I hear what you are saying Riddleraven. I just don’t find Rumpel all that impressive of a strategist. I haven’t seen much evidence that he is doing anything for the long game. I don’t believe he can see the future. There are just too many times when he doesn’t know things like where the fairy godmother was or that the queen is lying about Belle being dead unless the idea is that he is faking all of those things for his own purposes.
but with a good stageyist you would not even KNOW there is a strategy and you are being manipulated.