"Her Handsome Hero" is the 105th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Belle turns to Rumple in the hopes of finding a way to protect their child from Hades; however, they disagree on whether to use dark magic, for she forbids her husband from using his powers for evil. At the same time, Hades meets with Gaston and encourages him to seek revenge on the Dark One, and Emma has a terrifying nightmare that she realizes is beginning to come true. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Belle and Gaston meet for the first time, but their blossoming romance comes to a halt on the eve of the Ogre Wars.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
The heroes stand before three gravestones in the Underworld's cemetery with Hook revealing that Hades told him to pick three names and chisel them onto the headstones, meaning that those three would remain trapped in the Underworld. As it turns out, Hades wound up choosing Regina, Snow, and Emma. ("Devil's Due") Down in his lair, Hades tells Rumple to get him Zelena's daughter, agreeing to rip up the contract and allow the Dark One to tell Belle that she's pregnant without also having to tell her she owes her baby to the God of Death. ("Our Decay") In the Enchanted Forest of the past, Rumple tells Maurice that his price for assisting with the ongoing war is Belle, at which point Gaston makes clear that she is engaged to him. Later, after Belle has gone to work for Rumple, Gaston shows up at the Dark Castle, only for Rumple to turn him into a rose instead. ("Skin Deep")
Belle is frustrated to learn that the day's plans are being changed.
The camera pans across waters, revealing a castle standing by the shore. Inside we are treated to a close up of Sir Maurice, sporting a contemplating expression on his face. "Father," is called out, however, interrupting him. Belle is seen joining Maurice in what appears to be a stable, though not seeing him right away; she asks if he is in there. "I'm right here, Belle," Maurice exclaims, catching his beloved daughter's attention. She takes notice of his attire and reminds him that they're supposed to go riding today, wondering why he is not dressed for it. It's then that Maurice reveals that their plans have changed, as they have a visitor in the castle - the oldest son of Lord LeGume. "Father, no," Belle tells of him; she doesn't wish to meet anymore suitors, especially not that "creator". "So you know him?" Maurice inquires, but Belle merely explains that she knows of him, and that he is supposedly the vainest man in all the land. "Fancies himself quite the hunter, both of animals and women."
Maurice gives his reasoning for trying to marry off his daughter.
Maurice asks that his daughter at least give him a chance though, instructing that Belle at least not judge someone until she's heard their whole story. "Well, I've heard enough," Belle exclaims, seeing fit to leave, but her father begs she wait, revealing that there's more at stake. Belle turns, wondering what this could mean, and Maurice reveals that on their northern borders there have been skirmishes with the ogres; good men have died. "That's horrible," Belle replies, and Maurice continues that Lord LeGume has a powerful army. "If you were to marry his son-" but that's all Belle allows of her father to say, appalled, proceeding to ask if he's mad. She wonders what her mother has to say about this, but is shocked to learn that she agrees with Maurice; he then explains that he's not trying to arrange a wedding, but that he just wants Belle to meet him. As she goes to say something, however, she finds herself being interrupted by the presence of said son of Lord LeGume. "Am I too early?" he asks, and Belle glares at her father as he assures that the man is right on time.
Meet Sir Gaston.
He welcomes him in, proceeding to introduce him to Belle, who awkwardly turns to face this potential suitor. This is revealed to be none other than Gaston, and he takes Belle's hand and politely kisses it, stating that it's lovely to meet her. Belle nods, quick to admit that she's heard so much about him, but Gaston can tell that there's something wrong. He decides to address the elephant in the room, asking Belle if she hates these set ups as much as he does. "Well, since you're asking, yes," Belle admits, and Gaston replies that he's heard she's a charming and intelligent young woman, and that she's certainly lived up to her name. "But?" "You've heard of me and you're not interested, which is fine; I understand. If it's your wish, I shall turn around and head home. No hard feelings." Belle is rather surprised by the way in which Gaston is taking things, and her lack of a response appears to be enough of an answer for Gaston, as he sees fit to leave. Belle looks back at her father though, who appears rather disappointed, and so she finally gives in and decides to stop Gaston before he is fully gone. "Actually, uh, one walk couldn't hurt anyone." With that, she sets off to join him.
Belle puts her husband in his place before teaming up to save their unborn child.
Now, decades later, in the Underworld's present day, focus on the outside of this realm's version of Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer. Watching is none other than Belle, who proceeds to fully approach the building while, inside, Rumplestiltskin is unboxing his father's pipe. He examines it for a moment, but puts it down when he notices Belle entering the pawn shop, closing the door behind her. He greets her, but she's quick to get to the point; she makes it rather clear that she will not be separated from her unborn child, and that she needs his help. "So, you accept who I am?" the Dark One questions, but Belle doesn't confirm this, instead explaining that she knows no one will fight for this child like its father, as he's proven that much. "But no dark magic." "You must have known what you were letting yourself in for." However, Belle is still not hearing of this, as she calls back to when the heroes were in Camelot. She explains that Merlin said that perhaps one day there will be someone able to wield the power of the Dark One's dagger for good. (see "Birth") "Show me that you can be that man. Show me, and we can save our child, and we can turn the darkness into light." Rumple has a different perspective though, pointing out that that's the thing with dark and light - it depends on your point of view. "In the end, you do what you can to protect those you love." Belle claims she'd never resort to darkness though, as that's not what a hero does. Rumple doesn't believe this, however, stating that in the heat of the moment you do what it takes. "You want a future with me? You have to do things my way," Belle exclaims, ever-so determined.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Snow, just before meeting her demise.
