Lacey. Oh how have we been waiting for that episode. The Rumbelle ep. The one that would finally reunite Rumple and Belle… not quite. More like Lacey, Belle’s SB persona, and Rumple. Or Gold. Or…

The episode begins like a nightmare. In every sense. It’s Henry’s birthday and the Charmings, Emma, Bae and Rumple are at Rumple’s shop where Henry first blows out the candles on his cake before he’s allowed to choose any one object from the shop as his present. Henry chooses a wand.
Now, when you get into such an ep, you of course expect things like this to be real. Nothing indicated anything different, so my mind was reeling already then, prompting me with several questions – apart from the one why they are celebrating in Gold’s shop and not at the Charmings’ apartment or at Granny’s.
First: Where’s Regina? Would they really exclude her? Would Henry want to exclude her? I think if no one else, Henry would try and make the others understand that he wants his mother there, because she’s the one who brought him up and after all, he still loves her (imho). And I guess Emma would be the first one to agree. Now with everything that has happened so far – especially between Snow and Regina – this may have been a bit tricky, but something tells me that for Henry’s sake they would have made it work.
The second thing: Why does Henry choose a magic wand as his present? Two episodes earlier, he went to destroy magic; now he suddenly wants to use it? Unless, of course, he wants to do good; he wants to learn it to offer an opposite pole to the Dark Magic Regina and Rumple use. Obviously, Henry doesn’t have any magic though… wonder what would happen if Emma took the wand into her hands… (and anyways is a wand even needed? Regina and Rumple can use magic without it).
Then comes the shocker – to show Henry how magic works Rumple takes the wand from him… and turns the boy into a statue of porcelain. And then smashes it with his cane. And yes, I still believed right until the cane hit Henry and actually destroyed him, that this is real. Admittedly, then I didn’t have much time to realize that it can’t be real before Rumple wakes up, but at least I did have the beginning of that thought… lol…
Seeing that all this is a dream however gives us a lot of insight into Rumple’s psyche.
The people he sees as family – Henry’s and essentially also his – exclude Regina. Added to that I guess that with what he may have been planning in his dream (this is confusing O.o) he knew he shouldn’t have Regina there because she’s prevent him from destroying Henry, as she’s the only one who could use magic strong enough to do so.
We don’t need to talk about and analyze what Rumple did – it comes from the prophecy of the Seer that “the boy will be his undoing”, and even if he doesn’t want to harm Henry for real (something I still believe in, unwavering), his subconscious may give him a hard time here; we see that in form of his dream.
What I do like to analyze though is what, in Rumple’s dream, Henry chooses as his birthday present. A magic wand. Essentially magic. Henry is Rumple’s grandson. He’s potentially one of those who should have the ability to use magic. If Emma has, why not Henry also? I deem it possible that Rumple wants to bring Henry and magic together; that he wants his grandson to use magic, learn it. Inherit it, in a way. But the question is – why? What use would it be to Rumple to have Henry possess magic?
Maybe he wants an equal if he ever decides to battle the boy for what he’s supposed to be to him – his undoing. So Henry needs to be able to use magic and defend himself against Rumple before he can attack. But, as said before, I don’t believe that Rumple actually wants to hurt Henry.
Then we have the legacy part; magic can be good, and should Rumple ever lose his abilities due to a curse being broken or anything (the Rumbelle kiss in 1×12 comes to mind), he needs someone who’s hopefully on his side and has learned from him; someone he can still form to his liking, contrary to Emma who’s too old to fall for anything, to “be formed”, even if she allows Rumple to teach her magic.
And last but not least is it possible that Rumple simply wants to spend time with Henry; but doesn’t know how to do it other than by teaching his grandson magic. I guess Rumple is pretty much a novice in that regard, plus he’s been alone, without family or anyone, for too long to know how to act around family. How is he supposed to know that just being there could be enough? On the other hand no one would believe him if he was just the nice gramps I guess…
Back to reality, there is this other thing, bit more on the domestic side (the real, not the dream one ;)): Yes, I did wonder if Rumple ever sleeps at all. 2×04 showed us that Belle woke up to look to her side where she obviously expected Rumple, so I guess he did go to bed with her; but it never answered if he just didn’t wait until she was asleep. Of course he’s human and probably has to sleep, but then he’s also a powerful magician and the Dark One, so nothing is so normal or an obvious fact with him.
