Belle and Rumple try to protect their child from Hades, and a suitor from Belle's past makes an appearance
Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

It was a tale as old as time on tonight’s Once Upon a Time as we revisited the tale of Belle and Gaston…because no one’s quite like Gaston. Unlike the Disney classic, in this story Belle’s father is attempting to set her up with the handsome hunter (Wes Brown) because there’s an ogre war brewing, and if she marries Gaston, they stand a good chance of winning. Belle is, understandably, pissed at her father’s meddling, but when Gaston shows up, prepared for a walk and a meet and greet, she has no choice but to agree to at least a meeting. Ah, arranged marriages. Aren’t they great? I mean, at least Gaston is super charming.

Underbrooke: Hook, Emma and Snow are standing at the three graves, and Emma is attempting a spell that will burn the names off. As she attempts to do so, a storm brews, forcing all of them to take cover, but a monster also comes, and when Snow tries to attack it, it kills her. Emma wakes up from her dream — she’d fallen asleep while Hook was keeping watch waiting for Regina’s signal. Regina, apparently, is covering the door to Hades’ lair with a lot of symbols in order to counteract the protective spell on it. Regina and Emma use their magic to get it open, but they only get a brick wall for their troubles. But they’re not totally stumped: Emma tells them about the dream and about burning the names off the graves. Meanwhile, a distraught Rumple is looking at Pan’s whistle and is interrupted by Belle, who has agreed to use his help because she doesn’t want to be separated from her child. The catch is, she doesn’t want Rumple to use dark magic. Merlin had said there was hope that you could be the Dark One without being, well, dark, and Belle wants Rumple to show her that.

So, what is the mighty Gaston doing down in the Underworld? Working at a pet shelter. Quite charming, really. No one…mucks like Gaston? Anyway, Hades arrives with a problem and a solution. See, Hades is pissed that things are starting to grow, like this flower he found, because it means that hope has come to the Underworld. And when souls have hope, they move on, and that can’t happen. Problem! Solution? Have Gaston kill Rumple via some lethal arrows so that he can get his revenge on the man that put him here in the first place.

At Rumple’s shop, Belle and Rumple are working out their issues by (of course) arguing, but Gaston invades their lovers’ quarrel by trying to kill Rumple. Upon seeing the arrow, Rumple knows Hades sent him, and he magics himself and Belle away to the docks before Gaston can attempt to shoot him again. Apparently, Hades dipped those arrows in the River of Lost Souls, so one scratch by them and he’s in that water forever. But that’s not the big deal. The big deal is that via Gaston’s angry arrival, Belle finally learns that Rumple killed him and never told her. I’d say she has a right to be pissed. Always about finding compassion (and despite Rumple’s protests about him not being worth it), Belle says she’s not going to kill Gaston but help him move on. Her plan isn’t just compassionate, it’s also smart: She’s realized, thanks to Hook’s brother, that when souls move on, it weakens Hades, so maybe that’s how they can defeat him.

At the graves, Emma is trying to re-create the spell when her dream starts coming true. They rush to take cover against the storm, and Emma tells them about the monster that pursues them. I love how everyone is okay that she’s remembering all of this from a dream. But, you know, Magic!

NEXT: Kill the beast!

In flashback, Gaston is charming Belle because he’s not at all like the Gaston we’ve read about (at least, not yet.) He even apologizes for the stories they’ve told about him! (That darn LeFou, always spreading rumors.) Truthfully, Gaston looks super shady, especially when he gets that “I love to hunt and kill!” look in his eye, but we’ll give Belle a pass. He’s distracted from their walk by a creature, which turns out to be a young ogre. Gaston is of the mind that ogre = evil, no matter if it’s an innocent kid or not, and that they should kill him. Belle, unsurprisingly, is not on board with this. She knows if they bring him back to the castle, they’ll torture him, and she wants to save him.

Belle and Gaston return to the castle where Belle uses her love of books to try to find something to help the ogre. In the process, she gives him her favorite book: Her Handsome Hero, a book about compassion and forgiveness (the ULTIMATE amazing hero, obviously). Gaston promises he’ll read it (because he “finally found a woman of substance”), and Belle finds a story about the mirror of soul, a.k.a. Once’s version of the Beast’s magic mirror. It’s not far to retrieve, and she can get it with her father. The mirror will allow the person looking into it to reveal if they’re good or evil, and that way, they can know if the ogre is really a threat. Gaston chooses to stay while Belle and her father retrieve the mirror, and when they come back, they find Gaston hurt and knocked out. Gaston tells them the ogre ambushed him and escaped, and because of that, he needs to now lead the charge to go kill it. Kill the beast! Kill the beast! Belle wants to come along and bring the mirror, but Gaston wants to know why they even HAVE that mirror considering he knows the ogre is evil. And her dad is no help. Belle’s told to go home, like a good girl. (Y’all, Belle’s smarter than every single one of you.)

