"The goblins of her fancy lurked in every shadow about her, reaching out their cold, fleshless hands to grasp the terrified small girl who had called them into being." - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Why begin a recaplet of a Beauty and the Beast episode, with a quote from Anne of Green Gables? Well, because Once Upon A Time's Belle comes from a place called Avonlea. It's funny (to me) that while I am pleased the pilot episode evokes Narnia, by including a magical wardrobe, this episode's reference to Avonlea, leaves me the very spirit of vexation. Maybe it's because I have family on Prince Edward Island. Maybe it's because I spent part of last summer's island visit in
Avonlea Cavendish. But it's probably just because my hair is (currently) red. [People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is. --Anne Shirley]
Enchanted Forest: Rumpy proposes a deal to Belle's father, Maurice. If Maurice will give Belle to him, Avonlea will be spared from the Ogre Wars. Maurice is not inclined to accept Rumpy's terms, but Belle insists they accept it. Back at Rumpy's, Belle serves as his housekeeper. When he startles her by quipping that he expects her to skin children for their pelts, Belle drops a teacup and makes Chip.
It's not long before they start having feelings for each other, and really, it's not long enough. Belle's feelings come out of nowhere. Anyhow, Rumpy sends her to town, to fetch straw for him. If she returns, he will know her feelings are real. On her trip, Belle meets up with Queenie, who tells her Rumpy must be under a curse, and plants the idea that true love's kiss will free him. Belle returns to Rumpy and kisses him. He starts to revert to human form, but then decides she only kissed him to change him, not because she loves him. He tells her he no longer wants her. She says all he's left with is an empty heart and a chipped cup. Later, Queenie visits Rumpy and tells him Belle was seen as ruined, when she returned home, so her father locked her in a tower. Distraught, she jumped to her doom. C'mon Rumpy, why are you taking Queenie at her word? By episode's end, we see Belle's Storybrooke counterpart, locked in some hidden, padded room, at the hospital.
Storybrooke: Moe French (Maurice) runs a florist shop. (Did you all catch the Game of Thorns thing?) Anyhow, Moe breaks into Mr. Gold's place and robs him. Emma recovers the stolen goods, but Rumpy says there's still something missing and takes the law into his own hands. He kidnaps Moe and takes him to the cabin of Mary Margaret and David's guilt, where he tortures and beats him. Emma arrests Gold.
Regina brings Henry to the Sheriff's office and tells Emma she can have a half hour with their son, if she will give Regina a half hour with Gold. Emma thinks only a moment, before leaping at the chance. Once Regina is alone with Gold, she reveals she's the mastermind behind Moe French's foray into larceny. She has the item Gold seeks, and will return it to him, provided he answers one question. "What is your name?" Ooh! Gold resists at first, but finally says, "Rumpelstiltskin." (I will not spell it incorrectly, just because the show does, so there.) He remembers the Enchanted Forest, too! Okay, that probably didn't deserve an exclamation point. I mean, I'm not surprised by this revelation, but it's good to have it confirmed. Regina returns the chipped cup to Gold, who tells her that now they'll see who is truly powerful.
Meanwhile, it's Valentine's Day, so Mary Margaret, Ruby and Ashley (Cinderella) have a girls' night out. Sean shows up and proposes to Ashley. David meets up with Mary Margaret and gives her a Valentine. Sadly, it's the one he made out for Kathryn. I'll hit all that, and more, in the full recap. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then join us in the forum, where no one's got a swell cleft in his chin, like Gaston.
In his Duchy, Barony, or Something-y not too far off from the blood red skies of the Ogre Wars, Sir Maurice (Eric Keenleyside) gets news from the battlefield: Avonlea has fallen. Let's stop right here, for a moment.
Sidebar: I was prepared to have a hard time keeping my head in this episode for a few reasons. Emilie de Ravin, who guest stars as Belle in this episode, played Claire on Lost. I covered the last couple of seasons of Lost, for TWoP. My oldest son is pretty much always in the middle of a Lost re-watch. I often watch with him. Hardly a week goes by when I'm not still actively watching Emilie play Claire. Additionally, I knew ahead of time that Rumpelstiltskin's already complicated backstory was going to contort once more, such that we will learn he is the fabled Beast to Belle's Beauty. And oh, how I hated that idea, in theory (we'll get to how it comes off, in practice). Now, Jane Espenson (one of my favorite Buffy writers), has gone and dragged Avonlea into the show. For the uninitiated, Avonlea is a fictional town on the very real Prince Edward Island, Canada -- the setting of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and sequels. See the recaplet for links. I have family on PEI, and I was just there about six months ago. None of these things are bad. I mean, the show isn't doing anything wrong. There are just an awful lot of things pinging me, before I can even settle into the story. Speaking of the story...
Gaston (played by Sage Brockleback, which...with that name, how did this guy not get an "as himself" role in Lord of the Rings) says, "If only he had come." Maurice grumps that he didn't come, and then talks down to his men and the audience. "Ogres aren't men." Yeah, we get that, Show. The point is, they're unstoppable. What I'm still unclear on, is whether Avonlea is Maurice's territory, or a neighboring one, but I'm never going to find out.
Closed Door: Knock knock
Maurice: Who's there?
Open Door: Nobody.
Maurice: Nobody who?
Maurice: Um...nobody who?
Maurice: I do say, nobody who?
Rumpy: [sitting on Maurice's throne] Well, that was a little bit of a letdown. Hee. Aren't I clever? Let me chew up the scenery for five minutes before I get to the point. Om nom nom. I'll help save your town if you give me your daughter.