“Lacey” provides a delightful dose of comic relief in the midst of an incredibly intense and dark episode, which promises more trouble for our fairytale favorites. What makes this episode such a joy to watch is the interaction between Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin as the constantly evolving Rumple/Dark One/Mr. Gold and Belle/Lacey. Their performances truly bring these fantastical characters to life and ground them with real and relatable emotions. Finally meeting the infamous Robin Hood, wonderfully portrayed by Tom Ellis, was also a savory treat. His clever connection with RumBelle strengthens one of ‘Once Upon A Time’s’ over-arching themes, which is love.
At the end of the day, we are given another captivating story about what people are willing to do for the ones they love. The trouble with love is that it will make you do crazy things.
Fairytale Land: “You can’t tell what’s in a person’s heart until you truly know them.”
Rumple’s flashbacks are always the most entertaining, especially when we see him as the Dark One because he is hilarious. Carlyle’s delivery is devilishly charming every time. You know you should hate the Dark One for all of his evil deeds, yet you can’t help but like this hysterically funny and quirky dude. Luckily, Belle comes along to show us why Rumple can be a loveable character.
This fairytale flashback picks up shortly after Belle agreed to be Rumple’s servant in order to protect her family and village from the terrorizing ogres. The past shows us the tiny baby-steps Rumple took before allowing himself to fall for Belle and reveal his true feelings to her as he did in last season’s “Skin Deep.” In the beginning, Rumple was cold and callus with his lovely indentured servant.
As Belle sobs in her concrete room, Rumple bursts in and demands her to stop weeping so loudly throughout the night because it is interrupting his concentration and interfering with his straw spinning. He even offers the poor girl a pillow to muffle her cries. When they hear a commotion in the castle, Rumple and Belle immediately rush to the source of the sound and catch Robin Hood red-handed as he steals one of Rumple’s magic wands. Robin uses an enchanted arrow that never misses its mark and shoots Rumple with it. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next.
Rumple imprisons Robin Hood and tortures the thief for his crime. When Rumpy explains his reasoning to Belle, he is surprised by her reaction. If you steal from the Dark One, you get skinned alive. “Everyone knows that,” quips Rumple. Except that Belle says they don’t. Unfortunately, that only makes matters worse because the Dark One can now make an example out of Robin Hood to ensure that everyone will always fear his wrath.
When Rumple steps away to freshen up before his next round of torture Belle frees Robin Hood. The kind thief offers Belle the opportunity to escape with him, but she cannot and explains why she must keep her promise to Rumple. Naturally, Rumple is furious with Belle when he realizes what she has done.
Belle tells Rumple that she has a sixth sense about people and can judge their true character. She assures Rumpy that Robin Hood is not a bad person and does not deserve to be punished. When Rumple points out that Robin still got away with his magic wand, Belle argues that he must need it for a good reason. Rumple insists that people who steal magic never have good intentions. Robin Hood must be punished and Rumple is dragging Belle with him, so she can clean up the thief’s blood and learn not to interfere with his business again.
During their carriage ride into the woods, Belle rattles Rumple by claiming that there is still love deep down in his heart. Never missing a beat, Rumple agrees that he does feel love…for his things! As their travels continue, they stumble upon the Sheriff of Nottingham, who also has a beef with Robin Hood. Robin stole his girl and made him the laughing stock of his town, so now he wants revenge. He knows the Dark One makes deals, so he proposes an exchange. Nasty Notti will reveal Robin Hood’s whereabouts in exchange for one night with Rumple’s “wench.” After stating that Belle is not for sale, Rumple lashes out at the sheriff for his crude and insulting request. He magically removes Notti’s tongue from his mouth and makes a new obvious deal: the thief for his tongue. Could Rumple already be sweet on Belle?
