(It was incredibly difficult to choose which gif to lead with, because there was an amazing Charming one. He won out because he’s new, but trust, the good Charming one is after the jump).
This makes four for four, in terms of Season 2 mirroring Season 1. In 1×04, we got introduced to a new character, one from a classic Disney film, whose mythology is radically changed/influenced by Rumple in this canon. Is that too general? I am making too much of a leap with these? I don’t know, to me it does feel similar. (Maybe that means we might finally get a Pin appearance next week, since 1×05 was Jiminy’s backstory?)
“The Crocodile” wasn’t particularly earth-shattering; in fact, it was pretty damn predictable (did anyone not already know that Killian was/would be Hook?). In review, I would say the more interesting parts had to do with Belle’s plot in Storybrooke.
Thankfully, we kept to just two time periods/locations for the majority of the episode, which makes things way less complicated, so no color-coding needed (I didn’t get any feedback on that in the last post, but please still let me know if it’s helpful or unnecessary, since I predict we’ll be going back to the triple-plot episodes in the future). But for now, to set sail for the recap! Avast, ahoy, and all that jazz!
Things seem to start off all nice, with Rumple and Belle. He gives her some super blingy bling and suggests going out and exploring the town nightlife. She’s just so damn happy he’s not exhibited any psychopathic tendencies recently. However! Grumpy barges in, demanding his ax: “Just ’cause you posses something don’t mean it’s yours. Nothing in this shop belong to you.”
He turns his attention to Belle, questioning how she could be with such a monster as Rumple. “Or maybe you’re just another possession too.” Not cool. Rumple goes crazy at him, even as Belle screams at him not to:
Gasp! It was only just a dream. A very subconscious-revealing one. Belle wakes up in bed, one that I guess she’s been sharing with Rumple, since she looks over to see the other side empty. That seems… not great, considering they never even dated and their last Enchanted Land interaction was… also not great.
She gets up to investigate, goes out to the garden and sees that Rumple’s doing some illicit basement gold-spinning. He’s also doing some illicit potion-making, as he adds some woven gold to a vial and it gets all aglow. Busted. (Where’ he getting all the wool from? So they have sheep in Storybrooke? Also, Belle, put a fucking jacket on! It’s Maine fer crissakes!).
The title card is a pirate ship in the woods, so Black Rock idk (it did reside in the “Dark Territory)?
Back to the Enchanted Land, there’s Rumple returning home to Bae. It’s the earliest we’ve seen Rumple, since they’ve re-cast an even younger (and super cute) Bae. Rum asks Bae where his mum is, and assumes she just lost track of time, so they both head out to the village to find her.
Yahtzee! That’s what mum is doing. Rumple’s wife, Milah is wenching it up in a tavern with a cohort of pirates, the hottest of whom makes a crack about Rum’s height: “he’s a tad taller than you described.” As in, not imp-sized? Rum begs her to come home, reminding her of her responsibilities (wife, mother, decent human), while she insults his manhood and calls him a coward for running away from the Ogre Wars. She’s pissed that she became “lashed to the village coward” instead of being an “honored widow” and “wants a break”.
Oh look, there’s your adorable son, who was supposed to wait outside. It’s enough to guilt Milah into coming home.
(Okay, to be fair: I knew I recognized the actress who plays Milah, and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly where-from, but I knew it was a character that wasn’t awesome. So when I checked IMDb and saw that Rachel Shelley was the Dumb Ass White Girl from Lagaan: Once Upon A Time in India aka the one Bollywood movie you should see if you’ve never seen a Bollywood movie before, it clicked. So it’s hard for me to feel a lot of sympathy for Milah, especially for the morally/ethically ambiguous bullshit she pulls in this episode).
I digress. Back at home, Rum asks if she really did wish he had died in the war, but mostly she’s just pissed at her life, in general. She wants adventure in the great wide somewhere, she wants it more than she can say. It’s not clear at all why they can’t all leave together, why they seem to be stuck there. It’s also not clear why and how Milah ended up there. Was she forced to marry Rumple or something? Her discontent seems baseless, and makes her choice that much more illogical. He says that it’s not always so bad there, and begs her to try, if not for him then for Bae. She says she’ll try.
Storybrooke: the next morning, Belle’s waiting for Rum when he comes inside and wastes no time in asking what basement magic shenanigans he was up to. He claims it was only a couple of spells. but she still wants to know why he wanted to bring magic to Storybrooke in the first place. Rumple continues to be allergic to honesty.
