The Eye of the Storm

Last night I watched Sunday’s episode. It took me two hours because I kept having to pause it to make notes. You know I think tumblr did me a favor by taking the edge off because watching it was nowhere near as awful as I thought. Plus writing my fix-it fanfic, made me really try and get in Belle’s head and suddenly the episode started to make more sense.

Now I can’t speak as to the promo for next week because yikes that did look terrible. However, for Sunday’s episode? I said I would try to find some hope and you know what, I think I found some. It took me a while to persuade myself to write this up, I had so many notes and I’m lazy. However, I did it eventually.

Spoilers for 6.08 – I’ll Be Your Mirror under the cut.

I’m going to start with Belle. I’ve always found it easy to understand Rumplestiltskin, I don’t really know why but he just makes sense to me. I have to be honest, I didn’t really understand Belle’s recent actions until I saw this episode. It just seemed to be coming out of nowhere. Even when I was watching this episode, some of what she was saying, was just too much e.g. “if there’s any part of you that is still a hero, you’ll help me get away from this beast” because why suddenly call Rumple a beast the whole time?

Plus with that particular quote, she was emotionally blackmailing Aladdin. He chose to use the shears because he was afraid, and he has felt guilty for that ever since. It was a low blow, playing on his regret to get him to do what she wanted. That didn’t seem like the Belle I thought I knew but then I got into her head and it was loud in there! I put this in my authors notes for chapter five – “I’m confused, I’m angry, I’m confused, I’m scared and sad and confused, I’m frustrated and I’m confused.” – for how I thought Belle was feeling.

You see in 5B I kept saying that Belle was reeling from being hammered by the revelations of – dark one, pregnant, sold the baby. Then when season six started, I guess I’d had the time to process the events of 5B, and so I stopped giving them the weight they deserved. What I realized last night is Belle hasn’t had a chance to deal with anything. Excuse me while I recap it, but I think it’s important. If we go right back to the events of the town line, she felt betrayed, like their love had been a lie, she believed that power was more important to Rumple than her.

I know different, I know that what Rumple loves the most, and what his greatest weakness is, are two different things. Watching the events of 4B, with Rumple teaming up with the villains, I knew why he was doing it but Belle didn’t. I think she truly understood until after the author’s alternate world, and there was that moment in the shop of “I knew what I was getting Rumple, I wasn’t going to pull back.”

Whether Belle had her memories of the six weeks in Camelot or not, during that well scene in 5A, is debatable. Either way I think she wasn’t certain about what she wanted. She still loved Rumple, but he had hurt her badly and she wasn’t certain whether she was willing to trust him again or not. Driving away, having the chance to leave him, proved to her that she didn’t want to leave him. She went back, deciding to give him a second chance. However, immediately after their reunion Rumple went down to the underworld and then when Belle was dragged down there – she’s hammered with those revelations.

She was so angry in 5B because whatever fragile trust she was willing to give Rumple, after the events of 4A and the hat debacle, was utterly destroyed. She had decided to give him a second chance, and then it’s like the world is laughing at her for being so stupid. She hadn’t dealt with any of her anger, or her feelings, when she went under the sleeping curse. Her only priority at that point was her child, and then her son apparently warns her not to trust Rumple again. She wants what is best for her child, and she’s still angry, and scared and hurt.

Belle really wants to be a hero, and I think feeling darkness within herself is something that scares her. It’s not the kind of person she wants to be and so then she lashes out. She’s scared and angry and hurt and confused, and everything that happens just seems to confirm her worst fears. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Seeing Rumple makes her confront all these feelings, and she loses control. She wants him to hurt how she hurts, she knows his weak points and exploits them. Then she hates herself for doing that because it isn’t who she wants to be – another confirmation that being around Rumple will drag them all into darkness.

I’m going to come back to this point later. First I want to address Belle going to Zelena for help. I tend to take this on a case by case basis and to be honest, I think a big part of the reason is naivety. I do love Belle, but she does tend to want to believe the best in everyone. That is how she and Rumple fell in love in the first place. However, that desire to see the good in everyone has got her in trouble more than a few times.

