Monday , March 4 2024
"Fantasia" and the Sorcerer's Apprentice visit ABC's fantasy series "Once Upon a Time."

TV Review: ‘Once Upon a Time’ – ‘The Apprentice’

In the season premiere of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, Mr. Gold (the criminally underused–until this episode–Robert Carlyle) happens upon a magic hat–a very familiar magic hat. Of course  anyone who’s ever seen the brilliant Disney movie Fantasia, would immediately recognize it as belonging to Sorcerer’s Apprentice (AKA Mickey Mouse). This week’s episode “The Apprentice,” of course references that iconic Fantasia segment.Robert Carlyle on Once Upon a Time

I was actually a little fearful of watching this episode. I have been disappointed with the direction the show’s creators have taken the character of Rumplestiltskin this season (in the few scenes he’s been in). Having negated the character’s growth and the long journey’s he’s taken (first to find his son Baelfire, and then ultimately to be reunited with the love of his life, “the only light” in his dark life, Belle), the showrunners have turned the tables, making him, instead, an unrepentant villain, hungry for power, and power alone. Now dragging Hook into this maelstrom, with Hook as the “good” man brought down by the evil Mr. Gold. Huh?

But there was a lot I liked about this episode. A lot. Fantasia is one of my favorite Disney movies. As a child, it created in me a magical love of classical music, and to this day, I cannot hear Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony without thinking of the movie. And of course the Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment of Fantasia is one of the best bits of animation ever set to music.

So, I loved the way the show incorporated the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Disney-style) into the episode, from the Apprentice becoming a mouse to the touch at the end, with Henry in effect becoming the character, broom in hand. And then, of course there was the walking broom! I can sort of predict what will happen if (and perhaps when) Henry becomes too curious of all the magical curiosities in Gold’s shop and lets loose who knows what magical mischief, ala Fantasia.

As much as I liked parts of the episode (even the Frozen parts weren’t as annoying to me as they have been), I am saddened that show has, with this episode, completed the destruction of my favorite character, rewriting him as a villain only obsessed with power and magic. Yes, I get that Rumple is a magic addict, but the writers have been careful for three seasons in showing the conflict within him when it comes to magic. They’ve always written him with layers (enhanced by Carlyle’s performance).

Characters like Rumple are always problematic for writers. You want to take him to the edge of dislikability, but never over the edge. Once a character becomes completely unlikable, you stop caring about the character. David Shore and the creators of House, M.D. were generally pretty cognizant of that (until the final season, anyway), as were the creators of Syfy’s Stargate Universe with the would-be dislikable character of Nicholas Rush (another character portrayed by Robert Carlyle).

This season’s revisionist version of Rumplestiltskin (and especially in this episode) gives me no reason to care about him at all anymore. He’s a completely different character, bereft of humanity, and with nothing to redeem him. He’s treating his wife with an inexplicable contempt (although we’ve barely seen her this season). His threat to Hook about destroying his marriage is something Belle would never countenance. She would hate him for it, and with good reason.

Before now, I’d never seen Rumple as beyond redemption. The writers (especially Jane Espenson and David Goodman) have created in Rumple a great tragic hero: not good, certainly, but not completely evil, either: layered and complex.

When we first meet Hook, Rumple is his victim, bullied and humiliated, and left as a single father by the villainous pirate. And when he becomes the Dark One, it is to protect his son, and even his actions after that had been driven by (a sometimes misguided) sense of love and family.  But this new Rumple is beyond explanation.  This is not a Rumplestiltskin I care about at all. Do I want his happiness? Not really (his actions suggest that maybe he doesn’t deserve it). Why would I care? Belle should leave him at the first opportunity.

He’s never (until now) been written that way, and just as the writers transformed Hook nearly overnight into a good guy (now only to be corrupted by Gold), they have destroyed the most complex and interestingly written character on the show. I think (and I’ve said it before) that after Rumple’s noble act at the end of Season 3A, the writers were not sure what to do with him, and now they’ve decided to recast him as an evil sorcerer, complete with apprentice. It’s an interesting idea, and one they might have accomplished without destroying a character about whom many fans deeply cared.

Rumple is now living a double life, keeping Belle in the dark (unbelievably so, since the character of Belle had been written as an incredibly intelligent and independent woman), while accumulating power (and for what?). Why turn him now into a devious, lying villain, with nothing to mitigate it, especially after the teary promise he’d made at Neal’s graveside in the season premiere? What had been the point of that? The one thing he declares at Neal’s graveside was that he was wrong to think he needed anything more than love and family. He speaks from the heart here, and little can explain this sudden shift other than that the writers need Rumple to be a villain and pull Hook to the dark side to cause conflict between Hook and Emma.

I suppose if we’d seen some outside hurt…something to explain Rumple’s sudden slide into the greedy, power-hungry liar he’s become…I’d understand. But now…?

I have always had a policy when it comes to my TV coverage: When I’m done with a series, I will stop writing about it; it’s pointless to endlessly criticize the showrunners and the series. Once Upon a Time is not my creation, and show creators are entitled to follow their own vision. So this will be my last “regular” Once Upon a Time column. I will continue to follow the series, write an occasional piece, and discuss the series on Twitter, and on my weekly radio show “Let’s Talk TV Live,” which airs Tuesday nights on the Blogcritics Radio Network.

