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Once Upon a Time: The Bear and the Bow

“If I had to do it all again, I’d make sure I was the man you deserved right from the very start. That would change everything for you.”

As a character in her own right, Belle is starting to become rather inconsequential. In almost every instance she’s used as a plot device to further character development separate to her own. We’ve seen that play out time and time again with Rumple. Here, she played that supporting role again, but it wasn’t just Rumple that she helped, she also played a part in helping Merida fulfill her own quest to save her family. But what about Belle herself?

Though it’s frustrating to see her relegated to the role of an emotional crutch, it’s almost in character for Belle to put other people’s needs ahead of her own and spend her time providing some much needed encouragement to others. She brings out the best in people and puts everyone else ahead of herself. That’s just how she’s been since we first met her in season one’s ‘Skin Deep.’ I just can’t help but feel frustrated that every chance she’s had to break out on her own, she’s regressed back into this same position each time. She deserves more than that.

Those concerns aside, I liked what this episode offered, particularly with regards to Rumple finally becoming a hero. Before he became the Dark One, he spent years fighting his cowardice. Now without his powers to help him, he was finally presented with the chance to redeem himself for all those times he let Neal down. Naturally, it’s the heroic act of saving Belle that changes him for the better. He also risked his own life to pull Excalibur out of the stone. He’s definitely changed from the man we knew. I just hope this turn to the good side isn’t temporary, because I’d like to see how a pure-hearted Rumple fares in Storybrooke.

Back in Camelot, and DunBroch, Belle brings out a similar side in Merida. Her role here is a little more direct, forcing Merida to rely on her own inner strength, and not some potion to save her kidnapped brothers. It was a risky move on Belle’s part to trust the redhead who walloped her over the head and kidnapped her a few hours earlier, but I guess she saw that Merida’s intentions were good. Now that we’ve seen what drives the fiery princess, I think it helps to soften the harshness we’ve experienced from her so far. I hope we get to see more of her fight for her kingdom before this season ends.


Arthur is still playing Team Charming. Why did they leave him alone with the Crimson Crown? Even worse, why did Arthur think throwing it in the fire would destroy it?

Merlin’s final message was ominous. I wonder what Emma did?

He Said, She Said

Merida: “You’re lucky someone once taught me the value of mercy.”

Rumple: “If I had to do it all again, I’d make sure I was the man you deserved right from the very start. That would change everything for you.”
Belle: “It’s never too late.”

Emma: “There are heroes all over this town and none of them have been able to stop me yet.”
Rumple: “Well, that’s because none of them are me."

There are a lot of characters on this show that are given a lot of due diligence with regards to growth and development. Regina, Hook and Rumple stand out in that department, even considering the latter’s shaky journey last season. I’d like to see that sort of growth transfer over to those who have been used to further the journeys of the more seasoned characters because as great as it was to see Rumple make a change for the better and watch Merida take charge of her father’s kingdom, none of it means anything if the woman who helped them achieve all this hasn’t grown alongside them.

3 out of 5 bears

Originally posted at PandaTV.


  1. Nice touch with the title for this episode. "The Bear And The Bow" was an early title for movie that introduced us to Merida, "Brave".

  2. Why was it necessary to go through all of that to get a hero to pull the sword out of the stone? Why couldn't Emma just force Merida or any of the other heroes in town to pull the sword out?


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