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REVIEW: Once Upon A Time 6×09 “Changelings”

Well, good readers, the final nail in the “Rumbelle” coffin has been hammered in. Admittedly, the relationship ended at the end of the third season and has been in free fall ever since, despite Rumplestiltskin’s “best” efforts — karma stings.

This episode reminded me why I once liked Mr Gold. As the plot progresses, we find out why he hates fairies; I always assumed it was because the Blue Fairy helped Baelfire go to another world, but it turns out to be a little more personal than that.

The baby and the Black Fairy

We begin in the Enchanted Forest, where Belle is still Rumplestiltskin’s slave. He returns home with a rather unexpected prize — a baby, which Belle calms before Rumple promises to return at sundown for it. While he is away, Belle discovers her room has been left unlocked and sneaks out with the baby. She enters Rumple’s study, where she comes across a scroll to summon the Black Fairy, a character briefly mentioned a few seasons back as being the worst of the worst. I had assumed it was Maleficent, but she is a dragon-lady rather than a fairy in this world. Rumple suddenly appears, takes the baby and the scroll, and locks Belle in the room, however, the Blue Fairy busts her way in, asking Belle to rescue the baby — her lack of magic being an advantage.

Belle tracks down Rumple as he prepares to summon the Black Fairy, but reveals the baby was just being used to lure in the fairy who, get this, turns out to be Rumplestiltskin’s mother. Surprise, surprise, this show can still pull off great plot twists.  With an ass of a father and a mother who abandoned him, no wonder Rumple turned out the way he did.

Belle tries to spirit the baby away, but ends up distracting Rumple, allowing the Black Fairy to get away. Belle confronts Rumple, who swears her to secrecy, but allows her to return the baby to their parents, who turns out to be none other than Jack and Jill. I don’t think their adventure up and down the hill to fetch water would be that interesting of a story (though if it involved Rumple, it may be fun).

Meanwhile in Storybrooke…

Mr Gold chases down a nun in a basement, but his torture plans for her are crashed by the Evil Queen. Rumple persuades her to kill Zelena to fulfill their dodgy deal and then showers the nun in magical dust, which causes her to age into an old lady. The Queen’s reaction is hilarious. It turns out that the nun’s quick aging process was meant to be a message from Rumple to both Belle and the fairies not to rattle his cage. Belle tries to research a way to protect her child, finding a handy book in the library capable of defeating the Dark One. All she finds inside is a red thread that leads Belle to a graveyard where her future son Morpheus appears and tells her that the key to happiness lies before her. Belle then wakes up, it is revealed that she’s been in a dream.

The Evil Queen visits Zelena intent on killing her, but Regina comes to the rescue, willing to crush her own heart to wound the Queen. However, just when it looks like the sisters are about to make amends, Regina makes it clear she cannot forgive Zelena for her role in Robin Hood’s death. Well, that totally went nowhere.

Belle, Emma and Hook discover the book Belle found was written in squid ink, which can paralyze people with magic. They devise that they could use it on Rumple and then steal his aging dust, which would speed up Belle’s pregnancy. However, the operation is briefly halted when Emma has another vision, revealing the sword that will kill her has a stylised handle, which Rumple capitalises on to break free and begin stalking Belle.

However, when it comes to forcing Belle to skip about eight months worth of pregnancy, Rumple gets cold feet. The two have a touching scene together in the library, where Rumple reveals his goal to start over, hoping to make good on his poor parenting in the past. Once again, Rumple is relying on magic to get what he wants and heartbroken Belle tries to give him one last bit of encouragement to let go of his “crutch”. In a surprise move, Rumple doesn’t go through with his spell and walks away, unwilling to lose Belle forever.

At Granny’s…

As Emma, Hook, Belle go to grab a drink, her stomach begins to inflate like a balloon and she goes into labour — someone spiked her tea. Emma races her to the convent where the fairies throw up a shield so Rumple can’t get in. As Belle has a TV-flawless pregnancy without the sweat, screaming, or breaking Hook’s remaining hand, she ends up back in the dream world where Morpheus waits and tells her to protect her new baby she must do what is necessary. At first, I assumed it meant something extreme like a miscarriage, but it turns out that Belle must instead sacrifice her time as a mother by sending her new son, Gideon, to live with the Blue Fairy.

Wait, Gideon? But his name is Morpheus, future dream god, but doesn’t he already retroactively know who he is and how he hates Rumple for some reason? Bizarre stuff. Regardless, Rumple manages to get in, just in time to see the Blue Fairy fly away with Gideon. Rumple despairs about the continuation of family abandonment and when he asks Belle for their son’s name she refuses to give it, knowing he will likely use it at some point to make a deal. Rumple goes back to his shop where the smug Queen waits, revealing she was the one who spiked Belle’s tea to insure Belle never trusts Rumple again. Both declare themselves enemies and part ways before Rumple starts smashing his shop up. Later, Emma and Hook break into Rumple’s shop and come across the sword from her vision.

In the episode’s one subplot…

Aladdin and Jasmine decide to rub the old lamp to summon the presumed genie inside. I was really hoping Jafar would be inside, but the lamp spits out are two bracelets — indicating the genie has already been freed. This scene does serve as another tip of the hat to Robin Williams. It is another touching moment, but I am a little disappointed the writers copped out on what could have been a pretty nifty plot twist. Instead, Aladdin slips the bracelets on and becomes a genie … because that is how Genie-ology (sorry) works!

All in all, this was a pretty good episode, even it was the final nail in Rumbelle’s coffin; maybe they will get back together in the future. My money is that Morpheus turns out to be evil all along, wanting to seize the Dark One’s power or escape the dream world, or the Black Fairy gets her hands on Gideon and turns him to the dark side. Or even better, Morpheus is not their son after all, prompting Belle and Rumple to look for their real child who will somehow turn up in Storybrooke.

Final Score: B

Pros and Cons

+ Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin were great as always.

+ The reveal of Rumple’s mother.

– The disappointment in the magic lamp reveal.

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About the author

Mark Russell