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Once Upon a Time, Ep. 2.11, “The Outsider”: “This isn’t the Belle you grew up with.”

Once Upon a Time, Ep. 2.11, “The Outsider”: “This isn’t the Belle you grew up with.”

Once Upon a Time S02E11 promo pic1

Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 11: “The Outsider”
Written by Andrew Chambliss & Ian B. Goldberg
Directed by David Solomon
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on ABC

A car driving down a darkened road, close up of the Storybrooke sign, and our dear Rumpelstiltskin emerging out of the car with a captive. The opening for this week’s Once Upon a Time gets off to a pretty eerie start, but also gives us some answers to exactly why Rumple continues to practice magic even after telling Belle he would stop. He has finally concocted a way to get out of Storybrooke and keep his memory intact.

After the short opening title card, with a spine-chilling creature, the next scene isn’t a happy parade down Main Street; instead it’s everyone gathered in the cemetery with Snow giving a finally eulogy for “departed” Jiminy Cricket. We should pause here to discuss something that we’ve never touched base on before. The musical score. The score for Once Upon a Time is phenomenal and it makes each scene, whether the primary sounds during battle scenes, or like here, where it is simply a background character. Music can make or break anything. Thankfully with Once it has always been a perfect supporting character.

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Last week the main focus was on Snow, Emma, Charming, and Regina. This week the show turns its focus towards Rumpelstiltskin and a lesser known character, Belle. She’s been around since season one and Emilie de Ravin was even bumped up to being a main cast member in season two. However, aside from one episode in the first act of season two, Belle hasn’t been the primary focus of an episode. This is just sad, because Ravin has always played the part of Belle to perfect tee, capturing the innocence and warmth of the Belle most of us have grown up with.

So with Belle taking a main focus in Storybrooke, it’s only fair for a story about her to be the main arc in the past Enchanted Forest. And in turn, she brings along some friends that we haven’t seen, one of whom we haven’t seen since the beginning of season two, Mulan and Prince Phillip. It is a treat to see Jamie Chung back on the show.  She embodies the power and determination that defines Mulan. Seeing her together with Belle is exciting and the way the writers intertwine them is remarkable. Another character that Belle is intertwined with is Phillip, who had been ravaging the land as a ferocious beast. Another prop needs to be giving to the special effects department. That beast is a thing that nightmares could be made of. It’s fun to see how far the CGI has come since season one.

Other than Belle’s story arc, the rest of the episode focuses on Emma trying to console Henry, Charming and Snow trying to find a house, and ultimately Charming telling Snow that he doesn’t want to die in Storybrooke. He wants to get back to the Enchanted Forest, while surprisingly Snow wants to stay where they actually have a chance to make a new life (there is a little bit of tension coming between them.) Charming isn’t the only one who wants to get back though, several other people are wishing that they could get back as well. And what is their main concern? What if someone just happens to stumble upon Storybrooke… and magic?

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Only a few questions are raised with the episode, particularly when Jiminy Cricket escapes (with Belle’s help) and informs Emma that Cora is in Storybrooke. What is going to happen to Belle? Where is Regina? And what kind of heat is she going to shoot at Emma? And of course the biggest question of them all is who exactly crashed through the Storybrooke border line?

All in all, the episode works perfectly. The writers are exceptional in making everything flow together, something that Once has always been great at. Just as the actors/actresses on the show deserve credit, the writers do as well. The show just wouldn’t work without them crafting every twist and turn.

Episode eleven of season two definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat and the ending left our mouths hanging wide open. Sadly though, we will have to wait a whole week until we get to see what happens next. Until then, we’ll just have to play the waiting game.

Josh Bouye