Focus on a tombstone in the Underworld's graveyard as the camera pans upward to reveal Emma, Snow, and Hook. As the Savior exclaims Hades thinks that he can beat him, she says that it's time to prove him wrong. "When I burn these names from the graves, there will be nothing keeping us here." With that, a burst of magic shoots from her hands as she finishes that they can all go back home. As Emma concentrates on the spell she is performing, and Snow watches, Hook is busy turned around and facing what is taking place behind them. "Wait," he says to his beloved, "something's wrong." Emma stops what she is doing and asks Hook what it is, to which he replies that any captain worth his sword knows when a storm is brewing, and to trust him that they need to find shelter now. "Go, go," he says to the two women, causing them to run with him behind them. As they make their way behind the Underworld's version of Regina's vault, a cyclone has come... and gone. "Well, that was quick," Emma exclaims, proceeding to ask if her mother and boyfriend are okay. Snow confirms that she is, but is now a bit weary, acknowledging her belief that something is out there. "Something was in that storm," she says, retrieving an arrow from her bag and drawing her bow, making her way around the vault. As she does so, however, she finds herself being mauled by a ferocious beast. "Mom!" the Savior calls out...
Emma wakes up from a very questionable dream.
...then waking up, in the night, sitting atop a roof. "Bad dream?" Hook questions from nearby, taking notice of his girlfriend's current state, and she confirms this, but also brushes it off as nothing. She stands to her feet and apologizes for falling asleep, though Hook is glad that she did. "It's not the best way to keep watch." "I've got it all under control," he argues, then asking if she realizes that this is the first time she has slept since rescuing him. "I will sleep for weeks as soon as we defeat Hades; I promise." There is a moment of silence between the two before something catches their attention; they look over the room to see a light flashing from the doors of the building they are currently standing out, and Emma understands this to be the signal meaning those below them are ready. The couple moves forward.
The heroes prepare to infiltrate Hades.
Inside the Underworld's version of the Storybrooke Free Public Library, the other heroes are seen about. Regina is at the elevator, drawing different markings over it, and Henry makes his way past her. Over at the door, Snow is there as Emma and Hook make their way inside. "Mom," Emma calls out before quickly hugging Snow, to her surprise. "Is everything okay?" she asks, and the Savior confirms this, stating that it's just good to see her. Regina interrupts though, calling out to Emma that when she's done hugging things out then she herself could use a little help over there. "So this is what you've been working on all night?" Hook questions, being their new plan to defeat Hades and go home. "A bunch of squiggly lines?" Regina explains that the Lord of the Underworld put one hell of a protection spell on the elevator and that these squiggly lines are the only way to crack it open. "Then hopefully that elevator will take us straight to him," Snow adds on.
Emma and Regina work their magic, only to come out as failures.
David speaks up that if they have surprise on their side then maybe they'll have a chance to hit him. Hook points out that it's a lot of "maybes" and "hopfullys", but Emma states that's all they have right now. With that, she turns to Regina, ready to do this. The two ladies stand before the door as they raise their hands, using their magic to sync with the drawn out symbols. Soon enough the door opens for the heroes to see... a brick wall blocking their path. David sighs, "So much for surprising him." "Oh, we'll think of something else," Snow says, optimistically, "We always do." It's then that a thought crosses Emma's mind, which she turns to share with the other heroes; she suggests the possibility of burning their names off of the gravestones keeping them there. Regina argues that she has already looked for a spell like that and it doesn't exist, but Emma reveals that actually it does; it came to her in a dream. "In a dream?" David questions, to which Emma responds that she knows it sounds crazy, but she can remember every detail.
Snow begins to seal her fate.
"It would be a long shot, but--" "Well as for 'maybes' and 'hopefullys', I've learned never to question yours. I'm coming with you." David exclaims that he and Snow will take Henry back to the apartment to keep him safe, but Snow decides that she would rather go with Emma. "No," the Savior is quick to exclaim, arguing that this is not a good idea, but Snow points out that she promised to help take down Hades and get back to her son. "If this is how we do it, I'm in." David states that it best Emma not argue with her mother, proceeding to leave with Henry. Regina tells the Savior to get going and that she'll meet them at the cemetery. First, however, she should talk to her sister, who apparently has history with Hades. (see "Our Decay") "You think she'll talk to you?" Emma questions. Regina, as she puts on her coat, admits to not knowing; however, if Hades does have a weakness then Zelena might be the only person who knows what it is. With that, the ex-Evil Queen leaves.
Elsewhere in the Underworld, walking down Main Street is none other than Zelena herself. Unbeknownst to the Wicked Witch, however, she's being watched by Hades, who longs for her to love him in turn. However, something else appears to catch the attention of the God of Death, and he diverts his attention away from the Wicked Witch. He looks on the ground and examines something, proceeding to walk closer and approach it properly. The camera pans down to reveal there a small flower has sprouted from the ground, something that should not be happening down in the Underworld. Nothing grows, just decays. Hades kneels down and plucks the flower from the ground. He holds it in his hand and continues to examine it, knowing exactly what it is, and that what it is needs to be stopped immediately.
Hades meets with one of the dearly departed.
Over at the Underworld's version of the Storybrooke Pet Shelter, a now deceased Gaston is seen making his way into a room containing a bucket something. He places it down on a table where it's revealed there are dog dishes sat for the dogs to eventually be fed. Gaston uses a scoop to get some of the food into the dish for the dogs he is tending to, but soon finds himself being joined by someone. "Now this is just depressing," Hades calls out, to Gaston's surprise. The Lord of the Underworld mocks Gaston for where he ended up, and all because of a woman. (see "Skin Deep") "Not that I'm one to judge, believe me, I've had my own share of girl trouble lately." Gaston greets the God of Death, questioning why he is here, and so Hades is quick to explain that there are some visitors in the Underworld that he thinks Gaston might be interested in: the beauty he was once engaged to, and the beast who stole her and then murdered him. "Rumplestiltskin," Gaston realizes, "So the Dark One is finally dead." However, Hades points out that he isn't quite yet, though he asks how Gaston would like to finally get his shot at revenge. "Why are you coming to me? What's in it for you?" he wonders, and so Hades explains that things have been changing in his "little domain" lately.
Gaston sets out on a new hunt.