I will also be turning my writing attention to other series, including Elementary, Madam Secretary and Newsroom, among others. So look for my coverage right here on Blogcritics in the coming weeks.


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About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (

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  1. well in this show, magic is an addiction, a substance abuse if you will. It’s power is what affects those who have a mentall illness of some kind (why Regina also ends up going back to it almost all the time).

    • I agree that there may be reasons, and I don’t dislike Rumple reverting to being bad, but what annoys me is that they don’t show the inner conflict really. They just show Rumple as evil and while I perfectly understand why he’d revert, it’s also a 100% turnover from the speech he gave to Neal’s grave. I guess they will give him reasons, but it may just be.. too late

      • But the speech he gave at Neal’s grave was minutes after brutally murdering his own psychotic victim who was completely defenceless, gaslighted one of his biggest victims and then continued to manipulate his wife, his favourite past time.

        • The last half of the third season and this season thus far has been an evisceration of the Rumple character. The killing of the Wicked Witch was perhaps the catalyst of the fandom’s revulsion to where the OUAT overlords are taking this character.

          • What exactly eviscerated it? Rumple certainly wasn’t much on the path to ‘recovery’ considering he was trying to kill his grandson and still actively murdering and/or brutalizing innocent and defenseless people in early S3 and Season 2.

          • Gold’s love for his son was stronger than his desire for power – for he could have killed Henry but did not do so. He is not an innocent, but his evolution was worth watching.

          • Really? Because the only reason he stopped attempting to murder Henry is because he was interrupted. I do think it’s interesting that a man was willing to abuse, corrupt, murder and generally be the absolute worst in order to get back to his son because it’s so disgusting and reprehensible but I don’t remember a single time that Rumple has ever chosen Belle or Neal/Bae over power.

          • Actually, he was in deep contemplation and almost did the deed but the interruption caused him to stop and probably rethink what he was doing. That scene was also one of those things that didn’t make any sense – why would he want to kill Henry anyway? He could have killed Henry later but the fact that Henry is still around probably means that he’s changed his mind. Maybe. Although you never know with this show.

            I don’t know, but letting Belle was a pretty nice gesture on his part. Giving up his life to save Storybrooke seemd like a pretty decent thing to do. Giving up the dagger to Zelena in order to absorb Neal seemed like he was choosing his son over power.

          • Giving up his life to save *belle and Neal* is not the same as trying to save Storybrooke, since we’ve seen him multiple times not care about Storybrooke at all.

            Letting Belle what? Largely I find the idea if “letting” a woman do anything is rather sexist but I need to know the context first.

            Giving up the dagger in order to absorb Neal was both selfless and entirely selfish in equal measure which was why it was interesting but I don’t really think it’s an example of him being better since ignoring what’s right and what Neal wants is classic old Rumple.

      • That’s the problem with all the characters this season, unfortunately.

    • That’s the biggest problem with the show. They continue to talk about magic as an addiction. But if it’s an addiction you can’t have them use it for good just because the plot calls for it. Either it’s an addiction or it’s not.

      • An addiction, through hard work, can be tempered. They had Regina and Rumple on that path. Which I think a lot of people could root for. Now all that history (of steps forward and backward) are gone. That’s what people are upset about. All in service to the Emma and Hook shippers, as well as the Frozen lovers.

        • Not what I’m saying because it’s either an addition or it’s not. You can’t say that someone is addicted to something but then expect them to use magic to save people. If someone is addicted to alcohol you can’t say ‘yes, stop drinking, except when there’s a party, that’s fine’.

          I’m still missing what steps forward Rumple has made that people are upset about being erased. I’m trying to remember even an episode where he hasn’t been actively abusing, manipulating or murdering people.

          • Gold has been not been as manipulative or murderous as Rumple in the past. Mr. Gold is a nuanced, incredibly well acted character. He is not quite the old Rumple, but he’s not a saint either. What the OUAT overlords have done is destroy the Gold and to a lesser extent, Regina, in order to serve the Emma/Hook ship as the main course. I could care less about Emma and Hook. Really the weakest characters in the show. And where is Ruby? Miss Ohry should be available to the show, but she is missing. And where is Cinderella? All the interesting season one characters are gone. To the show’s great detriment.

          • You really believe that Gold is not as manipulative or murderous as Rumple in the past? In the last season he’s actively manipulated almost every character, abused several and murdered multiple people and that’s even taking out the time he was Zelena’s prisoner. He’s exactly the old Rumple. Like, there are no real differences between Rumple and Gold. I keep waiting for there to be, for him to take responsibility for all the terrible things he keeps doing, but it’s been 2 full seasons for the curse to break and he hasn’t moved forward.

          • I don’t see it that way. He could have wiped Hook out in a second and make it look like an accident but he did not. He is a man not quite sure of who he is and what he wants to be, but he did seem to at least care about Belle and Neal. He took Neal’s persona into his own in the attempt to save his son. He gave up the dagger to Zelena in that act of love. The old Rumple would not have done that; Mr. Gold did.

