"The Outsider" is the 33rd episode of Once Upon a Time.
Mr. Gold finds an unwilling test subject to see if a spell he has concocted will allow him to cross the border of Storybrooke - without losing his memory - and go in search of his son, Bae. Belle stumbles upon a vengeful Hook in the Storybrooke harbor whose main goal is to eradicate Rumplestiltskin, and Mary Margaret and David go house hunting in search of a bigger place to live. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Belle meets Mulan as the two set out to slay a fearsome beast called the Yaoguai, who has been ravaging the land.
William Smee is an unwilling test subject for Mr. Gold.
It's late at night on the outskirts of Storybrooke. A car slowly drives up to the line defining the barrier between Storybrooke and the outside world. The driver, Mr. Gold, parks just beside the line and then gets out to head to his trunk. He opens the trunk, revealing a tied up and frightened William Smee. "This'll only take a moment" Gold smiles sinisterly at him. Smee is taken out of the car and his bounds are untied. He begs Gold not to push him over the line as he'll lose his memory, calling it a cruel fate. Mr. Gold points out that he was more than willing to bestow that fate upon Belle. He slightly taps Smee with his cane and the cowardly man falls to the floor in fear. Gold removes Smee's red hat and points out that he's had it since the day they met. When he asks why it's so important, Smee explains that his grandmother made it for him when he was younger. Gold removes a vial containing a potion from his pocket at then pours it onto the hat. Smee asks what difference the hat makes, so Gold, in an evilly cheery tone, says it makes all the difference in the world. He throws the hat back to Smee and calls it his only chance. Smee puts the hat back on and then kneels up, confused, asking what he means. With that, Gold kicks Smee, causing him to fall over the line. The man cowers with fear as a blue light surrounds him. Gold watches nervously. When the blue light fades, Smee freezes in silence and Gold watches him. "What's your name?" Gold asks. The man responds by saying "William Smee", so Gold asks "Who am I?", causing Smee to respond "Rumplestiltskin...the Dark One". Smee cheerfully stands up and states he remembers everything. He steps back over the line and asks how it's possible, so Gold states their experiment worked. He then grabs Smee and pulls him close, making him cower. "Now go" he growls. A terrified Smee turns and runs back into Storybrooke as fast as he can. Gold turns back to the line and smiles to himself, stating he has a trip to plan.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Archie's funeral is held.
At a graveyard in Storybrooke, all of Archie's friends are gathered around a gravestone reading "Archibald Hopper - Friend and Conscience". Mary Margaret, who is leading the ceremony, states some people knew him as Archie, some as Jiminy, but adds that everyone knew him as a friend. "And though he may now be gone, he will always live on inside of us, reminding us to be our best selves..." she continues to say, tearing up. Pongo, Archie's dog, whines sadly at the coffin, and then everyone else looks upon the coffin sadly. "...to do the right thing, to always be our best selves" she continues. After wiping away a tear, Mary Margaret says they shouldn't think of today as goodbye, just as a way of saying that they'll be listening to him. Upon finishing her speech, the emotional Mary Margaret hugs her loving husband as she breaks down into tears. Everyone else begins to cry and comfort each other, everyone but Geppetto. Geppetto, carrying his friend's treasured umbrella, steps towards the gravestone and places the umbrella beside it. He kneels down beside the coffin and then sadly tells his friend that he misses him so much, but then comforts himself by stating that he's in a better place now.
Hook threatens to harm Archie for information.
Meanwhile, below the deck of Hook's ship, Archie, who is very much alive, begs his captive to not hurt him. The pirate grabs his prisoner by the chin and tells him to shush, which he eventually does out of fear. Hook points out that Rumplestiltskin must have told Archie lots of secrets as his patient, so asks where "the dagger" is. Archie claims not to know anything about a dagger, so the pirate pauses for a moment and scans his prisoner's face to detect any signs of deception. After coming to the conclusion that he's telling the truth, Hook explains that the dagger is Rumplestiltskin's weakness. When he asks the therapist if there are any other weaknesses, he immediately thinks of Belle, and becomes very nervous. When he doesn't reveal the obvious weakness, Hook leans towards his prisoner and evilly states he's always wanted to dissect a cricket. He puts his hook above Archie's head, causing the captive to cower and beg for his life, pleasing Hook. As he strokes his hook down Archie's face, he angrily demands to know what the weakness is.
Rumple shares some good news with Belle.