"You know what I've found growing all over town?" he rhetorically asks before revealing the flower he plucked. Gaston is surprised, stating that that's impossible, to which Hades replies that it should be because nothing grows down there; things only decay. "Well I don't understand. What's changed?" "Hope." Hades explains that thanks to these new arrivals, hope has taken root, and when souls have hope they move on. With that, the Lord of the Underworld crumples the flower in his hand; he explains that he cannot have that, and his hair turns a fiery blue. Gaston understands this, and Hades continues that these people have to be punished, starting with the man who dared to go back on a deal with him. "But how am I supposed to defeat the Dark One?" Gaston wonders. Hades has a solution to this though, proceeding to use his magic to make a bag of arrows appear across the table. He tells Gaston to check them out, believing that the hunter will find them up to the task. "This is your chance to be a great hunter once again, and this time your prey will be the greatest beast of them all: Rumplestiltskin." Gaston admires the glowing arrows and then looks up determined.
A troubling sound interrupts Belle and Gaston's walk.
"I have to say, I am impressed with how far you've hiked," Gaston exclaims, in a flash to the Enchanted Forest of the past, "I suppose your perseverance is only matched by your beauty." With him is Belle, who is very amused by the lines in which Gaston is attempting to use to win her over. "Really?" she says, trying not to laugh, asking if that line works on all of his first dates. Gaston now asks if they've moved from a meeting to a date, but Belle points out that he knows what she meant. He's now the one to laugh, betting that Belle thinks he's the same Gaston that she's heard of from all of the stories. "I must say, I have heard some unflattering tales." "Well then I profoundly apologize," Gaston expresses, revealing that he has this friend, LeFou, who loves to spread tall tales to embarrass him. "Ah, so you're not this great hunter of women I've heard so much about?" Gaston assures, however, that he hunts only wild game; his love life has been tragically empty. He's actually been spending his whole life looking for a woman of Belle's substance. The beauty is pleasantly surprised by Gaston's behavior, but he soon stops their walk upon hearing a sound. Belle wonders what it is, and the hunter draws his bow, exclaiming that it's a wild creature. "Very large; very close." He requests that Belle stay there, proceeding to run into the forest, but the beauty calls out for him. When he doesn't answer, she decides to run after him, still calling.
Belle believes there to be an alternative to torturing the ogre.
She looks around, but doesn't see him, and so she continues to run. Soon, however, Gaston is seen to be looking down into a hole. Belle has finally caught up to him, and he exclaims that it won't be much of a hunt, as whatever they heard has fallen into this old hunting pit. However, this changes when they see a glow emanating from the hole; Gaston realizes that the war is closer than they thought... it's an ogre. Belle gasps, exclaiming that there's never been an ogre near the castle before. The ogre starts to move more into the light though, and Belle is hurt to see that it's barely even full-grown; it's just a child. "Maybe he wandered too far from home?" Belle suggests, but Gaston thinks that they might be using their young as scouts and an entire army is following behind. He tells Belle that they have to haul the ogre up and take him back to Maurice, but Belle refuses, stating that if they bring this creature back to the castle then the soldiers will torture him. They have to find another way. Gaston points out though that this isn't their decision, as the whole kingdom could be at risk. "I know, and I realize you've only known me an hour, but if you trust me, I promise I can find out what this ogre is after without hurting him." Gaston sighs, looking down at the captured creature, but then lets out a chuckle. "Lead the way," he says to Belle, pleasing her. She smiles, and proceeds to do just that.
Rumple fails to convince Belle to do things his way.
Return to the Underworld of the present day and inside of Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer. Books are seen being flipped through as Belle and Rumple search for a way to save their unborn child from Hades, but Rumple finally flips his shut, putting on top of a stack of others. "Useless," he says, but Belle tells him to keep looking, proceeding to take the book that her husband just put away and puts it back in front of him. "These books are full of light magic; there must be something in here that can help." "If you wanted to boil a pot of tea, yes." Belle is annoyed though, commenting that every time Rumple tries something nefarious it's a "smashing success", but when she asks him to channel that power for good he fails. Rumple doesn't care what Merlin said though, as he believes that turning darkness into light is a fool's errand. "To use darkness for light; that may be possible." Belle still won't allow it, which leads Rumple to believe that they will simply fail. "Great, well, this was a mistake. I shouldn't have come here." Belle says, having given up. She proceeds to storm out of the pawn shop, fed up with her husband, but the Dark One calls after her. He follows her out, asking that she please come back, but she states that she doesn't want to hear anymore justifications.
Hades sends his regards.
Before Rumple is given the chance to say anything in retaliation though, an arrow flies past Belle's head, and so the beauty looks across the street to find an armed Gaston. "Gaston?!" she then calls, out, "What are you doing here?" As Belle's former fiancé draws another arrow, he reveals that Rumple killed him, and so he's going to return the favor. Belle is appalled, but attention is no longer being paid to her as Rumple exclaims it will take much more than a "pointy stick" to kill him. Gaston grins though, stating that they'll see about that, and so he fires. He fails, however, as the Dark one catches the glowing arrow in his hand. He examines the arrow and quickly realizes that it was Hades who sent him, who Gaston reveals wants the same thing as him – for Rumple to remain trapped in the Underworld. Belle calls out for both men to stop though, stating that they all have history with each other, but that there must be some other way to resolve it. Gaston doesn't seem as up for this though, having been trapped down in the Underworld for years, suffering, all because of the Dark One. "So no, I can't let the beast go free." He draws his arrow once more, shooting at Rumple, but the Dark One is able to poof himself and Belle away in a puff of smoke, bringing them to the docks.
In order to weaken Hades, Belle decides to help Gaston move on.
"So you killed Gaston, my fiancé, and never thought to tell me?!" Belle wishes for clarification, to which Rumple replies, "It was an arranged marriage. I was doing you a favor." Belle understands this was a mistake though, noting that once again she has let her optimism cloud her judgement. Rumple states that Gaston's threat is real though, as he may be immortal, but Hades forged these arrows in the River of Souls, a river which flows into the very sea the docks are built over. "Now immortal or not, one scratch, and I'm trapped in these waters forever. And I won't be able to help our child." Rumple continues that Hades is clever because he sent Gaston, knowing Belle wouldn't let the Dark One hurt him. "Let's prove him wrong. Let me use just a little bit of dark magic, just enough to take care of Gaston." "No," Belle exclaims, stating that that is not how they're going to defeat him. They're going to do the opposite and help him. "We're going to see to it that he finally moves on from this infernal place." While Rumple doesn't think this is worth it, Belle states that it isn't just about him, as Hook said when his brother moved on that it affected Hades somehow; it weakened him. (see "The Brothers Jones") Belle thinks that by helping people move on then maybe that's how they defeat Hades. Rumple remains silent.