          • But not really because he’s still the old Rumple. He may have given up the dagger as an act of love but that was erased only a few episodes later.

          • You don’t remember Neverland? When Rumple was willing to die to save his grandson? Even when he thought that Neal was dead? What about when he kill Pan to save Belle, Neal and the whole town? This does not count as steps for redemption?

  2. I get that. Absolutely, I do. But Gold is acting OOC for the way he’s been written since season one. Unless there’s something going on with him we’re not privy to, it makes no logical sense.

  3. They cut at least two rumbelle scnes this episode, there’s an episode still that has Belle in the pawn shop and a lot of fan took pictures of RC and EdR filming a scene at the docks for this episode. I’m starting to wonder if these scenes are being cut because they’ve
    decided to go in a different direction all of a sudden. All summer long
    we’ve been hearing about how Rumple is conflicted and how the fallout of
    his year from hell is going to be addressed and/or tie in to why he
    swapped the dagger. Now every scene that might support these claims is
    being cut and the writer/actor interviews are telling a different story.
    I wonder if they got a few episodes in and came up with another game
    plan because at this point, Rumple’s character isn’t even being
    regressed, it’s being reinvented.

    • Yes, I agree that it’s strange, but it is happening. They’ve gone a completely different direction with him. There’s no conflict, no layering, no dealing with the he went through in season three. It’s as if none of it happened at all.

  4. Great review, you have said everything that I find problematic with the recent portrayal of Rumple as well as the sanitizing of Hook as some sort of ‘bad boy with good intentions.’ Hook has never been redeemed, but treated as if he has, and Rumple’s road to redemption seems to have been halted for reasons that don’t really make sense based on what we already know of him. It’s like the writers keep changing the narrative of who he is to fit the current story, instead of the organic development of a complex character that used to exist. It feels like they don’t know what to do with him as a character. Plus, Belle is virtually nonexistent with Rumple or even as her own independent character. It’s disheartening. I’ll miss your reviews but I totally understand why it’s difficult to write them. You don’t want to come across as bashing the show, but at the same time, there is less and less positive to write about.

  5. I feel upset with Rumple as well. I thought he was going to change for the better but I’m starting to think he’s either slowly reverting back to or becoming the type of person he despised and that makes me feel sad. I really hope he can have help getting over the hold dark magic has on him; otherwise, I think he might destroy his chance at finally having a happy life.

    • I actually don’t mind him reverting (it would be a realistic reaction to all he went through last season). But there’s no story. It’s only effect, with no path.

      • In fact I think one of the problems and what really shows how lost the writers are is the situation of the cut Henry scene. If they were planning make an explanation of Rumple becoming dark because the hat possesed his pain for his son or just because one day he touched it with his floofy hair, for example, that will be perhaps, with one eye closed, a explanation of what is showed of him so out of his original self suddenly. But because they made Henry scene canon, this moment of “real Rumple” brokes all this idea and only shows that Rumple is this new bastard when he wants and/or choosed times of the day or something…The writers only said “canon” because people asked where is the “no one touch my writing. because only I decide”. They just throw beans to the air to see wich one flies, never more evident that this season.

  6. I support your decision about writing regular articles about Once Upon a Time. This was indeed a good show that has seen better days. The series creators have done Robert Carlyle a great disservice. They turned a man whose journey from darkness to light was something that many of us could understand and root for into a puppet in service of their fixation with the Hook and Emma romance. I can’t believe what they did in tonight’s episode. Actually, I can. This season has been a total disaster. The writers and series creators do not have an idea of what a treasure they have in Robert Carlyle and in the character that was created for him, Mr. Gold and Rumple. He is now unrecognizable and they relegate Emilie de Ravin into a corner that she does not deserve. A great plague has hit the House of OUAT. And perhaps it would take an exodus of fans to shake the foundations of the OUAT dynasty.
    They have also made a mess of Lana Parilla’s character. To see the series destroy its two best assets is lamentable.

  7. After Rumpel was enslaved with the dagger last season, it makes perfect sense that he would want to avoid its limitations in the future while maintaining his power as both a means to guarantee that he won’t be powerless again and to protect those he loves. This was the whole point to his scenes with Anna. His treatment of Belle, understood in this context, also makes sense (which isn’t to say that it’s justified). He’s terrified of losing her in part because she’s all he has left. And we know that his past experiences have taught him that everyone leaves him; of course he’s going to try any means necessary to keep the truth from her. Are we really surprised?

    The two scenes I found to be completely inexplicable involved Henry. He tells Regina that Rumpel has found his happy ending because he’s married to Belle. Has Henry forgotten that Rumpel lost his son–Henry’s father!–only a few days before? Can he really believe that Rumpel is happy and not grieving? And then he uses his dead father as a way to manipulate Rumpel? This makes absolutely no sense given what we know of Henry’s character. It does, however, help to explain why the Henry/Rumpel scene was deleted from an earlier episode; Henry’s willingness to play on Rumpel’s grief would have been even more difficult to stomach if we had just seen Rumpel’s concern for his grandson’s pain, frustration, and anger.

