Once Upon a Time Recap

Once Upon a Time Recap: Ma Belle

This Sunday on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Belle pondered a deal with Hades after Gaston started making waves in the Underworld. Meanwhile, Emma and the other heroes tried to fight a future.

What was good about this episode was pretty good, in that the Belle flashbacks answered some questions — including: How did she wind up married to such a tool? The B-story, however, involving Emma in fear of her dream basically idled for 37 minutes, until the final, curious payoff.

Gaston (recast from Season 1 with Wes Brown) is brought into play in Underbrooke when Hades spies a pretty flower (egads!) growing amidst his realm of decay. And that can only mean one thing — hope. Thus, Hades alerts Gaston (who is ironically caring for “beasts” at a pet shelter?) that Rumple is in town, so this is his chance for revenge. Gaston’s first attempt on Rumple’s life with an enchanted arrow misses its mark — and in turn alerts Belle to the fact that Rumple killed her fiance all those years ago. Rumple is determined to fight back, yet has been challenged by Belle to not use his dark magic for evil purposes. Belle meanwhile aims to help Gaston with his unfinished business, which one locker break-in later is revealed to be her.

It turns out that back in the day, Belle’s father introduced her to Gaston with the hope of allying their army with his, in fear of a looming ogre war. Belle eventually agrees to the hang, and during a stroll with Gaston they discover a “baby” ogre trapped in a pit. Gaston wants to bring the beast back to his father’s army, for torturing, but Belle insists on instead tracking down a magical mirror that will reveal in its eyes its true intent, good or evil.

Later, Gaston (I am guessing) fakes the ogre’s escape, then uses that to launch a full-on hunt. And just when he is aiming to fell the beast, Belle intervenes with the magical mirror — which reveals Gaston to be the “monster.” Even so, the ogre war is now a real deal, so Belle feels compelled to give her hand to Gaston, in the name of uniting armies.

Here and now, Gaston resents Belle for steering him to be a “compassionate” hero, since that is how he ultimately lost her to that “beast,” Rumplestiltskin. Hades offers Belle a deal: He will rescind his claim on her unborn baby if she lets Rumple and Gaston duke it out, until one of them lobs the other into the marina, er, the “River of Souls.” When Belle loops Rumple in on the nixed deal, he says that while he appreciates the notion of not using dark magic for evil purposes, today is not the day for that. He then poof!s away to dangle Gaston over the water, but Belle intervenes, launching into a speech about how she “always knew” who he was at heart. But during their embrace, Belle pinches the Dark One’s dagger and commands her husband to release Gaston. When Gaston then goes to shoot Rumple, Belle tackles him, accidentally knocking her ex into the damning drink.

As tragic as this turn of events is, Belle and Rumple believe they have kept up their end of the deal with Hades — but the Underworld overlord gloats that the terms were for Rumple to throw Gaston in, not his wife. (Which seemed kinda obvious. Also, hadn’t Belle rejected the deal earlier? That’s the loophole I was expecting.) Belle feels she was manipulated into damning Gaston’s soul, and perhaps she was, as Hades beams over the wilting of a flower growing by the curb — which he then gifts to Zelena. (Thanks?)

Elsewhere, but juuuust barely: Emma has a bad dream about something mauling Snow White. When Regina’s first crack at unsealing Hades’ lair fails, Emma, Snow and Hook set out to erase the names from the three tombstones, setting the foreseen tragic series of events in motion. Freaking out about what’s to come, Emma races them to hide out in Regina’s vault… where they cowevr until the final act. With Regina’s help, they venture out to track down and KO the creature, which turns out to be… the Big Bad Wolf aka Red? Which is apparently what Emma was really dreaming about…?? (But hey, Ruby’s back. We’ll allow it.)

What did you think of the episode “Her Handsome Hero”?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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57 Comments
  1. Kelly says:

    I enjoyed tonight’s episode. Emilie de Ravin is an awesome and underrated actress.

    • abz says:

      Meh, just my opinion, but I think she’s just okay. Not really underrated. There’s just something about her acting that I just don’t find that great. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint it. Maybe it’s the facial expressions or the accent or something, I just don’t know.

    • K says:

      Agreed. Whenever the show gives her something to do, she nails it.

  2. steven says:

    How did Belle even get into the Underworld? She’s not dead and she wasn’t sucked into the portal with Zelena and Belle.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Belle went first into the portal Rumple created, clutching Baby Hood. One of the very first scenes from last week.

    • Gail says:

      I assume you mean Ruby. We will find out next week I guess as Milan and Red meet Dorothy and Zelena in Oz. Episode is called The Ruby Slippers. As “Once” can’t use Dorothy’s being ruby because that is from the movie owned by Warner Bros. and not the public domain book, I would guess the title refers to Red Riding Hood.

