This week’s episode was another strong episode of Once Upon a Time. Strange Case told the story of Jekyll and Mr Hyde in flashbacks while paralleling it with Belle and Rumple’s situation in the present. We also got the introduction to Karen David’s Jasmine, which made us even more excited for next week’s Aladdin episode. Let’s get into the episode.
The Darkness Within
It doesn’t matter if you’re a hero or a villain; we’ve all got light and dark inside of us. No one is 100% good or 100% bad and this episode is further proof of that. You can try to remove your dark side but the darkness will still lie within you. There is no serum to completely destroy your dark side, because it’s a part of all of us and we all have to live with it. Strange Case focused on how Jekyll came to create Mr. Hyde, with the help of the Dark One, in the past and in the present he tried in vain to finish the serum that would destroy Hyde for good.
Dr. Jekyll is a weak man who has trouble standing up for himself, he manages to arrange a meeting with Dr. Lydgate but is refused entry into the science academy because his work is deemed too dangerous. This angers him and that’s when the dark one appears and helps him complete his serum. The Dark One feeds on Jekyll’s desires and gets him to drink the serum himself which sets off a chain of events. He goes to a society party as Mr. Hyde threatens Lydgate and meets Mary, when he wakes up Jekyll remembers nothing of what Hyde did.
As the flashbacks go on we see Hyde fall for Mary just as she does for him not knowing he’s the other half of Jekyll. When they wake up Jekyll finds himself in Mary’s bed and in a jealous rage kills her for choosing Hyde over him then drinks the serum to blame it all on Hyde. Hyde is heartbroken at the death of the woman that he loves, and we get a reason for why he hates Jekyll so much, and frankly I don’t blame him one bit.
If anything what this story showed us is that we can’t completely separate the good from the bad. Hyde was supposed to be all bad but he still managed to feel real emotions and fall in love with Mary, Jekyll was supposed to be all “good” and yet he murdered Mary and tried to murder Belle.
This reminds me of one of my favorite Sirius Black quotes:
“We’ve all got light and dark inside us.
What matters is the part we choose to act on.
That is who we really are.”
This quote is extremely fitting for this show and this situation. People like Killian Jones and Emma Swan choose to fight their dark impulses and stay in the light, that’s what makes them heroes. Then there are people like Rumple who chose to continually act on their dark impulses; it’s what makes him a villain. Separating the light and the dark doesn’t work because our impulses are still there no matter how much we’d like to get rid of them. Like Rumple tells Regina “You can no more rid yourself of your darkness than I can.” So why not instead of getting rid of the darkness you fight it? This is my eternal frustration with Regina, as you my dear readers know. You can’t continually take the easy way out because life isn’t like that.
Daddy’s Little Girl
Some of the most enjoyable moments of the episode were the ones with Charming and Emma. It’s always so wonderful when we can see them act as a family and have family moments like cooking breakfast for your daughter. There is something truly special whenever Josh Dallas and Jennifer Morrison get to share a scene together as father and daughter. You truly believe these two are family and not just because of their similarities and how similar their reactions are but because you can tell how much they love each other in every scene.
Despite the fact that his daughter is 30 years old and that he considers Killian Jones one of his closest friends, Charming still worries about Emma like she’s the baby he cradled in his arms while fighting Regina’s guards. It’s a normal father reaction to worry about your daughter moving in with her boyfriend, no matter what age she is.
It’s not that he doesn’t respect the decision or that he doesn’t like Killian, it’s just Charming worried things will change. Emma quickly reassures him that no matter what happens nothing will change. He also offers to give her the recipe to his pancakes and offers to make them for Hook which makes for a hilarious scene. And Charming in his own way telling Emma he respects her choices. But since they mentioned it I need to say I would pay good money to see a scene of Charming cooking pancakes for his daughter while her shirtless pirate boyfriend comes downstairs, it would be comedy gold.
You’ve got a friend in me
I’ve spoken about it in previous reviews, but I truly love the development of Killian and Belle’s relationship. They are two people who don’t seem to have anyone else to rely on. Killian has Emma and the Charmings of course, but in terms of friendship he didn’t seem to have any real friends other than Emma and Charming. Emma is the love of his life and Charming is her father so it’s good for Killian to have Belle on his side as well. And as this episode proved it’s good for Belle to have Killian in her corner as well.
Despite their severely rocky start these two have gone from enemies to reluctant allies to real actual friends. We see Belle have adventures with pretty much every princess out there but considering they are guest appearances no one ever really sticks around. This episode proved that while Belle can pretty much hold her own against Rumple, everyone deserves to have a support system. Belle has now found that in Killian Jones. I loved the fact that despite the fact that he was moving out of the ship he still wanted her to have a way to contact him if she was ever in any danger. Killian Jones is that friend that protects you or defends you when that guy who keeps flirting with you won’t leave you alone despite saying you aren’t interested.
Killian Jones gives her a shell with mermaid magic that mermaids used to communicate with each other and tells her to use it if she ever needs help; as he’ll hear her thanks to a small shell he has around his neck. It was one of my favorite moments of the episode. And it’s always nice to get callbacks to Killian’s pirate days without it being a big deal. Of course the moment is ruined by Rumple coming in board and Killian immediately goes to her defense but Belle gives him the signal to stand down. Belle tells Rumple that he doesn’t need his protection as she’s got friends who can protect her. Rumple ignores her and puts a protection spell on the ship, one that would prevent Hyde from coming up but also Belle from leaving the ship.
