Oh, Belle. I just want to give you a hug.
Not that a hug will help. Nothing will help at this point. There’s no comfort, not even in knowing you did the right thing.
Because the Rumple we’ve seen the past few seasons, the Rumple we saw in “Changelings,” that’s not a man I would trust with my kid. That’s not a man I would trust with anything.
So, let’s get into what happened in the episode, from Belle’s heartbreaking choice to Captain Swan being the perfect team.
Joining me to discuss this episode, as always, are Sarah, Caryn and our lovely guest for the week, Lindsay!
What were your overall thoughts on this episode? Rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10.
Lizzie: I’m going to give it an 7.5. I really enjoyed the Captain Swan team-up in this episode, and even though I’m SO over the Rumple/Belle storyline, it felt like this time that story took a definite turn towards never again, and that makes me happy. I was, however, frustrated with Regina in the episode, and let’s not even get me started on Aladdin’s poor choices, so the episode wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
Caryn: I’m going to give the episode a 7 as well. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed the air of finality that Rumbelle had this episode. Also it was interesting to learn that the Black Fairy was Rumple’s mother. But why oh why is Aladdin going to be the genie?? Surely there must be other options, it just seems like a terrible choice.
Sarah: I would rate it a solid 7, it wasn’t a bad episode and it certainly had it’s enjoyable moments but I’m so sick of the Rumbelle dynamic being dragged down more and more the never coming back from this rabbit hole. It was redeemed by the awesome partner work by Emma and Hook and how hard they worked to support Belle.
Lindsay: I would give the episode a healthy 7. Seeing Captain Swan working together again was a highlight for me, they do make a great team! I want to see more of the Black fairy, she was just amazing! I thought the Rumbelle story overpowered the episode a little, with Aladdin just shoehorned in. I’m also certain we’ve seen that scene with Regina and Zelena before…
Belle made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of her child. What do you think of Belle’s decision? Do you agree? Would you, in her position, have done the same?
Lizzie: It’s hard to put myself in Belle’s shoes, because, boy, she’s given Rumple way more chances than I feel he deserved, and also because I don’t have kids, and I can’t even begin to comprehend what that feels like, but I think she made the right choice, yes. I think Rumple’s a wildcard and best case scenario at this point, he was going to take the child from her, and try to raise him by himself, which …not saying he can’t physically care for the boy, I’m just saying he wouldn’t have grown up the man Belle hoped he could become.
Overall, though, I feel we’re not really in a position to judge. If Belle feels that’s the best choice, then she would probably know better – she’s the one that knows what living/fearing/loving Rumple feels like. It sucks to grow up alone, but Gideon won’t be alone, and most importantly, I think he’ll grow up (assuming the show doesn’t end and Belle can go find him) knowing that his mother loved him enough to do the hardest thing in the world, and that’s give him up.
Caryn: Like any parent who gives their child up for adoption because they cannot provide a safe home for them I think that Belle made the right choice. Constantly being on run or being tethered to Rumple is not a situation that any child should be in and I think it was selfless of her to give her son the chance to get away from it. I think her child will have some animosity towards her for her decision, but at least he would have gotten away from Rumple. It’s probably a similar situation to the whole Emma and The Charmings in where they sent away for her own safety.
Sarah: Honestly I don’t think I have any right to say her choice was wrong or right, even though she’s a fictional character she still faced one of the toughest situations there is. Personally though, after everything Rumple has put her through, no I don’t blame her. I can’t say what I would have done, but if there’s one person who knows Rumple and the lengths he’ll go to to keep who he loves “safe” it’s Belle.
She gave up the person she loves most in the world to keep him safe from his father who was willing to exploit anyone and any magic he could get his hands on to take his child’s choice away before he was even born. She didn’t have a lot of time to make a choice and as terrifying and hard as I’m sure it was, she put her child first.
Lindsay: It’s difficult, because just like Snow there wasn’t enough time to make a proper choice. She was giving birth there and then, dream land Morpheus was telling her the same. One thing we can all agree on however is that Belle loves her son, and it’s through that love that she made the most difficult choice of all.
The danger of Rumple is real, who knows what he would have done if he had managed to take him and use the shears. I shudder to even think about it!
We got a little bit of backstory on Rumple this week, and we got to learn that he, himself, was an abandoned child. Does that, in any way, color your interpretation of him or has he made too many wrong choices for anything to change the way you see him?
