Her Handsome Hero

Considering this was a big Rumplestiltskin and Belle episode you’d think I’d have a lot to say. However, there wasn’t as much subtext this week. In a lot of respects it was “what you see, is what you get”, like finally all the disparate elements come together in a big conclusion.

It wasn’t obviously a big conclusion and nothing was really resolved but for the most part, everything just seemed clearer this week. Plus everything I said last week about Rumple, Belle, their respective motives and feelings all still applies. I’m not going to repeat myself. In fact I’m struggling with what to do aside from quoting large parts of the episode and going “I agree” because it was a bit like that.

So was the episode good?

It most certainly was
I love Rumple – he is my favourite character. Tonight he was on top form. I agreed with everything he said. He made sense, he was honest and witty, he was strong and decisive. He was awesome! From his very first scene, to the last. I have no complaints tonight about Rumple.

Belle on the other hand … how sanctimonious can you get? Honestly, she needs to get off her high horse and live in the real world. I said after her big speech at the beginning of the episode, that I hoped one day she would be forced to take action, and learn that the world is not so black and white. It appears that perhaps, by the end of the episode, she had learned that lesson.

“Well, that’s the thing with dark and light. Depends on your point of view. In the end, you do what you can to protect those you love.”
“All right, well, I’d never resort to darkness because that’s not what a hero does.”
“In the heat of the moment, you do whatever it takes.”
“You want a future with me? You have to do this my way.”

Can we just say emotional blackmail – again. Honestly Belle, you want Rumple to agree with you, make a logical argument. Don’t just say “my way, or the highway” because he is a couple of hundred years older than you. Usually I don’t dwell on that because emotionally he’s so vulnerable due to everything he’s gone through, so therefore it’s not quite as creepy. However, he does have a lot of experience with .. I don’t know – deals and dangerous situations. I think he has a better idea of how to handle Hades (a man similar to himself) and solve the situation than you.

Plus he’s willing to do what it takes. I’ve always said that I think villains make the best heroes, precisely because they will do what is necessary to get the job done. They don’t have the hangups about ‘I can go this far, but not that far’ and so they are a lot more successful than people that hamstring themselves.

“So every time you try something nefarious, it’s a smashing success, but when I ask you to channel that power for good, you fail.”
“I don’t care what Merlin said. To be able to turn darkness to light is a fool’s errand. To use darkness for light, that may be possible.”

I did have to laugh a bit at Belle’s snark because she’s right. Rumple’s schemes have failed a lot lately and that is actually just wrong. They failed because the writers made them fail, not because they actually should have failed. Rumple manipulated an entire world so that the dark curse was cast, so he could get to the land without magic and find Bae.

Rumple is the ultimate schemer and I think that’s where the problem comes in. It’s like in the X-Men movies, Professor X always has to get taken out early otherwise he could end the fight by freezing all the bad guys, except Magneto with his helmet that blocks it. Well Rumple is never allowed to succeed, and always disappears or fails, because the other people, the so-called ‘heroes’ have to be the ones that win the day.

Anyway, Rumple is so 110% right about using darkness for light. That is exactly what I thought Merlin meant in the first place and that is what he should do, that is exactly what he is doing every time he does ‘what it takes’ to save his family.

I’ve used this argument a lot, it’s not what people do that is evil, it’s why they do it. Murder isn’t always wrong, if killing is for the right reasons. That’s in fiction I hasten to add, I’m not advocating death in real life obviously. That’s what separates us from them, us from those we fight, not the actions we take but why we take them. The enemy does things for greed, because they enjoy hurting people. Heroes do things to protect ourselves, and then when the job is done they walk away.

“So, you killed Gaston, my fiancé, and never thought to tell me?”
“It was an arranged marriage. I was doing you a favor.”

It was funny how Belle turned on Rumple for killing Gaston and I loved Rumple’s response. I don’t actually believe in his nonchalance, I think it’s a defense mechanism. Oh, I believe that Rumple doesn’t care that he killed Gaston but I think he does care very much what Belle thinks about it. Besides can we please remember he was the dark one, and had been for a couple of hundred years at that point. I’d like to see how ‘good’ anyone would be after a couple of hundred years of the darkness riding shotgun. Emma couldn’t take it for more than a few weeks, Hook lasted what all of an hour?