Now we see him, actually sleeping, actually having a dream (nightmare), actually… wearing a dark blue pajama. Perfect. 😀 Oh. And actually sleeping on the right side of the bed. We remember – it was the side Belle woke up on back in 2×04. So – is he sleeping on her side as some sort of sentimental reminder, or has this pure practical reasons? I think the way to this side is shorter than to the other, and with his leg he takes every shortcut he gets, I guess.
A bit later we find Rumple watching Bae and Henry practicing with their wooden swords (aaaand still adrorable, thank you); thoughtfully so, I guess he’s a lot to consider, looking back at his dream. He doesn’t have much time though because Regina joins him – to wonder why her son is playing with Rumple’s.
Oh well, Rumple’s got news for you Regina – and I didn’t realize until now that Regina has no idea yet: Finally she learns that Henry is Bae’s son. And thus Rumple’s grandson. Which, as Rumple says, effectively makes them family. Ouch, big time.
Of course Regina immediately thinks that all this was planned; that Rumple always knew of Henry’s true identity (or well, the identity of his parents) and for that reason brought him to Regina when she asked Rumple to get a child for her. Rumple, however, denies that – he had no idea. And I believe it. When we remember his reaction in 2×14, it’s pretty clear that he really didn’t know. I’m not even sure that back then he knew that Henry is Emma’s son, or more, who Emma is. So far Ed&Adam’s claim that Rumple only remembered the moment Emma came to SB still stands; which makes me assume that it was by pure chance that of all possible children he picked the son of his son and the Savior to be Regina’s adoptive child. True, one hell of a coincidence – or maybe really, as Rumple says to Regina, fate.
One thing is true in any way, even if I hate to admit it: The Charmings will never accept Rumple as part of their family. Or maybe they will, but only ever under certain conditions, never fully and with open hearts (no pun intended). Because: Rumple will and can never be fully good. She believes that the dark in him will always win. And that no one can bring out the good in him.
“If your own son couldn’t bring out the good in you… who will?”
Huh. I beg to differ. And it seems strange that Regina would ask that question. She has to be very sure of herself to believe that there’s no one to help Rumple. Since this would exclude Belle as well – and no one is to say that Belle won’t remember, even if it takes another while. And Regina knows who Belle is to Rumple, what she means to him, how she changed and changes him. Therefore is either Regina ahead of Rumple with her planning this time, or… someone has forgotten something, and in this case I think it would be the writers more than Regina.
Anyway, Regina’s words build a nice bridge to the next scene – Rumple visiting Belle in the hospital. Poor girl is still there; but at least this time she’s no freaked out when Rumple comes by. Quite the contrary is she nice and sweet to him, and you see how this is like a caress for his tormented soul. The phone call helped a lot with that, and it’s mentioned a few times; starting with Belle’s surprise that Rumple’s still alive. I wonder how much time has passed since the incident; since Cora died. At least a few days (the week-long hiatuses make it a bit hard to determine). And he never once before visited Belle? Because he obviously didn’t; she is surprised to find him alive, after all.
Anyways. One thing he sure doesn’t get tired of – telling Belle that he loves her. Not in that exact words, mind you. but at least he says – puts an emphasis on it – that “his feelings for [her] are real.” And her reply? She knows. She could tell because she has this sense about people and knew Rumple said the truth on the phone.
It’s this sense about people she mentions here that is like a line of continuity, accompanying us whenever Belle and Rumple are involved. Because she is the one who always was able to see the good in him, no matter what he did, said, how he behaved. So this seems to be something so deeply rooted inside her that everything can happen to her, her world can be turned upside down (or at least her memories…) – she will still remember that part of her; she will still be able to recognize the truth behind someone if there’s good where others only see the evil.
Not it is finally for her to take the initiative and ask Rumple for help – and of course he’s more than willing to meet than request. If she helps him remember as well – that he is a good man.
“You always brought out the best in me and right now I need that. I will do everything I can to bring you back – for you and for me.”
It’s safe to assume that he’s first and foremost talking about his dark side in him that now demands him to get rid of the threat to his life. Or… is it the Dark One ordering to take care of the threat to its life?! All the Seer said was that the boy will be his undoing – but she never mentioned whose. There are, after all, technically two beings inside Rumple’s body – Rumple himself, the good man and father of Bae, and the Dark One. Henry can very well be just the Dark One’s undoing. Which wouldn’t be that bad a development. Plus, to continue that thought – no one is to say that losing the Dark One will also cost Rumple his magical powers. It is possible that at least some magic will remain with him. Magic he could need once he’s fully reestablished as a good person to help the Good Ones.
