Our listener Michael Lucero was distressed by Belle’s actions in this episode. Everybody who SQUEE’ed at that dance early this season agrees. He also discusses Robin’s departure and some other odd and ends from the mid-season finale “Heroes and Villains”. Thanks for the letter. Take it away, Michael!
I’m going to try to elucidate my reaction to this episode. Hopefully it will make sense. I’m not entirely sure it will, since I’m not 100% sure exactly what I think about it. Sometimes I need to listen to your reactions in order to say, “Yes, you’re absolutely right. That’s what I think,” or “No, I definitely disagree with that, and here’s why.”
Anyway… I’m kind of disappointed in Rumpel and Belle. Rumpel, of course, goes without saying. I’ve been disappointed with him this whole half-season, with where the writers are taking his character. I’m just glad that Regina isn’t going down the same path. The writers seem to be catching on to the idea of character growth, though not with Rumpel, I guess. Regina at least has learned something.
But I’m just as disappointed in Belle. Her strength is seeing through the evil to the good inside. And while I’m not condoning or underplaying the way Rumpel has been betraying her this storyline, I still don’t think he’s the hopeless case that Belle now seems to think. What she did to him was just as horrible of a betrayal, if not worse than what he did. The two of them definitely broke their marriage vows, but she in a more decisive and lasting way. What happened to the Belle who believes in you no matter how low you sink, who is always there to say, Yes, you did wrong, but you don’t have to keep doing wrong. Let’s get out of this mire you’ve sunk into and start on the path you know you have to take. What happened to that Belle? I can’t help but suspect that as long as Rumpel was hurting others, she was willing to have faith, but now that she was the object of his treachery, she just couldn’t deal with it. That’s absolutely understandable, but still disappointing.
Also, she sort of had a similar moment in a past season. I can’t remember which, or what the situation was, but there was an episode where she saw how evil he still was, declared that he hadn’t changed at all, and gave up on him… Only to change her mind and say she would still believe in him after all. To me, that was inspiring. Amazing. Moving. Beautiful. I don’t know, maybe they’ll have her make that decision again, but this rejection felt a bit more…final, somehow.
So that whole scene was heartbreaking. Moreso even than the one with Robin and Regina. (Which, by the way, why did Robin have to go with Marian? The reason they gave was that Marian had no experience with our modern world, but neither did Robin. He, unlike most of the rest of the town, had no cursed memories to teach him about modern technology and how a democratic society works. Wouldn’t he be as lost as she would?)
But I am very interested in the whole villains unionizing storyline. Unless it takes us back down that whole nonsensical “we have no free will because our actions are dictated by the storybook author, but we’re going to pretend like we do and resist him” road. I’m definitely more than a little tired of that, and it seems like that’s where we’re going. But I’ll keep watching. This season’s had its major low points for me, but all in all, so far, I’ve found it head and shoulders above season 3.
Wow, sorry for that huge letter! Take care!