Emma leads the way as her dream starts to become a reality.
Elsewhere in the Underworld, at the graveyard, Emma stands before the three tombstones and exclaims that the spell worked in her dream, so she just needs to make it happen. Concentrating, she forms a light magical energy in her hand, prepared to use it on the tombstones, but Hook tells her to wait. "Any captain worth his sword knows when a storm's brewing, and trust me we need to find shelter." Emma's eyes widen in fear though as she asks her lover why he just said that. Hook assures that it's fine, having survived worse than a storm, but Emma turns to Snow, wind picking up. She says that she shouldn't have brought her here, revealing that her dream wasn't just a dream; this is exactly how it happened. Hook suggests they talk about this later though, needing to take shelter now. The three proceed to run as a cyclone forms, and they take cover behind the mausoleum. "Well look at that, the world's fastest storm," Hook exclaims, "maybe this is turning into a good dream." Emma reveals that the storm wasn't what she was worried about; in the dream, the cyclone brought a monster. "What kind of monster?" Snow asks, before a loud roar is heard, and Emma states that it's that kind. Snow suggests taking a look for herself, but Emma stops her, stating that Snow needs to trust her when she says she cannot let her do this. "Okay, okay," Snow agrees, stating that since it was Emma's dream that she should tell her what to do now. As they hear a roar again, Emma states that they should run. With that, Snow and Hook follow Emma's suggestion and the three run.
As far as Zelena knows, she's Hades' only weakness.
Elsewhere in the Underworld, over at the realm's version of Granny's Diner, Zelena is sat in a booth, depressed and alone. Regina soon makes her way over, however, with two cups of a drink. She asks her sister if she would like some company, who ends up nodding. Regina takes a seat, and the first thing Zelena asks her is how is her daughter. Regina assures that she is safe, hidden in the woods with Robin Hood, and Hades will never find where they are. "He'll find her eventually," Zelena exclaims, "When he wants something, he never gives up." "And you know this how?" Regina wonders, but Zelena doesn't want to talk about it. The ex-Evil Queen doesn't like this though, and so she tries again, asking Zelena that for once in their lives they can try acting like sisters. "What happened between you and Hades?" After a moment of reluctance, Zelena finally reveals the truth, that he fell in love with her. (see "Our Decay") "Oh..." Regina says, rather shocked, and Zelena agrees that it's totally ridiculous, the idea that anyone could love her. "Do you love him?" Regina asks, sensing a feeling in her sister. The Wicked Witch doesn't reply, and so Regina continues that she understands how hard this must be for Zelena. However, she knows Hades, and he's the one keeping them all down in the Underworld, so Regina needs to know what his weakness is. "So this visit wasn't just about sisterly concern; it was about Hades," is what Zelena is now interpreting this as. Regina denies this though, stating that it was both, but Zelena lies, apologizing for not having more to offer. "As far as I know, I'm his only weakness."
Snow learns she is fated to die.
Back at the graveyard, now down in the vault, the three running heroes make their way inside. Emma understands that it seems a little creepy, but thinks they should be safe down there. Again, they hear a roar coming from the creature above, and Hook asks his lover if she's sure about that. "What the hell is that thing, and why is it chasing us?" Snow doesn't have an answer to Hook's question, but states if it comes close she might be able to get a shot at it. Emma refuses to let her mother go back out there though, which only leads Snow to wondering what she's so worried about, pointing out that they've faced monsters before. "My dream, it's happening," the Savior explains, continuing that there's something she didn't tell her: "You died." A look of shock covers the princess's face at this new revelation.
Gaston's unfinished business.
At the Underworld's version of the pet shelter, Belle is seen rummaging through a drawer, with Rumple standing behind her, telling her that she doesn't need to do this to find Gaston's unfinished business. "I know what it is: killing me." Belle stops what she's doing though, exclaiming that she won't accept that; you can't judge someone without knowing their full story. "Here, Gaston's locker," she exclaims, approaching a set of lockers on the walls. She fiddles with it some, finding that it's locked, and she turns to her husband, asking that he magic it open for her. "Oh, I certainly can. You sure you want me to?" he asks, confusing the princess some, who confirms that she's sure, wondering why she wouldn't be. Rumple points out that he would be using his power to steal another man's property, stating that it would qualify as using dark magic. "This isn't murder, we're opening a locker," Belle is quick to point out, but Rumple calls his wife out on being hypocritical, as to her it's alright when she gets to be the judge for when the end justifies the means. "As I said, it's all about points of view," he finishes, proceeding to snap his fingers, disappearing the lock off of the locker. Belle ignores her husband's point, simply thanking him for doing as she wished, and she opens the locker up and begins to look around. Soon enough though, she comes across a book that appears to have some sort of meaning to the beauty. "This," she says, turning to her husband, "I'm his unfinished business." Rumple remains silent as his wife decides that she'll wait for him, suggesting that the Dark One go. "Trust me, I can get through to him," she exclaims, and Rumple chooses to give his wife and chance and listen to her. He leaves.
Belle explains to Gaston her fixation on books.
