Review: OUaT S5E17

Review: Once Upon a Time - "Her Handsome Hero"

By: Isabella Montenegro

Previously on OUAT: Hades decided to lock Emma, Regina and Snow in the Underworld by writing their names in the cemetery; he also tried to blackmail Gold into getting Zelena’s baby, and that led to Belle finding out Rumpel’s secrets. Back in the day Rumpelstiltskin killed Gaston when he kidnapped Belle.


A trip to a distant past… Flashback!
Ok, let us discuss how adorable this scene is: Moe is trying to set Belle up with a suitor, and Belle is totally refusing because he is vain, and a player. Moe tries to teach the old “Don’t judge a book by the cover,” before going into “Marry him to save your people,” to which Belle’s mother apparently agrees. Then Gaston walks into the stable in all his super hot handsome glory. (I started singing Gaston under my breath, I admit). Then Gaston speaks, and he is an adorable prince. Somehow in a few second, I see how well they would have fit together. 

Great Scott! Back to the Future
Let us take a moment to consider something. I see Rumpelstiltskin as three characters: first Mr. Gold, the Dark One of present days; then you get Rumpel, the good man he is with Belle, and finally Rumpelstiltskin, the evil Dark One he used to be. If you see me changing between names, it is usually that in that particular scene, the character is acting in that way.


So, Belle goes to Rumpel for help to protect their child, and lays down the ultimatum of her own: he will either use the Dark One’s powers for the light, or he will lose her entirely. She also mentions that in Camelot, Merlin did say that the powers of the Dark One could be used for good.


This is a nice change of pace for Belle, who often is placed at sacrificing her morals so she may love Rumpel, and now she is placing her morals, her belief in the good, above his love. He will no longer cloud her judgement, and his actions will always remain transparent. 


With the Swan-Charming-Jones’ at the Graves
Emma, Snow and Killian are at the cemetery looking at the graves, and Emma tries using magic to erase the names on the graves. You know something is wrong, as Killian keeps looking around trying to find something off screen, and when Emma starts using her magic he warns her to stop, that something is wrong. Pirate-y sense! Killian warns them that there is a storm coming, and urges them to find shelter. He would know, he outran a curse that one time. So a tornado drops down, and from it a black wolf attacks Snow… and Emma wakes up.


Before heading off to that next scene let us look at two details: Emma was planning on using her magic from erasing the names on the grave heads. It actually sounds like a decent plan, and I figure it is not as simple, and they probably either haven’t tried it for the same reason, or they did and it was off screen. Also, Snow was attacked but David wasn’t there? A dream and all, but maybe for the next few episodes we should watch out for any time of danger that Snow and David spend apart. Last, she was attacked by a wolf? I have a feeling it is not so much a dream as something to consider. 


Now, Emma wakes up in a startle only to find that she had been keeping watch with Killian, and also the first time she slept since she rescued him. Killian is visibly worried about her, and she tries to reassure him, but they are interrupted by a signal from the library, where once entered we see Regina writing runes on the elevator doors. Emma walks in a grabs Snow in a tight hug, still shaken by the dream. Killian immediately comments on the plan to get Hades: squiggly lines he calls them. Regina explains that Hades protected the door and the lines will crack it open. A plan full of maybes, a little light magic and the door opens… to a walled up, brick blocked elevator. 

Emma then says the prophetic dream taught her the spell to burn the names off the headstones… and see what I mean about it not being just a dream! Killian agrees to go with her since her maybe plans seem to work out, but when Snow tries to join Emma tries to keep her away, but fails. Emma should have told her what happened in the dream. 


Hades is creepily keeping an eye on Zelena, or you know stalking, when he notices a flower on the ground (guessing plants don’t grow in Underbrooke). I am guessing this is a symbol of hope in a way, and how good can grow even in the worst places. 

Cut to the pet shelter… where Gaston works. 
Let’s start with the fact that he is feeding sludge to the dogs, which I get, not enough food for the people, but come on! Some kibble or something. Poor dogs. And also… are the dogs dead with unfinished business? Or are they just put there by Hades in the recreation of Storybrooke?


