TV Review: Once Upon a Time 6×04 “Strange Case”

once-6-4

ABC

Once Upon a Time certainly got dark in the episode “Strange Case,” which delves into the twisted history of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, just in time for Halloween. Its message, about the shortcuts we take to try to rid ourselves of the darkness, is very suited to a time of year that celebrates our fascination with the macabre. So it’s very fitting that this story features a ballroom swirling with dark secrets, a passionate meeting on a fog-enshrouded bridge in the night, and a creepy lab lit by a fireplace.

Rumplestiltskin of course played a part in splitting the doctor in two, and even gave Mr. Hyde his name. He also has a bit in common with both halves, as this time around, love gone wrong plays a big part in all of their histories. With the Dark One’s continuing marital problems and Jekyll and Hyde falling in love with the same woman. Ramifications are inevitable, and when it happens, it’s one of the most shocking stories Once has offered. But since we don’t spend much time with the trio, it falls short of being truly tragic.

History may repeat itself, because both men are interested in avenging their love. Since Rumple played a part in its end…well, that means more bad news for Belle. She’s still not interested in rekindling her marriage, but Rumple assures her that sooner or later, the necessity of protecting their unborn son will force her to turn back to him. Unsettling, but at least we got to see Hook show up and kick some ass. I hope Once isn’t planning to make him and Belle an item. Also, I’m still unsure about Rumple’s new haircut. (I seem to find a reason to mention hair in nearly every review.)

Things get very dark for Regina, because she learns of the only way to get rid of The Evil Queen, and it’s not good. It turns out, the only way to kill the darker half is to also kill the original. So she makes Emma a promise to do everything she has to do, to protect everyone. Regina is going to catch a break some episode, right?

Speaking of The Savior, Emma actually isn’t given much to do this time except talk about moving in with Hook. Why she would move Hook in with her parents and their kid (talk about a mood killer) instead of moving into a place where it’s just the two of them like they mentioned last season is baffling. Also, no tremors this time around.

Kids are featured heavily in the light-hearted, boring sublot of “Strange Case,” since Snow has officially become a teacher again. And once again, she has to discover how to use all her strengths to do her job right. While still insisting on normalcy. To the surprise of no one, the teacher’s aide who helps her come to this truth, Sharin, turns out to be Jasmine.  Who’s teaming up with the seer who foretold Emma’s death to find Aladdin. Looks like we’ll finally get to see Aladdin and Jasmine’s story next week.

Once does make a fascinating case that removing our dark side doesn’t exactly fix us, since we would still have the potential to grow more. After all, don’t our darker halves have to come from somewhere?

Rating: 9/10

Andrea Thompson is a contributor for The Young Folks.