This week’s episode put Rumpelstiltskin and Belle’s relationship to the forefront again as they dealt with the aftermath of Rumple’s deal with Hades that he would give him his second born child.
The episode was imbued with flashbacks of young Belle when she was of marrying age and her father was trying to set her up with Gaston. This isn’t the Gaston we know though, while still being slightly arrogant and handsome, he’s charming and less presumptive of Belle’s feelings for him.
The two go on a walk together and find a baby ogre, Belle doesn’t want to kill it so she and Gaston research ways in order to save it. Belle reads about a magic mirror that reveals if someone or something is good or evil so she and father go off to find it while Gaston stays to stand over guard over the troll.
When Belle returns, Gaston claims that the ogre attacked him and they go after it but when Belle looks through the mirror she sees Gaston with red eyes, which alerts her to the fact that he attacked the ogre and came out the wrong side of the fight, and she chooses to save the ogre instead.
Her act of bravery apparently starts the ogre war, and the only way that her father’s army could win would be if they joined forces with Gaston’s army through her marriage with Gaston and Belle agrees. But this was all before Rumple kidnapped her.
Back in the Underworld, Belle is working with Rumple in order to find a ‘non-black magic’ way to save their baby, during their research session Gaston interrupts and tries to kill Rumple in order to help Hades, because remember Rumple killed Gaston when he tried to save Belle.
The addition of Gaston’s point of view, if it was meant to make as feel happy that Rumple kidnapped Belle, and took her away from her arranged marriage, just made me see things from Gaston’s point of view. He died trying to save Belle, and even though it seems as if he regrets this decision, he died nobly, and he ultimately wanted to be a better person for Belle, rather than Rumple’s whole ‘take me or leave me, but jk don’t leave me’ persona.
Gaston eventually meets a sticky end when Hades makes a deal with Belle that if she allows Rumple and Gaston to fight each other and one gets thrown in the sea of the undead. Belle orders Rumple not to kill Gaston with the Dark One dagger, but after Gaston still charges after Rumple which prompts Belle to push Gaston in the sea.
This episode has not made the romance between Rumple and Belle any more epic for me, if anything it has shown how problematic they are. Because regardless of whether or not, Gaston attacked that ogre, Rumple’s career crimes far outweigh that, even the lies that he fed to Belle far outweigh that, and she keeps coming back to him almost as if ‘true love’ is this kind of blank statement that excuses everything that he has done. I miss badass Belle, especially now that she’s becoming a mother, I would like to see her putting herself and her child above Rumple. Yes, he fought hard to get Neal/Baelfire get back, but that didn’t automatically make him a better person. In a series with great female heroines like Emma and Regina, it’s time Belle’s characterization gets a bit of work – aside from Rumple.