Image credit: Jack Rowand/ABC
CRAZY LOVE Anyone else wish we could have seen more weirdly sexy Rump/Cora action tonight?
In Storybrooke, Rumpel urges Emma to tap into her emotions so that she can find the strength to cast a protection spell around the shop. Apparently, anyone can use magic in Once's world as long as they do this first, because the Dark One teaches Young Cora via this same exact method in the fairyback.
The difference: Future Rumpel tells Emma to think about those she loves, while Past Rumpel tells Young Cora to summon a moment of incredible rage. She sits in front of the spinning wheel and recounts, in graphic detail, how she'd like to take revenge on the nobles: "I want their kneecaps to crack and freeze on the stones. I want their necks to break from bending." All the while, Rump is nuzzling her neck and egging her on, and it's simultaneously gross and utterly fascinating (and, yeah, kind of hot, in a weird Spike/Drusilla sort of way). At the end, Cora breathily tells Rump that she'd like to keep going -- and something tells me she's not just talking about the straw anymore. Between this sexually charged scene and all that talk of the king "whoring out" his son earlier in the episode, I think Once has officially abdicated its claim of being a family show. As far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.
A brief battle at the pawn shop gives Snow an opportunity to slip away to the Mills family vault, where she quickly finds Cora's horcrux -- er, heart. She hesitates only a moment before pulling out the magical candle, lighting it at both ends, and creepily whispering Cora's name over it. As soon as she sticks Cora's heart back into her body, she'll have finally vanquished the Big Bad for good.
Young Cora and Rump, meanwhile, have big plans of their own. Time enough has passed that Cora is now one day away from marrying the kindly Prince Henry -- and she's also having a full-blown affair with the Dark One himself. But despite all she's achieved, Cora still isn't content. She'll only be fifth in line for the throne even after she and Henry wed... and suddenly, a life by Rumpel's side starts to seem more appealing than a loveless marriage. The imp goes so far as to amend their contract, changing it so that his lover no longer owes him her firstborn. Instead, Cora merely owes him a baby that he's fathered himself. They'll be well on their way to living evilly ever after as soon as Cora ties up one last loose end: she wants to murder King Snoot. This, says Rump, is why he loves her. And just like that, these crazy middle-aged magicians become my OTP. (Belle who?)
Then King Snoot blows it all to hell. Before Cora can rip his heart out, the king tells her that he knows all about her affair with Rumpelstiltskin -- and that love is a weakness ambitious women like herself can't afford to indulge. This one conversation is enough to change Cora's mind about everything. When she goes to meet her paramour later that night, she reveals that she didn't kill the king after all. Instead, Cora removed her own heart -- and with it gone, her reluctance to marry Henry has faded away. Daaaamn, that's cold.
NEXT: But perhaps not as cold as Snow White...