The Hiatus is Over

Like the title says, the hiatus is over and that is true in more ways than one. I haven’t really blogged all that much since Once went on hiatus, so this blog kinda did as well. Now, the show is back, my review posts are back. So spoilers for 6.11 – Tougher than the Rest under the cut.

Rumbelle and Gideon
Let’s do the important first yeah? That first scene in the shop I loved that Rumple’s first question was whether Gideon had been hurt. Forget anything else, he just needed to make sure he was ok. I think that Rumple knew that Gideon wasn’t ok, but it’s like he really hoped and so had to be certain because he didn’t want it to be true. He didn’t want his son to have suffered. Belle’s expression when Gideon said that he held onto the memory of her to keep him strong during the bad times – that was a wonderful thing for her to hear and she looked truly touched. Well she did right up until Gideon’s twisted view on heroism was revealed.

Now, I love Belle, I really do, but she has her flaws just like any character. Nobody is perfect, not Belle and not Rumple, they both made mistakes over this and I’m going to come back to that more later. First a point about the ‘hero thing’. The last thing Belle said to Gideon was “a hero for all time” and seeing as he had some kind of weird awareness going on, perhaps because of the realm existing out of time so he was somehow already there before he was born, I kinda think he took that on board, you get what you pay for, Belle wanted her son to be a hero and Gideon has embraced that. It’s also his namesake – Gideon, a hero, who faced down evil to protect those he loved.

Gideon stated with absolute certainty “I will be a hero”, it’s what Belle wanted for him, and indeed it’s what Belle wants for herself. Being a hero is very important to her. The Black Fairy has done what all the best villains do and has twisted that. She’s using that desire against Gideon, making him believe as Rumple said later that he’s “reaching for the cure” when actually he’s “taking more poison.” Gideon thinks he’s doing the right thing and that was the theme of the episode – the power of belief.

Well talk about the danger of belief. So long as Gideon believes he’s doing the right thing he’ll be very difficult to stop. Now usually I’m all for heroes doing whatever it takes – the end justifies the means – and say villains make the best heroes for that reason. They are prepared to do what is necessary. However, there is a big difference between launching preemptive strikes, or lying to manipulate others, and killing another savior because your realm is more important/worthy of being saved than theirs. That is a step too far.

I think when it comes to belief, that is what Rumple was really getting at in his scene with Gideon. He was testing Gideon’s commitment because he knows that if Gideon’s heart isn’t in what he’s doing, then he will fail. Rumple also knows that the heroes will kill Gideon if they feel that will best protect Emma. He’s desperately wanting to save his son. I think he hoped that Gideon would crumble, that maybe if Gideon saw how much he cared for him that he might listen – he might let him help. Also, I think he hoped to maybe make Gideon realize he’s going about everything the wrong way – or rather more accurately for the wrong reasons.

There were so many levels to that scene, seriously all the awards. I mean the big points were to do with Gideon, but not to be forgotten there was Rumple’s guilt complex. I think he finds it easier to believe everything is his fault, he’s used to everything being his fault and it probably feels wrong to him to think it’s not.

Over to Belle who went to David and Hook. She came clean, told them Gideon’s identity and actually gave a very reasoned argument. Trust begets trust, so she tried to get theirs by saying “I trust you” and also she didn’t put Gideon above Emma, she merely said that “neither of them have to get hurt” which given that’s her kid was very reasonable. I suppose David’s response was also reasonable, because he did agree to let Belle try to talk Gideon down before taking action. I was going to say that I wish he’d more compassionate, or conflicted, but to be honest with everything David is going through I don’t think he has the spare emotions. In that moment Emma was lost in a wish!realm, Snow is a sleeping curse, he’s battling unfounded guilt. He’s taking responsibility for something that wasn’t his fault. The Evil Queen being in the right place to get snaked was probably the wish, Gideon showing up would have happened anyway. So yeah poor David really, poor everyone – if any family needs a vacation, it’s this one!

I did smile at Hooks question “to stop him or to aid him” because while it comes from Hook’s distrust of Rumple, it’s actually a good point. In a way by asking that, they were acknowledging that Rumple would do anything for family. Gideon is his son, and Rumple would probably support him on his more morally dubious ventures if necessary, because Rumple doesn’t care about darkening his heart/staining his soul, he’d do whatever he had to in order to keep his son safe. If that meant doing terrible things, then that is something Rumple could live with – family first, family always.

When Gideon and Emma faced off I knew that it was just round one and that Emma wasn’t going to die. The details were wrong – Emma’s clothes, the fact that Snow wasn’t there etc. I was impressed that Gideon managed to freeze both Rumple and Regina, that must have taken some serious power. I hope The Black Fairy taught him that “all magic comes with a price” because otherwise he’s in for a world of hurt. I was surprised the sword shattered when it hit the ground, I’m guessing that was Emma’s magic and not the impact because otherwise it wouldn’t have happened.