“Using my power to steal another man’s property… Doesn’t that qualify as dark magic?” “This isn’t murder. We’re opening a locker.”
“Oh, so you get to be the judge of when the ends justify the means. I see. As I said, it’s all about points of view.”

I think Rumple might need a lesson on when to speak, in terms of a husband to a wife. Pointing out logic failings, proving his point, that he’s right and she’s wrong is a good way to win an argument – and wind up on the couch for the night. At least that’s how things go in fiction because of the double standard. I don’t really approve of that personally but then I could go into a whole rant about stuff that happens in fiction, which is just really wrong and the kinds of messages that sends out to the world.

I won’t start that rant but Rumple was so definitely right here. Belle is preaching judgement and what gave her the right? When did she become the arbiter of what is good or bad? Plus it’s a slippery slope, you start justifying actions and then you wind up where Rumple is, which isn’t a bad place to be but it would make Belle kind of a hypocrite. Which to be honest is what most so called ‘heroes’ are, I’ve said that about the Charmings before and it’s true.

“Being a hero is not about compassion and having forgiveness. It’s about strength! Doing whatever it takes to defeat your enemies.”

Gaston is kind of an idiot. There was no way that dummy he shot at the back of Gold’s shop was him. It wasn’t heavy enough when it fell on the floor, yet he still approached it like he believed it was Rumple. Plus there’s no way he could sneak up on Rumple, or did he forget the shop bell rung when he opened the door. Honestly what a moron.

However, he wasn’t wrong in what he said above. Having compassion and forgiveness is all very well, but people are much more inclined to negotiate if you have a gun to their head. Plus it’s a lot easier to be compassionate/have forgiveness if you are sure the other person can’t harm you, or won’t try to do so again. If you try to be compassionate/have forgiveness before you have reassurance well .. I get turning the other cheek but that just leaves the second cheek to be slapped.

The key point of that conversation though – “He’s my husband.” – not he ‘was’ my husband or anything past tense. No, Belle said ‘is my husband’ which means whatever else she thinks, she and Rumple aren’t done just yet.

“Take it from a man who trades in deals. It matters very much. What was the deal, Belle?” “Look, I tell you, you got to promise me something. You have to promise me you won’t hurt Gaston no matter what you learn.”
“Belle, you can trust me.”
“All right. He said that if I let you and Gaston face each other and one of you ends up in the River of Souls, he’ll then tear up the contract on our baby.”
“And you turned him down.”
“Of course I did. I failed once with Gaston, but I can fix this.”
“Belle, what Merlin said about a man that can control dark for good… I really want to be that man for you. Truly. Just… not today.”

Point one – Rumple and Hades are similar and Rumple knows it. I said earlier that Rumple was the best person to deal with him because of that and it seems Rumple knows that too. He knows the importance of word choices, because he knows how to twist words. Belle never even agreed to the deal, so Hades was under no obligation to honor it.

However, Hades did break an actual deal with Rumple. He said that he would tear up the contract if Rumple got him Zelena’s baby. Now Rumple did what Hades asked, and he likely would have done more if Hades had pressed but he didn’t – because Hades didn’t really want the baby. Hades made a deal he never had any intention of honoring. That’s the difference between the two of them – Rumple always keeps his word.

Point two – Rumple said to Belle that she could trust him – and she did. She told him, even though she obviously feared what his reaction would be. Of course Rumple then went and did what she feared, which kind of proves why she was hesitant. However, what did Rumple do that was so wrong? Gaston is already dead and an ex-betrothed is surely not more important than your baby. It’s a question of priorities, when it comes to your kids it’s not a question of ‘where do you the draw the line?’, it’s a question of ‘what line?’

Belle shouldn’t have turned Hades down, not that it would have done them any good as it turned out but seriously idealism is nice and all, but pragmatism is what wins the day. I take back what I said earlier about Rumple being right – he did say one thing that was wrong. he said that he wanted to be the guy that could control dark for good but ‘not today’. However, I don’t see how what he did goes against that prophecy. He was using dark to save his child – how much more on the side of ‘good’ can you get?

“I just want to tell you I-I have always known who you really are. And that’s why I love you. But I also know who I really am, and I can’t let you hurt him. In fact, I command you not to.”

How much of that was a lie? How much was the truth? Rumple tore at Belle’s illusions in last weeks episode. Has she actually faced the fact that she loves all of him ‘even the parts that belong to the darkness’ or was she just saying that? The fact that she then whipped the dagger out makes me wonder.

