I think we can all agree that this was a pretty stupendous episode — and I’m not just talking about Belle’s wardrobe.
We begin at Storybrooke’s edge with Gold pulling a frightened Smee out of his trunk. Gold’s got a new spell that he thinks will allow people to leave Storybrooke and still remember who they are. Just pour the potion over the object that person holds most dear — for Smee, it’s his red hat, of course — and presto! Their memory remains intact. Gold pushes Smee, and he still remembers his name, as well as all, like, seven hundred of Rumple’s names. Success!
While the town mourns the alleged death of Archie Hopper, Hook questions a tied up Archie. What’s Gold’s biggest weakness?
Why, that would be beautiful Belle — whose lipstick color I have to find — whom we next see hurriedly walking into Rumpel’s shop. Rumpel tells her that he figured out how to leave Storybrooke. His dearest object is Baelfire’s shawl — who else appreciated how many times different characters had to say “shawl” tonight? — and he’s ready to go find his son. Unfortunately, he only has enough potion for one object, so Belle can’t come with him.
Next we cut to the best flashback story we’ve seen in a long time, in my humble opinion. Our beautiful Belle is drinking in a grimy bar and hears talk of adventure. There’s a creature named Yaoguai that has been terrorizing a far away kingdom (which we’ll assume is China) who no man has been able to kill (Um…). Belle looks on dreamily. In steps Grumpy, still known as Dreamy, since he’s in the pre-sadness part of his timeline. He tells her to sally forth — it’s worth the adventure. He also gives Belle some fairy dust (remember that!).
In present day Storybrooke, Belle goes to check on her books in the library. There she finds Hook, probably not really reading a book, but holding one at least. She quickly realizes that he’s the guy who broke into her cell at the queen’s palace. He comes after her, but she pushes a cart of books on him and hides in the elevator. She calls Rumpel for help, but he can’t quite make out what she’s saying. I bet cell reception isn’t this bad in fairytale land.
NEXT: Belle confronts the Yaoguia