ReviewsTelevision & Film

ONCE UPON A TIME Rumpelstiltskin Was A … Hero?

Episode 613 “Ill-Boding Patterns”
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan
Directed by Ron Underwood

In this episode, there were villains, heroes showing villainous tendencies, and the most heroic character was … a villain.

You know things are really screwy when the most heroic character of the episode is Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle)! But they made it work and work well. And the inclusion of previously and traditionally heroic characters as villains is certainly not uncommon on Once Upon A Time. In this case, there were more than one. Now granted, they’ve given Rumple a heroic arc before, but it was sadly short lived and didn’t take the time to explore that aspect of the character. So it’s good to see them touching on it every now and then.

Beowulf (Torstein Bjørklund), who was initially a good guy before becoming vindictive toward Rumple, is a good example. He even faked the existence of Grendel to bait him into a trap. Of course this was after Rumple committed genocide wiping out so many of the ogres. But not all, as it was implied, since it was also billed as the First Ogre War. But it was enough to get Beowulf irked to the point of wanting to kill the Dark One in revenge for stealing his thunder.

Now THAT’S a knife! (ABC/Eike Schroter)

Then there’s Baelfire (Brandon Spink), Rumple’s own son, who at first tried to prevent his father from doing evil, then himself ordered him (using the dagger of course) to kill Beowulf. Then he started wanting Rumple to go out and get revenge on more people. So Rumple gave him a memory potion where he would forget about using the dagger altogether.

Granted, it was early in Rumple’s time as the Dark One. But it still seems weird to have him as the hero more than as the villain. His whole giving in to darkness was supposedly to help people, which later turned him into pure evil. It seems every Dark One became so originally by trying to be altruistic. It’s good to see that even the most over-the-top villains are given believable origins.

Still, even in Storybrooke, he was trying to do the right things. He tried to give the memory potion to Gideon (Giles Matthey) so he would stop trying to be the Savior and seek revenge on the Black Fairy (Keegan Connor Tracy). Failing that (and being forced to reveal that it was the Blue Fairy that forged the sword), he saved the Blue Fairy from Gideon; although it was after he forced her to reforge the sword. I just hope they can keep a bit of the hero arc going so we can explore that side of the character that we were robbed of previously.

She’s ba-a-ack! (ABC/Eike Schroter)

It’s also good to see the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) back, and that Regina (also Lana Parrilla) accepts that this Robin (Sean Maguire) is a different one than she loved before. Now that frees the two Reginas to go head-to-head.

And Emma (Jennifer Morrison) finding the ring and getting engaged to Killian (Colin O’Donoghue) who killed her grandfather? I actually look forward to when she finds out.

I’m loving the Rumpelstiltskin hero arc. And I’m looking forward to the twin Reginas clashing again. I just hope that all the clashes aren’t going to overwhelm each other and weaken each other’s story lines.


Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC.

Daniel C. Handley

Dan Handley was raised a Trekkie, fell in love with "Star Wars" at an early age, and became obsessed with comic book superheroes. He spent his youth dreaming of how to get real superpowers, starships, and so on.

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