Happy Halloween, you crazy kids!
So, I’m going to say something major: This episode, in this seventh season that many of us have admittedly been extremely skeptical about, gave us a true Once Upon a Time moment. And man, was it painfully worth it. Let’s reflect. Let’s cry a little, maybe. Let’s go back to Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest, okay?
In Storybrooke, Belle is with Rumple, and Gideon is turning 1! Things are good, Rumple is not doing awful stuff, Belle seems happy, and Gideon is adorable. It’s all so perfect that Rumple gets Belle a family book to document their travels (in case you’re wondering what book they’ll base the series on in season 14). He promises they’ll see the world, but I have a feeling it doesn’t happen, because suddenly we’re back in Seattle. He sits down with Tilly and offers her something orange-marmalade flavored, because, of course. She’s wearing a rabbit mask, not because she’s Alice, but because it’s Halloween and we need a good Halloween episode. It’s deeper than just a holiday though. She insists that we’re all wearing masks, because Tilly is deep. She’s one to keep your eye on.
To be transparent (because I know better than trying to fool ya), I didn’t watch Once Upon a Time in Wonderland because as a working mother, I have to have time to take care of the kids, take them to the community garden, and pretend I believe that I, too, came from another world. So I may miss some references at first, but I’m here to learn. Teach me your ways, you Alice lovers. Embrace me.
At Vicky’s business, Jacinda shows up to bring Lucy’s costume, and Ivy calls security to say there’s a trash problem upstairs. RUDE! But I did love that little quip about preferring to eat carbs than be around Jacinda, so I’ll let it slide. And you know who is very quickly earning her place as a legend? Tilly. She hides in Victoria’s car, surprising her, and announcing that she knows that none of them belong in Hyperion Heights — and she knows Victoria knows that, too. So, naturally, Vicky pepper-sprays her because she’s a demon woman who’s in the market for pepper spraying girls off their meds. She takes Tilly’s backpack, calls Rumpleweaver (can we make it a thing?), and shows him the pills she found inside. They keep Tilly sane, and she’s demanding he make her take them. And if he doesn’t? Well, he’ll pay.
At Roni’s, Roni is dressed up as Sandy from Grease, I believe, or maybe Marilyn Monroe. (Enlighten me!) Regardless, she’s fierce. She’s trying to pull Henry out of his bad mood, and that’s when Henry admits to Roni that he saw his wife’s and daughter’s graves, and it’s a lot for him to handle. Roni comes from behind the bar to comfort him and tells him to go after Jacinda because moving forward doesn’t mean you forget the dead. Guys, Evil Queen/Regina/Roni is my world. Such an icon.
Elsewhere, Rogers and Rumpleweaver are trying to handle this Tilly situation, but when they disagree, Rumpleweaver informs Rogers that he doesn’t care about anyone. What happened to him?? Well, let’s flash back to Belle and Rumple growing old. That gives us a lot of insight. Belle has a gray streak in her hair because, well, age has taken its course. Rumple loves Belle and Gideon so much that he has decided he’s tired of this magic life, with all its potential evil, so he throws his dagger into the river — but it reappears in his boot because getting rid of evil is hard business. Luckily, Belle isn’t one to be discouraged. (Recap continues on page 2)
Back in Hyperion Heights, Ivy has been tasked with taking Lucy trick-or-treating, but Ivy isn’t interested in anything but texting. Damn teens. Lucy escapes by trading places with an Elsa (LOL, I’m not even going to comment) and running away from Ivy, and you know Victoria isn’t going to love that.
Next time Rumpleweaver runs into Tilly, she’s peeling the stickers off a Rubik’s Cube, which is one way to do it. In the background, there’s an actual Alice, and I couldn’t quite see whose hand she was holding, but I live for these nuggets. Anyway, when Rumpleweaver questions Tilly about her pills, she says she’s too close to start taking them again. He asks her to explain, and she says that they’re all pieces of the same puzzle, but they’re all wearing masks. He begs her to tell him what she knows, and she says she could, but she’d rather show him.
Back in the past, Belle gets more gray hair and Gideon is a grown boy. He’s been accepted to an academy, and Belle is so happy about it. He’s reading all kinds of books. Look at Gideon, with a dreamy far-off look, and his nose stuck in a book…oh, I’m getting away from myself. Rumple and Belle talk further about getting rid of that dagger, and Belle thinks she’s made some progress. It’s a riddle, but Rumple knows where to go: the Edge of Realms.
