A New Hero Rises

I missed writing a post about last weeks episode. I had a cold (man-flu) and I felt really tired, then NaNo started and too much time had passed. However, the episodes did sort of lead from one to the other, or at least when it came to the important part – Rumplestiltskin of course!

My friend just asked me what I thought of last nights episode (5.06 – The Bear and the Bow) as they thought I would really have liked it. They know I’m a big Rumple and Rumple/Belle fan and this was a centric episode for them, they finally got their moment in the spotlight. When it came to my answer I was a bit more conflicted than I think either of us had expected.

The problem with head canon is that then on screen things happen that don’t seem right. I agreed with a lot of what happened last night, likely all of it but the episode was only 40 minutes and they had to show a transformation in that time. I suppose it’s no surprise that it came across a bit false but more on that under the cut.

Hypocrites on screen!
I’ve always been of the opinion that the ‘heroes’ of Storybrooke were hypocrites and last night they actually put that on screen! Charming, Hook, Regina et al are in Regina’s office with Belle, they want to contact Merlin and find out what happened in Camelot. Emma let slip that they’d found him so they are all confused as to why she’s still the dark one.

Belle says that there’s someone else that can help them – Rumple – and that he’s being held prisoner by Emma and they should save him. Their response? It’s Rumplestiltskin/the crocodile and no-one cares. Belle points out that Rumple was the dark one for a long time, that Emma’s current state proves the effect the darkness has. Their response? Rumple has had more chances than he deserves, they have to give Emma her best chance now. Can we say – hypocrites!

I’ve said in posts before that the heroes are like this but it’s always really been my opinion. Last night felt like proof, validation, that it’s not just in my head and that they really do think that way. Even Regina who was the Evil Queen goes along with it, how many chances did she have? and she chose to do what she did, everyone forgets that Rumple was cursed!

Yeah, sure he still had the power of choice to a certain extent, but holding that darkness for three centuries, it’s going to have had an effect. He was influenced to darkness, he was a kind and generous spinner, giving money to the homeless even though he had little to call his own. He took on the curse and started killing people indiscriminately, I’m thinking the curse is kinda to blame.

Now I’m not getting at Regina, I love Regina, or at least I do now. I think it was mid-season two before I started to warm to her and at some point after that she became a firm favorite. However, I’m just saying that the so called heroes should look in the mirror a time or two. They call Regina their own through Henry, as Henry calls her mom. Well, Rumple is Henry’s grandfather but then everyone always conveniently forgets about Neal.

Back to Rumple being a hero
He smashed their cup! The chipped cup that has been such a potent symbol, he smashed it so he could use the fragments to cut the rope to escape. Now, it’s not the first time that the cup has been smashed but Rumple doesn’t have magic now to fix it. That could be the end of the cup. However, I do love how Rumple was pragmatic about it, villains are good for that. The cup meant a lot to him but he still did what was necessary.

He escaped, through the forest into the mines and up the elevator to the library. He did all that with his bad leg and then once he was in the library he didn’t want to leave. He said they should go to his shop because there was magic there that would help them, but he was scared to go.

Oh random aside what is up with Belle’s hair? I swear that it used to be redder than it is, that it’s gone much darker. Maybe they did that on purpose so Merida’s hair stood out more?

I don’t know. Anyway, Belle said that she used to see the man beneath the beast, now she saw something else – a hero. That rang so false for me but then I thought about who Belle was shown on screen, and what I wished Belle was and the two didn’t really track together.

I think I wrote in a previous post recently that I had rewatched Skin Deep and Belle’s words “I could love him but something evil has taken root inside him” seemed very key to who she is, and who they are together. Belle once told Neal that she loved Rumple, even the dark parts, but I don’t think that’s true, I don’t think that was ever true which does make me wonder how they can be true love. I think I’ve said that before, how can true love exist without true acceptance?

