Love is Weakness

I haven’t read any tumblr posts on this episode yet, and in all honesty I’m a little scared to see peoples reactions. I have to confess my immediate reaction to the episode wasn’t exactly what I would call favorable, because on the surface it really looks kinda bad. However, this is what headcanon was made to deal with.

I’m tempted to write a fix-it fic because I can think of a way to explain it and turn it positive. However, having written it all out here in theory form, I’m not sure I can be bothered ooops. Anyway, here’s my rambling thoughts on episode 6.04 – Strange Case.

The Rumbelle defense
Let’s take care of the elephant in the room first shall we? Rumple steps onto the ship and Hook immediately bristles and snarls. Belle immediately says “it’s ok” to calm Hook down. I’ve always believed actions speak louder than words. Belle isn’t scared of Rumple, or she would be allowing Hook to defend her. Her instinctive reaction is that Rumple isn’t there to harm her – this is positive.

What happened next? Well her words weren’t exactly nice. She asked him why he was there and Rumple said “To protect you, to protect you both” and Belle said “the only one we need protection from is you” – ouch. That’s the type of remark the cuts pretty deep. However, I’m going to come back to this in a minute, because once again actions speak louder than words.

The next part of their argument was fairly par for the course for them. Belle wants to know what Rumple has done and he hesitates, and Belle has had enough of his reticence. This is a pattern with them, right back to the start of season two. Belle said then “you need the strength to let me in” and “the courage to be honest with me” and walked out on him. Rumple gave her the library at the end and explained that he needed magic to find Bae.

Rumple’s instinct is to tell people as little as possible. That fits with his character because it’s about trust. When has anyone shown him that he can trust them? That he can be weak and let his guard down with them? He’s had centuries of people using whatever they can against him, and that hasn’t changed. He does usually let Belle in, and explain, as he did in this episode but he always hesitates first because it goes against his natural instincts of self-protection.

He cast the spell on the boat because I don’t think he can cast a spell on a person. He trapped Belle on the boat to ensure that she would stay within the protection zone. Now, this was a bad idea for many reasons but it’s the kind of logic leap that makes sense. It was short-sighted and an oversight but then he made quite a few of them in tonight’s episode, which I’ll come back to later.

Belle said “you can’t lock me up like one of your objects” and Rumple replied “apparently I can and one day you’ll thank me for it.” which was quite a telling exchange. After all once again Belle finds herself in danger, Rumple admitted it himself, because someone wanted to use her as leverage against him. They don’t see her as a person – just an object. Rumple overriding her wishes, shows a lack of respect. like he’s dealing with an object and not a person.

She has always been very adamant that “nobody chooses my fate but me” and except on matters of protection Rumple has always bowed to her wishes. However, I think it’s a bit of a raw nerve for Belle, people not listening to her wishes about what happens to her. Rumple’s quip about “one day you’ll thank me for it.” is also very telling and ties up with my positive spin on the end scene between them.

However, first I want to point out that Belle said she had friends to protect her, but the second Emma might be in danger Hook disappeared. Belle’s own words were it’s alright “Rumple’s spell will protect us.” because she knew she had that. I imagine Rumple didn’t want to depend on Hook, and the spell was insurance. I know it didn’t turn out well but I’m talking intentions at the moment.

I liked Belle showing her smarts. She could tell something was off with Jekyll by the way he said that Mary was his, and she’s not utterly defenseless either, she stabbed Jekyll in the shoulder. Hook then turned up to save the day, having thankfully heard Belle’s cry for help. My instinctive reaction was to roll my eyes because it was Hook and he’s not exactly my favorite. However, I then mentally put David in Hook’s place and I can’t fault his actions. I don’t like that it was Hook that did it and that’s basically my only problem with it. So far as Hook knew Belle was safe on the ship when he left, he gave her a way to call for help and then he was there when she needed it.

Right now that confrontation at the end. I knew that Rumple had cut his hair for a fresh start, and that’s precisely what he said here. He then explained his history with Jekyll and Hyde, which as I said earlier repeats the pattern for previous incidents. Belle wants to know, Rumple hesitates, and then he tells her at the end. That it was about “love is weakness” doesn’t surprise me because Rumple at the point Belle showed up in the dark castle was coming close to the dark curse – to Bae. Rumple had sworn when Bae disappeared that he wouldn’t love anyone until he found him, and to be honest I rather imagine Rumple was terrified. He didn’t want anything to keep him from his path to Bae and he always turns to magic for a solution.

Then we get to the problematic part. “You forget whose child it is you’re carrying. He will have a mark on his head by virtue of who he is, and if you want what’s best for him… you will come back to me.” “Threats won’t make me love you again, Rumple.” “No. But necessity will.”