    • If Wed seen any inkling that rumple had those fears,i would agree with you. But we haven’t. And rumple is not the only character frittered away. Much has been for the sake of promoting th Hook Emma story.

      • I agree. Not only rumple is changed for the sake of Hook but Regina is frozen out for the sake of Hook and the screentime belle got is insanely low. Let’s not even talk about the fact that Hook has more screen time than Emma. Emma is a secondary character in her own show.

      • I don’t disagree that we aren’t seeing it. That’s why I have to “read too much and too deeply into what’s going on” (to use your characterisation of my original post). But I think what I said is there as sub-text; I wish it were explicit and maybe it will be at some point. But I haven’t created something out of whole cloth and I offered evidence from the episodes to back up my argument. Rumpel’s actions have always been purposeful and I see a purpose behind what he’s doing now.

        While I agree that Hook has been too much a focus this season (especially since he’s been shoehorned into so many storylines and has been completely useless and uninteresting in all of them), he has a potentially interesting storyline now. The theme for all of the (ex-)villains this year seems to be that
        they’ll all be forced to confront both their past crimes and whether or
        not the impulses that gave rise to them are, in fact, past. We’ve seen
        this with Regina’s storybook plotline and we’re seeing it with Hook; I hope and expect that we’ll see it with Rumpel in 4B after the dagger deception blows up in his face.
        This is one of the reasons I’m quite excited about the season; Rumpel’s, Hook’s, and Regina’s storylines have potential for great character

        • I wish I was as optimistic. I won’t say I can’t be swayed and persuaded by what I see on the screen. I don’t see the subtext (something that I’m usually pretty good at), and that’s what bothers me. I’ve followed and written about the show for three-plus years for a reason…

    • The two scenes I found to be completely inexplicable involved Henry. He tells Regina that Rumpel has found his happy ending because he’s married to Belle. Has Henry forgotten that Rumpel lost his son–Henry’s father!

      This is a key reason why I think your argument about Rumple reads too much and too deeply into what’s going on. The creators of the show don’t really (anymore) seem to have a memory about the characters they’ve created. The writing is off, often out of character, and also ignorant of past story lines. It’s true of Regina (where’s that smart, strong woman these days?), Snow White (where’s the darkness into which she’d wandered in season two?), Belle (who barely appears anymore, and when she does, she’s window dressing), and definitely Rumple.

      Yes, he’s likely reeling from the loss of Baelfire (that was made explicit in the graveyard scene). And that’s why he planned on returning the dagger (in the premiere, said in big bold letters). But then he finds this box and all bets are off? Forget about honoring Baelfire’s memory or his love for Belle (which is what he’s been about for centuries!), and go for the power?

      The storyline is hackneyed and poorly constructed. If they wanted to create a fall for Rumple, they should have created a fall. If they wanted him to crash and spin out of control, they could have done that too, and I would have no problem with it at all.

      But this makes no sense. I’ve never said Rumple was a good guy. The dagger has had its effect, of course. But in the core of his soul, he’s always been the pre-DO Rumple: kind, unsure, and often bullied.

      I like the idea of connecting Rumple with the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia. I like connecting him with the Snow Queen (or Ice Witch). Both are cool ideas (and far better than the Frozen Storyline), but what they’ve done is to make his character a conduit for Hook’s courting and problems with Emma.

  8. The thing is that BOTH Rumple and Hook were good guys. Rumple loved his son and Hook loved his brother. But Rumple is the DARK ONE, it is not that easy to give up so much power; Regina is still struggling with that.

  9. I think a big contributing factor to the nonsense that is Rumple now is that they killed his son, who had been his motivation for everything, so now what motivation does he have that we could be sympathetic towards? Answer: none, he’s just a magic addict, and that’s such a hollow reason for what he does when compared to what came before. The flashbacks that showed him desperate to get the hat, by rights that should have something to do with him getting to his son, because that was his major motivator at that time. But there will be no explanation like that because they’re so done with Neal they’re even having Henry abuse his memory by using it to manipulate Rumple, (Neal would be rolling in his grave over that). The contempt they seem to have for their original characters is astounding. They killed Neal, they’re corrupting Henry, and don’t even get me started on how they’ve wrecked Emma. And the flow on effect of that has now claimed Rumple, who was once such a grand character. It’s beyond disappointing.

    • This show continues to go from bad to worse. The problem is that the writers hit a “reset button” in the half-way point of season 3, which included the decision to kill off Baelfire in order to bolster the Emma and Hook relationship. Baelfire was that little light which kept Rumplestilitksin human, without whom Rumple said he’d truly turn to dust. Well, remove Baelfire and the results are catastrophic for Rumple. He has no character motivation now except the accumulation of power.

      All of Rumple’s well-earned character development and self-sacrifice were flushed down the toilet. And for what? So we could see Hook and Emma lock lips with out Baelfire bringing up the pesky detail that his mom, Rumple’s wife, ran away with Hook. Emma still doesn’t know. Henry is being written as manipulating his grandfather by using the memory of his recently departed father (it’s been a week). Emma is shown as not really caring or grieving. Rumple is shown as descending evermore into darkness, but without the added touch of human sympathy or grief that we’d seen from him before.

