|Reviews for Waylaid|
| stefanie bean chapter 3 . 7/24
OK, maybe this makes me a bad person, but I laughed about how Pongo found Pinocchio.
The scene with the women trapped by the ogres reminded me of how much I missed Mulan as a character. She obviously thinks that Mary-Margaret and Emma are soft. It was sweet how Aurora cried out for Mulan when scared.
The "blink, shrink" scene was gripping. Pinocchio/August's existential dilemma always filled me with horror. Maybe this is my canon-impairment, but I never understood how August, as a child, was supposed to "protect" Baby Emma, especially when they were both children in the foster-care system.
Good explanation of why August carries so much guilt and conflict; the revelation of his "greatest fear," and how Rumple solves August's problem... for now.
Belle's observation that the Blue Fairy doesn't believe in the power of love makes me wonder what she does believe in. Rumplestiltskin referring to the Blue Fairy by her real name hearkens to the fairy-tale trope of "names as power." Good for him.
"Higher calling," indeed. I think Leroy needs a good talking-to. I want to go all Hermione Granger on him (as in the Storybrooke equivalent of the House Elf Liberation Front.)
One could get an irony overdose (but in a good way) from the self-referentiality of the Storybrooke residents watching "Groundhog Day," especially with the Blue Fairy leading the discussion.
Very enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to more adventures with "Hook's wenches."
| stefanie bean chapter 2 . 7/21
I am quite enjoying your enhancements to the OUaT world. For instance, Rumple wouldn't have been the first person to learn surgical techniques during a war. In fact, I think I've put my finger on what I like about your OUaT stories so far: while keeping strong "fantasy" elements in the fore, they also focus intensively on the complicated story of a "scientific" (for that world) genius who finds himself in one moral quandary after another by how his powers are used, both by himself and others. That this causes him problems in love is a highly realistic - and poignant - interpretation.
I'll admit, Rumple in-show wasn't one of my favorite characters. But in your stories, every time he utters lines like, "At least in Storybrooke they won't be peasants," or "If it's a demand, it must be a royal," I give an internal cheer. That OUaT might have interesting political and military issues, and that I might have at least some political commonality with Rumple, are both pleasant surprises, and definitely factors which keeps me reading.
Rumple explaining to ex-royal Thomas how a pawn-shop works was priceless. And I'm with Rumple, although I'd give Regina a week, rather than a month, to back-slide.
Poor Ruby, with her imaginary but still emotionally-troublesome manufactured past, and time running out on a solution for her moonlight predicament.
That people like Spencer badly treat the Storybrookers who were once animals is a good detail. It seems to me that they, especially, would have no interest in what I recall being a pretty common Season Two obsession, of getting back to the Enchanted Forest. Why a former mouse or insect would even want to, I have no idea.
I'm impressed at the more epic scope of this tale, too: you seem to be switching back and forth between multiple scenes and POVs well. The writing is cinematic and I can easily "see" the scenes in my head. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.
One glitch: [picket-fenced front patio], not [picket fenced].
| stefanie bean chapter 1 . 7/19
Hi, here from WA short-review tag, and moderately familiar with canon up through Season Two.
The opening scene with the slimy but winsome Smee and the guttersnipe orphan served as an entertaining introduction. It makes sense that there would be a lot of "lost children" as a consequence of the Curse, and that the nuns would care for them. I hope we see more of Smee, in fine Disney bad-guy-sidekick form. Like him, I give fairies the side-eye, too.
I like how you focus on Storybrooke world-building details; for instance, that the children find it very uncomfortable when they encounter themselves or family members in the library books. Or how there's a set legal procedure for reclaiming one's Enchanted Forest property from Gold's curio shop.
I'm glad our first glimpse of Belle was in the library, too: doing her job, and feeling good and confident about it. Her suffering in the "cuckoo's nest" that the Curse cooked up doesn't seem to have affected her that much. I hope your version of Belle gets to stretch her wings a bit more than I remember from the show.
The interaction between Gold and Ruby in the shop was gripping. "So Belle is your magical red cloak?" Very nice. I hope we see more of Ruby.
Mary-Margaret's remark to Emma about zombies, "Dead is dead," gave me another one of those little LOST chills that used to run up and down my spine once in awhile in OUaT.
