TV Time: Once Upon a Time 6.13

Once Upon a Time - Episode 6.13 - Ill-Boding Patterns


Title Ill-Boding Patterns

Two-Sentence Summary As Gideon tries to fix the sword that he plans to use to kill Emma, Rumplestiltskin is reminded of a time in his past when he watched another son struggle with the siren song of darkness. Meanwhile, Killian is torn between his desire to be honest with Emma and his fears that his past will stand in the way of their happy future.

Favorite Line “How did I ever think removing my evil half would change anything? I thought I was rid of you for good, Queenie. But I guess I’ll always be paying the price for what you did…What I did.” (Regina)

My Thoughts Can I have some of the memory-erasing tea that was being passed around in this episode?

Some episodes of Once Upon a Time get better the more you think about them and analyze them, but some episodes simply don’t hold up to much—if any—deep thinking. “Ill-Boding Patterns” was sadly an example of the latter. What started out as a promising exploration of the pull of darkness and the strength it takes to resist it turned into an exploration of people doing bad things for what they believe are the right reasons or when they believe they’re backed into a corner. And while that’s an interesting topic to explore, it made for quite a depressing episode that seemed to rewrite some basic traits in beloved characters for the sake of fitting this theme.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Killian and Emma’s proposal was one of the moments that was tainted in this episode for the sake of fitting the narrative about making the wrong choice for what you convince yourself is the right reason. Should he have come clean before proposing? Of course. But he did not want to hurt Emma by telling her he killed her grandfather when she thought he was asking her to marry him, so he made the choice to do the less honorable thing to protect the heart of someone he loves, which was completely aligned with the theme of this episode, even if it was not very fun to watch.

Killian proposed to Emma under no small amount of duress. Of course he wanted to ask her to marry him; he bought the ring, talked to Charming, worked out some of his issues with Archie. But this wasn’t how Killian wanted it to happen, and, I’ll be honest; it’s not how I wanted it to happen. I don’t ask for much when it comes to proposals for my favorite television couples (or at least I like to think I’m pretty easy to please on that front); I just want it to be a moment—as it should be in real life—of genuine happiness for both parties. And no matter how much Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue sold their characters’ love and excitement at the idea of getting married, this couldn’t be a genuinely happy moment. The fact that it seemingly was one for Emma actually made it worse; she came to him with her walls down and totally open to the idea of getting married, showing how far she’s come as a character in such a beautiful way, but that openness was met with a major piece of information being withheld from her once again by someone she opened her heart to. The culmination of this part of Emma’s character arc deserved better; it was such a huge moment for her to be the one to take that first step toward lifelong commitment by telling him she would say yes, but it was tainted by this contrived drama and angst.

For as much as I loved Emma’s excitement (You know she tried on that ring a hundred times before he got home.) and openness, I couldn’t help but feel her character was done a disservice by making her so oblivious to his distress. Emma’s superpower might not always work when her emotions are running high, but she is typically good at knowing when something is not right with the man she loves. In this case, however, she ignored the fact that he clearly had consumed way more alcohol than was necessary to calm any pre-proposal nerves and that he was clearly upset rather than nervous. Emma has always had fairly good instincts when it comes to Killian’s moods and problems, so having the show ignore that part of her character to focus only on how excited she was to get engaged felt like a cheapening of one of the more consistent aspects of her character and their relationship.

I actually would have liked the moment better if they would have had Emma propose instead of pushing Killian to do it. That way, we could have still had some angst because he couldn’t say no to her, but it would have felt at least a little better than the restrained proposal we got instead. Killian Jones is a man known for his sincerity and his romantic speeches, and this entire show is supposed to be Emma’s unique fairytale. So to have his proposal to Emma feel so devoid of originality in terms of both the actual dialogue and the plot surrounding it was a letdown. (O’Donoghue did a great job of balancing the fact that Killian was getting to do something he always wanted to do with the pain of knowing he was keeping something from Emma while doing it. Watch the moment he slides the ring on to her finger again; the conflicting emotions came across so well.) Killian keeping secrets from Emma is truly an ill-boding pattern at this point, and I’m growing tired of it. I had high hopes that this would be handled like most of his secrets have been—angst for a few minutes until he comes clean—but, of course, this had to be one of the only times his secret got stretched out for dramatic effect (much like their first date being clouded by his secret surrounding his hand).

