Once Upon a Time "The Outsider" Review: For Whom the Belle Tolls

By Lily Sparks

Jan 14, 2013

Once Upon a Time S02E11: "The Outsider"

Once Upon a Time razzled and dazzled me this week because things HAPPENED. So many things happened! Regina’s name was cleared when Archie came back from the dead (good job escaping Cora, I suspect she was busy starching her parasol, and hot-rolling her updo; her look seems to require a LOT of maintenance), Hook got his pleather-clad butt handed to him, and Belle got SHOT (I think) before a car ran straight into her (busy day). But first, can we say hello to the two new actors? Right Bosom and Left Bosom, that is!

YOWZA! If you want to go on a serious hike but think you might have to do a little pros-tah-tution during your adventure, go with this getup. Belle was heaving around FTL dressed like Lara Croft, and weirdly the townspeople were not having it, with two guys in floppy hats giving her a swirly and Mulan tripping her in the forest. And damn if Mulan and Belle didn’t have the most undeniable sexual chemistry of any two characters on this show—seriously, let the Tumblring begin! Sorry, #Bed fans, but I might have to pull up my anchor and set sail on a #Bulan ship because unbearable sensual tension ahoy!

In our real world, Mary Margaret pointed out that Henry raising new dog Pongo on the bed—the one that she and her recently reunited husband would later make passionate love on—was kind of gnarly. She suggested they find a house with several bedrooms, bedrooms with walls and doors around the beds and “privacy” as it is sometimes called, so that she wouldn’t wake to the sound of Emma dismantling a toaster again or singing “Freebird” at the top of her lungs, as Emma is wont. Emma was immediately against the idea, because obviously they could all just live in the car and shower under gutter pipes after it rains.

Charming was against the idea of putting down roots/mortgaging a colonial-style bungalow in this world because Fairy Tale Land still exists, and it is their home dammit. “I don’t want to die here,” he said bitterly from the cozy diner of his picturesque Maine town. No, I like this conflict a lot because it opens up the coming seasons in a cool way, and why go vs. why stay is sort of a thought-provoking debate, at least relative to the usual heavy-handed “can people change?” moral question/foregone conclusion this show continues to flog like a dead horse.

Meanwhile, Belle was chased about by Hook, which was a feint so he could go in and steal Bae’s precious potato sack or whatever from Rumple, and then he threatened Belle with a gun so tiny it was probably made by Mattel, and then Rumple (who weighs 90 pounds soaking wet and is probably 20 years Hook’s senior) beat Hook like a piñata on the deck of Hook's own ship—the ultimate insult to a pirate—until Belle begged him not to. It did make me laugh out loud when Hook taunted Rumple again and Rumple dove on top of him after sighing, “He HAS to die, Belle!” But Belle believes in the good in him, despite learning that he had killed the mother of his child after she cuckolded him.

It’s another one of those ugly facts OUAT dances around like a pole at a go-go club. Rumple killed his own wife after she left him for another man—which, by civilized standards, she should have been within her rights as a human being to do. He killed her to punish her and spite her new partner, and that is unforgivably wicked. WE forgive him because we know this is all make believe and hey, Robert Carlyle. But Belle is basically that one crazy chick who married the Menendez brother, you know?

When the Beastliness was a metaphor for physical deformity, Belle’s love was noble and pure. When the Beastliness becomes a metaphor for abuse and cruelty, Belle’s love becomes delusional and unhealthy. It happens in real life all the time, and the belief OUAT keeps holding up as the ultimate message here, that people can change, is one that leaves actual bodies in its wake here in the real world. I don’t know how the show can endorse that message with a clean conscience; it’s dangerous to encourage people to think there’s good in everyone, because sometimes there’s not. There are sadistic predators or there are weird relationship dynamics that couples with histories of abusive parents can fall into and before you know it Rihanna is dating Chris Brown again and we all look the other way. Just saying.

And sure enough, by continually involving herself with a villain, Belle managed to get shot and left to die an amnesiac. Grim!

In happier times, Belle faced off against a horrifying beast made of pure CGI in FT China. She doused him in water and magic and he became Aurora’s Prince, a man we knew would one day have his soul literally sucked out of his face by a wraith. Sucks to be you, Aurora’s Prince!

As snarky as I’m being here, I deeply appreciated how fast and furious the developments happened in this episode. Archie is back, Belle is in peril, a new conflict has literally careened into town. It’s all gotten a little nutsy and campy, but that doesn’t bother me. Hell, I encourage it. Maybe a couple episodes down the road Emma, Snow, Regina, Cora, and Henry can all have a sit-down with Dr. Phil. Let’s let the freak flags fly, OUAT.


1. What’s the significance of the car crashing into town?

2. Why does Smee continue to wear that super red cap?

3. Did Cora plan for Archie to escape?

4. Belle: How long will she be an amnesiac?

5. What would Dr. Phil’s advice be to the Charmings?

6. Is it irresponsible to tell people that someone who hurt or killed their first partner can be won over by a truer love?

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  • bizkit41 Jan 18, 2013

    totally didn't know who Ms. Menendez is. had to google it. thx for educating me.

  • Sal_Doomhammer Jan 18, 2013

    Where the hell is Pinnochio?

  • Fireheart-tm Jan 18, 2013

    Could it be, that Archie is not Archie but really Cora in disguise? She did the same trick with Lancelot. Maybe that is why we did not see her at all in this episode. Maybe that is why Archie escaped so easily... and is not close to Snow, Charming and Emma. Just at thought.

  • mnemesis Jan 18, 2013

    Pongo noticed Cora when she appeared with the face of Regina, he would have reacted the same way with Cora being Archie...