So now the stage is set with the likely major players, including Archie Hopper and the grande dame of nemeses herself: Regina Mills, suitably dry and snarky. Good opening chapter!
| Cheile chapter 17 . 7/2
Hey, girl! Finally back to review this second half!
I really loved seeing (hearing?) the latter half of Rumple’s story through Belle’s perspective. The opening of her heartfelt pain for Rumple’s sadness and his insistence that she not ignore the terrible truth he is revealing to her is very fitting for this moment. I like the balance throughout this part with parts of the tale and then Belle’s thoughts to specific elements of the telling. We already know how in tune she is to Rumple, but this really shows it—like her realizing that he hasn’t bothered to heal his bad leg because he has made it a neverending penance upon himself for failing Bae. I really appreciated his confession at the end—even though he’s risking Belle turning her back on him, he’s owning up to what he did. It’s lovely to see Belle forgive him. Just hope Bae will do the same.
And of course we jump from here straight to Neal’s intent to never forgive his father. I think it’s great that his immediate reasons in the here and now for hating Rumple is what dangers have befallen Emma, and by association, Henry. And yet I sense there is that nagging little voice that is pricking his conscience even tho it is couched in the form of “did accepting the curse just reveal his true nature?” I think deep down, Neal WANTS to forgive his father, but can’t currently find it in him to do so.
The scene with August/Pinocchio and Ruby was a nice light-hearted break from the heavy of the last two scenes. I got great laughs out of his realization that she was his childhood storyteller and deciding that in this case age doesn't really matter. I cracked up at his mentally discarded come on lines...good thing he kept those to himself, heh. Ruby's put up with enough BS lines in her time :P
Adored the Rumbelle scene! Appreciating the whole new leaf he is attempting to turn over, even that of trying to figure out how to do so for those he wronged that are beyond apologizing to. I don't know if the whole what happened to Gaston is Once canon or not but that's hysterical regardless. Because it's true...poor Belle WOULD feel guilty if she knew he's now garden mulch lol. (Rumple better not reveal that truth, heh)
The Archie/Vincent afterglow scene was wonderful...it's so sweet to see Archie getting to know and feel love again. And then you drop the boom by having Vince announce that he won't be there that long. Arg no! Run away with him, Archie! Go be happy, damn it...you deserve it!
Speaking of happy couples and afterglows, I got a good laugh out of Emma thinking that it's been so few times since she and Neal have had fun on/in a real bed ;P
TINK, THIS BETTER BE IMPORTANT. But I take it from Neal's immediate reaction that it is. I sense it is not good news :groan: has Cora the crazy sent super zombies now? I dread to wonder :P
Can't wait to see what you have in mind next! Thanks for the awesome read :)
| AuntieAusten chapter 1 . 7/2
This a review for DjinnjiFires and Waylaid. This time I choose to review the first chapter of Waylaid since I havn’t read or reviewed it before.
Your opening is one of the stronger I read so far the title [Nothing In This Shop Belong To You] is full of subtle suspense and I assume it also is a subtle hint to the chosen setting for this story, but I could be wrong.
The second line [Just ‘cause you possess something does not mean it’s yours.] Seems to be a quote by Leroy if I am not totally mistaken…
Again, I quite like it when writers use quotes as story openings or endings that said it seems to be task or method that many writers unfortunately fail to deliver on. In your case you wouldn’t be one of them.
The first line of dialogue between Smee and they boy tells me quite a lot, for starters it seems that the boy is much younger than Smee and may be old enough to be his dad. The boy seems to want to get his hand on that strange object hidden deep into the soil that Smee was about to dig out for himself.
Instead the boy beats him to the task and Smee offers to pay the boy for whatever is hidden in the tin box.
The second dialogue between Smee, the child and a nun seems authentic but I doubt that Smee actually is the boy’s real uncle it seems more like an excuse to and a white lie to avoid unnecessary attention from strangers.
As for your characters he seems to be your main character, and the character seems to be portrayed as an older money conscious and a bit grumpy man. His curiosity makes him resort to paying and offering all the money he has on himself just so he can claim ownership of whatever is contained in that old boy. He seems a bit conniving or manipulative when he urges the boy to open the box in his stead since Smee is too captious and careful to open it himself.
Yet the young boy seems to realize how much Smee craves that old tin boy and he in turn takes advantage of Smee’s eagerness and instance to own the content of that box. The boy is clever enough to only sell the boy if he gets all money Smee currently has on his body.
