Monday, March 20, 2017
In Which I Review Once Upon a Time (6x13)
What kind of character was Baelfire? It's hard to pin him down and point out specific traits because of who he grew into; Neal was jaded and lonely and had more abandonment issues than anyone else on the show, perhaps barring Emma. But Baelfire, from what we've seen over the course of several seasons and many flashbacks, was kind, gentle, brave, loving, and had a childlike ability to believe in his papa. That last trait is what comes to mind most often. Even in the face of Rumple's descent down the dark path, Baelfire believed that his papa could turn it all around if he just tried a little bit harder to resist the siren's call of the Dark One's Curse and its dagger. Baelfire was a boy who was willing to give up everything--his home, his way of life, everything and everyone he had ever known--in order to take his Papa to a place where dark magic couldn't affect him. That's the Baelfire we've gotten to know and that's the Baelfire that was lurking just underneath Neal's sardonic grimace and rough exterior. So how do we as an audience rationalize Baelfire's sudden about face a few months before the same child will take a magic bean and open a portal to another world in hopes that his father can be saved? I guess these memory potions are super handy to have around; not only will they make you forget that you ordered the murder of someone but also they clean up your soul so it's all sparkly clean! It's a shame all the villains haven't discovered the wonderful effects of these elixirs. I suppose we should suss out exactly why Baelfire ordered the death of Beowulf at Rumple's hand. It certainly wasn't self-defense; Beowulf was all set to go back to the village and continue to spread his lies about Rumple and his apparent monsterness. It wasn't self preservation; Rumple, the character who never wanted to move away from his village even when Milah begged and pleaded and left to shack up with a pirate, actually told Baelfire that they could just leave town to escape the impending town mob and its persecution of the Stiltskin clan. Baelfire could have let Beowulf walk away, packed a knapsack and moved on with his father who had clearly passed some sort of "light" test when he was willing to let Beowulf leave unscathed. The reason for Bae's sudden deathly command? We must either believe that he's petty and didn't want to give up his home and life, which is pretty antithetical to future events, or he was corrupted by the power of the dagger, which seems equally bizarre given that his name isn't on the dagger and no one else who has ever come into contact with the dagger had the same reaction who wasn't already impure of heart. If you want Beowulf die and reinforce the thesis that Rumple will do anything for his children, a motif picked up strongly in the present day situation, then the narrative path here is clear: have Rumple give into dark magic whilst Beowulf is threatening to Bae. It solidifies what we already know from past flashbacks--Rumple protects Bae at all costs (remember the man turned into a snail and consequently squashed?) and in order to protect his child, Rumple uses that which Bae does not want him to use.
--Hook gets a lot of credit from me for that introspective and self-aware conversation with Archie. However, 1000 points from House Pirate for not telling Emma about Robert when he had the chance! Talk about souring the proposal.
--Zelena and Robin’s team up is hard to process. On the one hand, this isn’t our Robin so he’s not the one Zelena raped. On the other hand, it’s still Robin and it’s hard to see Robin being chummy with Zelena after all the history.
--“It’s just like when you needed the crutch to walk.” A true line, to be sure, but it’s also a bit on the nose. It’s always been perfectly understood as subtext that Rumple traded one crutch for another.
--The Blue Fairy forged Hrunting–a hero sword–but she couldn’t defeat the Dark One’s curse, had no hand in creating Excalibur and has been useless for years. I am so confused on how powerful she actually is!
--"You darkened your soul so our son wouldn't have to."