It ties back up with what Rumple said earlier in the episode about “one day you’ll thank me for it.” because I think he believes that is all he has to offer. Rumple is a dealmaker, cold contracts are the only guarantees he has ever known. He met Belle through a deal and she grew to love him despite that. Since then though, and for valid reasons, Belle has left him just like everyone else. I think he’s got to a point, especially because of the child, where he thinks it’s better to base a relationship on something tangible – like protection – rather than something that fails him – like love.

The simple fact is that together, or apart, Belle and their child will always be a target because of their association with him. That sucks for them all and it’s not going to change. Besides I know Belle dated Will for a short time, but that was nothing serious and there wasn’t a child involved. Is anyone going to want to date the ex-wife of the Dark One? Be a potential step-father to the Dark One’s son? I think Rumple has done another logic leap here and missed the obvious alternative. I think he’s thinking that Belle has no other choice ultimately but him, but she does, she has the option to be alone.

That’s basically my positive spin. That there is an understandable reason for why Rumple is otherwise seemingly so out of character with his cold possessive comments to Belle. He loves her desperately, and he’s just grasping at straws because he’s terrified. This isn’t like the other times when they split up and he let her go, because deep down he always knew she would leave him – “I’m still a monster and so you should go” is what he told her way back in 2×01 Broken.

This time there’s a child and Rumple buried Bae and it basically broke him, he can’t lose another child. He smashed his leg and branded himself a coward for Bae. He walked into a burning building and killed a man for Bae. He tore apart an entire world to find Bae. Rumple doesn’t have it in him to abandon another child. This time he can’t walk away from Belle and wish her to be happy. He told her to go and be with Will, he gave her his keys and told her to see the world. He would let Belle go, but he can’t let go of their child and he’s so damn terrified and desperate I don’t think he even realizes how counter-productive he’s being in pushing Belle like this.

More on Rumple
He didn’t really think things through in tonight’s episode did he? I don’t think he can, because it’s impossible to think clearly when emotions are high. I think he’s so full of fear, desperation, self-loathing etc. that his mind is jumping about all over the place, and he’s seizing upon anything he can think of without considering other possibilities.

Rumple made the Evil Queen swear to leave Belle and their child alone but he didn’t make Hyde swear. That was an oversight and one he then tried to fix with his protection spell. It was just like a bandaid over the immense crack in his plan, he was trying desperately to bail out his sinking boat and forestall failure just a little longer. Once his magic proved ineffective on Hyde, he couldn’t even think of a way to make Hyde pay for the necklace he wanted because his mind is stuck on a loop.

Even what he did with the serum and Jekyll was well intentioned and he didn’t actually harm Jekyll. In his own way Rumple was protecting Regina. He thought at that time that the serum would only kill the ‘worst self’ and I can only imagine the problems that would be caused, by killing part of yourself. He keeps telling Regina the obvious, that she should reunite with her other half, so she can be whole again – more on this later.

I did swear when Rumple stabbed Hyde and then took his hand off the dagger. I don’t quite understand why he had to put the serum on the dagger in the first place, but then the dagger is a magical object and perhaps if it had been the real serum, it would have needed the daggers kick. I did have a theory that maybe the dagger didn’t control him any longer, because it’s got different coloring and Rumple had it in a display case at his shop in 5×11 Swan Song. However, clearly it works the same as ever.

Clearly there was a lesson intended here for Rumple. That his power is bad because it makes him vulnerable. The dagger will always be a weakness and place those he loves in danger. It happened with Zelena, and it happened again with Hyde. Rumple was powerless, and just had to stand and watch while Belle was in trouble. For all that he says he needs magic to protect those he loves, it seems to be backfiring on him.

I don’t really like this angle. I don’t think it’s fair because it’s clearly pushing the agenda that Rumple should give up his power. No other character has to give up magic, or their special skill. I suppose it comes down to the source of power, and so long as Rumple is the dark one (and therefore cursed and bound to the dagger) then his power is bad. To be honest I’ve always thought that power should be neutral, and it’s intentions when using it that matter. I’ve never liked “light” or “dark” because that seems too clear cut and easy.

I think Rumple should be able to have both, his power and those he loves, because Emma can and Regina can so why not Rumple? However, I don’t think it’s going to play out like that unfortunately. I think he’s going to have to choose one day, and that’s not an easy choice because despite incidents like the one in this episode, I think he truly believes that magic helps him more than it hurts. In Rumple’s mind it’s like asking him to pick between those he loves, and protecting those he loves. Not to mention the feeling of self-worth he gets from the power, plus how vulnerable he feels without it just personally.  Anyway, it is what it is.