  • Fireheart-tm Jan 19, 2013

    ah, off course. That put's a damper on my theory, and makes me think less of the writers.

  • Fireheart-tm Jan 18, 2013

    PS: I am not suggestion Archie is really dead, just that the Archie that escaped is not really Archie.

  • googlehoop Jan 18, 2013

    Also, hold onto your hat Lily...Dr. Frankenstein is returning next week...in black and white!

  • googlehoop Jan 18, 2013

    This was a great episode, with a lot of action, as has been pointed out. To answer some of the questions:

    1. No idea, except it has incapacitated Hook (for how long?) and who is this stranger (not Bae)?

    3. I very much doubt Cora planned for Archie to escape. I imagine she thought no one would find the invisible ship, and is probably off watching Regina (who has gone God knows where to hide out).

    4. It's anybody's guess as to how long Belle will lose her memory. Some things are resolved quickly (like Archie's 'death') and others take longer. I'm sure her memory will be restored though, one way or another. And as hot as a relationship between Belle and Hook would be, that would DESTROY Rumple...and I for one would hate to see that.

    6. Don't care...if viewers can't tell the difference between fantasy and real life, then they have bigger problems than that!

  • bleumystique Jan 18, 2013

    -Real people are a comin! Real people are a comin!!! Those poor, poor souls. Wondering around a town that only has one restaurant that doesn't even serve coffee (hot chocolate...with cinnamon) is going to be hinky. But also Emma's baby daddy was supposed to be on his way, so could it be a sign for his arrival?
    - Well he ain't wearing it no more, so I guess it doesn't matter. Scurry away little rat! Scurry away!
    - Cora had to have known that when she disappears and leaves handsome but dreadfully dumb Hook to his own devices that things will just go awry. Either she suspected it would happen and didn't really care or she's at risk of seeming as incompetent as her hooked compadre.
    - Belle was kinda awesome in this episode! Like as a fellow book nerd, she made me all proud! I was kinda digging the outfit in FTL and in SB she totally has this emo geek chic thing going on. I loves it. It's funny, because I typically don't like any of the roles Emilie de Ravin finds herself in, but my inner book nerd can't NOT like Belle.
    -Get on the same page. I don't know. It did bring up quite the interesting conflict. Staying in SB versus heading back to FTL. Emma and Snow would definitely want to stay. Little Henry would dig FTL for all of a few weeks before he's craving SB. I mean once you've experienced having full blown conversations with your cell phone as if it was a corporeal being, it's kinda hard to adjust to life with no wi-fi.
    - Fairy Tales have always been irresponsible. I don't see this as being any different. To be fair...and to paint a less sadistic picture, Rumple may have been more pissed about his wife abandoning their child. I mean cheating is cheating, it isn't acceptable in my book but it's nothing worth killing for, but there is something pretty foul about abandoning your own child. Leaving him with a person YOU don't even deem fit. That will elicit a primal response. I mean fairy tales have always been gruesome. They've been known to send all sorts of warped messages if you ever take the time to analyze them. For example, everyone talks about how romantic it is that the prince found Cinderella, but all I keep thinking about is how she never stood up for herself, she was basically suffering from some sort of Stockholm syndrome when it came to her stepmother, she went from one twisted home to a castle without figuring out who she was between all that. She needed a man to save her from her horrible life...a man who couldn't even remember what she looked like, so spent all his time visiting every broad in town to see if a shoe fit. But whatever. Belle's relationship with Rumple isn't healthy.
    -WTF is with Mulan having sapphic vibes with every chick she comes into contact with?! With the exception of the googly eyes she had for Philip, Mulan is totally playing for the team that doesn't handle the balls and I keep expecting her to make out with whomever beauty she comes into contact with. It would turn into a whole other show, but the sexual energy is always there and can't be ignored.
    -I was secretly hoping Chris Brown and Rihanna jokes and/or references would not make it into 2013. They're everywhere.

  • emyle Jan 17, 2013

    So when Snow and Charming say they're getting a house, how does that work? Do they just claim it? Or do they take out a mortgage? Or lease it? Does the community pay bills at all? Do they understand the concept of credit and debit cards?

    I just have a lot of fiscal questions about Storybrooke.

  • moviemanic Jan 17, 2013

    I hope the guy in the car is Emma's baby dady. I'm on the edge of my seat wondering how that is gonna finally play out or when they will have him show up.

  • Fireheart-tm Jan 18, 2013

    Emma's baby daddy? You mean Henry's father. Just say it.

  • smithinjapan Jan 17, 2013

    Got a few chuckles out of this photo summary, Ms. Sparks. Thanks. The eye-line thing was pretty funny.

    As for the show itself, I think I'm done watching it. The first season was great -- they were trapped the whole time in the town, with no magic, excellent backstory and great acting (for the most part), but since season two started it's always, "There's no way to get back.... UNLESS!" and a new character and some hidden magic is revealed. It reminds me of Heros, in a way -- every time there's a problem a new fairy-tale character is introduced as a kidn of Deux ex Machina, or else to bring in the problem of the episode. The acting, save of course Robert Carlyle, has become hammy and unbelievable for the most part.

    That said, I'll probably stick with it as I did Heros.

    What do I think the significance of the car crashing in the town is? Well, isn't that a kind of repeat of how Emma came into town? Maybe it'll be Carlyle's son.

  • ionee24 Jan 16, 2013

    "3. Did Cora plan for Archie to escape?"

    Why to kidnap him to begin with, the guy was only missing for ONE episode for crying outloud!

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