In you next paragraph the story is set inside Mr Gold’s shop and it sounds as if Mr Gold’s shop either is some sort clothes shop or a thrift shop since Ruby has come to look for her lost coat thinking she lost it there.
Ruby appears to by a young and naïve girl that’s mainly concerned with looking her best she also seems to be very conscious and placing much efforts and time on possessing worldly things like clothes.
It also seems that Mr Gold’s shop previously was cursed and somehow Ruby’s cloak still is found inside the shop. Mr Gold seems to almost as conniving and manipulative as Smee. Since Mr Gold managed to convince Ruby she needs to find her cloak unless she wants to become a murderous wolf. Mr Gold’s manipulation becomes even more apparent when he allows Ruby to believe the cloak is left in his shop while he is certain she never left it there. He only wants to have Ruby in a vulnerable position, this way Ruby will owe him a favor for his silence.
Yet it seems as if neither Smee nor Mr Gold has much authority since Mr Gold reassures Ruby he will not report her to Belle. That makes me believe that Belle is in charge of Regina Mills Park or possibly responsible for placing the curse on Mr Gold’s shop.
So Mr was known as Rumple after his curse and he only knew Belle when he was Rumple not Mr Gold. When Mr Gold was Rumple his relationship with Ruby was acceptable since his age was unimportant, now as a human Mr Gold is far too old for Belle to have a romantic interest in him. That makes Mr Gold a relatable character that I sympathize with.
You have quite a lot of characters in this story, which was sort of surprising yet you managed to construct a nice plot. I could go on mentioning more of your characters but I will refrain from doing so, since this review would be far too long.
The writing in this story was easier to follow for a nonnative speaker of English and even though the vocabulary seems to be more contemporary than in Trick of Hearts it is still a vocabulary that works in this story.
I enjoyed this story a little bit better, or to be fair since I only read the first chapter I can’t tell if this story will resemble Trick of Hearts. Like the first story of yours, this too is rated T the language I so far seen isn’t strong as full of foul words. It makes me assume there might be more smut in furure chapters.
I quite enjoyed reading the first chapter of this story and I might have to return to it and read the rest.
The pace wasn’t too hard to follow, a little confusing though to have so many different characters and settings introduced in the first chapter.
The techniques used in this seem to be a third person narration with multiple characters narrating. Like I said I enjoyed reading it and I hope this review will be helpful for you. You once again again convince me that you writing skills are very good.
| Theodore Hawkwood chapter 1 . 6/19
Hello there. It's Theodore Hawkwood from Writer's Anonymous' Longer And More Advanced Review Game. I'll let you know I'm going in canon blind and having read your profile to ensure I'm all caught up.
First off I must say this story presents quite an intriguing premise (helped along by your explanation for the canon blind amongst us in your profile).
Now for the review proper:
The first paragraph does a great job with characterizing Smee as a former pirate (I definitely heartily approve of the use of the word 'scalawag' in his internal monologue). And even better still your imagery of a local park, Regina Mills Park, having seen better days is quite on the money with that spray painted graffiti.
I also like the recall to pirate imagery when the matter of 'X-marks the spot' comes up. Definitely a great insight into Smee's character when he compares Hook to Moe, and how both can be demanding in their own ways but the latter pays better. That elicited a small chuckle from me as I read it.
The section about Ruby and her lycanthropy and the wolf charm as she talked to Mr. Gold was certainly an intriguing part of the story. It caught my interest, because it made me want to know more about Mr. Gold.
The dialogue exchange between the two was also most fascinating to me. I liked the anecdotes both of them told about their dealings with the nobles of Storybrooke society. I liked the account of Mr. Gold and his first encounter with Belle after the knight decided to be a complete jerk and beat up on the old lady with his whip.
My points on these sections all bring up a strength of your writing. Characterization. You show and not tell me about each of these canon characters that I've honestly never seen before quite well with vivid imagery, internal monologue and their interactions with other characters and the like that they come across.
I thought it was a rather nice touch with Charming when he reminisced about having to sacrifice Belle, and erase her Storybrooke memories. Very poignant how he met her again and knowing that she has gone over to Rumplestiltskin willingly after thirty years.
Great juxtaposing of the melding of the modern world and the fairy tale world with Charming thinking about the words 'Stockholm Syndrome'. It certainly shows the nature of the Once Upon a Time.
