Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep17 – Her Handsome Hero

The returning character for this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time was Gaston, Belle’s former fiancé who was turned into a rose by Rumple back in season 1. Hades enlists his services to try and harm Rumple while Belle tries to help him move on from the Underworld.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep17 - Her Handsome HeroNow Gaston isn’t exactly a character from past seasons that anyone was looking forward to seeing, and it was clear that he was only in the episode to forward Belle and Rumple’s development. He’s also not nearly as compelling a villain as most of the mainstays of the show. So it wasn’t really that interesting to see the flashbacks of his first meeting with Belle and the emotional connection they made before Belle met Rumple. But that’s probably also the Rumbelle fan in me talking.

As a shipper though, this was a fun episode to watch because we saw both Rumple and Belle take major steps in repairing their relationship, and the open communication between them was something that would have prevented so many of their problems. It was refreshing to see them both open and honest for the first time, with Rumple no longer deceiving Belle but just showing his true self, dark magic and all. And of course, Belle was not letting him talk his way out of anything.

“You want a future with me? You have to do this my way.”

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep17 - Her Handsome HeroBut she was still willing to give their relationship a go, citing the possibility of Rumple using his powers for good. This will be an interesting direction to take for Rumple’s character because power has always been an integral part of him, but if he remains the Dark One his redemption arc will never be fulfilled and he can never be with Belle.

Not much was revealed in the Enchanted Forest flashback that we didn’t already know. Belle always saw the best in everyone and was always compassionate, even to creatures considered monstrous by everyone else. Gaston, for all his good looks and hunting skills, has always been monstrous at heart. Surely we didn’t need another random magical object just to illustrate that.

Then this episode forced Belle’s hand as Hades attempted to make a deal with her. Rumple or Gaston had to fall into the river of lost souls so that she could keep her baby. She refused the deal of course, and even used the dagger on Rumple to stop him from tossing Gaston into the waters.

But in the end, to save Rumple, Belle was the one who pushed Gaston off the edge. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of the terms of the deal so Hades still has a claim on the Rumbelle baby. The only good thing to come out of this ordeal was the reconciliation between Rumple and Belle. Adversity always has a tendency of bringing people together.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep17 - Her Handsome HeroWhile all this was going down, Regina had a quick, almost sisterly chat with Zelena who was still reflecting on her current circumstances. I never thought I’d ever sympathize with Zelena but she’s been growing on me in the past few episodes, particularly because behind all that wickedness, she is plagued with such self-loathing that she can’t believe that Hades, or anyone, can ever love her. But Once Upon a Time is all about happy endings for everyone so I have a feeling that even Zelena will get hers eventually.

Meanwhile, Emma had a prophetic dream about her burning the names Hades engraved on the three gravestones. But the dream also worried her because she saw an unidentified monster grab Snow White. I don’t know where the writers are going with this, giving Emma visions of the future, but it was clearly an excuse to be able to bring Ruby back into the story. Ruby is a Once Upon a Time recurring character I would love to see more of, and I’m glad that she has somehow made her way back into this latter half of the season.

Next week on Once Upon a Time, Mulan and Ruby are back and they are teaming up with Dorothy to save Oz from Zelena: