“Once Upon a Time” recap: “The Crocodile” (2.4)

Previously on Once Upon A Time, Belle was Rumpelstiltskin’s prisoner but then she fell in love with him and it was gross. That is all.

This episode was called “The Crocodile,” but really it should have been called “Where is Everyone?” I’m not sure where they got off having an entire episode without Emma OR Regina, but they did it. Luckily they threw in Rachel Shelley to offset the male-to-hot-female ratio a little bit and gave Ruby some screentime.

Right out of the gate, Belle is having nightmares about shiny gold Rumpelstiltskin and his mean streak. She realizes Gold isn’t in the bed with her (thank goodness) and goes to see where he went. He is in the basement, spinning straw into gold, and I’m like “That makes sense,” but Belle is perplexed since that’s not her fairytale.

Pre-shiny Rumpelstiltskin comes home to find his son unattended and goes out in search of his mother. He goes to the local pub and finds her taking shots with some ruffians. As it turns out, Rumpelstiltskin is married to Helena from The L Word!

Crass and sassy, she tells him to bugger off, because she has no use for a man who wouldn’t fight in the war. But then their son comes in, so she agrees to go home. She calls Rumple a coward about 97 more times and then goes to bed.

The men from the bar happened to be pirates and the next day, they take Helena onto their boat. Rumple limps over and trips at the captain’s feet. Captain Eyeliner says that he will give him his wife back if he can beat him in a duel. Rumps doesn’t even try, he just whimpers and cowers. It’s pathetic.

In Storybrooke, the dwarves and Charming are mining for fairy dust and Ruby appears wearing an awesome hat and carrying a basket of muffins (because, duh).

Rumpelstiltskin goes looking for Belle after their fight, and when he can’t find her immediately, he assumes the worst and goes to her father to see if he’s seen her. But he hasn’t seen his daughter since he sold her for a song. Now they’re both looking for the girl, and I’m going to laugh when they find her having a drink with Ruby at Granny’s or something equally as unalarming.

Back in Fairytale Land, but not quite as far back because Rumple is sparkly, we see a man striking a deal with him in a bar – a magic bean for restored youth. As they finish, in walks none other than Captain Eyeliner himself, cocky as ever.

Pan to Belle, who is sitting…drum roll please…at Granny’s Diner. Being served a drink by Ruby. Iced tea, but still. Even more unalarming than imagined.

Belle tells Ruby she needs a job and Lil’ Red suggests she tries the library, since it’s been closed for years. However, when she goes to check it out, she gets nabbed by the magic bean guy.

Outside the pub, Rumpelstiltskin dons a cloak and plows through the crowd of pirates, prompting their Captain to taunt him and call him a crocodile. He decides to have his fun with Captain Eyeliner and reveals himself as the Dark One. At dawn, they sword fight, and Rumps is about to rip the heart out of the Captain’s chest when in walks his wife who previously presumed to be dead. And I must say, she’s looking better than ever.

She says she has the magic bean he wanted and offers to give it to him in exchange for their lives, since she is in love with Captain Eyeliner.

Back in Storybrooke, Belle’s captor reveals that the reason he kidnapped her was to reunite her with her father, who is apparently vying for Worst Dad Ever award. Despite having once sold her, he now gives the order for the smuggler to take her away again once she refuses to just say “yes, father” when he barks random orders at her.

Poor Belle needs to spend some time with the other women on this show, because her badassery level has hit a frightening low.

Luckily, Ruby’s got things under control and sniffs her out (literally) to her father’s shop. While talking to Daddy Dearest, they suss out that he’s planning on dragging her across the town lines so that she has no memory of Mr. Gold.

On the ship Captain Eyeliner and Helena share, they begin the exchange of the magic bean. However, they make the mistake of talking throughout it and Helena lets it slip that she never loved Rumpelstiltskin. The Dark One rips her heart out and crushes it to ashes. He then lops off the Captain’s hand that had been holding the magic bean, who in turn stabs Rumple with a hook. If you somehow had missed the hundreds of previews, as well as all the not-so-subtle hints in this episode, it is now abundantly clear that this man is a handsomer version of the well-known Captain Hook.

Present day, Belle is in her own personal Saw trap. She is handcuffed to a mine cart, handed a flashlight and told there is a key in the bottom of the cart. She had until the cart crossed the town line to get free, or her memory would be wiped forever. Girlfriend hits rock bottom on the badassery scale when she drops the key within two seconds of finding it. If this was a real Saw movie, she would have been fried, but since it’s a fairytale, her prince saved her by using magic. Belle must have also realized she hit rock bottom, because she finally starts to redeem herself by standing up to her overzealous boyfriend and her batshit crazy overprotective father, saying she never wants to see them again. The next morning, Ruby teaches her about pancakes and it’s sweet and adorable and I’m glad they’re becoming friends because Belle needs a good influence in her life, and Lil’ Red is just the gal for the job.

Belle mysteriously received the key to the library and arrives to find it’s from Gold, who apologizes and tells her that she was right about him being obsessed with power and a coward. He claims he wanted the curse broken to find his son, but now he needs to break the town line curse, too. I’m pretty sure he broke the curse to kill Regina, but Belle seems to trust him and asks him out for a hamburger.

In a twist I actually didn’t see coming, the magic bean is not in the clutch of Captain Hook’s severed hand. He successfully duped the master of trickery himself. Color me impressed by our smoky-eyed pirate. His prisoner, the squirrely bean smuggler, reveals himself as Smee and the good Captain welcomes him to his crew before pointing the ship in the direction of Neverland. (Which I was pretty sure was two stars to the right and straight until morning, not straight into a swirling magic whirlpool in the middle of the ocean.)

Next week on Once Upon a Time, I DUNNO, MAYBE EMMA AND/OR REGINA WILL MAKE AN APPEARANCE?! Sheesh.

What did you think of “The Crocodile”?

Emma and Regina might not have been in this episode, but you guys still killed it with the #SwanQueen tweets. Check out some of our favorites on the next page.

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