However, the dagger is a bit of a question mark isn’t it. If it can control him, then Rumple is being awful careless with it. Maybe it’s like with the fake dagger and the snow queen, he’s pretending that it can control him, so as not to reveal a weakness.

Then Belle saved Rumple’s life! I don’t think she pushed Gaston in the river for any other reason but instinct, he was going to shoot Rumple and so she just reacted. Rumple said “I’m so sorry, Belle. I never wanted this to happen to you, but you saved me. You saved our child.” – immediately afterwards. I know I shouldn’t second guess my favorite character but by putting the focus on the ‘child’ it’s a bit like saying that Belle did what she did for ulterior motives rather than instinctively saving someones life.

That would certainly be more in line with the point Rumple was trying to make all through the episode. If I was slightly more suspicious I would wonder whether that is why Rumple let her ‘command’ him to stop, because he knew what Gaston would do. It was a measured risk seeing as Rumple had already caught one of those arrows, his life was not in that much danger.

“Don’t listen to him, Belle. He wanted this to happen.”
“Why? Why did you push me to this?”

Then put the blame on Hades for the manipulation. Hades wanted Belle broken to kill hope in the underworld, so maybe he did hope for the outcome that happened. However, Rumple also did well out of what happened – it hopefully brought Belle back to his side. Rumple can be sneaky though if he was manipulating events, I hope Belle never finds out because she doesn’t forgive that sort of thing.

The episode ended with Rumple and Belle hugging and Belle maybe – finally – becoming a little wiser. She said “I guess you were right. Darkness will always win.” and so maybe she’s finally seeing reality, the shades of grey and not the black and white hypocrisy of heroes. Only time will tell but if she does want a future with Rumple, she needs to understand that dark isn’t always bad, that good isn’t always right.

The non-Rumple stuff
“It’s not just about him. Hook said that when his brother moved on, that it affected Hades somehow. It weakened him. So by helping people move on, maybe that’s how we defeat Hades.”

Can I say I called it? I think I called it. At the end of the first episode with Hades being all worried about the heroes staying in the underworld, the clock ticking to show a soul had moved on, I said that it was about power. I likened the souls in the underworld, to people worshipping the Ori on Stargate SG-1. Somehow the Ori gained power from people’s belief, I said maybe it was the same for Hades.

Now Belle has put that forward as a hypothesis and what’s more – the flowers. Hope is growing in the underworld. Can I just say how cool it is that only happened once Belle showed up? Henry is supposed to be the ‘truest believer’ though that is rarely mentioned now – it’s all ‘the author’ which we’ve established I hate that plotline.

Anyway, the blooms didn’t begin when he arrived. Belle has always been a force for believing in good, for having hope and keeping fighting. I think it’s a shame if she’s been brought back to reality, because that innocence did have a certain power. However, it is beyond naive and a reality check can only be good for her and her relationship with Rumple.

“When you’re done hugging it out, Emma, I can use a little help here.” – I loved that line from Regina. Even when she’s only paying half attention she still has good snark. It’s less so than in the past, I truly miss the old kick butt Regina, when she still had more villain in her. However, Regina is sometimes still on form.

Plus the cast is just too big, Regina isn’t getting the screen time these days. Which reminds me Robin was absent – again. Oh and seriously why do they think anywhere in the underworld is safe? The woods are no different from town, still the underworld and still Hades domain.

“As far as I know, I’m his only weakness.” – last week I said about Zelena and ‘true loves kiss’. The writers had said in an interview that there would be one and I said maybe that it would be Zelena and Hades. After all, that could be one way to defeat the lord of the underworld – the power of true love. That line sort of alludes to the possibility, so we’ll have to wait and see.

“But we’re still trapped in the Underworld. What the hell was I thinking bringing everyone down here? Bringing Henry down here? This was a terrible plan. I should have done this alone. Now I’m always frightened. I’m frightened that someone will die, and it’ll be my fault. And I’ll never forgive myself.”

Emma said that, with every sentence I said “duh” because it was a bit of a head hitting the wall moment. Seriously Emma you have only just realized those things? Do you really not think things through? You are playing around in the underworld – the underworld!

You know I’ve just thought of something. Emma was made to believe in magic and that sort of pulls the rug out from reality. Maybe she doesn’t think about the consequences anymore because she’s living in a magical bubble, where anything is possible and anything can be real, and so what’s the harm?