I know that things will ultimately work out for this couple; they always do. And I can hope that they might even get another chance at a proposal after everything comes to light. But this is a moment the characters will never get back—and neither will the fans. Once Upon a Time is a show about hope, happiness, and fairytales, so it was frustrating to watch such an important moment for its main character unfold in a way that kept it from being completely happy and hopeful. I don’t need this show—or this couple—to be happy all the time, but I also think that a few moments of genuine joy and fairytale romance wouldn’t hurt anyone. The bittersweet and melodramatic nature of this proposal is symptomatic of a larger problem the show has had in recent seasons; it’s darker than it once was, and that’s not when the show is at its best. Some quiet, happy, domestic moments for any characters would be quite welcome after season after season of growing angst, dread, and drama. (I know this is a drama and people can’t be happy all the time, but this is also a show about fairytales; it also shouldn’t be heavy all the time, either.)

That same sense of the show pushing to be darker permeated the flashbacks in this episode, as well. I have always loved Baelfire, but this episode did quite the number on his character for the sake of making things more complex and morally murky between him and his father. First of all, I know Dylan Schmid probably aged out of the role, but the recasting of Bae did not work for me at all. I thought Schmid brought such a beautiful balance of innocence and maturity to Bae, and that was completely missing from this episode. Instead, what we got was a Bae who was actually less able to resist the call of darkness than his father, which felt so wrong based on who we always knew the character to be. I know human beings are complex—and this show has always aimed to remind us that no one is completely good or completely evil—but to have Bae command his father to kill Beowulf seemed to being going a little too far to prove that he was not as innocent as we once thought he was. And then to show him eager to hurt another family to defend his own was just overkill.

That proclivity toward darkness and using dark magic to take shortcuts is something that was never shown to be a part of Bae’s personality; he wanted to go to another realm to help his father rid himself of the darkness, and he hated magic for his whole life. Drinking a memory potion (What a convenient contrivance, by the way!) shouldn’t have so easily erased the attraction to darkness that was clearly a part of this version of Bae. (I say “this version of Bae” because his actions and thoughts were so far from any other version of the character we have ever seen before that he might as well have been another character.)

Essentially, this episode was designed to carefully craft parallels between Rumplestiltskin and his sons—Bae and Gideon. Both sons saw giving in to darkness as the only option to save people, and both sons were willing to control their father using the dagger because of this mindset. However, in both cases, Rumplestiltskin was willing to sacrifice for his children to keep them from losing themselves to darkness the way he did. In Bae’s case, it was particularly painful because Rumplestiltskin took all the blame and forever jeopardized his relationship with his son because of it, which was also an interesting contrast to Beowulf’s desire for glory and to be called the hero, which fueled his own darkness.

Gideon was similar to Beowulf in his belief that being seen as a hero was more important than doing the right thing. He wants to destroy the Black Fairy, which is actually a heroic thing, but he believes the only way he can do that is by killing Emma. Wouldn’t working with Emma be much better? But Gideon wants not just to do the heroic thing but to be called a hero, and that means being the only one to do the saving. He was clearly traumatized by the Black Fairy (That story about the boy being beaten and him not having the courage to help broke my heart.), but dark acts don’t end the cycle of darkness. Darkness is a slippery slope, and Rumplestiltskin knows that all too well, which was why he chose to take the Blue Fairy’s blood and magic instead of letting Gideon do it. Rumplestiltskin has darkened his heart for his children before—namely, when he became the Dark One—and the conflict between doing the wrong thing for what seemed like the right reason at the time has always been at the core of his character.

However, I’m not sure actually committing dark acts is the only way to darken your heart, like Rumplestiltskin thinks; just like I don’t think it’s impossible to come back from a dark path, like he seems to believe. Gideon has already started down a dark path, and what will bring him back isn’t Rumplestiltskin’s memory potion or dark sacrifices but Belle’s sense of hope. Rumplestiltskin has very little faith in people’s ability to push back against darkness because he isn’t able to, and now we know that he also saw his son overcome by the pull of darkness. But he’s surrounded by examples of people who have started—and sometimes continued for hundreds of years—down dark paths but managed to find the light again thanks to the support and hope that comes from love (aka Killian and Regina).