However, I thought about it some more, this is what I mean when I said about head canon needing to meet reality and get adjusted. Well, Rumple and Belle haven’t really spent all that much time together. She was his maid and they became friends, but before they could really talk there was the failed true loves kiss and he threw her out. They didn’t reunite until Storybrooke. Then they had the brief time after the curse broke but soon enough Belle lost her memories and became Lacey. She was herself again for all of five minutes before Rumple went off to Neverland, he was back all of five minutes before he sacrificed himself to defeat Pan. Once he was resurrected he was a prisoner of Zelena. They had a few weeks maybe after Zelena’s defeat, when they got married, before Rumple tried to use the hat and she banished him. He returned but they barely managed a conversation before the apprentice sucked the darkness out and he went into a coma. This was their first conversation since.

Rumple loves Belle, “she made him stronger” because he wanted to be worthy of her. In last weeks episode he says to Emma “you should me let go. I need to see Belle” and Emma knew that the way to Rumple’s strength was using Belle. First she tried to remind him by using the cup, then in last nights episode she had Merida attack Belle directly.

The problem with Rumple isn’t that he’s a coward, it’s that he’s convinced himself that he’s a coward and his low self-esteem gets in the way. When he didn’t want to leave the library, he talked about his limp but really I wonder if it wasn’t going out in public. He’d got to the library without anyone seeing him but he’d have to walk across Main Street. He didn’t know who was there and his limp is such a significant thing for him, such a sign of weakness. He doesn’t want people to see him vulnerable.

However, Belle convinced because she could get him to do anything really, in the end he will always give in to her. Merida attacked them in the shop and this is when it got silly. They escaped into the back, rather than running out the back side door, they hid in the corner. What are they two? If they can’t see Merida, she can’t see them? Plus Rumple epic failed here, in the past he has always stood up when it counted but this time, he just apologized to Belle. It didn’t matter because Belle saved the day by pulling the rug out from Merida’s feet. Yeah, it was that kind of scene.

They ran and they are nearly at the town line before Belle realizes Rumple’s plan. He has a way to get them over the town line without them turning into trees, it’s running away rather than fighting. Personally I think that’s pragmatic, live to fight another day and all but Belle naturally didn’t see it that way. She refused to go, saying that she couldn’t leave while there were still people in town she cared about. She then started walking back and Rumple lets her go, getting back in the car and I guess we are supposed to believe he drives off. However, even if I hadn’t seen the promo of Rumple fighting the bear, I would have known that he just turned round and went after Belle. He has a very highly developed sense of self-preservation but he would never leave her by her choice.

Merida as a bear attacks Belle and Belle runs for it, heading towards the cabin it looked like. How that was supposed to protect her I don’t know, did you see the size of that bear? More to the point how did Belle outrun it? Did you see that size of that bear? Anyway, the bear catches up to her and she’s staring death in the face and then Rumple throws something at it? Oh yeah totally excellent plan – not. He’s standing there, no weapon, just his cane. Belle screams at him to run but he lets the bear hit him, tells it to “do it’s worst” and then throws a bag of transformation dust in it’s mouth. He said that he didn’t know that would do the trick in making Merida human again, but I don’t know Rumple has always been crafty, I suspect he had an inkling at the very least.

Anyway, they tie Merida up and then go to see Emma. Rumple starts off being all smart saying “we’re going to make a deal” but then he just asks for Merida’s heart and the location of her brothers. I mean come on Rumple, look out for number one. I would have expected him to deal for some sort of consideration for him and Belle but nope. Although I suppose Belle wouldn’t have approved of that, she likes to be the hero and put other people first. Rumple then apologizes to Belle, saying that if he could have a do-over he’d try to be worthy of her from the very start. I was expecting him to say he loved her, or for her to say it back, but I suppose he said it between the lines.

Rumple pulls Excalibur from the stone! That was pretty cool to see and then he says to Emma. “You’ve made one mistake in all this … you’ve turned me into a hero.” and wow that was an awesome line! I absolutely love the idea of Rumple taking care of business, because he’s right none of the other heroes are him. Regina used to be a villain turned hero and kinda sensible but she’s got infected with being “one of the good guys” and has lost some common sense. Rumple could be awesome but I don’t know, it just seemed like such a sudden turnaround.

As I said above, I don’t think Rumple was really a coward, so much that he believed himself a coward. If he still believed that he was a coward after sacrificing his life to defeat Pan, why would standing up to a bear be any different?

