Personally I LOVE Rumple but some of the things he does – YIKES. Not good to be watching the show with your 10 year old when Rumple turns a guy into a snail and squashes him and then have your 10 year old yell “COOL!!” Oh. No. No. No. So very NOT cool.
But I think this is really what is so fascinating about the character for me – I don’t think I have ever had a character on a show before where one moment I LOVE him and am crying for him and the next I am cringing and feeling like Mother of the Year for allowing my child to watch the hideous acts he is performing on screen. He is one seriously messed up character, yet I love him anyway.
Someone else mentioned what it really comes down to for me was well – it’s the hope for Rumple’s redemption. We get to see flickers of this hope, in some episodes more than others – the last episode gave us some ‘three steps forward two steps back’ kind of progress. But I also agree that for Rumple it can’t just be about his own redemption – he has done too much damage to himself and allowed damage to be done to others by having Regina enact the curse for it to be only about himself. For some reason I keep thinking that at some point (if he hasn’t already) he is going to identify with the part of Regina that was once good and he will become determined to redeem her as well. I actually think that it would be more meaningful if his act of self-sacrifice happened in the pursuit of Regina’s redemption than in his own redemption or in trying to find Bae or save Belle.
I agree that technically Bae was Rumple’s price for desiring magic and power (even though I hope they are reunited) so while it is noble that he has made it his life’s work to find him, he has done it at the expense of EVERYONE else by allowing Regina to enact the curse. So finding Bae was really more of a selfish act now that I really think about it. And while I also hope and pray that he and Belle somehow end up together – it was really his fault that they couldn’t be together. Bummer that he was convinced she was dead, it will be nice when he knows she isn’t but still he has a lot more to work toward than just being accepted by Belle again.