Heart of Gold

April 18, 2015

heart of gold elitereIf you haven’t seen Heart of Gold, the eighteenth episode from season four of Once Upon a Time… go watch it, the next one’s already around the corner. But be careful, my lovelies. It might not affect you more than just another episode from a random series. Or you might find some scenes disturbing. I know I did, I’ll get to that in a moment. It’s definitely worth watching, you won’t get bored; although, by the time it ends, you’ll be angry and/or excited. Spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

As I said, you won’t be bored watching this. It’s fast-paced, extremely interesting (I did not expect to see flashbacks within flashbacks here), answers keep coming towards us and we finally see a bit more of Mr Gold’s time in New York. Here’s what I’d like to know: who decided that it would be a good idea to make such an episode so late (too late, I’d say)? I know, I know… who doesn’t love suspense and that little something that keeps you wanting for more?! However, it all slipped too often into pretty bad writing and torturously slow movement forward. The episode picks up right after the events from Best Laid Plans, with the Author having escaped and the heroes chasing him. Fortunately (?), Rumplestiltskin finds him first and, through a deal, takes him away. Where? I don’t know, we’ll see next time. From this point forth, we are carried through flashbacks and realms (ours, the Enchanted Forest, Oz) with Rumple and Robin. Yes, Robin Hood comes back. Unfortunately, so does Zelena.

I’m sure you all know by now that I love Rumplestiltskin (and Belle, but her presence in this episode is marked only by certain words and gestures coming from her husband), but I also love Emma and Marian. That means three times the pain. Emma is hurt by the actions of her parents, Marian is dead and I can’t accept that, and Rumple was abused (again)/ came close to dying/ is still not completely free. Question: is it just me or is this show treating rape and sexual abuse/ harassment too lightly? There was Graham first and now Rumplestiltskin and Robin (just to name a few cases). Obviously, you won’t see these aspects too graphic, that’s not the nature of Once Upon a Time, but the issues are there and they seem to be overlooked or are simply brushed off as if they mean nothing. With Graham, we still don’t know just how much control Regina had over him, but he was not exactly willing to be in a “relationship” with her. As for the other two, one word: Zelena.heart of gold onceland

I have to admit, Rebecca Mader does wonders with the role of the witch. I hate Zelena from the bottom of my heart (no, not “love to hate”, but truly hate; she’s not my kind of crazy), I was expecting to see her again, but not like this. Not if it means taking out a decent character. The scene I want to focus on the most, the reason I said that this episode was disturbing, is the one from the hospital, after Rumple had a heart attack. Why a heart attack? Because magic comes with a price and the debt must still be paid, regardless of the place where he is. Zelena’s words and the way she acted, Rumplestiltskin’s panic and fear… it made my skin crawl, I felt sick. I would have loved to tear the witch away from the man she had once enslaved. It was difficult to watch, but the acting was fantastic! The second time I watched the episode, I paused it, took a deep breath and went through interviews with other actors I admire. It helped, but I won’t be returning to Heart of Gold in the near future.

I swear, Robert Carlyle‘s going to break my heart with his acting one of this days. Every flinch, every move, every pained and terrified look… it feels as if you’re right there, next to him. There are moments when I wish I could unsee that scene, but I am somehow pleased that it was there. We are shown that Rumplestiltskin is still terrified of the woman who has controlled him for a year, the one responsible for his son’s death and for his fall back into darkness. We learn that he was blackmailed into making a deal with the witch and no one can tell me that he doesn’t have a plan to make her pay for what she’s doing. He is not the villain, my lovelies; the villain, the true monster here is Zelena. “I lost everything”, he tells Regina at one point. True, but there’s no way he will not gain redemption (once more) and forgiveness. Maybe even a chance for Mr and Mrs Gold to actually talk and listen to one another… or am I asking too much?

The Author doesn’t seem to understand Rumple (which is amusing) and neither does Regina (which is annoying, especially when she accuses him of turning her into a monster or feels the need to remind him who killed his son… it’s a little too late to bring that up). But what about Zelena? She’s insane, clearly, and there’s no way I will believe that she was able to fool everyone for such a long time. As a side note, can we stop with the shape shifting now? It’s great and all, but not when it’s overused or pushed forth as an excuse for plot problems. She’s the type of villain I’ve always wanted to see defeated. She wants a happy ending? Honey, you don’t deserve it. Zelena doesn’t want redemption, she wouldn’t even know what that is, and does not deserve a second chance. She is psychotic, vile, cruel and so abusive that it hurts when she appears on screen (she knows where to strike and how to bring to the surface every fear and insecurity in Rumplestiltskin). She wants to ruin Regina’s happiness; that’s what drives her, nobody else matters. Think of Roland and how everything will affect him.

To wrap this up, let me add some final notes. I love the soundtrack, but I’ve spoken about this before. As if certain scenes weren’t disturbing enough, the music comes and adds another layer of darkness, this time typical for a story where the happy ending isn’t exactly guaranteed. Other than that, it truly sets the mood and spins its own tale. Why did Regina send Robin to Neal’s flat, she had no right to do that? Why does Robin claim that stealing for others makes you a hero? It doesn’t, so stop babbling about codes of honour. I love hearing Rumplestiltskin the imp play with different accents. Have you noticed Rumple’s ring? Why is the stone pink instead of blue? It was rather nice to see Will in Oz and not around Belle. I still don’t trust him, though. Something’s not quite right here; I mean, besides the so-called relationship. Finally, why was Marian’s heart shown as pure if she was actually Zelena? I saw a tweet sent by Adam Horowitz, claiming that “the glamour spell extended to the heart”. Seriously, that’s your explanation? Well, sorry but, the way I see it, the plot wasn’t properly outlined back then. Is Marian truly dead? Finally, will viewers understand that Rumplestiltskin is (also) a victim, he’s probably dying, and yet he still has the strength to move on with his plans?!

heart of gold robertcarlyledailyI’ll end this with a few words from Mr Gold, back when he was in New York. He was thinking of Belle and Bae, but Robin completely missed its message, the fact that the older man was trying to guide him away from Zelena: “Maybe you should take a piece of advice from a man who has pushed away every chance at happiness because it was never enough. If it’s within your grasp, if you know where it is and who it’s with, then you should run to it, grasp it and never let it go“.

Image source: 2 – onceland; 3 – Robert Carlyle Daily

by Elena Atudosiei

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