Rumbelle's "Happy Ending"

Rumpelstiltskin and Belle, known to fans as "Rumbelle," are by far the most complex couple on Once Upon a Time. Taking great liberties on the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story, their relationship was introduced in the episode "Skin Deep" in the first season. In "Skin Deep," Belle agrees to become a live-in maid for Rumpelstiltskin in exchange for him using his powers as the Dark One to protect her kingdom during a war. During the time that she spends with him, she sees his softer side and nearly saves him from being the Dark One using the power of true love's kiss. However, Rumpel's love for power is equal to his love for Belle, and so he refuses to let her break his curse. Ever since then, they have suffered through a rocky relationship full of lies and deceit all so that he could maintain both his power and his true love. In the midst of the chaos, the two were married in the third season finale, followed up with numerous break-ups and the messed up birth of a baby that was kidnapped by Rumpel's evil mother and raised in another realm. Tonight's episode, "Beauty," was the conclusion of their love story.

I had been anticipating tonight's episode ever since it had been announced in an interview highlighting what to expect this season. Overall, the episode "Beauty" isn't great, but it could not have possibly been worse than the awful season premiereEmilie de Ravin's singular return as Belle is appreciated, but like Emma in her own solo episode, her personality is flattened into a piece of cardboard. To be fair, so is Rumpel's. He no longer schemes behind her back for power hoping she wouldn't find out, and she no longer outsmarts him with her underlying suspicions. That awkward makeout session she had with Will Turner from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland right after their wedding has been long forgotten. Instead, they live a peaceful and boring domestic life together in a place where time is frozen while trying to find a way to end Rumpel's curse as the Dark One. I guess the cure of true love's kiss that had worked in "Skin Deep" expired or something.

Through flashbacks, their son Gideon grows up instantaneously (again) and has no problem visiting his parents in a secluded realm at the edge of time. I'm not quite sure how secluded it is if he's able to pop in and out whenever he wants, but I digress. Somehow, even though time is frozen where they live, Belle still ages. We're not supposed to ask too many questions. By the way, the hair and makeup stuff at Once Upon a Time seem to think that the best way to portray aging is by gradually adding more and more white streaks to one's hair. In Belle's final moment, she reveals to Rumpel that she needs to die in order for him to break the curse. She dies, and as far as we know, he still hasn't broken the curse. I can't say I found it particularly sad, despite Robert Carlyle's fantastic acting. The whole thing is extremely contrived, even more so than usual for this show.

Thanks to a somewhat manic Alice, the Hyperion Heights version of Rumpelstiltskin now remembers Belle and his past, but he decides to keep it a secret from her for whatever reason. He also apparently told her to shoot him back in the magic realm, which she does many years later in the non-magical realm. Again, no questions allowed. It's implied that he forgives her for shooting him because she brought back his memories of his true love. This version of Alice is an alternate incarnation of Jefferson a.k.a. the Mad Hatter from the show's first season. She remembers everyone's identity, but nobody cares because they think she's crazy. Again, no one from this season is original. She is nothing like the Alice from the fantastic Wonderland spin-off, which is okay because they would have botched her up too if they had included her. I'm pretty sure alternative Alice is alternative Hook's daughter, but I don't particularly care about seeing their reunion because they're dragging it out so much.

Is it believable that after years of secrets and lies, Rumpel and Belle decided to put their differences aside and live the rest of their days in peaceful marriage with no fighting? Not really. I've seen comparisons made of this episode to Disney/Pixar's Up. While I did get the film reference from the musical montage of Rumpel and Belle growing old together, the emotional impact fell flat. Also, a lot of things that happened in this episode simply did not make sense.  I did not enjoy this "happy ending" for Rumbelle, which is a shame because they were such an interesting couple before this season began. This should be the last post I make about Once Upon a Time for a while, as this season has been a total trainwreck. Since all four episodes so far have focused on specific princesses, I had no choice but suffer through them since it is my sworn duty to bring you every tidbit of princess news in this blog.


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