Flash to the Enchanted Forest of the past, inside a library of the castle, where Belle approaches Gaston with a book in tow - An Alphabetized Inventory of Magical Antiquities. Gaston reads this title aloud, commenting that it sounds a bit dense, but Belle assures that it's a wonderful book, explaining that it's a record of every magical item in the kingdom. Gaston wonders if Belle thinks one of these items will tell them what this ogre is after, and Belle confirms that she is sure of it, adding that it's the reason her mother keeps these records, for emergencies like this. "Your mother must be quite a woman," Gaston exclaims, smiling, "to have raised a daughter with this much... fire in her." Belle is touched by this, revealing that it was her mother that taught her to love books. Chuckling, she reaches into a pile: "Starting with this one." Gaston takes the book, reading its title aloud: Her Handsome Hero. "Interesting," he says, "I wouldn't have picked you for a fan of cheap romance." Belle is quick to deny this though, taking the book back and saying that it's not like that. "This book is about compassion and forgiveness, the things that truly make a hero." As Gaston appears to be interested in this, Belle offers him the book to have, if he wants it.
Her handsome hero.
He states that if it is indeed her favorite book then he shall read every word. Twice. "Because I have a feeling I have finally found a woman of substance." Belle is taken by this, and the two start to lean in for a kiss. The beauty appears to be unaware of this at first, but as Gaston comes in close she breaks away, looking down at the inventory book, noticing something in particular... exactly what they need. The page details an item known as the Mirror of Souls, stating that if someone has evil in their soul then it was reveal at the mirror's gaze. Their eyes will glow with demonic fire. "So if we see no fire," Gaston starts. "Then the ogre means us no harm," Belle concludes. The beauty then notes that the mirror is but an hour's ride away; she could go now. Gaston is pleased with this, stating that while she goes and gets the mirror, he'll watch over the ogre. However, he then takes her hand, asking that she promise him, in case this creature is not innocent, that she bring back her father and his knights. "I promise," Belle says, originally having had to contemplate this some, "and I'll see you soon." The two smile at one another before Belle leaves, and Gaston remains in the castle library where he looks down at the book the beauty has left for him. He holds it up and puffs his chest, making out like a stereotypical hero would. He then smiles at it and leaves as well.
Belle is offered a deal...
Back in the present, Belle waits in the pet shelter, contemplating while looking down at the book she has discovered. Dogs start to bark though, alerting Belle that someone is coming. She calls out for Gaston, wondering if it's him, but instead another voice replies that she's getting colder. Instead, it's Hades who meets with the beauty, putting her ill-at-ease. "What do you want from me?" she asks, rather cautiously, to which he replies, "Other than the baby in your belly?" This makes Belle even more uncomfortable, provoking a laugh from the Lord of the Underworld, who then tells the beauty to relax. He isn't going to hurt either one of them, but that he'd actually like to help; he asks if she would like to make a deal. "I married a man who makes deals; I know what that means," the beauty replies, "Not interested." However, Hades proceeds to wonder about what her father used to say: don't judge someone until you know their whole story. Belle wonders how Hades would know that, which he quickly brushes off as being a perk of the job, knowing lots of things. "Like you're trying to help Gaston move on." "And so what if I am?"
...that she chooses to decline.
Hades chooses to keep being vague, but allows Belle to know that he likes this conflict between Gaston and Rumple and wants it to go on. Belle wonders what the God of Death could possibly offer her, to which he replies nothing much... just the thing she wants most in the world. He is now feeling Belle's belly as he confirms: "Your baby." Belle is clearly uncomfortable with this predicament, but Hades has her attention now. "I'm listening," she says to him, at which point Hades calls her a smart girl because this is the easiest deal in the world. All she has to do is let Rumplestiltskin face Gaston; if one of them throws the other into the River of Souls then Hades will take the mark off of Belle's baby. Belle thinks about this for a minute, but she finally decides against it. This shocks Hades, but Belle states that she promised to help Gaston move on, and she's going to keep her word. "Now that is such a nice sentiment, but take it from me, love makes you do crazy things." As the Lord of the Underworld starts to walk away, he turns back to Belle stating that, with her child on the line, he bets she's capable of anything. "Let me know if you change your mind," he says, now leaving.
Regina is added in and caught up on the B-plot action.
"I think that monster's gone away," Hook says, down in the vault. The three stand in silence for a moment as they catch their breath; however, they soon hear a noise, and so they ready themselves. Hook gets a cutlass while Snow prepares her bow and arrow. As the noise gets closer, Hook swings the cutlass out from behind the wall, only for it to nearly hit Regina, who has come to join them. "Sorry, love," the pirate says upon realizing who it is, but the Queen pushes the cutlass away, stating that she's glad his reflexes are better than his sense of style. She proceeds to walk past him and over to Emma and Snow, stating that this has turned into quite a day, then asking why they're all in her vault. "Short version: thing with fangs trying to kill us," Snow answers, but Regina is surprised that they're hiding instead of fighting. Emma speaks up, revealing that she saw the same monster in her dream. She goes on to say what happens, but Snow interrupts, revealing to Regina that it killed her. "I thought it was a message or some sort of vision of the future," Emma adds. However, Regina thinks that just because she dreamt it, it doesn't mean it will happen. "Maybe this dream isn't just about the monster. It's about you working out some issues."
Emma acknowledges how retarded it was to drag her whole family to the Underworld.
"I don't have any issues," Emma claims, though it's very clear by the looks of their faces that Snow, Regina, and Hook beg to differ. The latter does just that, speaking up that as much as it pains him, he has to agree with the Queen. "Emma, what's going on?" Emma doesn't quite know what to say at first, but ultimately manages to scrape together the explanation that she thinks she might have failed everybody. "Failed? You saved me," Hook argues, but Emma points out that they're still trapped in the Underworld. "What was I thinking, bringing everyone down here?" She specifically notes bringing Henry down there. Emma proceeds to acknowledge that it was a terrible plan and that she should have done it alone. "And now I'm always frightened. Frightened that someone will die, and it will be my fault. And I'll never forgive myself." However, Snow disagrees with this statement, for she says to her daughter that she didn't force any of them to go down there as they all wanted to go with her. They knew it would be hard; these things always are, but some things are worth it. "Love is worth it. Now if you want to get home then let's do what works. Let's face this monster together." Emma lets on a smile, appreciating her mother's speech.
