[ To follow up that post about Rumple’s mother, you all do realize that Malcolm was supposed to be a parallel to Milah, right? They were both neglectful parents, and even if they did love their children (and I do think that Malcolm loved Rumple to some small degree), that love wasn’t enough to keep them from leaving. They let their own desires “cloud their judgement” (to quote Milah), and in both cases, they acted selfishly.
I’ve seen people hate on Rumple for telling Milah in 2.04 that she has ‘responsibilities,’ as though he’s somehow being sexist. Hold up. Being a mother is a responsibility. Look at that scene objectively: Rumple comes home, presumably from a day in the market selling his wool, to find Baelfire home alone. He’s been gone for what I can only assume was the entire day; Milah should have been watching Bae. He’s supposed to be about four, I think, in these flashbacks. Definitely too young to be left alone, but from the casual way he responds when Rumple asks him where Milah is (he just shrugs), it’s made pretty clear that this happens often. I don’t know about you, but if I’d been left at home by myself at that age, having no idea where my mom had gone and no idea when my dad would be back, I’d be scared. I would have cried or hugged my parents the second one of them came home. Bae’s reaction just screams that this is a reoccurring problem, as does the fact that Rumple knows in a heartbeat where she’s gone. Not only because this has happened before, but because he’s been Baelfire.
He’s been that child who was constantly left alone, neglected while his father was off drinking and gambling and shirking the responsibility that he was stuck with the moment his child was born. Rumple spent his early childhood practically parenting his father, trying to protect him; it should have been the other way around. He loved his father to death, and that’s the tragedy of it; he was let down, time and again, believing that maybe if he was a little better, his father would stay. We know how that worked out.
Rumple tried so desperately to convince Milah to stay, to try. Not for himself, but for Bae. He was terrified of Milah doing to their son what Malcolm did to his. That neglect, that emotional abuse that Malcolm put Rumple through has followed him throughout the rest of his life. He wanted Baelfire to have a happy childhood, with parents who loved him the way parents should love their children.
I just– Milah and Malcolm are extremely similar characters, and that was done for a purpose. I feel like not everyone saw the connection, though. ]