With this particular case. So far as Belle knows, Zelena is the only one who has made successful portals with the apprentices wand. Regina did banish Zelena back to Oz with a twister but I don’t think Belle was even in town at that point. So Zelena has the capability, and she isn’t going to mind crossing Rumplestiltskin. Zelena also doesn’t have other priorities. I think Belle has noticed that the others don’t exactly jump up to help her, and I wonder if she believes that they might say something like “sure we’ll help” and then just not get round to it.

I do worry about Belle though. It was obvious from Zelena’s demenour that she was just tolerating Belle because she was finding it amusing. Belle declaring that she “wouldn’t leave” is about as pointless as trying to hide from Rumplestiltskin in the first place. Zelena has magic, with a wave of her hand, she could transport Belle anywhere she chooses. I do wonder if perhaps Belle doesn’t have the fear of magic/dark sorcerers that she should, because even in the early days Rumplestiltskin never harmed her.

Belle is quick though. I think she was trying to appeal to Zelena mother to mother, but when Zelena snorted she changed tactics. Belle is nothing like Zelena, but by saying that she thinks they aren’t so different, it’s a quick way to earn sympathy and help. Belle really wasn’t taking any prisoners on that score. It was a lot blow to say to Zelena about “people always letting you down” but actually I found that quite telling about Belle’s frame of mind. She gave Rumplestiltskin a second chance and he let her down. True, he had taken the darkness back before she returned and said that she wanted him, but I don’t think that matters to her.

I love how Rumple knew it was the Evil Queen and not Regina. It feels right for him to be the perceptive one. Though he did kind of ruin that by letting Aladdin break into his shop, while he was there, and then get away with the wand. I was quite disappointed in Rumple for that. His words at the end of the episode, suggested that he had known about it, and had allowed it to see who Aladdin was stealing the wand for, but I don’t know. I still felt like he shouldn’t have let Aladdin take it.

Oh there was so many telling quotes when he was talking to the Evil Queen – “So the curse wasn’t enough, now you want a family. I’d be careful with that, villains don’t have happy endings.” – he’s learned this from experience. This is so sad that he believes it but then that is what happened to him.

He brushed off the Evil Queen’s advances and to be honest he seemed amused. He wasn’t going to give her the hammer for free but relented, I’m theorizing because he knows it’s for Henry. Then he reminds her “Love is weakness.” And she counters with “It can also be a weapon.” – very telling. After all, love is weakness because it allows people to get close enough to hurt. Love makes you vulnerable and so it can hurt more than anything else. Under those terms, it can also be switched around. If someone can hurt you with love, then you can hurt them. Which is kinda what Rumple and Belle are doing to each other now. Belle lashes out and hurts Rumple, Rumple then snaps and hurts her right back.

Then the end of the episode. Rumple was looking at the sonogram, which was a weak moment for him. He had all these feelings and then the Evil Queen comes in. She said something about “doing whatever is necessary for our children” and I think he was looking for a distraction from his pain, plus he saw an opportunity. He was practically animalistic in the kiss, very demanding, there was no respect there, no love. He was playing to the Evil Queen’s tune before hitting her with the “I need you to kill Zelena” task because Zelena is a weak point for him. I mean could he ever defend himself if Zelena attacked him? Not to mention she taunted him about Neal and Belle can’t seem to stay away from her. Taking Zelena out of the picture only makes sense.

One thing I do want to mention from the end scene, which I’m mostly going to go into in a minute, is Rumple talking about himself in the third person. I think that says a lot, it’s a self defense mechanism. This isn’t happening to me. This is too awful. This is happening to somebody else. It shows his state of mind and it’s pretty terrible. You know, if something truly awful does happen next episode I suspect it’ll be because Rumple finally had a breakdown.