    • MP says:

      You obviously missed last week’s episode.

      • steven says:

        I didn’t. Only Belle, Zelena, and her baby went through the portal.

        • Ryan says:

          Correct, but look at your original question:

          “How did Belle even get into the Underworld? She’s not dead and she wasn’t sucked into the portal with Zelena and Belle.”

          The confusion is coming from the fact that you asked how BELLE arrived in the Underworld, even though Belle was the first one to fall into the portal that Gold created. Presumably you meant to ask who somebody else arrived in the Underworld, perhaps Ruby?

  3. LM says:

    I am so happy with the honest conversation between Belle and Rumple. They both have seemed more realistic in these past two episodes. I think they will have to agree to meet in the middle.

    Wondering how Emilie de Ravin’s leave is being written in…

    • ? says:

      It wasn’t already? I thought that’s why she didn’t go with the party to rescue Hook in the first place. Obviously she was still wearing a heavy coat in this episode, but I thought that was just her carrying baby weight, not a baby still.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I found it hilarious that both Rumple & Belle dumped their exes in the River of Lost Souls :)

  5. Jason says:

    Is Belle cursed to only be romantically involved with jerks? She certainly deserves better. I’m excited to see Red back. There is never enough of her in my opinion. I look forward to her and Mulan’s adventures (and romantic possibilities?)

  6. GraceM says:

    Glad to see Ruby, but I’m curious as what that means. I wonder if we’ll see Mulan at some point too?

  7. abz says:

    They gave away the Ruby reveal in the opening credits when they listed Meghan Ory’s name. So does that mean she’s dead or did she just find a way to the underworld to save them? And speaking of Ruby, where’s Mulan and whatever happened to that same-sex romance they announced they were going to do this season?
    The episode was okay I guess, but Belle episodes are mostly very boring. One moment I find myself rooting for her like when she stands up against Rumple or when she steals the dagger and then she just goes and gives it back to him. WTF is wrong with her? This bookworm is supposed to be smart and they’ve made her so incredibly dumb. Yeah you’re devastated that you just pushed Gaston into the sea, I can understand that, but then you go and give the dagger to Rumple. I don’t think I can feel sorry for her much any more. One step forward and two steps back. That’s the way it’s become with Belle.
    And ugh I’m just not liking Rumple anymore. This whole new attitude that he’s resolved himself with being the Dark One is getting on my nerves and he’s become so unlikable.
    I’m ready for things to start picking up. This episode felt like filler. They have 5 episodes left. Move the story along already.

    • jerrired says:

      I 100 percent agree about what you said about Rumple and Belle. I used to love them season one but the writers are making Belle extremely, dareIsay, pathetic. I find it a real disservice to the actress and the character. I believe that she’ll just accept Rumple being the Dark One, but I have so many problems with that scenario, especially as a show geared towards children. Rumple used to be a great villain but for some reason, this season, I’m growing highly annoyed by him. I am guessing Mulan and Dorothy might be same sex romance, especially when Zelena mentioned a sleeping spell or something on the preview, so true love’s kiss between Dorothy and Mulan? From the last Mulan/Ruby interaction, it didn’t seem like they were heading down that direction with them. But I wouldn’t be surprised by them falling in love either.

  8. jimmyu says:

    What unfinished business do dogs have in the underworld? My guess is that these dogs were in shelters and never found forever homes in the real world.

  9. Gail says:

    Writers should be commended for remembering Belle never knew Rumble killed Gaston. Did they re film the scene where Rumple killed Gaston from Season 1 since Gaston was played by Sage Brocklebank in the first season? It went by so quickly I am not sure.

    • Jake L. says:

      Why should the writers be commended for remembering something they established in their own show? Continuity is part of their job.

      • Zachary Flye says:

        Yes it’s their job but they kind of suck at it. Just a few weeks ago in The Brother’s Jones Regina talks about how she supposedly ripped out her story in Henry’s storybook so he wouldn’t know she was the Evil Queen. That never happened, Emma and Henry ripped out Emma’s story so Regina wouldn’t know Emma was the Savior.

  10. Chase Bowen says:

    This half season has been just terrible. I won’t be surprised to hear that next season is this last.

  11. Going to have to side with Hades here. The deal was invalid even if Rumple threw Gaston in the water, because there was no acceptance by Belle. If I make you an offer that if you do task X, you get $100, and you say no, and do task X anyway, for the most part, I’m not obligated to pay you because we never had a deal.

  12. Belle and Rumple the way they are written reminds me of an emotionally abusive relationship. He loves her and refuses to change and she keeps comprising hoping for some magic miracle.

    I am ready to see more Red please.

