Once Upon A Time 4×11 “Heroes and Villains” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Tonight’s episode was interestingly filled with a lot of fantastic things to process, and the Queens of Darkness made a killer introduction.

Enchanted Forest Flashbacks: After Rumplestilskin returns from Camelot with the goblet which points out a person’s weakness, he and Belle “discuss” her intense desire to travel and his inability to choose anything over power. While doing laundry in the forest, Belle is taken by the Queens of Darkness and they’ll only release her if Rumple hands them the goblet. He eventually agrees when he realizes all of his students, Maleficent (Kristen Bauer), Ursula (Merrin Dungey), and Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) are present.

Present Day Storybrooke | Arendelle: While in possession of Killian’s heart, Rumple has him tell Emma about the portal that leads to Arendelle. Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff go back home, and it’s Anna’s curiosity that eventually leads Emma to the discovery that her instincts about Killian’s state of mind were indeed correct. After Belle realizes the truth, she makes a painful decision about her and Rumple’s future. And when Marian falls once more after her recovery, Regina realizes that she must go to a land without magic in order to be completely healthy. Robin, Marian, and Roland leave Storybrooke. We say goodbye to the Frozen cast. The Queens of Darkness are being recruited and after the six weeks of sanity, Storybrooke will become madness when we come back in Spring.

Tonight’s episode was great in numerous ways for everything we’ve wanted to happen for a while now, did.

To begin with, it was nice to see Henry and Belle bond, and it was super sweet to hear him call her Grandma. It sort of makes us wonder if we’re ever going to learn the truth about what happened to Milah now that so much of what Rumple’s done has been exposed. Maybe it’ll be Henry’s curiosity or maybe it’ll be Killian telling Emma about his tattoo even though she already knows to who it’s dedicated to.

Belle is one of Disney’s most exceptional characters — her wisdom alone is one of the most admirable traits, and it’s a shame the show hasn’t shown that side too often. As we’ve said before, we would root for Rumple and Belle if the entire relationship didn’t involve countless lies being told left and right. It had come to the point where we thought we’d learn the truth about Rumple’s power-hungry nature seasons later; therefore, it’s great that we finally got it. While rummaging through the shop, Belle discovers Camelot’s goblet and realizes that something’s off since she watched Rumple hand it to the Queens of Darkness. It’s then that she desires to see Rumple’s weakness and discovers the real dagger.

Basically, our internal monologue during their entire scene at the town line was finally. It’s about damn time Belle learns the truth about the man she’s been blindly defending. It’s so unfortunate that a woman who’s so deserving of love and gives so much needs to be betrayed in such an awful way. It’s so unfortunate that Rumple chose power over Belle. And for one to feel they aren’t enough is the most tragic thing in our world. Emilie De Ravin broke us in that scene — we’ve never been so moved by a performance of hers before, and that very scene at the town line was De Ravin at her strongest. She brought so much heart and vulnerability into a scene that truly required a great number of emotions. This is a scene we presume was anticipated by all — in order for Rumple and Belle’s relationship to be a healthy one, the entire truth had to be exposed. Rumple needs to choose love over power.

Rumple needs to choose Belle over all other things as she’s the most precious person in his life. How heartbreaking was Belle’s breakdown as she says “I just wanted you”? It’s what moved us the most because the very promise he made to Baelfire was the same promise he was attempting to make Belle, and at the end of the day, when it comes to Rumple and most villains, it’s not about what they say, it’s about what they do. As difficult as it was for Belle, she made the right decision tonight. For the first time in forever, she chose herself. She chose to live. She chose love because, in many ways, she knows that in order to save Rumple, she must rid him of all the powers he possesses. He’s not a bad man, he merely doesn’t know how to be a brave man without power, and in order to learn, he must live without it. He must fall and get back up in order to learn what it’s like to attain the kind of strength most men and women on the show have. Strength comes from learning things the hard way. Strength comes from enduring the pain. And hopefully, that’s exactly what Rumple will learn. Even though he’ll be surrounded by students who’ve bested him and he’s probably screwed them over, something tells us this will be really good for Rumple’s character growth.  We’re not looking forward to watching Belle grieve over the decision she’s made, but we’re most certainly excited to see the adventures she’ll embark on in a quest to find the person she once lost.

Another great moment in this week’s episode was the scene with Regina and Marian. In terms of storytelling, it felt very organic to have Marian thank Regina the way that she did. She’s a good person. An honorable being and at the end of the day, her selflessness and bravery are what make her so special. Marian states that she understands the fact that for Robin, it’s been a while since he loved her– he’s mourned her and moved on. She knows that even though he loves her, he loves Regina as well. It was brave of her to state that she wants to be chosen. And it was even braver of her to state that she would be okay with Robin choosing Regina.

As we’ve seen before in the past, the loss of love forces people into a life of villainy, and like Emma, Marian authenticates the fact that it’s a choice to be good. It’s a choice to pave your own road. If you’ve followed our reviews in the past then you know that this is the exact way we’ve wanted this storyline to pan out. We wanted Marian healthy and alive before Robin and Regina reunited as a couple. We wanted the choice to be an honorable one, and for Robin to state that being in a loveless marriage wouldn’t be fair to Marian spoke loudly for his character.

