Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Once Upon a Time...Among Beasts

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 11: "The Outsider"

Quick summary: Rumpel has been tinkering with a spell that would enable him to cross the town line with his memories intact, which is vital if he is going to leave Storybrooke to search for Baelfire.  Having perfected the spell (which requires a "sacred" object) with Smee and his famous red cap, he turns Smee into a rat and begins to prepare for his journey.  In a safe in his shop is a shawl that once belonged to Bae, which he shows to Belle.

While getting the library ready for its grand re-opening, Belle is attacked by Hook, but manages to lock herself in the elevator and call Rumpel on her cell phone.  When the two arrive back at the shop, however, they learn that Hook's attack was a distraction so he could pilfer the shawl.

Belle sneaks onto Hook's ship, finds and frees the much-alive Archie (who tells her it was Cora, not Regina who attacked him), and retrieves the shawl, even fending off Hook for a bit until Rumpel's arrival.  Although Rumpel wants to kill Hook, Belle convinces him to spare his life, which backfires on both of them as Rumpel prepares to cross the town line.

In the fairybacks, Belle joins a group of men questing for a dangerous beast called a yaoguai.  Although she can read Chinese, the men treat her poorly and kick her off their wagon.  This doesn't deter her, though, and she easily tracks down the beast, encountering Mulan, who has been tracking it for months.  The two agree to work together, although it is Belle who ultimately faces the monster, who is actually Prince Philip transformed.

Although I had the end of this episode spoiled for me by the official Facebook page, I still greatly enjoyed it. While I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for any Rumpel-centric episode, I feel this is one of the best episodes of the season thus far, primarily because it develops the characters, which is something few episodes succeed in doing.  I was quite happy to see Belle prove her worth in both the past and present, which will hopefully quell the arguments made that she's equivalent to Twilight's Bella.  This episode really gave Belle a chance to shine, and I hope the finale of the episode won't prevent us from seeing her do more awesome things in the future.

Unlike the last few weeks, I don't have a lot of complaints about this episode.  In fact, the only thing springing to mind is either a failure on pacing or a failure to properly devise world maps; that is, how did Belle travel so quickly from our standard European-based fairy tale land to the equivalent of China?  The episode wasn't paced as though a good deal of time had transpired.  Does fairy tale land have a layout similar to Epcot, where you can travel from France to China within the span of ten minutes?  Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but this truly bothered me.

I'm hoping to catch up on the last two episodes over the next few days, as my monster has Wednesday and Thursday off.  It would be great if the writing in the next two is as good as this one was.

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