  13. Carly says:

    I’m torn. On the one hand I’m happy Emilie de Ravin’s Belle finally got some focus again, on the other hand I find her and Rumple impossible to tolerate together by now and the pregnancy doesn’t help. And after the very strong start to the second half of the season… I’m generally just losing interest more and more every week. Greg Germann does a good job with the character, but it’s like the writers of this show only have one formula for villains on their show and the writing for them is incredibly repetitive. It also feels like we’re just wasting time now, trying to find obstacles that will keep everyone in the UW even though they’ve essentially already accomplished their mission, until the end of the season.

  14. ninergrl6 says:

    Weak episode, one of the worst of the season. I lost all sympathy for Rumple in season 4, and now I think I’ve lost all respect for Belle. She thought Gaston was bad? She keeps running back to the man who repeatedly lies to and manipulates her! Not to mention him torturing and killing others all in his insatiable quest for power, which will always be his #1 priority. I cannot support this relationship. The B storyline was lame too. Just bring back Red without the drawn out, uninteresting dream set up. The most compelling part of the ep was Gaston, but I don’t think we were supposed to feel sympathy for him (even though I did).

    • Nicole says:

      I don’t understand. You don’t like Rumple, but you felt sympathy for Gaston. A man, who tortured a scared innocent creature just because. There is no difference between the two of them. Both have manipulated and lied to Belle in the past. They even have the same mentality.

      • ninergrl6 says:

        Based on the very small glimpse we got of Gaston and the mountains of damning evidence we have about Rumple, there’s no comparison. Rumple is 1000 times worse. My point though is that I just don’t care at all about Rumple OR Belle any more. Both are pathetic disasters IMO. At least Gaston was a new train wreck, and frankly I applaud his drive to destroy Rumple. PLEASE someone get rid of him already.

  15. Sabrina says:

    I am surprised that this half-season has turned out to be my favorite. Last fall, I was angry that the writers decided to renew Rumple’s status as the Dark One, because I didn’t think there was anything new they could do with the character (and I felt personally betrayed and disappointed.) I also felt the writers must truly dislike Belle. I was wrong.

    Once Upon A Time has always worked with the two themes the writers are developing in this arc: (1) Never giving up on someone you love (compassion) and (2) never giving up on yourself (forgiveness). Belle, the meta-narrator (lover of books!), articulates those themes in this episode.

    In general, the characters on the show struggle with fear, especially with allowing themselves to depend on others, be vulnerable, and feel accepted. I totally empathize with this struggle, because I feel it in my own life. The heroes tend to be more open and allow themselves to acknowledge their dependency on each other. “Being a hero” means loving and allowing yourself to feel love. The villains tend to armor off their hearts. They do not believe they are capable of being loved. They do not believe helping others is in their own interest. They cultivate vengeance because “revenge is a lazy form of grief.” (The Interpreter, 2005.) “Being a villain” means hurting other people and, in so doing, themselves.

    Rumple’s not entirely wrong when he says this is a “matter of perspective” but he’s not right either — sometimes, I think he’s being used as a meta-narrator too — because all of the major characters on the show (now, including Belle) have experienced the tension between being a hero and being a villain. Feeling and being vulnerable is so much harder than armoring off one’s heart. Nobody in the real world is a saint. So I have enjoyed watching Rumple waver between heardening his heart (like Pharaoh in the Exodus story) and open himself up to the possibility of love, family, and community.

    The writers *do* like Belle and *have* found new places to go with Rumple (and the gang), and I really want to see what happens next.

  16. K says:

    I have really missed Emilie de Ravin as Belle so much this season, and have missed Belle and Rumple together for basically ever. This ep was a treat…and imagine, a couple on this show actually talking about disagreements. Who’da thunk it was possible? I hope this isn’t the last we see of them together this season…

  17. Kip says:

    How was Ruby’s cloak just magically there beside her if she was in wolf form?

  18. I enjoyed this episode a lot. Between this week and last week I’ve felt Rumple and Belle have made some progress in their relationship, as well as with their individual perspectives. It’s the first episode in a while that I’ve felt like re-watching. I love seeing their arguments that were reminiscent of their Dark Castle days. And it seems like they are getting closer to being on the same page. I also love that what is motivating both of them is protecting their child from an imminent threat. It makes their actions more sympathetic to me. I hope to see more of them in the coming episodes.