Regina and the Evil Queen
I said I would come back to this. This episode made it more obvious than ever that Regina should reunite with her ‘worst self’. I felt like banging my head against a brick wall with the end conversation with Emma. Regina started talking about “capacity for evil”, and made Emma promise to stop her before she hurt her family. However, Regina you never hurt your family, even back when you teamed up with your mother for a short time at your lowest point in season two.

I get Regina’s concern a little bit. Hyde’s “I’m not the monster you need to worry about” was very telling. Hyde is supposed to be Jekyll’s dark side, but Jekyll was still capable of doing evil things. So actually maybe it comes down to what I said in my fanfic The War Within – what qualities did they split from themselves? It’s clearly not just darkness. Jekyll talked about the primitive desires of man, which isn’t darkness but perhaps deeper emotion. He kept ambition, he kept pettiness, he kept possessiveness and he didn’t keep any caring, or compassion.

What did Regina split? The Evil Queen isn’t a demon, isn’t a manifestation of darkness – it’s another part of her. Regina said “To stop the evil queen I have to die” – but there is another option, she can ‘be both’ again. There’s a realization here that she needs, that she is the Evil Queen – that is her past and she needs to own it.

She had beaten this, she had redeemed herself but then she lost Robin and all her confidence went with him. She lost the strength to keep on fighting because I think she scared herself. When she lost Daniel, that’s what set her on the path to becoming the Evil Queen. Losing another true love? I think she was frightened of what she might do and she was tired and suddenly there was an easy option in front of her.

General episode comments
Rumple as the dark one was amazing to watch. I loved his quote of “all science needs is a little magic” and his new haircut is very nice. It makes his eyes even more intense, something which amusingly both the Evil Queen and Regina noticed. I laughed when he said to Regina that he wasn’t buying what her other half was selling, and she should be grateful for that, and Regina thought he meant a team-up but really Rumple was talking about the flirting.

I’ve said all along (although so has everyone probably) that I thought if one died, then both would die and with the death of Jekyll and Hyde I was proven right. Thank merlin though that meant Rumple got his dagger back quickly. One episode of being controlled was enough, I did not want a whole season repeat of that.

Leroy was awesome with his “dwarves aren’t errand boys” and “it better or you’ll see my dark side.” You know this actually calls back to what he said at the start of the Camelot arc. “do you know how it feels when people ask how the adventure was and you weren’t asked to go” or words to that effect. I think he’s feeling left out and defensive. It was funny though when he says that they were guards, protectors of the kingdom against chaos. Then the Evil Queen walks in saying “chaos is here.” and Leroy growled “lets dance” and then with a casual wave of her hand she put them to sleep. I actually felt quite bad for him because he was doing his best.

That was a nice twist on how Hyde got his name – the parts Jekyll wanted hidden. Actually having said that, was that the reason in the original book? I’ve not read it so I don’t know, I thought that was clever though.

David saying to Emma “if you are happy then so am I” is just perfect parenting. He wants what is best for her, but he’ll let her make her own decisions and if necessary her own mistakes. It’s just another way of saying I love you and I support you and that’s just so nice. David deserves more credit.

I laughed when Snow asked Jasmine if she knew how to make a bird house – do you do anything but birdhouses at school Snow? Then I blinked when she started doing algebra because especially if those are new arrivals at school, do they even have an education to start with? Algebra is a bit advanced if they don’t know any mathematics. Although, Snow later said that they had forgotten everything she had taught them, so perhaps they were old students.

I think with everything that has happened in town though, education has been a little disrupted, so Snow should cut them some slack. I liked her using her bow at the end – signature Snow White move. The quip about the apples was funny, and a nice callback to “who doesn’t like apples” “it’s a family thing.” from season three.

The end with Jasmine meeting the seer and them looking for Aladdin was intriguing I guess. I still think that seer is up to no good. She was there when Jafar found Aladdin in episode one, so maybe she is working with Jafar.

The promo for next week seems to all be about Jasmine and Aladdin so there’s no clues there as to the fallout from this episode.

To be honest I’m just going to fall back on the very cliche quote of – “what we have here is a failure to communicate” because really, if Rumple and Belle did manage to have a full honest conversation, with no holding back on either side and actually manage to finish it without one of them leaving, they would be in a much better place.

I mostly just talked about Rumple’s perspective in this review because I suppose I find that easier to understand. Belle doesn’t know so much of what I know as a viewer, because I have seen everything has happened, but Belle only knows a fraction of it. From what little she knows, it must be very confusing and I can completely understand her perspective. She’s hurt, angry and scared and she’s trying to do the right thing and from the facts she knows – it is the right thing.

It’s like I said, they need to talk with one another. That wouldn’t fix everything overnight but Belle would then be able to make decisions having full possession of all the facts. That might change things.

Anyway, I still love this show and I’m still looking forward to next week.