I did like that Rumple pleaded “please he’s my son” with Emma because Rumple would beg for Gideon. Rumple would do anything for his son. What I especially love though is that Rumple begged Emma and that Emma listened. I felt kinda echoes of season two there and their lost familial relationship. Emma was family through Bae/Neal and once she and Rumple had a good (if prickly) relationship. Hopefully we’ll see more Emma and Rumple interaction, I’d like that.

Anyway, I thought it a bit odd that Rumple and Belle just drifted in different directions at the end of the scene. They didn’t say a word to one another, but I guess maybe Belle just walked away because she needed space. That’s what she does, she always leaves to think it over, and Rumple let her (because that’s what he does) before changing his mind and finding her because they did need to talk. There are no words for how much I love that they talked at the well, that is kinda their place isn’t it? That was a really nice callback.

I had mixed feelings the first time I watched the scene at the well. On one hand I felt like they’d swapped lines with one another, as what they were saying was so backwards, and on the other hand I felt it was very positive. Belle has learned a bitter lesson, and one that was long overdue. She did what she thought was best and it didn’t work out, and I’m not sure that really ever happened to her before. She always had such confidence in her choices, such faith that everything would be ok, and never really understood Rumple’s pessimism – he had learned that sometimes no matter what he did, how hard he worked etc. that things wouldn’t turn out ok. I always think of spinner!Rumple and how he sometimes had no good choices, that he worked so hard to provide for Bae and that it was never enough.

Anyway, the second time I watched the scene I think I understood more what was happening. They were having two different conversations, talking at cross-purposes almost because of their self-loathing. Rumple blames himself because he always does, and Belle is blaming herself. She started with the self-blaming and then Rumple didn’t respond appropriately. He agreed with her when he shouldn’t have, probably because in his mind a) it’s always his fault and he should have done better and b) does it really matter who wanted what with the shears, that’s done and over and they have a different situation to deal with now.

I always believed that Rumple wanted Gideon’s life to take it’s natural course, and that he only considered using the shears because he was worried Gideon’s life wouldn’t be a happy one. In contrast I think Belle is getting a few shades of grey in her life and is wondering if maybe Rumple wasn’t so wrong after all. If this was the life Gideon was fated to have, then maybe a little intervention would have been a good thing. She’s his mother and for all that “nobody chooses my fate but me” she wants what’s best for him no matter what. That was really interesting coming from Belle and I hope they will develop that line of thinking further.

“It can be easy to rationalize doing the wrong thing” – never have truer words been spoken. I think Belle is finally getting it. What I loved the most out of everything was Rumple saying that they should work together. That’s all I want – for them to be a team, partners, working together to take care of business, exactly how they should always have been. Oh and another point, I love that in this episode it was Rumple reaching out to Belle. Usually he doesn’t and Belle has to come to him, probably because Rumple convinces himself he’s unwelcome. Still when Gideon teleported out of the shop, the first thing Rumple did was reach for Belle to comfort her. That says a lot I think.

Anyway, the talk about choices really circles back not to just belief (which was the theme of the episode) but also Belle’s “nobody chooses my fate”. I wasn’t a fan of the author storyline, and I wasn’t a fan of this ‘savior is fated to die’ business because I believe that people are masters of their own destiny. People can try and fail, but this is a show about hope and I think this episode finally delivered on that. It said that with the power of belief people can change their lives. Snow’s saying “believing in even the possibility of a happy ending” is back with a vengeance and I love it. This is what the show should be like, this is what it’s about. Which brings me to my final point.

I have always thought that Rumple shouldn’t have to choose between his family and his power. Nobody else has to, and he has always chosen his family over his power – proving that his power is a tool which he needs to keep them safe. He needs it for other reasons too but I’ve already gone over that in other posts. For the same reason I don’t think Emma should have to choose between her life and being the savior. I think she should get to be both, to chart her own course because she chooses her own fate. Finally, I think this is why Gideon should stay an adult and not get de-aged to a baby.

It’s the same as when Rumple offered to make Neal/Bae fourteen again. Gideon has lived a life, not a good one, but it’s his and wiping him and starting again would be like killing him in a way. Gideon is who he is, he’s the product of his experiences, he has a sense of self. He’s a person, he exists, he shouldn’t be destroyed. I suppose if Gideon chose to essentially have this version of him die, by getting a mind-wipe and being turned back into a baby, then that would be his choice. However, I only want that to happen if it’s his choice. I know it’s sad that Rumple and Belle didn’t get to raise their kid, but Snow and David didn’t get to raise Emma either and they are getting along alright. It’s about consequences and magic shouldn’t just wave a hand and get rid of them, even if it’s magic that caused the problem in the first place.

Gideon is a person, he deserves to live.

Other Stuff
I confess I’m slightly disappointed there wasn’t more wish!world shenanigans. I wanted to see more of Henry hunting down Emma and Regina, instead there was a blink and miss it scene at the beginning. However, what we got was awesome and I know that it’s about screentime – each episode would have to be at least 3x as long to accommodate everything I’d like. Let’s start with OutlawQueen shall we?