Later on, after the funeral service, Belle rushes into Rumple's shop and asks Rumple what was so important that he couldn't tell her over the phone. With a smug look on his face, he reveals that he can leave Storybrooke, exciting Belle. He pulls out a potion from his briefcase and explains that once he pours it on the object he holds most dear, it becomes a talisman that allows him to cross the town line without forgetting his memory. Belle adds it'll also allow him to find who he's looking for, so Rumple confirms, stating "my boy". A curious Belle asks what he is going to enchant, so he heads to a painting behind his shop counter. He opens the painting, which has hinges on one side, revealing a vault hidden behind it. He opens the small vault and pulls out a dirty shawl. He explains that the shawl is all he has left of Baelfire. Belle asks if she could possibly come with him, but Rumple disappointingly tells her that although he wishes she could come, he only has enough of the potion for one object. A slightly saddened Belle understands this and then watches as Rumple locks the shawl back in the vault. He turns to his love and tells her this is his journey, and it's something he must do alone. The two hug and Belle assuringly tells him that she knows.
Dreamy tells Belle to go on an adventure.
In the fairytale land that was, Belle is sitting in a tavern drinking a beer as a group of men listen to their leader tell tale of a beast that is ravaging nearby villages. He states that no man has been able to kill the beast, known as the Yaoguai, but assures them that they will. He then explains that there is room on his wagon, so asks who shall join him. Some of the men cheer to signal their support. Belle smiles at the men with a look of adventure on her face. Suddenly, Dreamy the dwarf approaches Belle and asks if she's looking for an adventure. Belle successfully recalls the dwarfs name and they both sit down together. Dreamy thanks Belle for her advice the night before, stating "it worked". He gleefully adds that he and Nova are running away together. A joyous Belle tells him that's wonderful, but then turns her attention back to the group of men. Dreamy suggests signing up for the hunt, but Belle tells him that despite dreaming of heroics, she thinks it's safer to stick to her books as they're the only adventures she knows to have happy endings. Dreamy supposes this one could have one too, but Belle doubts this as she already faced a beast and it didn't end well. Dreamy asks what she's talking about, but before she can answer, the leader of the group tells his men to follow him. They then leave the tavern to begin their hunt for the Yaoguai. Dreamy tells Belle to get on the wagon, to take a chance. A curious Belle bites her lip and then prepares herself to leave. She thanks Dreamy, packs her book in her satchel and then begins to leave. As she walks away, Dreamy stops her and gives her fairy dust as it might come in handy. A nervous Belle declines the offer as she's seen what magic does to people, but Dreamy explains she's seen what dark magic does to people. He assures her that fairies use their dust for good and tells her to be a hero. Belle smiles and thanks Dreamy once more before running after the group, eager to join. Dreamy watches her, smiling as she leaves.
Belle escapes from a murderous Captain Hook.
Back in Storybrooke, outside the library, Belle walks down the street and then enters her beloved building. She takes a pile of books to put them away, but she stops when she sees Captain Hook stood, "reading" a book, showing off his shiny metal hook. Without sensing any danger, Belle apologizes and tells the man that the library isn't open yet. Hook slowly turns his head to Belle and explains that he isn't here for the books. Upon seeing his face, Belle is suddenly filled with fear, and remembers him as the man who snuck into her cell at Regina's palace. She suddenly sprints away, hoping to get away from him, but he chases her and they end up trapped on the opposite sides of a book shelf. Hook tries to go around one side, but Belle counters him by running the other. When they stop, a scared Belle states that he wanted to kill Rumplestiltskin. Hook assures her that he still does, but adds that right now, he'll settle for her. As he makes a move around the shelf again, Belle pushes the shelf over on him, trapping him for a moment. She runs to the elevator in the library and opens it. She rushes inside and then immediately closes the doors. Hook chases after her, but the doors shut just as he reaches her. As Belle cowers inside the elevator, Hook slams his hand against the door. Belle pulls out her cell phone and calls Rumple. When he answers, Belle tells him that she's in the elevator at the library and a man broke in who wants to kill her. However, the call breaks up so Rumple is unable to hear everything clearly. He says she's breaking up, so asks who is in the library. She tells him that a pirate with no hand is, however, it becomes useless so she hangs up. Rumple calls out for his love when the call ends.
Belle squabbles with her companions.
In the fairytale land that was, a wagon with men on it is pulled by a horse through an open field. Among the group is Belle, who is now in more appropriate clothing for hunting the Yaoguai. As she reads a book, one of the men, Alistair, asks her what it is, so she teasingly tells him it's a book. He asks Belle if she thinks she can defeat the beast with a book, so one of the other men suggests she will bore it to death. Belle shrugs off their comments and states it will help them find the Yaoguai. Alistair takes the book from her and examines it, but says it's just scribbles. Belle takes her book back and tells him it's another language, one that she knows how to translate. As she continues to read the book, she makes a slightly intrigued sound, causing Alistair to asks what she found. Belle negates to tell him and reminds him that they're "just scribbles". Alistair then sternly tells Belle that they're here to protect the land, so she must tell them where to go. After a slight hesitation, Belle tells him that they'll find the Yaoguai by the lake. Alistair turns to the driver, Claude, and tells him to head to the lake. Alistair then suddenly kicks Belle off the wagon and then tosses her the book. Belle stays on the ground as the men drive away, laughing. She then picks herself up and then her book. She yells to the men, telling them to enjoy the lake, and then she smiles. Belle continues to read her book and reveals that the Yaoguai actually prefers mountain habitats. She then looks at a picture of the cave the beast may be found in.