Return to Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer. The front door of the shop opens as Gaston cautiously enters, bow and arrow in tow. He looks around while closing the door behind him, thus ringing the bell, and he proceeds to walk some, searching. It's not long before he makes his way to the back room of the shop where he sees what appears to be Rumplestiltskin sitting in a chair, back towards the hunter, at a table. Without saying a word, Gaston raises his bow and fires an arrow, piercing Rumple in the back, knocking him to the floor. Gaston wickedly laughs, reveling in finally defeating the Dark One. "I guess every beast has its weakness," he says, approaching the body... only to realize it's not a body at all, just a dummy. "So you would really kill him if you had the chance?" Belle is now realizing as she steps out of the darkness. She adds that she wasn't sure if he had it in him. "This is pointless, Belle," Gaston replies, proceeding to demand to know where the Dark One is.
Gaston loses his cool.
Belle begs that he stop this though, only for the hunter to angrily bang his hands against a table, telling the beauty that he can't. Seeing him dead is the only thing he cares about anymore. "You sure about that?" Belle wonders, proceeding to toss the Her Handsome Hero book onto the table. Gaston realizes that Belle broke into his locker, but she ignores this, stating that she wants to help him move on. She believes that if he still has this book then it must mean something to him. "Of course it does," he answers, at which point Belle wonders if it's because she gave it to him. "Am I your unfinished business?" "You think I have this book because I like it?" he laughs. Gaston proceeds to explain that he's tried to throw the book out a hundred or even a thousand times, but that it always reappears. "It's part of my punishment down here." However, Belle doesn't understand. To make things more clear, Gaston continues even further that the book is there to remind him why he died: because Belle made him weak.
"He's my husband." ^^
He then slams the book down on the table, but Belle is appalled to find herself being blamed. Gaston slurs that he should have gone after Rumplestiltskin with an army, but he tried to follow Belle's example; he tried to do what is right, but that book is wrong. "Being a hero is not about compassion and having forgiveness. It's about having strength. Doing whatever it takes to defeat your enemies." Belle argues that Rumple isn't even Gaston's real enemy, though; Hades is. The hunter doesn't understand why Belle continues to defend Rumple, however. He reminds Belle of how the Dark One kidnapped and made her a servant; she should want him dead too. "Yeah, well I don't." "Why not?" There's a moment of silence as Belle takes a step forward, finally revealing the truth: "He's my husband." This news comes as a major shock to Gaston at first, though as it begins to settle in he's able to let out a small laugh. "Good ole Belle," he says, picking up his bow, "you always did have a soft spot for a monster." With that, he walks away.
The Mirror of Souls confirms Maurice to be not #shady.
Flashback to the Enchanted Forest of the past, in the woods, Belle is seen telling her father, while reaching into a satchel, that Gaston is keeping watch on the ogre. She takes out the Mirror of Souls, holding it up to show Maurice's reflection, stating that the magical device will help them learn the truth of his intentions. "See, father? The eyes don't lie," she says, when the mirror doesn't show Maurice's eyes to be a firey red. As the two proceed to walk, Maurice tells his daughter that he prays for her to be right, but soon enough the come up to where Gaston is supposed to be watching over the ogre, only instead they see Gaston lying on the ground barely conscious. "Gaston," Belle calls out, coming to his aide. She places the mirror down on the ground, asking if he is alright. He begins to sit up, rather groggy, blood dripping from his forehead. "Feels like I still have all my limbs," he says. Belle asks what happened, and Gaston states that ogre had escaped when he arrived; he was waiting to ambush. "Then you're quite luck to be alive," Maurice says, as Belle kneels down with a handkerchief to wipe away the blood. She apologizes to Gaston, stating that it's all her fault, but he tells her that it's alright.
Gaston plays the part of the victim.
"Seeing you concerned makes it worth it." "Well, you two have had an interesting first day," Maurice exclaims, helping Gaston to his feet. He tells them to head back to his castle, stating that he'll gather his soldiers and that they'll hunt the ogre before it can do anymore harm. "No, this ogre tried to kill me. I should return the favor," Gaston states, proceeding to ask permission of Maurice to lead the hunting party himself. Maurice believes Gaston to be a brave young man, agreeing that if he's feeling up to it then then hunt is his. "Then I'm going too," Belle says, picking up the mirror, stating that there's still a chance to use it. "For what? We know this ogre's a monster," Gaston points out, but Belle suggests that perhaps he was just defending himself. Maurice asks the hunter to forgive his daughter, stating that Belle gets this idealism from her mother. Belle tries to argue that they must know the truth before they hurt this ogre, but Maurice still insists that his daughter go home because it's what's best. As Maurice leaves his daughter, Gaston turns to Belle, promising that the ogre will be alright.
Belle makes the mistake of revealing Hades' deal to Rumple.
"What kind of deal?" Rumple asks, back in the present day. He and Belle are talking somewhere in the town of the Underworld as Belle explains to her husband that it doesn't matter because she said no. However, the Dark One tells his wife to take it from a man who trades in deals; it matters very much. He asks, once again, what the deal was. Belle insists that if she tells him that he has to promise her something: he has to promise not to hurt Gaston no matter what. "Belle, you can trust me," Rumple insists, and so the beauty finally agrees. She reveals that Hades said if she lets Rumple and Gaston face each other and one of them ends up in the River of Lost Souls he'll then tear up the contract on their baby. "And you turned him down?" Rumple asks, for clarification, at which point Belle replies that of course she did. She states that she failed once with Gaston, but that she can fix this. However, Rumple states that what Merlin said about a man that could control dark for good, he really wants to be that man for her, truly. "Just not today." With that, Rumple waves his hand and poofs himself away, leaving a distraught Belle.
Belle arrives to stop the ogre hunt.
