#OnceUponATime Panel “The Bear and the Bow”

What an episode that was, right? I had a lot of thoughts after “The Bear and the Bow”, and I bet you did too. Thankfully, I got to express most of them in my review, so now it’s time to see what you all thought! This week we have a very diverse group, so I hope you enjoy the questions (and the answers!). Here to share their opinions with me this week are Linsey (@haythamfangirl ), Natali (@theMagicalTweet) and Charles (@cdulaney85), so read on as we discuss Rumbelle, Rumplestiltskin’s motives and what exactly makes a hero.

Zelena’s observation that Emma is afraid of being alone, and her reaction to it, seemed to support the theory that Emma gave into the darkness for a reason. What’s your take on her reasoning?

Linsey: I personally think that Zelena was saying like “Hey, you’ve made it obvious how scared you are of being let down.” And I think that Emma did fall into darkness for a reason such as this. I think that Emma fell into darkness to protect people, not so much hurt them.

Natali: Emma has so much love and selflessness in her heart that it’s hard to imagine her NOT doing it for a good reason and the sake of her loved ones. She became an expert on finding people because she was always searching for her family. She is not someone who likes to be alone no matter how much she tries to convince herself. I believe her actions as the dark one are rooted in wanting to help rather than hurt, and It's obvious Zelena picked up on it right away

Charles: I think Zelena is correct about Emma being afraid of being alone definitely. When we first met Emma, she was a loner and definitely had trouble connecting with people. Now think about this - Right before she was taken over by the darkness, Emma had the most family she had ever had in her life. She had a man she loves, her parents and Henry by her side and even had become friends with Regina. So I think she was willing to sacrifice herself to the darkness to protect the one thing she holds most dear to her: Her Family.

Do you think Emma enacted the curse or are you blaming someone else, and if so, who?

Linsey: I think Emma did it. I think somewhere in the Camelot storyline someone will betray her, I'm thinking Regina, and she'll cast the curse as punishment.

Natali: I think it was Emma with a twist that I can't seem to figure out. Are she and Hook sharing a heart like Snow and Charming? It's possible. It’s also a bit suspicious that we have yet to see Lancelot or Merlin in Storybrooke. It’s also possible that she changed the rules of the curse. It’s a dark one’s creation after all. I doubt she would use Henry's because I think that would be a little much and besides, Regina did put a restriction spell on it. I would personally count that option out

Charles: I'm torn about this because my head says Emma but my heart is saying it was someone else. One of the things I have learned from this show is to go with your heart (when it hasn't been pulled out of you) and I'll say that it was someone else besides Emma that enacted the curse. As for whom it was, I think initial feeling might be Arthur especially after trying to sabotage the ceremony to try and contact Merlin.

Is it really that simple? Is Rumple now a hero?

Linsey: I think he is. I mean, it's like in Beauty and The Beast, the Beast changed for the better. And I think we are going to be seeing a side of Rumple no one expected except the biggest Rumple fans and Rumbelle shippers.

Natali: Does he want to be a hero? Yes. Is he? Well, I think that's a one-step-at-a-time kind of thing. He's more capable of it now that the darkness is no longer seducing him, sure. The Rumple we knew Pre DO was a good man. Cowardice always held him back. As long as he continues to step up and be willing to fight the good fight for the RIGHT reasons, in time he can be considered a true hero.

Charles:  To answer the first question, Nothing is every simple in Storybrooke! haha! As for the second part of this, I don't believe he is a hero just quite yet. He did something heroic saving Belle from Bear Merida but a true hero doesn't just do one big thing for love, he does these things because they are the right thing to do. Rumple's heroic act was fueled by love for Belle which while a noble heroic gesture does not entirely make a hero.

What do you think Rumple’s next move is? After all, being a hero is about making the right choice over, and over again.

Linsey: Well...that's a tricky question.  I think he could go a majority of ways. He's a "hero" supposedly. I believe that he will end up being the Savior. I think he'll falter along the way, but even the purest of heroes, Snow & Charming, have faltered.