He’s been circling it for a long time because all of the trauma he’s gone through, has never been dealt with. This is just the final straw, he’s got nobody left and he’s faced with losing what little remains. He said a long time ago that if he lost Bae he’d “truly be dust” and really without any family, what does he have to hold onto? All he would have is pain and heartbreak, and it’s the kind of thing that could make him snap and lose his humanity. A person can only take so much.

Right this is pretty much about that final scene. I’ve gone over them separately and so this is how I saw that end scene. I thought it was going to be awful but actually, like I said it made more sense to me than I thought it would.

Belle is being illogical saying “I want to be safe in the Enchanted Forest” because Rumple has magic! Putting the bracelet on her is like insurance, but before then he could use a tracking spell, or the globe he used to find Neal. That’s why Belle couldn’t even hide in the land without magic. He doesn’t need the bracelet to be able to find her anywhere.

I really don’t like Belle calling Rumple a beast repeatedly. I’m guessing it’s to remind herself, more than anything else. After all if she calls him Rumple, then that is too close to when they were in love. However, as an out of universe explanation, I do wonder if maybe the writers think the audience has forgotten that Rumple is the Beast from Beauty and the Beast and this is a “subtle” reminder.

The contrast between how Belle talks about their child, and Rumple is quite telling. Rumple still says “our child” and Belle talks about “my child” and “my son”. I wonder again, if that is a choice she is making, to rationalize cutting Rumple out of the child’s life. Even leaving aside how much Rumple has hurt her personally, Belle does have legitimate concerns about what Rumple might do in the child’s name. I would hope that she would know that Rumple would never hurt their child, but he would definitely destroy anyone that even looked at them the wrong way. For someone like Belle, who has a conscience a mile long, that would be something she couldn’t live with.

Plus Belle’s naivety comes into play again. I think she has convinced herself that if she keeps Rumple away from the child, that it will just be ‘her child’ and so Rumple’s enemies won’t have any interest in the child. That isn’t the case, whether Rumple never lays eyes on the child or not. Their child probably has value of their own, being a product of true love, they might well have magic.

Belle said “I nearly won” which seemed like such a strange thing to say – when did it become a competition? Also I do wish Belle would remember that Rumple has always let her leave in the past. He let her stay on the pirate ship, with the man his first wife left him for. He let Belle make her own choices, and if it wasn’t for the child, he would probably draw her a portal himself. However, that is his kid, and especially because he has buried one son, I’m not surprised he doesn’t want to lose another. He wouldn’t want to lose his kid anyway, but Bae must be on his mind, increasing Rumple’s anxiety and his fear.

“You will never set eyes on this child” was a cruel thing to say. Again hitting at Rumple’s weak point, same as last week when Belle hit out at him for being a coward. Couples who love one another know how to hurt each other the most – love can be a weapon. Rumple snapping and calling Belle “dearie” is just in response to that.

So where is the hope? I think understanding where both Rumple and Belle are coming from is hopeful. They are both angry and hurting and lashing out, and that all makes sense. This is the roughest of rough patches in their relationship, but they are a couple and couples fight. It’s obvious they still love each other, and they are just lashing out. Belle was genuinely concerned with her “what’s happening” when Rumple staggered clutching his chest. She loves him, and you can see in Rumple’s eyes he still loves her. They are just hurting and lashing out.

Regina and the Evil Queen
Right ok, 2500 words later and I’m done with talking about Rumbelle, so I can talk about what truly broke my heart this episode – the Evil Queen. Seriously, I was reminded why I fell in love with Regina as a character, and she damn near made me cry. Once again it was an absolute master class in acting from Lana Parrilla. Playing the Evil Queen, playing split!Regina, who isn’t whole Regina. Honestly she should win all the awards.

The expression on her face when Henry hugged her – it’s those layers that made me fall in love with her character. Then the expressions continued when Snow called her a monster and said she was glad that Regina had “ripped her out and threw her away” which is quite frankly just awful. The Evil Queen is Regina, she’s part of her and that’s like rejecting part of her, the wounded part that was only formed out of pain.

