ONCE UPON A TIME: Zelena’s Green Heart Grows in “Our Decay”
By Meredith Loftus
“Our Decay” explores the beginnings of a relationship between the Wicked Witch of the West and the Lord of the Underworld as well as their characters’ personal development since that initial meeting.
Zelena fights to reunite with her daughter and learns the weight of what it means to be a good mother. Belle meanwhile joins the fun in the Underworld and gets the good news that she is pregnant.
Henry begins to get in the groove of being the Author and how his powers work in the Underworld. Also, realms are jumped as characters enter the Underworld and messages are sent out.
With more insight into Hades and new plans in motion, will our Storybrooke heroes successfully find their way back home by the end of season?
Taking the Good with the Bad
Once Upon A Time has consistently challenged its audience to consider all sides of a character. There is no one character that is only evil or only good; there is always more to a story than confining characters to those boundaries. This show has also championed the notion of being your true self, whatever you believe that best version is. Some of the most compelling characters of the series have been the ones with darkness who either overcome it or got consumed by it. Killian Jones and Regina Mills may have risen out of their villainous pasts, but Rumpelstiltskin has consistently given into his obsession with power and his determination to keep it. Is this character meant for redemption or is this his redemption?
Belle finds herself in the Underworld after she falls in the portal that Rumple opens to retrieve Baby Hood. While there, she reunites with Rumple only to be told the truth about his deal of the second-born child, her pregnancy, and the return of his dark powers. This leads to one of the most honest conversations this couple has ever had with one another.
Rumple has always been a complicated character: constantly at battle within himself between his lust for power and his love for Belle. In Season 4, he tried to keep Belle oblivious to his darkness only to have it backfire. In this episode, he lays out exactly who he is. Rumple is both the man and the beast; he can’t be one without the other. Rumple loves Belle, but he loves power. He always will. Rumple is embracing all of his identity, the dark and the light, and is giving Belle the choice to take him as he is or leave him.
Belle is a noble heroine who sees the best in others even when they can’t see it themselves. She’s faced discovering Rumple’s darkness before, mainly after being deceitful. This time Rumple unapologetically lays everything out for her, his love for the power and her. He is asking her to accept all of him. Bear in mind, he is coming from a place of honesty, a virtue Belle holds in high regard.
We ask for acceptance all the time in relationships, urging our friends and lovers to take the the good with the bad. But though we may find ourselves sympathizing with Rumple’s request, we can’t help but wonder if the ledger of deception and evil is just too long? Is it ok to overlook that darkness?
No matter what, it is up to Belle to decide if she and her unborn child can happily live with the man and the beast that is Rumpelstiltskin.