As Rumple and Belle track down Robin Hood through the woods, she persistently begs the Dark One to spare Robin’s life. Rumpy treats it all as a joke, until they finally find Robin Hood and see what the wand was truly for. Robin Hood stole the wand to cure his beloved and surprisingly pregnant Maid Marion. (Let’s hope we get to see more of them in the future because this classic fairytale deserves a great deal of exploration on ‘OUAT’.) Belle was right about him and tells Rumple that he can’t kill a father-to-be. Rumple magically plants Belle into the ground, draws Robin’s enchanted bow and fires an arrow towards the young couple. However, the arrow hits a chest on the wagon and gives the lovebirds a chance to escape. Belle is excited to see that there is good in Rumple after all, but he simply states that he missed. When she points out the fact that the magic arrows never miss their mark, Rumple shrugs and says the magic wore off. Belle knows better and throws her arms Rumple in a sweet hug full of happiness and hope. (Cue the cheerful squeals from RumBelle fans: Awww!).
Back at the palace, Rumple continues to soften and open up towards Belle. Earlier he had taunted her for reading countless books full of nonsense. Now, Rumple shows Belle the new library she can “clean” and keep. When she asks if he did this all for her, he tries to shrug it off as nothing of import. Belle sweetly says, “You’re not who I thought you were and I’m glad.”
With time, the beauty tamed the beast. Can history repeat itself in Storybrooke?
Storybrooke: “It’s all true. You really are as dark as people say.”
“Lacey” opens with a bone-chilling shocker. The Charmings and Rumples are celebrating Henry’s birthday at Gold’s shop. As his gift, Gold tells Henry to choose any item he wants from the shop. Henry picks the wand that Robin Hood had stolen from Rumple. Mr. Gold takes the wand to show Henry how to use it. Gold quotes the prophecy and says he must be the boy’s undoing before it is too late. He uses the wand to turn Henry into a life-size porcelain figurine and shatters the boy. Gasp! But wait, it was all just a dream.
Should we take this a good sign, Oncers? On the one hand, Rumple is choosing to keep Henry alive and is trying to be a better man to show his son how much he has changed. On the other hand, he is fantasizing (or having nightmares?) about killing Henry and resolving this haunting prophecy. Perhaps it will all depend on the kind of man Rumple chooses to be.
While Neal and Henry play with swords in the park, Regina asks Mr. Gold what their sons are doing together. Gold finally reveals the surprising twist in their family tree and cutely teases that Henry got his eyes. Regina is predictably peeved and thinks this was all part of Rumple’s master plan. After all, Rumple was the one who arranged the adoption and procured Henry for Regina. Gold claims that he had no idea of Henry’s relation to Baelfire and chalks it up to Fate, but Regina isn’t buying it. In true Evil Regal fashion, she jabs at Gold’s week-spot and assures him that his goodie-goodie act won’t last for long. Regina has seen Rumple’s Dark Heart and knows that he will always choose darkness. (Hmmm, could she be foreshadowing?!)
Mr. Gold pays Belle a visit at the hospital after his no-holds-barred deathbed confession of True Love. Belle is happy to see him alive and she was moved by his kind words. She has a sense about people and knows that he was being sincere over the phone. She admits that her memory is gone, but she acknowledges that they must have had a strong connection in the past. Belle asks for Rumple’s help with regaining her memory and promises to help her if she assists him in return. Gold tells Belle that she always brought out the best in him and he needs her to help him remember that. So they vow to help each other.
When Rumple leaves to arrange Belle’s discharge from the hospital, Regina swoops in with her latest act of revenge. As Belle packs her things and tells Regina about her arrangement with Gold, Regina casts a spell. She throws an enchanted matchbox from The Rabbit Hole bar into Belle’s belongings and tells her to study it for a second. As Belle gazes at the matchbook, she becomes cursed with new memories of her Storybrooke alter-ego, Lacey. While Belle finally begins to feel at home in Storybrooke, the Charmings admit their homesickness to Emma.
Mary Margaret and David take Emma to their top secret magic bean crop that Anton and the Dwarves have been working on while Emma was in New York. Thanks to Cora and Regina’s magic, Anton is now permanently human-sized in Storybrooke, but he seems to be happy with it. He has also done his fair share of bonding with the Dwarves and admires their focused work ethic. The magic beans are almost ready to harvest, so Mama and Papa Charming felt it was time to spill the proverbial beans to Emma about their new plan. They want to go back home and rebuild their kingdom. Mary hasn’t changed her mind about leaving Storybrooke, but she has had a change of heart. M.M. thinks that if she goes back home, she might be able to mend her dark heart and be more Snow White instead of Dark Snow. David throws in a little fatherly advice and incentive by telling Emma that she might be able to find her happy ending if they all go back to the Enchanted Forest. Prince Charming and Snow White appear to have made up their minds, but Emma still has to come to terms with what the move will mean for her and Henry. While she mulls that over, Mr. Gold makes his own unsettling discovery.
