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Once Upon a Time: Devil's Due

“I've finally become the man you always wanted me to be; the one who takes what he needs.”

The most frustrating thing about Rumple is that he seems to make the same mistakes over and over again. Every time there’s an opportunity to pull him out of this cycle of cowardice and power-seeking, he just falls right back into it. It doesn’t help that he’s become a poster child for character assassination. There’s very little to like about him anymore, so why should we feel sorry for him?

‘Devil’s Due’ delves into a part of Rumple’s past that doesn’t tell us anything new about the man he used to be; he was a coward and a push-over, we all knew this. Instead, this episode became more about justifying his ex-wife’s actions when they were together, and forcing us to feel at least a small bit of sympathy for the woman who psychologically beat her husband for years, all because he had the audacity to not want to kill or be killed himself.

Some parts of Milah’s story are successful on this front. Her brief interaction with Hook made her out to be less of a domestic bully and more of a trapped and confused woman who didn’t know how to handle her responsibilities. When she met this handsome pirate she saw a way out of her own cycle, and she took it. Unfortunately it meant abandoning the son she supposedly would give up everything for. In the end she never got the chance to make up for her actions, after Rumple threw her into the river of lost souls. This is a particularly dark twist for Once. Leaving a character they had just spent half an episode redeeming in an inescapable hole of despair is a bold move. Will she ever return?

She still has so much unfinished business with her old family, and with the man she used to love. She never even got to see Hook, which makes me wonder if the river situation isn’t all that permanent. Or maybe she’ll just be added to the list of characters that have been completely forgotten about since the show started. Will Scarlett, anyone?

I’m not sure what to make of what Rumple did this week. Betraying Emma and throwing Milah into the river are two of the worst things he’s done in a while. I get that he did all this in order to buy his way home to Belle, but I can’t see how he could ever come back from it, or explain it to his wife. Now that Belle is pregnant she’s tied to Rumple for life, shedding any opportunity she had to be free of him. I’ve wanted her to break away for a long time, and now it looks like she’s another character who’ll be thrown back into a familiar cycle once again.

The introduction of the Healer (played by an underused Aaron Douglas) and the second born son curse is a classic example of revisionist Once. As unfathomable as it is that Rumple would overlook the clause in a deal, him being the deal master and all, it gives him a personal stake in the fight against Hades. Now he has to help Emma’s family escape, otherwise his own is forfeited.


Can somebody explain why Belle asked for space away from Rumple back in ‘Broken Heart’? It’s as if it never happened, maybe I’m missing something...

Apparently Cora is gone for good. I hope that’s not true.

We got another fun appearance by Cruella, who is now Mayor of Underbooke (LOL). When is her big episode coming?

I loved the little side plot of Regina checking up on Daniel’s tombstone to see if he moved on. I’m glad he did. What was with the horse, though?

Emma, Snow and Regina are now marked on three tombstones which means they’re trapped in the Underworld. We better get used to the orange filter.

He Said, She Said

Rumple: “Miss Swan, there's someone I'd like you to meet. This is Milah, my ex-wife. And Hook's ex, also. She's also Baelfire's mother, of course. Emma knew him as Neal. They had a torrid affair, which resulted in a scandalous teenage pregnancy... in prison.”

We’ve reached an impasse with Rumple. This episode proved that anything this show does to redeem him will be futile. I’m sure he still has his fans out there, he wouldn’t still be around if he didn’t, but I just don’t see how I could ever see him as relatable or likeable from here on out. Oh well, at least they haven’t made the same mistake with Regina, right?

2 out of 5 snake bites

Originally posted at PandaTV.


  1. I'm a fan of Robert Carlyle, but Rumple..not anymore. He needs to commit to being good or evil. Belle needs to get away from him.
    I'm thinking he should sacrifice himself for Belle, and be written out.
    But they won't do that.

  2. I think the reason they keep backsliding on Rumple is because a) his being an out-and-out hero would give the good guys too much advantage, and b) they want to make sure they have a ready source of conflict when the A-plot gets thin. If I'm right, I can understand that reasoning, but I don't agree with it.


  3. Rumple's quote introducing Milah to Emma is awesome, but Milah's response is even better - So, you’ve been with my former lover… and my son? Is that right?

    Taken by surprise, Emma can only reply with a "Huh"

    Then Rumple finishes it off with: I’m sure we’re gonna laugh ourselves sick about all this one day. I suggest you follow me before this gets even more awkward.

  4. "Can somebody explain why Belle asked for space away from Rumple back in ‘Broken Heart’?" I think
    I loved the conversation between Rumple, Milah, and Emma about their intertwined relationships! It's great when a show can make fun of itself!

    Belle needed more proof before she completely trusted the person who had done so many horrible things. One sword fight doesn't really make up for all of that. When he ensured her safety and allowed himself to be sacrificed (or so she thought) that proved to her that he was truly a hero. She explained her reasoning when she came back at the end of Swan Song.

    This might say more about me than about the show but when they mentioned Rumple's child and showed Belle I said "Eww!" because given the age difference I thought they were saying that Belle was his daughter. Did anyone else go there? Just me, huh?

    I think the horse was supposed to be a message or something from Daniel, sent to help Regina get her magical groove back, sort of like Kate's horse in Lost.


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