Once Upon A Time 6×09 “The Changelings” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Episode Summary: In flashbacks, we learn about Rumple’s mother after he steals a baby and summons the Black Fairy. And in present-day Storybrooke, Aladdin becomes the Genie, Emma finds a weapon from her visions, and Belle gives birth to her son and then sends him away for a better life.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is often great at maintaining an engaging speed with its storylines, but sometimes, there is such a thing as slowing things down, and pregnancies are one of them. Frankly, it’s disturbing and this should be the final time it’s ever done. Please and thank you. That said, Once Upon A Time’s “The Changelings” was a solid reminder of how much strength these characters, especially the woman, walk with.

Once Upon A Time writers are great at a number of things, but they’re especially gifted in writing strong, real women. And for the first time in ages, an entire season’s arc has been showcasing Belle in the best way possible. Belle has always been a forgiving character, and while that’s incredibly admirable, to forgive someone over and over again for the same mistakes isn’t how it’s to be done. My personal belief is that a person should always be forgiving, but when a person isn’t willing to right their wrongs, you must forgive and walk away. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean the person deserves it, but it brings inner peace which is vital in all our lives. But walking away isn’t a sign of weakness or unkindness. It’s necessary. On that note, I’m so proud of Belle for fighting for her child’s life and refusing to give into Rumple’s games.

Rumpelstiltskin may believe that he’d never hurt Belle, but he has. Time and time again with verbal and emotional abuse he’s harmed her. And I admire Belle for forgiving him, truly I do. But most importantly, I admire her for having the strength to give their child the best life possible. A life that’s far, far away from a man who cannot be trusted. It takes great strength to know that life isn’t fair for a child and the one Belle currently leads, the threats she faces, Gideon, her hero, deserves better. (Did that name choice shatter anyone else’s heart?)

And I loved the fact that of all the people in Storybrooke, Emma was the one who stood by Belle’s side as she delivered the baby. Emma knows what it’s like to give up a child. While Snow knows it, too, it simply felt right for Emma to be there. She’s gone through the process of giving birth alone and to know that she’s there for someone in order for them not to feel that pain of loneliness was beautiful. This is what Emma does — she saves people from the fate she suffered, and I don’t doubt for a moment that there will come a time when Belle will be reunited with her son. But until then, the fight she’s putting up is bravery at its finest. She’s believed in Rumple too many times, but today, she cannot put that love first anymore. And Emilie de Ravin broke me as Belle said goodbye to her child because at that moment, we saw True Love at in its most immaculate form — the unbreakable bond between a mother and her son. An adoration that de Ravin is portraying beautifully resulting in her strongest performances to date.

In other words, to be quite honest, this wasn’t one of my favorite episodes of Once Upon A Time. It isn’t easy to watch Rumpelstiltskin continuously betray Belle. And for that very reason, I will choose not to get into their relationship for the sake of not hurting anyone’s feelings. MGcircles focuses on the positive aspects of media thereby, let us acknowledge that Robert Carlyle is an impeccably gifted actor because while I adore him, I cannot stand Rumple. He’s clearly doing his job right.

However, I will say that it’s great to understand that his hatred for fairies comes from the fact that his mother is actually the Black Fairy. Poor Henry. I seriously hope this kid never has to make a family tree diagram. Additionally, while Rumple’s heartaches stemming from abandonment are understandable, they don’t make his actions excusable. And Emma Swan is the reason for this. Sure some people aren’t brave enough to continue choosing the honorable road despite the heartaches in their lives, but if you’re given the chance to grow, throwing it away time and time again is a weakness. It’s what’s always made the villains weaker than the heroes. They’ve each had similar pasts, but the choices they’ve made have determined the column their names are engraved in. And while I momentarily felt sorry for Rumple, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s chosen this life for himself. Instead of choosing to make the lives of other children easy, he’s chosen to take them away from the loving homes they’ve already had. He’s chosen to swallow up darkness instead.

Love brings out the best in people. It always has. And True Love especially, can do the unthinkable. But if villains aren’t willing to let their hearts guide their lives, then they won’t be living the kind of lives they could truly be happy with. True Love sparks an effortless desire to change in people and it’s what has happened to Killian Jones. The shining example of a true hero who’s gone from a dark life to an indescribably beautiful one, and it was due to the honorable road he’s chosen because he wanted to be better for Emma. And it is for this reason that he and Emma are the solid duo today confiding in each other and finding strength in one another. True Love means putting someone else’s happiness above your own and the two of them have done this ceaselessly thereby, authenticating what it’s supposed to be like — forgiving each other and growing together. And it’s incredibly vital that in an episode that showcased the different kinds of relationships, we were given the chance to see Killian and Emma put one another first. It doesn’t matter what battle stands before them or how limited their time is because their partner’s physical and emotional well-being is a top priority. We’ve seen this since the moment the two climbed the beanstalk together, and while they may not have realized it then, wanting and needing to protect each other is an instinctually beautiful desire that only ever grows stronger. And I’m sure many of us can’t get enough of t.

And lastly, since forgiveness is our theme this week — I need Regina to understand this concept in order for me to consider her a part of the heroes. I trust her character wouldn’t resort to the evil ways she once would, but she’s still got a long way to go. It isn’t easy to appreciate the character when she takes two steps forwards and then six steps back but I can understand that it isn’t easy. This is why I’m hoping her relationship with her sister is fixed because Zelena wasn’t the one to kill Robin. She may have been heavily misguided with her trust in Hades, but it doesn’t mean she wanted Regina to lose her happy ending. Both Regina and Zelena have committed far too many murders in their past for anyone to forgive them, but it’s been possible. And in order for someone to forgive you, you must be willing to forgive others as well. It takes me back to the most important thing we’re taught which is “treat others the way you’d like to be treated”. If Snow and Charming could forgive Regina for the damage she’s done as the Evil Queen then she can forgive her sister as well. I understand this journey isn’t easy, but I truly hope we get to see it because for me personally, that’s when I’ll see the growth most in her.

“The Changelings” may not have been my favorite episode, but the twist with Aladdin becoming the Genie was fantastic. Somehow in its sixth season Once Upon A Time can still surprise its audience and that’s not the easiest task so kudos to our writers. But as we watched in the promo, Emma’s faint wish will, unfortunately, come true. (We all know she truly loves being the savior.) And hopefully, we’ll learn the identity of the hooded figure.

Worth Mentioning:

  • I’m going to need to have a talk with the makeup department because I need every single lipstick they’ve been giving Zelena lately.
  • Did anyone else catch the heartrending agony in Killian’s voice when he tells Emma “there’s the fight that I love”? Killian Jones believes in Emma Swan with a fervency that’s lightning charged, but it doesn’t change the fact that the thought of anything happening to his person, his heart and soul, has the power to break him in ways nothing ever could. O’Donoghue delivered the faint distress perfectly with a voice break and smile so subtle, it screamed louder than anything. He still has immense faith in her, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s deeply worried.
  • Charming was missed this week. This arrangement seriously isn’t fun.
  • I’m loving the friendship between Snow and Jasmine and I wish she’d stick around even after the Aladdin storyline is over. Once Upon A Time knows how to bring in fantastic guest stars and she’s certainly one of them. It was beautiful to see the women bonding at Granny’s because I loved hearing Snow remind her of the princess she is.
  • I’m glad the relationship between the Evil Queen and Rumple is finally over because I’m pretty sure we can all agree it’s been the most disturbing.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode?

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