I wrote before about how I overcame personal prejudice to try out Once Upon a Time and the show grew on me. I was intrigued by the last episode before the break when Sheriff Graham was brutally killed by Regina aka the Evil Queen. It was enough to keep me interested in seeing the rest of the season, because the cutesy cheesiness of the show could get grating on my nerves. But killing him was showing a real dark side, and that’s why I always preferred Grimm’s Fairy Tales over Disney. Don’t get me wrong, the little girl inside me still loves Aladdin and the Lion King, but I like the adult version of stories too. This episode was delving into one of my absolute favorite stories, Beauty and the Beast. So obviously, I was going to be a sucker for it.

I planned to recap this show as it went, but I got lazy the past few weeks. SO. Since Graham died unexpectedly, Emma was the shoe-in to become the next Sheriff, right? Wrong. Regina was like lolz no and tried to get her magic mirror – I mean Genie – I mean newspaper guy to take over. Emma manages to not play dirty pool when Mr. Gold offers to help her get back at Regina, and this turns out to be the right choice because the townspeople vote her in as Sheriff. We met Hansel and Gretel as they lost their father and Regina was like come live with me and they went naaaaaw you evil, so she made them suffer for eternity by never finding their parents. Emma managed to reunite them with their father in Storybrooke though, after learning from her own experience getting closer to Henry. Gretel, btw, was awesome. Her brother just sort of wandered around, but she was pretty in  your face. There’s a new guy called the Stranger who happens to be a writer and stole Henry’s fairy tale book when his mother took down the old playground. Emma was all rawwwwwr about it and she got fooled into thinking Sidney Glass was on her side. He doublecrossed her for Regina, because he used to be the Genie and fell for the evil Queen and helped her kill her husband. David and Mary Margaret may be awesome lovers in their fairy tale land, but IRL they’re having an affair on his wife. So that’s really romantic, right? So glad Prince Charming and Snow White are adulterers. Yeah yeah, it’s the other world, and yeah yeah, they’re under a curse. Am I supposed to be rooting for them? It’s not working.

Now back to this episode. LOST’s Emilie de Ravis guest stars as the lovely Belle. I have always loved Belle the most of the Disney Princesses, and I think Emilie does a lovely job in this role. She’s smart and funny and bold, unafraid of the “beast” (in this case Rumpelstiltskin) but still vulnerable enough to empathize with. She gives herself up to Rumpy because he demands it in return for saving her people from the Ogres. He wants her to clean up his mansion and maybe he’s a bit lonely, although the green skinned hobgoblin would never admit it. She says later that she always wanted to do something heroic, and this was her chance so she took it. The episode has to go very quickly through their romance and that’s unfortunate, because their chemistry is good and both actors are doing a good solid job in this episode. If they had more time to develop it that would be great, but as it is they did a good job. The two get used to one another and Belle seems to understand his warped sense of humor. She figures if he’s the only person she’s ever going to see, they should get to know one another. She chips a glass after he surprises her with a creepy joke, which becomes a symbol of their relationship later on.

He allows Belle to go into town to prove she’ll come back, and she does consider leaving for good, but the Evil Queen finds her and says maybe he’s under a curse. All he needs is True Love’s Kiss to get him out of it. Belle comes back, and there is an absolutely adorable scene where Rumpy sees her coming and genuinely gets awkward and excited and adorable. Well done to Robert Carlyle, because that sold me right there. However when he opens up about his son being lost, Belle kisses him. He freaks out since he starts to turn human and knows it’s the Queen trying to get at him. In a temper he throws Belle in the dungeon, convinced she was working against him on purpose. He sets her free, and Belle gets in his face, letting him know this is his choice to turn away from her. She could truly love him, but he’s convinced no one can so it’s his fault he’s all alone. He’s heartbroken of course when the Queen shows up to ask help for a “mermaid.” She tells him that Belle killed herself after everyone treated her as ‘tainted’ for being around him. He doesn’t check because he’s an idiot, or maybe because he doesn’t want to know for sure. Or maybe he checks and the Queen hid her somehow. We have no idea. He puts the treasured chipped cup on a pedestal.

So that’s fairy land! In Storybrooke, Mr. Gold is angry because a florist – Belle’s dad Maurice – broke into his shop and stole a bunch of things. When Emma gets them back, the one thing he wants is not in the pile. He traps Maurice himself and beats him violently. Toward the end he starts yelling at him for destroying ‘her.’ Emma arrests him and Regina comes in, allowing Henry to see Emma for a few minutes if she can have alone time with Gold. It is there she insists on him telling her his true name in exchange for what he’s looking for. He admits his name is Rumpelstiltskin, thus proving he does know the truth about them and has all around. This is not so much a reveal as a confirmation, but it’s a great moment when these two villains acknowledge they are both on an equal footing again. The backstory also shows why Gold is not a fan of Regina and will be looking to bring her down. She gives him the chipped cup back and walks out. She goes to a mental asylum and far down below ground (or so it seemed) where she has Belle locked up. Dum dum duuuuum!

Also there’s a storyline about the women in Storybrooke going out to drink and whine about their men. It’s about as annoying as it sounds. Ashley (Cinderella) is all like wah I have a baby and wah my boyfriend works all the time to provide for us. I get they’re young and struggling with the baby, but man, give the kid a break. Except for that whole part about how he never wanted a thing to do with the baby or her (as far as she knew) until recently. Anyway. He shows up anyway with flowers and proposes and it’s nice. Mary Margaret is like ‘awww why can’t my boyfriend do that oh right we’re having an affair and he’s with his wife.’ This is made even more clear when he accidentally gives her the Valentine’s Day card he bought for Katheryn. Seriously am I supposed to be rooting for these people? They decide to take a break. I know what he could do in this time. Reflect on how he should just divorce his wife if he believes his soulmate is someone else. People have mentioned they think under the curse he’s being forced to stay with Kathryn somehow, but they’ve already proven that the characters can go outside of their curse with given enough incentive. If making out with Snow White all the time isn’t doing it, I don’t know what will, but this storyline grosses me out. I like Charming and Snow White a lot in the other world, and I did like these two in the beginning, but this part of it puts a bad taste in my mouth.

And next week there’s more of it because Kathryn finds out and gets into a cat fight with Mary Margaret. Awesome.

So for the episode, I’ll admit, I had a fondness for it. I always have a soft spot for Robert Carlyle and I’ve really enjoyed his portrayal of Rumpelstiltskin so far. I was iffy about him playing Beast, but I ended up liking where they went with it. I think Emilie did a strong job and the actors had decent chemistry, so I’m interested to see where this is going. I will say the scenes with Regina and Gold/Rumpy were absolutely the best, in both worlds. The last sequence with them at the jail and then at his house were wonderfully performed. They play off one another well and I always enjoy their scenes, and I’m excited to see it go up to a new level now that they both actively know about the curse. I wish they cut out all the stupid Valentine’s Day part and gave more time to the Belle/Rumpy romance so it didn’t seem like it went from eeee he’s a monster to eee he’s so cute. But still. Enjoyed it overall. More Rumpy and Queen battles. Less annoying love triangle I care nothing about!

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