Episode Recap by Samantha Lee - @SamsJag
Hello Once Fans! Now that we've had a few days to recover from the Once Upon a Time Mid-Season Finale, let's take a look back at how it all played out. In this recap I'm going to do something a little different and do each storyline separately. But I'll still start at the very beginning.
Our Friends From Arendelle
New BFF's Emma and Elsa along with Anna, Kristoff, The Charmings, and Hook are gathered at the road out of town. The Snow Queen's ice wall still stands, but this time Elsa is able to melt it away. Anna makes a dash for the town line, but Emma holds her back. She senses there is still magic there. Sure enough, there is still a curse on the town. Quelle surprise! Based on her knowledge of the Snow Queen's plan, Emma declares that the new curse is a one-way ticket to our World Without Magic. Anyone can leave Storybrooke, but they can't come back. Ever. Got that? Those are the new rules. Of course this doesn't really matter to the Arendelle gang since they need a portal to get home.
While everyone else goes off to Granny's, Hook reports back to his master, Rumple, with the news of the new curse. Rumple isn't too bothered. He is still focused on his plan to use the hat to free himself from the dagger and get out of town. Rumple accidentally lets it slip that he does not want to meet Anna face to face because she knows about the hat and his plan and he doesn't want the town Heroes to find out what he's up to.
Since getting rid of Anna is in his interest, Rumple uses the magic broom to find the portal that the Sorcerer used to bring Ingrid to Storybrooke. Then he uses Hook to disclose the location of the Door to Arendelle. Rumple knows that Hook is a loose cannon now, and he speaks directly through Hook's heart putting words in his mouth, literally. Emma senses that something is very wrong with Hook, but he is unable to give her any warning about Rumple's plan.
Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and the Charming's go the lakeside mansion and find the portal door waiting for them. They say their farewells. Even prickly Emma hugs Elsa. Elsa asks Charming to thank Mr. Gold and Hook for all their help, and then she and Kristoff walk through the portal. Anna stops to ask about Mr. Gold. She wonders if he was a Fairy Godfather in the Enchanted Forest. Charming explains that he was really an evil wizard named Rumplestiltskin. Anna tells them that she met him before and she knows that he's a dirty liar! She warns them about Rumple's plan for the Sorcerer's Hat before she leaves for Arendelle too.
The Arendelle story closes out with a small flash forward. Elsa admires a portrait of her mother and aunts. Anna enters wearing her wedding gown. They have saved Arendelle from Hans and his brothers and now Anna and Kristoff are finally getting married. They tell each other that all the trouble they went through was worth it for them to be together again as sisters should be. Elsa takes Anna's hand and prepares to walk her down the aisle.
So ends the Frozen story on Once Upon a Time. I enjoyed getting to know these characters. My compliments again to the guest cast who did such an amazing job of bringing their characters to life. I loved seeing Elsa and Emma become friends and draw strength from each other. My only regret was that Elsa never got to wear modern clothes! I'm sure this was dictated by some Disney licensing rule, but I would have liked to see her out of the blue dress just once. Yet, Ingrid lived in our world wearing our clothes for decades and when given the chance she reverted back to her Snow Queen gown. So maybe there's something special about wearing glittery gowns with long trains that we all need to try?
Enchanted Forest - Past
The flashback this week is about Belle and Rumple. I'd say it's somewhere in the middle of Belle's time in the Dark Castle. Belle is sneaking a closer look at some of Rumple's collection of magical objects. Rumple surprises her by coming home early from a trip to Camelot. He scolds her for snooping when she should be dusting. She tells him that she wishes he would tell her about her adventures since she wants to know more about the World. He acts like she should be more afraid of him. She just tells him that he's selfish to not share with her and she's not afraid because he could have killed her many times already if he really wanted to. She has a point there! So he relents and tells her about the newest object he just acquired. It's a magical gauntlet that leads you to a person's greatest weakness. Rumple points out that for most people their greatest weakness is the thing they love most. He tells Belle that many of his deals are about manipulation not just magic.
Later Belle suggests that Rumple is amassing his collection because he's trying to fill a hole in his heart. This hits a little too close to home and he poofs her outside to do some washing. She's hanging clothes on the line when she sees a puppy. It's a cute little dalmatian and it leads her into the woods where Belle is promptly kidnapped. If only I had a nickel for every time Belle gets kidnapped on this show.
