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TV Review: Once Upon a Time – “Lacey”

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Holy Moley! Just when it seems that Rumple (Robert Carlyle) needs his Belle (Emilie de Ravin) the most, she morphs into “Racy” Lacey, courtesy of Regina (Lana Parrilla), also known as the Evil Queen in this week’s Once Upon a Time episode “Lacey.”

It is no wonder that Rumplestiltksin finds new urgency in getting Belle’s memories to return afte awakening to a frightful (and frightening dream) in which he turns young Henry into a statue and then crushes it. The fact that this dream greatly disturbs Mr. Gold is suggestion enough that he is trying very hard to hold onto the best of himself. And he believes that the best way to achieve that is to win back Belle. 

Consulting David (Josh Dallas) on this matter was a sweet way of letting us understand Rumple’s feelings of inadequacy and nervousness. But Regina, resentful of the fact that Gold is Henry’s grandfather (not to mention that he in a twist of fate, with its odd sense of humor), knows that he is trying very hard to be good and fight his darker nature. She knows that Belle is the key, and in a fit of cold and rather gleeful cruelty, she makes magic and creates for Belle a set of false memories very different from the Belle Rumple fell in love with. 

To return Belle to her true self will require a kiss born of true love, but how is that possible now that she is transformed into Lacy? How will Rumple charm, court or otherwise convince her to love him? The answer lies not in Rumple’s goodness, but his badness. 

The new Belle finds Gold rather humdrum. “You wouldn’t hurt a fly,” she says. And seems to prefer a darker dude (and in reality the Sheriff of Nottingham) who hits on her in the Rabbit Hole pub.

Rumple and Belle have a date at Granny’s and when Rumple hears Belle utter words he has heard her say before, it affects him to the point of him spilling his ice tea all over her. But Belle is off to smooch with the guy hitting on her at the Rabbit Hole! 

In the meantime, we get to see more of Belle and Rumple’s Enchanted Forest back story, probably set somewhat earlier than “Skin Deep.” We learn the origins of Rumple’s affection for Belle as well as the events that begin to make her think of Rumple as not quite as evil as he would like everyone to believe. Belle sees within him the glimmer of good still buried within him, and thrice during the story do we see his better nature take over. 

The first can be mistaken for self-interest when he refuses to “sell” Belle to the Sheriff of Nottingham in exchange for information about Robin Hood, who has stolen Rumple’s magic wand. Protecting her honor and her well being might be construed as self interest, and certainly Rumple would explain it that way. After all, who is to clean the castle?

But the second incident is less ambiguous, and happens as Rumple is about to kill Robin Hood for the theft. Seeing that he is using the wand to heal a pregnant woman and save the life of his wife and child gets to Rumple, and Belle’s appeal that he would not want to leave a child fatherless resonates with him deeply. He “misses” with a magic arrow, but we know (Robert Carlyle is sensational in conveying what words cannot) Rumple would not miss his target.

The third moment suggests that Rumple is falling for Belle, and instead of showing her to her cell (or harming her) for letting Robin Hood free, instead, Rumple introduces her to his beautiful, enormous library. Although he denies it, it is obvious to Belle that he created it for her. Just lovely.

But, getting back to the Storybrooke story, it appears that Belle much prefers the not-so-nice version of Rumple and seems to relish his beating of Nottingham’s Storybrooke alter-ego. Rumple doesn’t necessarily care which side of Belle falls in love with him, because he realizes that once she does and they kiss, he will have is old Belle back beside him. Or will he?

While I loved the Fairytale Land story, which was beautifully told and acted by Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin, I less enjoyed the Racy Lacy part of the story. It did not quite work for me, and I’m not sure why. It wasn’t that Belle was transformed into this sexy barfly chick, it was the relish with which Gold embraced his bad side and pummeled Nottingham for no real motivation. The man wan’t hurting Belle, and yes, Gold was jealous, but he knew it was not the real Belle with whom he was dealing. 

I get that Racy Lacey was into nasty Dark One Mr. Gold, but it seemed out of character for her to enjoy Rumple hurting Nottingham, even in her state. Her heart is still her heart, and I have to think that the senseless act of violence defied logic, even within the show’s idiosyncratic logic.

That said, I hope that Belle and Rumple are reunited, share a blissful kiss, and his deeper Dark One urge to get rid of Henry will be forestalled by Belle’s effect on the volatile Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin.

There was, of course, more going on in Storybrooke than Rumple’s courtship of Belle. We have learned that the bean crop is doing quite well under Tiny’s tutelage, and that soon, the fairytale characters can return to the Enchanted Forest. 

But, oops. Regina now knows what’s going on, and I have no doubt that she will do something to gum up the works in the next two episodes. 

Don’t forget, tomorrow night on Let’s Talk TV Live, we will be deconstructing this week’s episode and speculating about what the final two episodes will bring. So, what did you think of “Lacy?” Weigh in below.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • Betsy

    I thought this was an incredible episode. I LOVED both SB and FTL……and Bobby and Emilie again showed their miraculous chemistry

    I don’t think Gold has any desire at all to hurt Henry…He’s tormented because he doesn’t know what to do. He certainly wants to live or not be “undone”, but he has to find a way to deal with this that does not involve hurting someone he cares about.