But, that’s far in the future (I think?!), so back to the here and now.
What follows is a nice moment in which Belle touches Rumple’s hand, much like we’ll later see her doing in FTL – she’s not afraid, she trusts him, likes him already (again). Or still. Who knows. And Rumple now wants her of course out of the hospital – finally. Too bad we don’t get to know here where he’d bring her then. Back to the library? Or to his house to live with him again? Would she feel betrayed if he did the latter once she remembered, because she moved out for a reason?
While Rumple is out of the room to organize Belle’s release, there is another visitor: Regina. While we already knew that Regina would be the reason for Belle’s false memories, we now learn how she does it. She enchants a matchbox – one from “The Rabbit Hole” and gives it to Belle, making her look at it closely until the false memories are implanted in her mind.
When Rumple returns to the hospital room, Belle is already gone; remaining are only the matches. Lucky for him, as he now at least knows where to find Belle. And finding her he does. Oh yes. Just not like he expected to.
“Brown hair, beautiful blue eyes, an accent you wouldn’t soon forget. Her name is Belle.”
That is how he describes her. How he sees her. Okay, I won’t go further into that. Let’s just say: Rumple is anything but a cold-hearted beast, and how better to prove that by an innocent description that leaves room for so much speculation?
Unfortunately, someone named Belle the bartender doesn’t know. The description fits someone he’s seen before, though – a woman named Lacey. I know people have been asking how Lacey can be so well known when she’s only just… “awaken”. Well, I guess that part of Regina’s spell was to have people at The Rabbit Hole remember her as someone who’s been there forever. No one outside would recognize her as Lacey, but TRH is part of her SB persona, so the people there have take their role there and in lacey’s life/memory as well – and the other way around.
Interestingly enough, Lacey – dressed in a rather open-hearted blue (Ha! Belle dress!) blouse and black lace bra (the fact that it can be describes says a lot already…) – only remembers Rumple as the man who visited her at the hospital. Or at least that’s what she describes him as; nothing more. No more words about the phone call, their history, their love; after all, Belle believed him, even if she wasn’t able to remember him then. I mean, if she believed him when she didn’t have her memories, why has she stopped now?
Okay, so she is a different person with new memories, but she has kept her memories of what happened after she fell over the town line until now. She knows of the phone call, of what Rumple told her, and that she believed him. So different person or not, she has to realize that there is something real nonetheless because the core of your being can never be changed, or erased, for that matter.
Funny how Rumple immediately knows whom he has to thank for Lacey. He storms the office of a smug looking Regina – who tells him that these are no random memories, but her actual Curse memories, because “her old self’s gone”. However, how can these be her Curse memories, her Curse personality? It doesn’t really make sense. Everyone may have had a different personality, but in the end remained true to their core being. Snow and Charming being more cowardly, but still good and full of love, Red being rebellious, Archie being helpful, and so on.
Belle/Lacey is completely different though. This made me wonder how this can actually be Belle’s Curse identity.
Whatever it is – if this is really, as Regina claims, Belle’s Curse personality, then the Curse can be broken. Like Rumple also realizes – with True Love’s Kiss. Only that here both have to feel the True Love. Which Lacey doesn’t at the moment. “Then I’ll make her”, Rumple says, only to just as quick realize that this is of course not the way. To be honest, when Regina tells Rumple that this won’t work that way, she surely says it out of malicious glee – but at the same time she also reminds him of that very important fact and just for a second there becomes Belle, sort of, by calling on his good side, on the right thing to do, or at least by pointing out the wrong.
Moreover, as Regina notices, in FTL Belle didn’t fall in love with Rumple at first sight either. It took time. Basically, if it is her intention or not, she gives him an important advice here, making him realize what he needs to do. What I wondered about in that moment is – how does Regina know? I still remember her in Skin Deep where she seemed pretty much surprised at both Belle’s and Rumple’s (unconscious/involuntary) revelation about their true feelings for the other. Now suddenly it seems like she always knew. I can’t imagine that Regina watched them all the time and followed their story to see how they fell in love. So her words here seem to be taken from thin air.
Anyway, with Regina’s little helpful hint Rumple is off to find help – once again David’s. This strange relationship between the two men, the truce between them and how they help each other – it’s even better now that we know that they are both Henry’s granddads. And again I love how Rumple turns to David, of all people, to ask for relationship advice; to have him help with winning back Belle. Now, even better is that, when David is reluctant at first, Rumple declares: he would owe David a favor if the prince helped. And if that isn’t a tempting offer.