Mr. Gold returns to Belle’s hospital room and sees that she has left. He finds the matchbox, goes to the “vile’ Rabbit Hole and is appalled to see ‘racy’ Lacey in all of her scantily clad, pool shooting glory. Rumple knows Belle would not go from books to booze on her own, so he pays Regina a visit. Gold orders Regina to fix Belle, but she refuses to help him in any way. She knows Rumple has been on his best behavior for Bae. She also rubs it in to Rumple that True Love’s Kiss won’t bring back Belle’s memories because she doesn’t feel that same way about him anymore. Rumple has allowed himself to be vulnerable, so Regina is kicking him when he is down. Gold may be playing nice now, but he promises to make Regina suffer for what she has done. Considering his slim options, Gold turns to the only person in town who can relate to his current situation.
Mr. Gold enlists David as his wing-man and asks for his help in winning back Belle’s heart. We rarely see Rumple beg, but that’s basically what he does. For once, Rumple will owe Charming a favor, so David agrees to help. Charming’s first bit of advice to Rumple: Show Belle the man she fell in love with. They go off to the bar and David provides some moral support while Gold tries asking Lacey out on a date.
All of the scenes between Lacey and Gold are so clever and funny. Each interaction is thoroughly entertaining and your heart is breaking for poor Rumpy. We watch this fearless and powerful man turn into a frightened and tentative puppy. Lacey is the complete opposite of Belle. She loves classic rock, drinking shots and playing pool. She lacks any of the intellectual and moral substance she had as Belle. Gold is at a total loss because they have absolutely nothing in common, but he still hopes for the best and asks her out. Despite Gold’s reputation for being ruthless, Lacey agrees to go out with him. They set a date for the next night at Granny’s diner.
Their date starts off with some cute commentary from Granny, Storybrooke’s newest member of the fashion police, who asks if Belle raided Ruby’s closet. Well, someone had to say it. Ruby and Lacey represent the ‘Pretty Woman’ version of fairytales. Anyway, Belle’s wardrobe isn’t the only thing that has changed. Gold tries to order their meal like he used to, but her taste buds have evolved from iced tea and burgers to a bottle of wine and chicken parmesan. Lacey tells Gold that he is a classy guy and she doesn’t see how he can have such a badass reputation because the man sitting before her couldn’t hurt a fly. Then Lacey lets something slip and it makes Gold think that he can still find Belle buried deep down beneath Lacey’s bar-fly exterior. She echoes a quote from the past, “You can’t tell what’s in a person’s heart until you truly know them.” With that one statement, Rumple’s faith is restored. Unfortunately, the moment is short lived.
Belle excuses herself from dinner, when the food arrives and she still hasn’t returned Gold checks to see where she has gone. He finds her in a compromising position behind Granny’s diner. She is now making out with the douche-y dude from the bar (Nottingham’s alter-ego) that she blew off earlier. Gold breaks them up, but maintains his calm considering the circumstances. Nasty Notti immediately runs off like a coward. Lacey then dishes out the cold truth and snaps as a heartbroken Gold, “She may have loved you, but I am not her.” Ouch! While Gold licks his wounds, let’s see what trouble Regina is stirring up.
During a brief encounter earlier in the day, silly Emma hints that Regina won’t have forever to makes nice with Henry. Ugh, Emma, why?! Now Regina will snoop until she discovers Emma’s secret. Granted, the way Regina digs up the truth is pretty cool. She watches David, Anton and the Dwarves pull up at Granny’s diner and then she magically traces David’s tire tracks to see where they came from. She follows the highlighted tire marks all the way to the field. Regina magically removes the Blue Fairy’s protective cloak and exposes the magic bean crop. Well, Henry won’t be leaving Storybrooke without Regina now. Way to go Emma. Sadly, Regina isn’t the only one full of rage and ready to act on it.