Ah, courage. Tricky thing that. Enchanted Land: A village woman comes to summon Rum down to the docks because the pirates have taken Milah. He rushes down and stumbles on to the ship, recognizing the captain as The Hot One from the tavern. He introduces himself: Killian Jones. You can tell he’s a real pirate because he’s got the guyliner and the tight leather pants and the single earring.
He begs for Milah back, because she has a son who needs his mother. But Captain Guyliner has a ship full of men who need “companionship”. Oh, nice. Lightly veiled reference to pirate gang-rape. Despite that, Guy considers himself an “honorable man, a man with a code”, so he’s willing to duel for Milah, but Rumple is a coward and won’t fight. ”A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets.” When Rum asks what to tell Bae, Guy suggests the truth: “that his father’s a coward.” Yeah, yeah, we get it.
Eh, actually, a duel would be the worst option, because Rumple would definitely lose (and die), which means Milah would stay on the ship and Bae would effectively be orphaned. And even if he did manage to beat Guy, the rest of the crew wouldn’t have let him live or leave with Milah. So, you could view Rumple’s actions here as devoted ultimately to Bae and making sure he has at least one parent.
Back in Storybrooke, the dwarfs are hard at work, mining for fairy dust. Well, the dwarfs and wife-beater clad, sweaty-hot Charming.
Ruby comes by with breakfast, while Henry reports that no dust has been found. Charming takes his leave, brushing off his mine-dusty hands. He’s off to go be acting sheriff while Emma’s AWOL.
Rum goes up to Belle’s room to find her missing, so he heads off to her dad’s flower shop*, and we get yet another example of the shitty artistry of Storybrooke’s wanted posters. Moe French doesn’t know where Belle is, and another person to calls Rumple a monster.
*So the shop’s name is, of course, Game of Thorns, which is traced back to 1×12, “Skin Deep”, which was written by the amazing Jane Espenson, who wrote an episode of GoT. In the commentary for 1×12, she mentions that she had some hesitation for including that reference, but it ended up working because we only saw it once. However, we see the logo at least three times in this one, and that was overkill.
Monster!Rumple is meeting with someone in a tavern. Like I said, this episode was so predictable, so the moment we see the round guy with the slouchy red hat and blue scarf we know it’s Smee. Anyway, Smee’s heard rumors that Rumple’s looking for a realm/portal jumping device and Smee claims he’s got a magic bean that can do just that. Rumple knows there aren’t any left in the Enchanted Land, but Smee says that “the ships that dock [there] often return from far-off lands with treasures they don’t always understand,” like magic beans. Smee starts blathering about knowing why Rumple wants to realm-jump and gets Force-choked as a result.
In return for the magic bean, Smee wants eternal life. No go, but Rumple can de-age him back to being a little boy. However, if he gets crossed, Smee’s age gets fast-forwarded into dust. Smee peaces out and Captain Guyliner has the good (bad?) timing to swan into the bar just right then.
So Rumple thinks that Belle is missing, but she’s actually just at Granny’s, the only eating establishment in town, gettin’ slizzered on iced tea.
Red notes that she hasn’t seen her in before, and Belle admits that until recently she’s been a “kept woman”. Well, yes literally, she was “kept” prisoner by Regina, and then I guess Rum’s “kept woman”. Red figures it’s probably a bad break-up and offers her a room at Granny’s. I love Red and how friendly and helpful she is. Also, I’ll repeat, but her costumes at so much better this season.
Belle admits that what she really needs is a life, and especially a job. Finding you niche is something Ruby know a little bit about.
Ruby suggests the library, even though it’s been closed forever, maybe now that things are changing they could use a librarian.
Belle goes to check it out; the doors are locked, but she sees that it is fully stocked when she peers in a gap in the boarded-up windows.
(Storybrooke) Smee sneaks up on her, asking for spare change, but Belle is penniless (despite her to-die-for dress and shoes). Like a good and proper stalker-ish kidnapper, he asks is she’s meeting anyone there, if anyone is aware of her location, and then boom! Kidnapped.
Captain Guyliner and his crew are drunkenly stumbling through the streets when Rum (his face obscured by a cloak) bumps into him. Guy calls him out on his bad manners, even for a “gutter rat” (should have been “street rat”. Come on). Rum turns around and apologizes, while Guy revises:
Okay, I understand in terms of mythology (and yet another totally predictable move, because now we know of course Rum’s going to be the one to take his hand), but I don’t understand why he would call him that. Is it because of Rum’s leather waistcoat looking like croc skin? I’m fine if the show wants to change thing sup and add twists to the original stories, but they can’t not make any sense. Does someone have a better explanation for why Hook would have called him a Croc at that point?