What is also interesting here is how quick David, well, listens to reason. Although he at first verbally attacks Rumple because he made Snow kill Cora, when Rumple argues that if he hadn’t done this, Cora would have killed them all, David obviously can’t help but see the truth in that. In fact is he the only one so far who might have understood the importance of what Rumple did, as much selfishness lay in these actions. Of course he wanted to survive and used Snow to accomplish both things at once – surviving and getting rid of Cora – but in the end, he definitely did everyone a favor, because Cora without her heart would indeed have put them all in grave danger… especially when she had acquired the Dark One’s powers as she planned to.
And Rumple, as powerful as he is, still remains the much smaller risk for them. They know him and they are connected to him – just as much as he is connected to them. There is Henry, there is Belle, there is Bae (now), and there is also Emma. Yes, I do believe that Emma is important to him, that he is rather fond of her. She is the mother of his grandson, she was/is the love of his son, and she possesses magic. She’s valuable to him, and moreover she is the one who’s most willing to listen to him and doesn’t have a history that lets her make rash decisions regarding him.
Okay, so David’s word of advice when Rumple wants to know how it was possible that he didn’t have his memories, but still won MM’s heart, and how he is now supposed to win back Belle where she is this “scantily clad barfly” Lacey, as he tells David:
“Show her the man she fell in love with.”
And I was like – huh?! But that would mean he’d have to be Rumple again, the real Rumple, the one we met in FTL when he brought Belle to his castle, the… wait a minute. That could actually work. And indeed it does, as we see in the following. Thing is – it’s not exactly the best way. Because on the other hand, it’s different from how he won Belle over. Since this is not Belle. It’s Lacey. And Lacey is a whole lot different from Belle.
What has Rumple win Belle’s heart was the kindness beneath all the monster-y behavior he showed (will come to that later in the FTL part of the review). Rumple knows that, and it’s what he approaches, following David’s advice, Lacey with. For now, she indeed agrees to a date. But the fact is that this only works, that she only agrees because she’s heard stories about “Mr. Gold”. And we can already predict where this is going. There is a big difference between the man Rumple tries to be for Belle, and the man Lacey heard of and finds interesting.
Next we see a repetition of the burger date. Only that it isn’t. It’s nothing like it. It’s Gold and Lacey, not Gold and Belle. Lacey doesn’t want and iced tea, she wants white wine. And she wants a full glass she takes a generous sip from. Lacey also constantly refers to the man she’s heard of, the fearsome guy. But as she tells Rumple, she doesn’t know why people scared of him.
“I see a man who wouldn’t hurt anyone.”
She tells him – and he takes it as a compliment. It’s painful to see how happy he is about her words; in retrospective it’s even more painful when we think of how this evening ends. The other thing is – despite all, the words we hear from lacey, those words that sound so much like Belle (exactly like her, actually), I still see as proof that somewhere inside Belle is still there. Maybe fighting to come out, maybe just fighting to have an influence on Lacey, subconsciously. And I wonder how Belle will react once she is herself again and realizes what she’s done and how she has behaved as Lacey.
Rumple, however, is oblivious. Actually, he’s absolutely adorable, because he’s nervous and clumsy and trying so hard to impress… Belle. And that’s the problem. We see Rumple at his best – his good best, the side Belle always tried to bring out and keep on the surface. He’s kind and gentle and generous; absolutely the man Belle loves so much; the man Belle wants to keep on the surface.
But, as said, this is about Belle. Rumple forgets that he has Lacey sitting across from him – who’s obviously different from his Belle. And so Lacey is friendly, polite, but also bored. When Rumple accidentally spills his drink on her, she leaves for the bathroom – and never comes back. She vanishes through the back door… and halts outside the building, where Rumple finds her when he goes in search of her. Finds her making out with the man who used to be the Sheriff of Nottingham (and because I can’t for the life of me find out what his name is, I call him Nottingham now). And who once before had to cower before Rumple. Now when Rumple interferes in disgust, thinking that Lacey is attacked, Nottingham is quick to apologize and run, fearing the fate that he faced before in FTL.
But the real punch is only about to come. Lacey tells Rumple that by agreeing to the date, she was only trying to be nice. Real interest was never there – because “Belle may have loved him, but she is not Belle.” And then she leaves.
