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Once Upon a Time - Beauty - Review: "We're All Wearing Masks"

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Welcome back, Once fans!
Quick note before we begin: Based on your feedback, it appears that the easiest way to recap the events in both the cursed world and real world are by just using the characters' names that we've all grown used to. If you get confused, I've included a list at the bottom for reference.

Are we ready?! Here we go! It's time for the Rumple and Belle to do their best impression of the first five minutes of Up. (Seriously, if you've seen that movie, no need to watch the episode - that's essentially the entire episode.)

As usual, we're splitting between Real World and Cursed World.

Real World

Aaand we’re back in Storybrooke, where I’m suddenly very confused that I missed something major.

We’re outside Gram’s, where Belle is going crazy planning Gideon’s first birthday party and Rumple is taking pictures and telling her to calm down. “After all these years I guess I’m used to the chaos,” Belle says. “Maybe I should get un-used to it.” I guess all the troublemaker characters are off doing their own thing at this point.

It's worth noting here that Belle's hair is really the most on-point Belle style I think they've ever done.

Rumple says Storybrooke’s been quiet for the last year and he can’t even remember the last time he used the dagger. Then he presents Belle with a gift, a travel scrapbook.

... Did Nicholas Sparks write this episode?

Rumple continues, all mushy, that Belle has been very patient with him, seeing the man behind the beast, and that she deserves to get what she’s always wanted, to see the world. They kiss and…

Oh no. She's going to die, isn't she. If she does, I'm 100% believing that Nicholas Sparks wrote this episode.

Cut to a very briefly-seen 8- or 10- or 12-year old (honestly, impossible to tell) Gideon playing as Rumple and Belle look on. They’re in some sort of enchanted realm, based on the beautiful scenery and the stone bridge they're walking across. It looks like they're filling up that travel book.

Belle has clearly aged based on the lone grey streak in her terrible wig. Nothing else about her has been altered.

Rumple is so happy as he embraces his wife, "I’ve been alive for many, many years and the last 10 are the happiest I could have imagined.” It's only just beginning, Belle says.

Well that's great, because Rumple wants to live like this from now on, as a mortal. With his beloved wife. "This dagger has been a burden to me for too long, I’ve been a slave to it’s power,” he declares. His one and only wish is to have a singular, natural life with Belle.

So he drops the dagger into the river and it's a beautiful romantic gesture... until the dagger just magically appears back in his boot. They're both discouraged, but Belle knows that they'll find a way to get rid of the dagger together.

... This is not going to end well.

Another time jump, and this time Belle has multiple grey streaks in her hair. So the age difference between the characters isn't as bad now, is what I'm saying. Her face remains unchanged.

Rumple is being super sappy again, pulling a tried and true rom-com move and just staring at Belle happily. He wants to remember how she looks forever. I'm sorry, but this whole storyline is just over the top for me. Is it because we're not used to seeing them happy together? Or is it because saying such sappy stuff seems out of character for Rumple?

Before I can figure that out, Gideon runs in, and he's now old enough to be the actor from last season. He's 18 and off to school, and Rumple is a proud Papa.

Belle, ever the research librarian, presents Rumple with all the info she's found on how to get rid of the dagger. According to a prophecy, he must get rid of it at the Edge of Realms. Time for a field trip!

We're at the Edge of Realms now, several years later judging by the fact that Belle is finally starting to look a little older in the face. “We are on the outermost ridges of existence,” Rumple explains, where time can go on forever and seem like a "blink of an eye" back home. According to the prophecy, they're supposed to wait until the sun is at its brightest or starts to set or something like that, which could take years. So they decide to live there and build a home with their own hands.

Then there's a compilation of them chopping wood and sawing lumber and fetching water and painting and decorating and viola! There's a beautiful little cabin that's decorated like a page from the Pottery Barn catalogue, and I don't know what's going on here. The place is very nice rustic chic and very expensive looking. But they built it by hand? With absolutely no contact with the outside world at all?

She spends her days reading and he spends his days staring at her happily, dressed in a collar that is so high it would make season one Evil Queen jealous.