Gold passes by the Rabbit Hole and Nasty Notti apologizes for hitting on Gold’s girl. With the drastic change in Belle’s character, there really is no point for Gold to behave himself anymore. Rumple magically removes Notti’s tongue (again) so no one can hear him scream. Then Gold starts impaling Notti with his cane. Lacey catches Gold in mid-beating and she likes what she sees. She gawks, saying, “It’s all true. You really are as dark as people say.” When Gold recognizes the gleeful twinkle in her eye, he replies, “Much darker.” Gold continues beating the crap out of Notti as Lacey looks on, leaving us with a disturbing and potentially dangerous new collaboration. Sure, Nasty Notti deserves a beat-down for being a jerk, but unleashing his dark side like this will only push Rumple further away from his family. Speaking of Gold’s family, Emma and Neal have a little chat about the threats that lie ahead.
Neal brings Henry home after a day at the park and when he mentions how Henry played with the rebooted young Pinocchio, Emma can’t help but worry about August’s warning. Who is their new nemesis in Storybrooke? Neal has faith in Emmal and knows she will figure things out, but it may already be too late.
As the episode concludes, Tamara brings a special delivery to Greg. Remember when Tamara told Neal that Hook had escaped and we thought Tamara was totally lying, well we were right. Tamara has brought Hook back to Storybrooke. Although, he may be bound and gagged in the back of a moving truck, he won’t be like that for long. Soon there will be yet another axis of evil in Storybrooke. Is your head aching yet, Oncers?
Overall, this is a fantastic episode that delivers on pretty much all fronts. Like all ‘OUAT’ episodes, we are given some answers and are left with even more questions. What did you think, Oncers?
- Lacey and the Beast: Trouble lays ahead, RumBelle fans. We want to see Rumple and Belle together because she brings out the best in him. Lacey wants bring out Gold’s deeply repressed Dark One. This leads to a few questions:
- Regina seemed to know that Lacey’s personality wouldn’t initially appeal to Gold. Did Regina also realize that Lacey would bring out Rumple’s dark side? She taunted Gold saying that he would always choose darkness and it would be even harder to resist if that darkness came in the form of his true love. We can understand why Regina would want Gold to be evil because it would push his family away. But she should also fear Rumple’s power. Sure they both have some magic mojo, but Rumple will not hesitate to make Regina greatly suffer, especially when he is in his full Dark One form.
- Lacey is attracted to Rumple’s dark side and she already has pre-existing subconscious feelings for him from her past as Belle. If Lacey begins to feel True Love for Gold and if Gold feels the same way about her, could True Love’s Kiss still break Lacey’s curse? If the curse does break and Belle’s memory is restored, she will be confronted by a relapsed Rumple rather than the man she had grown to love. Can Belle bring out the best in Rumple for a third time or will the Dark One be too far gone?
- Hook is back: Where will Hook’s true allegiance lie? He will be playing a dangerous game over the course of the last three episodes. He’s working for Tamara and Greg, while gaining Regina’s trust. The allure of Tamara’s magic Taser of Doom may peak his interest, but is it enough to keep him on their side? It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out, especially since we know the last two episodes point towards Neverland. How can we travel to Neverland in season 3 and not see Hook in his hometown?
- The Magic Beans: Well, the beans are almost ready, but we still are not completely clear on how they work. Will they work the same way in Storybrooke? The Charmings assume the beans will take them to the Enchanted Forest, yet it seems like the gang will be headed to Neverland. Now that Regina knows about the beans, what’s to stop her from stealing some beans for herself and destroying the rest of the crop?
- Props to the cast: Once again, Robert Carlyle is a gem. Every episode that features Rumple/Mr. Gold/The Dark One always ends up being one of the best episodes of the season. Emilie de Ravin was brilliant as Belle/Lacey. It will be fun to see more of her bad side as Lacey evolves. Carlyle and de Ravin play so wonderfully with each other. Tom Ellis makes a grand debut as Robin Hood. We didn’t see a lot of him, but we certainly enjoyed our brief introduction to Robin Hood. Hopefully, he will reprise his role because he would make an extraordinary addition to this cast, if he can pop-up on a semi-regular basis.
Stay tuned for the latest ‘Once Upon A Time’ news and more.
‘Once Upon A Time’ airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.