Rumple comes looking for Belle and a crow flying overhead drops a sand dollar at his feet. Rumple activates the message in the sea shell. Belle is being held for ransom and her capturers want the Camelot Gauntlet or they will kill her. Rumple goes to the Devil's Bluff and finds Belle tied up. Maleficent appears and Rumple gets her in a magic choke hold. Then Ursula slinks in and wraps Belle in her tentacles. Finally, Cruella steps out of the shadows. Speaking for the trio, Cruella demands he hand over the gauntlet. She says they intend to use it to find the Heroes' weaknesses so they the villains can get happy endings. She tells Ursula to crush Belle. Rumple relents and tosses her the gauntlet. The three villains leave. Belle asks why Rumple would save her? Why did he care? He says he doesn't care, but she belongs to him and he has the right to decide her demise.
It's kind of sad, but true, that Rumple does look at his loved ones as his possessions. When he first became the Dark One he told Bae that now he could protect what was “his.” Bae included. He seems to treat the people he loves like they belong to him. He does this with Belle too. First when she is his maid and later as his wife. I think that in the past and present he likes to keep Belle secluded and ignorant of his schemes not just because she wouldn't approve, but because he regards her as part of his collection more than as an equal partner in his life.
Regina and Robin Hood aka OutlawQueen (Get your hankies ready.)
In the Mills family vault Robin and Regina return Marian's heart to her unfrozen body. Marian wakes up and hugs Robin. He and Regina can only look at each other. Later, Regina sits alone in Granny's. She is surprised when Marian comes to talk to her. Marian realizes that while she still loves Robin, he got over his love for her years ago when he thought she was dead. She tells Regina that she does not want to be Robin's obligation or second choice. She is willing to step aside and let Robin be with Regina. Regina is grateful to have Marian's blessing.
Later, Robin and Regina watch as Marian and Roland play by the pond. They admire the mother and son playing together. Regina says she understands that Robin must be with his family, but Robin tells her that he chooses to be with her. It will be difficult and complicated, but the thinks they can make it work. Regina is relieved and happy! Suddenly, Marian collapses. The freezing spell has come back. Regina tells him that the only way to save Marian now is for her to leave Storybrooke and enter the World Without Magic where she will be cured. Regina tells Robin that he must go with her to take care of his family.
Regina sits in her car watching as Robin and his family say good bye to the Merry Men. Rumple comes up and gets in the car to talk with her. He tells her that he is taking Belle and leaving town. He's come to say good bye. He wants her to tell Henry that he will miss him and his attempts to search the shop. Regina tells Rumple about the book and her search for the author and her plan to have him write her a happy ending.
Regina asks how Rumple was able to find his happy ending. He says that even though he's been a villain a thousand times, he always knew if he tried hard enough he would get his happy ending. Rumple tells her that she only has to let Marian die and then she'll be happy. Regina says that's not how she does things anymore. Rumple tells her that being good does not mean that good things will happen for you. Regina says that's the old Rumplestiltskin talking. She thought he changed. Rumple says he's evolved. Coming back from the dead and being Zelena's slave have changed his perspective. He is going to take his happy ending and not wait for fate to play out. Finally, he tells Regina that he wishes she finds a happy ending too. Then he leaves. It was good to see these two talking again. They've been through so much together and there are certain parts of their history that only they can understand. They've both given in to the worst kind of evil and they've both tried to find redemption with only partial success.
Regina says goodbye to Robin and tells him that this is the right thing to do. Marian and Roland cross the line. They look back and see only an empty road behind them. Marian calls for Robin, but he rushes to kiss Regina one last time. Neither has the words left to express their despair. Finally, Robin steps across the line. Regina pulls out the page from the book that shows her happy ending with Robin. She slowly rips it up and drops the pieces in the road as she walks away.
Regina is left heartbroken again.
Rumplestiltskin and Belle (Get more hankies ready!)
After his morning meeting with Hook, Rumple wakes Belle who's been sleeping rather soundly through the Shattered Sight Curse. He tells her he's finally going to grant her wish to see the World. They are going on a honeymoon to New York City. Rumple tells her to pack while he makes preparations. And by “preparations” he means activate the hat, free himself from the Dagger and kill Hook in the process, but Belle doesn't need to know that.