Let’s also draw a small parallel to David here. When David had no memories way back in season 1, remember how he also used to work at the pet shelter? Maybe they are alluding to Gaston being a hero, by comparing him to a character who has been an established hero for a while now. 

In other news, Hades pays a visit to the pet shelter… looking for a new thee headed dog I bet. Hades is actually making a play for the baby by using Gaston, and letting him know Gold and Belle are in town. I seem to recall the Dark One is immortal, and so I notice that this is Hades sending the hot guy on a suicide mission. Gaston is remarkably subservient to Hades, calling him Lord and everything. Hades is pissed there is hope and people are moving on, his horrible VFX blue hair crops up (again, it’s not that it looks bad, it is just off putting as the colors in the scene are warm, and the blue is much too much a contrast). Hades gives Gaston special arrows to kill the Dark One (doubt they’ll work, and more likely Snow will end up using them against Hades). 


To the past!
We draw back to the walk Belle and Gaston took (seemingly to put more into the character of Gaston), where he is trying to charm her and fails. The universe of the show gets set up a little more as we learn, this is not the Gaston of the movie, but a humbler fellow, and his friend Lefou is responsible of the tales of his indiscretions, or apparent indiscretions. Gaston hears something and goes off on a midday hunt, only to find himself with a child ogre (Belle notes he is too small to be full grown). Belle immediately thinks he is ok, but Gaston thinks he may be a scout and wants to take him to the castle. Belle mentions the poor thing will be tortured and hopes to find another way, which Gaston points may put her kingdom at risk. Gaston trusts her judgement and agrees to help her. 


In the present with Gold and Belle
Back in the pawnshop Gold is having a lot of trouble trying to find a use for light magic, and Belle complains that it is not about whether he wants to look or not, but if he really does not want to even try. He says turning Darkness to Light is a fool’s errand, but believes darkness can be used for light. Belle leaves when it is clear the plan won’t work and they both leave the shop only to run into more trouble. Gaston tries to kill Gold, but it fails, and Belle finds out that he killed Gaston that long ago. The arrows power is revealed to be the same as the River of Souls, one cut, and trapped and lost forever. Gold wants to stop Gaston with Dark Magic, but Belle wants to help him move on. 


Now, Gold commented on Gaston not being worth saving, which I find highly hypocritical to tell the girl in front of him. So many people told her he was not worth it, but Belle loved Rumpel anyhow. 


Belle discloses that Hades gets weaker the less souls are in the Underworld. 


Making Dreams Come True! In not the good way!
Emma is now actually trying to erase the names from the headstones, and like the dream Killian notices the storm coming. Emma tries to tell them about what happened in the dream, and believes the dream was a prophecy. They manage to avert disaster by running. 


At Granny’s Zelena is at a booth and soon joined by Regina for that talk we expected today, they start talking about the baby, and Regina begins questioning about what happened between her and Hades. Regina is surprised at the news that Hades is in love with Zelena, but actually feels more shocked that Zelena might love him back. Zelena is also under the impression that she is Hades’ only weakness. 


Back to the runaways from the wolf creature, they hide in Regina’s vault in the cemetery.  Emma finally tells Snow the beast kills her (we don’t know, she only seemed attacked). 


Gold and Belle Trespassing
In the pet shelter, Belle is trying to find out about Gaston, and a conversation about breaking open a locker magically turns into Gold trying to prove that the Darkness of his magic is based upon perspective, and not upon actual deeds. Also, he makes a point about Belle judging what is light and what is not. Belle needs to get clearer about what she wants. They realize that Gaston’s unfinished business is Belle, and being her hero. (Guesses, he ends up helping save her baby). 


Now, here is something I often find fault with Belle. Her good heart forbids all kinds of Darkness, but when it serves her purpose, Rumpel’s magic is not dark at all, but it is just magic. She is being presented as judge and jury when it comes to Rumpel.