This was an interesting episode for Rumplestiltskin. Robert Carlyle acted the hell out of the nuances it called for. I believed he genuinely thought he was doing the right thing in every situation, and I never once doubted his love for his sons. But the relatively docile nature of the flashbacks’ version of the Dark One confused me a little bit. In fact, a lot of things confused me about Rumplestiltskin’s story in this episode, so I’ll just list them in bullet form:
• When exactly did they take place in terms of the show’s timeline? Because, from what I remember, not long after becoming the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin was turning villagers into animals and spreading fear everywhere he went, so the idea that he was hailed as a hero who wasn’t feared by the townspeople seemed strange.
• If Rumplestiltskin killed all the ogres, how was there a Second Ogre War?
• Why doesn’t he protect the dagger better in the present time period? You’d think by now he’d know better than to have it on his person without some kind of protection spell around it.
• Why is the Blue Fairy so ineffective?
• Why is Belle always so eager to go along with Rumplestiltskin’s plans?
• Why has no one told Gideon that you don’t become a Savior by killing a Savior? (Unless you do and we’ve all been wrong about this part of the show’s mythology for six seasons.)

Beyond any plot holes I may have found and disappointments I may have experienced during this episode, I could still appreciate the way it connected to some of the show’s most important themes. One such theme is the concept of what makes someone heroic, and this episode reminded us that heroism requires selflessness—a desire to do good not because it benefits you, but because it’s the right thing to do. And perhaps the best example of that in this episode was Regina. She brought Robin back for selfish reasons, but she was willing to let him go if that made him happy. And she was willing to finally admit what we’ve been waiting all season for her to admit: She and the Evil Queen are parts of the same whole; she is both. The only way she can truly grow as a hero is to acknowledge that her darkest self isn’t something she can erase, separate from, or forget (as was Rumplestiltskin’s m.o. for his children); it’s a part of her that she must accept and live with. It was a powerful moment that can only mean good things for the character in the future. In fact, I was a little surprised that such a major revelation that we waited so long to see was crammed into such a small moment. It deserved more focus, but maybe that will come with the big showdown that’s been promised for next week.

Extra Thoughts
I knew that Robin and the Evil Queen were going to have some flirtatious interactions; you can’t put Lana Parrilla and Sean Maguire together again and not have them show off their chemistry in some capacity. At least this should be easier to watch than the Evil Queen and Rumplestiltskin—although I am hoping she goes away for good next week.
• I will forever be bitter than we didn’t get a scene of Killian asking Henry for his blessing before proposing.
• I get that Killian was already drinking and brooding when he said it, but it bothered me that he called himself broken when saying he wanted to confess his secret to Emma. I don’t want him to think of vulnerability and honesty as symptoms of brokenness when we all know they’re signs of strength.
• I’m sure part of my frustration with this episode was the lack of the Charming Family (besides Emma at the end). I’m not shy about the fact that they have always been my reason for tuning in.
• Can we please stop wiping people’s memories for plot purposes? It was old about three seasons ago; now, it’s just ridiculous.
• Gideon creeping around the sheriff’s office in his black cloak was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time.
• If anyone has “fix it fic” recommendations to make me feel better about Killian and Emma’s engagement, please share them in the comments!


19 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 6.13

  1. I can understand your disappointment with the episode…particularly the proposal at the end. While I loved last week’s Captain Charming adventures, it disappointed me that after Killian finally received Charming’s approval, it was short-lived with the revelation of what he’d done to his future father-in-law’s family back in his darker days as a pirate. And after seeing Charming’s anger and grief when he finally faced King George, I get the feeling that this won’t end well for Killian and David, and I really want these two to connect. We’ll see! It also makes me wonder if August was up to something by handing off those missing pages to Hook, or if that was solely to drive the plot in this direction.

    In a similar way, I wanted both Killian and Emma to be rewarded with a genuinely happy moment for the both of them, and that didn’t happen. I also thought it was odd that Emma didn’t realize how upset and distracted he was, rather than just nervous. Killian and Emma have gone through the secret-keeping lessons before, and I keep hoping they’ve put that behind them.

    I have a lot of hope and love for the whole Charming clan. Killian and Emma are a true love couple, so I know they’ll get their happily ever after! I’m still waiting to see it.

  2. “Killian keeping secrets from Emma is truly an ill-boding pattern at this point, and I’m growing tired of it.” I am glad I wasnt the only one that found that title almost more appropriate for the writers than the characters…

    I couldnt watch this episode live, so I was fully prepared for the angsty proposal scene. I have to say that I was expecting to just be angry, but I wasnt. In fact, I actually found it to be kinda sweet despite everything (I blame the music overtaking my better judgement). Nobody is as shocked as I am because I was completely ready to go on 100% Emma defense mode, and I am glad you did, because seriously She doesn’t deserve this crap. But I also think I can buy her not being able to catch up on Killian’s ques due to her nervous excitement, and I think my emotions rank more in the “bittersweet” territory, because all of the emotions here were genuine regardless of the circumstance. I was more angry last week with the fact they chose this storyline at all. But now that its very clear they have every intention to ride this decision for maximum drama, my only hope is that I can hold on for the ride and they somehow stick the landing.

    As far as angst goes, this is actually some of the better TV angst I have seen recently, and even some of the better angst between the two of them on the show. The show made it very clear that Killian had every intention to tell Emma the truth (although I also cringed at the “broken” comment). He was worried that his happy ending was likely over, so when Emma comes bouncing down the stairs and lays her heart out and he is given a chance to make her happy instead of devastating her, he takes it. It was both a selfish and selfless act. But I also 100% agree that all of this is completely unnecessary. My store of angst tolerance when it comes to Killian and Emma tapped out a long time ago. How many times have we had to watch Emma be happy and Killian’s smile fall because of secret? If it were any other couple, or if the cursed hand thing didn’t tarnish their first date, or every happy moment in Camelot wasn’t overshadowed by them being darks ones, or Killian’s heart wasn’t missing, or Killian hadn’t sacrificed himself for everyone only to be tortured by Hades, or the two of them didnt have to think that they would never see each other again when they said goodbye in the underworld, MAYBE I would be ready to defend this juicy bit of angst a little more. But all that HAS happened, and I am tired. NOBODY deserves a moment of untarnished happiness like these two do, and it is annoying every moment they don’t get it. I feel like we have all had the ultimate carrot dangled in front of us for 3 seasons and they just refuse to let us have it.

    I mentioned before I think they are going for broke on this angst thing so I foresee crap happening where Killian isnt able to come clean, the engagement being broken, and them being separated (as a couple, hopefully not physically) for a least a couple episodes (That shot of Emma putting the ring in Killian’s hand, with her buttercup tattoo that looks like Charming’s family crest so clearly on display seemed more ominous than anything). This will probably be followed by some epic adventure (probably featuring Aladdin and Jasmine) that sets them back on track. Perhaps a second proposal in the Enchanted Forest? I can honestly think of a million different ways they could go with this story, some of which I think could actually be quite fun, but again, given the choice, I would 100% just choose for them just to be happy no matter how good the alternative story may be, because they are plenty of amazing stories they could have without the angst too.

    But enough about this mess, lets talk about the rest:

    -I apparently cared so little about the Evil Queen I had completely forgotten she was turned into a snake.

    -I LOVED that rumple used gold rope to tie up Gideon. I always wondered what the heck Rumple did with all that gold he spun.

    -That cape is just so amusing. Its like it has an angsty personality of its own. In an angst bracket matchup between Killian Jones and Gideon’s cape, I honestly dont know who would win. I love that he cuts the cameras in the sheriff station like there are so many hooded figures running around town its not completely obvious its him.

    -I am not quite sure why Zelena is still around, but I pretty much love everything that comes out of her mouth so I cant bring myself to complain.

    -YES to Regina accepting that the Evil Queen is in fact, part of her. I no doubt believe that was just the start of a much bigger “drive the point home” storyline for her.

    -I liked the idea that Rumple sacrificed his own soul for his son, but I do agree that Rumple seemed overly sympathetic in this version of events. I think I can buy the change to Bae if I look at it like he was angry at the injustice of his father being wrongly accused, but killing still seemed like a overly dark way to solve the problem, followed by a swift descent into darkness. If they had the time to show a more gradual shift in both Rumple and Bae, it would have been much more believable. Its like the concept was there, but they didnt have time to sell it. I definitely wasnt a fan of Belle seeming to be ok with Rumple knocking out Blue to protect their son however.

    -I miss Henry. Also, does Emma even talk to her mother anymore? Is Snow going to be the last person in town to find out about this engagement? Is Snow going to figure out that Charming was off doing stupid things while she was sleeping and saying cringe worthy things like “we dont keep secrets from each other”?