It proves that the unconditional acceptance that Snow apparently offered was just a lie. You know I bet this is partly why Regina thought she had to split herself. She thought that nobody would truly accept her otherwise, despite their pretty words, Snow said “we forgive you” and this is the proof – Regina was right, they still partially hate her. There’s tears in the Evil Queen’s eyes and then she does what she does best and pushes it away, and focuses on someone else.

However, it gets worse later. When Henry looks at the Evil Queen and says “You’ll always be alone” and that’s when I thought I was going to cry. The Evil Queen is part of Regina. She’s not exactly Regina, just as Regina isn’t exactly Regina these days. They are two halves of a person – neither of them are whole. By rejecting the Evil Queen, they are rejecting part of Regina, possibly the most vulnerable part. Regina would never have become the Evil Queen in the first place if not for all the pain she suffered – the pain of being alone. Honestly, Henry could not have picked crueler words.

Emma, Regina and Henry
In the start of the episode Emma telling Regina she needed to be there for Henry, and Regina telling Emma she believed in her was awesome. I love their friendship. Then again in the mirror world from “I’m afraid to raise Henry alone” to “Together” and “Damn straight” – I just love how they support one another, their evolution from enemies, to friends, to co-parents has been excellent development.

“You act like yourself. Never compromise who you are, got it?” – was such a throwback to the old Emma, it just made me miss her more. I’m afraid I did snort a but and say that Emma should look in the mirror and say that. I think she needs to listen to her own advice.

I love how Henry is worried about the dance and Violet, it’s such a normal thing and I want that for him because he’s just a kid, he should have that in his life. Although my favorite part was when he rolled his eyes and said “she won’t hurt me” about the evil queen. I love that he has faith in even Regina’s worst self. He always had that faith, even before Regina really had it in herself. He always knew that Regina would never hurt him.

The Evil Queen and Henry’s conversation had a nice callback in it. Regina did call him her little prince when he was little. The Evil Queen also dispensed good advice about “being Royal” because it was really more about self-confidence and self-respect. I imagine that the Evil Queen was repeating lessons that Cora taught her, but just because they came from Cora didn’t make them wrong. However, she then said too much and repeated her slouching advice, which made Henry aware of her true identity. I did roll my eyes that they included that in the ‘previously on’ at the start of the episode. I didn’t need the reminder, I can remember what happened a couple of weeks ago myself.

“Nice try you can’t Darth Vader me. I’ll never join you.” – I do love my movie references and this is actually one of the things that I love that Stargate does. It makes the characters seem more real, because honestly if I was there, I would be making references all the time. I do it enough in my life as it is. I did wince at the dilemma Henry faced – he is too young for that! He should be protected! Although I do understand the Evil Queen’s motivation. She wants Henry to understand her, and the difficult choices that spawned her. Right and wrong isn’t so clear cut.

I wonder if it was intentional that the Evil Queen quoted Rumple by saying “Tick Tock”. Then the Evil Queen bringing up Cora only confirmed my theory. She wants Henry to understand her, and she also believes that she is doing what is best for him. Unlike when Regina was whole, the Evil Queen has no softer side and not as many doubts. She believes that she is strong, and so she wants that for Henry as well.

I wasn’t surprised that Henry found a third option. This is a family show and they couldn’t have a child forced to choose who lived and who died. Instead he got to be the hero and save the day. I do have one question though – is the dragon still stuck in the mirror?

I did smile at Henry and Violet conspiring. I really liked that. It reminded me of Emma and Neal. Honestly, they are sweet together. Although I bet Henry’s heart lurched when Violet started her explanation with “It’s not you” because that it a stereotypical breakup line.

