Well, this review is long overdue – well not this one specifically but I’ve been terribly remiss with the last two episodes. The holidays and family drama kept interrupting my viewing times, hence the missing reviews. Nevertheless, here we are at episode four so let’s dive right in. 

Well, this review is long overdue – well not this one specifically but I’ve been terribly remiss with the last two episodes. The holidays and family drama kept interrupting my viewing times, hence the missing reviews. Nevertheless, here we are at episode four so let’s dive right in. 

Cowards and Captains

Any episode that gives background on Rumpel is an automatic favourite. We learn this time around about Rumpel’s life when he was married – and boy was his wife a peach. I get it, small village, people talk because your husband didn’t fight in the war like the rest. But there was an honest reason beyond simply being a coward. Regardless, Mila is a deadbeat mother and less than loving wife who asks Rumpel if they can’t leave the village and move somewhere where nobody knows who they are.  

They don’t leave but Mila ends up taking off with Captain Hook (or the soon to be Hook anyways).  I love Rumpel because even when he is at his most evil, there is so much complexity behind it – he is such a compelling character in any form. Heartbreaking before he’s the Dark One and even more tragic afterwards. 

Mila the Wife turns out to be long dead by the time Rumpel meets up with Hook again, or so he says. Ultimately in a wonderful plot twist, she’s not that dead. I have no sympathy for Mila or her death after what she did to her family. She was mean to Rumpel long ago. It’s one thing to cheat and to be unhappy with your marriage, but to let your new lover and his friends openly mock a man who loves his son and wants to keep Baylor’s life stable and happy the way Rumpel did? That’s unnecessary cruelty as far as I’m concerned. It isn’t until Hook’s life is threatened that see genuine concern on Mila’s part and I still don’t care. Missing for who knows how long after leaving your family and you don’t even ask about your son? Awful. Just awful. 

Crocodiles and Eternal Youth 

Alright, Captain Hook. What can we say about him? Well, he’s a jerk from the outset that’s for sure. It was amusing to see the evolution of the “croc ate my hand” storyline started with a nasty insult. In the end, though he loses his ladylove, Hook gains a few things from is ill-advised duel with Rumpel. Not only does he acquire a new side kick, Mr. Smee, it seems Hook also did something that I thought never possible – he managed to trick Rumpelstiltskin and as a result kept hold of the magic bean that lets him set sail for Neverland. I like Hook, all the more for his clever, quick thinking and I do look forward to the Peter Pan mythology being explored further. Every story, every myth that this show manages to tackle is done with something fresh and new while maintaining the integrity of the original concept and characters. The unfortunate thing about Hook is that he seems to have formed an alliance with Cora, and she reads as dangerous as anyone or anything Fairytale has ever given life to. 

Loves, Lies and Limits

Mr. Gold goes to David for help looking for Belle, who left after she witnessed him using magic and refused to explain why. This results in her father kidnapping her so that he can erase her memory to keep her away from Mr. Gold at all costs. 

I’m glad Belle left, in some ways, because this character needs some backbone. However everyone flinging around the word coward in this episode and it seems sort of cowardly to sneak away rather than simply break up and explain the problem. It’s not all that different from the way Mila left is it? This time, however, it seems that Rumpel has learned to listen and correct before it’s entirely too late. David has some good advice which Rumpel takes, or appears to take, in his attempts to repair things with Belle.

Let’s speak for just a minute about Ruby the tracker. The character of Ruby is another great one – though she doesn’t get as much screentime as I wish she did. Ruby is sweet but also protective and hey, that scent thing is damn handy too. She leads Rumpel and Charming to the flower shop where Belle’s father reveals that he’s had the mysterious acquisition expert take her across the townline. This episode had a great deal of subtext about parenting and the decisions made that affect children. On one hand, we have Mila, who seemed to have no regard for her child whatsoever when she made her choices. On the other hand, we have Belle’s father who is willing to have his daughter forget him entirely for what he feels is her own good. Now, this decision is totally questionable and not really a good one as it ignores Belle’s freewill completely. That said, it was made with good intention at least, or so it appeared. On the other hand, this father is kind of a jerk. It’s one thing to not like the guy your daughter is seeing, it’s another thing entirely to try and wipe her mind. Belle was right in saying if he loved her, he’d have listened. I think people often confuse possession and related actions with love. There is a reason for the expression “if you love something, let it go” and both Rumpel and Papa could do with a reminder of that lesson. Rumpelstiltskin is a truly heart-wrenching character, especially when he’s honest. And this honesty allows Belle to open the door just a tad for him to remain a part of her life. 

Final Thoughts

One thing that sticks me about this episode is Rumpel’s story that he can’t cross the barrier either because he’ll lose his memory. I’m not entirely sure I believe this. It’s possible he’ll lose the powers he obviously still has but being as he never lost his memory during the curse what other identity could he revert to if he crossed the town edge? There is one more thing that this episode made me think about – Baylor, Rumpel’s son. Could this be the mysterious man we saw at the beginning of the season? The one who received the postcard? Pure speculation on my part but it seems a reasonable possibility. In his apartment was a sign that said “Cleaner and Hatters” and there are also an exceptional number of time pieces, which makes me then wonder if he might be someone from Fairytale, and Bay seems a reasonable speculation. The man would be the right age at least. Only time can tell, I guess. Rumpel may not have been that honest with Belle actually, it’s hard to say. He is a master manipulator after all, though I like to believe he was being genuine. Either way, he has hold of Mr. Smee and hasn’t forgotten how Hook tricked him. One thing is certain: with all the rivals on either side of this show (Fairytale or Storybrooke that is) when the two worlds collide, it’s will be one hell of a bang. 

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