Belle hunts the Yaoguai...alone.
A while later, Belle is stood outside the cave that is identical to the one in her book. She reads in the book that the Yaoguai sleeps by day and hunts by night. She then closes her book and looks worriedly at the cave. She takes a deep breath and begs for the beast to be asleep. As she slowly steps towards the entrance of the dark cave, she pulls out a small dagger, holding it ready to kill the beast. However, as she slowly creeps forward, she steps on a twig and lets out a loud cracking sound. She freezes with fear, realizing her mistake. She peeks into the cave to see if she alerted the beast, but it's too late, after a slight pause of silence, a large roar comes from within, terrifying Belle. She immediately turns and runs for her life. Moments later, the Yaoguai, which is a large demon dog-like creature with a mane made of fire. The beast pounces for Belle as she falls to the ground, but it's stopped momentarily when a hidden archer shoots it from the distance. The beast yelps with pain and then runs off into the forest. Belle is left mortified. The hidden archer rushes to Belle and then removes the helmet, revealing it to be Mulan. Mulan helps Belle to her feet and then the latter asks how she can thank the former, as she saved her life. Mulan angrily states that Belle ruined her hunt, claiming it took her weeks to track the Yaoguai. Belle picks up her book and says she found it in a day. Mulan tells Belle she had luck on her side, but Belle explains it was the book and the offers to help find it again. Mulan tells Belle that she's done enough already and says if she wants to help, then she should stay out of her way. Belle then watches with shock as the warrior walks away.
Rumple saves Belle.
Back in Storybrooke, Belle is still hiding in the elevator. Loud bangs and clunks come from the other side, making her cower with fear. Suddenly, sounds begin to come from the elevator that mean the doors are unlocking, so Belle becomes even more worried. As the doors open, she shakes with fear, but is suddenly relieved when Rumplestiltskin is revealed to be on the other side. He calls out to her with relief and then she instantly runs to him, hugging him. He hugs her back and assures her everything is okay. As Rumplestiltskin puts his jacket on a shaken Belle, she anxiously asks where Captain Hook is. Rumplestiltskin states that he doesn't know and then he assures her again that she doesn't have to worry because he's here. They hug again.
Emma and Snow are shocked at Grumpy's question.
Over at Emma's apartment, a depressed Henry is sitting on his grandparent's bed, looking sad. Emma approaches him from behind with a pop tart, wondering if he's hungry. He declines the offer, so Emma looks over to Mary Margaret, who is standing with other people as they hold a wake for Archie. They both exchange a concerned glance. She leaves the food beside him and then walks over to her mother, upset. Mary Margaret comforts Emma, stating she's doing everything she can. Emma points out that that's what makes her feel awful. The two women are suddenly interrupted by Leroy, who nervously approaches them and asks, on behalf of him and his fellow dwarf, when they'll be going "back". Emma wonders where he's talking about, so he explains the Enchanted Forest, their home. Mary Margaret seems shocked that they want to go back, and Emma states that they fought really hard to come back to Storybrooke. Leroy points out that after Archie's death, Storybrooke isn't as safe as they thought. Emma tells him that they're going to find Regina soon as there are only so many places she can hide. After Mary Margaret promises they can take care of her again, Leroy adds it isn't just her as there is a hold world full of people that don't know who or what they are. He asks the women what would happen if someone came to "pay them a visit", they both look at each other worriedly. Ruby agrees with Leroy and worries someone will see magic...like a girl turning into a wolf (something people in the Enchanted Forest didn't approve of either). Emma tells the group not to worry about "what ifs" and then reminds them that nobody is in Storybrooke. "Yet. Maybe they come, maybe they don't. But that doesn't change the fact that while we enjoy things like Penicillin...we're a bit homesick" Leroy adds sadly.
Rumple and Belle discover Hook's true intentions.
Meanwhile, Rumple and Belle are walking down the streets of Storybrooke. Belle asks where they're going, so Rumple explains that they're going to his shop. When asked why, he explains that there are things they can use to keep Hook away from her in the future. Belle says they should just report the incident to the sheriff as they'll find him. She then reminds him that he's so close to finding his son, so he shouldn't let his hatred for Hook get in the way of that. A frustrated Rumple states Hook tried to hurt her, so she curiously asks why. Rumple tries to turn her away from the subject by saying it's not really her concern, however, she states it is because he tried to hurt her. The two stop in their tracks and then there is an awkward silence for a moment. Rumple looks anxiously around before finally explaining what happened. He explains that many years ago he was married to a woman named Milah, until Hook crossed their paths. Belle realizes this woman was Baelfire's mother. Rumple goes on to say that because of Hook, Bae grew up without his mother. "He took my wife, he took Bae's mother... so I took his hand" Rumple finishes. Belle understands that this is why he came after her, but then asks what happened to Milah. A nervous Rumple seems reluctant to answer the question, so Belle takes his hand gently and assures him that he can tell her anything. Rumple nods slowly and then reveals that Milah died...leaving out a vital piece of information (that he killed her). As the two enter the shop, they're both stopped with shock as they see it has been destroyed. Belle asks what happened, so Rumple states Hook happened. He realizes Hook attacked Belle so he'd leave the shop. Belle asks what he wanted as Rumple discovers Bae's shawl is missing. Meanwhile, they're unaware that Hook and Smee are watching them from the rooftop of a nearby building. As Hook puts away his telescope, he asks Smee if he has "it". Smee hands over the shawl and asks what it is. Hook takes it, stating "It's the end of the Crocodile's hope...now he's trapped here".