It’s safe to say at this point that this is Rumple’s undoing. Despite everything, he seems to give up hope. It tells us a lot about him – because as powerful as he may ever be, in his heart he is weak. Which is not a bad thing; quite the contrary. Because he shows with that that he has a heart. He needs Belle, needs her desperately, needs her as his anchor to the real world, the good world. He relies so much on her that losing her in any way is crippling him enough to make him forget everything, every glimpse of humanity he – and more so, Belle – fought for in the past, in FTL as well as in SB. Essentially he’s like a man who loses his deeply beloved wife due to an accident, and thus also loses every courage to face life, only that with Rumple it’s about facing the Dark One, and conquering it.
The result we see right away – when Nottingham approaches Rumple a few minutes (?) later and apologizes for getting close to his “girlfriend”, Rumple tells him that they are not together – but that sure doesn’t keep him from acting on his emotions, his rage, when he magicks out the man’s tongue and then starts beating him.
What I’ll never understand is how Rumple manages to overpower people. Let’s face it, as Gold in SB he is a lean, even scrawny middle-aged man with a limp. Still he never needs magic to overpower people like Moe French, who’s twice Gold’s size (in width more than in height…), and a young, obviously well-trained man like Nottingham. With the latter, he just starts beating him after taking the tongue, and the man never tries to defend himself in any way. People sure must fear him, just as Lacey heard, but then thought was not justified.
For Rumple, now that he doesn’t have Belle anymore there seems to be no point in being good. He’s completely his old self, his pre-Belle self, and scarier than we’ve ever seen him before. As Hook once said – Belle is Rumple’s heart, and that has been taken from him. Ultimately, he’s the same as Cora here, only that the whole thing with the heart is only symbolic. Which doesn’t make it any less important.
When Lacey appears on the scene now, seeing what Rumple does, she changes her mind regarding him and her interest. Because she likes what Rumple does. This dark side, these dark actions. Beating an innocent man.
In conclusion, we now have an extremely tricky situation. Rumple does have a chance to get back his True Love Belle by winning over Lacey. However, do achieve that, he has to turn to the dark side first – something Belle worked so hard to get him away from. From today’s perspective, this is a lose-lose situation. Can a man with a darkened heart, a heart that is now all the more encouraged to become and be dark, love someone truly? Can something like True Love grow between Rumple and Lacey to allow TLK and Lacey becoming Belle again? And what does it mean for both of them?
Rumple resorts to the dark side to get back his Belle, the women who made him a good man (again). When Belle is back and realizes that, how will she react? Will she be able to understand his reasons – and will he be able to just return to his former self, his pre-cursed-Belle one? Now that he’s getting another taste of the dark side, he may just argue that he needs that side of him, otherwise he’d never been able to help Belle.
Essentially, all progress those two had made is now lost. At least that’s what I fear.
Now, with the outcome of the episode, there is another thought there. When Rumple is now returning to his dark side, because he needs it to win over Lacey and thus get back Belle – will his dark side become strong enough to take over in regards to Henry? For now, Rumple was/is someone who’s been trying to be good, first and foremost for Belle’s sake of course, but I guess also because she is only bringing out what is already in him and what needs to come out again. He was a good man once, we’ve seen that several times now.
But him being good now comes mostly from Belle supporting him, helping him remember his good side beyond the Dark One. It’s this good side in him that keeps him from harming Henry I think; although I can’t imagine him harming children, period, not if he’s not ordered to, but since he has his dagger himself… Now, if he forgets that or anything, there could indeed suddenly be a danger for Henry in form of his own grandfather.
Then there is Hook – he once before tried to kill him on the ship after he’d threatened Belle; back then Belle kept Rumple from ending Hook’s life. Who is to say that he won’t show mercy this time should it come to that?
In general, this development changes a lot. As long as Rumple remembers that, no matter what he does to impress Lacey so he can get back Belle, in the end he’ll have to answer to Belle when it comes to said actions, all should be find. But when he forgets that – when he forgets that there’s supposed to be a life after Lacey and after his attempts to have her fall in love with him…
Then there is this thing about Regina telling Rumple, offering him a solution. If she knew that she actually helped Rumple with her words, she’d probably not be very happy… or would she? Was this, for once, a big scheme of Regina’s where usually it is for Rumple to plan and plot?
But what use does she have from Rumple becoming dark again? Sure it will make it harder for him to be accepted by the Charming family; as in, when I’m not part of that family, then you won’t either. But when he returns to darkness, he also once again becomes stronger than Regina; or remains this way. Belle being Belle, bringing Rumple back to the good side and maybe one day breaking the DO curse could have meant being the most powerful being for Regina. She must believe that Lacey is as much capable of True Love as Belle was. At the very least it is of course possible that Regina only thought so far to know that this will surely torture and hurt Rumple.