That’s when we head back to Hyperion Heights, where Jacinda is working her chicken job (which I’m actually jealous of?) when Henry stops by. But Jacinda loses interest quickly when she realizes Ivy has LOST LUCY. They exchange some barbs, but at the end of the day, Jacinda can’t leave her job, so Henry joins Ivy to find our girl.
Rumpleweaver and Tilly go to see “the answer” at the train tracks. But on the way to the tracks, Rumple offers her a sandwich, which is the same thing I do when I have to give my dog her medicine. He slid her pills in the peanut butter. Tilly is devastated; she says that the pills make her foggy and will make her small again. She argues that Weaver could be a good man, but he doesn’t think she’s right, so she takes matters in her own hands and bails out of the moving car because time is of the essence. She’s late for a very important date with the rest of her life.
Anyway, Rumple and Belle make it to the Edge of Realms and decide that they’re not going to dispose of the dagger. Belle wants something simpler, so they’re going to enjoy a nice little situation where they build a new house. And y’all, I’m screaming because it’s a total homage to Up, and I can’t handle it. Even the shape of the house matches. Gideon is happy and sets off on his own journey, and Belle and Rumple spend their time dancing in the living room. At the end of their days, the song changes to Beauty and the Beast, and finally, one day, Belle’s time in this world comes to an end. She opens up the curtains one last time and falls to the ground. It’s a moment that could bring tears to the eyes of any Once fan. (Recap continues on page 3)
Back in Hyperion Heights, it’s nighttime and Ivy and Henry still haven’t found Lucy. Ivy tears up because she doesn’t have anyone. She takes care of Vicky’s life because she’s been on the wrong side of that wrath, too. She’s all alone, but Henry explains that he is, too. And when they work together, they figure out where Lucy is most likely to be.
Meanwhile, Rumpleweaver runs to catch Tilly; she’s fading, but she insists that he’s so close. She reveals that she has what looks like a small bowl, but it’s not a small bowl. It is the missing piece, and it’s Chip…the small cup.
Back in the past, Belle is on the edge of death. Rumple says that he can bring her back and make her young, but they moved here to find the brightest setting sun, and it was never the sun in the sky. It was Belle. And Rumple has to believe their love is strong enough to supersede death. Belle has known this all along, but she kept it to herself. She asks him to let her go, and as their time together comes to a close, Belle tells Rumple their love story. She insists that he can get rid of that dagger, and when he does, he will find his way back to her. She promises. And with that, Belle dies. (Head here for Emilie de Ravin’s take on Belle’s ending.)
Back in Hyperion Heights, Rumpleweaver says he can’t remember. At that, Alice (let’s just call a spade a spade) grabs his gun and aims it at him. He asks why she’s doing it, and she says, “Because you told me, Rumplestiltskin!” And she shoots him. As Chip (!!) drops and smashes on the floor, Rumple bleeds out on the ground.
Of course, we go back again: Gideon has returned home to say goodbye to Belle. As they stand over her grave, Gideon offers to take the dagger, but Rumple refuses. There’s a guardian who will take the dagger from him, eventually — and it’s appearing more and more likely that it’s going to be Alice. He runs into her when he steps through that realm. But that story isn’t ready to be told, so we head back to the hospital, where Rumpleweaver is. He almost meets Belle in the afterlife, but he’s stopped. When he comes to, he tells Rogers to let Tilly go; there was an “armed robber.” He’s defensive about caring about her, but he needs Tilly, or rather Alice, because that will take him back to Belle. So when Rogers goes to tell her the news, he sits down with her to start a game of chess (oh, Lord).
And at the end of the day, it seems like things might be okay for now. Ivy found Lucy and returns her to Mr. Cluck’s with Henry. And just when it seems like she’s going to be a total jerk to Jacinda, Ivy says that there’s an hour left of trick or treating and she should take Lucy out. Not because she cares or anything because, duh, but because you know…whatever…just take her out! You guys, Ivy might not be the worst. Jacinda invites Henry along, even though this is a family thing, and they start to paint Lucy’s face. It’s all happily ev…oh crap. Vicky shows up to talk to Rumpleweaver and threatens him with blackmail again, but Rumple isn’t worried. And let’s cut that Weaver nonsense because Rumple knows he’s Rumple. He confirmed that when he called Victoria “dearie.” We’re about to see a Vicky/Rumple rumble, and it’s going to be great.
As the night comes to an end, Ivy and Henry end up at Roni’s drinking together. Turns out he didn’t go out with Jacinda, so they drink, and Ivy keeps strong eye contact. Oh, Ivy, girl. Give us someone to root for. We were rooting for you, we were all rooting for you, HOW DARE…sigh. We’ll try again next week.