“I’m going to skin myself a crocodile.” – Killian Jones (Captain Hook)
If you’ve been watching Once Upon a Time since the beginning, you may have noticed that Rumplestiltskin is getting re-written in unusual, and at times baffling, ways into other fairy tales. He’s been the Beast in a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. And in tonight’s re-telling of Peter Pan, he’s the crocodile. Yes. Captain Hook refers to him as a crocodile when he promises to skin him at the end of the episode.
Last night’s Once was one of the slowest entries of this season, but hopefully, when the season is all said and done, it will be seen as a necessary… evil… to set up a variety of plotlines in motion.
For instance: have we seen Rumple start on a path to good, just as Regina appears to be? While he uses magic at the end of the episode – something that disturbs Belle all episode long – he does so with good reason—to save her life. Her father kidnaps her, and in an effort to make her forget her love for Rumple, hires a man to send her across the town’s border in a mine cart. It’ll make her forget her dad, but it’ll also make her forget her father.
That man, by the way, is someone who can get people whatever they need. We’ll call him Jack for the purposes of this review, since in the “Fairytale Land That Was,” he has a bean that can transport you to another world. Both Hook and Rumple want that bean.
Rumple wants it to get back to his son, Baelfire. He even cuts off Hook’s hand to get to it, but Hook lied and still had it. We then learn, in a slight retcon of what we know about the show, that Rumple helps Regina set the curse in motion just so he could get to Storybrooke to find Baelfire. Except now, like everyone else, he can’t leave the town’s border to find him without losing all his memories.
(This revelation wasn’t made to be a big deal… but it sure seems like overkill to me just to get to Storybrooke and find Baelfire.)
Hence Rumple’s need for magic. And because he’s a coward he tells Belle. He used magic in his days as the Dark One to take vengeance on those that picked on him—like Hook. We get both a ham-fisted drug metaphor, as well as a bully one.
We learn that Hook also stole away Rumple’s wife, Mila. Upon learning of her death, Rumple almost kills Hook in a duel. But when he learns she’s alive, he stops, with his hand on Hook’s heart inside his chest.
Of course, Rumple later kills his wife in a fit of jealousy. Because that made sense. (He kills her how Regina killed the huntsman last season. He pulls out her heart and crushes it.)
While the wife plot seemed shoe-horned, it did at least create many of the compelling reasons for Rumple and Hook to want to kill each other—clearly, setting up for a season long battle. At the end of the episode which takes place in “now” time, we not only learn that Hook has survived his trip to Neverland (which he takes at the end of the fairytale flashbacks), but that he’s in league with Cora. They’re both planning a trip to Storybrooke to carry out their respective quests for revenge.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, while Belle is missing and then kidnapped, Rumple goes to Charming for help. Charming finds it harder to get information about Belle from the townspeople since, you know, they all remember who Rumple is and hate his guts. Red eventually helps locate her father which eventually leads them to discover what he has planned in the mine.
After the rescue in the mine, Belle eventually finds her purpose when she comes into possession of the town’s long-since abandoned library thanks to Mr. Gold. She even decides to give him another chance and asks him out for a date over hamburgers… sometime in the future.
- Cool use of Red in this episode as we learn her “powers” have carried over to Storybrooke. She can smell people and uses that ability to find Belle.
- That library, I hope, becomes quite important later in the season. I wonder if there are other books, like Henry’s in there.
- No Emma, Snow White, etc. in this episode. Seems odd that Emma is sitting out so much of this season, but there ARE a lot of plotlines going on.
- (Also no sighting of King George after last week’s cliffhanger.)
- While we get no glimpse of Neverland this week, we do find out how Hook met Smee (one of my personal favorite characters of all time). Seeing Neverland flashbacks at some point has to be a given, right?
- And… the stranger shown in the season premiere HAS to be Baelfire at this point, no?