In the past
Belle is trying to figure out the thing with the ogre, and Gaston seems to enjoy that she is so independent of his help. She shows Gaston a book called “Her Handsome Hero” (same one in the locker). It is a story about compassion and forgiveness, what Belle believes truly make a hero, and therefore will be the things that will at the end of the episode help Gaston move on. In the past, Gaston makes a move but Belle moves away. The believe a mirror that shows the soul will help them figure out what the ogre is doing in the lands.


Back in the present
Hades pays a visit to Belle, and reminds her he wants the baby. He also tries to make a deal with Belle, trying to get her through her kindness. He offers Belle the safety of her baby if she lets either Gaston or Gold join the lost souls, but she refuses. 


In Regina’s vault
Killian almost stabs Regina thinking she is the monster, and the hiding turns into an intervention for Emma and her issues (Bound to happen some day). We find out Emma is feeling the guilt of bringing everyone to the Underworld, and how because of it they are all trapped down there. She is second guessing her choices. Her fear is now founded on loss; on the fact that if someone dies, she will feel the blame and that she might never forgive herself. Then comes the hope speech from Snow, who reassures her that they came willingly, because they love her and wanted to help her, she tells Emma that love is worth the risk (yay, Snow approves of Killian). 

Now let us take a look at the issue with Emma not forgiving herself if someone dies. This is entirely hypothetical, but, say something like that happened, and Emma did blame herself. Could an unfinished business created in the Underworld be enough to keep someone alive trapped? Could it make the headstones more powerful? Just thinking out loud for a moment. 


Gaston and Gold round 2 – The past as well – round 3 as well
It is not really Gold in the shop, but Belle set a trap to be able to talk. The book seems to haunt Gaston, and it appears over and over to him, no matter how he destroys it. The book reminds him that Belle made him weak and that was the reason he died. Gaston doesn’t understand why Belle is not after Rumpelstiltskin herself, and is shocked to hear she is married to him. 


Back in the past, Belle has managed to get the mirror but finds Gaston passed out in the forest. The ogre had escaped and set a trap, but Gaston at the time did not see it as her fault, or even that bad of a thing. Here comes the moment in their past to reflect the future, Belle is still insistent that the ogre might be good, even after the hunting party has been set up. 

Belle reveals the contents of the deal from Hades to Gold, who clearly doesn’t care and goes after Gaston himself.


In the past, the hunting party is after the ogre, Belle trying to get to him to use the mirror. Once they get there, the ogre is unable to defend himself due to injury, and Belle saves him by putting the mirror in the way of Gaston’s arrow. She then notices the reflection of Gaston’s eyes in a shard of the mirror with fire around them (Bad guy!). She surmises he tortured the ogre for information while she was getting the mirror. Belle stops Gaston from killing the Ogre, and he mentions he hopes she was right.


In the present, Gold is killing Gaston, but Belle stops him. Belle uses underhanded means to take the dagger from Rumpel and commands him not to kill Gaston, but when Gaston tries to kill Rumpel she pushes him to the water, and into the River of Souls, trapped and lost for all eternity. 


While I am all for making the seemingly perfect characters not perfect at, this feels like a lot. Not the dagger, but the fact that she killed the guy, and even if she feels guilty, it was still all about her baby. Almost as if “oh well, he died… I get to keep my baby!”


In the past, war has come to Belle’s lands, and she is made to marry Gaston.
Hades appears to them in the present and tells them Belle screwed up the deal, since it was supposed to be the boys fighting, and not her. He still has the contract for the baby. A flower withers and we understand the meaning of them: the more souls move on, the more hope in the underworld; but souls in eternal torture seem to keep the place in hopelessness and decay. Could it be that if enough souls leave, Hades will not be as powerful and easily defeated? 


Granny’s
Zelena receives a decayed flower from Hades and smiles… a signal?


The Twist

The hunting party after the wolf finally finds its prey and stuns it, but before they end it, Snow stops them and a familiar cloak appears. Red has joined the game. Why is she here? Is she dead? What is going on?

Rating 8.0 Really Good. While Belle’s ever present optimism and naiveté gets too be a little too much at times, it is the way Gaston was presented that made this episode interesting. He went from charming and sweet, to a monster in disguise. Greg German continues to make the villain look incredibly good. Also, Red is back!