I mentioned a while back that one of the things that I really like about Once Upon a Time is how the writers spin the source material to fit their needs with the show. By merging fairy tale characters and their back-stories, the writers are able to play with the characters in an entirely different light. Liberties are taken, and so far they’ve paid off. Portraying Rumpelstiltskin as the “Beast” in the Beauty and the Beast story was a great move, as it’s a story-line that they keep evolving. Liberties are taken once again in the latest episode titled ‘The Crocodile’, which once again, introduces a new character named Killian Jones. We know him as Captain Hook.
This episode focuses on Fairytale Land past and Storybrooke only, which means there is no Emma or Mary Margaret. This is the second episode so far that doesn’t focus on their thread, but to be honest, I didn’t miss them. That’s not meant as a slam, but this week once again focuses on Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin. Robert Carlyle is stellar in this role and any story that focuses on him is bound to be great. Some of my favorite episodes to date have dealt with his character, and this week he delivers the goods once again.
Fairytale Land (Past)
FTL starts with pre-Dark One Rumpelstiltskin. Rump comes home to his son, Baelfire and asks where his mother is. When Bae doesn’t respond, Rump knows exactly where she is. We see a woman getting her drink on with a group of wily sailors in the pub, when Rump hobbles in. The woman is his wife, Mila (Rachel Shelley), and she’s none to pleased to see him. He asks her to come home, but instead of agreeing, she humiliates him in front of everyone. That is until she realizes that Bae is there too. That snaps her out of her bitchy alcohol induced attitude and she promptly scurries out of the pub.
Back at their home, Rump makes a spot of tea and tries to convince Mila that they could have a good life. She pleads with him and tells him that he doesn’t have to be the village coward (ouch) and that they can leave and start fresh somewhere else. She wants to explore the world, but he doesn’t want to leave what he knows. She promises to try to stick it out. Those types of promises never work out though.
A neighbor knocks on Rump’s door and tells him to head to the docks because Mila has been kidnapped. Rump boards the boat and is brought before the captain, who introduces himself as Killian Jones (Colin O’Donoghue). Rump recognizes him as the man who Mila was drinking with. Rump pleads for the return of his wife, but Jones tells him that he’ll have to win a duel to get her back. Knowing that Rump is a coward, he tosses a sword at Rump’s feet and tells Rump that if he’s too much of a coward to fight for someone he loves, then he doesn’t deserve to have her.
Fast forward a bit and Rump is now the Dark One. He sits in a pub when a man who claims to be a “procurer” tells him that he can obtain items that no one else can. Namely a magic bean that can transport people to other realms. Rump is all ears at this point, that is until he notices one Killian Jones enter the pub. He sends the procurer off to get the bean and offers him not immortality, but a chance to live his youth again. The man agrees and scurries away. Later that night, Rump is covered in a cloak and stumbles into Jones. Jones is appalled at the man’s lack of manners and calls him on it and insults him by calling him a crocodile. Rump reveals himself to be the Dark One and attitudes immediately change. Jones is a bit nervous and it shows. Rump asks about Mila and Jones says that she died many years earlier. Rump then throws down a sword and challenges Jones to a duel. Jones reaches for his own, but Rump has it and tells him that killing a man with his own sword was too good to pass up.
The two swashbuckle their way around and Rump tells Jones that having his wife taken was akin to having his heart ripped out of his chest. To drive the point home, Rump pulls a Regina and reaches into Jones’ chest to pull out his heart. Just as he’s about to do it, Mila appears and screams for him to stop. So she isn’t dead after all.
Mila explains that after hearing Jones’ stories of traveling the world, she fell in love with him. This doesn’t help her cause at all as Rump is quite intent on killing Jones. Mila then produces the procurers hat and tells Rump that she’ll give him the magic bean in exchange for their lives. Rump agrees and lets Jones go.
The next day Rump arrives on the ship and asks how she could possibly leave Bae. She admits that she never loved him. This angers Rump even more and in a fit of rage, he pulls out Mila’s heart. Mila tosses the bean to Jones and tells him she loves him, as Rump crushes her heart, turning it dust, killing her. Jones tries to get the upper hand and stabs Rump in the chest with a hook. It doesn’t have its intended result however and Rump just laughs it off. Rump then cuts off Jones’ hand and takes it with him.
Back at his home, Rump opens Jones’ detached hand, only to find that he’s been duped. The bean isn’t there. Instead it’s with Jones, on his ship. Jones tells the procurer, who tells him his name is Smee, that he will be spared, but will now serve aboard his ship. Smee says he’s getting a bum deal because he was promised youth. Jones’ tells him that they’re headed to a land where they will never grow old, which is all Smee needs to hear. Jones throws the bean into the water, creating a vortex that they steer the ship in to. Jones tells Smee they’re headed to a place called Neverland.
Belle wakes up from a nightmare that involved Gold choking Leroy. Belle gets out of bed only to find Gold sitting at his spinning wheel, spinning gold and using magic. Later that morning, Gold enters his house to make Belle breakfast and she questions why he needs magic. He doesn’t want to open up to her and she tells him that he’s a coward and he needs to find the courage to be honest with her. With that, she turns on her heel and leaves.
