Living Well Is The Best Revenge

I didn’t get to watch 5.16 – Our Decay until Friday evening. I’ve been busy.

Just like last week I wrote some notes to myself while I was watching the episode. I had to pause it a few times so I didn’t miss anything. I did think that maybe it would help me remember all the points I have. However, (edited to add) this morning I woke up having remembered something.

Wow this weeks episode was certainly awesome. Next weeks looks to be even more awesome! That’s kind of funny that I said that, given my friends opinion was that the episode was “meh” but then we have different favorite characters.

Anyway spoilers under the cut and all that jazz.

That’s the thing about true love. It endures. It can’t be broken.
That was a quote about Hades at the end of the episode. He said it to Zelena but this part of the blog post is going to be dedicated to Rumple and Belle. I hope very much, that the above quote is true, or we’re heading for some serious heartbreak.

When Belle realized that they were in the underworld her first instinct was that Rumple needed her help. I thought that said volumes for how she feels unconsciously. Although, that could be wishful thinking on my part. It was probably just wishful thinking on her part given everyone always leaves her behind. It must have been quite nice for five minutes to think that Rumple had sent for her because he needed her, everyone likes to be needed.

I have to just say this the first place she goes is the library? Well I suppose people retreat to the place that they feel the most comfortable/safe. I would have thought if she was looking for Rumple though, she would have tried the shop first or Granny’s even. Then as soon as she was in Rumple just appears – how convenient on the timing. That’s the sort of thing that makes me roll my eyes. I try not to do it as a writer because it’s lazy, making something happen just because I want it to.

Rumple’s first instinct was to make sure Belle wasn’t dead. His first instinct is to check her safety. He really does care about her, he looked so scared for a moment. He might be the dark one but he does have feelings.

Wow that conversation was a real humdinger. He really hit her with revelations one after the other. He sold his second born child, yes that means you are pregnant, oh by the way I’m the dark one again … it didn’t even stop there, he then tore down her self-delusions by pointing out there’s a reason it’s true love (you love all of me you’ve just forgotten). No wonder she was reeling.

He’s not wrong either. It wouldn’t have been true love if she hadn’t loved him as he was – and she met him as the dark one – after all the subsequent suffering she lost sight of that. Although I have questioned a few times how they were true love, given her intent when she kissed him was to break the curse of the dark one. I suppose it depends what she thought breaking that curse would do. Did she know it would take his power away? I really don’t understand how true love can happen without true acceptance.

I’m not going to go all over that again. They are true love and therefore I choose to believe that is because Belle had true acceptance once. Perhaps at the beginning in Skin Deep it wasn’t something she consciously admitted because you aren’t supposed to love someone who is “dark”. Maybe she would have come to accept that if she had been able to return – “I’m coming back Rumple” – she declared right before Regina captured her and then she was locked up for a long time.

Rumple and Belle have been apart far more than they have ever been together. Imagine somewhere you went as a young kid, or something you did, or something you saw etc. and for years and years all you had was the memory. You then go back to that place, watch it again or go through the same experience but it’s different – it’s not what you remember.

If it’s supposed to be a good memory, over the years the mind romanticizes certain parts, plays up the good and obscures the bad. We’ll paint ourselves in better lights, we’ll give ourselves more noble reasons, we’ll ascribe more meaning or knowledge to the situation that only hindsight gave us, not something we knew at the time.

I wonder if that’s not what happened with Belle. She remembered loving Rumple but they never had a life together, not as a couple, and so she created a fantasy which didn’t match reality. She turned her memory of him, into something that he never was and I don’t think she even realizes that she did that. She keeps saying that he was different back then – but he was the dark one. He hasn’t changed.

I said a long time ago that Belle constantly demanding he change and emotionally blackmailing him, to try and force him was wrong. She did that from the very beginning of their ‘reconciliation’ back in season two. “I thought you changed.” and Rumple says “What in the hour you’ve known me.” or words to that effect. She walked out but then she came back. She’s said a couple of times in different ways “promise me and then we can be together”.

Now I get couples need to compromise, work together, make sacrifices etc. but using love against someone, threatening to withhold it if they don’t do what you want – that’s abuse. I know when it comes to Rumple and Belle, the haters of their relationship always think that Rumple abuses Belle, but to be honest I’ve always thought it more the other way round.

Rumple does lie to Belle but only because he’s scared of her reaction. He has this belief that if he’s not perfect she’ll leave him – and that belief is just justified because that’s what she does, all the damn time.