    This show has trained me to expect them to be split up or separated in various ways, so I was pleasantly surprised to see them still standing there together at the end of the episode. Crossing my fingers that they don’t disappear off the face of the show for the next five episodes…

    I also enjoyed the Zelena and Regina scene. That’s an interesting dynamic. I don’t know if I’m for a quick Zelena redemption, so I hope the if they go that route with Zelena that they kind of hash out what she’s done to people, including Rumple…

    So how will Ruby and Mulan and Dorothy figure into the main plot next week? I figure they must if it features Zelena and Ruby are part of it…

    • Sabrina says:

      Rumple actually told Belle the truth! For once! I wonder if Emma’s stint as the Dark One had an effect on the dagger…
      And I wonder how Belle is going to process her killing Gaston, like Snow did when she killed Cora…

  19. Jan says:

    Finally an episode where Rumple and Belle are together instead of being separated because the writers couldn’t figure out a way to keep them together while he was still the Dark One. I’m loving this Rumple who has finally accepted himself and has enough faith in Belle’s love for him that he can now be completely honest with her about who he is. He’s been so fearful of losing her in the past that he’s lied and hidden things from her. And I also love that she’s staying true to herself by calling him out and challenging him. Their love for one another is what will help them find a balance in their relationship. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they work together to save their child. Great episode for Belle, Rumple and Rumbelle!

  20. Marie Contrarie says:

    I loved it! I thought the growth between Rumple and Belle was outstanding! This is what I’ve been waiting for–honest communication, old-school Dark Castle bickering, trying to protect each other. It was awesome.

  21. Klaira says:

    I loved this episode! It gave me hope for them.

  22. Jodi Caryn says:

    So happy to see Belle and Rumple finally being honest both with themselves and each other. Hopefully, they are now in a place where they can move forward together. Belle needed to take the dagger, she needed to see the world doesn’t deal in black and white idealism. That the heroes do morally grey things (like blackmailing Dark Ones and bringing their teenage kids to the underworld or kidnapping a dragon egg to put all your own kid’s darkness in it) to do right by their own and sometimes there’s no other choice if you want to save the ones you love.

    Rumbelle is one of the most interesting and complex relationships on the show. I am still unhappy about some of the choices the writers have made for them, but I won’t give up hope that they can find a middle ground and be a strong couple!

  23. Elizabeth says:

    This was a fantastic episode, and so well acted by both Bobby and Emilie. Finally we get to see a couple on the show who actually talk and argue and snark with each other like in real life. Belle is no doormat to be walked over and the writers are finally doing something interesting with Rumple rather than all this awful back and forth which is a waste of the character and Bobby’s talents as an actor.

  24. Cici says:

    For the first time in a long time I thought I was watching OUAT again. Robert Carlyle is always fantastic and I loved seeing Belle’s backstory.

  25. Nina says:

    Love Emilie and Robert!! Rumbelle is my favorite couple on the show and I hope they have a new development with this new twist.

  26. cre8tivegal says:

    I will be glad when this story line is a wrap. I thought the Peter Pan episodes were bad. These Hades episodes are just as bad. I wish they stop using the Disney version of characters, Elsa, Anna, Merida, and Hades with his blue flames of hair. I wish they delve more into the land of Oz.

  27. Patti says:

    I think Belle needs to STOP CONTROLLING her husband with that dagger… and using his love for her to trick it away from him is not in any way heroic. She needs to stop preaching compassion at every turn and actually show some for the man she claims to love.

  28. I loved last night’s episode! Robert and Emilie were brilliant! Such chemistry and they made this episode! I loved that Gaston was revealed to be the real beast! Picking on a young ogre and torturing him and blaming his being in the UW on Belle. Like he really wanted to be a hero! He was a misogynistic ass who forced along with Maurice into a nightmare of a marriage! This episode reminded me of my favorite episode Skin deep and made me fall in love with Rumbelle all over again! They are my favorite couple on this show. The other plot left me cold. Not really interested in what the rest of them are doing especially since they are running around like chickens with their heads cut off! I am looking forward to Rumple and Belle destroying Hades and hopefully getting rid of Zelena as well!

  29. Sunny says:

    One question: where’d Emma get that new coat?? An Underbrooke store??

  30. Bryn says:

    This was the episode I’ve been waiting for. Finally Belle and Rumple get some screen time. They screw up. They both do. But in the end they love each other and actually have the chance to be honest with each other. Theirs is the most complex and beautiful and mature relationship of the show (when we actually get to see it). Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin knocked it out of the park.

  31. Karen says:

    Loved the episode. Though almost afraid to comment. I’m a big Rumbelle fan and have always loved Rumple despite the terrible writing and retconning of s4.
    I think Rumple is not the same dark one as before. He’s acting differently. He shown remorse to what he did to Milah , which I hope he can rectify.
    He didn’t bite back at Hook when he was stating he should have killed him.
    Though I still don’t get how Rumple took away Hook’s heroics. The man caused the mess and changed his mind. Plus he was going to die anyway.

    I have to say I loved the banter between Belle and Rumple. He’s being honest which is a big thing for Belle. I think they are going to see that even heroes use dark methods at times for their loved ones. All of them have. I’m also glad Belle isn’t holding the baby contract over his head. That was the only option. Rumple back then was no murderer. And having lost a child in my arms I know how he couldn’t choose to let Bae die. His chose without malice intent which was good.