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”?