I will have to say I like the ending sentence on how Charming has come to the conclusion that he has to talk to Rumplestiltskin even if he's clearly not the guy's biggest fan.
Great job on introducing us to the world of Storybrooke.
| TolkienScholar chapter 1 . 6/18
Whew! Very long, but worth it. :) I stopped watching the show because of its inappropriate content, but I got almost this far if not quite. So I'm not fandom blind. :)
You've definitely got the characters down; Mr. Gold, in particular, is spot on. You've managed to capture that balance in him between manipulation and coldness ("She's convinced that without her cloak she'll turn into a murderous wolf. Excellent"; "Ruby will still owe me a favor") and genuine caring ("He might never again hear her gentle voice call him Rumple, but he could still hold her chipped cup and think of her"; "She'll be glad ... Nothing can anger me now"). That's exactly what makes him both fascinating and sympathetic. Well done.
I also really enjoyed your characterization of Ruby. It's quite subtle, capturing the various elements of her character - the fresh openness because she's still young, the unaffected caring for Belle as her friend, the desire for power she's almost afraid of.
I love the Stockholm Syndrome reference. I don't know if it's canon because I didn't get far enough to see that, but anyway, you did it well. I like the line "Why does everyone keep saying that to me?" She's really admirable, very self-sacrificing, in that she's always thinking of Mr. Gold/Rumple, even thinking that's what David is concerned about.
There's way more I could say, but I have to go now. This is very well written. I feel like it's a bit of overload for a single chapter, since you're jumping POVs and scenes so much, but otherwise, I can't even think of any concrit. Well done.
| T. Alana M chapter 1 . 5/7
Not fandom blind, so that's a plus. :D
I liked the imagery in the opening scene, especially Smee spitting on the sign like one would spit in a spittoon - it recalls to mind the classic OUAT-type parallelism between Storybrooke identities and fairy tale identities. Expanding on the Storybrooke-fairytale contrasts, Smee's line of thought and vocabulary has an undertone of his profession as a pirate, but are generally more civil and modern.
The interaction with the boy was engaging and a bit surprising, seeing him as manipulative as he was. Children in OUAT are normally regarded as innocent - or at least not as malicious or selfish as the adults. It was a very realistic scene.
The boy's reaction in particular was a major hook for me, adding to the mystery of whatever is in the box (was that in the show? I don't remember). The fact that it gave someone like *Smee* the kind of boldness that allowed him to antagonize a fully-powered Rumpelstiltskin definitely helps.
I like the character interactions and Rumple's manipulations of Ruby. The fact that he's consciously thinking about and measuring his words, rather than relying on a subconscious instinct borne out of centuries of manipulating people, is particularly interesting because it indicates one of two things for your interpretation of Rumple; that he's out of practice after almost thirty years, or emphasizing his simple background in that tricking and manipulating isn't second nature to him.
Something that I find curious - Belle has been researching psychology, why hasn't she looked up Stockholm yet?
A nitpick - 'Earth', referring to the planet, should be capitalized as 'earth' is commonly used to indicate the ground.
That said, I really enjoyed this story - so much that I was already halfway through the second chapter before I remembered I had to review. XP
| Cheile chapter 16 . 2/28
I liked the hint of Neal worrying that Emma might be going Rumple-esque given the whole glimpse of his papa putting limbs back on people and all that, but the ominous undertone about how it "didn't take long" for his beloved father to become someone unrecognizable. And Neal doesn't know(?) Rumple's Storybrooke alter ego—veeeery interesting. Well, he does now, heh. And it sounds like he's getting a crash course in Storybrooke backstory—or at least all the parts in which his father's involved, lol.
So that is how Rumple ended up with that limp—a bad break as a child, followed by his attempt at taking the cowardly way out in the midst of battle. I love the hurt/comfort aspect of this and that Belle's giving the TLC this time. It's wonderfully written, with hints of Belle's continued anger and Rumple's trying to get up the gumption to tell her everything. On one hand, that took some guts to mortally wound himself. On the other, OW. :shudder: (Like Belle, I have a vivid imagination.) the child seer who had her eyes taken out adds the sinister dark-fairy-tale aspect to the whole scene, which I love. It reminds us that the magic world that was had other, smaller evils occurring.
