Once Upon A Time – Season 6, Episode 9 Recap: One Dark Mother Of A Backstory

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I apologize once more for the tardiness of this blog. I was on my way back from Ireland last night! I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Dublin, where I had a rollicking good time. Even checked out the Gaiety Theatre (Colin’s alma mater) and listened to Trad (traditional music) at one of the best pubs for it in Dublin. How could I resist?

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Anyway, on with the show. We begin tonight with Rumple running down a fairy who warns him that he won’t get away with whatever it is he’s doing.

The Evil Queen shows up and Rumple reminds her that she’s still got some sister-killing to do if he wants to get a piece of of his dark dagger of love. He throws some gold dust on the fairy, turning her old, knowing that this will send a message to Belle letting her know that he’s going to use the magic on her. Once he ages the baby out of her, he can use the shears of destiny to cut the boy from his fate and take him from Belle.

Flashback now to Rumple’s castle in the Enchanted Forest, where he drops a baby unceremoniously on the table in front of Belle.

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He’s stolen the child from its parents for nefarious reasons, much to Belle’s dismay. She asks him if he even bothered to get the child’s name, and Rumple replies that a names a specialty. “You don’t waste it on something you don’t plan on becoming attached to,” he informs her, in a curiously shaky voice. He warns her not to try and hide the child – and he will be back for it at sundown. We later see Belle reading to the baby from Her Handsome Hero, a book that her mother once read to her.

Forward now to Storybrooke’s library, where Belle conveniently finds a manual for defeating the Dark One – a book she’s never seen before.There’s a strand in the book that appears on the floor and Belle picks it up and follows it like a lunatic. What the hell, Belle – you’re the smart one! Whew. She’s only dreaming.

She soon realizes she’s entered the dreamworld when she sees her son. The thread is the strand of his fate, and according to him, the answer to saving him is right in front of her and she needs to act on it quickly before his fate is cut short. She wakes face-down on a book.

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Belle enlists the help of Emma and Killian – who, being a pirate, recognizes that the book in front of Belle was written in squid ink. Emma’s going to extract it with magic and use it to stun Rumple. Killian advises Belle to stay safe and let him and Emma take it from there.

I need to pause a moment and call something out, here. I love that Belle and Killian are friends, but he’s very. . . I don’t know . . .sort of intimate with her. He calls her “love” too often and I swear every word out of his mouth to her sounds like a caress. More so than usual, I mean. The man could talk a nun out of her drawers, for creep’s sake, but with Emma being so distant and shell-shocked this season, he’s got much more warm familiarity and gentle affection with Belle and it’s nagging at me to the point where I’m starting to wonder how they’d be together. And I am a die-hard Captain Swan shipper (see my fanfics for confirmation on that)! It’s just kind of insidious, what’s between Belle and Killian now – and I’m not sure if it’s intentional by the writers or not.

Over at Zelena’s, the Evil Queen shows up and lets her know that Gold sent her. Zelena immediately puts the whole thing together. She lays the baby down with a kiss and an I love you before cautioning her evil sis that Rumple is playing her. They head outside, where the mother of all witch fights occurs, fireballs and green lightning bolts shatter the sky and scorch the earth as these two powerful, magical, vindictive women battle it out – Zelena is especially fantastical as her motherly instincts kick in – refusing to back down now that she’s got baby Robin to protect.

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Just kidding. The Evil Queen hits her with one measly fireball and Zelena’s crunched up against the shed door without raising a freaking finger. Right. Just as the Evil Queen prepares to deliver the killing blow, Regina shows up, and she’s holding her own heart. She threatens to crush it to save Zelena and gives it a good squeeze, showing that she means business.

“You still have a hole in your heart,” she tells her evil self. “That’s why you fell for Rumplestiltskin.” The Evil Queen poofs away, bested for now.

