Episode 211 “The Outsider”
[photos: Jack Rowand/ABC.com]
Oh, well, this is a wrinkle, isn’t it?
Granted, this isn’t “kraken big” like I’d hoped, but it’s a better episode than last week’s. And it’s good to see the writers didn’t draw out the whole “everyone thinks Archie’s dead” bit, which means something else is brewing in another direction. This is good.
It’s a slightly Belle-centric story this week, as she’s drawn into the web of revenge and come-uppance between Rumpelstiltskin and Hook. Plus, we see what happened after Rumpelstiltskin kicked her out of his life up until she got snatched by Regina in her Equestrian Evil Queen DLC.
Following the events of “Dreamy” — where Belle advised the dwarf to follow his heart — he comes back and finds Belle in the tavern post-Beast. Dreamy encourages her to have an adventure, just as men are recruiting people to go hunt the dreaded Youguai, a fire-headed beast roaming the countryside. Belle decides to chance it, taking along Dreamy’s gift of fairy dust.
Her adventure has her putting on a red leather corset with a built-in hoodie and cleavage, and she’s off to find this beast. Of course, there are complications, like Belle’s spoiling the hunt for Mulan. Their meet-cute scene firmly establishes that Mulan is not one to make good first impressions. With anyone. Mulan is impressed that Belle tracked the Youguai so quickly, so she offers a partnership. Along the way, the warrior woman teaches the bookworm that some things are worth fighting for until your dying breath. Which will come in handy later…
Turns out the Youguai is actually a cursed Prince Phillip, and this gives us the moment of his meeting with Mulan as well, which goes a little better than most first meetings with her. And after Belle puts the two of them together to go rescue Aurora, Belle goes off to find Rumpelstiltskin, instead being found by Regina and taken prisoner.
Now, over yonder in Storybrooke, Belle gets attacked by Hook. In the library. With a … hook.
Rumpelstiltskin has figured out a way to cross the town line without losing his memory, which means he can leave and look for his son. But he’s only got enough potion for one talisman, his son’s scarf. Which means Belle can’t go with him. It’s something he has to do on his own. Except the shawl he plans to use as his talisman gets stolen whilst he’s out rescuing Belle from Hook’s attack. This, of course, sends Rumpelstiltskin into a tizzy, and he gives Belle a gun to protect herself. As soon as I saw it, I knew this was Chekhov’s Gun.
Belle refuses to stand idle (you know, she’s a heroic type who faced a Youguai) and finds Hook’s ship, finds Archie (who didn’t have much to tell Hook) and confronts Hook with a little Skywalker in her — espousing the belief in Rumpelstiltskin, that “there is still good in him”. The gun, of course, goes by the wayside in the melee that follows. Remember, this is Chekhov’s Gun.
So, in the end, Belle keeps Rumpelstiltskin from beating Hook to death and they make their way to the town line, where Rumpelstiltskin enchants his son’s scarf and makes it across the line with his memory intact.
In the meantime, after a lovely funeral, Snow and Charming figure things are getting a little crowded, and maybe they need to move out. And Grumpy finally raises the question that I expected to be asked well before now: when is everyone going home, now that the curse is broken? For that matter, how exactly can they manage such a feat?
Not only are the dwarves homesick, but what if someone from the outside comes into Storybrooke and starts noticing the odd bit of magic?
Which is just what happens after Hook shoots Belle in the shoulder with Chekhov’s Gun, throwing her across the town line and erasing her memory just before the car from Pennsylvania nearly crashes over all of them.
This slightly improves Hook as a villain. But not by much.