I appreciate Belle's logic that if he was really lying about how he came about that injury, that would be the easiest story to disbelieve. And it sounds like Milah didn't need total influence from Cora to start looking down on the man she supposedly loved when he needed her support. :/ Was it a dumb move? Sure? But people do dumb things when they're scared out of their wits.
I had to LOL at Neal's "is [heart in a box] what I think it is?" Ha—yes, Neal. Yes, it is exactly that. And I have to say that you did very well at Emma's retelling of the Theft of Chip (THAT canon plotline, I remember!). There's just enough information for someone like Neal (or a fandom-blind) reader to understand what went on but you don't make it feel like a total info-dump either for the canon-savvy like myself.
And holy crap – I didn't know that Milah actually ran off with a sea captain and his crew. (I presumed that she'd died.) I really feel Rumple's emotional pain here because he's right—he had to live for Bae and not fight that duel but, at the same time, not fighting makes one feel like they screwed up on some level.
I do remember Rumple and Bae's attempted-but-failed escape and how Rumple humbled himself but they mocked him. I really love that you show how much it's paining Belle to hear this as it is Rumple to tell it all. And I'm off to continue in the next chapter! So expect to see more from me shortly!
| Cheile chapter 17 . 2/28
"Now or never"...Rumple has resigned himself to the full on truth. :crossing fingers that Belle keeps up her end of the bargain to handle it all: Again, I have to compliment you on the relating of canon events that Rumple is telling Belle abt his hidden history and how he became the Dark One. and I'm super relieved/glad to see that not only is Belle handling it, she has quite logical reasoning for why Zoso/the beggar chose Rumple. With the powers the Dark One could hold, her logic makes a lot of sense. That power in the hands of someone like Regina, or worse—Cora, would have been catastrophic beyond reason.
Smee is such a simple-minded twit, both with his nasty thoughts about Belle and then in the next minute, mentally moaning about the box. I really hope he gets his comeuppance soon :P
Neal's conflicted emotions through Emma's eyes as he learns about his father-as-Gold is quite in character for what little I saw of Neal. Who wouldn't be shocked to hear that, even in the mundane world, he was still managing to finagle such things and twisting people to his whim? Emma's description of him "even while he's puttering about in his shop, he's [up to something]" is quite apt and very befitting of Rumple's Gold persona.
I loved seeing Archie and Vincent again—I was hoping you'd revisit them and you did not disappoint at all. Even tho Archie is (necessarily) still concealing a lot of the truth from Vincent, he's letting him in on some of the truths by transposing the incidents into real world scenarios – and is still managing to let Vincent in and become closer to him. I can bet it is not likely that Vincent will ever be able to know the REAL truth of what he's stumbled into, BUT I think he will be able to accept Archie's issues and take at face value what he CAN accept and understand. I also really like that you close the scene out with Archie making a move in response to Vincent's declaration. Squee!
Ending this review here—but going onward! Expect the second half soonish!
| Cheile chapter 16 . 2/28
Hiya, dear! sorry I got so delayed in coming to catch up some more. School augh.
Oy, poor Emma—she's all torn this way and that. I wouldn't blame her for not wanting to try to put Neal back together again. Fixing Humpty Dumpty, this isn't. also I don't think that just a kiss is gonna fix Neal either :/ I got a good snicker out of Tink zipping around her – Emma has more patience than I, I woulda smacked her a few yards away if she kept that dancing-in-my-face crap up.
OMG I love me some pissed off Belle. This is fabulous! "bitch of a witch", bwahaha. (Now I want to see her throw that line in Cora's face! I know...wishful thinking :P) OTOH, I am getting a shade irate with Rumple and his constant Doubting Thomas routine...should he not know by now that Belle was not influenced by Cora's evil and DOES truly love him? The only way I will accept this is if this is reflected in canon material I have yet to see—which is highly possible but I'm still a bit bothered by it anyway. It is nice, however, to see more hints of his past and quite freaky that Bae's mother was brainwashed—starting to make me think that Belle and Bae are the only ones who actually cared abt Rumple. I LOVED the kiss at the end—I swear if that doesn't convince Rumple, then I dunno what will!
I think I'm almost as relieved as Emma to see the potential healing of Neal's arm beginning to work. Especially when he began kissing her back and embraced her with BOTH arms! (now let's hope that arm stays in place!)