Well finally he stood up for himself. – “But if you want me to be a different man… I’m sorry. This is who I am.” – Why is that wrong? If the situation was reversed and he demanded she change for him then everyone would be up in arms.

Loving someone is accepting them for who they are. Belle once told Neal she loved Rumple – “all of him, even the parts that belong to the darkness” – and now she either needs to prove that or walk away – for good. Although, this is where the heartbreak comes in. I really hope she doesn’t choose to walk away because Rumple at his core is a father, if she takes his kid it will devastate him. I hope at the very least, she’ll share custody even if they aren’t a couple.

I’ve never quite got why she kept saying he had to choose. Having power doesn’t mean he loves her any less. I think maybe she got scared about what that power could lead too. Given Regina, the curse, Lacey etc. it wouldn’t be unreasonable for her to have a fear of magic. She once saw magic kill Rumple, and then it killed Neal and then Rumple was never the same.

After he was free from Zelena, the darkness took over and Rumple lost control. He went after the hat because he thought that would save him. The dagger made him a slave, I can certainly understand the fear of being controlled. The first thing Zelena ordered him to do was kill Belle. He said tonight that he “loved the dagger” but it’s the power the dagger represents. Plus the casual way he’s been treating it, I’m starting to suspect it can’t control him the way the old one did.

Belle once used the gauntlet and she thought that power was what he loved most. I’ve said this before but the the gauntlet showed his weakness not what he loved the most – Belle has always been his strength. I really don’t see why he can’t have both, his magic and Belle. She first fell in love with him as the dark one – a sorcerer – so why should he now have to be anything less than himself?

Rumple said that Belle would see that “he was right” and I certainly hope she does. I think he is right. She said that she couldn’t condone him being like this again – but why not? What exactly is she objecting to? Rumple never did anything ‘villainous’ until after Zelena had killed his son, tortured him for a year and the darkness took hold of his heart. Oh sure he was never a saint but was he such a danger to the town when he worked with them against Cora? allied with them in Neverland to find Henry? defeated Pan?

Next weeks episode is called – Her Handsome Hero – and has the return of Gaston and shows more of Belle’s life before she met Rumple. It’s about time Belle had a good episode of her own and I really hope that some introspection will mean that she and Rumple work together to defeat Hades and save their child. She told Rumple to fix it, well it’s about time they acted like the partners they are. She complains Rumple leaves her out of things, well now would be the time to step up.

No-one could love me
Do you think the writers realized how much they echoed Rumple’s choices and fears in Zelena’s storyline tonight? With Zelena I finally discovered what “love to hate” truly meant. There was nothing likeable about Zelena’s character but she was just unabashedly who she was, she was evil and selfish and had the best witty lines. She was awesome to watch on screen but I certainly never liked or rooted for her – until now.

The writers seem determined to make me sympathetic towards characters I have never liked, and make me annoyed at my favorites simultaneously. Tonight I found myself feeling sorry for Zelena.

Robin is a complete idiot.

I realize that Zelena obviously didn’t tell them that the baby was with Belle. They would hopefully have not been quite so up in arms about finding her if that was the case. Seriously though the baby is missing and he thinks he should check the forest first? Where they landed would have made more sense.

Although him and that forest. He’s now taking the baby there to hide from Hades. Newsflash – You are still in the underworld – Hades domain. I don’t think it really makes any difference where you are, it’s not going to stop a god.

Oh and they still haven’t named the kid. Robin at least gave a couple of reasons why. First was silly, because he didn’t know who she was as a person. So what he’s going to wait until she can talk? Second was legitimate, names have power and so by not having a name, it keeps her a touch safer. I think it’s really just because the writers haven’t decided yet, that and there’s so much betting online about when the name will finally get announced, the writers probably have a stake.

With searching for the baby, question – if Zelena didn’t say Belle had the baby then how do they think it’s moving about? It’s too young to even crawl, so we’re hardly talking that movie about that crawling baby. What was it “baby’s big day out” or something absurd? I totally don’t get that – plot hole.

Another plot hole is how are they finding people with no magic? They just miraculously bump into Belle on a woodland path. They then somehow find Zelena’s hideout really quickly. Yes it looked like she was at the farmhouse she appropriated during the second curse – great hiding place /sarcasm – but I doubt it would have been the first place I checked for precisely that reason – too obvious.

