First of all, I just want to say that making Rumpelstiltskin the Beast was GENIUS. I’ve been re-watching Sunday’s episode “Skin Deep” all week. Rumpelstiltskin as the Beast made the fairy tale become so much more real. Beauty and the Beast (Disney version) is a beautiful story, but severely flawed in the sense that you’re teaching little girls that controlling men with severe temper issues can change overnight if you love them enough: so not true in real life. Once Upon a Time’s version, though, gave the Beast a whole deeper dimension. He’s been through a lot in his life, and is currently cursed with a deep dark power. Though he loves Belle, he doesn’t believe that she can’t truly love him back. In order to love her, he has to give up his power, a sacrifice that he was not willing to make.
Now we have a very interesting turn of events. Regina and Mr. Gold now officially know that each other are in fact Rumpelstiltskin and the Evil Queen. Mr.Gold/Rumpel is severely angry with the Queen/Regina, as it was his distrust of her that led him to assume that Belle was working for Regina. He let Belle go, and then the Queen told him that Belle committed suicide. Rumpel is severely hurt, damaged, grieving over Belle and harboring seething anger towards the Queen. The Queen/Regina now knows for sure that Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin remembers everything, and she is keeping Belle (who is alive) hidden in an underground psych ward.
So what’s next? I really hope that Belle and Rumpelstiltskin have another chance at the end. I’m sure Regina will bring them face to face again to try to undo Rumpelstiltskin’s power. In a surprising turn of events, Rumpelstiltskin is starting to become a character that we feel for, now that we know he was a normal man once and that all his anger and craziness stems from the many horrible things that happened to him.
Does loving the Beast ever work out?
In this episode, the Queen says, “I would never tell a woman to kiss the man who’s holding her captive! What kind of message is that?” This brings us back to the whole issue with the message of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. It’s true, emotionally or physically abusive men almost never change, and a woman should never stick around to find out. That being said, is there anything positive that we can glean from this? Is it ever possible for someone to change?
Magic and fairy tales aside, true love changes people. When someone is truly loved, and truly loves someone else, they change into a better person. Sometimes it’s not so obvious, and sometimes it takes a while, but it happens. I remember once, when I met a cousin of mine’s girlfriend, I knew immediately that he would marry her. For the first time in his life he seemed completely grown-up, mature, strong and stable. It’s not that he wasn’t a good person before, it’s just that once he met her, he started to shine. They’ve been married almost 3 years.
When you know you are loved, you want to be better, at least for that person. You stop thinking about “me” and start thinking about “you”. True love can transform people. It’s what we were designed for. Maybe that’s why, in the fairy tales, true love’s kiss solves all the problems. In the real world, it’s not an instant change, but it can be just as real.