TV Review – Once Upon a Time S06E09 Changelings

Once Upon a Time is back from their one-week break with another heartbreaking episode. If there’s anything this season has taught us is that Rumplestiliskin has to be stopped and that there’s no way they can come back from this. If after all Belle has suffered they get her to take Rumplestiliskin back I might loose my faith in this show for good, because she deserves more than that. Changelings focused on Belle trying to protect multiple children from Rumple, while Emma and Killian tried to protect her and learn more about Emma’s vision.


Strong and Brave

If there was anything that was completely clear in this episode it’s that Belle loves her son more than anything in this world and both of them deserve more than Rumplestiliskin. Belle spends both the current storyline and the flashback trying to protect babies from him. In the flashback we see Rumple steal a baby to be able to summon the Black Fairy she figures out the incantation and with the help of Blue manages to save the baby and return him to his parents. We also learn that the Black Fairy is Rumple’s mother. Yes that means Peter Pan and the Black Fairy are the parents of Rumplestiliskin, let that sink in for a bit. I’m sure we’ll see more of her in the future but for now let’s focus on Belle.

You know what hurts most of all? That through both the scenes in the flashback and in present time you can tell Belle was born to be a mother, she deserves to be a mother to her child. She’d be a phenomenal mother but she can’t because she’s got a crazy and abusive husband who keeps hurting her. During present time we see a Belle that is terrified of Rumple possibly speeding up her pregnancy. We also get to see the older version of her son in a few dreams Belle has. Emilie de Ravin and Giles Matthey shine in these scenes and we see a beautiful love between a mother and her child.

Let’s face it I’m not a Rumbelle fan, I haven’t been a fan of them except for a moment during Season 1’s Skin Deep but the ship didn’t bother me until the end of season 3. Then season 4 came and I thought they were unbearable and that Belle deserved better than to be constantly lied to. Especially as we saw Rumple getting more and more evil as time went on. It’s always been a manipulative and unequal relationship but it had never been overtly abusive until now. Now we see a Rumple who claims that he would never hurt Belle but turns around and does just that. We see a Rumple who is finally done pretending to be better than he is, in a way he has stopped caring what anyone, even Belle, thinks of him. If he can’t have Belle then he’ll just take their son away from her. He’s spent most of the season terrorizing Belle to the point where even the idea of him is terrifying to her.

I do feel bad for the people who love them because this relationship is nowhere near healthy and it has now crossed so many lines it needs a million passports. Characters like Rumple and Regina are very much stretching out their welcomes with their antics and it’s just exhausting to look at them in scenes. It’s no longer the “I love to hate them” but more towards “I hate them and want them gone”. Belle is a wonderful person who deserves all the good things life has to offer, and she deserves to be able to raise her son free of his abusive father. And I sincerely hope she gets it, because if anyone deserves a happy ending, it’s Belle.


His Best Chance

It turns out Belle’s fears had a big foundation when her pregnancy is sped up. Emma and Killian take her to safety to the nuns but it’s no use the baby is definitely coming. Thanks to that we get a scene very reminiscent of Emma’s own childbirth scene, except this time no one is alone. Emma is there to help Belle through her childbirth and you can see in Jennifer Morrison’s face that she is remembering the time she was in Belle’s position.

OUAT Changelings

The scene is filled with tension because you want Belle and the baby to be okay but you also know Rumple is trying to break the protective barrier and get inside the door to steal the child. We get another scene with Matthey and De Ravin that breaks the hearts of everyone everywhere as Belle realizes what she has to do to protect him. De Ravin’s eyes, and our own for that matter, fill with unshed tears as she promises her son that she will always love him and pleads with him to remember that. He smiles at her and tells her not to forget the book. Belle gives birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy and from the first moment she holds him De Ravin’s eyes fill with unadulterated love for her son. It’s when she calls Blue, along with Killian and Emma, to the room that we realize what she has planned. She’s going to give up her child to give him his best chance.

Belle holds baby Gideon and tells him he is strong and brave and repeats what she told the older version of him, she’s going to love him forever no matter what. Killian passes her the book, Her Handsome hero – the book we saw back in her flashback last season which was also the book her mother read to her, and she gives it to Blue while asking her to read it to him. Blue leaves right before Rumple gets there, protecting baby Gideon from being stolen by his father. Emilie De Ravin tugs on our heartstrings and we all feel our hearts drop as she talks to her baby boy, it’s a truly wonderful performance.

