This week was very much an episode of two halves. If it happened in the past you can be sure Once Upon a Time fans everywhere were fawning all over their TV screens but if it took place in Seattle then you can be sure most were off putting the kettle on.
The central character of “Beauty” was everyone’s favourite Dark One and as always Robert Carlyle didn’t disappoint. Admittedly I’ve never been a big of Belle (Emilie De Ravin) and her relationship with Rumpelstiltskin because while it should work on paper for me I wasn’t ever sold on it. Mostly it’s down to De Ravin’s rather stilted acting and her lack of chemistry with Carlyle, who always worked better playing off of Lana Parrilla’s Regina, but I do appreciate the pairing have a lot of fans out there. It’s not the idea of the couple that I don’t like, it’s simply the execution.
That being said this episode almost had me hook, line and sinker. While I still cringed a little while Belle was on screen, the absolutely stunning Up!-esque montage in the Edge of Realms did more in 2 or 3 minutes then the rest of the series put together. Graphically it was spectacular and it was a fantastic ode to the original animated scene that they lifted the idea from.
In Hyperion Heights things weren’t quite so rosy. Rumple/Weaver and Alice/Tilly (Rose Reynolds) were our main focus here and yet again poor Robert Carlyle is held back by another limited actor. Tilly is sadly a little irritating and while her wacky behaviour it may be attributed to the fact that the character is her medication, the same irritations were prevalent when we first meet her in the alternative Enchanted Forest.
On the flipside Gabrielle Anwar continues to impress as Victoria Belfrey, who uses her power to manipulate the world she has created for herself. It all seems awfully relevant considering the kind of abuse of power currently being exposed in the real world; it’s not sexual abuse (that we know of) but she uses her wealth and position of power to control those around her.
It was interesting to watch the power play between Belfrey and Weaver as they each tried to work one another, something Weaver’s no stranger to due to his time as Mr Gold in Storybrooke and through his dealings with Regina’s Evil Queen.
A character who was explored more thoroughly after sitting on the sidelines for the opening 3 episodes was Lady Tremaine/Victoria Belfrey’s daughter Drizella/Ivy (Adelaide Kane) who back in the premiere I had even assumed was simply a mere assistant for the hardnosed Victoria. This week we got see behind the icy exterior of Victoria’s doting daughter and yet again it’s Henry (Andrew J. West) who brings out the best side of the character just as he already has with Jacinda (Dania Ramirez) and regularly does with Regina.
However I’m not sure I’m keen on the idea of a potential love triangle between Jacinda/Henry/Ivy that they appear to allude to towards the end of this episode.
It’s also worth noting that Regina/Roni looked fantastic as Rizo from Grease. It’s fair to say, her scene with Henry about grief was by far the best thing about the Seattle based scenes and it’s nice to see that Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) hasn’t been forgotten and still plays a vital part in Regina’s character. Even a curse can’t stop this love!
Finally it’s worth discussing whether or not you think Rumple is indeed awake after Tilly’s little stunt and whether it’s possible or not he’s actually been playing acting this whole time…