Regina heals Zelena up, and they share a conversation about redemption and forgiveness, as Zelena tries to apologize for once again taking the evil road and not renewing the tentative family ties they’d developed at the end of Season 5. That’s when Regina lets her know that she saved her not out of any familial love – but because that’s what heroes do. Furthermore, she blames Zelena for Robin’s death and she’ll never forgive her. Zelena begs for a second chance, but it falls on deaf ears as Regina strides away. Damn, Zelena. Maybe you need an umbrella after Regina threw all that shade.

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Over at Gold’s, Killian strides in, arrogant as you please and Rumple takes the bait, attacking him. This leaves him open to Emma throwing the squid ink, which stuns him. He vows that Killian will pay for that and all I can think is – dude! He saved the life of your wife and unborn child just a couple of episodes ago. Talk about an unpaid debt! I would think by magical law, Rumple can’t put a finger on him.

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Anyway, they start looking for the shears, but Emma sees her vision again. This time she sees a glowing red gem in the hilt of the sword that kills her.

Rumple steps away, because they used like, a teaspoon of squid ink, and he heads straight for Belle in the library. She staggers to the elevator in slow motion and of course, Rumple stops her easily.

“I once told you I was a difficult man to love,” he tells her. “I think I’m a man no one can love.” It’s a sorrowful confession, and he admits that he wants to start over with a new son. “Maybe he can love me,” Rumple says pitifully.

“You know this price,” Belle reminds him. “You’ll lose me forever.”

Rumple steps back, and doesn’t use the magic.

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Across town at Granny’s, Snow is thrilled to see that her kids have great scores on their latest quiz, even though her husband is trapped in a catatonic state somewhere nearby. Then again, he’s been trapped in a catatonic state for a lot of this show after season one, so I guess it’s no big deal. Jasmine is with her, and she lets Snow know that Aladdin found the genie lamp, but she’s defeated by the fact that there’s no genie in it. Snow gives her the standard hero pep talk, which they should now just print up give to her in brochure form for these occasions.

Flashback to Belle at Rumple’s castle, taking the baby to the library as she tries to figure out what he plans for the child. She finds Rumple’s scroll, which is an incantation in fairy language to call the Black Fairy.  Belle falls into his trap – translating it for him (why would she write down the incantation? Oh yeah, plot convenience), and he swoops in to take the scroll and her translation, along with the baby.

Forward to the Charming residence now. Jasmine and Aladdin have the lamp and Jasmine gives it a rub. Two gold genie cuffs appear, but alas, no genie. And once again, they remind us that the genie is free. Just like they told us last episode. And two scenes ago. We get it. Aladdin slaps the cuffs on, turning himself into a genie so that he can grant Jasmine’s wish to return to Agrabah. Sadly, we do not get to see Aladdin’s shirtless, well-oiled genie chest. I am hopeful for next week.

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Across town at Gold’s, the Evil Queen gets pissy because he didn’t use the aging magic on Belle. She reminds him that he never stays good because that’s not who he really is. “You want to know what failure looks like?” he sneers at her. “Take a look in the mirror.”

She’s none to happy to realize that Zelena and Regina were right. Gold has been playing her.

Over at Granny’s, Belle enjoys a cup of tea (which Killian encourages her to drink with a twinkle in his eyes and the endearment of ‘love’ again) as Emma  tells him about her latest vision and the glowing red jewel in sword that brings on her death. Suddenly, Belle drops the cup as it’s been laced with the magical powder, and her belly starts growing exponentially.

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Flashback to Belle locked in Rumple’s library in the Enchanted Forest. In flies the Blue Fairy, to give us the backstory on the Black fairy – who used to be one of them. Somewhere along the way, her heart blackened and she started stealing children instead of protecting them. Blue agrees to free Belle so that she can save the child.

She rushes to the forest where she finds Rumple summoning the fairy, and hides herself to observe as Rumple stuns the fairy with squid ink. Holy cow, does the Black Fairy look amazing.