The sound of horses can be heard, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, as several are ridden through the woods in the night. The men carry torches as the ogre runs far ahead of them, trying his best to get to a place of safety. No matter how fast he runs though, the men begin to catch up to him, sending fear into his eyes. Meanwhile, Belle rides her own horse, alone, hoping to find the ogre before the men do. Gaston, head of this hunting party, calls for them to all stop though, getting off of his horse to investigate. Maurice wonders what's wrong, and Gaston points out that the ogre tracks have stopped, drawing his bow and arrow for caution. He insists that the others do the same. "There!" Gaston sees, up in a tree, and he fires an arrow, grazing the creature in the arm. The ogre lets out a cry of pain, falling from the tree and onto the ground. He runs behind some rocks, and Gaston yells for the men to not let him escape. "The thing about an ogre is that you gotta hit him right in the eye." He draws his bow, ready to fire; the ogre cowers in fear. However, Belle arrives just in time to stop this. "No," she says to Gaston and the men, and Maurice asks what it is Belle is doing, telling her to get away from the ogre.
Gaston is the true monster.
"I won't let you kill him without knowing the truth," Belle exclaims, but Gaston states that it tried to kill him, and that's all he needs to know. He raises his bow, and in a hurry, Belle raises the Mirror of Souls to defend the creature. Gaston ends up shooting through it instead, though not before showing a certain reflection. "He's... he's hurt," Belle realizes, looking down at the ogre. "What happened to him?" she asks. One shard of glass remains in the mirror though, just enough to reflect on Gaston, giving him fiery red eyes. "Gaston..." Belle realizes, "you... you did this, didn't you? You tortured this ogre while I was gone. That's why he attacked you!" However, Gaston believes that he doesn't need an enchanted mirror to recognize a monster; he's trying to protect this kingdom. He tells the beauty to step aside, drawing his sword, but Belle tells him that it isn't the creature that's the monster, but he is. "And if you want to shoot him, you'll have to shoot me first." Gaston doesn't reply, and Belle turns back to the ogre who gives her a smile. He proceeds to nod, and run away to safety. "You've made a fateful decision tonight," Gaston says to Belle, "I just hope for all of our sake that it was the right one." He proceeds to walk away.
Return to the Underworld of the present day, out by the docks. Gaston is levitated in the air, currently being choked by Rumplestiltskin. "Revenge is such a tricky business," the Dark One says to his victim, "I find it rarely ends well unless, of course, you're me." He proceeds to point out that Gaston will now get to spend the rest of eternity trapped in the River of Lost Souls. Struggling to breath, Gaston manages to spit out the reply that Rumple may destroy him, but he'll always be a beast. But Rumple's alright with that, stating that this is the fun part. He proceeds to raise Gaston higher into the air, still forcibly choking him, ready to pitch him into the waters; however, in that moment, Belle comes running to the hunter's aide, demanding that her husband stop. "Please, for all that we've shared, let me tell you one thing before you go through with this," she requests of him, standing in front of him. Rumple accepts this, asking Belle what it is, and so she starts to walk closer to him. She smiles, revealing that she has always known who he really is. "That's why I love you." With that, she embraces him in a passionate kiss... giving her the chance to pry the Dark One's dagger from his coat pocket.
Belle inadvertently condemns Gaston to the River of Lost Souls.
"But I also know who I really am, and I can't let you hurt him," she says, "In fact I command you not to." Seeing that he has no other choice, Rumple begrudgingly releases his grasp of Gaston, quitting choking him and drops him to the ground. He starts to cough, whereas Rumple tells his wife that she's making a big mistake. Belle chooses to ignore this, looking over at Gaston and asking if he is alright. He quits coughing, finally catching his breath, and his face turns to that of anger. "I will be," he says, quickly going for the bow and arrow he possesses that currently sit on the docks' ground. He draws the arrow and bow, and Rumple ducts down, fearing for his life. Belle, meanwhile, in panicking. "What?! NO!" she exclaims, proceeding to get in the way of the two men by shoving Gaston out of the way... and straight into the River of Lost Souls, condemning him for all of eternity. Rumple cannot believe what he has just witnessed, never having truly thought his wife could ever give into such darkness. Belle, meanwhile, watches in horror as the man she was once betrothed to is lost to her forever.
Belle is blamed when the kingdom becomes officially at war.
Flashback, one last time, now to where Belle is back in the stables, brushing one of her horses. She nurtures her steed, enjoying this time, but it's soon interrupted by Maurice, with news. "It's happened, Belle," he says to his confused daughter. He explains that the Eastern Regions have been breached and that ogres are coming; it's war. "And you blame me," Belle is coming to understand, but Maurice insists that blame isn't important right now. Belle stills believes that what she did was the right thing, whereas Maurice snaps, claiming it to be foolish and petulant. "No, I did what I had to to live with myself." "And now we're at war!" However, Belle wonders if it's occurred to her father that their mistreatment of the ogres' young could have caused this conflict and not her act of mercy. Maurice gives up on this argument though, stating that reasons for the war no longer matter. What does matter is that they must do what it takes to save the kingdom. "I'm sorry father," Belle finally says, approaching her father to comfort him, and he states that he's sorry too because their army is no match for the ogres'.
And so, she is forced to accept Gaston's marriage proposal.
"What will we do?" Belle wonders, and so Maurice explains that Gaston's kingdom - his army - could give them a fighting chance. "You think they would assist?" Belle wonders, and Maurice suggests that with the right bit of "diplomacy" they might. Belle realizes what Maurice is saying, just as he makes it verbally clear that Gaston still wants the beauty's hand in marriage. "He could end the war," Maurice further insists, "You'd be our hero." The stable doors then open, and Gaston greets Belle, wondering if her father's told her the good news. Belle glares at Maurice as Gaston states that their kingdoms will unite and that they'll defeat this threat. "And you will one day be sovereign over a land far greater than has ever existed. We will rule side-by-side." He says this, kneeling down on one knee and outstretching his hand, "If you will be my Queen." Belle doesn't say anything at first, holding back on giving a full answer until she has entirely thought things out. Soon though, she takes the hand being stretched out to her. "I will," she says, causing a smile to appear on Gaston's face.
Hades points out a loophole in his deal, thus securing his claim on the Rumbelle baby.