Emma has lost her grip on reality and with it what little common sense she had. I liked her in season one – mostly, she seemed to have a bite to her that said she understood the real world. Now? Not so much.

Plus I just remembered something else I thought of at the time. Immediately after Emma pointed out all the logic fails about why they are in the underworld, Snow dismissed it. However, that wasn’t the bad part, the bad part was this – “Emma, you didn’t force any of us down here.” – because yes she did! What about Rumple? The guy you needed to open the way to the underworld, he’s only there out of blackmail.

But then they don’t think of Rumple as a real person so that likely doesn’t count.

Oh and what is it with Hook and insulting those who are trying to help him? First it was Henry last week, making less than helpful comments about the pages he wrote for the book. Then this week it’s having a go at Regina’s ward cracking magic. Sure it didn’t ultimately work but she’d been working hard at it. Pro-tip pirate, if you don’t understand something AND people are trying to help you – keep your mouth shut unless you are saying thank you.

Then the episode ending with Ruby! I hope that she isn’t actually dead, I’m hoping that somehow she got picked up that twister thing that came when Emma tried to burn their names off the tombstones. Which – finally – they remembered they have tombstones. That seems like that would be a pretty important thing but it’s been ignored for several episodes.

I do have a question about Ruby though – where did her cloak magically come from? She’s running around the woods – which are supposedly safe for Robin and the baby! – and they hit her with a spell. Ruby collapses and the cloak what? It’s not like she was wearing it as a wolf. I just don’t get it, how did it just appear?

Oh and Gaston and a different actor, can’t finish without mentioning that! I hoped that maybe they would explain it within the show, perhaps he was re-embodied because Belle cut him in half (when she snipped the rose for the vase) but nope they just fiddled with it, to make it look like it was this actor in Skin Deep.

I suppose both actors looked very similar, not like the vast difference between Robin Hood actors. I suppose that was the only way to do it, what with the flashbacks and all. It was nice to see Belle’s dad again and there’s hints that Belle’s kingdom is bigger than we thought. I’ve read fanfic with her as a princess, I’ve read it with her as a knights’s daughter ruling over a small duchy.

Finally she is confirmed as a princess with the suggestion that she gave up a kingdom far greater than Snow or Regina, could lay claim too.

“And you will one day be sovereign over a land far greater than has ever existed.”

That could be an exaggeration of course but I rather like that it increases the sacrifice she made to go with Rumple. It also hints at how important Belle should be, maybe the ‘heroes’ should stop ignoring her when it comes to Storybrooke matters. I’ve read fanfics where Belle has become mayor too. I think they were frustrated fanfics with Belle as a bit of a truth-teller, using common sense to point out all the flaws in the heroes and the town. That’s pretty much what I do in my posts here.

I said I didn’t have a lot to say and then getting on for 4k later my post is done – ooops. Turns out maybe I did have things to say after all. Yeah there was a lot of quotes in this post, more than usual but there were a lot of good lines. Rumple was awesome! He said a lot of truthful things about the world and reality and people take note.

Unfortunately if the show is true to form, Rumple will now be useless for several episodes to recover from being awesome. They can’t ever let Rumple be awesome.

Anyway, this episode had a lot of Rumbelle angst, and there is still a question mark over the future of their baby. However, there is still hope that they will get their ‘happy ending’ and that’s what matters. I don’t mind the angst as long as there’s hope that it might get resolved the way I want in the end.

Next week Ruby, Mulan and Dorothy team-up against Zelena. How do they get to Oz? Where is Oz in relation to the Enchanted Forest? That’s kinda important because Ruby seems to get around. There was no sign of Rumple or Belle in the trailer, but given we’ve had two good episodes with them, they’ll probably disappear for a while, which sucks.

I forgot to mention the other week, Dorothy has such a weird accent. I swear that isn’t from Kansas, it just doesn’t sound right. That might make watching next week a touch painful but we shall see. It would be nice to discover how Zelena returned to Storybrooke. Travelling between realms doesn’t seem to be at a premium anymore.

That would be good because I haven’t forgotten Merida in Storybrooke. She is separated from her kingdom, she got caught by the third dark curse – which still hasn’t broken (and Dopey is still a tree) – and the kingdom wasn’t. She should get to return home and seriously that curse needs to break.

Please writers don’t forget these things – I don’t.