Previously on Once Upon a Time: The Cricket Game.
This week on Once Upon a Time, the citizens of Storybrooke are beginning to realize that with the curse broken, the real world is not as safe as they thought. In Storybrooke, Rumpelstiltskin prepares to leave town to go in search of Baelfire – but Hook has other plans. In the Enchanted Forest, we learn more of Belle’s back story, and Prince Philip makes a reappearance.
In the pre-curse Enchanted Forest, we catch up with Belle in a tavern after she’s left Rumpelstiltskin. When a group of men decide to hunt down a beast called the yaoguai, Dreamy (aka Gurmpy) encourages her to go on the adventure and gives her some fairy dust. Belle (who can apparently read the Enchanted Forest equivalent of Chinese) is ditched by the men first chance they get. She’s sent them in the wrong direction, however, and goes after the yaoguai herself only to be rescued by Mulan, who is none-too-pleased that the beast has escaped. When the men catch up with Belle later, Mulan rescues her yet again, and the women decide to team up to track the yaoguai. But Mulan’s been injured in the scuffle, and it falls to Belle to kill the beast alone. She leads it into town and douses it with water, and going off a hunch, uses fairy dust instead of killing it. The yaoguai is actually Prince Philip, cursed by Maleficent. Belle brings Philip to Mulan, and then leaves to face her own “beast,” but Regina captures her on the road.
In Storybrooke, Rumpelstiltskin (I’m forgoing Mr. Gold in favor of his real name for clarity from now on) conducts an experiment with Smee, a potion, and the town line – which proves to be a success. Rumple shares the good news with Belle: the potion, combined with the object he holds most dear (Baelfire’s shawl), will allow him to cross with memories intact. Unfortunately, there’s only enough for one person to cross and she’ll be left behind. Hook uses intel about Rumple’s weakness to attack Belle in the library, but it’s only a diversion to steal the shawl. Rumple tells Belle a shortened version of his history with Hook (minus details of Milah’s death), gives her a gun, and makes her promise to stay out of the way while he gets the shawl. She doesn’t listen. Belle finds the ship and frees Archie, but Hook discovers her and grabs the gun. He (rather sexily) informs her that Rumple actually murdered Milah, and that she’s fighting for a monster. She manages to get the shawl and the upper hand, claiming Rumple has a “true heart.” Rumple appears in time to have a showdown with Hook on the deck, and despite his “true heart” he is fully intent on beating the captain to death until Belle begs him to stop. While all this is happening, the citizens of Storybrooke worry about Regina and the “real world” finding them, Snow and Charming consider moving out of the loft and settling in Storybrooke, and Archie reappears with the truth of his kidnapping, leading Henry and Emma to realize they’ve made a huge mistake. Later, as Rumple prepares to leave Storybrooke, Hook appears and (non-fatally) shoots Belle, causing her to fall across the line and lose her memories – thus taking away Rumpelstiltskin’s love. Before he can retaliate, a car from the outside world slams into Storybrooke.
Next week, the real world crashes into Storybrooke – literately – and we learn more about Dr. Frankenstein’s “science.”
• I will probably bring down the wrath of the Internet for saying this, but I don’t understand the relationship between Belle and Rumplestiltskin. Rumple is much like Regina in that he wasn’t evil at heart, and turned to darkness when he felt powerless. He obviously loves his son and Belle. But Belle keeps fighting blindly for someone that constantly disappoints her – she’s always pulling him back from the edge of darkness instead of him attempting to suppress his dark nature in the first place. This episode tries to frame Belle’s devotion as strength, but it comes off as feeling weak to me. Feel free to disagree though! I’m willing to have my mind changed.
• Correct me if I’m wrong: wouldn’t true love’s kiss between Belle and Rumple be enough to restore her memories? I’m blanking on why it can’t be “undone,” especially with magic in Storybrooke.
• Point of interest: the license plate of the car that crashed into Storybrooke is 2KFL138.
Nicole N. decided to justify the countless hours she spends watching television by writing about it here. She is currently upping her political savvy by watching all of The West Wing. For more tv-centric musings, check out her tumblr.