Column: Dark Matter: Review: Once Upon A Time 2.19: Lacey

 

[spoilers ahead]

Written by: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz

Recap: Storybrooke: Gold has a nightmare that he kills Henry to stop him from destroying him. He doesn’t look too happy about it when he wakes up. The next day, he and Regina stop to watch Neal and Henry play-fence. Regina is unhappily shocked to find out that Neal is Henry’s father, making Gold Henry’s grandfather. She accuses Gold of having set the whole thing up, but he tells her it was just fate. She tells him that his family will never accept him. She has seen his dark heart. No matter how much he denies it, he is bad. If his own son couldn’t make him be good, then who could?

Enter Belle. Gold goes to visit her at the hospital. She’s happy to see he’s alive, after that phone call wherein he confessed his love for her as he lay dying. She tells him that she believes him that her past probably included him and remembers that he healed her. He tells her that once she remembers who she is, it will all become clear. She asks him if he can help her remember herself. He tells her yes. He’s hoping that she can help him remember who he is. She was always able to bring out the good in him, so he will help her for both their sakes. He leaves to go and get her released from the hospital.

Fairytale Land of the Past: Belle is crying in her room. Rump comes in and complains to her about her continual nightly crying. It’s disturbing his work. The two are interrupted by a hooded archer breaking into the castle, trying to steal a wand. Rump confronts him and the archer tries to shoot him with a magical arrow that always finds it’s target. It does, but, of course, it doesn’t affect Rump. Rump tells the archer that magic always comes with a price. In this case, the price of the bow’s magic is him.

Storybrooke: Belle is packing up in her hospital room when Regina comes to see her. Regina tells her that as mayor of the town, she was just coming to see how she is doing. Belle admits that Gold is going to help her remember her past. Regina spells a matchbook from “The Rabbit Hole” bar and gives it to Belle, insisting she look at it. Belle ‘suddenly’ starts to ‘remember’ who she is.

In Greg’s room, he and Tamara are going over a map with all of the locations of magic he has seen marked on it. She asks him about his dad, but he says he hasn’t found him yet, though he is sure he is there. He asks about the “package.” Tamara says she has it right outside town and it’s stable. She’ll bring it into town later that night.

Snow and David take Emma to see the magical beans field, where she has a happy reunion with Anton the Giant (no longer so giant, though, much to Emma’s surprise!). She’s shocked that her parents want to return home, even Snow, who thinks that returning to their land will help heal her heart. David insists that this world has been cruel to Emma and that going home will be good for their family: them, Emma and Henry.

Gold finds Belle missing and ends up tracking her down at “The Rabbit Hole” via the matchbook. He’s shocked to see her playing pool – or rather, hustling – and drinking. He goes up to confront her and she tells him she remembers who she is – her name is ‘Lacey.’

Fairytale Land of the Past: Rump is torturing the archer thief, much to Belle’s distaste. She confronts Rump about punishing the man and Rump tells her it is to show that no one else can steal from him. Belle sneaks into the dungeon and gives the archer a healing potion and releases him. He asks her to come with him, but she tells him that she made a deal with Rump to protect her people and she can’t leave. The archer takes off.

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Storybrooke: Gold goes to confront Regina, who smirks over giving Belle her cursed memories. She mocks him that he won’t kill her, because he’s trying to be on his best behavior for Neal. He’s just going to have to live with the new Belle. He vows to make her remember with true love’s kiss, but Regina mocks him that it won’t work. They threaten each other a little before Gold storms out.

Gold goes to see Charming and tells him about Regina giving Belle Lacey’s false memories. He wants David to help him woo Lacey the same way David made “Mary Margaret” fall for him. David agrees, once Gold points out that he will owe him a favor if he does. David tells him that he has to show Lacey the man that Belle originally fell in love with.

Fairytale Land of the Past: Rump is furious when he discovers that Belle let the archer go. She tells him she saw good in the man and let him go because of it. He rants and shows her that the archer still stole the wand because he wanted magic. He goes after the archer and brings her along with him to watch him kill the thief.

