ONCE UPON A TIME “Ill-Boding Patterns” Review
By Meredith Loftus
In the latest episode of Once Upon A Time, some of our heroes make a decision about whether or not to sacrifice personal gain for the sake of what’s right. In a flashback, it is revealed that Rumple fell further into his lust for power at the expense of protecting the goodness in Baelfire, even though it meant Baelfire grew to resent him for it. In present day, Rumple makes the same sacrifice, doing a dark deed in order to prevent Gideon from letting the darkness consume him.
Meanwhile, Robin of Locksley teams up with the Wicked Witch in the hope of breaking out into the rest of our realm. Even though they can’t break the protection spell, Regina agrees to find a way for Robin of Locksley to leave and give him a real chance at finding happiness. Too bad the Evil Queen escaped and has her own plans for the thief! Finally, Killian gets the nerve to tell Emma the truth about her grandfather’s death, but when Emma confesses she found the engagement ring, he decides not to tell her and proposes instead. Get ready: The wedding bells will soon ring in Storybrooke!
Leaning Into the Fire
Rumpelstiltskin’s greatest vice is his addiction to dark magic. From the beginning and going into six seasons, that has remained constant. Prior to magic, Rumple felt helpless and powerless as life dealt him one hardship after another. Magic gave him the means to take control and make his own destiny. He was a desperate soul who took drastic measures to save his son, Baelfire. Up until the flashbacks of this episode, the descent into darkness for Rumple after he became the Dark One was drastic. Once he had a taste of power, he didn’t let it go. Baelfire had a clear stance on magic: he thought it was dangerous and asked his father repeatedly to give it up. However, in this episode, we find out there was a moment between the night and day difference. Rumple made conscious decisions to not use magic for the sake of his son, and Baelfire had a taste of darkness that began to affect his character. At first glance, these scenes can seem out of place and out of character from what we are accustomed to with Rumple and Baelfire, but it’s these scenes that continue to humanize these characters we have known for six seasons. In the very early days of being the Dark One, Rumple was able to resist using dark magic because his son believed he could be a hero. Baelfire, not fully understanding the power he wielded in controlling the dagger, acted selfishly and used the power of the Dark One to stop Beowulf. When Rumple realized how toxic this power could have on Baelfire, he removed Baelfire’s memory of abusing dark magic to retain his goodness. From there, Rumple continued to fall to the addictive allure of dark magic, later consuming him instead of following his son to a land without magic, but for a moment, we are reminded that Rumple is willing to sacrifice himself and beat his own addiction when it comes to his son.
Since his resurrection in season three, Rumple has descended back into his villainous ways, choosing power over love, and allowing others to take the fall in order to reap the benefits. He isolated himself by pushing Belle away, the one woman who was able to see past the beast he became. When Gideon came back to Storybrooke in the midseason finale, a switch went off in Rumple. For the first time in a while, he is fighting for the goodness of another because of love. Reuniting with his son after his own mother took Gideon away from him is giving Rumple a second chance to make things right in the ways he failed Baelfire. Gideon is trying to do a heroic thing through the wrong means; there is still a light in him that has not been extinguished by darkness. There is hope. To keep this hope alive, Rumple is stepping up and putting the weight of darkness back on himself rather that tainting Gideon. This could either indulge Rumple enough to dive further in his own personal darkness, or these little moments of sacrifice could lead to his real redemption and restore his family. He finally has something to fight for.