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That costume is so much better than Blue’s. Blue always looks like one of those crappy doll cakes your mom’s friend made for your eleventh birthday. This costume is smoking hot, and so is the fairy, for that matter. Rumple asks her one important question: After stealing so many children, why did she abandon the one child that was actually hers? The fairy’s eyes widen as she realizes Rumple is her child. A child, he points out, that she didn’t even bother to name.

Well, who the hell gave him that clunker of a name, then? Must’ve been dear old Dad. And how the hell did dear old Dad nail a hot fairy? I mean, Rumple’s father was no GQ model, here. Or even particularly charismatic. What the hell? Was she drunk on fairy dust or what?

“Sometimes you have to chose power over love,” the fairy tells him. She takes off, laughing in his face as Belle grabs the baby. Belle offers her sympathy for having a really shitty parent, but she also chides Rumple for nearly sacrificing the child. We later see Belle returning the baby to its parents.

Forward to Storybrooke now, and Belle has been taken to the convent to give birth, with a fairy acting as midwife and Emma being labor coach.

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Rumple shows up but the fairies have put up a powerful protection spell. As Emma helps Belle through her labor, she slips into the dreamworld again. Her son tells her to do what she must do now that time is running out. She balks desperately, telling him there has to be another way.

“Don’t forget the book,” he cautions her as she returns to consciousness.

After the birth, Belle asks Blue to be the baby’s fairy godmother. Then she asks her to take the baby somewhere safe, somewhere far away from all this. Heartbroken, she hands the baby over, along with her copy of Her Handsome Hero. She names him Gideon, after the hero in the book. Blue takes the baby and flies away, just as Rumple breaks through the protection spell.

Rumple demands to know the baby’s name, but Belle refuses to tell him, knowing that he can use that name if he ever gets it. He swears he will find the baby.

Back at his shop, the Evil Queen is gloating. “Did someone lose another son?” she coos. She admits she’s the one that dosed Belle’s tea with the magic and Rumple vows to have his revenge on her. “I play a very long game,” he reminds her coldly. “And you’re nothing more than one of my pawns.”

“I hear fairies make wonderful mothers,” she shoots back in parting. And we watch as Rumple trashes his shop.

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Emma and Killian share a moment of mumbling at Granny’s. Seriously, I re-watched the scene four times and only caught half the lines while watching in a house that was silent as a tomb. I give up – it’s something about her always being a savior and they need to find that sword.

They break into Gold’s shop and of course, the sword is the first thing Emma finds.The minute she puts her hand on it, it triggers the vision again. Emma and Killian hope that finding the sword can lead them to whoever it is that’s going to kill her.

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I’m giving this one four storybooks out of five. There was some good backstory here, but also a lot of things that raised questions.  For instance:

  1. What’s the significance of Her Handsome Hero? We know that there’s a mystery with Belle’s mother’s death (or just disappearance), and that her mother read her this book. She also mentioned the book to Gaston last season. Here we see it again, and her son urges her to send the book with him when she sends him away. This is smart, as Rumple can’t use it to deduce the child’s name, but I think there’s more going on here. I’m half-wondering if Blue didn’t take the baby to be raised by grandma.
  2. How the hell did the Black Fairy and Rumple’s Dad end up together? And how did she lose her wand? Since Blue’s the one who had it (before Rumple stole it), I’m guessing there was some kind of fairy civil war. I’d love to see that play out in flashbacks.
  3. Going out on a short, easily traversed limb here to say that clearly, Regina needs to learn that heroes forgive, too. And she will.
  4. The glowing red jewel on the sword looks a lot like the glowing red eyes of Jafar’s snake staff, don’t you think? Correlation? Only time will tell.
  5. It’s clear from the promo for the mid-season finale that the Evil Queen gets ahold of the lamp, and therefore commands Aladdin. I can’t wait to see what happens when the original curse is undone! Bring it!

What did you think of the Black Fairy? And where do you think they’ll leave us hanging next week?

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