The ABC series Once Upon a Time had two master puppeteers among its characters, and they have a very strong historical connection. Now only one of them stands alive. Some OUAT fans have called it as early as Season 1: they were once in-love with each other. Many things have changed in Storybrooke since the curse was broken, but the most dramatic change has to be Snow White.
Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for those who have not seen OUAT Season 2, Episode 16, "The Miller's Daughter."
Rumplestiltskin aka The Dark One must be evil in the general public's eyes. As bad as Rumple is, he has always had a heart. In fact, in the last season, he gave Prince Charming a rather romantic speech on how sweet and beautiful love was in his life -- until she died. Well that's because he thought Belle, the Beauty to his Beast side, had died. But long before Belle, he had also loved someone else. Rumple was in love with the Queen of Hearts, a puppet master and master schemer like himself. And the Queen of Hearts aka Cora, loved him back. Except she loved power more than him, so she took her own heart for more power. Now you sympathize with Rumple.
The man lost his wife to Captain Hook. He became the Dark One to save his son from the evil ways of the land. If he had not encountered the Seer, he would have been better off as a man. Regina, the only daughter of his ex, schemed to make him believe he lost another loved one to death. A lot of all the things he has done, he's done to get to his son, Baelfire. Sometimes Rumple can be so vulnerable and so loveable. Until he encourages Snow White to kill someone.
Cora, the Queen of Hearts and Regina's mother, was born to a hopeless sloth of a miller. Queen Eva, Snow White's mother and great grandmother to Henry Miller, had done Cora wrong in the past, a long time ago -- long before she was queen and a mother. (OUAT is the longest, most complicated modern day fairy tale we've ever seen.) So Cora poisoned Eva to death, and vowed to make a bad legacy out of her daughter. And then Cora schemed so her daughter Regina would be a queen. In the heart of all these was the young Snow White. Cora had tried to trick the little girl into using dark magic to stain Eva's legacy. But Snow's heart was pure. And now, so many decades later, Rumple has turned Snow into a murderer. (Granted, she killed a real bad villain, but still.)
Love him or hate him, Rumple lives on to take care of his family. He has enjoyed a dying moment with his son, and he may have just woke Belle up from a memory coma. Meanwhile, Snow White deals with the consequence of what she's done -- Regina's wrath. There are only a couple of OUAT episodes left this season. The viewers are in for an action-filled season finale.