'Once Upon a Time' recap: 'Her Handsome Hero'

Belle's handsome hero isn't Gaston, but you probably already had that figured out before this episode aired. Instead, the title "Her Handsome Hero" came from the title of a fictional book that Belle gave to Gaston shortly after meeting him. Their relationship was explored, as was Emma and Snow's, Hades found something other than his love for Zelena growing in the Underworld, and there was a highly anticipated surprise at the end!

Belle's love triangle

Gaston was known as an excellent hunter of both animals and women. Knowing this, Belle kept her guard up when she met him, but his wooing skills were enough to rethink her initial assessment of him. We all know Belle's judgement of character, and though her love of Rumple makes her somewhat gullible to his deceptions, I think that's more of turning a blind eye due to love rather than honest trust. Belle should have gone with her instincts, because Gaston was quite the pretentious jerk!

It was interesting to learn that the Ogre attack on her kingdom was due to Gaston's narrow minded and violent attitude. After torturing a young Ogre, he claimed the Ogre attacked him and set out on the hunt to kill the monster. After Belle figured out what Gaston did, she was put in the impossible situation of marrying him to protect her kingdom from the Ogre retaliation. I was shocked when she agreed, even though I knew from the beginning of the series that she was engaged to him. No wonder she was willing to go with Rumple. She was just going from one beast to another, but at least she knew Rumple had the ability to end the attack.

In the Underworld, Hades goaded Gaston into killing Rumple. He also tried to make a deal with Belle so that she would condone a face off between Rumple and Gaston. Although he was counting on Gaston winning, he offered the deal that as long as one of them threw the other into the River of Lost Souls, she would no longer owe her baby to him. Of course she refused, but Gaston ended up in the river anyway. The twist was that Belle was the one who did it. In her ever altruistic efforts, she protected Gaston from Rumple, only to have to turn around and protect Rumple from Gaston. The result was that she pushed Gaston into the river. When Hades showed up, Belle indignantly declared that she would now get to keep her baby, but we know Hades always has a disclaimer. Since it wasn't Rumple that threw Gaston in, Rumple's deal was still in effect!

All of this seemed to support Rumple's argument with Belle, that what constitutes dark magic depends on one's point of view. Hmm.

Emma's nightmare

I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat when Emma's nightmare started coming true! She dreamed that she, Killian, and Snow were in the graveyard while she was using her magic to erase their names from the tombstones keeping them there. A freak storm/tornado formed, dropping off what appeared to be a hell hound that attacked Snow, killing her. When everything happened exactly as it had in her dream, Emma stopped Snow from going on the defensive and led them in a run for their lives.

Hiding in Regina's vault, they seemed surprised when in walked Regina. It was definitely a surprise to her too, especially Hook's defensive reflexes. Snow explained that they were hiding from something with pointy teeth. With Regina in the mix, Emma agreed to face the hound.

I love it when our heroine threesome work together! As they tracked the beast through the woods, Snow realized it wasn't a beast after all. Surprise, it was Ruby! An even bigger surprise, she's there to go after Zelena.

Contraband hope

As Hades made his way to the docks to confront Rumple and Belle, he found a flower growing in the cracks alongside the street. You could see his anger at this symbol of hope growing in his kingdom of decay. After withering it, he sent it to Zelena as a gift. Interestingly, she accepted it as the gift it was apparently intended to be, and put it in a vase. When he poofed into her dining room to offer her assistance in defeating Ruby, Zelena predictably refused. What was unpredictable was her decision to flee. She declared that her best chance and her daughter's was to leave the Underworld without her daughter. What?!

Tonight we'll find out just what horrible thing Zelena did to incur Ruby and Mulan's wrath.

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Carissa Shuman

Carissa is a writer, editor, and artist with a love for science and science fiction.

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