“You don’t need a label, you’re Violet” – is a really romantic line and something Neal would have said. It also made for a proud mother moment, realizing that Henry’s quite grown up now. I don’t know how old Henry is actually supposed to be, or if they are just handwaving it and saying that he’s as old as he looks now, which he shouldn’t be based on time passed. However, that’s a common TV sin and I would let it slide. Henry is all grown up really, he saved their lives earlier and he’s got a first love. Regina and Emma’s exchange outside was really sweet and lovely, finishing each other’s sentences like that.

General Comments
Alright now for the rest of the episode. When Snow went to give David true loves kiss, they all moved to stand around the bed. Why are they all watching? What is it a spectator sport now? Seriously I thought that was weird. However, the Snowing music video was the best thing ever. That was amazing. I’m only slightly jealous because I would like that for my ship but honestly it was just lovely. Also at the end I loved how David knew what Snow was trying to say without her saying it – so sweet.

I’m going to snark about Hook for a second. Emma (well the evil queen pretending to be Emma) asking Hook on the voicemail to fill in as sheriff? Yeah big nope for that. Then did Hook do a ‘I’m devilishly charming’ grin and pose after the Evil Queen teleported away? It kinda looked like it but then that could just be because they had to do two shots, one with Regina there, and one without so they could do the teleporting.

Right Zelena now. I did love how she talked about idiotic heroism. I’m never going to like her character unless she truly repents, and maybe not even then, but I happen to agree with her on that score, and I loved her subtle blackmailing of Aladdin. Villains know how to get things done. However, any minor good feeling I had towards Zelena because of that snarky exchange with Aladdin disappeared the moment she taunted Rumple about Neal’s death. Seriously? Then she was all smug about how Rumple couldn’t hurt her – remind me why she is no longer wicked again? Seriously I’m with Rumple, that witch needs to die and it’s long overdue.

Regina’s disgusted expression when looking in one of the mirrors was so funny. I mean think about what you could accidentally see? Pass the brain bleach. My next thought was ‘hang on Regina banished Sidney to the mirror and he could spy on everyone, was he in the mirror world?’ and then a scene or two later the show mentioned him! Although I do still have questions. Sidney could be seen in the mirror, so why couldn’t Regina and Emma? Is it because they didn’t wish themselves in there. Now I’m assuming that Sidney got out of the mirror the first time because of the dark curse. However, the Snow Queen got him out the second time, how did she manage it?

The dragon mentioned his daughter. Is this a story from the fairytales? I’m wondering if it’s going to be relevant because she’s going to show up, or if it’s just a dropped line like Violet’s father being from Connecticut and won’t actually be ever mentioned again.

I am surprised that Aladdin broke in when Rumple was there. Although I suppose if Rumple never leaves the shop, then Aladdin didn’t have much choice. I did roll my eyes at Aladdin hiding – Rumple has magic. However, he then finds the wand next to where he is hiding? Did Belle know the wand was there? Although I don’t know how she would have known that, but seriously what are the odds he found it without searching?

I did also roll my eyes at Aladdin calling Belle a friend. It seemed like they hadn’t met before that day. Even though they do have similar accents when Aladdin isn’t trying to pretend he’s from Birmingham. Ok that little tribute to Robin Williams was sad and I’m guessing Jafar is in the lamp. I haven’t seen Once Wonderland edition but I seem to recall reading Jafar was trapped in a lamp. I guess with all the dark curses it somehow wound up in Storybrooke.

The episode was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The promo for 6.09 – Changelings on the other hand, yeah that does look bad. However, it’s out of context. Maybe when I watch the actual episode, as what happened with this episode, it’ll make more sense. I’m looking forward to 6.09 anyway because of the Black Fairy, and it’s a Rumbelle centric so hopefully there will be progress.

I still believe that they are endgame and I don’t believe that they have gone past the point of no return – yet. Next week might change my opinion but we’ll see. Rumple and Belle are hurting and lashing out at one another. The very fact that they can still hurt one another, says that they still love one another. To be honest I think their problems would be solved, if someone locked them in a room together and didn’t let them out until they’d talked. Miscommunication is the real demon between them – at the moment.