      Now that Baelfire is gone, the show really is a hot mess, and it all revolves around the pirate, who gets more screen time than the two best characters, Rumple and Regina combined (just watch the season 3 finale for proof).

      • Henry has always been manipulative. He’s manipulated every aspect of his relationships with his mother and with Emma, why would a man he knew for a few days be any different?

        • Henry has always always been slightly manipulative, but never for malicious reasons. Henry felt lied to and unloved for the first decade of his life, which led him on a quest to seek out his birth mom, whom he thought in his childhood innocence would bring back the happy endings. He’s also was at a difficult age of pre adolescence and rebellion. But this slightly older, wiser Henry is shown as being a bit more complicated than that, so I think it’s a set up for showing a magical Henry, who is now the dark one’s apprentice. He’s descended from light and dark magic. (There was the deleted scene of Henry and Rumple from two episodes ago, which set up this new arc for Henry).

          • Okay, but Henry didn’t feel unloved and lied to. How could he feel lied to about something he literally had no knowledge of.

            Man, you bringing up the ‘descended from light and dark magic’ just reminds me about how terrible this show is at handling magic. That Emma is supposed to have all this “light” magic just because her parents liked each other a lot while they had sex is such a horrible basis for light and dark magic.

            Older and wiser Henry is still only 12.

          • Yes, Henry did feel unloved and lied to in the pilot. He may have only had the story book for about a month before he went to Boston, but he’d already figured out by then the truth that the town was cursed. When he brought that up to his adoptive mom, she put him in therapy and made him feel like he was crazy. He also felt unloved. He said so to Emma. It’s in the dialogue in the very first few episodes. Whether he was unloved is a different matter, but that is how he felt at the time of the pilot. That is why he sought Emma.

          • Henry was already in therapy before he received the book. So I can accept your quick attempt to fix your initial mistake but he never brought up the cursed town to Regina, hence why she first heard about it from Emma.

            Oh man, you’re also bringing up a big point about how Henry as the Truest Believer was a total asspull and didn’t make sense at all. Oh and about how BAD Henry’s characterization is.

    • Would Neal be rolling over in his grave for that? People seem to have a really inflated worth for Neal.

  10. LOL at the idea that Rumple has ever been someone who wasn’t after power and magic. That he has been actively abusing women and murdering anyone who looks at him or brutalizing anyone who looks at his “property” (aka women) you can’t really say he’s being written out of character. Rumple has never been anything but an amoral villain willing to abuse, murder and manipulate in order to get back his son he abused and manipulated to start with.

    • Never said he wasn’t always about the power and the magic, but there’s always been a reason (maybe not a good reason, but a reason). Rumple has always been a conflicted character, and that’s what drew me to him in the first place. I’ve never been one to like the “too good for reality” characters. They’re boring and of little interest.

      I like to see the torment and conflict play out. Problem is that none of the characters are written with any nuance anymore. Everyone’s a cartoon character at this point. That was not the case in seasons 1-3A.

      • I haven’t really seen much conflict in him, too much glee in abusing teenage abuse victims. They’ve created a great violent, abusive misogynist character, now they have to use him as such. But his “growth” has always been vastly, vastly over amped.

        • Let us agree to disagree on that.

          • I’m used to that. There are always people willing to defend abusive male characters. It’s pretty much a fandom standard.

          • No. It’s something more complicated than that. Why do you think that the big fanbases belongs to the abusers: Regina, Rumple and Hook? It’s not only male abusers there is a abusive woman there too. The fandom standard is not defend male abusers, but, defend abusers in general. (And that explains too why OUAT is one of the most violent fandoms out there) And anyway that is abuse is pretty obvious, every fanbase see his fav like the victim.

            Now in personal, with Rumplestiltskin there was a particular situation that happened thank you to the mastery of Robert Carlyle and is that what he made him so human, that what I saw was not a male, but a human. I identified with him not for be male but because his struggles are something that is tangible; His anxiety, his depression, his reasons was well portrayed that I understood, because was my daily basis. And I’m telling you this, because was a point of discussion in the dearie fandom in a time: “Why we keep supporting a character that has abused and killed women?” and the reason at the end was because at the end of the day he was not perceived like a male but a human…different situation happened with Hook, that being a character that all I see is a representation of all the mysogyny that keeps treatening to me in my life. Anyway, If you ask me: Is OUAT a safe show for women? Never has been, the amount of violence inflicted against woman characters is, now yes, the standard of the show.

          • Honestly, as repugnant as I find Hook, I find Rumple’s misogyny and abuse a lot less palatable. Because how he abuses and mistreats women becomes about HIM. I’m not going to comment on the ‘human’ thing though because it’s one of the things that people say about horrible white straight men in real life and it makes me feel very, very gross, like I’ve been doused in a bath of sexism.

          • Nah nah nah… Believe it or not there is more world out there. By first. In second don’t come to me with the thing of straight, less with the male, and less with this pseudo feminism that douse this fandom that supports violence against REAL womans, because in the past I suffered of this “”””real”””” “””feminism””” of this fandom that likes to be convenient about which character and which womans choose to support. So no. By fun, a fictional character has not necesity of being morally correct, nor political, understand that. That is the point in with fiction works, one identify with a character to reasons that belongs to the unconcious, and that don’t means that this people will support some things that a fictional character does in their real life. Now, what you really need in real life is get out of the expected and give the chance at people that seems different and meet them, and stop judging just for what what they like in fiction, because your favourite book talks about you, but don’t define you. You will get surprised of what you will find in real people that you despice for have different opinions than yours.