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In the pet shop, Belle is looking with Rumple when she finds a book in Gaston’s locker: Her Handsome Hero. Belle recognizes the book and realizes she must be Gaston’s unfinished business and tells Rumple to go. She can handle herself here. Or, she can until Hades comes and offers her a deal because Hades LOVES deals! Bribing her with her baby, he tells her that if she lets Gaston and Rumple face off with each other so that one of them can throw the other into the River of Lost Souls, he’ll remove the mark on her baby. This is morally against anything Belle wants to do, but now she’s torn.

Belle sets Gaston up in Rumple’s shop, where he proves that he WOULD kill her husband if he had the chance, also proving he’s just as black-hearted as he always was. She shows him the book and asks if she’s his unfinished business, but no — the book is Gaston’s punishment. Every time he tries to get rid of it, it reminds him of why he died: trying to do right by Belle and be that compassionate hero, which is dumb. That’s not what being a hero is about! Being a hero is about strength and brutality! And why is his former fiancée so dead set on defending Rumple, anyway? Well, he’s kind of Belle’s husband. MIC. DROP.

NEXT: Sacrifice and secrets

In flashbacks, Belle finds Gaston on his hunting spree and stops him from hurting the ogre who is ALREADY in pain and hurt. When Gaston tries to shoot an arrow at it, Belle holds up the mirror in self-defense. The mirror shatters, but Belle sees the reflection of Gaston and the evil in his eyes (literally). Putting two and two together, she realizes “he’s not the monster, Gaston. YOU are.” She forces him to go through her if he wants to shoot her, allowing the ogre to escape. Apparently, after all this, Gaston STILL is okay with marrying her because, according to Belle’s father, their army is no match for the ogres. Gaston’s kingdom, on the other hand… Anyway, marry him! End the war! And Belle agrees.

In Underbrooke, Rumple and Gaston are locked in a battle that’s currently going Rumple’s way, and Belle shows up and tries, again, to stop him from making a mistake. She kisses him, talks him down, but uses the distraction to steal the dagger and command him to stop hurting him. Once again, Belle saves the day! But Gaston is still angry and tries to shoot Rumple. In an attempt to save him, Belle ends up knocking Gaston into the river. Naturally, she feels terrible because she really didn’t want to kill him at all. Hades shows up as Rumple is comforting her and tells her the deal is off — it was only good if Rumple or Gaston killed each other. Because Belle did the deed, however, well…it’s still good, actually. Because now, Belle has taken away hope.

As for the rest of our crew, Snow, Emma, and Hook are hiding out in Regina’s vault, where Emma finally tells her about the bad part of her dream — you know, the part where her mother dies. Regina meets them and Emma tells her about the monster, which Therapist!Regina realizes might not be a monster but Emma working out her issues. “I don’t have any issues!” Emma declares, just like any other therapy patient, and I laugh a lot at this moment. But at least Emma is finally realizing that, hey, maybe it was a bad idea to bring everyone, especially her family and son, down here. If someone dies, it’ll be her fault. Snow refuses to let her daughter feel guilty for herself, claiming, “Love is worth it.” Beats Hades’ attitude on love, which makes you do stupid things. Which is also true, technically. They go after the monster, and while tracking it, Snow recognizes paw prints that look familiar. The monster isn’t evil: It needs help. Because it’s Red.

What the hell is RED doing in the Underworld? Your guess is as good as mine.

Stray Odds & Ends:

  • I loved Regina and Zelena’s sister talk, however short it was, because I’d really love to see Regina and Zelena trying to reconnect on a mature level. (Did you see Regina’s face when Zelena mentioned she didn’t think anyone could love her?) But the fact that Zelena said she’s his only weakness makes me wonder where they’re going with this. Is Zelena going to pay the ultimate sacrifice in the end? Why can’t Regina just catch a BREAK on this show?
  • Hey, at least in Once’s universe, Belle’s mother is alive.
  • Speaking of mothers, Emma yelling “mom!” makes me have feelings.
  • Ah, nothing like a decaying rose to set the mood for love. “Imbued with my favorite scent — hopelessness.” Hades’ flower preferences sound like a bad pick-up line.

Episode Recaps

Once Upon a Time

Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.

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