    -Dear Gideon, do you know how to save your kingdom from the black fairy? You freaking ask Emma Swan to help you. This very obvious, but apparently overlooked, option is driving me crazy.

    -Dark Robin is so much more interesting than real Robin and it makes me sad that Sean didnt have this much good material to work with when he was a regular.

    • So much “yes” to this comment. All the yeses. To everything.

      The Emma-Killian angst. I’m with you. Enough already.

      I’m skeptical of the value of Rumple doing the evil on behalf of his son as somehow being a good thing. Honestly, it seems like Belle is just desperate to find SOMETHING good. Surely there was a way to stop Gideon without taking out Blue.

      Just go ahead and write out the new proposal scene. I’m going to pretend this one was a dream sequence. I like your options better.

      The angst bracket. Ahh, yes. My Shauna moment of awesome-sauce. I now want the complete angst bracket.

    • I too care so little about the Evil Queen that I had forgotten she was a snake. In fact, I still didn’t remember when Z was carrying her in the cage to the town line. I really don’t care about her at all… although EQ + Wish Robin (or Dark Robin, or whatever we’re going to call him) might be interesting.

  3. Nice job on this, Katie. You’ve done a lovely job handling a somewhat problematic episode.

    I hate to bring the cranky . . . I really do. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say I’m bringing the “meh.” This will probably be short because I don’t want to disrupt the overall happy vibes of the blog. (Usually I can bring the happy with some critique . . . this episode makes that . . . ummm . . . challenging.) As folks who have been around know, I do enjoy this show. There are some elements I have been frustrated with (as I think we all have), but overall I love the show. This episode just fell flat.

    The writing just seemed sooooo inconsistent for some of the characters — especially Bae. The memory potion felt like a cop-out. No. Just no.

    Short aside: We really need to start the Association for the Ethical Use of Memory Magic. We shall have Continuing Education classes for all practitioners of magic. We can start coming up with the punishments for those who abuse memory magic. 🙂

    While I was happy that Rumple asked the question we all want the answer to (What makes you think killing Emma makes you the savior?), I was frustrated that we didn’t really get an answer.

    On a related note, I loved Belle’s skeptical look at Rumple when he was first explaining his plan to remagic Blue.

    I love the small doses of Zelena. I love how fiercely protective she is of her green bean.

    Good grief, Beowulf is a jerk here. I shall go back and read my Seamus Heaney translation. Or maybe the Tolkien. Or both.

    The proposal. Seriously writers??? I love that he got down on one knee, but these two had better have a moment of pure unadulterated joy soon.

    I think creepy organ music would have made the scene with Gideon in the jail even MORE fun.

    Ok, I think we need to break out the Doctoberfest mugs and fill them with hot chocolate with cinnamon (and perhaps rum) and recapture our happy.

    • This episode really didn’t have anything happy in it did it? When did the happy triumph moments get thrown out the window? I am in some desperate need for balance. Sketchy Robin -1, Evil Queen returns -1, Gideon regains means to kill Emma -1, Turns out Bae was a hypocrite -1, Rumple attacks Blue -1, Gideon’s heart stays pure (+.25 I guess?), Killian wants to tell Emma the truth +1, Emma and Killian engaged +1 but with undisclosed secret -10. Thats a net -7.75. That doesnt even come close to being even let alone triumphant.

      Yes to organ music!

  4. “Can we please stop wiping people’s memories for plot purposes? It was old about three seasons ago; now, it’s just ridiculous.”

    Your comment here reminded me of something. I remember back in the 70’s (I think….) just about every show had at least one episode revolving around amnesia. Memory wiping reminds me so much of that. And yes, it does get old. How long before that does permanent damage anyway? 😊

  5. I think I am in the ‘meh’ category on this episode, more than the angry category. After the first two episodes, I was thrilled because the writers and cast seemed to really be bringing their ‘A’ game to this half of the season, but this episode was definitely a let down.

    A. I think they messed the timeline up big time on the Rumple/Bae scenes. This Bae actually seemed older than our original Bae and I think it would have served the scenes better and made the whole set up more believable if this Bae was younger. If this timeline was right after Rumple became the Dark One, the whole thing would have made more sense. Rumple isn’t out killing everyone yet, he’s just using magic when he feels like he’s got to protect Bae or wants to prove he’s not a coward. If Bae was younger, he may not have been fully against magic at this point and less mature, which would make the whole ‘kill him’ scene more believable. A younger child is more likely to lash out emotionally than an older one. Still given that, Robert Carlyle kills every version of Rumple he plays.