          • Man, your arguments definitely get more sexist, don’t they? Very little of this makes sense at all beyond, you really like this character and want to demonize another character as misogynist to somehow free your favourite. Good try.

          • Again. The point that I was trying to I explained it in the first comment. The 3 villains are abuser, but because there is psychological process related to unconcious forces, you always gonna “whitewash” aspects of the behavior, because your identification will make you “understand the character and find explanation” but with who you identify in fiction talks about you, but don’t define you like person in reality.
            My mistake was after what was my point, try to explain my experience like something simple, believing that empathy was enough. But I perceived that this person was attacking another, for what they like in fiction, like if this person was the fictional character that she likes. And don’t works like that.
            (I’m gonna repent to add this part but…One of the points at the beginning of OUAT, and got lost, was that the culture to women is the same in both world (Storybrooke/FTL). The modern is still the past. Is still medieval. The characters grow in a culture where misoginy was the rule. All of them have behaviors of that culture. ¿It’s Rumple a misogynist? Yes, he is. When he become the Dark one, he became a “real man” that “took what he need”, he embodied the misogyny that the culture asked of him to be a “real man” because Rumple before the DO, lost everything at hands of the misogyny of the culture (a man is warrior not parent, a man don’t cry, is not afraid, a man who don’t fights don’t deserve etc…) when he was not “a real man”. Until season two the point of Rumple was that his redemption came about him accepting himself and understand that a real man is not what the culture creates of a man).

          • The misogyny of Rumple was something that never was celebrated and something that he needed to be concious and eliminate to find hapiness (until second season), different case is what happens with Hook, which misogyny is celebrated and seen like something acceptable and valuable, something to laugh about because “boys will be boys”.

          • You definitely hit on one of my biggest sexist pet peeves. The idea of ‘real men’.

        • He actually never abused teenagers per se. And his growth has never been over amped – thus the objection of many viewers to his current behavior patterns, which is not “in character” from what we have previously seen. The Rumple of old was more of a trouble maker that coveted magic deeply. He was not as “murderous” as the EQ. Another character that the OUAT overlords have squashed.

          • I think that the entire point of Rumple’s evil is that it’s quiet. He actively abused Regina and Baelfire, both teenagers. He likes to manipulate teenage abuse victims like Ella. We have yet to see a point in which Rumple hasn’t been actively evil. In S3 we saw him murder defenseless women for “murdering” his son.

            I don’t know that not as ‘murderous’ is quite the description for a guy that murders almost constantly.

          • Who is Ella? Yes, he mistreated his own son and spent years trying to atone for his mistake. And he took advantage of Regina’s desperation. As far as murdering people in vast numbers at a given time, that was never the thrust of his character. A consequence of his quest for magic? Undoubtedly. He has a tendency to banish people, as he did the Apprentice. Another star in the hat. And why were there other stars in the hat? Did Merlin put them there? What does that imply?

          • Cinderella? Teenage girl being abused by her family that Rumple manipulated so he could murder her fairy godmother? That’s just the point though. Rumple DIDN’T atone for his mistakes. He treated Bae like garbage then abandoned him. Then proceeded to murder Bae’s mother, and abuse, manipulate and murder many of the people he came across for the next 300 years. His entire plan involved abusing a teenager until she was a weapon he could control. Then when after Emma, the baby whose abandonment he orchestrated, reunited him with Neal he continued to brutalize everyone who looked at Belle sideways, totally ignoring EVERYTHING that would be an atonement and actually ignoring everything Neal asked of him.

            Isn’t it the thrust of his character? And as a consequence of magic? We’ve seen him murder helpless mute maids. Cart drivers just going through town. Black female fairies because he wanted an object she had. Soldiers. Belle’s fiance coming to rescue her. Another black lady. A weak, defenseless woman in jail who actually didn’t murder his son like he claims. Most of these things were just because he WANTED to.

          • Ok this is fun because is the eternal blind point. Rumple don’t kill you for being female or black in the show. Is not in his character motivations that he is going to kill you for being female or black, but, for his motivation is being a treat for his family. But…the writers of the show by certain have something very interesting with females and people that is not that white and american…where is that elephant?

          • I definitely don’t think Rumple is killing people for their blackness. The racism and misogynoir belongs to the writers. But I think that this point the idea is that Rumple is a misogynst, hence why the vast majority of him victims are young women.

          • Except that many of the things that you speak of are in the past (as in Rumple’s past). If you look at his life as a continuum from birth to present, you’ll see the progression from peasant to dark one to a dark one trying to be better. Gold has not nearly been as heartless as the Rumple of the past. Something happened when he met Belle – a general softening. This is the redemptive journey that many enjoyed. The pre Belle Rumple was sometimes cruel and heartless; the post Belle Rumple and Mr. Gold was struggling with trying to become a “better” person. The writers have thrown that progress away. Unfortunate, as Carlyle is easily the most accomplished actor in the OUAT universe.