Leroy and the gang, along with David are down in the mines chipping away looking for fairy dust. Henry looks on and Ruby shows up with muffins for everyone. David tells Leroy to keep at it and lets him know that if they need him, he’ll be at the Sheriff’s department, since he’s appointed himself acting Sheriff in Emma’s absence.
Belle decides to explore Storybrooke on her own and ends up at the diner. Ruby serves her another iced tea and chats her up. Belle admits to not having any place to stay, or a job and Ruby tells her that she can get a room at Granny’s and asks her what she likes to do. When Belle mentions her love of books, Ruby suggests the library. Because apparently in Storybrooke, one doesn’t need a degree to run a library, but I digress. Belle peeks in the widows of the library when a disheveled man approaches her and asks for spare change. She tells him she doesn’t have any money and then (RED FLAG!!!) he asks her if she’s alone. She says that she is, and he abducts her.
Belle is finally unhanded and she finds herself in a flower shop. The shop’s owner enters and Belle realizes it’s her father, Sir Mauricel, or as he’s known in Storybrooke, Moe French. He apologizes for his methods and tells her it’s the only way he knew of to get her away from Gold. She tells him that Gold wasn’t keeping her there, she wanted to be there. He can’t believe it and orders the other man to take her away. He apologizes to her for what he’s about to do.
Gold is searching high and low for Belle and even visits Moe French. Moe denies having seen her and plays coy with Gold. Gold then goes to David for help, and is even sincere when asking. David, being the good guy that he is, agrees and begins to ask people if they’ve seen Belle. Gold then asks David how it works between him and Mary Margaret. After getting over the shock of Gold asking for advice, David tells him that the key is honesty. Not just in the literal sense, but honesty of the heart.
The two make their way to the diner and at first, Ruby denies having seen her, but after being assured that Belle won’t be harmed, she agrees to help by putting her rediscovered sense of smell to work. The scent dies at the floral shop however and they confront Moe. David notices mine dust on Moe’s hand and realizes that Moe’s plan is to send Belle across the city line so she’ll forget all about her Fairytale Land life. Since the city limits are guarded, Moe’s plan was to send her across in the mines.
Belle is put in a mine cart and handcuffed to it by the guy (who is actually Smee) that abducted her. He tells her he’s sorry and gives her a flashlight to find the key that he left in the cart, then he sets her on her way. Belle gets the key, but loses it when the cart hits a bump. Suddenly, the cart is being pulled backwards by magic. Gold saves her and Belle thanks him for it but tells both Gold and her father that she doesn’t want to see either of them again. Crushed!
Ruby serves Belle a pancake breakfast and instructs her how to eat them. Ruby then tells her that someone left a box for her. Belle opens the box to find a key to the library inside. She goes to the library and opens the door and begins to explore, when Gold steps out of the shadows. He said that he heard she expressed an interest so he made some inquiries and that there is an apartment above the library for her to live in. She asks him again why he has to depend on magic so much and why he brought it back. He tells her that he did it to find the one thing he loved the most. She realizes he’s talking about his son. He tells her how he lost Bae and that the original curse was created so that he could find him. Now that the original is curse is broken, it’s been replaced with another in that he can’t leave Storybrooke and that he’s trying to find a way to break that curse so he can find his son. This softens Belle up a bit and she asks if he’s ever had a hamburger because she hasn’t. She tells him maybe they could get one sometime.
Fairtytale Land (Present)
Killian Jones, or as he’s addressed by Cora as she approaches, Hook, looks to the safe haven where the other refugees are hiding. Once he acknowledges Cora’s presence, she shows him the bottle of ash, that’s glowing with a purplish aura. He asks what it is and she tells him that it’s the remnants of a wardrobe that serves as a portal to Storybrooke. He asks if that’s where “she” went and she says yes, and also tells him that’s where “he” is as well. She tells him that they’ll use it so she can see her daughter, and Hook replies that he can skin himself a crocodile.
So not only is Rump/Gold the Beast, but he’s also the crocodile as well. How many hats does one man have to wear anyway? Although, Robert Carlyle is just that talented of an actor to play the coward, the Dark One, the Beast, the crocodile and the smarmy Mr. Gold. How he manages to do all that and pull off the campy nature of the Dark One and the tortured nature of Gold is beyond me. He just rocks. Period. Dot. The end.
I find it interesting that this was another episode that didn’t include Emma and Mary Margaret. Two of the four episodes so far have been without them. I guess splitting the story up like that it was inevitable that something had to give somewhere, but like I said, it hasn’t hurt the show at all as far as I’m concerned. I’m just still curious as to how this is all going to shake out. Next week we get more Regina and the episode looks to be on the dark side. I guess they’re gearing up for Halloween. Let’s hope for some scares too!
Tags: Barbara Hershey, Colin O'Donoghue, Emilie de Ravine, Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Josh Dallas, Lana Parilla, Lee Arenberg, Meghan Ory, Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time recap, OUaT, Rachel Shelley, Robert Carlyle