And now to the story of Rumple and Belle. I know many of you are upset that 1) Rumple would leave Storybrooke with Belle still afflicted with amnesia and 2) Belle breaks the iconic "chipped cup," Rumple's most cherished possession. Neither of these things upset me at all. I really loved the way the story played out, and I have to say that I was right there with Rumple, feeling his growing panic and abject terror that that cup would break. My heart broke for him when Belle hurls it against the wall, smashing it into a million pieces. Rumple realizes he's lost her, and he is bereft. He's so down, he walks right by the shards without even trying to collect them.
He tries so hard to bring back Belle's memory. I adored the scene early in the episode when he hesitantly kisses her, perhaps hoping against hope that "true love's kiss" would break through her memory.
But it's no curse Belle is under, it's amnesia. So it's going to take more than a kiss. And when he returns later, imploring her to focus on the cup, which he has enchanted, my heart went out to him. Carlyle is just brilliant conveying Rumple's anguish and growing panic throughout the episode, from the first scene when he heals Belle's wounds and tries to calm her to the last moment, when he gives up, completely defeated, telling her how sorry he is for upsetting her.
As to his decision to leave Storybrooke, what else can he do as long as Belle is so upset? She doesn't want to see him, Rumple frightens her, and that's the last thing he wants to see in this woman he loves so much. If he keeps trying, she will only get angrier. I suppose he could enthrall her, but I'm guessing he wants her not through magic, but through her love for him.
As his sadness deepens so to must his rage against Hook also deepen. And as he tells Emma, the longer he stays in town, the more likely he is to kill Hook, something from which he's refraining because Belle would not want him to do it.
With Belle wanting him as far away as possible, and the belief he can finally reunite with Baelfire, which is, as we know, the entire driving force behind the curse and everything set into motion before Regina casts it, he must go. And so he does.