The Up fantasy continues, with Gideon coming to visit and Belle getting older and completely grey. There's a musical montage of them hugging Gideon as he comes and goes, and the fake grass under their feet actually moves on this very fake set.

Belle and Rumple dance to the Beauty and the Beast theme, and it's quite lovely.

Finally, it's time to dispose of the dagger... But Belle dramatically falls to the ground.

Rumple cradles her in his arms and Belle looks good in old age makeup. She confesses that she realized the prophecy about the sun needing to set was about herself, not the sun. She has to leave him before he can lose the dagger. It's time for Rumple to let her go.

He doesn't want to and starts crying, and Belle starts telling him a story - their story. "Once upon a time there was a beast who took a girl prisoner..." As she tells the story, we see a montage of their significant moments over the years.

Okay, this is sweet. And wow, does Rumple look way younger in some of these clips.

Belle reminds him that they always find their way back to each other, which is totally Snow's line, and promises that he'll find his way back to her after he figures out how to get rid of the dagger.

And then she dies. Rumple is sad, I'm sad, and somewhere in the world, Charlie from LOST is sad.

Later, he buries Belle at a beautiful grave and Gideon visits. Gideon offers to take the dagger so that Rumple will be free to join her - he loses the dagger, he loses immortality - but Rumple doesn't want that for his son.

Rumple must now figure out how to ditch the dagger so he can be with Belle (in death? That's pretty dark.) He travels into a new realm and, surprise! It's Cinderella's realm, because Alice literally runs into him and Henry flies past him on his motorcycle.

And now we know everyone's backstory of how they ended up in this new curse/reboot.

Cursed World

It’s Halloween and Rumple approaches Alice, who’s playing with a Rubix cube and wearing a rabbit mask that makes it look like she's very late for a very important date.

Rumple offers her her favorite sandwich and it's clear that he's here to talk business with his favorite informant. (Honestly, who's favorite sandwich is orange marmalade? Orange marmalade? Really?) And by business, he of course means Victoria Belfrey (aka Lady Tremaine.)

Alice has no love for Belfrey, saying she had an ex-girlfriend who worked for her once and knows first-hand how she's the absolute worst.

... It is at this point that Alice starts to have a little, tiny psychotic break. She starts rambling on and on about how Rumple needs to take off his mask, and only slightly covers by explaining that it's Halloween. "But we're all wearing masks!... Bet you didn't know you're wearing a mask, too."

Rumple gives her a look and I really like this pairing. I also really this actress - she's my favorite new character so far this season.

Right before they cut to the Halloween-themed title card, you see a few people walking by in costume and I swear to you I saw my next door neighbor wearing that exact hamburger costume this week.
Anyway. Jacinda goes to Belfrey's place to drop off Lucy's costume. Jacinda, a grown woman, is wearing overalls. I know that's very en vogue right now, but if you're trying to prove to Tremaine how you're such an amazingly responsible person, maybe don't dress like a 6-year old when you stop by her place of work.

So Ivy makes it clear that Jacinda isn't trusted to take her own daughter trick-or-treating, which is some grade A bull. Instead, Ivy is going to take Lucy trick-or-treating tonight, if she can take a break from pretending to be an extra in The Devil Wears Prada.

Meanwhile, Belfrey is getting into her car and surprise! Alice pops up in the backseat. Both Belfrey and I are very interested in how Alice committed that particular act of breaking and entering, but Alice shrugs it off. She's more interested in how she and everyone else ended up in Hyperion Heights. Oh! She's starting to remember the reality outside the curse!

Belfrey demands to know who Alice is, because she clearly hasn't read the multiple fan theories. Alice starts spouting off more nonsense, so Belfrey straight up SPRAYS HER IN THE EYES WITH MACE. Alice runs off, leaving behind a backpack full of evidence.

Belfrey calls Rumple into her office, demanding why she was "accosted by one of his street rats." Riff raff, street rat? I don't buy that.

In addition to Rumple's card in Alice's backpack, Belfrey also founda bottle of pills. Belfrey declares that the girl is off her meds and needs to be locked up, and I'm honestly have a hard time handling her accent in this scene.

