'Once Upon a Time' hot topics from 6x13 'Ill-Boding Patterns'

The last episode, “Ill-Boding Patterns” seemed to be ill-boding for many Oncers who are concerned about the viability of a Season 7. Much of the postings and discussions revolved around character continuity, development, and perhaps devolution. Of particular concern were Rumpelstiltskin and Baelfire, although Captain Swan and Outlaw Queen also faced story changing situations. I want to talk about each of these, but I want to bring up Beowulf as well.

Rumpelstiltskin, Baelfire, and Gideon

The character continuity for Rumpelstiltskin is disrupted when he is presented as a somewhat cowardly hero seeking positive reinforcement from the townspeople at the pub after killing the ogres. This may fit his pre-Dark One character, but isn't arrogant enough for this point in his life. Afterwards, he goes home and promises Baelfire he won't use dark magic anymore and seems to be sincere when he refuses to go after a new monster, Grendel.

This behavior goes against the Season 1 presentation of Rumpelstiltskin's new found courage through the power of the Dark One. He seems evil almost from the get go in the episode "Desperate Souls," when he shows up at home just to force the soldier who bullied him to kiss his boot before joyfully snapping his neck.

Next on the list of character development issues is young Baelfire's moral core, which is tainted when he forces Rumple to murder Beowulf. While Neal may have done questionable things in his adult life, Baelfire was always the steadfast symbol of virtue.

After Baelfire's stumble into darkness, Rumple has to restore his boy's moral compass by making him forget that he wanted to use the power of the Dark One to his advantage.

Now, Rumple wants to keep Gideon from going dark by doing all the dark things for him. This is in concert with Rumple as we've come to know him, but the logic is flawed, even for him.

Isn’t being "dark" wanting to do dark deeds and getting what you want out of them? I mean how is it going to keep Gideon “innocent” to have Rumple commit the crimes for him while he’s watching and saying thank you? Doesn’t that mean that darkness is in his heart?

Captain Swan

Alright CS shippers, you half-heartedly got what you wanted. Emma and Hook are officially engaged. So, why aren’t more Captain Swan fans unmeasurably thrilled? It didn’t quite go as planned. There was no grand romantic gesture or awe inspiring scenery. It was just the two of them in the foyer of their house, and she accepted before he even asked. He wasn’t ready. He wanted to confess something to her first, but seeing her excitement he chose instead to give her what he thought she wanted: a proposal. For some, this was perfect, but for many it was just frustrating. Will his guilt get the better of him? How will Emma respond when she discovers his secret?

Outlaw Queen

Outlaw Queen is a very touchy subject now. Most OQ shippers wanted closure or resolution of some kind, but instead they’re getting a new twist: Dark Outlaw Queen. This has just got to be messing Regina up even more. I, for one, wanted to see her and the Evil Queen merge back into one whole person. One that can move on to a hopefully happier future. I also rooted for Zelena’s redemption story, but every time it seems that either one of them is headed for a good life, they're swallowed up by their past. Is our show of “hope” doomed to end in darkness? Is there really such a thing as happy endings?

Beowulf

I thought Torstein Bjørklund did an excellent job in his portrayal of the great Geat, Beowulf. However, I’m very disappointed in the way Beowulf was incorporated into the story arc. He’s such an amazing character, and his adventures could fill up several episodes. I was excited about Hrunting, and the possibility of seeing Grendel, or perhaps his mother, or even Hrothgar (the way we saw Merida’s family and countrymen).

Not only were we denied any of Beowulf’s storyline, but they committed total character defamation. He was reduced to not much more than an average soldier with a magical sword. I know Once Upon a Time puts their own spin on things, but having Beowulf be a hero psycho who pretended to be Grendel just for revenge against Rumple for denying him the fame of defeating the ogres, and then to be so easily murdered when his literary counterpart had god-like strength and vigor is shocking and irritating. It is true that Beowulf was an egomaniac, but nothing else here really seems comparable.

I’m still interested in seeing how Hrunting will fulfill its role in the rest of this season. In the original epic poem Hrunting was described as a sword with ill-boding patterns and tempered in blood. It was given to Beowulf by Unferth, an untrustworthy source. In fact, Unferth supposedly used Hrunting to kill his own relatives. It also failed to defeat Grendel's mother. So, considering its history, perhaps Hrunting is not as “light” as suggested in the sneak peek.

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Carissa Shuman

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