Debate Venue, Night: Mary brings Emma her notes and a glass of water. Emma's getting cold feet and says she can't beat Regina, since Regina fights dirty. Mary: "Is this really just about beating Regina?" Emma peeks out behind the curtain at Henry, sitting in the front row. "It's just..." Mary realizes it's about Henry. Emma says, "I want to show him good can actually win." Mary: "That's why you want to win it for him, but why do you want to win the election for yourself?" Emma: "That is why. I want to show him that a hero can win. And if I'm not... if I'm not a hero and I'm not the savior, then what part do I have in his life?" She waits a beat and smiles at Mary Margaret then says, "Okay, there it is." Mary echoes her. And this scene between mother and daughter, about the daughter's love for her son, it melts my cold, bitter heart and makes me fall in love with this episode, despite a laundry list of elements that didn't work for me.
Enchanted Forest: Rumpy finds Bae, who tells his papa he was so worried for him. Kid, don't sweat it. The old man didn't even run into an extra. He was in no danger the whole time. Hell, even the fire let him be. Anyhow, Rumpy tells Baelfire to leave, despite the boy's objections that he has a bad feeling. Once he's alone, Rumpy reads the name on the dagger: Zoso, and suddenly, I want to go listen to my Led Zeppelin CDs.
"Zoso, Zoso, I summon thee. Thinking nothing has changed, he turns to find the Dark One. He drops his torch in fear and Zoso says, "You were asking for me?" Voice shaking, Rumpy holds out the dagger and says, "Submit, O Dark One. I control you." The Dark One agrees that he does and warns Rumpy to wield the power wisely and reminds him it's almost dawn -- Bae's birthday -- so CJiC and crew are probably on their way to get Baelfire. When Rumpy says they can't take the boy, the Dark One reminds him that Rumpy doesn't control them. "You control me." He then plants seeds of doubt about the boy's paternity and taunts him some more. "Unlike you, [Baelfire's] not a coward, and yearns to fight and die in glory. What a poor bargain that would be, to lay down your soul to save your bastard son, so I ask you, what would you have me do?" With tears in his eyes, Rumpy pulls back his arm and then plunges the dagger into Zoso's chest as he says, "Die!"
When Zoso falls to the ground, the gold cast disappears from his skin, and Rumpy realizes it is the beggar. The beggar says, "Looks like you made a deal you didn't understand. I don't think you're going to do that again." Rumpy can't understand why the beggar told him to kill him. The beggar says, "My life was such a burden. You'll see. Magic always comes with a price and now it's yours to pay." Rumpy: "Why me?" Beggar: "I know how to recognize a desperate soul." As the beggar dies, Rumpy begs him to stay and tell him what to do, but it's too late. The wind howls. Rumpy's skin turns gold. He pulls the dagger out of his victim's chest and sees it now bears his (misspelled) name: Rumplestiltskin (see the recaplet for my comments on that).