          • You just used Rumple’s abused spouse as an example of him ‘softening’. There is something really icky about saying that him abusing a woman he had forced to be with him, while murdering or hurting people who attempted to diminish his control over her is somehow ‘softening’.

            Like Season 2 has him working at some point with Cora and acting as though Regina is his property to pass over to her, brutally beating or maiming two men who looked at Belle or engaged in consensual sexual activity with her, attempted to murder his grandson, continued to gaslight Belle and Regina, and murdered two women. I know people want him to be on a redemptive journey or whatever, but murder and abuse are BIG red flags for that not happening.

            Rumple is some of Carlyle’s weakest work, he doesn’t seem into it anymore and largely goes way too over the top.

          • Carlyle is a great actor, but the character he plays has become inconsistent and illogical. His talent far surpasses the material that he is being given. Gold’s journey is incomplete and it was not always moving forward, but you could see an inkling of some conscience in the character. That’s all gone now.

          • *shrug* I’ve never seen a single inkling of conscience. Not with the whole thing where he abuses, manipulates and murders with absolute glee.

  11. I don’t know what it’s gonna happen with this show. In fact I don’t know what comes next for it, how the writers imagine the future; because after Maleficent, if Disney don’t produce a new hit, I don’t know If Aristocats or Hulk will be find place in Storybrooke; what sounds fun but…by certain I don’t feel that those things will be of my taste since how they are managing. For me, my nostalgic side is not enough to justify watch a episode of the show, and the problem that I see, is that the people who understand the references are in their twenties and up.
    There was a discussion the other time about the target viewership, I still think they are aiming more low; I’m in my twenties and I feel this like and adolescent mixed with a try of children show. They are using the hook of the “ships”, but the writing is not for them. In the other side, the eternal problem of this show has been that the PG don’t work for it, at this point it’s too dark and violent to let a children watch it complete…and how much they can’t give to the viewership of “ships” without scare parents (Zelena moaning comes to mind). The show has never been one to think too much (if you want to avoid black plot holes) but at this point is too insulting, at least for me.( Anyway for something still has rating isn’t? The people like be treated like that. )
    Sadly what I felt was a way to cover what was the show to the new children watching for frozen, it’s now pretty obvious is the new way they show is gonna be. Better shows out there…just one Bobby. Thanks to god the show is helping with too much effort help people like me to lose the ties.Too much sh*it for too long like fan and for all the characters that I love. Since long time ago and episode is not source of excitement but of stress.The show teached me to live without it and by now I prefer to run like coward to protect the last idea of my fav characters that keep watching them been destroyed. The hope for better times is done since long.

    About Robert, the problem of his work is that is not done for show, like they are presenting Rumple this season, but to be more meat. He gives complicated and good characters but he need space for that…and we had the chance of taste it. Why I will want a poor bite If I got all the steak before?
    Sorry for feed, I didn’t noticed until was too late, anyway poor child, too much valuable time invested in nothings…

  12. While this was a good episode, the first one I have enjoyed in a long
    time (due to lack of plot holes in this one), Regina’s almost-absence
    was palatable. For me, she is the character that keeps the show going
    and keeps me coming back every week. It is disappointing that she has
    been swept to the side for more awkward Captain Swan and more Charming
    ickiness, not the mention the Frozen storyline that leaves me cold.

    The best parts of the season so far?
    -Will (what little we have seen of him)
    -The Snow Queen ( what little of her we have seen, and we don’t need the Frozen cash cow to have her on the show).
    -Regina, Henry and operation Mongoose (what little we have seen of it)
    -The hat lore.
    -Sven (the only part of the Frozen storyline I like).


    It seems from the promo we will see more of Regina and the Snow Queen next
    week. I will come back to watch it to see if this is true.

    • I agree about Regina. She (along with Rumple) have been, for me, the best parts of the show. I also think the Captain Hook/Emma story is awkward, and I’m picking up little chemistry between them. I’m also not a Frozen fan.

      Also agree with you on Will. He is fun, isn’t he.
      And the Snow Queen–she would have been a great guest storyline for the demi-season — instead of the Frozen stuff.
      I love the Henry/Regina collaboration (again, we’ve seen so very little of it, however)
      And I like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice angle (now that, too, I would have preferred over Frozen, instead of making it part of Frozen). Both the SA and Snow Queen ARE beloved stories. Much, much more than Frozen.

  13. Gold is Back and I am praising Jesus. I was SO WORRIED that they had given into the damn rumbelle shippers and tamed him for her and thats all hes going to be. A useless cripple once more with his little wife to coo over him. THIS episode …. though the sorcerors apprentice stuff upset me because of the obvious advertisement for disney here, go into that in a moment, This episode was fantastic because it means Gold is Back and he hasnt Changed because the shippers want him to.

    As for your statement Bereft of humanity? I HIGHLY disagree Dearie. This is a man who lost his purpose. He said it EIGHT times between seasons one and three “Baelfire is my happy ending” Not Belle. But alas this season what we’re seeing a broken, purposeless man with nothing to do. His sanity is at the edge of a knife and he’s forced to keep living because Baelfire died so he would live Much to his frustration.

