Green magic breath. Because magic handwaving is too mainstream. Sweet mother of God, what is that? Why does Cruella have green magic breath? Who invented that and what were they smoking when they did? Walk me through how this came about in the writers room. They want Cruella to be magical, okay that's understandable. But how do you get from that perfectly fine notion to green magic breath? Can you tell I am bothered by the green magic breath? Other than Cruella's halitosis, the relatively short flashback was essentially answering the question of how the (Drag) Queens of Darkness all met and became bosom buddies. If you guessed Rumple, you're right! Remember, he's the cool kid--he knows everybody. It's something we basically already knew from the end of the last arc so it's not something we need to dwell on for very long. I will say this; I am glad that the writers tied the Dark Curse into this little tet-a-tet-a-tet...a tet. I was worried from the start that Rumple's sudden desire to get a happy ending because he was a villain and needed other villain's help was a pretty big fumble. Rumple has always wanted his power, but the manipulation he played out behind the scenes in the EF of the past was always in service of getting his son back (though you'll never hear him mention his son Baelfire on screen ever again...). Tying back into the Dark Curse (which he gave to Regina who gives it to Mal at some point but Mal told Regina in S1 that she didn't know where it came from....?) was a nice way to remind the audience that Rumple was the puppet master and ultimately feels less "story of the arc" and more "story of the show."
Yes the title of my section is a Hook quote. I can occasionally be okay with some of the drivel that passes from his cursed anti-True Love lips. And yes, I will be passing over the Hook and Belle stuff until the end to save myself from a full on rant. Meanwhile, back in Storybrooke: something has been released and is tearing apart the town! Omgosh! This NEVER happens, guys. Except, you know, every season. This portion of the episode was better than the flashback, but there was also a lot of treading water and people rehashing things that we already knew: Regina and Emma are looking for the author; Belle is sad; Hook is angry; Fairies are in a hat; Snow and Charming don't exist until the writers need to remind the audience that they do. Six weeks have passed and life continues as normal. Everything is at a standstill in the town and I think that works with the idea that things are just very human and non-magical right now. Henry goes to school; Mary Margaret teaches (wut); Regina is mayor again and setting stuff on fire (wut). The slow start to the present day action, I think, is supposed to drive home the point that there is nothing happening in town. So thank god Belle found someone to translate a magical language from another realm! No, seriously. She thinks a professor in Oxford translated a magical spell for her. How does this NOT send up red flags in her mind? It's another language from another world that involves magic! And someone magically translated it for her, no questions asked? And she doesn't stop to think that maybe this is Rumple (because of course it's the puppet master). I guess it plays into how the writers think of Belle as being smart only after she's done tons and tons of research but until then she can't see her nose in front of her face or the forest for the trees. I mean, it's not like Belle's ever been perceptive or intuitive, right? What show am I watching again?
--So, Hook and Belle. I hated this whole scene. Or, rather, I have a lot of issues with the fact that Belle's heartfelt teary speech was given to Hook of all people. Why? I’m glad Belle was having that conversation but I cannot abide her having it with a man who once beat her, shot her and tried to murder the man she loves. Especially when he’s never given even her any sort of genuine, non snarky apology for actually hurting her. Putting the abused and the abuser in the same room and expecting them to bond when there has been no mea culpa leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. Just because Hook was a victim of Rumple as well does not, under any circumstance, lessen the fact that Belle was once his victim. If anything being Rumple's plaything should make him realize that what he did to Belle was wretched and he owes her 100000 apologies.
--"Many years ago" is Adam and Eddy speak for "we have no idea when this is because we don't actually keep track of the timeline"
--"Because your life is crap." Rumple in his robe with his Ramen. Bless. (I wish I could quit you Rumple, but I don't know if I ever can)
--Mr. Cluck's is a LOST reference, a far superior show in every way, shape, and form.
--So the Author and the Sorcerer are different people who are also on opposite sides of the fence, as it were. My guess? The author is the good guy (and Walt Disney) and the Sorcerer is a bad guy (who created the Dark Curse and is the First Dark One).
--Snow and Charming have a history with Ursula and Cruella. What happened between the foursome? At this moment in time, I kid you not, I think there is a secret baby or something. Why? Because Adam and Eddy love themselves some Star Wars. Also, holy clunky dialogue Batman!
"no one must know what happened between us in the EF = everyone is going to find out what happened between you in the EF"