Rumple arms Belle before leaving on a mission.
A short while later, an enraged Rumple smashes a boat figurine with his cane. Belle tries to calm him down and is successful. He immediately turns to Belle and states that he needs to retrieve what is his. As he leaves the shop, Belle offers to help, but Rumple tells her this is his fight. However, Belle says it's her fault because if Hook never attacked her, he wouldn't have left the shop. An angry Rumple asks how she plans on getting the shawl back pointing out she's never dueled with a pirate before. Belle insists she won't just sit and do nothing, however, Rumple orders her to lock herself in the library and wait for him to sort the problem out. Belle asks what will happen if she doesn't, thinking he'll cast a spell on her. However, Rumple says he trusts that she'll listen to him. Getting desperate, he begs her to listen as he doesn't want to lose her. Rumple walks over to his desk and pulls out a gun, giving it to Belle for protection if Hook returns. After explaining how to use it, Belle takes the gun and agrees to listen to Rumple's requests. As Rumple leaves the shop, Belle stops him and asks him to promise that going after Hook is just about the shawl, however, Rumple refuses to respond to this and he leaves the shop with a look of sadness in his face.
Mulan and Belle team up.
Back in the fairytale land that was, Belle is retrieving a pail of water from a stone well in the middle of a small village when two men, Claude and Alistair, the ones from her expedition, come up behind her and grab her, holding her over the well entrance. As Belle squirms in Claude's grasp, Alistair states that the Yaoguai wasn't at the lake. A scared Belle apologizes and insists she must've misread the book. Seeing beyond her lies, Alistair points out that he thinks she sent them in the wrong direction on purpose. Suddenly, a sling is thrown around Alistair's neck, knocking him to the ground. Everyone looks over to see the warrior approaching the men, and she tells them to let Belle go. A winded Alistair tells Mulan that this isn't her fight and Claude then approaches her with a dagger. Mulan fights the man and successfully knocks him to the ground, removing her helmet in the process. A shocked Claude is about to point out that she's a girl, but Mulan hits him before he can finish, adding that she knows. She then stands to her feet and draws her sword, telling the two men to leave; they do. When the men leave, a confused Belle tells Mulan that she didn't expect to see her again and then thanks her. Mulan says she had to put up with men like them in the emperor's army. The warrior suddenly groans with pain and holds her leg, revealing blood. Belle notices that she's injured, but Mulan shrugs it off, stating they need to leave soon as the sun will be setting. "What do you mean 'we'?" Belle asks curiously. Mulan tells Belle that she tracked the beast down in a matter of hours, so if she tracks the beast for her, she can kill it. After a moment of thinking, Belle tells Mulan that she'd be honored to help her.
Belle finds a clue.
Back in Storybrooke, at the town library, Belle is sorting through the books that fell to the floor during her attack and she prepares to clean them up. As she stacks them up, she notices something on the ground. She picks up a rope that is tied into a knot. A sudden thought crosses her mind. She then heads over to her other books and picks out one titled "A Nautical Guide". She flicks through the pages of the book until she finally finds the page she was looking for, a page on a knot named "The Monkey's Fist". The pictures in the book match the knot that she found, so she comes to the conclusion that Hook came to Storybrooke on his ship. This discovery brings a smile to her face.
Smee is turned into a rat.
Meanwhile, outside The Rabbit Hole, William Smee rushes down the side walk with a large bag, packed full. He walks in a hurry, but is soon stopped by Mr. Gold, who holds him against the wall of the bar with his dark magic. He asks Smee if he's leaving town. Holding out his hand, Gold evilly turns around to the terrified man and snarls that he spared his life and points out that "this" is how he repays him. He tells Smee that he wants the object he stole from the shop back, but Smee explains that he gave it to Hook. Gold asks where Hook is, but Smee says he doesn't know, claiming they met on a rooftop and he didn't say anything. "And why would he?" Gold growls. "Hook knows exactly what you are, Mr. Smee...a sniveling rat" he continues with a look of intense rage on his face. He then flicks his hand slightly and Smee is engulfed with black smoke. When it disappears, all that is left is his iconic red hat. Gold uses his cane to push the hat to the side, revealing Smee, now in the form of a rat. Gold tells the rat to scurry off, which it then obeys.