    I LOVED the hospital scene early on; that was absolutely exqisite and one of my all-time favorite Rumbelle scenes.

    While I at first had issues at the end, I’ve changed my mind. I asked Adam on twitter:

    Was the intent with Gold to show that he had lost all hope and,at least for a moment, chose wrong?

    He answered YEP. So Gold lost it because the man has been battered and beaten and he lost hope – and he just …..well, he had something of a breakdown.

    Adam also confirmed that acting “bad” is now Gold’s plan to win Lacey over. Emilie had said in an interview that when he saw this intrigued Lacey, he would roll with the punches…..and he did. Also, Keith is the sleazy Sheriff of Nottingham who referred to Belle in FTL as a wench and wanted to have his way with her for a short time. So, the guy is a sleaze. That scene was hard to watch, no doubt, but I could buy it.

    What I didn’t particularly like was Lacey’s persona. That is, I loved most of it, but she was cruel to Gold. If she didn’t want to go out with him or she was bored, then just tell him…..don’t sneak around.

    Her heart is not Belle’s heart, though – and Emilie has made a point of saying that. She is what Regina made her – and Regina made her to “destroy” Gold. So, there would be little of substance in Lacey that has anything to do with Belle. That said, down down deep I think she’s Belle, but not anywhere that’s accessible at this point. Lacey clearly has issues….thanks a bunch, Regina.

    Anyway, Bobby has said that we would find out about what Gold is up to in the finale and then everything turns around.

    I think Gold is going to tell Lacey the truth about her being Belle and that he can no longer pursue being a bad boy even to win her love. I think he will tell Lacey that he deeply loves her, but that he wants to be a good man, a better man, and that he hopes she will eventually love him for himself. Gold is going to choose light and goodness, as he has since Belle’s return, and I think that he will trust in the strength of Belle’s love for him, which is locked inside of Lacey, to eventually come out. I can see him telling her that she deserves to be loved, that she doesn’t need to look for bad boys, who can’t and won’t love her like she ought to be loved. He’s reaching out to her, not to win her over, but because he wants her to feel good about herself. He wants her to believe that she can find love with a good man, even if it’s not him.

    I believe that what Gold tells Lacey will move her to the point where she realizes that she actually does care very much for him, not just his bad boy side. His love for her, his sacrifice (refusing to indulge her desire for BB behavior) and his belief that she deservse more than she thinks she does will make her realize that she does love him.

  • WML

    I loved this episode. I like Charming when he’s with Gold/Rumple. I loved the dream sequence in the beginning of the episode. I LOVED the evil Regina. I REALLY LOVED the BAD BOY (that’s Mr. Gold to you, Sheriff!). The electricity between Emilie and RC is just electric. It is almost matched by the electricity between Neal and Emma. But the Rumple and Belle dynamic is just incredible.

    The FTL flashback scenes were great. They told a great story, made Robin Hood a true hero, and made it clear to many why Belle fell in love with Rumple. Underneath the beast is a heart yearning to love.

    And that’s what’s great about this episode. We see Rumple in dismay, lashing out. And Lacey alongside to almost cheer him on? In some ways, it’s harkening back to the Cora/Rumple relationship. We’ll see how this works out.

    I do think that this is actually the setup for the Belle memory recall and the rekindling of Rumbelle in the future. When Neal finds out about the beating, you can rest assured that he won’t take this kindly. Rumple will be forced to decide, again, how much he truly loves his son and his family. I hope that the decision to finally prove his love for Bae will not only heal his relationship with Bae, but also be the catalyst for finding love with Belle (not Lacey) again. After all, if Rumple sacrifices his desire for Belle to show his great love for his son, would not that act of true love be the ultimate path to redemption?

    I am grumpy about Grumpy and the dwarves. The Giant is much more interesting. And I do hope Regina has plans for those beans.

    I can’t stand Tamara and Owen. BUT, they make the story much more interesting, with all the competing and perhaps not totally mutually exclusive “less than honorable” plots the characters have in mind.

    I loved the library scene. That moment crystallized, for me, what I love so much about OUAT. It is in gentleness and kindness, no matter how small, that great love is born. And there is no better tale of love, than that of Beauty and her Beast.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/barbara-barnett barbara barnett

    yes, it was clear that Gold’s behavior at the end was his attempt to “go with the flow” and win Belle any way he could. If that was working, well… cool.

    But on the whole I really loved the episode, and the FTL scenes were gorgeous. Beautifully acted and written.

  • WML

    Oh I forgot to say that I loved it when Neil and Emma were talking like a family. And the line about August being rebooted? Priceless.

