Henry to have them. Before David can do too much protesting, they hear Rumple screaming and run to him. He’s yammering on in his Rumpelstiltskin ways, clutching his head, and yelling about voices. A flying monkey attacks them, and David fends it off while Emma chases after a fleeing Rumple.
Regina and Robin are at the farmhouse, sniffing around for clues. Robin points out that she doesn’t seem as evil as her reputation would lead one to believe, and then turns his flirt on. He gets all close to Regina, grabs a bottle, and asks if it’s magical. She says it might act like a potion, but that it’s only whiskey, and the hangover it will give you is decidedly not magical.
He pours her a glass and offers it to her, conveniently revealing his lion tattoo. Regina has a flashback of Tinkerbell telling her that the love of her life will have a lion tattoo, so Regina does what she did the last time she was faced with this supposed true love and RUNS FOR HER LIFE.
BOYS HAVE COOTIES!
Emma finds Neal in the forest and takes him back to the hospital, assuring him that she saw Rumple alive, albeit not-so-well, at least in the head region.
Flash back to the Enchanted Forest, where Belle and Neal are traipsing through the trees, reminiscing about how Rumple sacrificed himself to save his family. They eventually come to an empty, snow-covered clearing and know they’ve found the right spot. They light Lumiere and he tells them that the entryway to the Vault of the Dark One is under the snow. They ask if he’s sure, and Lumiere snaps at them, saying he’s been hanging out in Rumpelstiltskin’s library for 200 years, of course he’s sure! Belle, ever the clever one, asks him to repeat this factoid. When Lumiere says 200 years again, Belle tells Neal she knows the talking candle they had been trusting is lying, because Rumple built that library for Belle, meaning it’s barely 30 years old.
Caught, Lumiere admits that it was the Wicked Witch who gave him the information, and that she wants Rumpelstiltskin back to control him with the Dark One’s dagger. Belle is like, “Okay great, thanks for telling us. So, Neal, we should just get going then?” But Neal is not smart like Belle. Neal thinks that bringing his father back as a slave to evil is better than leaving him dead.
Belle tries one last time to get Neal to not make his father’s mistake, but he goes right ahead and makes his father’s mistake. He shoves the key into the hole, and it burns his hand. Then the hellmouth opens and a body of black goo rises up from the Vault. Belle, like a baby duck asking everything it sees if its their mother, says, “Rumple?” a look of hopefulness on her innocent face.
“I should have stayed with Ruby.”
In the present-day Storybrooke forest, Neal and Emma are bonding over their absurd exes and the good old days in Tallahassee. Neal tells Emma that even if they can never get those good times back, all he wants is for her to be happy. Heck, even if she ended up with an evil queen — as long as she was happy, he’d be happy.
A call from Belle interrupts this love-fest with some bad news: the symbol on his hand is from the key of the Vault of the Dark One. A Vault that takes a life for a life. Thereby, if Neal used the key, he should be dead.
Flash back to when the Vault was opened, when Rumple Rises out of the goo. The first thing he sees is Belle, but the second thing he sees is his son, collapsed on the ground. He runs to his Baelfire and the Wicked Witch appears.
The Wicked Witch defends herself, saying all she did was provide information, it was Lovesick and Daddy Issues over here that did all the heavy lifting. Rumple bemoans that she didn’t tell them the price they would have to pay and she just sort of giggles and says, “Oops!”
Rumple grabs Neal and the dagger and tries to magic him back to life, but Zelena smirks and tells him that he can’t have both. He surprises her, though, when he drops the dagger to keep holding Neal. He then ABSORBS HIM. Like a fetus absorbs a twin in the womb, he literally absorbs his son. It’s the weirdest.
Rumple feels duped, but Zelena doesn’t care, because she controls him now. She orders him to kill Belle, but Lumiere had been watching this all play out and starts to think he might have been playing for the wrong side. So he wraps Zelena up in some flame-ropes and lets Belle and RumpleNeal get away.
In present-day Storybrooke, Neal starts to freak out and Emma sees a flicker of Rumple in his face. Emma has obviously seen Buffy, because she knows immediately that there’s a Ben/Glory situation going on. She says she thinks Gold is inside him, and he’s all, “Right he’s always in my heart that’s very touching but–” and she’s like “No, no, LITERALLY inside you. Ben is Glory. Glory’s Ben.” He takes it remarkably well, for being such an absurdly random thing, and tells her to separate them using her magic. Emma has two problems with this plan: 1) she has only been able to do moon-moving magic while she was touching Regina, and 2) if she does somehow pull this off, Neal will die.
Neal tells her to do it anyway, he selflessly says that they need Rumple to figure out what’s going on, to stop the Wicked Witch. He’s willing to make this sacrifice for his father, because his father made this sacrifice for him. They hold hands, and much to everyone’s surprise, Emma actually succeeds in splitting the two apart.
J.Mo faces, ftw.
At first, they both seem fine. In fact, Rumple seems to be back to his Gold self. He immediately tells them that Zelena is the Wicked Witch, and that she’s after “what she doesn’t have.”