Belle goes boat spotting.
At the Storybrooke docks, Belle walks down a pier, looking around her for any sign of Hook's pirate ship, but she cannot seem to see it anywhere. "Where is it?" she asks herself as she continues to walk around. As she walks down the pier, she notices creaking sounds from a ship nearby, but cannot see a ship, which confuses her. She looks around until she notices seagulls flying in the air and seemingly landing on nothing. Belle suddenly gets the idea the Hook's ship is cloaked by magic, so she grabs sand from a nearby container and throws it in the boat's direction. The sand lands and forms a rough shape of some steps. "Found you" she tells herself, chuffed. Belle then begins to walk up the now visible steps and she goes through the cloaking shield. Once inside, she is able to see the whole of Hook's ship. She nervously looks around, preparing herself to continue her mission.
Archie is found by Belle.
On board Hook's ship, the Jolly Roger, Belle sneaks down a staircase leading below the decks and she cautiously enters a room. She looks around the room, armed with her gun, and then she suddenly hears a faint voice yell "hello". A puzzled Belle replies, and the voice tells her he's "down here". Belle looks towards a hatch in the floor and opens it, revealing a tied up Archie Hopper. Archie is delighted to see Belle, and Belle is confused to see that he's alive. He asks Belle to set him free, so she uses a sword to cut his ropes down. When Archie climbs out of the hatch, Belle tells him to go and find Mr. Gold so he can bring him to the ship. Archie asks if she's not coming with him, but before she can reply, they hear footsteps creaking on the floor above them. Knowing Hook is near, Belle hurries Archie off and tells him there's no time to argue. As Archie makes his escape, Belle continues her search for Baelfire's shawl.
Henry gets a new pet.
Over at the Charming apartment, as David and Mary Margaret wash the dishes, they notice a sad Henry using the phone. David wonders who he's calling, so Mary Margaret picks up another of their phones to intercept the call. She hears Archie's voicemail on the other end. Concerned with this behavior, David goes to comfort Henry, telling him things will get better. Henry claims that it doesn't feel that way and Charming agrees with him, understanding his situation. Suddenly, Pongo pushes open the front door and barges into the apartment, startling Mary Margaret, who wonders how he got inside. Henry calls out for the dog, who is soon followed by Emma. Emma explains that she brought the dog because she and Marco both decided Henry should have him. Emma asks if he's prepared to care for the dog, and an excited Henry says he is. When Mary Margaret notices Pongo's muddy feet, Emma tells Henry to take the dog outside to clean him up. Once he's gone, Mary Margaret says that giving Pongo to Henry is a great idea, but adds that four people and a dog in the apartment may get a bit crowded. Emma suggests getting creative, but Mary Margaret suggests she and David get their own place. Emma and David are both shocked at this idea. Emma points out that after twenty-eight years they've been waiting for the chance to be together under the same roof, but Mary Margaret adds that she'd hoped for a "bigger roof with turrets". She tells her daughter and husband that here in Storybrooke they have a chance for a fresh start, so they should take it.
Hook finds Belle.
Back at the Jolly Roger, Belle is still looking for Baelfire's shawl in the cabin when she suddenly notices a locked chest. She attempts to open it, but cannot find a key. After a short search, she finds it hidden in a cup and then opens the box. However, the contents are simply golden coins. "Looking for this" Hook calls out from behind her, holding the shawl. A startled Belle turns to him and then puts on a brave face, telling him the shawl doesn't belong to him. "Oh it does now" Hook snarls. Belle begins to glance over to her gun that she left on a table to her side, but as she goes to grab for it, Hook stops her and takes it first. He examines the weapon at first, seeming unaware of what it is, but then he intimidatingly tells her that she should've stayed with her books as real life can get "so messy". He then holds the gun correctly in his hand, finger on the trigger, and aims it at her head. Belle stares at Hook in silence.
Belle is tasked with killing the Yaoguai.
Back in the fairytale land that was, Belle and Mulan are walking through the forest late at night. Belle tells her companion that "it's just ahead" as they come to a hill looking down on a village that has fire burning around it. Mulan is pleased to see that Belle has found the Yaoguai and states her books have served her well. However, she is soon interrupted by the pain in her leg worsening. Belle notices this. Mulan states she must protect her village and as she attempts to walk on, she almost collapses, but Belle catches her fall. Belle points out that Mulan can't walk, so asks how she's going to fight the Yaoguai. "I'm not, you are" the warrior replies. A scared Belle says she isn't a soldier, but Mulan tells her she has good instincts as she found the beast fast. Belle points out that tracking the beast and killing it aren't the same thing. Mulan tells Belle that there was once a time when people thought that she didn't have what it takes, but she proved them wrong. Belle asks how, so Mulan tells her she showed them that she had a warriors spirit. "Once I found something worth fighting for, I fought for it with everything that I had, I never gave up" Mulan tells her. She then continues to tell Belle that the fate of her village depends on her. She passes Belle her sword and tells her not to be afraid.
