The series returns to contemplate Belle and Rumplestiltskin’s relationship, with a few pirates and fire-monsters thrown in for good measure.
While Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) is testing a new magic to enable him to leave town to search for his son, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) attacks Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and he steals the object Rumple needs to leave town.
Belle decides to try to track down Hook herself and stumbles upon his ship. She rescues poor Archie (Raphael Sbarge), but is cornered by Hook.
Rumple comes to Belle’s rescue and gets the better of Hook. Belle begs Rumple not to kill the pirate, to prove that he is still good. He bows to her wishes and leaves Hook alive.
However, just before Rumple leaves town, Hook shows up to get revenge anyway. He forces Belle across the town line, robbing her of her memories of Rumple.
In the Enchanted Forest’s past, Belle sets off on a heroic journey to track a fiery beast threatening the land. She meets up with Mulan (Jamie Chung), who is also hunting the beast.
When Mulan is injured, Belle is left to face the beast alone. But when she disables it, she discovers that the beast is actually … Prince Phillip under a spell! She introduces Mulan to Phillip before she leaves them.
Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, David (Josh Dallas) and Mary-Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) debate whether to return home, Archie shows up to tell the truth about Regina, and an out-of-state vehicle crashes into the town limits.
It’s always fun to watch Hook in action, especially with the ladies. Cora had her chance, and now we get to see Hook try his hand (hook?) at revenge plots. And just when it seemed that he was lousy at it, he finally got it right at the end.
“Wait … you’re a …” “Yeah, I know.” You go, girl! Mulan got some good action this week, and we are reminded that she’s not a bad character when she’s not saddled with Aurora.
The twist of the beast’s true identity intertwined two very separate arcs quite nicely. The beast seemed to be too vulnerable to a little spritzer, but that made sense once the spell was revealed.
And who expected the car to crash into Hook and Rumple’s Battle Royale? Nice surprise, writers!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Someone should tell Belle that the best way to be taken seriously by a bunch of angry monster-hunters is to leave the revealing outfits at home. And some sensible footwear when chasing down a vengeful pirate would also help. Just a hint.
Why does Belle go on the monster hunt in the first place? Sure, she wants some “adventure,” but going on a hunting trip after a ravenous fire-beast for her first time out? It seems a bit much for a lovely little bookworm fresh out of a bad relationship. And why was Dreamy seriously talking her into this mad idea? Bad Dwarf, Dreamy!
Belle makes quite a leap of logic when she speculated from a small knot about the existence of an invisible pirate ship. She also has excellent aim to find the entrance to said invisible ship with hardly any effort.
Finally, for a dread pirate, Hook gets beaten by Mr. Gold pretty easily. Not to mention Belle. Hopefully his crew of dastardly pirates doesn’t hear about how the captain was unable to defeat a librarian and a limping shopkeeper!
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
“The Outsider” was directed by David Solomon. It was written by Andrew Chambliss and Ian B. Goldberg.
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.