Lizzie: No. I’m tired of giving Rumple second, third, fifty four chances because oh, look, he had a crappy childhood, and oh, his wife didn’t want to stay with him and so on. Rumple’s had a tragic past, yes, but each and every decision he’s ever made has lead to where he is now. He’s squandered chances to be good, to have Belle, to have a family, more times than I can count. This is all on him, not on us for not feeling sorry and certainly not on Belle for not forgiving him one more time.
Caryn: All the no’s in the world. I hate this TV trope that if you had a difficult childhood you automatically become a bad person devoid of change and we are supposed to excuse it because you had it tough. I sympathize with his situation but he’s fresh out of excuses, he made the choices that he made by his own design, Neal said as much to him. Also congrats to Peter Pan on bagging the Black Fairy.
Sarah: Nope! I’m sorry but Rumple has had so many chances at choosing to work hard and become the man who really could be happy with his family but he’s long since passed that point. It clears things up on his backstory and I’ll admit the twist that the Black Fairy was his mother and gave him up for power was a good one. However it still doesn’t wipe away all the bad choices he’s made in the present. He may have been born into a really bad situation, but the fact that his life has turned into a tragedy is on him.
Lindsay: Not at all. Almost every character on the show has struggled, had awful childhoods and suffered some form of abuse. It doesn’t give you a free pass to act like this. He has been given a million chances, yet again he just messes up.
I admit I have grown tired of Rumple this season. He was a character I loved to hate, now he’s simply a character I don’t enjoy. There’s no development, he’s still that coward who hides behind magic. It’s boring.
Hook and Emma were finally given the chance to be full-on partners in this episode. Did you enjoy their interactions? Where do you see them going next? Give me all your FEELS about these two.
Lizzie: Dear Gods of television, thank you for Captain Swan. In a TV landscape filled with drama for the sake of drama, couples that lie to each other for no reason and don’t really treat each other like equals, Captain Swan is like a safe port in a storm. I can always count on them to be understanding, to not undermine each other, to learn from their mistakes and most importantly, to love each other. Wholeheartedly. Without reservations. Without asking for anything in return.
That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, not even close. Perfect couples are boring and hard to relate to. They’re real, and they make mistakes, and they sometimes keep things from each other, but it never feels like the storytelling is going against the characters. It also never feels like they’re going backwards, even if sometimes it does feel like they take a while to move forward. Either way, their journey is a shining example of how to do an OTP and keep fans interested and I hope we get to see them in our TV screens for years to come. (I’m betting on at least an engagement this year).
Caryn: One thing I really loved about Captain Swan in this episode is that Hook isn’t intimidated by Emma’s power. Even when Rumple jeered at him he was nonplussed. They work together as partners and it’s not a point of contention for either of them.
Sarah: Hook and Emma working together figuring out how to get past Rumple and help Belle was amazing. I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing these two put their heads together and taking challenges head on until I watched this episode. It’s a testament to how far they’ve come not just since they’ve met but this season when Emma had a vision instead of deflecting she was honest especially about the part where she wasn’t sure she was ok. For a long time she never let anyone in to let them see how unsure she could be and here she is openly admitting only by him asking her to be honest.
They truly love each other, but even more significant is their commitment to never give up on each other or their relationship. It has taken them to new heights and I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended out the season with them at the very least engaged. They’ve been through so much and after Emma lives (as we all know she will) they deserve some ridiculously smile their faces off happy times.
Lindsay: Talking of character development, look at these two! Here is the shining example on this show. Their relationship grows every single week and I absolutely love it. When Killian asked Emma what was going on, she confided in him and didn’t hold back. It clearly terrified her (understandably so) but Killian gave her the support she needed. She loves him and trusts him and it makes me so happy!
They’ve still got a long way to go, but the development we’re getting is amazing. In earlier seasons we would have simply have got a kiss, now they’re working through these issues.
As for where they’re going, I want them to continue the journey they’re on. For them to rush into marriage and babies would be out of character and become just like any generic TV couple. I do want that one day, but let them face their issues first. Let Killian be the hero he wants to be and let Emma keep those walls down!