Hook reveals the truth about Milah.
Back in Storybrooke, on the Jolly Roger, Hook is still holding Belle at gunpoint. She bravely tells the pirate that she isn't afraid of him and she isn't leaving without the shawl. Hook admires Belle's loyalty, but tells her she's fighting for a lost cause when she fights for Rumplestiltskin. Belle explains that Rumple needs the shawl to find his son, but Hook questions whether or not his son wants to be found. Belle asks if Hook hasn't hurt Rumple enough, but Hook doesn't think he's hurt him at all. Belle states that Hook stole Rumple's wife. Hook moves close to Belle and asks if it's theft if a woman comes up to him and begs for him to take her away. Belle asks why she'd leave Rumple, so Hook states he was a coward and because she loved him. Hook regrets not burning the shawl the moment he got it and says he didn't because Milah made it. Belle apologizes for Milah dying, but adds that vengeance won't bring her back. Hook begins to swing the gun in Belle's face again and asks if Rumple told Belle that Milah died by accident. Belle explains that he never said, so Hook obviously points out that Rumple would leave out the most crucial detail about her death; the fact that he killed her. Hook angrily explains that Rumple ripped out Milah's heart and crushed it right in front of him. Belle attempts to deny this claim, but begins to get upset when she realizes it's true. Hook holds the gun to Belle's chin and says that Rumple would do anything to hold onto his power. He then points out that anyone who has ever got close to him has run away or been killed. Hook steps away from Belle and cocks the gun, ready to shoot, before asking why she thinks she's any different and why she'd want to fight for a man like him. Belle tells Hook that she sees good in Rumple and she believes he's changed. She then tells Hook that his heart is rotten before reaching for an ore that is hanging from the roof above her, and smashes it into Hook's head, knocking him into the hatch that Archie was held captive in. She grabs the shawl and then makes a run for it. Hook gets up from the hatch and tells her she has no idea.
Rumple and Hook have a stand-off.
On the main deck of the Jolly Roger, Belle attempts to make her escape from Captain Hook, but is soon stopped when he pounces in front of her. Confused, she asks how he got there, so he states he knows the ship better than she does. He tells Belle to give the shawl back, but is stopped by Rumplestiltskin, who calls out from behind him. Hook turns and is pleased to see his enemy. He tells the "crocodile" that he looks different in this world, stating he looks like the coward he used to be with a limp. Gold states that Hook still can't kill him. Hook asks what dark magic he'll be hiding behind today, but Gold tells him there will be no magic before swinging his cane into the pirate's face, knocking him to the floor. He then proceeds to hit Hook repeatedly with his cane, but Belle tries to stop him by telling him to leave. Gold tells her to wait as he continues to attack the pirate. Belle shows Rumple the shawl and reminds him that that's what he came for and it's what will get him back to Baelfire. Hook tells Belle she's wasting her breath as Rumple has to prove that he's not a coward. An angry Gold tells Belle that she should turn away as "this isn't going to be pretty". He then continues to hit Hook, who groans in pain.
Belle gets the beast's attention.
Back in the fairytale land that was, Belle is stood in a large open field, watching the Yaoguai walking around, devastating the area with its fiery mane. She suddenly begins to wave her arms and yells at the beast to get its attention. Once it starts charging at her, Belle runs away to the village nearby so she can begin her plan to defeat it. A short while later, Belle is running through the streets of the village, escaping from the Yaoguai. She enters the square that she was previously at when collecting water from the well and she runs over to a nearby water mill. As she comes to a stop, she turns around to see the Yaoguai approaching her slowly. The beast roars and begins to walk at Belle, who begins to panic. However, as it gets closer, she gets a smile on her face that's accompanied by an idea. She draws her sword and cuts pipes leading to the watermill as the beast leaps at her. Water sprays everywhere and ends up knocking the fiery beast to the floor as its mane has been extinguished. Belle looks cautiously at the beast, which painfully tries to stand back to its feet. She slowly walks closer to the beast and then notices it's using its paw to write something in the dirt ground. It begs for Belle to save it, confusing her. However, she soon gets another idea and takes out the fairy dust that Dreamy had previously given her, and she sprinkles onto the beast.
Purple smoke engulfs the beast, and once it dissipates, a human is left in its place, Prince Phillip. He turns to Belle with a smile and tells her that she broke his curse. She helps him to his feet and questions if someone did this to him, so he explains that an evil witch named Maleficent did so she could keep him from his true love, Aurora. He states he tried to tell the villagers what he was, but adds that nobody understood him, except Belle. She tells the prince that he's not the first beast that's she's faced, referring to Rumplestiltskin. Prince Phillip tells Belle that he's forever in her debt so asks how he can repay her. Belle explains that her friend is hurt and in need of a doctor, as is he, so asks him to help her bring her back to the village. "It would be my honor" the prince says gracefully. Belle nods.
