Recap of 2×11 “The Outsider”

1/15: I added some thoughts and questions at the end

Hook tells Belle the truth about Rumple

Hook tells Belle the truth about Rumple

We learn more about Belle’s backstory in this episode that is sometimes uneven but pulls out all the stops at the end with an exciting final scene that has two surprise twists and leaves us with a new mystery. More after the jump.

Rumplestiltskin finds a way to leave Storybrooke

Rumple still wants to find Baelfire (though there is no guarantee, as Hook points out, that Bae wants Rumple to find him). He concocts a potion that will let him leave Storybrooke and still retain his memories. He tests the potion on Smee, who he later turns into a rat, after Smee, at Hook’s bidding, steals the scarf Rumple needs to make the potion work.

Archie comes back

We still don’t know who the dead guy is — but the citizens of Storybrooke bury someone under Archie’s gravestone. Later, Belle rescues Archie from Smee’s ship. Archie returns to town, where he is greeted by the Charming clan, who are strangely unsurprised to see him alive and well, even though they just went to his funeral that morning. Now they know that Cora was responsible for Archie’s temporary disappearance, so the short-lived Regina-killed-Archie subplot can R.I.P.

Belle discovers her inner badass

Back in Fairytale Land, Belle gets a chance to be a hero. A CGI beast with a mane made of fire is terrorizing the area. Using the awesome power of books, Belle finds the beast. Mulan, who is also hunting the beast, gets wounded while saving Belle’s life for the second time. She says that Belle needs to get in touch with her warrior spirit and kill the beast herself. Belle cleverly defeats the beast by pouring water on it, putting out its flames. But lo and behold, a little fairy dust reveals the beast is really Prince Philip (Aurora’s love) who Maleficent had cursed.

Metaphor alert!

The fearsome beast is really a kindly prince on the inside — just as Rumplestiltskin is a scary beast on the outside but, at least in Belle’s eyes, a good man on the inside.

Belle is brave (or foolish, depending on how you look at it) in Storybrooke too

After defeating the CGI beast in Fairytale Land, Belle isn’t going to let a mere pirate intimidate her in Storybrooke. The now fashionably dressed Belle escapes from Hook in the library, then boards the invisible pirate ship to try to retrieve Bae’s scarf. She frees Archie, then leaves her gun where Hook can get it — and he does. Hook looks and sounds very sexy, his lips inches from Belle’s and his voice whispery and growly, as he tells Belle the truth about how Rumple ripped out Milah’s heart.

Belle seems to struggle with the truth for a grand total of about two seconds. Then, oddly calm considering what she’s just learned about the man she loves, she leaps to Rumple’s defense, saying she still sees good in him and believes he’s changed.

Rumple does his best to persuade her (and us) otherwise by showing up on the ship and going into a frenzy beating Hook with his cane. Hook offers the accurate psychological insight that Rumple is compelled to prove he’s not a coward, but Belle is able to persuade Rumple to stop.


The dwarfs want to go back to FTL. So does David/Charming. Mary Margaret/Snow does not. Is there trouble ahead in their perfect relationship?

The dwarfs also foreshadow the episode’s ending by worrying that an outsider can enter their town, now that the curse, which kept them invisible to the outside world, is broken.

Rumple tells Belle part of the truth

When Belle insists that Rumple tell her why he is feuding with Hook so that she can understand why Hook is after her, Rumple tells her that Hook took his wife Milah from him and from Bae, so he took Hook’s hand. But when Belle asks what Hook did to Milah, Rumple only says, “She died.” — conveniently leaving out the part where Rumple himself ripped out her heart. It is Hook, as mentioned above, who tells Belle the full truth.

“I’ll never stop fighting for him”

After Belle takes care of the beast, Regina’s men capture her and put her in a cage. “You can’t keep us apart forever,” Belle shouts at Regina. “I’ll fight for him. I’ll never stop fighting for him” — a line reminiscent of Snow and Charming’s often repeated line, “I’ll always find you.”

The ending

Rumple, wearing the potion-infused scarf, steps over the red line at the edge of town. Belle, standing just on the other side of the line, clasps Rumple’s hand. They say their goodbyes, and Belle leans over to kiss him, when — bang! — Hook shoots her and she falls over the line into Rumple’s arms, losing her memory.

Rumple conjures up a ball of fire in his hand to hurl at Hook when — watch out, Rumple! — a car barrels towards him.

Rumple rolls out of the way, and the car, now entering town, hits Hook. His body lies crumpled on the side of the road. For the episode’s final few seconds, the camera lingers on the car’s license plate — Pennsylvania 2KFL 138.


(editing to add):

Thoughts and questions

I liked Rumple less by the end of this episode. He came very, very close to beating Hook to death with his cane, a particularly personal and vicious type of murder. He only stopped, at the very last minute, because Belle begged him to. If Belle ever leaves him, will he revert totally back to what he was? How much of a change would that be then?