Regina saved Zelena from the EQ, but, at the end of the day, the relationship is still strained because Regina just can’t forgive her. Which side of the divide do you fall on? Do you think Regina needs to let this go, or do you understand where she’s coming from? What’s next for these two?
Lizzie: I certainly understands where Regina is coming from, it’s not that I don’t understand her. She’s in pain and she’s lashing out and I feel for her because she lost the love of her life and she can’t really find her footing no matter how much she pretends she has. BUT, and this is a big but, I don’t think she’s being honest with herself or with Zelena about the reasons why she can’t forgive her. What Regina needs to say is “Right now, I can’t. Give me time,” because she obviously cares about Zelena and she knows Zelena, as misguided as she can be at times, cares for her.
Problem is, Regina is framing it all around Zelena not deserving forgiveness, when, newsflash, you didn’t either, Regina. And yet Snow forgave you. Charming forgave you. Henry forgave you. Emma forgave you. This is not about being deserving or not, there’s no magical ledger that you can balance out, because if there were, yours would still be very much in red.
Does Zelena deserve forgiveness? Probably not. Should Regina give it anyway? Isn’t that the whole point of this show?
Caryn: The most ‘shades of grey’ relationship in all of Once Upon A Time is the one between Zelena and Regina but I do think they are on a journey of forgiveness and redemption even If I’m not actually sure Zelena deserves Regina forgiveness, although I didn’t think Regina deserved Snow’s forgiveness either. I think this will be a point of contention for both of them through the rest of the season but Zelena will side with the heroes in the end.
Sarah: Regina, god love her, is one of my favorite characters on OUAT but her flat out refusal to forgive Zelena or give even an inch just hit a nerve. Zelena is no means a perfect person and even I can understand how hard it would be to let go of all the pain and anguish she’s caused especially as personal as losing Robin was. At the end of the day though, Zelena is her sister and she’s someone who’s willing to try and build a real relationship if Regina was let her in. She won’t so until they break that stand still I expect things will stay strained.
What I hope for more than anything is for these two is to get to see the past as painful and close to the vest it can be doesn’t define the future. It’s your choice and I hope both of them get to a place where they can really acknowledge that and be just what they’ve always wanted: family.
Lindsay: I have definitely seen this scene before. At present, their relationship isn’t going anywhere. Could I ever forgive Zelena for what she did? No, of course not. I could never forgive Regina however for all her mistakes.
I could go on, but I will say that I was so thrilled that they finally mentioned Robin Hood again. I almost thought they had forgotten about him!
Aladdin is now …the new genie. That does not bode well for, well, anyone. What do you think of Aladdin’s decision, and why he choose to do this. Does this sacrifice make him a hero in your book?
Lizzie: Stupidity can sometimes be confused with heroism. I mean, I hate that “heroes” don’t think these things through or come up with contingency plans for anything. I get that he did it for Jasmine and I get that he wanted to help, but this is most certainly going to blow up in his face and I’m not even going to feel sorry, because you don’t get to do stupid shit without thinking and call yourself a hero. Not in my book.
Caryn: Sigh, I really don’t understand how this helps Jasmine, I’m fairly sure that there must be less binding ways to help her. I understand that he wants to play the role of the hero but the genie power better give him amazing abilities or I’m losing all my trust in Aladdin.
Sarah: He’s a hero for giving up his freedom without a second thought to help Jasmine, but he’s incredibly shortsighted if he thinks this won’t backfire in a spectacular way. Since he and Jasmine found each other again in Storybrooke he’s been helping her find Agrabah (even if it’s taken a few nudges from Emma.) He’s lost his magic his “saviorness” but that doesn’t mean he’s not able to choose to help. Heroes don’t always do heroic things in big huge gestures they come in all shapes and sizes and more importantly choices. He’s made his and even if I know this is not going to go well with a genie on the loose in Storybrooke Aladdin will always be a hero in my book.
Lindsay: How would this ever be a good idea? It’s insulting to Belle who really struggled with the choice she had to make in this episode. She had no time. Aladdin did. Instead he impulsively decided this was the best course of action. He does have good intentions, but he was also in a room full of people to support him and find another way. They’re experts in heroism after all. No Aladdin, you might be dreamy but you’re no hero yet. No matter how dreamy you look…
Agree? Disagree? Want to participate in one of these round-tables in the future? Share with us in the comments below!
Once Upon a Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.