Well, when I saw the preview of this weeks episode of "Once Upon a Time" I was not eager to watch. The idea of retelling "Beauty and the Beast" with Rumpelstiltskin as the Beast didn't seem like a good idea. Rumpy here, while dangerous, has always been more a trickster figure whereas the Beast in the story was a fearsome monster with hidden depths. Just didn't seem like a good fit, and besides they've been shoehorning rumpy into nearly all the stories so far and it seems they are risking an overload.
Well I was wrong, I can admit that. This was one of the better episodes of the series. To save her town from the Ogre Wars, Belle gives herself the Rumpy and he takes her to his estate and makes her his servant. Despite some early nastiness including teasing her that her duties will include skinning children, they fall in love. It's all rather too quick to be honest. Yes, it's only an hour show but there are ways to show the passing of time to give the relationship weight.
But really this is not about Belle. It's about the continued battle of wills between evil queen/mayor/Regina and Rumpy/Mr. Gold. In the real world story Regina is behind the theft of something Mr. Gold truly values. It drives him so crazy he finds the thief Regina used and beats him up for information. This forces Emma to arrest Mr. Gold.
Meanwhile, in the fantasy world the Evil Queen tells Belle that only a kiss from True Love can free Rumpy of his curse. So Belle comes back and gives old Rumpy a lovely loving kiss. It works, except that then Rumpy wills himself back to his cursed state. He realizes it was Regina who was behind it all and blames Belle as well turning her out. He is left an unloved monster with only a chipped cup to remember that someone loved him once.
In the real world at jail Regina reveals to Rumpy that she has that chipped cup. All Rumpy has to do is say his true name to have it back. He does which reveals that unlike everyone else in storybrooke he knows exactly who he is and why. Of course, revealing this to Regina means he can no longer play dumb. The game between them has entered a new state. What Rumpy doesn't know is that Regina is hiding a piece. Deep in the medical facility Belle is being kept in a cell.
The show ends with a truly evil smile from a truly evil queen.