Monday, April 11, 2016

Once Upon A Time 5x17 Review: “Her Handsome Hero” (My What a Guy, That Gaston!) [Guest Poster: Julia]

“Her Handsome Hero”
Original Airdate: April 10, 2016

The classic villain Gaston from Beauty and the Beast lives again as this week’s episode of Once Upon A Time is all about the hunk we want to like. A new story of Gaston and Belle’s meeting is played out over the course of the episode, which ends similarly to the tale as old as time that we are all familiar with. As a love triangle re-emerges, the stakes are set even higher and end in a somewhat surprising twist.


Gaston and Belle’s history is now a little different than you might remember. OUAT’s version of the story was first depicted in season one, when Rumpelstiltskin murdered Gaston by turning him into the fateful rose. Belle and Gaston were previously engaged when Rumple took Belle as his servant. As Gaston went to storm the castle and be the hero, Rumple turns him into a rose to get rid of him, all of which went unnoticed by Belle.

Through new flashbacks, we learn the story of Gaston and Belle’s arranged meeting. Belle’s father sets them up as a possible merger of their two kingdoms in case of the Ogre War coming their way. Belle’s disgust in the plan quickly changes as she is charmed by Gaston. The two go out for a walk and happen upon a young ogre who is stuck in a deep hole in the ground. Belle convinces Gaston not to kill the youngling and shows him a page in the hero handbook in the process.

Belle finds a special mirror that will depict whether someone is innocent or lying. Upon bringing it back to where she left Gaston, Belle finds him hurt in the woods. Gaston says he was attacked, leading to a chase to find the ogre. When they catch up to it, Belle wants to use the mirror to see the true intentions of the ogre. The mirror shows the truth: Gaston is the liar and never intended to help the ogre (which really shouldn’t have been a surprise. There was no way Gaston was going to majorly change as a character between his movie and TV versions).

So, Belle naturally distrusts Gaston for his lying, but her father still has other plans. He blames Belle for the ogres beginning to invade their kingdom and convinces her that the only way to fix the problem is for their kingdom and Gaston’s to unite to fight the monsters. Belle decides that the only option is to marry Gaston and accepts his hand.

In present day, Hades seeks out Gaston in the Underworld to give him an opportunity to get his revenge on Rumple, providing him with arrows dipped in the River of Lost Souls. This leads to the inevitable encounter of Belle, Rumple, and Gaston. Belle, shocked to see Gaston in the Underworld, learns the truth of his death, which she is not happy with. Belle decides that she doesn’t want to hurt Gaston anymore and would rather help him pass on to a better place.

In the meantime, Hades visits Belle to try and strike a deal. He agrees to not take her baby if she allows Gaston and Rumple to fight, and one of them has to be tossed into the River of Lost Souls to spend an eternity suffering. Belle is wary of the deal, knowing that she could lose Rumple forever, and doesn’t agree. The best part of the episode is when Belle’s nightmare comes true. She finds Rumple choking Gaston at the pier and tries to keep him from killing Gaston again. Rumple is forced to stop when Belle takes his dagger and commands him to, and Gaston takes the opportunity to shoot an arrow at Rumple. Belle, in a moment of pure impulse, lunges at Gaston and knocks him into the River of Lost Souls. She is horrified at herself upon realizing what she did. To make matters worse, Hades reappears to tell Rumple and Belle that he still owns their child because Belle knocked Gaston into the River instead of Rumple.


The theme of the night was hope, which is also the theme of the entire series, in my opinion. The Underworld is mysteriously being affected by this from the living guests. Their consistent hope is making daisies grow across the Underworld, where things are only supposed to decay, not grow. This especially freaks out Hades because the life is a threat to his kingdom. He uses Gaston to try to destroy some of the hope, which works, as we see a daisy decay after Hades gives the news of the deal not going through.

Hope is displayed by Belle throughout the episode. First, she decides that she wants Rumple to only use light magic to defeat Hades. She feels that this is the best way to win and make Rumple the man that she wants him to be. Belle’s second plan is to weaken Hades through getting souls to pass to a better place by solving unfinished business. As the last few episodes of the season unfold, it will be interesting to see how far Belle will go to beat Hades. She has some massive opportunities to step up and be the hero she has always wanted to be. Belle’s plans are pretty solid and definitely have some merit, so hopefully she doesn’t take a backseat approach and settle for everyone else’s plans like she typically does.

The other blossom of hope was Regina’s meeting with Zelena. Regina decides to try to get some intel on Hades by talking with Zelena, who reveals her past romance with the god. Regina is surprised to hear that Zelena loves Hades and tries to use that to find out his weaknesses. Zelena is unsure of how to hurt Hades, but feels that she is his only weakness. You could see the wheels turning in Regina’s mind as she learned this, which should lead to an interesting showdown in the future. The problem with this possible future scenario will be Zelena’s compliance — will she stand with her sister to defeat Hades, or will her love for him force her to turn against Regina yet again?


The coolest and weirdest part of the episode is Emma’s nightmare-turned-reality sequence. Emma starts the episode off with having a seemingly harmless dream. As the episode unfolds, the entire dream starts to slowly become reality. Afraid for Snow White’s safety, Emma tries to persuade her out of going to the graveyard. When Emma can’t convince Snow White to stay behind, it freaks her out even more. They avoid the monster that appears in the dream by hiding in Regina’s vault.

The freaky part of this adventure is Emma seeing the future. Was this a one-time occurrence or is this going happen frequently over the rest of the season? This could be an ability that haunts Emma and ruins her sanity. Or, it could be the crew’s saving grace. The first glimpse of this possible ability leads to the biggest surprise of the season so far: at the very end of the episode, Snow White, Emma, Regina, and Hook confront the monster that Emma had feared. The monster is a wolf, which Snow recognizes instantly and throws a familiar red cloak over it. None other than Ruby/Red Riding Hood regains her human form, leaving me with way too many questions.

We previously didn’t know Red was dead, which will (hopefully) be next week’s storyline. Red could be the missing piece of the puzzle they need to defeat Hades, or she could be just another pawn to distract us from yet another twist.


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