Original Airdate: March 19, 2017
Disney has really put some thought into marketing this week by centering its new episode of Once Upon A Time on Rumple and Belle’s son. Considering the cash cow that is the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, it was a smart move to have OUAT’s Beast and Belle at the forefront of the episode. In one of the season’s forgotten storylines, Gideon is dead-set on killing Emma to steal her magic and use it to kill the Black Fairy (who is Rumple’s mother). The show has finally picked the story back up in a surprising fashion.
PROTECTING YOUR OWN
In an interesting turn of events, Rumple has decided to help Gideon destroy the Black Fairy, but doesn’t want his son to dabble with any dark magic and taint his soul. This is the first fatherly moment Rumple has had in practically the entire series, so this is a big moment for the character. He vows to help Gideon, and even tries to use a memory potion to right his son’s mind. The only bad part of this sweet story is that Rumple doesn’t offer any alternatives to killing Emma. He acknowledges to Gideon that sacrificing Emma will not help the quest nor make him a hero, yet Rumple has not come up with a new plan of action to destroy the Black Fairy.
Somehow, it hasn’t occurred to the characters that they should figure out an alternative solution for Gideon’s problem instead of simply trying to stop his passionate plots of destruction. At least Rumple is trying to earn a “Father of the Month” honor by doing the dirty deeds instead of letting Gideon plunge into darkness. This is a turn for Rumple because he has finally figured out how much being The Dark One has affected him and what the consequences of using dark magic are. Now, I don’t expect Rumple to keep up the act for long, because changes never stick with him. If, by some chance, he does have a major change stick, he may have a shot at winning Belle’s affections back.
DESTROYING A CLASSIC
Not everything was sunshine and butterflies during the episode. Half of the episode was told in flashback format to the First Ogres War, immediately after Rumple had claimed the title of The Dark One. Rumple is still drunk on his newfound power and finds himself being challenged by Beowulf, who has no point of being in this universe. I questioned the relevance of this character for the entire episode and truly didn’t find a reason for Beowulf to be there, especially since he is not a fairytale character.
Not only does Beowulf’s poetic story not fit into the show at all, but the episode ruined the legend for me in the process. This version of Beowulf doesn’t have the appearance or attitude. It just didn’t feel like Beowulf, which was a disappointment. The storyline didn’t need thisand could have been done very differently to get the same point across. It was a useless time filler that took away from the other stories of the episode.
Back to the positives, there were two potential happy endings to the episode that are noteworthy. First, Emma found the engagement ring Hook bought for her, which leads to an impromptu proposal. The two share a wonderfully blissful moment before realization sets in for Hook, who hasn’t kept his promise to himself. At the beginning of the episode, Hook decides that he will tell Emma that he killed her grandfather in hopes of clearing his conscience and showing her that he really has changed, by admitting his past flaws and misbehaviors. Emma distracts him from revealing the secret, so he chickens out entirely. However, there’s no way this secret is going to stay hidden for long; it’s bound to come out sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see if Emma accepts the truth when they aren’t supposed to be keeping secrets from each other. In the meantime, I’m happy that both characters have found some real happiness.
The other potential happy ending came in the form of a twist that I definitely didn’t see coming. The new Robin stole some magic potions from Regina’s vault in the last episode and tries to get Zelena’s help in this episode to escape Storybrooke. It was good to see Zelena on the show again, since she hasn’t been a part of it recently. Things clearly go awry and somehow leads to the Evil Queen, who is in cobra form, escaping her confines and regaining her natural form.
Interestingly, it appears that the new Robin and the Evil Queen could be a perfect match in the same way that Regina and the original Robin were. It never really occurred to me that this version of Robin would be perfect for Regina’s other half. I’m not sure if it will play out that way, but it could be an interesting plot point of the next episode. Maybe there will be a different happy ending than expected here!