Sunday, January 13, 2013

'Once Upon A Time' 211: "The Outsider" Review

Last week, Cora and Hook sailed into town and Cora stirred up some trouble for her daughter, Regina. Now it’s Hook’s turn as he seeks out his vengeance against ‘the crocodile’ Rumpelstiltskin by attacking him where he’s currently the most vulnerable.

If I present the episode like that then it won’t seem as unbearable as most of it was. That’s a trick I learned from Mr. Gold actually—telling a story the way that makes things suit your purposes even if it’s not entirely true.

In actuality, almost the entire hour was devoted Belle and Rumbelle, the unfathomably popular character and the equally unfathomably popular ship. Our only glimpse into the Enchanted Kingdom of days gone by was a story involving Belle inserting herself into the hunt for a beast (do you get what they’re going to do yet) that’s been a nuisance in nearby villages.

The show does its best to sell Belle as a strong, brave, resourceful young woman without her really living up to any of those traits. When are writers going to learn that just because you put dialog into another character’s mouth to describe someone a certain way that it doesn’t make it so if the character doesn’t have anything to back those claims up? Or that when you put someone like her next to someone who fits the above traits such as Mulan it only serves to make Belle look that much worse. I suppose it’s because they’re still trying to make this character resemble the Belle everyone grew up with, but just because they share the same name doesn’t make them the same person. Let me put it to you this way, if Storybrooke was the setting of a horror movie, Belle wouldn’t make it past the first half hour.


As if an hour focused almost entirely on a back-story no one really wanted wasn’t bad enough, the way her story twists serves as further justification from the show that Rumbelle is a ship worth sailing. I don’t want to bash, but seriously Mr. Gold was in the process of beating Hook to death and when Belle wasn’t just standing there she was still trying to plead with her ‘love’ about the good in him. There’s a huge difference between the valiant Phillip being cursed to become a literal monster on the outside than with someone who has been warped severely by dark power on the inside. Some women just can’t get over the idea they can fix their significant other even when they clearly relish being the Dark One despite anything they claim to the contrary.


Enough about those two, let’s focus on the true star of the hour which was once again Hook himself. People (myself included) like to complain that Once Upon A Time should focus on telling stories with the characters they’ve already introduced rather than bring new ones into town. Clearly if all they have are stories like the Belle one from this episode than they need to bring a whole shipload of new people into Storybrooke. Hook’s confrontation scene with Belle where he revealed the actual truth behind his grudge with Rumple held the right amount of danger to it where you honestly didn’t know quite what Hook would do next.


Even though he was seemingly trounced by Rumple, Hook still came back and won by not just giving up because plan A failed. When he forced Belle over the line it was one of the best moments of the season. Though now I fear we’re going to get a lot of ‘remember me Belle’ moments from Rumple. Maybe she’ll actually get the chance now to see who she’s really been pouring all of her time and energy into ‘saving’.


The only other real happening in this episode had to do with the Charmings having a disagreement about how to proceed with their lives post-curse. David wants to live in a castle again while Snow is much more realistic in her expectations of the Maine real estate market. It’s fun to see a real world decision couples make all of the time with that fairy tale character twist to it.


Archie was also revealed to be alive and he spilled that it was Cora behind his kidnapping. It kinda bugged me, no pun intended for the former cricket, that this story was so quickly wrapped up. They seem to do this a lot lately in season two: introduce a story, give it something  slightly grim, but don’t worry because happy endings for all. You can actually feel the creators balking at killing people off for real or keeping things a little more melancholy in some corners of the town. I guess they’re still scared of the fandom after the Sheriff Graham incident in season one. But the episode-ending development of a stranger crashing into town might lead to something that tests the moral mettle of our characters if the previews are anything to go by. If nothing else, David Anders is finally back next week!

1 comment:

  1. "There’s a huge difference between the valiant Phillip being cursed to become a literal monster on the outside than with someone who has been warped severely by dark power on the inside."

    How nice for Rumpel that he has an "excuse" for his evil deeds. (eyeroll)