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REVIEW: Once Upon A Time 6×04 “Strange Case”

His hair! Where did Rumplestiltskin’s hair go!? Anyhow, episode four proves to be a fantastic firecracker of an episode. So far the sixth season has been pretty good, while teasing larger stories to come and revisiting old friends. Now, we bound head on into the thick of it,  finally paying attention to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who we have danced around during the past three episodes. However, while we focus mostly on the two doctors and Rumple, the rest of the cast kind of wallow around waiting for something important to happen to them.

Let’s start with the flashbacks, focusing on the origins of Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll lives in the Victorian London world we previously visited in the spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. I assume all of the characters written in the same era will likely come from this world. Jekyll wants to join the local circle of scientific boffins to get funding for his experiments, which can separate personalities in two. Jekyll has a lady friend named Mary, meeting her father, Dr. Lydgate, who will later go on to become the shrink for Alice. How did he go from member of a renowned science academy to working in an asylum?

Lydgate refuses to fund Jekyll’s research. Luckily for the good doctor, Rumplestiltskin pops in for a visit and magically perfects his formula. Jekyll tests it on himself, and hello Mr. Hyde. Rumple and Hyde go to the academy, where Hyde blackmails Lydgate into giving Jekyll membership into the academy or he will spill how Lydgate has been sleeping with his lab assistant. In the morning, Jekyll wakes up like he had a hangover, remembering nothing of last night’s events, and is now a member of the academy. Rumplestiltskin encourages him to become Hyde again so he can win Mary’s heart.

Hyde and Mary have a moonlight stroll, where Hyde reveals Jekyll’s feelings. Mary, instead, admits she views him as a wuss and wants a more passionate relationship. Hyde and Mary share a kiss, but she wakes up next day to find herself in bed with a baffled Jekyll. Jekyll tries to convince her he is Hyde, but she rejects him. In a psychotic rage, Jekyll throttles her and pushes her out a window to her death. Jekyll transforms himself into Hyde and flees.

Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Mr. Gold breaks the hearts of his fanbase by cutting his pretty hair. The Evil Queen and Hyde arrive seeking a necklace belonging to Mary. When Hyde refuses to make a deal with Mr. Gold, Rumple strikes to force choke him, yet discovers it is impossible. Hyde can’t die. Well, that’s convenient. The two badguys snag the necklace and leave Rumple to lick his wounds.

Hyde’s escape from the hospital reaches Emma, who goes out to search for him with David, who is doing the clingy father thing before she lets Hook move in. Meanwhile, Mr. Gold visits Belle as she settles in on the Jolly Roger. Knowing Hyde will likely target her, Gold places a magic barrier around the ship to prevent Hyde from getting on, but doesn’t let Belle leave either. Smooth move, Rumple. Now you are acting like the Beast. The Evil Queen and Hyde crash Jekyll’s attempts to replicate the serum that split Regina and her evil side apart, but Mr. Gold retrieves enough of it, covering his dagger with it. He then sends Jekyll to hide with Belle until the danger has passed.

Emma and David chase Hyde through the forest, but he easily defeats. He literally runs into Mr. Gold’s dagger. However, the serum fails, Hyde being brainy enough to have swapped out the real serum with a dud, and Hyde seizes the Dark One’s dagger. Rumple, you just owned! Hyde and Mr. Gold teleport to the Jolly Roger. Hyde reveals his story has a twist to it; he isn’t the crazy, aggressive one, but rather, Dr. Jekyll is the lunatic. Onboard the ship, Belle realises Jekyll is becoming increasingly aggressive, and when she tries to call for Hook using a magic seashell, Jekyll flips out and tries to kill her.

Belle runs up on deck but can’t leave due to Gold’s barrier, and he can’t intervene since Hyde has control over him. You know, why is it that Gold just doesn’t make multiple replicas of his stupid dagger and hide the real one somewhere only he would know like he did in the first season. Seriously, it is becoming ridiculous how often he loses control of the dagger. Anyway, Hook turns out to be on the ship and fights off Jekyll, impaling him on a spike. To Gold’s surprise, Hyde suddenly looks like he is having a heart attack and drops down dead. Uh, well, that was a surprise. A disappointing surprise. Our major villain is dead four episodes in! It turns out the only way to kill a split person is to kill the original, which may have to happen to Regina to rid Storybrooke of the Evil Queen.

Belle confronts Mr. Gold about his actions, and it is revealed in flashback that Rumplestiltskin met Dr. Jekyll to use his serum on himself due to his growing feelings towards Belle. However, those feelings are nowhere to be found in Storybrooke, where Mr. Gold makes it very clear he will do whatever it takes to protect Belle and their baby, claiming she will love him again out of “necessity”. Sometimes I just want to see someone push Rumplestiltskin into the quay and see if he can swim or not.

Meanwhile, in the episode’s lone subplot, Snow tries to return to being a teacher but discovers it is not so easy; her lessons are from when Storybrooke was under the original Dark Curse, and all of her students are from the Land of Untold Stories. However, a new teacher named Shirin encourages Snow to teach classes as she would rather than how Mary Margaret once did. Snow does so, teaching science through archery lessons. In the final scene, Shirin sneaks out into the woods where she meets the Oracle. Both are actually looking for Aladdin, who may or may not be in town – and Shirin is noneother than Princess Jasmine! Welcome at long last!

Strange Case is the best episode of the season so far, but as a long-term fan expecting a little more, I was disappointed with Mr. Hyde’s surprise death. I thought he would make it at least halfway through the ceiling. Nothing wrong with the Evil Queen hamming it up, but Hyde had a sense of intrigue to him when we all know Regina’s story. Now, we’re left with pointless Zelena, a hammy Evil Queen, and Mr. Gold increasingly becoming dislikeable as a character. With Aladdin and Jasmine on the way, maybe Jafar will become a major threat this season. He was great in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and I’d love to see some diversity in the cast.

Final Score: A+

Pros and Cons:

+ Hyde and Jekyll were fun while they lasted.

+ Snow’s unusual teaching methods.

+ Princess Jasmine!

-Hyde is dead four episodes in.

-Gold really needs a good ass kicking.

-The hair! It’s gone forever!

Additional Thoughts

* Leroy has a done a lot of complaining over the past couple of episodes at being used and abused. Could this lead to some sort of plot development for the dwarves, despite not having had an relevant importance since the first season?

What did you make of the latest episode of Once Upon a Time? Let us know in the comments section or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Mark Russell