    BUT. It is still a Rumple/Gold Belle/Lacey episode. As much as the post winter break episodes have been terrific, having Carlyle front and center just shows you what an incredible talent he really is. Bravo RC. Bravo Emilie. And SwanFire? I guess I ship that too.

  • Connie

    During the episode I could not help but think that Regina did the exact same thing to Belle as she did to David (aka Prince Charming) in season one. After David came out of his coma he was also completely blank. In one of the episodes Mayor Mills directed David to Mr. Gold’s shop where he spotted the windmill, which was apparently connected to his fabricated past with Katherine (aka Princess Abigail); as a result it “jogged his memories”. Once Charming was given his set of false memories he became the complete opposite of who he once was. The same concept applies to Belle, once she was given false memories she became the complete opposite of herself, only in her case it’s a little more extreme.

    I thought the episode was okay, it wasn’t as good as some of the previous episodes like “The Miller’s Daughter” (my favorite in season 2), but it was decent. I liked how the writers stuck to the Beauty and the Beast dynamic in the fairy tale scenes, it was interesting to see how Belle and Rumple interacted with each other early on; it gave me, as a viewer, an idea of how their relationship developed. My only criticism is that the ending in Storybrooke, where Lacey stood there and watched Mr. Gold bludgeon the Sherrif of Nottingham, left me hanging. It wasn’t that I thought it was out of character for Belle- she’s cursed, so she is the opposite of who she is just as David was- but, I felt that there was no clear resolution in the Gold/Lacey situation. When I saw the ending it seemed that Gold completely gave up on his efforts to better himself. But, after reading the other comments on how Gold was acting bad to win over Lacey and get the real Belle back, it made sense to me, but I’ll have to rewatch that scene so that I can view it with that idea in mind. Overall the episode was okay, I’m still a fan of Once Upon a Time, and I can’t wait to see what happens next :)

  • Review219

    This episode was a disappointment. Robin Hood character seems to have been shown for the sake of having another new isolated plot. The Lacey charactor did not fit the show, going from fairy tales to bar drinking and playing pool. Overall not an exciting writing for a prime time slot.
    The 2×19 episode had a series of poorly performed plots with some disconnect. They borrowed a few words from The Hustler (1961, Paul Newman as Fast Eddie) at the pool scene. Oh! now the folks from the fairy tale/Storybrooke get Netflix or Xfinity! The sleazy scenes were an attempt to increase the younger teen viewers or the folks in their 20s. Cane beating by Rumple, tongue removal, and bloody apron were poorly adaptations from Goodfellas (1990)!? May be Joe Pesci could have been in the bar scene: Are you saying I am funny? Funny how? ……….

  • WML

    I was watching the show again and I am struck by Carlyle’s acting. The guy deserves ad Emmy nomination. It really is a joy to watch Emily and Carlyle play off against each other. You can really tell the tremendous comfort level between the two.

    I cannot say enough good things about Rumple and Belle’s love theme. It has a certain melancholy, a certain longing, it really makes you empathize with the fate of Rumple and Belle. You’ve heard it so often, but with intricate dance that Emily and Carlyle do with one another, it is always fresh and new. Mark Isham, great job!

    And upon watching the episode again, I do think that Henry will indeed be Rumple’s undoing. That is, he will make Rumple and Bae whole again, undoing what Rumple’s cowardice and love for power did so many years ago. And if this act of love bears out, it could also pave the way for Rumple and Belle finding one another again.

    But this is OUAT. Nothing is ever that simple.

  • Pixie Michele

    I adored the episode; definitely one to watch many times because of the brilliant performances and writing. However, I know what you mean Barbara. That end beating scene bothered me. Maybe more backstory will be shown later to fill in the motivation?
    I do understand the “breakdown” moment mentioned, but, IMO, it’s not still not enough to explain it. Gold beat Belle’s father, then Hook at which time he seemed to grow past it. When you see his character advancing toward honor, it’s hard to see the setback. I guess that shows how difficult it is to balance fairytale concepts in a drama.
    As far as Belle’s reaction, I think it’s juxtaposing against FTL to show the strength of her character’s cursed state. Belle rescues Robin Hood saying, “no one deserves to be tortured.” Rumple insists on making her watch when he pursues the thief. Then Lacy watches a beating with relish. I don’t personally like it, but I get it.
    No doubt the offsetting eventual payoff for both comes through love and honor.

  • WML

    Thanks for reminding us the Gold has not refrained from dolling out a good beating or two.

  • Action Kate

    So who has the master edit of all the FTL flashbacks in internal chronological order, culled from all the shows? I bet that would make some fascinating watching.

  • Meredith Pechta

    I know that everyone is upset that Regina’s plans worked all to well. I believe that this curse that both Charming and Belle recieved through an object is meant to target them harder than the others because they were endanger of getting their real memories back, and would be a threat to the curse. Also, Rumple has self-esteem problems. More than anything, he wanted acceptance, and when he recieved that from Lacey, he decided to side with her. Belle had forgiven him. Neal/Bae hadn’t truely, so Gold chose being bad for Lacey over being good for his son.