Hook knocks Rum’s cup away and kicks him on the floor before he gets up and throws his hood back. Hook recalls him, and there’s some nice call-back lines to the earlier scene on the boat, only now Rum’s the one with the power. The Captain is cowed by that Dark One power, which is handy for Rum who asks about Milah. (He also seems to have the power to dig through someone’s thoughts/memories, which is an interesting fact).
Hook claims she’s dead, that she died a long time ago. Regardless, Rumple wants to finish that duel they never started. Rum’s willing to give him the rest of the night to get his affairs in order, and also so that he can spend the night knowing it will be his last. Of course, escape’s out of the question, because Rum will find him and kill him and his whole crew.
Storybrooke Rum is less good at finding things, so he goes to the best finder he knows: Charming. He’s reporting Belle as missing person. Charming isn’t interested in helping, but when Rum reveals that it’s Belle, he recalls that back in the Enchanted Land he had admitted that he had been in love and that she had died (1×22, I believe). Rum can’t use the tracking spell because he has nothing of Belle’s, and even though the rest of the town could care less, Rum presses Charming’s “missing the ones you love” button by pointing at the photo of Emma and Snow.
It’s Duel at Dawn time in the Enchanted Land. Rumple giggles at the deliciousness of getting to kill Hook with Hook’s own sword. SWORDFIGHT. Anyone who’s read one of my Revolution recaps knows I fucking love sword fights. Guyliner manages to hold his own for a decent amount of time, but Rum eventually gets him on his knees. *ahem*
But Rum feels just a regular death-by-sword isn’t painful enough: “Do you know what’s it’s like to have your wife stolen from you? To feel powerless to stop it? It feels like having your heart ripped from your chest.” So he reaches in to do just that, but is stopped by a lady. Which lady? Fucking Milah.
Kidnapping (“procurer of hard to find objects”) Smee deposits Belle in a shed.
Dear old dad orders that the relationship be over, wants her to promise that she doesn’t love Rum and won’t ever see him again. Belle, thank god, is like “hold the fucking phone, I am not a child!” I get that her Dad thinks that she is in an abusive relationship (though without any actual solid proof, he just thinks that “he’s bad news”) and yes, it’s good that he wants to help her, but helping someone being abused by abusing them back (treating them like a child, controlling their behavior, who they can see/talk to) is not how that works.
But nope! You silly girl, you don’t get to have self-determination or autonomy. You get to be taken prisoner and have your entire person-hood stripped from you!
Charming’s on the Belle case: he talks to the son of a butcher Rumple turned into a pig, and they head off to Granny’s to see who else Rum’s terrorized. On the walk over, Rumple and Charming have a nice little bro talk.
Great scene, and important. Although at first I was like “you’re asking how Snow White and Prince Charming work? THEY’RE SNOW WHITE AND PRINCE CHARMING, YOU DUMBASS.” Charming’s answer was better, though.
Speaking of hearts and honesty, back to the heartless, lying Milah! Guyliner tells her to run, but she won’t leave without him because they love each other or some shit. Milah claims she can explain. Rum: “Tick-tock, dearie, tick-tock.”
Milah: “That first night, when Killian and his crew came into the tavern, he told stories about the places he’d been and I fell in love with him. I didn’t mean for it to turn out this way. I didn’t know how to tell you the truth. I ‘m sorry.”
Nooooooooooope. Bull. Shit. You fell in love with some dude after hearing about his travels? How exactly did you mean for it to turn out? You were cool with letting your husband think you’d been kidnapped and kept as a pirate sex slave? And not once does she mention her son, Bae, who she apparently had no qualms about abandoning. I’m actually more angry at the show for making her character so horrible.
Rumple is also not amused. He’d never seen the power of “true love” before, but he’d sure love to destroy it. But Milah has Smee’s hat for some reason, and even though she doesn’t know why Rum wants the magic bean, she makes the deal to exchange it for their lives, but Rum wants to see it first.
Charming asks Ruby about Belle, but she’s cagey at seeing Rumple there: “Belle, huh? Doesn’t ring a… bell.” But, Charming promises that he will protect Belle when she’s found, so she caves and admits she sent her to the library.
She also gives them the sweater that Belle left in her booth. Rumple recognizes it and when he says that he gave it to her for the cold, Ruby softens.
After confirming that Charming will indeed watch out for her, Ruby offers up her own tracking skills. “Lately, since things changed, I’ve been a little more sensitive to odors.” She can smell her. “I guess it’s cause of the wolf thing.” Yesssss, bad!ass wolf!Red.
