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Once Upon a Time - Changelings - Review

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I really enjoyed “Changelings”. I think this is because as we grow closer to the winter finale (next week!) the story lines are beginning to tighten up and come to some resolutions. Aladdin and Jasmine’s story is finally moving along and I’m interested to see how Aladdin becoming a genie not only impacts our main heroes and their story, but also the thief’s relationship with Jasmine. I hope Once Upon a Time sticks with the rules and aesthetics on genies established in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. The conflict between Rumple and Belle came to a head and I almost feel sorry for Rumple in this episode. However, Belle was definitely speaking my mind whenever she confronted him. “Changelings” felt very much like a “calm before the storm” type episode but wasn’t bogged down in an abundance of set up for whatever is in store next week. It was more as if some major groundwork was laid for the next half of the season, which hopefully will result in a smoother transition to whatever cliffhanger is waiting for us next week instead of wrapping everything up in the present story, then jumping into an introduction for the next threat.

I found Regina and Zelena’s interactions this episode to be very fascinating, if not slightly confusing. It’s natural for Regina to still blame Zelena for Robin’s death, but their interaction this episode seemed to exist to drive a wedge further between the sisters and to remind us of Robin, who will be making an appearance in the future. I enjoyed the fact that Zelena was hoping to have a heart to heart and reconcile with Regina. The witch’s actions (or lack thereof) this season have been selfish and morally gray, but she wasn’t out for blood. I feel that perhaps the Evil Queen deciding that she couldn’t kill her sister at the last minute would have made for a more compelling encounter than having Regina save the day. The way the Evil Queen is operating now it seems as if the writers don’t want us to get too attached. Clearly, the villain won’t last the season, but any sort of development that could occur isn’t, which is where my criticism of her being ineffective comes back in. Though, she did accelerate Belle’s pregnancy which takes some of the heat off of Rumple. If he had been the one to do the act, on top of the way he’s been treating Belle this season, there would be no doubt that he wasn’t redeemable.

Rumple was more sympathetic in this episode than he has been in other episodes this season. He genuinely feels that he is unlovable and can do no right. However, like I said, Belle’s dialogue was parallel to what I was thinking as I watched “Changelings”. She begs Rumple to at least try and assures him that she never thought he’d be perfect. To me this shows that Belle has a very realistic grasp on what she and Rumple have been through and Rumple is unwilling now to meet her halfway. What’s also interesting to me is that Belles’s motivation to protect her son has been because of her son. The baby, now named Gideon, has been warning Belle about Rumple, but while watching this episode a part of me also wondered if he isn’t taking after his father and manipulating events a bit. Belle paralleled Snow White and Emma’s words about giving their children their best chance, but what if this sets other dealings in motion? I look forward to seeing more of Gideon in the future and actually I don’t mind that he was sent away with the Blue Fairy. It help alleviate the logistical problem of filming with another baby and in terms of storytelling hopefully it will allow us to see the child as a grown up quickly in future episodes. Also, I’d like to point out that the little head bump that occurred between Belle and Mother Blueperior as she was giving away Gideon was a nice addition to an emotional moment.

Emma discovering the sword in Rumple’s shop was a nice quick way of reminding us that this threat still looms, but also moving her story on a bit. Could Emma having the sword that may ultimately kill her result in a self-fulfilling prophecy, that if she had never found the sword would she have avoided her fate? Also, one has to wonder the significance of such a sword; it obviously seems to be special. There are theories floating all about that tie the weapon to Beowulf based on one of the episode titles. I’m interested to see how soon we’ll be dealing with the fallout from these visions, if the climax comes before the sixth season finale. While the obvious answer is that the visions are the finale, I’d like to see their events play out sooner and watch our characters deal with the consequences.

The flashbacks this week were relatively tame, mostly providing a build-up to our first meeting with the fabled Black Fairy. The Black Fairy has been mentioned again and again over the past few seasons so finally seeing her, however briefly, was the highlight of the episode for me. I love what Jamie Murray has done with the character. You see a beautiful woman in a regal dress and at first I thought we’d be getting a more subdued character. But then she broke out into a grin and showed us just where Rumpelstiltskin gets his maniacal tics it from. The Black Fairy felt very imp-like, like a trickster rather than the serene nature we’ve seen from fairies in the past. Even Tinkerbell, an outcast, still felt like she could fit in with Blue and her crowd. Though the encounter was brief, I have a good feeling that this isn’t the last we’ll see of the Black Fairy, which presents some interesting future story possibilities now that the Blue Fairy is off taking care of this evil fairy’s grandson.

Join us next week for the winter finale, “Wish You Were Here”!

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