Once Upon A Time, Season 2, Episode 4: “The Crocodile”
Written by David H. Goodman & Robert Hull
Directed by David Solomon
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on ABC
A sentimental interaction between Belle and Rumplestiltskin is how the fourth episode of Once Upon a Time kicks off. We quickly find out that the scene is just a nightmare of Belle’s. When she goes to find Rumplestiltskin, however, we discover that he is in the basement, still experimenting with magic. Cue the opening credit scene and now the episode’s engine has started and is racing towards the finish line.
Robert Carlyle finally gets a full episode to shine this season (and not just in the glittery skin that Rumplestiltskin possesses in the past world). We have gotten to see bits and pieces of Carlyle throughout the first three episodes, but nothing like this. He takes every scene that he is in and commands it.
This week we meet a deliciously evil, but beloved character several fans have been waiting to see. The casting department did an excellent job casting Hook and Colin O’Donoghue does a wonderful job playing the character. He has a certain charisma that you would expect a young Captain Hook to have, but balances it out with that arrogance, confidence, and downright evil that Hook also possesses.
The writers go the regular route in this episode, jumping between Storybrooke and the past Enchanted Forest. It’s easier to keep up with than the three part storyline from last week. The stories in both worlds, however, seem somewhat the same. In the Enchanted Forest we find Rumplestiltskin, after the disappearance of his wife and then son, searching for Bae and taking whatever means necessary to get back with him. We see the tension between Rumple and Hook, as well as the set up the writers are doing to create yet another rivalry. Eventually Once does one of the things it does best and brings two beloved characters even further together, when Rumple ultimately creates Hook by cutting off his hand.
In Storybrooke we find that Rumple is trying to find Belle, who has decided to leave his care after discovering that he is still working with magic. Emilie de Ravin is finally given more material to work with, since getting the bump up to regular status. Ravin has always been able to channel the innocence and sometimes stubbornness of Belle. It’s been a treat to watch her, but now that she has her own separate storyline it’s like icing on the cake. The Storybrooke plot makes use of Charming and Ruby as well, who we haven’t seen a lot of. Rumplestiltskin ends up recruiting the two of them to help him find Belle. He also ends up recruiting Charming for some other another issue, dating advice. It makes for one of the few comedic moments in this mysterious, darker episode.
Overall, the fourth episode of the season doesn’t disappoint and keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. And the introduction of Captain Hook into the mix helps out even more. For once, the episode doesn’t leave a lot of questions to be answered. Instead it focuses on giving us reasons why Rumplestiltskin is the way he is and the reasoning behind most of the things that he does leaves for a very tender conversation with Belle.
The only shocker of the episode comes at the very end. We are brought into the modern day Enchanted Forest and find Hook looking at the refugee camp. Who brought him there to discuss matters? Why none other than Cora herself. The writers end up giving Hook one of the best lines of the episode, “You’ll be able to see your daughter and I can skin myself a crocodile.” After a shared smile between the two, the credits begin playing; after all, the writers have to keep us chomping at the bit for next week.