The two have a bit of a power struggle until Belfrey shuts it down. I can't exactly tell what she says here (again, that accent,) but it sounds like she's saying that she's recorded all of their conversations together, which would make it very easy for her to turn him in as a dirty cop.

Rumple recognizes the seriousness of the situation and Belfrey delivers the final blow: he has to pick between her or Alice.

Over at Roni’s, Regina (who is either dressed as a half-hearted Marilyn Monroe, or perhaps just a generic 50's diner waitress, serves up a bubbling red cocktail to Henry. She calls it the Poisoned Apple (GREAT season one reference), and it consists of scotch, schnapps, and dry ice. That sounds absolutely DISGUSTING. Henry suggests adding cinnamon, which DOES NOT HELP make it seem more appetizing.

I realize this may be a controversial opinion, but I really like the Halloween theme this episode - they didn't really have the flexibility pre-reboot to have too many special holiday episodes like this.

Henry's not in the mood for a spooky cocktail, which is good since that drink probably would've killed him. He's still reeling from seeing his family's graves yesterday. Roni gets it, losing a love like that can make you afraid to move on, but eventually have you have let go of those ghosts. She suggests that he ask Jacinda to a Halloween party, but Henry says he may not be up for it.

"Put on a mask and pretend you are," Regina says, pounding in that mask theme for this episode. "Moving forward doesn’t mean we forget the dead," she continues, "If you loved once you owe it to yourself to at least try and find happiness again."

What she's saying is that the Once writers would really like you to give these new characters a chance, audience. Please and thank you.

Rumple and Hook are strolling down the street, looking way better in street clothes than they ever did in their Storybrooke clothes. They look way more comfortable, too.

Rumple is catching Hook up on everything that's happened with Alice and Belfrey, and Hook isn't too keen on how Rumple is treating the girl. Rumple teases him about being "the champion of lost girls," which reminds me both that A) Hook had a storyline with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, and B) that this version of Hook is looking for his long-lost daughter.

Time to do some trick-or-treating! Except NO IT'S NOT, IT'S COMPLETELY BROAD DAYLIGHT. Everyone has shadows in this scene, and not like long, sunset shadows. Mid-afternoon shadows. Because it's daytime.

Ivy’s texting and Lucy’s ticked that Ivy didn’t even paint her face to match her skeleton costume - she didn't want to be a fairytale character? So Lucy is forced to wear a paper bag with a skull drawn it over her head instead, which I find absolutely hilarious

The girls can agree on only one thing: They both hate this. Ivy is angry that she didn't get invited to a masquerade Halloween ball, so she lashes out and tells the CHILD she's babysitting that the paper bag over her head should be a year-round look, which is one of the sickest burns I’ve heard in a while

Lucy runs off to ease the burn with some candy, and I cannot stress enough how it can’t be past 4 o’clock in the afternoon here. She wants an Apollo bar - LOST shoutout! - and is disappointed to get Milk Duds. I would be too, kid. But thankfully a little girl dressed as her grandmother's friend Elsa walks up and Lucy seizes the opportunity to pull a switcheroo. The jig is up after about 30 seconds, but that’s long enough for her to run off.

Alice is waiting under the troll bridge, and did that troll have eyes before? Another costumed Elsa walks by as Rumple goes to talk to her. She finally understands, she claims. She knows everything and she can see everything because she's 10 feet tall.

Rumple says she needs to get back on her meds and Alice says the pills make her feel small, and this definitely an Alice in Wonderland thing. Also, it's definitely a drug thing.

"We’re all pieces of the same puzzle but without each other, it’s impossible to see the big picture," Alice says. "[Belfrey] made us all wear masks so we can't recognize each other." She wants to show Rumple something important and drops a line about him being a beast...

Over at Mr. Cluck's (another LOST reference!), Jacinda is feeding a family dressed as the Incredibles and she's obviously jealous. As am I, that's a great group costume.

Henry comes by to ask her out (finally), but before he can say anything, Ivy pops by, casually looking for Lucy. The three discuss the missing child with all the concern of someone who recently misplaced a book or pen, until Henry volunteers to help Ivy with the search. And it sure is convenient that Jacinda has to stay at work, since it gives the two of them a reason to exchange numbers.