    B. The parallels between Gideon turning dark and Bae turning dark seemed sooooo forced. And please, if Rumple is really the most powerful Dark One ever, how is this petulant child always getting the better of him. Really Rumple, man up, put Gideon in a time out and tell him to grow up. Better yet, stick him in Pandora’s box (he was so willing to do it to Belle), until they can figure out how to control him and make him see sense.

    C. Finally, I have so many problems with the proposal scene and only one thing that can make any sense to me. First the problems: Ditto on Emma being way off on being able to read Killian’s emotions here. First clue, he said he had something to ‘tell’ her, not ‘ask’ her. Second clue, it hardly seems like Killian would have to go get drunk to get the courage to propose. Seems like Emma should realize that. Third clue, he’s obviously not thinking about asking you to marry him if when you say your answer would be yes, he looks confused and says ‘what was the question’. Just really, Emma (or I should saw Writers). Lastly, why is Emma running downstairs WITH the ring. If she really just found it, seems like any normal person would put the thing back and wait with anticipation for the proposal. Especially with Emma and Killian. Seems like she would KNOW that he’s going to have something good planned. I think your idea that SHE proposes fits in way better with how she was acting.

    The only part that sort of did ring true was Killian’s reaction. He’s struggling with whether to tell Emma the truth all day (Archie had asked ‘wasn’t it early for rum’ and then when Killian leaves Granny’s it’s dark out.) So he gets there and Emma is obviously soooooo very excited and already said Yes, that when she places the ring in his hand and is looking so hopefully at him, I can see Killian taking the path he did. Why would he want to ruin this for her? He wants to give her everything her heart desires and he can see that in that moment, she wants the proposal. He had said that he could take his secret to his grave and no one would know. I think in that moment, he chose to make Emma happy rather than relieve his guilt. But we all know that it will weigh on him. I can only hope that Jane Espenson is writing the episode where we get the ‘make up proposal’ .

    D. I had not missed the Evil Queen in the least the prior to episodes. I was really hoping she would just stay gone. And I wish they would find something more to do with Zelena than make her the petulant sister over and over again.

    E. Seems like this episode was just Drama for Drama’s sake. I hope they get back to their ‘A’ game soon.

    Thanks for listening and always enjoy your thoughts on the episodes.

    • You’ve pretty much summed up my feelings on this episode. This week the blog seems to be functioning as the support group for the episode.

    • I agree the age of the casting for Bae seemed way off and just made this whole thing confusing. Although even if you place this right before Bae fell through the portal, I think this version of Rumple still fits. All of the Dark One/Bae interactions we have seen in flashbacks show a Rumple that is trying to do the right thing for his son, he just cant seem to do it. I think the only time we see him gleefully kill people is right after his transformation, and from Emma’s experience, we know he probably had some pretty powerful voices in his head egging him on at the time. Emma was pretty dang close to killing Merida before the gang showed up right in the nick of time, and she didnt even want the power at all.

      co-sign on having queen Jane write us a true proposal scene!

  6. As always, your review was a huge relief! I was late watching the ep this week and I got spoiled for the proposal because the CS fandom was melting down on tumblr. I thought it was going to be a sweet, joyful moment from the reactions I saw. After watching that episode, I wondered if I was crazy for feeling betrayed by the show and your review proved I’m not alone in feeling disappointed!

    This episode upset nearly every relationship dynamic that I’ve emotionally invested in. Rumple x Bae, Hook x Emma, Regina x Robin…I haven’t felt this upset since they killed Robin off. I’m half glad Snowing and Henry weren’t in the episode because there’s no way they would have survived this episode untarnished.