Zelena’s bad leg, her twisted ankle causing a limp seemed to fade in and out. She tramped all through the forest with Robin and Regina, then when she got the baby back, the limp returned. Perhaps we’re supposed to read something into that and I’m just not getting it. Maybe more of an echo of Rumple because wow it was just deja-vu.

I also need to point out – Zelena jumped in the portal! She hadn’t fallen in, she hadn’t been sucked in – she jumped in. She had no idea where it was going, or what would happen to her and she she jumped in anyway. Zelena jumped through the portal to go after her kid! When she got to the other side her magic didn’t work at first, and then when it did come back it was wonky.

Rumple was too scared to jump through the portal after Bae (for a dozen reasons, all of which I’ve gone through in other posts) and then Zelena just jumping in feet first. The portal took Bae to the land without magic, Rumple knew he would be powerless. Zelena lost her magic in the underworld and kept on anyway. I don’t want to favorably compare Zelena against Rumple, not after the hell she put him through and plus Rumple is my fave character. However, Zelena really came out of tonight’s episode looking good. If she continues on her current path she will be a new favorite of mine – one I will root for.

“We just met” was Zelena’s response to Hades declaration of true love. She really is genre savvy, that is something I like about her. The whole true love thing is a bit suspect. I mean how can you have true love without true acceptance? How can you have that with a stranger?

However, Hades and Zelena’s confrontation was just like Rumple and Belle’s failed true loves kiss. Zelena thought that Hades was trying to steal her revenge plan for himself. If she thought that then she must have thought that true loves kiss would work. The same as Rumple unconsciously acknowledged the power of true loves kiss when he accused Belle of wanting to “be the hero and killing the beast”.

True loves kiss doesn’t work if it’s one sided. Rumple admitted he loved Belle with his accusations. Zelena admitted she loved Hades also with accusations. She’s just scared like Rumple – giving up vengeance/the future she thought she wanted – for something she never thought she could never have.

Zelena has always been alone, she’s never needed anyone and she is scared to death of depending on anyone. She can’t trust Hades, she can’t trust anyone because everyone has always let her down. Cora abandoned her, because Cora wanted “her best chance” and screw Zelena. Quite different from Snow and Emma, who both gave up kids so that the kid would “have their best chance”.

Rumple has the same abandonment issues. His mother has never been mentioned. His father chose youth, power and a semblance of immortality over his son. His wife left him for another man, also leaving their son (which would have dredged up issues) and I could go on. When Rumple found Zelena, he thought she had potential to cast the dark curse, but he couldn’t choose her because what she loved most was him. Perhaps she recognized a kindred spirit.

All I saw in tonight’s episode really when it came to Zelena was that she was a good mother. She cared for the child’s welfare over everything else. When she saw the kid was hurt, Zelena immediately went to “mummy will fix it”. She had a bottle for the kid so it didn’t go hungry. She was devastated when she saw that her unstable magic had caused, what looked like a very minor injury.

Plus Zelena was so on point. She called Robin and Regina out on abandoning the baby in Storybrooke while they went off on a heroic quest. Oh they can talk about helping family and setting an example. However, I am with Zelena on this one. She’s putting the kid first and I hate to say it but with that attitude I think she might be the most responsible parent in Storybrooke.

Then later Zelena begged Regina to save the kid. Zelena said it didn’t matter if she never saw the kid again (and it was obvious how much that hurt her), that she didn’t care what happened to her (by her I mean Zelena). Her only priority was the child. She handed her kid over to her sister, the woman she swore vengeance on and has spent her life being jealous about. She gave her kid to the woman she has often accused of having everything, of taking everything from her.

That is true love. Zelena loves her kid and I know that she has done some really evil stuff. I’ve often said that someone should kill her because it’s unsafe, they need to get her before she does something bad again. I’ve also said that justice should be done – for Neal and for Rumple.

However, Regina, Rumple and Hook are all former villains. I want them to have a chance at a happy ending. They’ve all done evil stuff and had a second chance. Although I would say that Rumple hasn’t had much of a second chance. No matter what he does they still hate him.

Anyway, not the point. After Zelena’s heartfelt confession, that she just wanted her baby to be safe, after she handed her baby over to Regina – what did Regina do? They just walked away. I mean seriously what the hell? Does Regina have the monopoly on redemption? Wouldn’t then have been a good time to reach out? Zelena had taken the first step and they didn’t acknowledge the sacrifice she made.

That was seriously mean of Regina and I felt really bad for Zelena. That is so totally the wrong way round. Writers what are you doing to me?


