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I'll save all the children of the Frontlands – not just you, my boy.
Rumplestiltskin to Baelfire src

The Frontlands is an Enchanted Forest location featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the eighth episode of the first season.

History

Before First Curse

Rumplestiltskin is drafted into the Ogre War and tells his wife, Milah, who is horrified since the battle ground is a brutal place. He, however, wants to prove to everyone that he's not cowardly like his father. Impressed by his fervor, Milah encourages him to be brave, and she promises that once he returns, they can start a family. During the time he is away, Milah discovers she is pregnant. Soon, the people in the village begin gossiping about Rumplestiltskin, who is rumored to have purposely injured himself in order to return home from the front. Sometime after giving birth, Milah is tending to her infant son when her husband hobbles in. She explains naming their son Baelfire to protect him from the rumors about Rumplestiltskin. When he admits breaking his foot to keep a seer's prophecy from coming true, his wife believes it's an excuse for his own cowardice. ("Manhattan")

Some years after this, after Baelfire has grown to be a young boy, Milah collects wood, while refusing help from Rumplestiltskin. Suddenly, they hear a shriek from Baelfire, and the pair find him collapsed in pain from a snake bite. Milah hastily kills the snake, and she and her husband bring it to a healer named Fendrake, who tells them it's an Atlantean rat snake and its bite is fatal. He offers them an antidote, but wants a hundred gold coins as payment, something the couple obviously don't have. Leaving the healer's tent empty-handed, Milah formulates a plan for Rumplestiltskin to kill Fendrake and steal the potion. After procuring a dagger with the last of her gold, she shows it to him at a tavern, pushing him to use it and be brave for once. After her husband leaves, a man drunkenly bumps into Milah and proceeds to harass her. A pirate, Killian Jones, intervenes, and strikes up a conversation with Milah. He talks of traveling, and even asks if she wants to see what's out there, but Milah says that she has responsibilities: her sick son and her husband. Still, before he leaves, Killian makes sure she knows the offer is there, and mentions that he is in port quite often.

Meanwhile, Rumplestiltskin sneaks into the tent while the healer is asleep inside, intending to kill Fendrake and take the potion. Fendrake wakes up to see the intruder, and when Rumplestiltskin moves to stab him, he doesn't resist, causing Rumplestiltskin's resolve to waver. Seeing how desperate he is to save his son, Fendrake offers him the antidote, but instead of money, he asks Rumplestiltskin to give him his second-born child. Rumplestiltskin agrees, signing a contract to seal the deal, before returning home to heal his son with the potion. Rumplestiltskin explains the deal he made to Milah, in which he'll owe him his second-born child. Milah, horrified that he sold away their possible future, coldly thanks him for deciding her life, before storming out to the tavern. ("Devil's Due")

Milah and Rumplestiltskin's relationship deteriorates, and Milah begins drinking at the tavern in her spare time. She spends time with Killian and his crewmen, and falls in love with him. Upon returning home, Rumplestiltskin finds his wife missing and brings Baelfire along as he fetches her from the pub. Milah tauntingly tells him to go to home, however, when Baelfire shows up, Milah promptly leaves with them. After they return to home, Milah admits that she is tired of life in the village since he's been branded as a coward and wants to start afresh elsewhere. Later, she runs away to join Killian aboard his pirate ship. Somehow, gossip spreads that she was kidnapped by pirates, to which one of the village women notifies Rumplestiltskin about his wife's capture. Rumplestiltskin goes to the harbor and attempts to rescue Milah, but when Killian challenges him to a duel, he fearfully backs out. Ashamed of his actions, Rumplestiltskin lies to Baelfire, stating his mother is dead. ("The Crocodile")

Three days before Baelfire's thirteenth birthday, he and his father witness the Duke's soldiers taking away a village girl, Morraine, who has recently turned fourteen, to enlist her into the Ogre War. As Morraine's parents try to stop them, they are magically subdued by the Duke's slave, the Dark One. Fearing Baelfire will also be taken away soon, Rumplestiltskin tries to flee with his son during the night, but they are caught by the Duke's soldiers. One of them, Hordor, humiliates Rumplestiltskin, before letting him go. Wishing to be free of the Duke's control, the Dark One entices Rumplestiltskin into gaining control of a cursed dagger in order to protect Baelfire. Rumplestiltskin tells Baelfire that with the power of the dagger, he can save all the children of the Frontlands who have been drafted into the Ogre Wars. He and his son break into the Duke's castle, where Rumplestiltskin steals the dagger. However, when he summons the Dark One, the latter forces Rumplestiltskin to kill him, transferring his powers to his killer, as he himself dies. That morning, as Hordor and his men are taking Baelfire away, a changed Rumplestiltskin returns. After humiliating Hordor as he did to him before, Rumplestiltskin then slaughters him and the other soldiers, as a terrified Baelfire watches. ("Desperate Souls")

