One of the last things both Belle and Baelfire said to Rumpel was “You’re a coward” before they disappeared and Rumpel never saw them again. Rumpel swore to the blue fairy that he would “love nothing else” until he got Baelfire back yet clearly he loved Belle and he lost her for the same reason he lost Baelfire- he chose his power over being loved.
It makes me wonder whether Rumpel’s happy ending is only going to occur when he stops being a coward and chooses to sacrifice his power for his loved ones.
I completely agree with this and am actually amazed that his cowardice doesn’t come up more often in discussions about his character. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love this character but he is a coward. That has consistently been his downfall. It was a theme in all three Rumplelcentric episodes and I think it’s what he needs to conquer for redemption.
It scares me a little because to be redeemed for all he’s done I think we are talking self sacrifice as a final brave act, however since he is also the “Beast” and in that story the beast was dying when Beauty kissed him and broke his curse – there is still potential for a happy ending.