Storybrooke: David and Gold enter the bar. They see Lacey getting hit on, much to Gold’s fury. David encourages Gold to approach Lacey as himself and ask her out. He does and Lacey eventually accepts, telling him to meet her at Granny’s. David congratulates Gold. Gold tells him that all he has to do is get Lacey to fall in love with him.

Regina finds Emma, and confronts her on not telling her that Neal is Henry’s father and Gold’s son. Emma tells her she was too busy trying to protect herself and her family from Regina and her mother trying to kill them all. Emma tells Regina that she should stop worrying about everyone else and try to concentrate on making herself into the person that Henry wants her to be before she loses Henry for good. Regina latches onto that and asks Emma what she means. Emma tries to play it off, but Regina tells her that she knows she’s hiding something. Regina promises her that she will find out what it is.

Gold and Lacey have dinner as he tries to woo her. She ends up with a drink spilled on her dress and goes off to the restroom to wash it off.

Fairytale Land of the Past: Rump and Belle are trying to track the archer thief, but Rump is having a hard time tracking him in the woods. Belle confronts him. She says that she thinks he’s not trying to find the archer and that there is something inside of him that is good.

The duo’s carriage is stopped by the Sheriff, who confronts Rump over who he really is. The Sheriff is drunk and tells Rump that he will tell him where the thief is if he makes a deal with him: some “time” with Belle in return for the info. Rump takes his tongue, instead, and tells him that he will exchange his tongue back to him for the information. The Sheriff agrees. He tells him that the thief stole the woman that he loves and made him a laughingstock of Nottingham. He lives in Sherwood Forest and goes by the name, “Robin Hood.”

Belle and Rump track down Robin, and see him waiting. Turns out he is waiting for a wagon that carries on it a very sick woman, his lady love. They watch as he uses the wand to heal her. Belle tells Rump that this proves there is good in the man. He stole the wand to save the woman he loves.

Rump is still not interested, though, and goes to shoot the archer, when they see him help down the woman. It is revealed that she is pregnant. Belle again tells Rump that there is good in him and she knows he’s not the type of man to leave a child fatherless. Rump still shoots the arrow, but deliberately misses. Robin and his love, Marian, run off. When Belle asks him what happened, he just tells her that he missed. She tells him that the bow is magic. It never misses it’s target. When he tells her that maybe the magic wore off, she just smiles and hugs him, much to his shock.

Storybrooke: Back at the diner, Gold is waiting for Lacey’s return when he realizes that she ditched him. He goes out to find her in the alley, making out with the guy who was hitting on her at the bar (the Sheriff of Nottingham), and sends the man away. He confronts her about it and she admits that the date wasn’t going well. She only went out with him to be nice. But that’s not her – she’s not nice – that’s him. He tells her that that was what she loved about him and she tells him that was what Belle loved. She’s not Belle.

Regina sneaks out, and watches as Anton and the Dwarves arrive at Granny’s for dinner. She uses magic to trace back the way they came, finding the magical bean field.

Gold tracks down the Sheriff, who is terrified at having interrupted Gold’s date. He tries to apologize, but Gold will have none of it. Gold tells him that he was trying hard to be on his best behavior, but he guesses there’s no point now. He magics away the man’s tongue and hits him with his cane, beating him. Lacey finds him and tells him that he’s not the man she thought he was. He really is as dark as people say they are and she’s glad. He gets that she thinks his being evil is hot and turns to continue beating on the Sheriff.

Fairytale Land of the Past: Belle and Rump arrive at the castle, and Rump puts away the bow and arrows. Just as she’s leaving for bed, he stops her and shows her the library, telling her not to get too excited; it’s just another room for her to clean. She’s thrilled by all of the books and asks him if he did this for her. He just tells her that there had better not be any dust in this room, but she smiles and tells him that he’s not the man she thought he was. And she’s glad.

Storybrooke: Neal brings home a sleeping Henry. He and Emma talk about the possibility of returning home. He admits that he spent most of his life running away from home, as his childhood there wasn’t a fairytale. He asks why she is asking, but she doesn’t tell him about the beans. He changes the subject to August (who is now a child) coming by the park. He and Henry hit it off and became good friends. The two puzzle over what August meant with his cryptic warning. Neal assures her that she will figure it out. He has faith in her.

