I actually, really, truly hope that next season will show us a magic-less Rumplestiltskin. There seems to be this false dichotomy flying around that Rumple will have to choose between Bae and Belle (as Lacey) but I think the third option is to have Bae & Belle (as Belle) but no magic. I think they brought up the idea in the last podcast that Tamara may steal his magic from him, and I can easily see that happening (to defend Henry or otherwise). If Belle returns and she and Rumple are able to reconcile (or at least be on that path) then I think the loss of magic and fallout from that will provide some great character conflict that will keep their relationship interesting.
Hmm, that is a very interesting third option. I hope magic becomes less of a crutch for Gold at some point, and who knows, you could be right and he tries to go cold turkey next season so he doesn’t have to risk loosing Belle or his son. b/c really, I don’t want him to lose either of them. so Gold making a deal with both to not use magic would be interesting to watch.
as for the females on this show one phrase comes to mind. something Carrie Fisher said about describing Leia: she is a distressing damsel. in other words, the females don’t wait around for the men to rescue them. they will find a way to rescue themselves. and you really see that a lot with the women on this show. they will take matters into their own hands instead of letting a guy do the rescuing.