Is Rumplestiltskin dead or alive? and other spoilers for OUAT episode 3×12 New York Serenade

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When OUAT comes back on March 9, 2014, after the winter hiatus, there will be a new character (who you have already seen if you watched the promo at the end of the last episode). For more about this character, some info on the second half of the season as a whole, and a hint about whether or not Rumple is really dead …. see after the jump (warning: spoilers)

Although there is no official confimation yet, the new character that we saw in the promo certainly appears to be the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. She is played by Rebecca Mader, who played Charlotte Lewis on LOST. According to TV|Line, the character will have a British accent.

A bit of trivia: As mentioned in a previous post, the episode’s title — New York Serenade — was inspired by a Bruce Springsteen song.

As for the second half of the season as a whole, another TV|Line article revealed:

“The second half [of Season 3] will take place between Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest,” … Eddy Kitsis told Matt Mitovich… Adam Horowitz [added], “It’s not a ‘journey to another land’ paradigm. We always have the ability and the desire to dip into other lands, which it’s more than likely we shall do, but it will be in the way that we’ve done it in the past, as opposed to locking all of our characters onto a boat and sending them [to a new realm].”

As for the most intriguing question — is Rumple dead or alive? — TV|Line again has some info straight from the show creators’ mouths, from a conversation held a few weeks before the winter finale episode aired:

“To the Rumbellers out there, we hope that you enjoy what we have in store. In the second half of the season, they are going to be in the same world for an extended period of time,” Adam Horowitz said. Eddy Kitsis then added, “The second half of the season will further explore their relationship – in whatever state that is.”

So that’s a clue. But what do you think it all means? What is Kitsis getting at when he says “whatever state” their relationship is in? And which world will they be in? Is it possible that Rumple could be dead on our world but alive in another? Or could the relationship scenes be part of a flashback? Or is Rumple alive, and the scene of his apparent death in the last episode just a fake-out? We have a long time to speculate, so guess away ….

What do you think?