So this is the big storyline of this episode on Storybrooke’s side; but the events in SB also include a continuation of the past episode(s).
For one do we learn that this ep is set right after the last, as we see Greg and Tamara still in his hotel room at Granny’s where they met last ep. Now before he sends her off so “Neal won’t get suspicious” (and they say Rumple and Regina are evil…), he shows her a map. A map where all magical occurrences in SB, as he saw them, are marked. Okay, we know he’s been watching the SB’ers – so let’s take this as a fact and wait where this is going. More important here I think is the fact that we get to see a map of SB!


…but wait. How can there be a map of SB when the place officially doesn’t even exist? We learned that there is no SB for the rest of the world; the only chance they have to find it is by literally stumbling upon it (or crashing into it…). Or is this Ed&Adam’s way of keeping the logic because with satellites and Google Streetview and all there just has have been someone finding the town? But no, not that either, because it is obviously protected by some kind of shield that makes it invisible. Right?
So while Greg and Tamara are obviously looking for magic and want to do something about (against?) it, they are also still looking for Greg’s father Kurt. I know we haven’t seen Kurt so far on the show, except for in the flashback, so it’s going to be interesting what happened to him. And which side he is on. If he is still alive, but why should Regina kill him? I doubt that this is the case, but what if he’s still in SB and has become fond of its inhabitants? Then he could be the one to keep his son from causing too much damage – and if only for some time.
There’s only one more scene with Greg and Tamara in this ep, and it shows them with a rented transporter… in which we then find no one other than Hook! So I first suspected Tamara that she had freed Hook, but no – she took him a prisoner. And now he’s sitting amongst boxes of a content I can’t wait to see because I’m afraid that whatever is in them it will proof to be dangerous to SB. As could Hook, even though I’m not entirely sure whom he’ll show to be faithful to once they release him. If those two are able to kill people from FTL, magical creatures, then Hook is as much in danger as everyone else, so what should motivate him to help? That they give him Rumple he will be allowed to kill before the two kill Hook?!
The last SB plot is all about the Charmings… and their return to FTL. MM and David bring Emma to the Bean fields – we now see that the Beans have grown quite well in the last… days? I don’t think there was more time than one or two weeks. But then, they are also Magic Beans. Anyways.
Mum&dad now happily present the crop to their… not so happy daughter. I think Emma very much feels like she’s been overrun by a decision she never wanted to make. While now suddenly even MM seems to like the idea of returning to the Enchanted Forest – which feels like she’s running away (even more) instead of facing her actions and the consequences, mind you – Emma of course isn’t ready to leave behind the world she knows and has grown up in. Because a world of magic you know from stories and books and movies is a whole lot different from our daily life. And Emma is, by all accounts, not a fairytale figure. She’s more no-nonsense than anyone else on SB, even though she’s seen it all already.
Following Emma’s reaction, I’m looking forward to see how the finale will play out, because as much as we know now the whole gang (i.e. SB) will indeed leave our world. And I wonder if Emma will have any chance to make a decision, or if she will just have to go with the others because the danger of staying is too great, even for her.
Nevertheless does Emma know that sooner or later she’ll have to deal with the thought and decision of leaving our world and going “home” – so a few scenes later find her sitting at the docks, reading Henry’s book. And Regina joining her. The fact that those two are able to talk to each other like two normal grown-ups was nice to see – but otherwise also alarming, because it gave an impression of the calm before the storm.
First of all, though, Regina wants know why Emma didn’t tell her who Henry’ father is. And this is where I’m a bit disappointed that the whole conversation was only half-hearted in that regard. They never actually talked about it. Maybe this was neither the time nor place, but it really seemed a bit thrown in, like they knew they needed this question there, but didn’t really know what to do with it. Would it have hurt to tell Regina that Emma herself had no idea who exactly Neal/Bae was? That she only learned it herself a few days before? Not that it would have changed anything, but still…
For now, Emma rather advices Regina to start changing again; to return to the good side for Henry’s sake. But Regina is too far gone from that, for now at least. With everything that has happened, her last thought surely is to try and change again. Not if we look at the outcome of the last time. Ultimately, we have to remember that this is the Charmings’ fault when they accused Regina of killing Archie without even once giving the situation a second thought, seeing that this is a magical town and these are magical people.
