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Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairytales. Belle was always a heroine with a fiery wit. She also is one of the princesses that didn’t need to be rescued in the end, but instead rescued her man. This week’s episode of Once Upon A Time paid homage to that feisty princess. In Storybrooke, Belle never really got a chance to show her true potential. The Enchanted Forest is where she really shined. Between her adventures with Mulan and her adventures with Merida, Belle isn’t just the sweet librarian who stays behind looking after babies. Now in the Underworld, Belle shows us that she has what it takes to save the people she loves.

This week Belle realizes, after seeing the way Zelena was with her baby and remembering everything he did for Baelfire, that Rumple will fight for their child with all his might. Truly believing he could be the one Merlin was talking about to wield both light and dark, Belle tells Rumple to save their baby without using dark magic if he wants to be with her. Yes, we have been down this road before. Belle is still trying her best to make Rumple a man without the beast. Rumple basically tells her no, but chases after her outside his shop. Enter Gaston.

Gaston has been in the Underworld holding a grudge since Rumple killed him and turned him into a rose. Hades takes advantage of this fact and gives Gaston poison arrows to best the beast. Wondering why him, Hades reveals to Gaston that the group that has arrived have started to change things in the Underworld. According to Hades, flowers have been growing in the Underworld since the heroes saved their first soul. “Hope has taken root and when souls have hope, they move on.” Hades has a plan to snuff out this hope. This plan starts with Rumple and Gaston dueling it out.

Gaston agrees and goes straight to Rumple’s shop. With arrows flying, Belle tries to talk her way out of the situation, but fails, leaving Rumple to poof them to safety. She finds out the truth about Gaston’s death, which Rumple isn’t even sorry about. I like Rumple’s newfound honesty. Belle is starting to realize that her optimism has clearly clouded her judgment. Although nothing new, it’s nice to see Belle realizing her mistakes. Belle doesn’t want anything to happen to Rumple nor does she want him to use his dark magic to save himself. So, she opts for the two of them to resolve Gaston’s unfinished business rather than kill him. By helping souls move on, they will weaken Hades and be able to defeat him.

While snooping around Gaston’s job to find insight into his unfinished business, Belle asks Rumple to use his magic to break into Gaston’s locker. Rumple points out he would clearly be using dark magic to help them, the opposite of her request. She says it’s not murder its just picking a lock. Magic is magic, big or small. Belle clearly doesn’t understand. Her naïve hopes and moral conviction are slowly waning and she doesn’t even know it. After finding a book in Gaston’s locker that she gave to him when they first met, Belle thinks that she is Gaston’s unfinished business. She tells Rumple, she’s got this and she can do it on her own. This is the beginning of the brave princess we are used to seeing in the Enchanted Forest.

While waiting for Gaston, Belle runs into Hades. He offers her a deal. Knowing that deals lead to awful things, Belle declines without even hearing what Hades has to say. Her fiery wit is shining through. But Hades becomes more sinister with talks of her baby, so she hears him out. Hades really wants that showdown between Rumple and Gaston, so he tells Belle that if they fight and one throws the other into the River of Lost Souls then he will tear up the contract and leave her baby alone. With her child on the line, Hades believes Belle is capable of anything. Good or evil, it is clear that Once Upon a Time believes that people will do anything for their loved ones. Belle doesn’t believe this. She thinks she can save both of them without one hurting the other.

Belle sets up a decoy Rumple for Gaston. She realizes Gaston will kill if given the chance, so she tries to appeal to his love for her. She tells him that Rumple is her husband. Instead of feeling some type of way for her, Gaston just points out that she has always had a soft spot for monsters. He then proceeds to shoot her down by telling her, she is not his unfinished business. He actually hates her for making him weak with all her talk and the stupid book she gave him about heroes being compassionate. He just wants to kill Rumple. Gaston storms off and Belle finds Rumple. She tells him she declined an offer that Hades tried to make with her. Knowing how deals work Rumple wants to know what Hades offered. Belle makes him promise that he won’t hurt Gaston, no matter what he learns. He says she can trust him so she tells him the deal. This time, Rumple is honest telling her that he wants to be the man she wants, but not today. He vanishes. Rumple is the best villain these days.

At the docks, Rumple has Gaston in a magic chokehold in the air, Evil Queen style. Belle makes it to them before Rumple throws Gaston in the water. Using her brain and womanly ways, Belle comes on to Rumple, giving him a distracting kiss, and taking his dagger. She commands him not to hurt Gaston. Well done, Belle. As Belle turns to see if Gaston is okay, he grabs his bow and arrow to shoot Rumple. In a fit of pure adrenaline to save the one she loves, Belle pushes Gaston in the water. She is sad at what she has done, but realizes she did it for the right reasons, to save her husband and baby. Unfortunately, Hades’ deal with Belle did not go through because Belle put Gaston in the water, not Rumple. Therefore, her baby still belongs to him. It is at this moment, Belle and Rumple realize Hades planned this entire turn of events. He had pushed Belle into this action. As Hades reveals his true intentions, he picks up a flower as it wilts away. Because of Belle’s response to losing someone she loves, the hope that was once present in the Underworld is fading away. Hades has the upper hand once again.

Even though Belle pushed Gaston in the water, holding his soul in the Underworld for all eternity, it’s not like he didn’t deserve it. Gaston was a monster, as Belle unveiled in the Enchanted Forest with her magic mirror. The only reason she agreed to marry him was to help her father win the Ogre wars. With Belle’s fresh attitude toward darkness, magic, and doing what’s right. She can be a great asset to the group, especially now since Ruby and her wolfish ways are back in the mix. Since the men of Storybrooke seem to be taking a back seat to the action, maybe these two kick-butt females can help Snow White, Emma, and Regina defeat Hades.

Tune in next Sunday, April 17th, to see what our heroes are up to on Once Upon A Time.

12507269_10100616412436404_4168608753558199589_nCatalina Combs is an aspiring film critic from California. She loves reading, writing, film, baking, music, drawing, traveling, Disney, and playing soccer. Her life usually revolves around all of these and her family. The oldest of six, Catalina tries to set a good example for her siblings. She graduated from Santa Clara University in 2010 with a BA in English Creative Writing and is pursuing an MA in Film. I also blog on WordPress and contribute to the website Examiner.comTwitter- @tiggercraze | Facebook- Cat Combs | Instagram: @tiggercraze

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