Sometimes you have to choose power over love.The Black Fairy
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Emilie de Ravin, Colin O’Donoghue, Jared S. Gilmore, Rebecca Mader, and Robert Carlyle.
Episode 9: Changelings
For an episode called “Changelings”, it is perhaps surprising that not a little more changes about our characters or life in Storybrooke. Ultimately, the main meat of the episode was dedicated towards Belle and Gold’s relationship, and the unexpected arrival of their son. Parts of it hit the right beats emotionally, but the sudden resolution to Belle’s pregnancy does seem overly convenient and perhaps slightly rushed.
Belle’s pregnancy being magically sped up certainly made for a tense instalment. With her and Gold at loggerheads and him being downright abusive, the quest to keep him from his newly born son is definitely something that the audience can sympathise with and get behind. To keep the baby away from Rumple seems genuinely fraught and tense, so extreme have his actions been so far this season. While heartbreaking to watch, Belle’s ultimate decision does not seem out of character or farfetched, and everything she says to Rumple is entirely true.
Also touching is the relationship that Belle has with her son (Giles Matthey) in the mysterious Dream World. It looks absolutely stunning and magical, and both actors perform the scenes admirably, despite the admittedly weird premise of conversing to your own future child midway through giving birth. It’s a clearly tricky decision for Belle to have to make, but she is so keen to protect Gideon from Rumple and his darkness that she is driven to hugely extreme actions.
Despite comporting himself as what can only be described as the epitome of a knob jockey, it turns out that Rumple isn’t quite the worst parent in existence. To the contrary, that dubious accolade seems to be bestowed upon his own parents. If we thought that Peter Pan was bad enough, casting Rumple aside so that he could be youthful and free forever, we learn that Rumple was abandoned even before that, by his mother, the Black Fairy (Jamie Murray).
The Black Fairy is a character who has been referenced throughout the history of Once Upon a Time, though we haven’t actually learned too much about her. Apparently, she steals children, merely rubbing salt into the wound for Rumple as her actual child. Other than that, we are still none the wiser, but I’m presuming that she’s going to have quite an important role moving forwards, as otherwise her random appearance seems somewhat wasted here, as it’s merely scratched the surface of Rumple’s and her relationship.
The Evil Queen, despite spending most of her time in Storybrooke grooming Zelena to her cause, has now made the impulsive decision that she must die. Which seems curious, as she’s meant to be the villainous side of Regina, but I suppose that villains don’t really have stable relationships. Fortunately, Regina manages to rescue her older sister, even going to the extreme of squeezing her own heart to cause the Evil Queen pain.
Unfortunately, however, even though Regina goes to these lengths to protect her sister, she still finds herself unable to forgive Zelena for her role in Robin’s death. Personally, I think that this is a bit of a stretch. As I remember it, Zelena wasn’t even there when Robin died. As for Hades, it wasn’t only Zelena that trusted him, and it wasn’t exclusively Zelena’s fault that they ended up escaping the Underworld. Regina played a role in that too. Blaming Zelena is all-too convenient, when really the person to blame is herself. Regina let it happen, but it’s not Zelena’s fault that Regina trusted in her and wanted to forge a better relationship between them.
What’s more, you would think that their shared loss of their loves would bring the pair closer together, but apparently not. It was appropriate that Zelena was expecting a heart to heart reconciliation with her younger sibling. After all, Zelena’s arc so far this season hasn’t exactly been motivated out of a place of revenge or anger, but merely seeking acceptance. I’d like to see the effects of the Evil Queen’s betrayal on her moving forwards, as she was really the main relationship that she had in Storybrooke. Hopefully it moves towards a more satisfying reconciliation between Regina and Zelena in the future, as Regina really needs to let go of her hurt over Robin’s demise.
The programme also seemed to conveniently remember that Aladdin and Jasmine still exist, and that they still need to get back to Agrabah. It’s appropriate that it’s not taking the main focus, as I feel like this would be distracting from the main action if it were to happen, but the small developments in their dynamic and quest are quite compelling. Aladdin becoming a genie is an interesting next step, but it’s bound to cause some sort of drama, as Jasmine has conveniently forgotten to immediately wish to go to Agrabah. Not entirely sure what the logic is on that front. But, it’s been quite some time, so what’s a few more days?
Finally, Emma and Hook discover the sword that will be used to kill Emma in the future lurking in Gold’s shop, causing yet more sweaty visions for poor Emma. I am liking how we’re getting drip fed gradual details over the course of the season, but I also feel like it’s overshadowing some other important storylines here. Still, it was nice that Emma and Hook did actually help Belle with her problem, instead of everybody leaving her to it as if it doesn’t concern them, as has happened for the rest of the season.
“Changelings” is a massive forward step for Belle and Gold’s relationship, as Belle intentionally abandons their child to prevent Gold from influencing him. Zelena and the Evil Queen parting ways was appropriate, but it’s a shame that it has yet to result in a reconciliation between Zelena and Regina.
You can watch Once Upon a Time Seasons 1 – 7 on Netflix. It is also available on home media and other digital platforms for purchase or rent.