    Rumple x Bae is the one I’m most upset about, tbh. Although I didn’t love adult Neal as much, the Baelfire episodes were always highlights because Dylan Schmidt and Robert Carlyle and such fantastic father/son chemistry. There was always so much tragedy in the genuine love Baelfire and Rumple had for each other and the distance Dark Magic created between them. It was essential to the tragedy of their dynamic that Baelfire always had the moral high ground…Rumple always wanted to make the right choice for his son but he couldn’t. Like Rumple said a few episodes ago, he has always been drawn to those who are light, like Belle and Baelfire. Having Baelfire darken his heart and lose the moral high ground not only muddies his own heart, but also muddies their relationship. Are we supposed to believe that Rumple only “gave into the darkness” to save Baelfire from darkening his own? Literally nothing about Rumple’s arc suggests that is true…he has chosen power every time, he relished in the Dark One power immediately because it meant he didn’t have to be afraid. He took the power of the Dark One for the “right reason”, to save Baelfire, but he was corrupted by it almost immediately. Shouldn’t that have been the point Rumple was trying to teach Gideon?

    A parallel between Gideon and Baelfire shouldn’t have required Baelfire to go dark. Instead, w e could have seen more of Rumple’s transition in to the Dark One, more of him doing the “right thing” in the wrong way. Baelfire could have offered Rumple advice, could have suggested that Rumple stop using magic and be a hero the “right way”, maybe by using Beowulf’s sword. Then Rumple would cave as he always does and use magic because he’s a coward/craves power/etc. The flashback parallel could have been Rumple giving Baelfire’s advice to Gideon. It would have started Rumple back on the path to redemption. After all, in season 4 he promised Neal he’d be a better man and he’s yet to do that. What better way to start back down that path then to save Neal’s younger brother by using his advice?

    Honestly, I feel bad for the kid playing Baelfire. The writers made it even more difficult for this new version of Bae to be accepted by the fans because this barely feels like the same character. Dylan Schmidt’s Baelfire was one of the few characters who was universally loved by the fandom back in the day (adult Neal not so much) and it was always going to be hard to recast a fan favorite role, but to do it while tarnishing the legacy of Rumple’s brightest light? That poor kid. I hope he doesn’t get any hate from the fans.

  7. Maybe we will get a 2nd proposal with Emma and Hook.
    I do agree on that i wanted to see Hook say more then just will you marry me, the man has a way with words. I hope that whenever we do get a wedding for them, we see such vows being made that Killian says more.

  8. I think I can explain Killian’s ‘broken’ comment. I think what he was referring to, is his past, and what he did as the vengeful Captain Hook will always be a burden that can cost him his happiness in the present.

    I am happy for Emma. I was happy to see how excited she was to run to Killian and tell him that she found the ring and was excited for him to propose to her. It’s a world of difference from when Walsh proposed and she ran. If you cut out Killian’s sad face at the end of it, the scene itself is quite lovely. And they played the music from “Birth,” that epic music when Killian was dying. Emma does not have any walls anymore and she is so ready to marry her one true love, her pirate and become Mrs. Emma Swan-Jones, or Mrs. Emma Jones.

    I know a lot of my fellow CS’ers are upset but actually, I am very optimistic (mainly because I read spoilers, so I know this will pass). I know Killian. True, he cannot bring back David’s father but he is going to try to do something to help fix the situation.

    I totally agree with you about this new information about Baelfire. I could not stand Neal but I liked Baelfire, and I’m not a superfan of the character but the characterization of Baelfire is so out of character. If I were a Baelfire fan, I would be offended by the way his character was assassinated to make his papa look better.

    I know Rumple loved Bae and went to great lengths to protect him (so I understand why he used the memory potion on Bae to save him from himself) but I also don’t think Rumple would have acted like a shriveling coward without the dagger. He’s still the Dark One, for Pete’s sake. You’re going to tell me crossing a shallow swamp is dangerous and scary. Please, I’ve faced scarier playing Skyrim!

    Back to Baelfire though. The Baelfire we know never cared about power. He had been a strong advocate for Rumple to give up his power because he knew that the power would continue to hurt his family. Baelfire would have never ordered his papa to kill someone on his behalf. That just does not jive with what we know of the character.

    Thank you for your review, Katie!

    • I think perhaps we are supposed to see the dagger itself as an object that influences the person holding it (a la the LOTR ring). Even when Rumple killed Zoso and became the dark one, it was like he was possessed with rage in the second before he stabbed Zoso, and that was very unlike the cowardly Rumple we know. There was a moment here where it was like Rumple could see the dagger preying on Bae’s vulnerabilities.

  9. Pingback: TV Time: Once Upon a Time 6.14 | Nerdy Girl Notes

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