Red gets her track on, but the trail ends outside Belle’s dad’s flower shop. They all go in, with Charming and Red assuring angry Moe that they’re just worried about Belle. Terrible dad claims she’s safe, and he’s so obsessed with making sure Belle forgets about Rum that he’s willing for her to forget about him too, so he’s forcing her over the town border. SHITTY.
Now Charming uses his finding skills: apparently they’ve been patrolling the town border to make sure no one crosses “accidentally”, but when he sees the mine dust on Moe’s hands he realizes they’re going to send her through the mine tunnels. Off they go to save the day.
On Guyliner’s ship, they fetch prisoner Smee and his magic bean and are ready to cement the deal, but Rumple has unfinished business. He’s just so happy she finally found a family for herself on the ship, but he has just one question. “How could you leave Bae? Do you know what it was like, walking home that night, knowing I had to tell our son that his mother was dead?”
She claims she’s sorry some more, that she was the coward, that she’s sorry about abandoning Bae every day (which is why you didn’t bother asking about him last night?). All the while, as Rumple gets more and more angry, the riggings on the ship are snapping all around.
Milah: “I let my misery cloud my judgement.” Rumple: “Why were you so miserable?”
“Because I never loved you.” Wow. Really, really smooth, Milah. How did you survive as a pirate for so long with that kind of stupidity?
Rumple, of course, snatches her cold, beating heart from her chest. The riggings restrain Guyliner temporarily, but he unhooks himself to catch Milah and for her to whisper “I love you” to him before dying in his arms as Rumple crushes her heart to dust. Whatever. I might have cared if this show cared.
Guy’s so sad: “You may be more powerful now, demon, but you’re no less a coward.” Rum’s all, whatever dude, give me my magic bean. Guy’s like “over my dead body”, but Rum still think death’s too good for Guy. He wants him to live so he feel the same pain, so he just goes ahead and cuts off Guy’s fist that he had caught the bean with.
Guy picks up the hook from the deck and buries it in Rumple’s heart, which does… nothing.
He magic poofs the hell out of there, the hook falling back to the ship’s deck. Guy picks it up as dramatic and pirate-y Hans Zimmer-esque music plays and thinks about getting himself a new nickname.
Meanwhile, Belle is getting hand-cuffed to the Minecart of Forgetting by Smee, who gives her the deets, along with a flashlight to find the hand-cuff key at the bottom of the cart before launching her off with a “good luck”. She freaks, but is able to locate the key; unfortunately, mine carts are notoriously unstable and she drops the key on the tracks, failing to free herself.
Suddenly, her cart jerks and gets magicked backwards and un-cuffed by Rumple.
Charming helps her out and Rum confirms that she still has her memories and he hugs her, but she pushes him away. She’s grateful for what he just did, but it doesn’t change the whole “too cowardly to be honest with her” thing. Dad’s like “great, come with me then!”
Belle’s so awesome though. “After what you just tried to do to me? You’re no better, Father.”
“If either of you cared about me you would have listened. I don’t want to see either of you again. Ever. We are never, ever, ever getting back together. Peace, douchebags.”
More lady bonding time! This time over breakfast foods! Leslie Knope would be so proud. And now I want pancakes.
Belle thanks Ruby, for everything and Red lets her know she can stay as long as she wants. Ruby also gives her a box, a little present that was left at the front desk, so I guess Belle is officially in residence at Granny’s. Inside is a key labeled “Library”.
Belle heads over (please tell me she finished her pancakes) and opens the place up. She starts looking around, when she hears a voice: “We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.”
It seems Rumple has a bit of a listening problem. Must Belle play you the song again? But it’s not a ploy to win her back
(it’s another allusion to the Disney film and the Beast giving her his library); he just came to tell her that she’s right, and to finally tell her the story he promised her a long time ago in a land far, far away.
“I am a coward. I have been my entire life. I tried to make up for it by collecting power and the power became so important that I couldn’t let go. Not even when that meant losing the most important person in my life.”
“Baelfire is his name. After he left I dedicated myself to finding him. I went down many, many paths, until I found a curse that could take me to the land where he’d escaped.”
“And now I find myself in this little town with only one thing left to do: wait for the curse to be broken so that I can leave and find him.”
“But instead of looking for him you brought magic?”
“Because I’m still a coward. Magic has become a crutch that I can’t walk without. And even if I could, I now know I can never leave this place.”
“Because anyone who leaves forgets the people they love. So when you go to look for Baelfire you won’t know him.”
He explains that the magic she saw him doing down in the basement was his attempts to break this new curse. “I have lost so much. I didn’t want to lose you, again, without you knowing everything.”
It seems that he really is going to leave her, for good, but Belle is an eternal optimist. She knows that he finally told her something true, something honest. It doesn’t fix everything, but it’s still something.