Regina notices that something else is going on – that Emma is having a secret. So later that day, in the evening when Team7 return with David and Emma to Granny’s, Regina uses her magic to trace the tire tracks backwards – to the Bean fields. I was surprised that she didn’t just immediately took a few Beans and burned the rest… so I’m looking forward to see where this is going now. I mean, what could she do? Take a few Beans, destroy the rest, and use the Bean then to go with Henry back to FTL. Then she would be gone, the other’s wouldn’t be able to follow (not right away anyways),
and she’d have Henry to influence him enough so he would stay with her, no matter what.
Meanwhile, talk Emma and Bae about going back. In Bae Emma has I think some kind of ally, since he also doesn’t want to go back to FTL – after all, he tried his “whole life to forget this place”. What is more interesting here is that they don’t seem to worry that much about August’s warning. They talk about it, but it doesn’t seem as if they take it seriously. Of course they have no reason to fear a big threat (or have they…?), and they wouldn’t know also where to start searching. Even though Greg and Tamara are pretty obvious suspects. But maybe they are only to us because we know what is going on…
Last but not least – in no way – we have the events in FTL. Which is basically the love story of Rumple and Belle. Or Beauty and the Beast? I guess here it is the same. And we’re also very close to the original story, at least in parts.
For one, this has to be not long after Belle was brought to Rumple’s castle – she’s in the dungeon, and she is still in her golden dress. And she is crying. When Rumple comes in, however, he doesn’t offer her a real room (but then, he also doesn’t have Lumiere or a clock to be his conscious advice…) – he only brings a pillow. Not out of the goodness of his heart. But so she can muffle her crying because it’s getting on his nerves. Now, I’m sorry, but I had to laugh at that scene. This is humor, dark as the darkest night…
Before Rumple can leave Belle behind in the dungeon, noises from upstairs have him leave her to check on the noises, and she follows him. They find an intruder we already know is Robin Hood – the man is about to steal a magic wand. To defend himself, Robin shoots an arrow at Rumple that hits, even though Rumple teleports himself away – but then are Robin’s arrows magical and always hit their aim, as he says.
So far, so good – we know that the arrow could never truly hurt Rumple, even when it actually hits his chest/heart. Well. We know it. But neither Robin nor Belle do. And Belle shows an interesting reaction – in shock she immediately moves towards Rumple. We don’t see what happens next in that regard, but the movement itself is interesting already. Is it solely because Belle fears that without Rumple there’ll be no one to protect her people? Or is there more to it?
The rest of the story is quickly told – Rumple locks Robin away, tortures him, Belle frees the thief who then nevertheless steals the wand, Rumple takes Belle with him when he follows/chases Robin with the goal of killing him, they find Robin, see him use the wand to heal his pregnant and obviously fatally ill love Maid Marian, and Rumple ultimately spares Robin’s life.
Of course the real important part in this story has the relationship between Belle and Rumple, and how it develops. From the very beginning, we see one interesting character trait to each of them – Belle is brave and defiant and never shy, no matter how threatening Rumple gets, and Rumple is never really angry at her – or let’s say, he is, but he never even comes close to physically harm her in any way. He may shout at her, but that’s about it. He rather seems to be secretly amused and impressed by her bravery; that she is probably the only one who doesn’t cower before him, like the rest of FTL does. I think that he likes that.
When she contradicts him, he’s taken off-guard; he obviously has to learn to deal with it. And where one would expect punishment, he appears to be just curious, though he tries hard to keep that mask of a master in place.
On the other hand he also must have noticed that she doesn’t run when she has the chance; that she sticks to her part of the deal. We know that he never really understood that, and that later on, shortly before the kiss happened and she left, he also asked her about it. I think it is something that impresses him and that he registers as a reason to, despite all and no matter what she does to defy him, still show some kindness towards her. Added to that she is never exactly lacking respect, even when she defies him. And Rumple isn’t stupid to not notice that.
And then there is this thing with Belle seeing the good in people. She did so with Robin, that’s why she freed him. Of course does it seem as if she is proven wrong when the thief steals the wand he came for in the first place before he takes off. Even better is that in the end both she and Rumple can see that she was right.
For the moment, however, Rumple believes that he is the one who was right, and forces Belle to come with him to hunt Robin down. In the carriage, there is this conversation that does leave room for interpretation – first, Belle refers to the castle as “home”. She could have said castle or anything, but no, she says home. Which shows that she has accepted Rumple’s castle as her home. Even though she is still locked up in the dungeon.