Belle tries to get through to Rumple.
Back in Storybrooke, on the Jolly Roger, Rumplestiltskin is still attacking Captain Hook with his cane, as Belle watches helplessly from the side. Hook taunts Rumple by telling his enemy to kill him, pointing out to Belle that he has to show how powerful he is. Belle tries to warn Rumple that Hook wants to destroy every bit of good inside him. Hook tells Rumple to rip his heart out and kill him like he did to Milah, so they can finally be reunited. A frustrated Rumple drops his cane and shrugs at Belle, stating Hook has to die. He then leans forward and readies himself to punch the pirate. However, he's stopped by Belle who tells him that Hook doesn't have to die. She tells her lover that there's still good in him and she sees it, like she always has. "Please show me I'm not wrong" she begs. A conflicted Rumple listens to Belle's pleas and decides to let Hook go. He tells the pirate to sail off with his ship and keep sailing until he falls off the edge of the world. He tells the pirate he never wants to see him again before lightly slapping him across the face. He then stands to his feet and takes Belle's hand, telling her to leave. As he walks away, he glares at Hook, who looks away, embarrassed and full of rage.
Mary Margaret and David have conflicting opinions.
"I really liked this one" Mary Margaret excitedly says as she pulls out a piece of paper with house details on it. David shrugs that the yard looks too small, annoying his wife, who asks if he's going to say that about every house they look at. Charming points out that he grew up on a farm. Mary Margaret soon understands that David's reluctance isn't about the houses, so he tells her that they buried a friend this morning and it made him realize that he doesn't want to die in Storybrooke. Mary Margaret explains that their home doesn't exist any more as the Ogres are back and Cora is in power, however, David states that that's why they need to return, to make things right and to fight. Mary Margaret yells that she's tired of fighting as its all they've ever done. She tells David that they have a chance in Storybrooke to be together. David wonders if they don't belong here and asks if it's worth fighting for what they really want. "Unless we don't want the same thing" Mary Margaret says, shocking her husband.
Archie is back.
Meanwhile, over at the Charming's apartment, Pongo is resting on the floor while Henry draws the blueprints to a fantasy house on a large piece of paper. Emma jokingly asks if he's plotting his escape from Shawshank, but Henry explains that they're blueprints for when Mary Margaret and David move out. He shows his mother the picture and Emma notices that he wants to make Mary Margaret's room an armory. Henry points out that it will help protect them from Regina. Emma assures Henry that Regina won't hurt him and tells him she won't let her. "She hurt Archie...what if she wants to take me back?" Henry worries, so Emma tells him that won't happen. Suddenly, there is a knock at the apartment door, causing Pongo to bark. Pongo rushes to the door and excitedly sniffs around, puzzling Emma. She opens the door and is stunned to see Archie on the other side. After he awkwardly says "hi", Emma asks what happened, so he explains that Cora kidnapped him. A joyous Henry hugs Archie, who assures him he's fine. Emma tells Henry that they were wrong and says Regina didn't do it. "I knew it" the kid brags "Maybe we should let her know" he adds. Emma agrees, but understands that they're somehow going to pay the price.
Belle tells Gold her motives for helping him.
Over at the town border, Mr. Gold drives his car to the line with Belle in the passenger seat. When the car stops, Gold takes the shawl and tells Belle it would've been lost if it wasn't for her and adds that he would've been lost. "After everything you've learned about me, after everything I've done why haven't you given up on me?" he wonders. Belle smiles and tells him that a long time ago she learned that when you find something worth fighting for, you never give up, referring to her earlier conversation with Mulan whilst on her hunt for the Yaoguai. Mr. Gold looks at Belle and smiles.
Mulan meets Prince Phillip.
Back in the fairytale land that was, Belle leads Prince Phillip to her friend, Mulan, who is sat with Belle's book. She stands up as she's pleased to see Belle returned alive. Belle tells her friend that she "did it", stating she defeated the Yaoguai...with a bit of help, referring to Phillip. Mulan asks the man who he is, so he tells her that he was the Yaoguai. A confused Mulan looks at Belle, who explains he was cursed. She states that she helped him, so now he's going to help her. Mulan asks Belle if she isn't coming with her, but the latter tells her she has another beast to face. Mulan and Belle take back their sword and book before saying goodbye and parting ways. When Belle leave, Phillip tells the warrior that they haven't been properly introduced, so he introduces himself as Phillip. They shake hands and Mulan introduces herself in return.
Belle is captured by Regina.