I’m so glad they actually noticed that Robin hadn’t aged. I was worried they would just ignore it. I really felt terrible for Regina. Her “everyone is better off without me” feeling is so relatable and everywhere she looked it seemed to be true. Regina has struggled with never feeling like she was enough her whole life. First with her mother, and then later with Henry and the family she tried to make for herself. I know Regina has made peace with sharing Henry with Emma, in fact she wants to, she admitted just a few episodes ago that she was scared to raise Henry alone. However, that doesn’t change how she felt initially probably, like Emma was replacing her in Henry’s life. Like she didn’t matter – like she was replaceable, like what difference what it make if she wasn’t there. Add that to the guilt she feels over doing what she knew was wrong as the Evil Queen and it’s a perfect storm.

I did laugh though when Regina walked into the tavern. Surely she could have glamoured herself to look different? I did love that everybody screamed and ran and Robin just sat there calmly like it was no big deal. I was surprised at the anti-magic cuff, I didn’t think they were really a thing until Pan brought them to Storybrooke and now they are everywhere. Still I’m not going to complain too much because that led to the Rumple and Regina scene.

Anyway, with Regina and Robin it all came down to the theme of the episode – belief. I think it makes sense personally. They gave a really good justification for why Robin could come back (if only for a little while) and it actually makes me a little sad that they didn’t come up with a better reason for Hook’s resurrection. I know, it’s a little off-topic, but I don’t mind that they brought Hook back. If that’s the story, then that’s the story, but I wish the reason behind it had made more sense rather than it just being a magical handwave from Zeus. I wish they had actually saved Hook in the underworld. That they had fed him the ambrosia to save him because that would have made sense.

Moving on, I really hope that Regina gets closure and that maybe she has to let Robin go because the magic fades or something. I want the reason to make sense, I don’t mind if it makes me cry, but I want it to matter. I know Robin isn’t staying, so I know something will happen. Oh and I really don’t want Roland to see Robin because that would be like his dad died twice and my heart couldn’t take it.

Right, more wish!world stuff. If I was Emma then I would have had a magical wardrobe change because that Princess outfit was quite distinctive. I was a little sad that Geppetto wasn’t still alive. Granny was alive at Henry’s knighting ceremony so why couldn’t Geppetto have still been around? I love Tony Amendola, he’s an amazing actor and I’m sure he would have brought a lot to the scene. I am impressed though at how fast August can work the chisel. It took Geppetto months to build the wardrobe the first time, didn’t August’s hand get tired?

I do love the frenemies thing between Regina and Rumple. Regina’s smile, her quip about impeccable timing and seriously imp!Rumple deserves all the awards. I do think it’s telling that Regina said that Rumple was on their side – no matter what world they are in, deep down she trusts him. The bones thing with Belle, I knew that was coming and it was horrible. I don’t blame Rumple for wanting revenge but all he did was lock them in the dungeon. Someone with his power could have detected their escape, but he let them go, perhaps because he knew that Regina wasn’t at fault.

Also there was the whole “real or not real” thing that Rumple kept swaying between. I think ultimately in his mind, what does it even matter? I think Rumple kinda thought, maybe I’m not real but my feelings are. Belle still mattered to him and obviously the first thing he did on gaining his freedom was track her down. I’m kinda devastated for him, which is why I wrote two preemptive fix-it fics, that had Belle still alive. After 30 years in prison, that was not a good start. Also, I would have liked to see wish!world Belle.

Anyway, I know it’s a wish!world and it doesn’t have to make sense, but I seriously don’t get old!Hook. The Evil Queen not casting her curse wouldn’t have changed anything for him, surely Hook should still be on Neverland biding his time and staying young, until he could get revenge on Rumple? I don’t get why he would have left and aged. Still, it doesn’t matter, I did love his “I’m a hero and I’m going to rescue you whether you like it or not” as that was very in character. Plus all the awards to Colin O’Donoghue as that was a fantastic performance. It looked like he had fun with that and good for him.

Oh finally – Emma’s name. That was a good story, I liked that she picked it herself and the meaning they gave to the choice. I actually googled how abandoned kids got named once, and it seemed to be kinda random, usually after where they were found. To be honest up until now I’ve always headcanoned that ‘Swan’ came from swans knitted on the baby blanket next to the name Emma. However, this was better, it had more meaning.

Rumple and Belle were talking. They might be going to work together. All the actors were magnificent. It was a pretty good episode. Very Henry-lite though which was a shame. I do hope that the Evil Queen will get unsnaked soon. I would love a team-up between her and the Black Fairy. Actually I just can’t wait for the Black Fairy full stop. I’m a fan of Jaime Murray from her Hustle days and I bet she’s going to be amazing.

I can’t wait for the next episode! The best part of all of this? I don’t feel the burning need to write fix-it fic. My words are safe for another week.