And then she says to him that there has to be more that is important than just his power; that he has to love something else. He agrees – there is something: His things. Now, this may be a case of grasping at straws, but technically speaking Belle is one of his things. She is his possession, for all it’s worth.
And Rumple protects his possessions… or does he? On a clearing they encounter another carriage and a few men – their leader introduces himself as Sheriff of Nottingham. Rumple and Belle have arrived in Sherwood Forest. Nottingham knows who Rumple is and wants to make a deal – he tells Rumple what he wants to know, when in return he gets a bit alone-time with Belle. Rumple smiles evilly. And magicks out the Sheriff’s tongue (as he then also does in SB, see above).
It’s easy to claim that Rumple isn’t just in the business of sharing his things. He takes very good care of his possessions, and he’s quite selfish; for that reason alone he wouldn’t share Belle. But I like to think – and I guess I’m not that wrong with it – that Rumple protects Belle. As much as he would probably never admit it, he was definitely not liking the fact that the Sheriff wanted to touch his Belle. Not because he sees her as his possession, and solely his, and maybe also not because he loves her or anything – but because he respects her and sees her worthy of his protection. By now, she means something to him, she has some importance beyond being part of a deal.
When they find Robin and see him healing Marian with the wand, Belle is finally proven to have been right about the thief. So instead of shooting Robin with an arrow as planned, Rumple “misses”.
Here is something else showing – that somewhere inside the Dark One there is still Rumple. Of course we long since know that, because Rumple has always shown some humanity over time, but here he clearly remembers his son and what it would mean to have no father; and that this is exactly what Rumple made desert all those years back, what brought him to this moment, this situation, to start with. And nothing is more effective than remembering him of his son he’s ever since Bae left spending his time to find.
Normally I would have expected that, when Belle is constantly talking and trying her hardest to persuade him to spare Robin’s life, Rumple would do something to shut her up, at least for the moment. Instead he merely half-buries her in the earth next to him, which is not very brutal or bad… more funny, actually. Especially since he lets her out a short time later.
And then comes a scene that surprised not only Rumple, but also me. When Rumple tells Belle to go back to the carriage (after the “missed” shot), she doesn’t listen, but instead steps closer, so close he didn’t expect it obviously – probably because no one else has ever dared to – and you can see his shock. And his love. It is I think the first moment where he starts having true feelings for her; where he starts falling for her. Which shows that the moment in Skin Deep when Belle is sitting on the table and telling him of her dreams is not the first for him to find out that he loves her.
She’s close, she’s smiling; she is not scared. And then she hugs him. And clearly is Rumple taken off-guard, again. I guess he realizes that this is something that can work when she hugs him, when she is not afraid to touch him. Because there is also no hesitation in her act, no clumsiness, just determined forward action. She is thankful, and she shows to like him – because she believes that he can be good, just like she believed in with Robin, and because she knows that she is always right, that she has this sense for people.
The last FTL scene is just… beautiful. Belle and Rumple have returned to the castle and Belle is about to say goodnight (which made me wonder if she is still sleeping in the dungeon or if by now she has been given a proper room). Rumple holds her back – he wants to show her something. Now, this is not as straight-forward romantic as it was in BatB, but it is romantic in a very OUAT/Rumbelle way.
Rumple brings Belle to the library (more like a book room in a tower, but still a perfect idea) – and tells her that he wants her to clean it. He doesn’t want to see “a single speck of dust” on any of the books, and reprimands her when she is smiling in happiness because she of course knows what he is doing; that this isn’t about cleaning, but that he wanted to do something for her. He’s trying very hard to keep his act up, but she’s seeing right through it and never lets herself get distracted by his talking about cleaning.
The fact that he never once forbids her to read, but just tells her that he hopes she can clean faster than she can read, sort of answers it all. When finally Belle touches the hand with which he points an admonishing finger at her, and tells him that he’s really not who she thought he was, even he can’t help but show the tiniest of smiles.
And a love story is born.
To finish this, there are two quotes that made me laugh, but don’t need any further commenting I guess:
Rumple (to David at the bar after getting his date with Lacey): “Don Juan was nothing before he’d made a deal with me.”
Granny (when seeing Lacey – interesting that she never asks any further questions though): “What the hell happened to you? You raided the back of Ruby’s closet?”

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Tags: Anton/Tiny, Belle, Dark One, Emma Swan, Family, Greg Mendell, Henry, Magic, Neal Cassidy/Baelfire, Once Upon A Time, OUAT