Monday, May 27, 2013

Once Upon a Time...Beauty Was a Barfly

Once Upon a Time Season 2 Episode 19: "Lacey"
In the fairybacks, more of Belle's time as a captive of Rumpel is revealed.  One night, a thief breaks into the castle to steal one of Rumpel's magic wands, but is caught and imprisoned.  After failing to convince Rumpel to let the thief go, Belle frees the man herself, refusing his offer to escape with him.  A furious Rumpel points out that the thief took the wand he had previously failed to steal, but Belle believes him to be a good person. Rumpel insists Belle accompany him while he searches for the thief, arming himself with the thief's own bow, said to be enchanted to never miss its target.

The two track the thief to Sherwood Forest, where they encounter the Sheriff of Nottingham, who asks Rumpel for a romp with Belle.  Rumpel temporarily removes his tongue as punishment for such lascivious statements, returning it only to gather information about the thief (Robin Hood, of course).

When the two find Robin Hood, Rumpel casts a paralysis spell on Belle, so she will be forced to watch him kill the thief.  But the two see that he stole the wand to cure Maid Marian, who is sick and with child.  Belle pleads with Rumpel not to leave the child fatherless, and Rumpel fires the bow, missing the couple.  The spell released, Belle embraces Rumpel, thanking him for sparing the thief's life.

In Storybrooke, Rumpel has a disturbing dream in which he kills Henry at the boy's birthday party.  Remembering that Belle always had the ability to bring out the best in him, he visits her in the hospital, where she is much more receptive to him than previously.  However, when he goes to visit her again, he finds that she is gone, the only clue a matchbook for a bar called the Rabbit Hole, cursed by Regina to give Belle false memories.

At the bar, Rumpel finds Belle, now called "Lacey," playing pool and invites her to dinner at Granny's Diner. She agrees, although Rumpel is surprised when she orders a bottle of wine and chicken parmesan instead of her usual burger.  The wine is spilled on her blouse, and she goes to the bathroom to rinse it.  When she doesn't return in a timely manner, Rumpel goes to check on her and finds her outside, making out with the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Rumpel beats the man with his cane and removes his tongue magically, paralleling the earlier scene.  Only this time, Lacey is pleased with how dark Rumpel can truly be.

David and Snow tell Emma about the magic beans Anton has been growing and take her to the fields.  Regina uses a spell to track them and discovers the beans herself.

And Greg and Tamara bring Hook, who has been bound in the back of a U-haul, into Storybrooke, hoping he'll do their dirty work.

While I do love my Rumpel episodes, and I enjoyed the flashback well enough, I heartily dislike Belle's cursed persona.  I'm also a bit perplexed by it.  For example, when Snow was cursed, Mary Margaret was an exaggerated version of her, being exceptionally kind and empathetic.  Archie, too, as a counselor was the epitome of conscience.  So why, then, is Belle's persona antithetical to her?  Shouldn't she instead become the stereotypical librarian, preferring the company of her books over people?

I understand why they made Lacey this way for story reasons.  And I have to admit that I do like the reversal (Belle brings out the best, Lacey brings out the worst).  But it doesn't seem to follow the model used for all of the other characters.

I realize the commentary portion is ridiculously short, but there's not much to say.  I feel that this episode really only exists to further Rumpel's story, not the overarching plot.  Both the protagonists and antagonists are barely in this episode.  And as much as I liked the episode, I think it probably could have been condensed, so that more plot elements could progress.

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