Meanwhile, Belle walks through the forest alone. She walks to the top of a hill and looks down at the village she saved and watches the fires from the Yaoguai fading away. "I'm coming back Rumple" she says to herself before continuing her journey. "Isn't that sweet..." she hears a woman say a short distance in front of her. A shocked Belle looks up to see Queen Regina sat on her horse with other horses dragging a cage on a carriage. "...still fighting for true love even to the bitter end" she mockingly adds. A cautious Belle asks how the queen found her. "You really should be nicer to your traveling companions. Isn't that right, Claude?" Regina says as she looks over towards Alistair and Claude, the men who were previously on the Yaoguai hunt. Regina orders her guards to take Belle to the tower, so one of them grabs her and throws her inside the cage, despite her resistance. Belle tells the queen that she can save Rumple and break his curse, but she points out that she already tried and failed "That monster's beyond saving, I'm sparing you a lifetime of pain and misery" she adds. Belle tells the queen that she can't keep them apart forever and states she'll never stop fighting for him. Regina ignores the girl and turns around on her horse, preparing to ride back to her palace.
Belle is shot by Hook, moments before a mysterious man comes crashing into town.
Back in Storybrooke, at the town border, Mr. Gold an Belle walk to the line together. Once they reach it, Belle holds out the shawl and Gold pours the potion on it, enchanting it. Belle puts it around her lovers neck and then readies herself to part ways with him. "Here we go" Gold says softly before crossing the border slowly. Once over the line, a blue glow emits from him and winds slightly breezes around him. His eyes open widely and he turns around in shock, looking at Belle. After a moment of silence, he points at her and calls her Belle, meaning the potion worked. Belle laughs with joy, telling him it worked. She grabs his hand, staying on her half of the line, and tells him that he can now find his son. A sad Gold tells her that he wishes she was coming too. She says she does too, but tells him it doesn't matter. "Why not?" he asks, so Belle states he'll find Bae, and once he does, she'll be in Storybrooke waiting for him. The two of them lean in to kiss each other, but they're stopped by the horrific sound of a gunshot, which causes Belle to fall over the line into Gold's arms. "I wouldn't count on it" Hook growls from behind where Belle was stood. The blue glow emits from Belle as she crosses the line and falls to the floor. Gold yells Belle's name to her in horror, but she looks at him in pain and horror, asking "Who's Belle?!". A devastated Gold doesn't know what to do and he begins to panic, realizing she's lost her memory. Hook tells him she'll live, but she'll have no idea who he is. Gold tells Hook that what he's done cannot be undone. Hook tells his enemy that he finally knows how it feels, enraging Gold. Hook tells Gold to do his worst, and his enemy states that he intends to. He then uses his magic to create a giant fireball in his hand, something Belle notices. However, before he can throw it, a car comes speeding down the road and towards Storybrooke. Gold pulls himself and Belle out of the way, causing the car to drive straight into Hook, who flips over the roof. The car then swerves off the road and crashes into a rock. Thunder begins to roar in the sky and rain begins to pour. Gold looks towards the car in horror, wondering who it belongs to.
- The title card of this episode features the Yaoguai.
- This is the first episode of the series that only features Queen Regina and not her Storybrooke persona, Regina Mills.
- When the Yaoguai writes "save me" on the ground in Chinese (救我, pronounced "Jiu Wo"), Belle manages to read the entire phrase, "Jiu Wo", before the beast finishes writing the first symbol, Jiu.
- The episode took a major hit from a combination of factors (both the Golden Globe Awards and a delayed 60 Minutes due to the AFC playoffs running overtime into the 8PM Eastern time zone), resulting in its lowest numbers by far, placing 2.8/7 among 18-49s with only 8.15 million viewers tuning in.
- Entertainment Weekly critic Sarah Caldwell gave it a good but mixed review: "'I think we can all agree that this was a pretty stupendous episode -- and I’m not just talking about Belle's wardrobe."
- Oliver Sava of The A.V. Club gave it a B: "Once Upon A Time is a problematic series, but it’s not unfixable. The last two episodes back from winter hiatus have made big strides toward improving this show, largely by focusing on character development rather than mythology. While it’s fun to see how these Disney fairy tales intersect in the past, the fantasy elements can feel empty without a strong emotional core. “The Outsider” does a good job balancing those different aspects of the series, spotlighting Belle as she fights to help Rumpelstiltskin realize the good inside himself while teaming up with Mulan in the past to hunt a giant flaming dog. It’s a little silly but that’s the Once Upon A Time M.O., and ultimately the episode is a strong story about fighting for what you really believe in, even if that ends up getting you a bullet in the back."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "TV Ratings Sunday: 'Golden Globes' Up From Last Year, 'Once Upon a Time' Falls + 'Happy Endings', 'Revenge' & 'Don't Trust the B' Hit Lows" from TV By The Numbers/Zap2it (January 14, 2013)
- ↑ "'Once Upon a Time' recap: Fare Thee Belle" from Entertainment Weekly (January 13, 2013)
- ↑ "The Outsider" S2 / E11, by Oliver Sava, A.V. Club (January 14, 2013)