Belle looks down into the River of Lost Souls, back in the present day of the Underworld, heartbroken by the heinous act she has just committed. "What have I done?" she exclaims, on the verge of tears. Rumple approaches her to give comfort, and she hands him back the Dark One's dagger. "I guess you were right," she says to her husband, "darkness will always win." Not knowing what else to do, she leans onto her husband, who embraces her with a hug. He apologizes to her, never having wanted this to happen to her; however, he states that she saved him, and that she also saved their unborn child. "Actually, not so much," Hades exclaims, coming up behind the couple. He apologizes for breaking up this beautifully domestic scene, but reveals that their baby is still his. "We had a deal," Belle argues, stating that Gaston went into the sea, but Hades points out that he said he'd break the contract if it was Gaston or Rumplestiltskin who threw the other into the river. "But since Belle did the deed," he says with a laugh, "and what a fun surprise that was. No deal." Belle refuses this though, stating that she will get her baby free of Hades; she then calls him a monster. However, Hades is the one to point out that Belle just condemned her ex-boyfriend to eternal torment. "Don't listen to him, Belle," Rumple says to his wife, "He wanted this to happen." Belle wonders why this is; she asks Hades why he pushed her to this, as he kneels down to the ground. "I have my reasons," he says, watching as a flower begins to rot once again. He plucks said flower from the ground, admiring its beauty, to Belle and Rumple's disgust. He says that it's imbued with his favorite scent: hopelessness. With that, he poofs away, and Belle once again leans her head onto Rumple.
Zelena receives a gift from an admirer.
Elsewhere in town, Zelena is still sat at her booth in the diner when a waitress brings over a covered platter. Without saying a word, she leaves it for the Wicked Witch, who calls out that she didn't order anything. However, since it appears no one is coming back to take the tray, she decides to see what's underneath. She lifts the silver cover, revealing the rotted flower that Hades had plucked shortly before. There's a note reading "Zelena" on it, and so the Wicked Witch picks up the nicely wrapped flower, which she proceeds to take from the paper. She holds it in her hand, examining it for a minute, and she understands who it came from. Admiring the rotted flower, she smiles, looking out the window, knowing that Hades is somewhere nearby.
Meanwhile, deep in the woods of the Underworld, a paw print is seen engraved in the dirt. Snow is the one to examine it, now on the hunt for the monster that supposedly ends her life. "It's close," she says to the three heroes following her, "Keep your eyes peeled." They look for a minute, and Regina spots something running in the distance. "There!" she exclaims, with she and Emma firing a blast of magic, in unison, and Snow firing a bow from her arrow. The beast is grazed, and Hook comments on Snow's nice shot. The four proceed to run over to see what the beast is, but Emma gets ahead of them all, telling them to stand back because it could still be alive. However, Snow demands that her daughter stop and not kill it. She has gotten ahead of the blonde and sees exactly what it is. They all look down at the beast, shocked. "I think your dream was a vision, but it wasn't about saving me." Snow looks to her side and picks up a cloak. "It was about finding her." With that, the princess drapes the cloak over the monster, turning it back into an unconscious human. She kneels down, calling to her knocked out friend: Red Riding Hood.
- The title card of this episode features the ogre that Belle saved, running through the woods amid the red skies of the Underworld.
- Although credited, Sean Maguire (Robin Hood) is absent from this episode.
- The episode's title is derived from the book of the same name, which has been seen in the possession of Belle in both "Skin Deep" and "Family Business". The latter revealed that it holds sentimental value to Belle, being the first book her mother ever read to her, as well as a leading cause to her death.
- The scenes from "Skin Deep", both where Gaston protests to Rumplestiltskin's deal and where Rumple turns Gaston into a rose, were reshot for this episode's "Previously on..." footage with Wes Brown now portraying the the role of Gaston, given the character's recasting.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on January 20, 2016.
- This episode marks the eighth writing credit for Jerome Schwartz, as well as the eighth directing credit for Romeo Tirone.
This episode garnered 3.75 million viewers, a slight decrease from the previous week's.
The episode was met with positive reviews.
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly gave it a positive review: "It was a tale as old as time on tonight's Once Upon a Time as we revisited the tale of Belle and Gaston...because no one's quite like Gaston."
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman said, "“Her Handsome Hero” keeps things interesting by blurring the lines between hero and villain, with Belle, Emma and even Zelena being faced with major questions about who they are, who they want to be, and how they can get out of their current situation. It's the type of episode Once Upon a Time does well, delivering a real ensemble story that keeps all the various elements of the plot moving forward. This was some pretty good television overall."
- Christine Orlando of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.5 out of 5.
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN said of the episode, "Like Gaston pointed out, Belle has a knack for finding monsters. Flashbacks showed how her sweet nature has been a benefit and how it's caused problems for her. The trip backwards was so-so, but Germann's performance and Hades' machinations made the episode." Ratcliffe gave the episode a 7.0 rating out of 10.
- Gwen Ihnat of The A.V. Club gave the episode a positive review, giving it a B overall. In her recap, she favored the Belle-centric storyline by giving it a B+: "The upside, though, is a strong episode for Belle; Gaston is downright dishy (although still evil); and a Belle plot means more Rumple time, always welcome." However, the other plotline garnered a C-: "The main plot fared even better compared to the dumb B-plot, with Emma, Hook and Snow Scooby-ing up the place, with an enchanted elevator, a dream sequence, and what looks to be a wild goose chase that results in the discovery of Red/Ruby. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the culmination of the Ruby/Mulan relationship, but did we really need a whole episode just to discover the wolf?"
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: Her Handsome Hero", by Andrea Towers, Entertainment Weekly (April 10, 2016)
- ↑ ‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 5 Episode 17 Review: Good and Evil Blur In "Her Handsome Hero", by Nick Roman, Rickey.org (April 10, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 17 Review: "Her Handsome Hero", by Christine Orlando, TV Fanatic (April 10, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: "Her Handsome Hero" Review, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN (April 11, 2016)
- ↑ Her Handsome Hero showcases Belle as Once Upon A Time's best hero, by Gwen Ihnat, The A.V. Club (April 11, 2016)