The tea scene in Belle's apartment was a great bit of light-heartedness, though color me confused about the run-on dialogue chunk. I gather that you did not space it out to suggest that Belle's talking ten miles a minute while bouncing all over the place. I thought it was wonderfully sweet how she dried his hair and he succumbed to feeling cherished. :le sigh: Which is why part of me is now glaring at him for the end of that scene and allowing his little voice of doubt to creep right back in. :grumble: That man...I swear. :P
Pausing here, tho I'm continuing on with the rest so you will get a second (guest) review shortly! Loving it so far!
| persevera chapter 17 . 1/21
Appropriate title for this chapter, which was all about true love. Ironic that the only one who didn't get any was the one for whom it wasn't about true love, but well-fitting chinos.
This was really good, having both Gold and Emma telling his stories simultaneously and Belle showed exactly how much she believed in her man by helping to understand that he isn't really so bad, but has an unconscious sense of honor.
Love that Emma was a little offended that Neal had thought she should have been protected, rather than having faith that she could conquer the dragon.
I like the scene with Archie and Vincent- very subtle and very tender and in the end, very sad.
| Serenity Prime chapter 17 . 1/20
Oooh this is really good!
| persevera chapter 16 . 1/18
Since I'm not familiar with OUAT, I'm not sure what parts of the story are canon and which ones are original. The whole story is so good and inter-woven than whatever parts are yours, I'm sure the producers wish were theirs.
Neal is good for comic relief. He's a simple man, just wants a proper reunion with the mother of his son, now that she remembers why she loved him. Clever writing of the scene in which his arm is healed, showing it worked not by anyone shouting it, but just that he could use it. Liked that a lot.
I like Belle's comments during Rumple's story. It shows a woman truly in love and seeing everything in terms of her man being in the right.
| Cheile chapter 15 . 1/12
Hey, dear! Back again, getting in to finish this chapter before the new semester starts up.
That first scene/where I left off was short but very attention grabbing. You paint a nice image of Emma hovering mid-air, looking for Neal, then finding the spot where he must be—surrounded by nasty zombies. My shipper heart broke a little bit when she said "I have you", only to be horrified at the fact that he's lost an arm. Gah.
I'm still behind on Once canon but I remember Archie being a very meticulous sort so I like the detail of even though he never had any overnight guests, he religiously made sure the guest bedroom was a) kept clean and b) made comfortable, which—outside of his anxiety—means that Vincent will be comfortable during his stay. Archie's anxiety is cute too and it's nice that he is worried about having desire at all; most authors probly would have gone the (typical) "am I really [orientation]?" angle, so having it be "am I capable of sexuality?" is a really neat change to that angle.
I LOLed at the adorableness of what it must look like to see Leroy giving Sister Astrid a piggyback ride. Too cute. And with Vincent being all close and personal, I'm thinking that he might be reciprocating them feelings Archie's kicking himself for :D
Ruby's bitterness at being treated like a bimbo is a nice bit of characterization, especially since she adds through her narrative thought that, curse or no curse, she's still treated like an airhead because she's lucky enough to be pretty. I do appreciate that she doesn't like the idea of interrupted Gold and Belle's alone time. And extra LOL at August dropping the act as soon as his father and Mother Superior/the Fairy walks in. Ruby might think it's about commanding respect, but it's also about the fact that he knows better than to play games w her, heh.
OMG, Tink went back and got Neal's arm?! That is rather revolting—and I think lil miss fairy is vastly underestimating the definition of "savior". Pretty sure Emma's powers do not extend that far, even if she wishes them to :/
I think that Rumbelle scene at the end broke my feels. I REALLY like how, after Regina leaves, his façade comes crumbling down and he's willing to let Belle see how much he's hurting (even tho it is obviously breaking HER heart). And is Rumple saying that Cora had things worse than Regina did? That's an interesting idea but it seems rather vague here—all that he says is that someone hurt Cora's mother (if I am following correctly) and she wanted revenge. My only question/mild complaint is: is Rumple only telling Belle part of the details of why Cora turned evil or does he genuinely not know? I am very curious now; as when this reveal was made about Regina in canon (the murder of her one true love, etc), I didn't excuse her behavior but I literally said "God, no freakin wonder she turned out the way she did" to the friend I was watching it with. The ending of this chapter is a study in "damn..." Rumple blames himself for NOT returning Cora's affections? I hope more will be revealed as I read along cuz right now I'd say that he shouldn't blame himself. But I sense there is more to the story.
Great (second half of) chapter!