I also liked Belle less. I did like seeing her “warrior spirit” — especially the way she used her own cleverness and the aid of books, rather than brute force, to achieve her goal. The pen really is mightier than the sword for her. But I can’t understand her turning such a blind eye towards Rumple’s continuing evil tendencies and towards the revelation that he had killed his wife. Shouldn’t that have scared her more? Her faith in his goodness might be more heartwarming if it didn’t seem at least partially based on her naivetĂ© or willful blindness.

I still love Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of Rumple, even if I liked Rumple himself less in this episode. The way Carlyle injected a bit of Rumpelstiltskin into Mr. Gold in the beginning of the episode — with Gold’s voice starting to trill when he pushed Smee over the line — was wonderful.

I’m liking Hook more. The sexual tension between Hook and Belle was thick enough to cut with a knife in the scene on the ship (see the picture at the top of this post). Hook and Belle actually seem like a more plausible couple to me than Rumple and Belle — and if Belle can see Rumple as ripe for redemption, surely she could do the same with Hook, who seems far less intrinsically evil. But Hook has chemistry equally as strong with other characters in the show, notably Emma and Regina. He’s such an interesting character — he’s like the grand seducer, but his seductions never seem to work, and the show’s women always seem to outwit him in the end.

Will Belle’s amnesia be a good or a bad thing for her and for her relationship with Rumple?

Do you think David/Charming and Snow/Mary Margaret will split up for a while? He wants to go back to FTL, and she does not.

Do you think we will ever see a non-evil side of Cora? Do you want to — or would you rather she remain 100% a villain?

4 responses to “Recap of 2×11 “The Outsider”

  1. Eh, this was, in my opinion a weak episode. I liked getting more back story on Mulan & Phillip. I liked the trouble in paradise for Snow & Charming. This episode HAS moved the story forward more, which was good. But I found myself thinking Belle (rather, Emilie de Raven) was a bit phony. It’s just her acting, I know, but it got to me. I don’t buy her love for Rumple, her own bookish goodness, or her surprise/fear/insertemotionhere. She falls flat for me. I really liked her last season, but this season she’s drives me nuts. And I don’t think Rumple would’ve done anything he did in that episode. Maybe hit Hook once or twice out of anger for taking the cloak, but that’s it. They really just wanted to get some drama in there. It was a bit soap opera-y to me. I didn’t feel any emotion with everyone sad that Archie was “dead”. It didn’t feel genuine.
    I want to know what’s going on in FTL. I’m curious about Regina, as well as Cora. I want to see more Emma/Regina/Henry drama, etc.

  2. Is it just me, or is this series becoming Xena-esque? The females seem to be becoming more masculine, warrior-like, and losing femininity. Hey, I’m all for equality, but wow!
    This show seems like it’s becoming hijacked by disgruntled women,
    I had high hopes for the series but they are writing in once again, Dr. Frankenstein. They lost 20% of their viewers after that episode and decided to keep the story line That is not very smart. Most of my male friends have now shunned the show, whilst my female friends embraced it. This is not a good strategy for the writers or producers imho.
    Now let’s get down to specifics……Rumple made a spell to keep Regina from harming Snow and Charming in FTL. Well, if that spell were so easy then Rumpel can’t hurt Regina, Cora can’t hurt Regina, Regina can’t hut Cora, Rumpel can’t hurt Snow and Charming, Snow and Charming can’t hurt Regina, blah, blah, blah. The point being, once they introduced the simplicity of a ‘protection spell’ then NOBODY should be able to be hurt. Why does Rumpel fear Cora? If he can craft a “protection” spell, then he should have no fear. I did not like that plot line whatsoever.
    I was laughing at Ms. Terri’s comments on this episode. Maybe I should say I was laughing ‘with’ her. I have to say…..the episode was pretty absurd in some parts. I love the show..believe me when I say that….but I feel they are losing it.

  3. Glad you were laughing at/with me. Really disagree, though, about your “disgruntled” comment. I think a basic premise of the show has always been that part of the way it reimagines fairy tales is by opening up the female roles to allow for a greater range of types.

    I don’t think the show is losing it, but I think this particular episode was not very well-written, except for the ending. I’m expecting better next week, when the episode will be written by Jane Espenson, who has always written great episodes so far.

    You’re right about the protection spells, but I just ignore most of the inconsistencies — it is fantasy, and it’s hard to create a totally consistent imaginary world in all details.

    It bothers me more when the characters, rather than the plot details, seem inconsistent, or when their relationships don’t make sense. This is the second time we’ve seen Rumple, as Mr. Gold in Storybrooke, viciously beating someone with his cane — and both times, it made me hate him. And I don’t want to hate Gold.

    It reminded me of The Sopranos, where whenever viewers started feeling sympathetic towards Tony Soprano — whenever we started really liking him — the writers would show him killing someone in a particularly brutal way. I always believed the writers did that deliberately to remind us that Tony WAS a bad person — or at least a person who often did terrible things — and that we shouldn’t let ourselves be tricked by his charm.

    But I don’t think the writers in this OUAT episode were deliberately trying to get us to hate Gold. And the effect of seeing him like that was confusing and made it hard to understand why Belle reacted the way she did. It all seemed muddled. Maybe it will become clearer next week.


  4. I wish OUAT would get back to the feeling the first season promo gave me. It’s lost it’s magic.

What do you think?