Natali: I believe, well, I HOPE he will use his knowledge and wisdom to help. He is much more enlightened so I'm hoping he makes the right choices especially being that he was responsible for much of the havoc caused in Storybrooke and the EF. Being a hero is about making the right choices over and over again. So the question is, is he capable of doing just that?

Charles:  For right now, I think Rumple's only thought is to stop Emma. When Emma told Rumple, after he had pulled Excalibur from the stone, that Storybrooke had a lot of heroes, Rumple's one sentence reply “None of them are me." was very telling. With the tone of voice and look in his eye, it reminded me a lot of the first few season Mr.Gold we knew and loved (well some of us). A man who did not take kindly to someone threatening him or the only other person he loved.  So with the right choice being trying to help get the darkness out of Emma, I think Rumple might be thinking of something to stop Emma but in a more permanent way than Hook, Charming, Regina and Snow want.

Sometimes, when it comes to Rumple, Belle comes off as blinded by love. Do you think she did the right thing by continuing to believe in him?

Linsey: Yes, I do! I think she did. This could just be the Beauty & The Beast fan and the Rumbelle shipper in me saying this but I think she has always saw the man behind the Beast no matter what. I think Belle has become a character though that the OUAT writers push aside though, for sure. But...yeah, I think she made the right choice.

Natali: In certain ways I do. It depends on the situation. Love can blind us all, but I think that's the beauty of who Belle is. She constantly reminds us that if we truly care for someone, we don't give up on them. We fight for them. Forgiveness IS also okay even if we're forgiving the person who hurt us most. It's peace of mind that the person who hurt us, doesn't control us. I think many forget the deeper meaning of the story; Hope, as well as redemption. These villains weren’t born evil. They were weak, which is why they were so easily seduced by the darkness in the first place. Belle chooses to see the heart and soul behind the mask and finds the goodness in everyone and I personally think that’s a lovely quality to possess. Of course there are limits. Belle herself realized this when she had no choice but to banish Rumple in S4, but that's reality. There is only so much one could or should take. I’m glad she stepped up and is showing that her good heart isn’t to be taken advantage of just because she’s willing to give someone countless chances. “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness” is a quote that reminds me of Belle. It’s her strength that allows her to see past the bad and sometimes I think we could learn from that.

Charles: This was a tough one to answer because I am not the biggest Rumbelle fan in the world. However I think it was right for her to believe in Rumple simply because I believe Belle sees the good in everyone even when they do not. She believed in Merida in the flashback that she would not need the potion to inspire people and she believed that Rumple would be the hero she always thought he was. How much of that was her love of him, I cannot be sure but I do believe that Belle did the right thing by believe in him even when Rumple did not believe in himself throughout the whole episode.

What was your favorite part of the episode, and what do you want to see more of?

Linsey: Oh, the Rumbelle parts for sure! I mean, they actually quoted the movie and put their own special OUAT twist on what could be two film scenes! I loved seeing the possibility of this brand new story about Rumple and all the ways his story could turn out. I would personally love to see more Rumbelle for sure. The ship was kinda abandoned after S2. It was all Captain Swan after that! So, I'd love to see more.

Natali: I loved seeing Merida kick butt. I enjoyed the Rumbelle moments. But my favorite scene, although short, has to be between Zelena and Dark Swan. Their interaction was humorous and a breath of fresh air. Zelena might be insane, but she's not dumb and I love that she wasn't fazed with Emma. I would love to see more scenes between them and I would love to see Gold and Hook interact now that both are in a much different place than they ever were.

Charles: I enjoyed Emma and Zelena's conversation as I laughed at Zelena want for onion rings and Emma's continued ability to magical produce free food for everyone. Another part I liked was a quick moment in the flashback where Merida shot down the three arrows that were going to strike her brothers. I am a sucker for Robin Hood and that scene reminded me of it so much.

As for more of what I want to see, I can't wait for the returns of Red and Mulan! That episode sounds like it will be a really fun one.  Also I am enjoying Team Hook (Charming? Regina and her sidekicks?) and I want to see more of their efforts to try to save Emma from the darkness that continues to grow in her.

Agree? Disagree? Have your own answers to these questions? Sound off in the comments below!

Once Upon a Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.