In the end this puts Belle in more danger when Jekyll is trying to kill her as she cannot leave the ship to get to safety. Belle had called into the shell when she realized Jekyll was up to no good (because of a comment he made about Mary) and Killian Jones arrived just in time. Killian managed to save Belle by impaling Jekyll on the Jolly Roger, killing both Jekyll and Hyde.
Which brings us to one of the moments in which I screamed the most this episode, no it wasn’t Charming and Emma, Jasmine’s appearance or Killian and Belle. It was Belle finally standing up for herself to her abusive husband. This moment has been a long-time coming, and we’ve seen hints of it before but nothing like in this episode. There’s not one moment where you see Belle even consider the possibility of going back to Rumple.
Even with him trying to manipulate her time and time again, and using their kid as tactic (gee Rumple maybe this is the reason your son hates you from within the womb) Belle stands her ground. Emilie de Ravin shines as Belle tells him that she doesn’t need his protection because his protection always comes with a cost and she’s no longer willing to pay it. Of course this gets Rumple to change tactics and actually threaten Belle. Belle lets him know that she doesn’t care for his threats, it’s not going to change things. And I could not be more proud of her.
Action -> Reaction
Ironically enough when Snow goes back to teaching she is trying to teach Newton’s third law to her students, and it fits perfectly with this episode. Every action has an equal opposite reaction:
Rumple locking Belle on the Jolly Roger meant Belle was in danger.
Regina taking the serum meant that the Evil Queen was free to hurt people.
Jekyll taking the serum and sending Hyde to do his bidding led to Hyde and Mary falling in love.
These characters are in charge of their own lives and yet they refuse to accept it. Regina wishes she could pretend the Evil Queen doesn’t exist despite that everything the Evil Queen did in the past was her own doing. Jekyll blamed Mary for her death because she “wasn’t strong enough to resist Hyde” despite the fact that he’s the one that created Hyde in the first place.
And Rumple refuses to admit that the only reason Belle is in danger is because he keeps creating these situations that put them in danger. It’s too late for Rumple to try to change but there’s still a slight sliver of hope that Regina will realize that she’s a self-fufilling prophecy. If she wants to be good then she has to actually try to be good, instead of just removing the darkness and hoping for the best.
There is something else that I felt was necessary to talk about. Why is there a need to treat a woman like she’s property?
In the flashbacks Jekyll kills Mary because she loved Hyde. Jekyll acted like she belonged with him just because he wanted her and that’s not how things work. Rumple is a firm believer in this as well considering the main offense Killian has done is that he “stole” Milah. Rumple then went ahead and murdered her for it. In Belle’s case he trapped her on the Jolly Roger not caring what she thought about it. And when she tells him “You can’t just lock me in a cage like one of your objects” he goes “Apparently I can” showing that while he might claim to love her he doesn’t actually respect her or view her as a person, just a possession.
You can’t steal a person, no matter what Rumple or Jekyll say. And guess what? Mary, Belle, Milah they are all people. They are persons who are able to make their own decisions about their lives and who they want to be with. This is sadly a big problem in our society, some men think they are entitled to women, I was friendly to her so I deserve her love, I deserve to have sex with her, deserve deserve deserve. They don’t even spare a single thought to what the woman in the situation wants.
I want to believe the show is doing this on purpose, to highlight how toxic some relationships can be but who the hell knows. All I know is that Mary and Milah deserved better than to be murdered because of who they loved and Belle deserves better than to be treated as an object. This world needs more men like Charming or Killian Jones in the world, men who love and respect their significant others, and respect the women around them. This is a show about hope, so please don’t make it so Belle has to go back to an abusive husband who treats her like a possession. Belle deserves more than that, and the women watching deserve more than that.
Belle French: Threats won’t make me love you again Rumple
Killian Jones: You sure I can’t get you anything, I could always crack open a barrel of rum if you thought it would help.
Belle French: I’m pregnant remember?
Killian Jones: Oh yeah
Charming: You know what my secret for the pancakes is? Nutmeg, you can make them for Hook.
*Snow maybe the reason they don’t remember a thing is because they haven’t actually been to school in years from all the curses that have happened?
*Another reason the Killian/Belle friendship works so well is that no one knows what Rumple is capable of more than Killian Jones, so he’s especially qualified when it comes to protecting Belle.
*Karen David already shines as Jasmine and I cannot wait for next week’s episode when we’ll get to truly enjoy her story.
*The world needs more adorable scenes with Daddy Charming kissing his daughter’s forehead.
*Way back in season one we saw Emma come into Mary Margaret’s apartment with just one box, now we see Killian leave the Jolly Roger with just one chest. It’s a great parallel to how similar they are at their core.
*Major Props to Sam Witwer for his portrayal of Hyde. It was a pleasure to watch his during these past few episodes, he definitely kicked it out of the park. And he did a wonderful job at showing Hyde’s vulnerability during this episode.
Images via ABC.