Later on, Belle is packing for the trip when Henry stops in the shop. She tells him about the honeymoon trip and he tells her about the spell on the town line that does not let you return. Belle says she's sure Rumple must have a way to get around this new curse. Henry also shows Belle his storybook and explains how it keeps giving his Mom unhappy endings. Ever the optimist, Belle assures Henry that his Mom has changed so much already that she will have a happy ending. They search the shop for another suitcase and find the gauntlet. Belle is disturbed to see it because she remembers that Rumple gave it to Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula in the past.
Across town, Rumple and Hook are in the clock tower. Rumple is finally ready to cast the spell with the hat. Rumple activates the hat! Magic engulfs him. Snow and Emma, having been warned by Anna, arrive to stop him, but he freezes them. He tries to make the final required sacrifice and crush Hook's heart, but he can't do it. For a brief moment I wondered to myself if Rumple had some goodness in his heart that would not let him kill Hook, but that's not what was happening. Behind him is Belle and she’s taken the dagger which he set aside after opening the hat. Belle commands him to stop the spell, drop the heart and unfreeze the others. Rumple has to obey her. Then she orders him to take the two of them to the town line because they have to be alone for what happens next.
At the town line Belle tells Rumple that she finally sees the truth. When she found the gauntlet she used it and discovered that the thing he loved the most was the real dagger which he had hidden from her. She has discovered his lies. She realized that his true love was his power. Rumple tries to tell her that he can have both her and his power. Belle says the she lost herself in her quest to help him. Rumple begs for her forgiveness but she refuses. She tells him that now she sees him for the beast he really is. As he continues to beg her to stop, Belle commands Rumple to leave Storybrooke. Rumple backs across the line and collapses on his crippled leg. Belle walks away leaving Rumple crying on the ground.
It was harsh. But I think Rumple deserved it. He had lied to Belle for too long. She was right that she lost herself in trying to save him. I have no doubt that she loves Rumple or that he loves her, but it's very difficult to have a good relationship when one person is lying to the other all the time. Belle's banishment of Rumple was a mirror of the end of “Skin Deep” when Rumple sends Belle away. Even then, he told her that his power was more important to him than her. Back then she told him that was a lie, but it may be the time when he was telling the truth.
In the back hall of Granny's Diner, Emma puts Hook's heart back in his chest and he grabs her in a passionate kiss! Looks like CaptainSwan is back on track. It would be nice if Emma can have a boyfriend who doesn't die.
Emma finds Regina alone again in the diner. Regina does not want any “Hope Speeches.” Emma says she just wants to be a drinking buddy this time and she orders a round. Emma tells Regina that she did the right thing by letting Robin go with his family. Regina says she can tell she did the right thing, because she's miserable. Emma says at least Gold is miserable too. They drink to that. Suddenly, Henry comes running in. He's excited to show them what he's found at the mansion. It's a secret library full of blank storybooks, just like his. Regina and Henry tell Emma about Operation Mongoose and their plan to get Regina a happy ending. To Regina's surprise, Emma wants to help. Emma reminds her that she promised to get everyone a happy ending, including Regina. Maybe they will get to be friends after all.
Six Weeks Later, NYC
Gold, using a cane again, steps off a city bus. He's looking a little ragged and dirty wearing the same suit as when he left Storybrooke. As he walks down the street we see a quick flashback. We learn that Rumple confronted the three witches and took back the gauntlet. They told him that together the Villains could beat the Heroes. Rumple tells them he always wins and he can do it on his own.
In the present, Gold finds Ursula working in the city aquarium. He tells her he's learned the lesson that he can't win alone. He tells her that there is someone controlling their destiny and they need to find him. He wants to unite the Villains to find the Author and get their happy endings.
The End...for now!
So there we are. Everyone is looking for the Author. Rumple is going to assemble a team of super villains and make his way back to Storybrooke. Rumple didn't seem to know anything about the Author, but he certainly knows about the Sorcerer. Are they the same person? Will the Heroes find the Author first? Will they be able to defend Storybrooke from the Villains? Will Regina try to find Robin? Will Belle “find” herself and will she ever forgive Rumple?
Now we wait.