The only tragedy in all this, and we understand that it probably couldn’t have happened because there’s not enough time, was that we wish there was a nicer closure between Robin and Marian on screen. It’s implied, but as members of the audience, we wanted to see it. As we’ve always wanted, it’s also beautiful to see that Regina made the right choice as well. She didn’t hesitate to tell Robin that he had to go because Marian and Roland couldn’t survive in a world they were unfamiliar with. They needed him, and it was the right thing for him to do. And at that moment when it looks as though Marian’s about to faint, Parrilla did a good job of showing Regina’s genuine concern. For once, we’re thoroughly pleased with Regina’s actions. We’re pleased with the way she’s handled herself, and we’re pleased with the way the story’s being written. Maybe one day Marian can meet an excellent man in the world without magic and Robin can reunite with Regina. Eventually, we feel as though the town’s line can be altered in a way where people can go in and out as they please. It was just bizarre that she’d rip their picture from the past considering it’s all she has left of them.

We’re really glad that Emma will be joining Operation Mongoose because the title of a mongoose had us a bit skeptical. Therefore, we’re looking forward to seeing Henry work with both of his moms in finding out who the author of the book is. As we’ve written before, we’re almost positive that people are in charge of their own destinies and choices matter more than anything, but we’re definitely looking forward to seeing who the writer is. And why do they have so many blank books? We’re looking forward to thinking this through and coming up with predictions for it as well.

We’ve reached that time we were dreading since the season’s premiere — the day we’d have to bid farewell to the Frozen cast. Emma and Elsa’s goodbye was the most painful one. And we feel for Emma the most. This season of Once Upon A Time did an outstanding job of showcasing the importance of friendship — through Elsa and Emma especially, the two of them have taught one another so much about embracing their special traits, it’s exemplary. Emma taught Elsa to remain hopeful in the midst of a chaotic situation, while Elsa taught Emma about the importance of self-love. Sometimes, all it takes is meeting someone who’s just like you in order to see just how fortunate you are with the gifts you’ve been given.

Georgina Haig and Jennifer Morrison’s chemistry has been fantastic — both women have such a knack for manifesting sincerity and their goodbye held so much substance. These are two women who’ve been sincerely impacted by an honest, beautiful friendship, and it’s inspiring that we’re watching a friendship change people for the better. This arc was to illuminate the magnificence of friendships — women empowering women by choice. At that moment, the expressions they wore as they said goodbye held the gorgeous promise of remaining friends forever. As cliché as the statement may sound, even without the words, in the little time the women knew each other, much like Parks and Recreation’s Leslie and Ann, they changed one another.

We’re in love with Kristoff. So very in love. How sweet is his desire to get married instantly!? And the only disappointing part of this episode is the fact that we didn’t get to see their anticipated wedding. We would’ve loved to see it come to life on our screens. And we would’ve loved to especially see Kristoff’s expression as Anna walked down the aisle because that’s always the best part of weddings. It was also incredibly sweet of Anna to thank Emma and the Charmings for all they’ve done for her sister. It’s so very Anna-like and it was nothing short of perfect. Plainly, simply, it was perfect. #BringBackTheFrozenCast2k14.

When it comes to Emma’s character this week, it was great to watch her trust her instincts every single time. And it was great to watch her be right. Now that her she’s in control of her powers, she’s able to understand magic more, and it was awesome of her to approach each obstacle with a confidence she’s never had before. It also says a lot that she quickly realized there’s something definitely wrong with Killian. Let’s talk about phenomenal performances now shall we? It’s no surprise that Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue leave us amazed each week, and in “Heroes vs. Villains” they spoke so loudly with their expressions, we’re at a loss for words.

First and foremost, O’Donoghue playing Killian under Rumple’s command was genius — the mannerisms were on point. It takes a lot of skill to play an already established distinct character as another character and manage to bring out the right amount of emotions. O’Donoghue imitates some of Carlyle’s most subtly brilliant tactics in the scene, and if you look out for it, there honestly aren’t enough words to describe the brilliance that’s being delivered. We can’t tell what was greater, O’Donoghue’s portrayal of a Rumple-like Killian or Killian wanting and trying to fight through Rumple’s control by holding on to Emma. O’Donoghue’s aptitudes are immeasurable.

Emma’s openness with Killian now is incredible. It’s beautiful that she can not only tell something’s off, but as she holds his face and looks him in the eyes, Morrison conveys just how deeply Emma cares. We know Killian’s in love with Emma, and while Emma hasn’t said those words or any form of them yet, her actions tell the story of a woman who’s embracing the feelings within her wonderfully. Actions speak louder than words, and Emma’s were meant as a confirmation for Killian that he’s safe with her — that she can see something’s off and she’ll do anything in her ability to fix it.

And lastly, how stunning was it to see Emma literally hold Killian’s heart in her hands!? The brief moment before she “gently” puts his heart back in his chest was such an interesting one for us. For the first time, she knew he’d survive because his heart, the one that beats solely for her, was safe in the palm of her hands. It’s interesting because, for someone like Emma, she’s so used to people leaving her, that it’s great for her to know that just as Killian promised her, he’s real — he’s a survivor. Actions speak louder than words, and Killian pushing her against the wall with a passionate kiss was the most appropriate way of reassuring her that all was well and there was nothing to worry about anymore.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode?

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