Rumpelstiltskin overcame his cowardice to become a hero, Zelena turned down the Dark One’s offer, and Merida tried to kill Belle in Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 6.
Our TV Fanatics Allison Nichols, Robin Harry, and Christine Laskodi are joined by Gareth from Once Upon a Fan to debate if Rumplestiltiskin is the most formidable hero, why Zelena turned down the Dark One's deal and if Henry will resent Emma after “The Bear and the Bow”
Do you think Rumple is now more formidable than the other heroes in town?
Gareth: Absolutely! He has the experience of being The Dark One for three-hundred years, while at the same time being now on the side of good. He knows his enemy better than anyone because he was that enemy. He is Dark Emma's worst nightmare.
Allison: Sort of? I think Rumple is more dangerous to Emma than anyone else in town because he knows how she operates. Rumple knows how the darkness works, and I don't think Emma realizes how much of a threat he is. If some new big bad walked into Storybrooke today, I don't think Rumple would be the most dangerous hero in town.
Robin: It makes sense. In the process of turning him into a hero, she gave him more power than he ever had before. She allowed him to conquer his cowardice, and gave him the realization that he can be strong without hiding behind dark magic. On top of that, he knows The Dark One, he knows what the darkness compels people to do. Even better, she gave him purpose. Emma pretty much created her own worst enemy.
Christine L.: I agree with Allison. Rumple's knowledge gives him a leg up on everyone else right now, including Emma. Knowledge is power, right? He's going to be exactly the hero that Storybrooke needs...as long as he STAYS on the good side. If they can successfully remove the Darkness from Emma, then somebody has to be the bad guy, right? Wouldn't it be fitting for Rumple to somehow take back the Dark? (I'm totally getting ahead of the game here.)
Were you surprised that Zelena didn’t take the Dark One’s deal?
Gareth: Not at all. Zelena has always been an "army of one" and has no loyalty to anyone but herself. There is nothing in it for her to side with Emma, and it can only turn to her advantage if Emma fails.
Allison: A little, but it shows just how smart she is. Zelena's going to be a mom, and she's altering her behavior to make sure she has the best chance possible to be able to see her kid. I really enjoyed Zelena and Emma's conversation.
Robin: I was surprised, but then it all made sense as she spoke. She actually seems to care for the child that she's carrying, and her own experience with Cora may actually steer her in the right direction.
Christine L.: Not at all! She's totally sadistic. She wants to watch chaos ensue. It makes her incredibly happy. Plus, after the pieces all fall, she can decide where she can align herself to get ahead.
Is Zelena right, will Henry resent Emma for her betrayal or has he gotten over it already as he said?
Gareth: I think Zelena is right. The betrayal is too stark. Her example of murdering Neal was perfect. Some things may be forgiven, perhaps, but never forgotten. Resentment often lies dormant. Once the current crisis is averted, I can see Henry having a serious confrontation with Emma.
Allison: I don't think Henry has completely forgiven Emma. It's hard to tell how long he will still resent her for it. I'm more concerned for Emma. I'm not sure if she will ever be able to forgive herself for what she's done once she gets rid of the darkness.
Robin: I think that Henry has been able to get over it a little because it was only a vision in a dreamcatcher, and he didn't actually remember it. If and when they all get their memories back, and he remembers the pain of that rejection and the tears of his heartbreak, it will be a different story.
Christine L.: I think Henry will forgive her, because he understands that it's Dark Emma, and not his mom Emma, who pulled out Violet's heart. But again, to agree with Allison, Emma isn't going to be able to forgive herself for any of the damage she did as the Dark One.
Do you think there is more story for Merida this season?
Gareth: We have been told so by the creators. The upcoming two-hour episode will be centered around her and her adventures with Mulan and Red.
Allison: I have a feeling that we haven't seen the last of Merida. I hope that we spend more time on her with our main core cast helping them out instead of watching Merida go off on her own adventures. I'm happy she got her brothers back and all, but I'd rather not take time away from our core cast.
Robin: I guess there will be, but do we really need more story? I quite like Merida and I really enjoyed her pairing with Belle, and I'm happy to see more of her. That said, unless her backstory ties in neatly with the current mess, I'm really not interested.
Christine L.: I really hope not. I'm just not loving Merida. I feel like they could have done this entire story with an existing character and not brought in Merida.
Was there anything in “The Bear and the Bow” that disappointed you?
Gareth: Yes. When Rumple said that he did not break his leg for Bae, but for himself. I thought it was rather clear in "Manhattan" that it was for Bae. That said, perhaps this came about from off-screen introspection in which Rumple engaged after he woke from his coma, or it was to be inferred from his interactions with Belle.
Allison: I'm not a big Rumbelle fan, so I didn't enjoy their part of the episode, which was like all of it. I just think these two characters are better off on their own. Together, they kind of pull each other down into a boring place.
Robin: I was disappointed in how the gang let Belle walk away, when she had the point to end all points. They were all still so filled with disdain for Rumpelstiltskin, even though Hook admitted a couple weeks ago that he helped create the monster he became. While I understand they've all suffered at his hand, it's unfortunate that they can't separate the man from the Dark One, but they do so quite easily with Emma.
Christine L.: Robin said literally everything I'm feeling about the Rumbelle situation. Granted, Emma JUST became the Dark One, whereas Gold did it for over 300 years, but it doesn't make their situations any different. I especially don't love that no one was willing to back up Belle. Belle (and Gold, for that matter,sometimes) has been there to back up everyone else a number of times, so to see them all dismiss her irked me. Additionally, can we talk about how confusing these multiple timelines are? This episode in particular was killing me, especially with the Merida/Belle stuff.
What was your favorite quote or scene from this episode?
Gareth: I loved the scene when Belle called out the "heroes" on their double standard in regards to Emma and Rumple. Hook tried to justify it by saying Rumple had plenty of failed chances at redemption, but I believe that, if given long enough, Dark Emma would make similar choices. It is within the very nature of being The Dark One, no matter who takes on the persona, to choose self over others.
Allison: I loved Belle calling everyone out at how they still vilify Rumple, but they are able to separate Emma from the darkness. It was a great scene and someone needed to point out that Emma is in the same situation that Rumple was in. They should be able to recognize that Rumple isn't the same man as he was when he was the Dark One.
Robin: I can't believe I'm about to say this -- my favorite scene was a Zelena scene. Her quip about "next level darkness" was fantastic and hilarious. If this is the Zelena we get for the rest of the season, as opposed to that whiny jealous brat we knew before, I'm on board.
Christine L.: Okay, I don't love Merida, but the bear thing was pretty amazing. If that happened every week, maybe I would have enjoyed her more.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.