OpinionTelevision & Film

Recap: ONCE UPON A TIME A Marriage Became Strained


Episode 517 “Her Handsome Hero”
Written by Jerome Schwartz
Directed by Romeo Tirone

In this episode, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) befriends beasts and Hades hates hope. (Belle sure seems to end up with evil men.)


In flashback, Belle’s father (Eric Keenleyside) sets her up with Gaston (Wes Brown) in order to strengthen their kingdoms against the ogres they believe are getting ready to invade. Belle wasn’t too sure about him at first, especially given the stories she had heard about him. But she decided to give him a chance, though reluctantly.

When out in the woods, they came upon an ogre child caught in a pit. Gaston wanted to kill it just in case it was being used as a scout by the other ogres (and because he’s Gaston and likes to kill things). But Belle wanted to find a magic mirror that would reveal its intentions in case it was innocent and just lost. While searching for records of magical items to find the mirror, Belle gave Gaston a book called Her Handsome Hero about the forgiveness and humility that makes a hero. He told her he would read it if the book meant so much to her. Then as she set off to get the mirror, he set off to “protect” the ogre until she arrived.

"So I understand you like to torture innocent creatures. That's so sweet." (ABC/Jack Rowand)
“So I understand you like to torture innocent creatures. That’s so sweet.” (ABC/Jack Rowand)

When Belle arrived in the woods with her father, Gaston was lying down and hurt. The ogre had run away. They eventually found the young creature injured as if it were tortured … by Gaston. The mirror revealed Gaston to be the monster and Belle defended the creature, allowing it to get away. And of course the father and the major jer — I mean Gaston — felt they needed to prepare for an ogre invasion, because clearly it wasn’t the one who tortured a child who was the monster.

Later, the ogres had begun to attack the kingdom. Although Belle’s father seemed to think it was because she let the child go, she thought it was because of the abuse the child received. But she agreed to marry Gaston to bring their kingdoms together and strengthen their armies to defend against the ogres.

Back in the Underworld, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), and Snow (Gennifer Goodwin) were standing by the tombstones with the names of the two women plus Regina (Lana Parrilla). Before she could, a storm (tornado) showed up. The three took cover and the storm abruptly stopped. Then they heard a beast of some sort. Snow went out with a bow and arrow to check it out, but was attacked by the canine-like beast. Then Emma woke up from the dream. Really people? A dream? At least there would be some payoff later.

Hades (Greg Germann) saw one of what was later revealed to be several flowers growing in the Underworld. It was a sign of hope and things in the Underworld were only supposed to wither and die, not grow. He wasn’t pleased. Regina met up with Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and tried to find out if she knew of any weaknesses that Hades had that they could exploit. The only weakness Zelena could think of was herself.

Things became a bit stressed between Belle and Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle). She was already upset about her unborn baby being signed over to Hades. But then she found out that Rumpel killed Gaston, whom Hades employed to kill Rumpel. Hades made a deal with Belle that if she let the two of them duke it out and one threw the other into the River of Lost Souls, then the mark on the baby would be removed.

You can't kill what you can't hit. (ABC/Jack Rowand)
You can’t kill what you can’t hit. (ABC/Jack Rowand)

Rumpel wanted to use dark magic to eliminate Gaston, but Belle thought that helping him complete his unfinished business and cross over would hurt Hades more. But Rumpel insisted, especially with Gaston having a bow with arrows made with water from the River of Souls. One scratch and Rumpel would be condemned to the waters forever. And after thinking that killing Rumpel was his unfinished business, the discovery of the book that Belle gave him showed that Belle was his unfinished business.

Rumpel had Gaston in a telepathic choke hold in the air by the river when Belle ran up to stop him. She told him that she loved everything about him, even the beast. Then she kissed him … and took his dagger. Now in control, she ordered Rumpel to let Gaston go. So he did. Then Gaston picked up the bow with magic arrows to shoot Rumpel. Belle stopped him by pushing him. And he fell into the river to be condemned forever. Hades then let her know that since it was she and not Rumpel to throw him in, the deal was negated and he still owned the child.

"Allow me to make my point." (ABC/Jack Rowand)
“Allow me to make my point.” (ABC/Jack Rowand)

After our intrepid heroes failed to open the elevator to the underworld, Emma, Snow, and Hook went to the cemetery so Emma could burn the names off the tombstones as she saw in her dream. As she began to do so, the same storm approached, and they heard the beast. But instead of letting Snow check it out, they ran. They later went hunting for the beast in the woods. They found the creature and Emma magically zapped it, nearly killing it. Upon closer look, Snow realized that it was actually Red Riding Hood/Ruby Lucas (Meghan Ory) in wolf form.

So in the next episode, Red is back. And she’s bringing Mulan. Let’s hope it’s well written, unlike the last time we saw them in the train wreck that was the Merida storyline.


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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