Limited gene pool
First, I don’t have very good Zelena-sense. When Mother Superior/Blue ‘initially’ appeared on screen. She seemed to be a bit off with Belle, like she wasn’t pleased to see her, like Belle was something stinky under her nose. I totally didn’t think that was out of character for Blue. In fact it made perfect sense to me. Blue has always looked down on Rumple, and Belle is married to him, therefore her prejudice would carry over.

Then Zelena was actually masquerading as Blue and that was kinda sad. I hoped that maybe (finally) Belle would see the Blue that I see, the Blue that used a child (Bae) as a weapon against his father, uncaring of the consequences. I could rant about Blue for a while but I won’t, this is just a side note.

Also, Belle saying to Zelena “nothing good ever came of anyone trusting you” – that distrust is certainly warranted. Plus Belle would have more reason than most to loathe/distrust Zelena. It was Zelena’s plot which lead to Neal’s death and to Rumple being held as a slave for a year. Everyone always seems to forget that part and only remember Zelena’s deception of Robin or her hatred of Regina.

At the beginning of the episode when Hades was walking round the clocktower, the pages in hand I asked “is it James or Charming?” and then – Hades.

There was a lot of laughs on Stargate SG-1 when Ben Browder got cast in season 9, he had a resemblance to Michael Shanks. They made Shanks (who played Daniel Jackson) grow a beard for half the season to make it less obvious. They lampshaded it in one of the first episodes of the season, when Vala says “I know nothing about your fair planet, other than it seems to have a rather interesting, if somewhat limited gene pool.”

I think that Charming and Hades might have the same thing going on.

They are eating in the underworld? I know I keep bringing this up but how can that be healthy? Seriously it’s just weird. Why would dead people need to eat anyway? I mean why would they have real food? Surely it must be cursed or something, it just makes no sense.

Oh and then Henry and the author thing. I am super, mega jealous. I wish I could wake up and have my work ‘magically’ done. I loved the compliments Emma and Regina gave him – “It’s really well written” by Emma, “And the illustrations are lovely” by Regina. That was nice, I would like some compliments like that really.

Although I did wince in sympathy with the next line from Emma – “Maybe if you focused harder” – because sometimes you can focus super hard and it still doesn’t happen. Writing actually does take a long time. Sometimes I think because the ideas are in my head, they should just somehow be written, but it doesn’t work that way.

Henry got defensive – “Oh so you are all authors now. Everyone is a writer. Everyone’s got an idea. I’m doing my best!” – and yeah I’m just sympathetic. People don’t get how hard writing is, trust me if it was easy everyone would do it. Words don’t just happen, it is a real job.

Oh when they were waiting in line for the phonebox. They asked the guy behind whether it worked and he said that he hoped so, or he would have wasted “a lot of time these past 30 years.” I got to ask – can you waste time when you are dead? You kinda have forever and so what difference does it make.

“We’re going to take down Hades, and we’re going to do it now.” – Brave words Snow but the question of “how?” springs to mind. Nothing has changed. You have bravado but nothing backing it up. You know my editor just pointed out I had my character make these kind of pronouncements a couple of times, right after I’d just made it clear how impossible it would be to defeat the enemy – makes it kinda stupid.

They haven’t mentioned for several episodes what they are doing about those tombstones with Emma, Snow and Regina’s names on. They did at least acknowledge their existence in tonight’s episode but they have to still be a problem.

The mystery of why the underworld looks like Storybrooke is answered – he made the underworld into Storybrooke for Zelena. Regina created the town with her dark curse, he wanted Zelena to have everything Regina did. That’s sweet in a slightly creepy way.

Oh random is he suppose to be so out of breath? I don’t remember that in previous episodes. Is that perhaps something to do with his heart and how it’s trying to feel a different emotion? That would make sense.

I really can’t wait for the next episode. However, I’m not going to hold my breath for a quick Rumple/Belle reunion. The writers will draw out the angst I’m sure and I don’t mind so long as there remains hope for a happy ending, and Belle doesn’t take the kid away from him. Although that pre-supposes they find a way to save the kid from Hades.

Maybe Zelena kisses him and he repents his evil ways and rips up the contract? That would be one way they could defeat a god. The writers did tease that we would have a true loves kiss this season. Although I don’t trust what they say in interviews anymore as they change their minds or outright lie.

There’s 6 episodes left in the season. It was nice to see regular Storybrooke for a hot minute at the start of the episode. Hopefully we’ll see it again before the end of the season.