OUAT – The Outsider (s2e11)

Posted: January 16, 2013 in Once
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After being steeped in Regina last week, this week we turn to Rumpelstiltskin and his story.  Yet, on the surface we did not.  In many ways, Rumpel was the secondary character next to Belle’s.  As a result,we got a significant piece of back-story on Belle.

I have to say at the outset, that I was both surprised and impressed at the pace they have moved the story along.  Most shows would have milked the Archie thread half a season before moving it anywhere.  Yet this show moves the story along in a real manner on the next episode?  That shows a great deal of confidence on their part.  It also confirms my suspicion as to how well the show is planned out, on at least a seasonal basis.  It also excites me to anticipate the remainder of this season.

Just to recap quickly:

  • Archie has been rescued and people know he’s still alive
  • People know that Regina was innocent
  • Schmee’s involvement has been ratted out and his story wrapped up
  • How Mulan met Philip has been answered
  • A way around the memory curse has been found
  • Magic’s price when it involves Good Magic appears to not be a bad thing
  • We have answers on how Regina captured Belle

There are also a few things that we can assume from implication.  First of all, they know Cora is there.  Or at least they should, since Emma knows Hook and Cora are working together.  It should be hard to imagine that Hook would be there without her.

I think we can also assume now that there is also a way to break the memory curse, which is good for both Belle and Sneezy.  What’s the point of spending so much time on the character if the intent is death of personality?  How I think this could work would be for Belle version 2.0 to fall in love with Gold again.  In this case would True Love’s Kiss be restorative?  It was when Snow forgot about Charming last season.  Well… actually good for Belle.  It may be a bit more problematic for Sneezy.  One thing I am curious about here is seeing what the cursed personality of Belle is like.  We never did get to see that.

In addition to this question, there are a few others raised.  The most obvious is who was driving the car with the Pennsylvania plates?  Neil was from New York.  Philip’s soul was taken somewhere by the wraith.  Most of the fandom seems to be assuming Bae and Neil are the same.  August is somewhere, but still wooden.  The only thing you can be sure of is that this won’t be unconnected with the Enchanted Forest.  What new character may then be introduced?  Someone connected to the long awaited Oz storyline?  There have been hints going all the way back to the flying monkeys in The Book in the pilot.

The other question, before I move on to Rumpelstiltskin, is whether we are seeing some trouble in Happily Ever After?  While the question of why they’re not back in the Enchanted Forest is completely understandable – as is people’s desire to return home – I hope they don’t make that a “drama point” between Mary Margaret and David.  After all the time they have worked together overcoming their trials, having this come between them as a divisive issue, is just a bit hard to swallow.  That just crosses too far into the realm of soap opera and cheap manipulation.

Though the plot was primarily about Belle, the story – for me at least – was about Rumpelstiltskin.  We see through the plot that Belle is a good, kind and quite courageous person who is brilliant and uses her wits to solve problems.  However, this plot drives the story in the insights and development it gives into Rumpelstiltskin.

Rumpel is by far the most complex character in this story.  His heart, as Belle says, is good, however he seems to have forgotten that.  Her role in the Big Story, as it were, seems to be guiding him to remember.  Is he Evil or just a coward?  As a man, he just wants to have his family and live in peace.  As the Dark One, he has been beyond ruthless in pursuing his objective of first protecting, and now finding, his son.  Unlike Regina, though his actions of often evil or at best amoral, his motives are often good rather than vengeful.  Like Cora, he has no hesitation for ruthlessness to the point of killing.  Unlike Cora, he seems to not do so without cause.

While for many characters, the story seems to be about finding True Love, in Rumpel’s case it seems to be in finding True Courage.  True Love still plays a huge role, of course.  The impact that Belle has had on him since she has returned has been dramatic.  One thing to note, that Gold was now willing to fight – without magic – to protect the woman he loved.  More important, and far more courageous, was that he spared his enemy for her sake.  He’s admitted what he is to Belle and that’s a huge step for his journey back to the light, though I expect it to be a long one.  I think an important lesson Rumpel is learning is that True Love is – by definition – something of which nobody is deserving and that it is something unconditional.  And accepting that kind of love – as well as returning it – is one of the greatest acts of courage possible

Make no mistake; I’m not being an apologist for Rumple.  While Regina’s evils have been in plain sight for all to see, the full extent of Rumpelstiltskin’s crimes are largely hidden by the veil of secrecy.  I think that the price he is going to pay for what he has done with his magic is to watch those he loves pay his price.  That’s happened now with Milah, with Bae, and now with Belle.  I think there is going to be a moment of realization and at that time he will pay the price rather than let someone else.

How do I think he story will end?  I would say look at the actual Beauty and the Beast fairy tale; the Disney version, that is.  The dagger obviously comes into play.  I think his story will end in his being stabbed with dagger refusing to let someone else pay his price yet again.  As he lay dying and before the Dark One’s power can transfer, he will get True Love’s Kiss from Belle breaking the power of the Dark One forever.  He will have found courage, rejected evil, lost his magic and be given the chance of his Happily Ever After with Belle and hopefully Bae.  Yes, yes.  A bit melodramatic.  But it is a fairy tale, after all.

To wrap this character analysis up, the title of the episode was The Outsider.  Who is the Outsider?  The obvious answer is Hook, but really might this be a more fitting description of Rumpel?

Just to end on a lighter note, let’s assume for a moment that Bae and Neil are the same person.  Oh, and that he and Emma end up together with Henry.  Anyone want to try to draw THAT family tree?  That makes Prince Charming and Rumpelstiltskin Henry’s grandfathers.  The evil queen is both his step mother and his great-grandmother.  I can’t begin to imagine what a family get together over the holidays would be like.

As always, I love to hear your thoughts!

  1. [“Magic’s price when it involves Good Magic appears to not be a bad thing”]

    Good magic? That sounds like something for children’s stories.

    • Raul Ybarra says:

      Ohhh…. what a great comment!

      The surface answer is, of course, “Yes.” Once Upon A Time is based on children’s stories and fairy tales — Dr. Whale’s story being the major exception.


      What a stack of questions that opens the moment you really look at it.

      Is there Good Magic (e.g. fairy dust, Mulan’s sword) and Evil Magic (the Dark One’s dagger, Cora’s spell book)? Is magic just some impersonal force, a plot device (the warp drive, transporter and phasers of this story) and the Good/Evil is from the use by the person?

      Can anyone learn magic? Or is this something with which you are born? And where/how does Love tie in?

      What about science and Dr. Whale/Frankenstein?

      This topic is going to be VERY important for Emma as the season progresses.

      I think you’ve just given me my next (or at least very soon) topic for analysis…


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