With all that power in his hands, Rumplestiltskin uses his dark magic to slay all the ogres, which ends the war. Most of the villagers hail him as as hero for his brave deed, except for Beowulf, who believes him to be a monster and that his dark magic will come at a price the villagers will pay for. Rumplestiltskin reluctantly agrees to stop using magic at Baelfire's request since the war is over, and begins spinning again. Some of the local villagers arrive asking for help with a beast called Grendel. Baelfire encourages his father to slay the creature without magic as proof to the villagers he is not a monster, and Rumplestiltskin forfeits the dagger to his son, asking Baelfire to stop him with it if he tries to use magic. Inside a cave, Rumplestiltskin spots corpses of villagers, but discovers Grendel doesn't exist after finding an ogre horn. Beowulf, the actual culprit, steals the dagger and plans to make the villagers believe Rumplestiltskin murdered the villagers. Baelfire manages to take back the dagger and Rumplestiltskin overpowers Beowulf, intending to bring him back to the village and reveal the truth to everyone. hHowever, Beowulf mocks him for his naiveté, especially since the villagers are scared of him and likely won't believe him. Rumplestilskin assures Baelfire that they'll find another village to start over in if they're no longer welcome at the current one, however, his son decides Beowulf should pay for hurting them and orders his father to kill the man. Unable to resist the command of the dagger, Rumplestiltskin slaughters Beowulf. Upon returning home, Baelfire declares a newfound belief that they need the dagger to protect themselves. Rumplestiltskin, not wanting his son to succumb to darkness like him, spikes Baelfire's tea with a memory potion. Moments after drinking it, Baelfire loses all recollection of how they got out of the cave and away from Beowulf When Baelfire sees Beowulf's sword, he accuses him of using dark magic to kill Beowulf, while his father can only sadly reply that he did what he had to do. ("Ill-Boding Patterns")

Afraid of losing his son, Rumplestiltskin forces him to stay home all day. Tired of being confined, Baelfire expresses a desire to go out and have friends. Rumplestiltskin insists he can't allow it since his enemies might kidnap and ransom him, but Baelfire suspects his father is afraid he'll leave and never return. During the evening, Baelfire is lured by Peter Pan's flute and eventually ventures out to follow the sound of its tune. From the nearby village of Hamelin, Rumplestiltskin tracks down his son at Peter Pan's camp the next night. There, Pan tells Rumplestiltskin to give Baelfire a choice to stay or leave. Rather than that, Rumplestiltskin magically whisks his son home. Upset at his father's lack of trust in him, Baelfire angrily states, had he been asked, he would have gone home with him. ("Nasty Habits")

As his father's reputation as the feared Dark One spreads, Baelfire becomes ostracized in the village. While playing, he accidentally kicks a ball into the path of a man's cart and then scraps his knee from trying to retrieve the toy. Unmercifully, Rumplestiltskin transforms the man into a snail and kills him. At home, Baelfire tries talking his father into not using his Dark One powers anymore. Suddenly, his maid, Honora, enters and catches a glimpse of the dagger. Paranoid about the possibility that the maid may tell others about the dagger, Rumplestiltskin pays a visit to Honora's home and brutally murders her. When Baelfire sees the blood stains, he is stunned that his father killed an innocent person, but Rumplestiltskin reasons he is right as even the chance someone knows about the dagger is a true threat. Believing his father can be freed, Baelfire vows to figure out a way that won't hurt or kill him as long as Rumplestiltskin promises to comply. His friend Morraine tells him about the Reul Ghorm she heard of during the war. He goes and finds the Reul Ghorm, which turns out to be the Blue Fairy. She gives him a magic bean so he and his father can go to a "land without magic". Since he promised not to break their deal, Rumplestiltskin agrees to go there with Baelfire, despite fears of losing his powers. They head out to the woods. After Baelfire opens a portal with it, Rumplestiltskin backs out of their deal; unwilling to give up his powers. As they argue, Baelfire nearly slips into the portal, but his father grabs and tries to pull him back up by using the dagger as an anchor. Torn between magic and his son, Rumplestiltskin makes a split decision to let go of his son's hand and Baelfire falls into the portal as it closes. When he finally comes to terms with the fact his son is gone, Rumplestiltskin furiously calls the Blue Fairy and begs her to send him to Baelfire. She says it is impossible to do without any magical means, and accidentally lets it slip that a powerful curse can bring him to his son. From this point on, Rumplestiltskin vehemently swears to stop at nothing, even if it means sacrificing an entire world, to reunite with his beloved Baelfire. ("The Return")

Inhabitants


Trivia

On-Screen Notes

  • The Frontlands are part of an unnamed kingdom - when Hordor catches Rumplestiltskin fleeing with his son, he asks them what they're doing on the king's road. The letter Rumplestiltskin received during the Ogre Wars several years earlier said that he had been drafted into the "king's army".[1] ("Desperate Souls", "Manhattan")
    • It is not known whether the scenes on the battle fields in "Manhattan" and "Ill-Boding Patterns" take place in the Frontlands or a different part of the kingdom. Nor is it known whether Hamelin, where Rumplestiltskin tracks his son Baelfire in "Nasty Habits", are part of the Frontlands.

Props Notes

Set Dressing

  • The well in Rumplestiltskin's village[4] is the same prop used for the well where Prince Thomas disappears in "The Price of Gold", but with a different pulley.[5] ("Desperate Souls")
    • The same well prop was used for the Storybrooke wishing well later in the series.[6] The supporting structure for the pulley, and the pulley itself, were replaced for the wishing well prop, and a roof was added to the top.
  • If you look closely at the exterior of the Duke's castle, you can see that the coat of arms on a flag sitting at the top of a tower,[7] is the same as King George's.[8] Since these events took place a long time before King George's time, this suggests that the Duke is one of his ancestors. ("Desperate Souls")

Appearances

References