Oh, oh I need to backtrack, back to the car when Rumple talks about the ogre wars and how he got his limp. Belle said that she knew about that, that he had done it so he could be there for Bae when he was growing up. Rumple disagreed and said that he’d done it because he was scared, he could see the wounded coming back and that he didn’t want to die. I felt so bad for Rumple at that moment because he truly believed that and he’s wrong, so very wrong. Yes, he didn’t want to die, he’s human. However, I do honestly believe that however scared he was, that he would have done his duty “proven himself not to be a coward”, if it hadn’t been for those seer’s words about leaving Bae ‘fatherless’. I think just in the intervening years he listened to Milah’s hateful words and he started to doubt his intentions, started to believe that it was his fear that had really driven him.

I also forgot something else that was a big deal. Back in the library when Rumple thanked Belle for being there for him, that he had been prepared to give up but he had heard her voice, he had fought to stay alive in the coma because of her. She looked guilty! As well she perhaps should, because she hadn’t been there for him for a lot of the time he was in the coma. She’d run off to Camelot. Now, I have head canon for her trip, that she did it because there was nothing she could do to save Rumple in Storybrooke. She figured that if Merlin could help with the darkness in Emma, that maybe he would be able to save Rumple who had the darkness stripped from him.

However, that’s just my head canon and the show never really said why she went beyond Blue saying “the heroes need you” which well, not exactly popular with me given how much I despise the blue fairy. That was kinda sweet though of Rumple to tell her that, I think that he doesn’t really know where they stand as a couple but he loves her so much, he’s trying to tell her in every way he can that he loves her, without actually saying the words and therefore putting pressure on her. I think he’s frightened that if he says “I love you” and she doesn’t say it back, that he’ll know it’s over, that he’s lost her and who wants confirmation of that?

I really hope that now they can spend some time together, that maybe they will be able to fix their relationship and reconcile. It won’t be easy, things are different now and the producers have said Rumple won’t have magic again, that will be an adjustment. Plus, Emile de Ravin is pregnant, so they could in theory have a Rumple/Belle baby, whether they’d do that because they already have a pregnancy storyline with Zelena I don’t know, but if they do have a baby that would certainly bring them closer together as a couple and inspire them to fix their problems. Rumple would want to be there for any child.

Other stuff
Belle got so much screentime! Going from nothing to his, well at least they used her for once. She had all the Storybrooke stuff with Rumple, then her own adventure with Merida. I don’t really entirely get where all this “Belle knows about magic” comes from, because she doesn’t have magic of her own. I know she’s a really good researcher but giving Merlin a spell he didn’t know to break the bars? Mixing potions to see people, and then turn into a bear? I suppose being the ‘smart one’ is kinda her niche, she’s the ‘bookworm’ but yeah there’s smart and there’s conveniently smart.

I knew that she had swapped the bear potion with water. That was so utterly predictable. Although I have to say Merida hitting all three arrows out of the way, very cool but she was at totally the wrong angle to do that. Oh well, I don’t mind it was a cool effect and I can suspend disbelief over some small things like that.

Plus, a lot of callbacks. Belle mentioning losing her mother in the ogre wars, maybe that’s trying to show that she’s over it now. When it first came up during the Frozen story-arc it was something that weighed heavily on her.

The best callback was Zelena, in Emma’s kitchen going “I killed Neal, ready┬áto kiss and make up?” It was about damn time someone remembered that she had done that, with Emma all dark one I guess it was ok that she didn’t really react to it, but seriously can somebody care about that? I didn’t really like Neal but then I’m very much on Rumple’s side of things, but it’s because of Rumple that I care so much that Neal was killed. He’d done everything for Neal and then he was gone and seriously, people should care.

Finally, the heroes know that Arthur is a bad guy. You know this losing memories trope is getting old, I think I’ve said that before. How many times have they done this? However, finally they are getting on to the same page. Not very smart of Arthur not checking that the toadstool burnt but it’s the mistakes that get all villains in the end.

I don’t know, there might be more things but my brain is dead and I have a novel to write, this post is getting on for 3000 words and did I mention it was NaNo? Yeah, I loved all the Rumple and Belle screen time. The only negative to that, is it’ll probably be another season or something ridiculous before they get another good chunk of screen time. They really should make each episode like three hours long, it’s the only way.