    Right now he’s just paranoid. He’s bored, eager for action but scared of being Controlled again. Now that hes found the sorcerors’ hat which apparently can free him of the daggers spell that enables him to be Controlled, of COURSE he’s going to do everything he can to break free of it. The hat works for him because his intentions are still pure. He just wants to be free but keep his powers so he doesnt end up a useless cripple once again.

    As for the sorcerors apprentice stuff? Reason Im not a fan is because thats too much disney. Thats not Grimm’s fairy tale folk lore…. Frozen was bad enough an obvious disney Advertisement without them shoving this factor into it… also I’m sorry but why the frack are they breaking the rules of magic now to say the hat can break the dark one free of the dagger? I understand Rumple’s NEED to break free of its power over him but Still there should be A PRICE to being the dark one. Right now being the dark one has NO PRICE aside the dagger itself.

    Its just ridiculous.

    • On behalf of the ‘damn Rumbelle shippers’ I can say no one wants a dull, tamed, cheesy Rumple merely cooing for the rest of the show. It’s always been their unconventional uniqueness & Rumple’s versatile, layered and shady but likeable nature which has drawn me to them. In 4×04 I also greatly enjoyed to see Robert playing an intricate & witty Rumple running the town again.

      And I can accept your reasons for his escape into his addiction right after losing his son and wanting to break free of any control after Zelena tortured him. But what I miss is the writers showing this on screen. We were promised to ‘delve into Rumple’s head’. But instead, after his touching words at the wedding & his pledge to Bae to be a better man, he got effectively no screen time for 3 eps and then we suddenly have a full-time psychopath. If he is struggling, show us. If his marriage is unhappy, show us. If he’s hopeless, insane, dig into it.

      But we don’t get (screen time for) layers, all we see is a smiling villain over a hat, whose desire is to gang together & ‘have some fun’ with Hook (?) And he, who would never literally lie but instead outsmarts everyone with twisting words now becomes a plain liar (he doesn’t know Elsa/Anna, the hand is cursed)? EF Rumple can’t poison someone properly but is defeated by a mouse bite?? Rumbelle scenes get filmed and then deleted? To me these suggest that the writers are indeed in a bit of a mess about where to take his story & how to remain true to his character (and now I’m not even referring to any previous redemption arc).

      You’re right a love for a child is not topped by any love interest. But neither can it be denied Belle has always been special for him. He reveals his name (and with that his knowledge) to Regina in exchange for a stupid cup long after he thinks her to be dead. He says it’s her making him want to go back to the best version of him ‘and it has never happened before’ (not even for Bae). When reunited with his son after 300 years he rather spends 24/7 with Lacey to bring back Belle. In Neverland it’s Belle’s vision he counters up (I know the last is Pan), not the spirit of his believed-to-be-dead son to inspire him. He dies for saving both her & Bae. All I’m saying even if his hope for a complete happy ending is gone, he could have at least some reason to live for. Or if not, then I’d love to see it explored properly and if he’s a pure villain from now on, than make it consistent.

  14. The only motivation for Golds interest in the hat that I can piece from the actual show in the desire to rid himself of the Achilles knife…at the start we see a free Zoso seeking it for (I’m assuming) the same reason. Contrast this with the man who was so desperate to get out of the Dukes control that he manipulated an assisted suicide via Rumpel. The Apprentice made a point if saying every Dark One had sought the hat, insinuating their common desire to be free of the knife.

    So little of season 3B was from Rumpels perspective, brought back from the dead and enslaved. We do not know what the after effect of the resurrection and enslavement was.

    However the scene at the grave does suggest he retained his humanity and complexity only to have it dropped (at least for this episode).

    So far Rumpel has had so few scenes with anyone this far (and the one with the most depth was cut), especially so in this episode where it was all Hook. I’m crossing my fingers that any lack of complexity will improve with more exposure.

    • I hope (fervently) you’re right. What I have missed with that character is that depth and conflict (almost nothing in his POV). Seeing none, and then hit with his behavior in “The Apprentice” (also none of which is in his POV), it makes it difficult to believe. To have had only two scenes from Rumple’s POV after four episodes is pretty horrid. We can’t know what he’s feeling or thinking. We know that in ep one, he wanted to return the knife to Belle, and everything thereafter has been contrary to that.

  15. Why do this show and so many fans associate darkness or black with anything evil? Talk about racist.

    • It has to do with our fear of the “things that go bump in the night.” We always have been afraid of the dark (meaning night), going back to the days from before we had electricity. That’s what meant by darkness.

  16. I love the fact that they have turned Belle into an adulteress, not that that matters to Disney. Technically, Rumple isn’t dead but it appears that Belle and what’s his name have a thing for each other. If that’s the case, then I hope Rumple goes all out and just wreaks havoc on the whole lot of them. That’s what the show has become anyway. A big mess.

    And yes, way to use Will Scarlet. Thanks Overlords. Make Belle a harlot (in the traditional sense of the world). Doubling down on killing the Rumbelle storyline just makes so much sense.