En route to the thing that Alice wanted to show him, Rumple feeds her an orange marmalade sandwich... Laced with her pills. Yes, that's right. A sandwich. Laced with pills. Alice is upset because it makes everything foggy and she believes Rumple to be a good man. She then concludes her rant by JUMPING OUT OF A MOVING CAR.

Back to the most useless search party: Henry is asking randos for help finding Lucy, including asking a girl dressed up as his grandmother. Ivy is doing a great job of sitting on a bench and crying.

The pair have a quick heart-to-heart, and I sense chemistry. Wait, are these two going to get together? Talk about a plot twist.

Henry discovers why Ivy is miserable. It's the same reason everyone in Hyperion Heights is miserable: Belfrey, aka Ivy's mother.

But she has to be a good daughter and follow Belfrey's instructions since, "Without my mother’s approval, I have no one." Ivy is jealous of Lucy and Jacinda's closeness.

Ivy and Henry have a brief competition to see which of them is more alone before transitioning to making plans to dump their baggage. Okay, these two are totally going to happen.

"Take a chance, do the scary thing, and hope it all works out," Henry says. 
Ivy is on board, both with Henry's plan and with finding Lucy. And she provides some key intel INSTANTLY as to where she likely is. Lady, that would've helped several hours ago, when it was still light out.

On the other side of town, Rumple has chased down Alice, who leads him into a shipping container stocked full of interesting props. Including a chipped teacup.

Alice presents Rumple with the teacup. He apparently gave it to her at some point, saying it would remind him of "how to get back to her."

Rumple doesn't understand the significance of a chipped teacup, and Alice is at a loss since she thought this plan would work.

"We knew each other before; you had a different name, Sheep Shanks, Spindle…" She mutters.

Then things escalate rather quickly when she up and GRABS HIS GUN and points it at him. She doesn't have a choice, the teacup didn't work. She yells that she's doing this "because you told me to, Rumpelstiltskin!" She shoots him and then drops the teacup, shattering it.

Rumple wakes up in the hospital and has a vision of young Belle learning down to kiss him and it looks like a bright Upside Down.

He snaps out of it to see Killian is standing at his bedside, holding the bullet. Lucky bullet, Killian explains. It tore right through him and Rumple should be dead, but he's obviously not. One joke about him being immortal is enough to break the curse for Rumple as he puts all the pieces together. He had asked Alice to shoot him to prove his immortality.

He asks where the girl is before quickly explaining away her crime - she didn't hurt him, it was a masked robber that came out of nowhere. Killian doesn't believe it at all, but respects Rumple watching out for Alice.

Killian goes to talk to Alice to let her off the hook. They agree she should stay on the pills and the two start playing chess.

At Mr. Cluck’s, Lucy and Henry stroll in. Guess she was fine all along. Henry explains that Ivy is the one who found Lucy, who in turn suggests the three of them go trick-or-treating together while she covers for them with Belfrey.

Jacinda tries to prompt Henry to ask her out again, but he brushes it away. Henry and Jacinda stare into each other's eyes and say "Happy Halloween" like it's a super romantic statement.

Back at the hospital, Belfrey has arrived to visit/annoy Rumple. She wants to know why Alice was let go and they fight over how dangerous the girl is and how she has tapes that prove he's a dirty cop, and he just calls her "dearie." Ooooh, Rumpelstiltskin is back, y'all!!

She doesn’t react, asking what he means. He said he knows something she doesn't want anyone to find out, so she should choose her next step wisely, there's nothing she can do to hurt him anymore.

We end with Henry having a drink at Roni's when Ivy walks up with a bottle. She wants to share a drink as thanks for his encouraging words earlier. “To keeping things uncomplicated,” she says and they toast and exchange a look. They are so going to happen.


Detective Weaver / Rumple, Gold
Detective Rogers / Captain Hook, Killian Jones
Roni / Regina, Evil Queen
Tilly / Alice
Jacinda / Cinderella
Victoria Belfrey / Lady Tremaine
Ivy Belfrey / Drizella

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