It’s been a recurring theme in this show, mothers that are forced to abandon their children so that they can have their best chance. First it was Snow and Charming with Emma, later Emma with Henry and now Belle with Gideon. And it has always been inadvertently caused by Regina (no matter what anyone says the Evil Queen IS Regina). Why is it that good mothers like Snow, Emma and Belle have to give up their children while awful mothers like Regina or Cora get to keep them? It’s such a heartbreaking recurring theme and I hope they break the cycle because Belle deserves to raise her baby boy. It’s not fair to see people like Regina or Rumplestiliskin get away with things while the good guys suffer. This is a show about hope right? Then give us some hope that good will win.


Visions of Death

Emma Swan and Killian Jones work perfectly together, we’ve seen that throughout the course of the series, we saw that since their very first adventure together back in season 2, but it’s always a joy to see them work as a team. As Killian Jones said way back when “We make quite the team” and that is definitely the truth. Here we see them teaming up to protect Belle against the Dark One.

Once Upon a Time Changelings

Something I love about the way they’ve done Killian Jones’ character is that while he’s firmly 1000% team hero now we still get reminded that he’s a pirate. This time it was when he recognized the squid ink in the book Belle was reading and that helped them come up with a plan of action. Killian Jones acts as a distraction while Emma throws the squid ink at Rumple and they go look for the shears.

Killian’s confrontation with Rumple is a very interesting scene as we see Rumple insult Killian’s devotion to Emma. It shows us that Rumple might claim to love but he doesn’t really understand it. He can bottle it like in season 1, he can use it to his advantage or as leverage but he’ll never be able to truly understand it, or what it means to truly love someone that you would risk everything for them. Rumple thinks everyone is beneath him, even when he and Belle were on good terms, he never saw her as his equal just that she was his. Just like with Milah, with Baelfire, and now Gideon he sees people as property or as pieces in a chess game. But that’s not how life or love works, and that is why he will forever fail.

Emma stumbles upon something that causes her visions to come up again, with a small change. Killian comes running into the room when he hears Emma fall and worriedly asked what was wrong. Emma tells him about her latest vision and you can see the true worry and confusion on Jennifer Morrison’s face as she thought the visions were mostly gone and she has no idea what triggered it. They talk about it in the diner but are distracted by Belle’s pregnancy getting sped up. Later after Emma sees Belle make the same decision she did all those years ago she has a slight epiphany.

She’s no longer going to wait for the vision to come to pass or for anything to come to pass; she’s going to face it head on. That’s the Emma Swan we all know and love, the one that isn’t afraid to face her problems and she’s not afraid of what might happen. Colin O’Donoghue does a great job as he looks on proudly at Emma and her new resolution. They go back to Gold’s shop and they find the object that caused her vision the last time, it’s a sword with a shining ruby. This is the sword that will supposedly kill her. This is the scene that closes the episode and it’s very reminiscent of the scene where Snow gets fake!Excalibur out of the stone back in early season 2. With her holding the sword and Killian standing behind her as they get ready to face their next challenge head on, no more running or hiding.



Belle French: My Gideon, Strong and brave, don’t you ever forget that I love you.

Emma Swan: Gold did the right thing today it doesn’t mean he’ll do the same tomorrow.

Gideon French: You’ll always find me, when you need to.

Killian Jones: There’s the fight that I love.

Rumple: You want to know what failure looks like, that a look in the mirror



* Emilie De Ravin is apparently destined to have strange childbirth scenes; first there was Claire on Lost and now Belle on Once Upon a Time. And her son was taken from her both times.

*Someone needs to tell Rumple that there is no starting over for him because he’s hurt too many people. And he has to stop using the “I’m unloveable” excuse because him being difficult or whatever he wants to call it does not excuse abusing people.

*I commend Regina for using her own heart to keep the evil queen from killing Zelena but it slightly meaningless when in the next scene she tells Zelena she’ll never forgive her. Once again we get Regina misplacing blame and it shows she really hasn’t learned a thing. If Regina can get forgiven and “redeemed” after raping, murdering, ruining millions of lives then why can’t Zelena be the same? Regina really needs to get off her high horse because no, this isn’t what heroes do, and as much as you claim to be one you’re still far from it.

*Aladdin and Jasmine are being highly underutilized but Deniz Akdeniz and Karen David’s chemistry still shines in every scene they are in. I just wish we’d get more of them instead of the evil queen or rumple. Although I definitely think Aladdin as a genie will backfire on them.

*This season was supposed to be about the land of untold stories and so far we’ve gotten what 3 of them? It’s a pity because it was such an interesting concept.


Images via ABC.

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About the author

Maii Trueba

Maii is a 27 year old writer, who can get emotional and protective over certain characters and their stories, also pandas. And don't get her started on A Song of Ice and Fire because you'll never hear the end of it. She graduated in film and has a certificate in Art History so the nerdiness comes out from time to time.

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