She teases that Rumple had been in Neverland before, and that it’s likely he was there as a boy. She adds that Rumple was touched by magic prior to becoming the Dark One, which she heavily implies comes from her knowledge of what happens in this episode.
This is interesting! Pre-Dark Rumple was touched by magic long before he was cursed. This sounds like what the BF said to Bae in “The Return.” She said, “You’re not untouched by magic are you? There’s something dark in your life.” On the one hand, the BF was obviously speaking of Bae’s father being the Dark One, and yet, it’s quite interesting to note that Bae was touched by magic, which are the same words Barbara used to describe Rumple before he became cursed. Also in the 2×21 official podcast, Adam and Eddy said that when Bae went trough the bean portal, magic followed him! I think this means that the shadow has been following Rumple before he became the dark one, and that the Shadow then followed Bae specficially. We know that the Shadow also started showing up at the Darlings at the same time that Bae did. So, the Shadow specifically wanted Bae to come to NL, probably because he or “it” somehow sensed that Henry would come from Rumple’s, and thus, Bae’s family line. PP, or the Shadow, must have known the prophesy that Henry would be Rumple’s undoing.
Also, I wonder if “being touched by magic” somehow makes Bae and Henry magical too. Neal used a magical object, yes, but he also had to think of an emotion to make it work, which is to say he conjured magic (which is what Rumple taught Emma to do in “The Miller’s Daughter”). Also, Henry being the Truest Believer (as well as Emma’s son) is what could make him magical, since it was his belief which activated the pixie dust. Also, putting the whole issues of genetics aside for a moment, Henry was raised by Regina who is magical. Henry has been touched by magic since his birth when the lights flickered in the hospital.
"That’s how you know you’ve really got a home. When you leave it, there’s this feeling that you can’t shake. You just miss it." Neal Cassidy