Time for another Carlyle acting analysis.
Watch his face. In the beginning he’s on the verge of sobbing. Look at his head; it slightly pulls forward, he’s swallowing his tears, shoving them down before he can start whimpering and whining like a dying animal. His face is a mask of pain, knowing his only plan of finding his son, the plan he’s been working on his entire life, over 200 years at least, has completely and utterly fallen apart. He can’t leave the town to find Baelfire. Not only do we see total vulnerability and hopelessness in his face, we see agony. His whole body slumps, he’s tired of waiting, tired of failing and most certainly above all else tired of living every day without his son.
Then watch him; he looks down, considering, he turns his head, all sadness gone—he’s already scheming, plotting something new. That fast, he’s erased all of his pain and emotions, something he’s far too used to doing, and he’s focused on getting his son back once more. He’s spent his whole life leaping over hurdles and playing chess with everyone around him with the sole intent of recovering his son. Already he’s twelve steps ahead of everyone else, within that split second from inconsolable sadness to the birth of a new idea, his entire outlook has changed. Perhaps, to get the most important person in the world to him back, he can’t simply pack a few maps and leave town, leave everyone behind him. He’ll have to do what he does best, and that’s manipulating everyone he comes in contact with.
Rumplestiltskin is back.
Original gif by rumbelleandstark