Have I mentioned lately that Rumpelstiltskin is totally my favorite character?
A basic recap can be found here.
"Are you suggesting I'm working for Regina or against her?"
"I'm thinking diagonally."
I adore the exchange I just paraphrased above because it gets pretty close to the truth. Rumpelstiltskin couldn't care less about Regina's vendetta. Rumpelstiltskin is concerned with Rumpelstiltskin's goals, and he will ally with anyone - and I mean anyone - who will help him accomplish said objectives.
And what are Rumpelstiltskin's intentions, pray tell? Well, that's where things get delightfully complex thanks to Espenson's latest. At this point, I think we can say with some degree of confidence that he's not interested in taking Regina's place. While he evidently finds dark magic extremely intoxicating (as we see here, his courage fails him when the prospect of losing his new-found power arises), there is nothing in his back story to suggest that he finds Regina's brand of evil alluring. No -- Rumpelstiltskin, apparently, is being driven by two competing impulses. On the one hand, I think he would like to return to the fairy tale realm so that he can use his magic once again; being the cruel landlord in our world pales in comparison, I'm sure. On the other hand, he also wants to find his son, and that requires the continuation of the curse. Thus, in the near future, he will probably see to it that neither Regina nor Emma conclusively wins the day. In other words, a prolonged conflict between the two leading ladies is probably what best serves Rumpelstiltskin's interests.
And by the way, just in case I haven't made this clear already, I love that Rumpelstiltskin is so conflicted. It's interesting to watch the internal struggle between the redeemable and the demonic aspects of Rumpelstiltskin's nature because, in a way, that's a battle we all must fight. True -- our troubles with sin are hardly as dramatic. But as you may recall, it was St. Paul who once wrote, "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."
I focused on Rumpelstiltskin in my comments above, but this script also deserves credit for raising some intriguing questions regarding Mr. August W. Booth. Just who the hell is he, anyway? And who was he talking to on the phone?
The Robert Carlyle Rule applies.
Because Rumpelstiltskin dramatizes a fundamental truth of our human nature just by existing, this is the default score for any Rumpelstiltskin-heavy episode.