I feel like dating, or even just being friends is probably a good first step for them.
Enchanted Land: Rumple visits his Bae shrine and places Hook’s hand on the table, but when he peels opens the stiff fingers, there is no bean to be found. “He tricked me!” Rage blackout!
Hook’s back sailing, looking at said bean and being sad as they send Milah’s body off to Davy Jones’ Locker. Still prisoner Smee really wants his bean back, but finder’s keepers, now it’s Hook’s.
In exchange for the bean, Hook’s going to let Smee live and join the crew. Smee hardly finds that fair, that “instead of the promise of eternal life [he] has to scrub blood off the decks”, but Hook tells him that they’re about to set sail to a land where none of them will ever grow old. “Where I can discover how to get my revenge on Rumplestiltskin. Where I can get weirdly fixated on a super annoying pre-teen boy. Where I can run into a darling girl named Wendy” (please?).
We get the least surprising confirmation that Smee is Smee and he gets his red hat back. Hook tosses the magic glowing bean into the water, creating a giant whirlpool. I don’t know if it’s a visual allusion to the final battle of At World’s End, but either way, it’s cool.
And just for some final confirmation (and an admittedly pretty awesome moment):
Okay, so Rum’s still got a few things to work out. He goes down to his basement, where he’s tied up Smee and requests information about Smee’s employer. Not Mr. French, “your captain.” Smee swear that he’s never seen Hook in Storybrooke: “for some reason when the curse hit it didn’t take him.”
“The where is he?” Oh, you know, just being pirate-y and shit, spying on things.
And what be it that he a’spies on? Oh, just the Safe Haven peninsula. And then who shows up? Fucking Cora.
The sparkly wardrobe dust isn’t quite enough to get them to their destination, but it’s a start. Their port of destination: Storybrooke, which Hook find to be a curious name. Really? It’s worse than Neverland how? Storybrooke’s where “she” is, “and so it he”.
“Excellent. You’ll be able to see your daughter, and I can skin myself a crocodile.”
I may have hurt my brain a little trying to work things out with all the realm stuff. At first I thought that the Safe Haven land was Neverland, but that wouldn’t make sense, because in the last episode they were able to just walk from Haven to the Charming Family castle, which means they are in the same realm. Now I understand that Neverland is a separate realm altogether, one that where Hook’s been hanging our, plotting his revenge.
I still have so many questions though!
- Is Neverland the realm that Bae went to or did he go to Our Realm? IIRC, Bae went to a realm “without magic”; presumably Our Realm.
- Are magic beans like floo powder and the user can decide which realm they want to travel to or are they like non-refundable plane tickets, each one having a specific realm destination? If it’s the former, then that makes sense, because Rumple would have used it to come to Our Realm, while Hook was still able to use it to go to Neverland. If it’s the latter, was Rumple intending on going to Neverland?
- Is Neverland the realm that Cora was sent to when she was pushed through the mirror? If so, did Hook and Cora meet in Neverland and join forces to get back to the Enchanted Land, with the ultimate goal of getting to Our Realm/Storybrooke? Or did they meet in the Enchanted Land?
- Are we ever going to see Wendy?
Who-zits and What-sits Galore:
- Does this now make the Comic-Con Season 2 teaser trailer a MASSIVE SPOILER, or no? I guess it depends on if it was just a tease (to let the audience know that Hook would be making an appearance on the show in S2), or is it in earnest (that what happens in that promo is a thing that will literally occur in a future episode)? Either way, hand/hook continuity mistake!
- So even though we now know that the story Regina told about Belle’s post-Rumple torture/suicide at the hands of her father was fiction, it seems that wasn’t totally out of the realm of possibility. Basically, Regina pegged Moe as a shitty father and human.
- I can’t figure out if or what story the butcher-into-a-pig thing is an allusion to. If you know, please enlighten me/us in the comments!
- In that last scene with Red she had a side braid in her hair, just like she had when she first met Snow in “Red-Handed”.
- Totally random meaningless thing: the OG Captain Hook was confirmed by Barrie to have graduated from Eton, the same college that the source of Rumple’s fancy “quarters of the world” quote attended.
- Spoiler-phobes beware, but there’s a fun article where showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were asked about various characters and their chances of appearing on the show.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? I think the Storybrooke stuff was much stronger than the Enchanted Land stuff, which was mostly just foundation building for (hopefully) more interesting things down the line. And I missed Snow and Emma.
Here’s the promo for next week. I… don’t even know. I guess we’re going full-tilt Halloween, or the promo monkeys are messing with us, as they do.