Meanwhile at the edge of town, Owen watches as Tamara drives up with a trailer. They talk about whether or not the package, “he,” will cooperate or not. Tamara isn’t too worried. She explains to Owen that if there’s one thing you can count on to do your dirty work, it’s a pirate. She opens the trailer to reveal a tied-up and gagged Hook.

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Review: So, I have to admit, I’m not quite sure I like where they are going with Gold and his “dark side.” I’m getting unhappy déjà vu in the writing in this episode, which is very similar to what we have seen in the past in the writing for Regina – “Dark character tries to reform for like a minute, before something easily pushes them back into the dark side” – and I don’t like it. It doesn’t work for Gold. They spent all of this time building up his nuances and shades of gray, to have it be too simplistic and too easy for him to go dark like that.

I get that loving Belle is what made Rump touch on the good in his heart back in Fairytale Land. But the reason he never embraced it – despite his love for Belle – was that his desire to get back his son overwhelmed even that love. He couldn’t give up his power for Belle’s love because his power was the only way to get back his son. He went through years, decades even, meticulously building up power, gaining knowledge, creating the curse, setting all of these pieces into motion, all so that he could find his son. And he knows very well that the only way to win back his son is to try to be good. Or, at the very least, not be evil.

So, I just have a really hard time swallowing that he would sacrifice all of that in one episode just because Belle is now cursed with the Lacey memories. It’s way too simplistic and easy for a character of Rump/Gold’s depth. It’s bad enough that they made Regina such a cookie cutter villain, but she’s been that way from the beginning. A great deal of the interest I have in Gold/Rump is precisely because he is a nuanced, shades-of-gray character. This shallow writing for him is unworthy of him. For him to turn this easily, with so little provocation in such a short time, when he is finally within reach of what he has wanted from the very beginning – his son back in his life – is just bad writing. Period.

Speaking of bad writing, really not happy with how easily Emma let slip the possibility of returning home and how easily Regina figured it all out. Just…too easy.

Everything in the present day storyline just felt too contrived and too easy. Too easy for Gold to turn bad. Too easy for Emma to be so bad at hiding secrets from Regina. Too easy for Regina to figure out and find out about the magical bean field. Too easy for Belle’s alter ego to just happen to be an evil-loving, hard-drinking slut. The only things I liked in the present day story were the David/Gold partnership to help woo Lacey (Those two made a cute odd couple), and the conversation that Emma and Neal had at the end of the episode. More of those, please; less of the bad stuff.

As much as I have sympathy for the child Owen and his loss of his dad, and his adult desire to find his father and get revenge on Regina, I find myself caring less than nothing for the Owen/Tamara storyline. At the very least, I want her gone. And I know that their bringing back Hook is just a way to bring Hook back into the story, but this is another case of contrived writing. I see zero reason why they would be acting as if he is such a valuable asset to them. Maybe the next episode writer will have a better reason for this than Kitsis and Horowitz did.

The flashbacks were pretty good. I liked the Robin Hood/Marian storyline, even if I would have liked a bit more focus on it. I liked that Robin Hood was risking all and robbing from Rump to save the woman he loves and their child. The part where Belle saves Robin with the remark that not even Rump would leave a child fatherless…now that was good writing. It made sense for the character because that was his raison d’être for everything in his life, so of course it would resonate for him even in the life of someone who had stolen from him. That was good writing that fit the character. It’s just too bad that kind of writing wasn’t applied to the present day storyline.

Hard to believe the creators wrote such an uncreative episode.

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Next episode: We get to flashback to another one of Regina’s schemes to take down Snow White in “The Evil Queen.”

You can watch “Lacey” on Amazon Instant Video here.

About Heather S. Vina

Heather's been a fan of science fiction since she was five years old and developed a crush on Captain Kirk, while watching reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series. A huge Anglophile, she loves reading and watching (and mocking!) TV, but hasn't figured out a way to make a living doing either, yet. But she lives in hope!

Heather S. VinaColumn: Dark Matter: Review: Once Upon A Time 2.19: Lacey