Once Upon A Time Review: Gideon Pursues “Ill-Boding Patterns”

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time has been on a hot streak lately. By dipping further into stories it has already told on the show, they’re deepening their mythology and expanding their existing characters. The best the show has ever been is when it’s diving deeper into characters already introduced, rather than constantly doing 8-10 episode arcs with new ones. Because of this, Season 6 has largely been a major resurgence for the show.

This week on Once Upon A Time: Robin Hood proves desperate to leave Storybrooke for a fresh start, and proves willing to align himself with anyone to do so. Rumplestiltskin tries desperately to stop Gideon from darkening his own heart. Hook debates whether or not to tell Emma his secret, but she has done some secret finding of her own. The flashbacks tell the tale of Rumplestiltskin stopping the Ogre Wars, much to the chagrin of fabled hero Beowulf.

Further diving into Rumplestiltskin’s story was a fantastic decision. Once has a tendency to portray Rumple as an addict. Dark magic is his vice, and he continually battles progress and falls of the wagon regularly. If history and watching TV has taught us anything it’s that addiction = bad parenting. But, Rumple trashes that stereotype by committing heinous acts to protect both Baelfire (in the flashbacks) and Gideon (in present day). In terms of character exploration, this may have been one of the show’s best. Showing multiple angles and exploring grey areas works well for any show, and Once is no exception.

It’s always enjoyable to watch Once twist a classic tale, too. I loved watching Peter Pan as a villain, and to see Beowulf in that light was fascinating. The present-day legend worked alongside it by creating “Grendel” and “Grendel’s Son” from Rumplestiltskin and Baelfire. I always enjoy fresh takes on stories like this. It reminded me of The Brothers Grimm in a way.

I’m not sure how I feel about the secret keeping. Keeping secrets and lying are my least favorite forms of manufactured drama on the planet. Hook’s secret, though, ultimately comes from a different place than most manufactured drama. Until receiving the pages from August/Pinocchio, Hook had no idea that he’d killed Emma’s grandfather. He’s also correct in his assessment to Archie that he could take it to his grave if he wanted, as there are no witnesses to ever find out that he’d done it. His willingness to come forward is the most promising indication of a character change that Hook has shown during his entire time on the show. So, all of that said, the only mistake I think Hook made was leaning into the proposal. He should have stopped her, told her the truth (she would have forgiven him) and then proposed to her in short order. Now, inevitably, someone will find out what he’s done before Emma does and create a rift. Fallout from these kinds of things usually rings hollow to me, primarily because they are frustrating and easily avoidable.

Here are a few other thoughts:

  • Does Robin Hood really just want to leave Storybrooke? There has to be more to it than that.
  • Rumplestiltksin’s sons have at least one thing in common (besides their father). They’re both obnoxiously stubborn.

Overall, this episode was solid and I was pleased with it. It held my attention, was not necessarily predictable, and told deeper stories about its existing characters. I’m excited to see where things go from here!

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy this episode? Let us know!

Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC

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