Gold's plans to cross the town line to find his son without losing his memories are thwarted by Hook, forcing Belle to intervene, as flashbacks show her befriend Mulan on a quest to destroy ... Read allGold's plans to cross the town line to find his son without losing his memories are thwarted by Hook, forcing Belle to intervene, as flashbacks show her befriend Mulan on a quest to destroy a beast.Gold's plans to cross the town line to find his son without losing his memories are thwarted by Hook, forcing Belle to intervene, as flashbacks show her befriend Mulan on a quest to destroy a beast.
The previous two episodes "Queen of Hearts" and "The Cricket Game" saw a return to form for Season 2 and 'Once Upon a Time' after a three episode dip (all three decent episodes still but Season 2 showed several times it could do much more than just decent). Both of them took major strides in the right direction in terms of plot advancement and characterisation, expanding on what is already known and introducing new ideas while not having any contradictory elements.
Major strides in the right direction that is continued with "The Outsider", which sees the imaginative parallel of real life and fantasy flashback but also saw the story and relationships being propelled and characters finally coming into their own. It has its silly moments, something the previous two episodes avoided, but the heart and tension is there.
A lot of credit is due putting Belle in the spotlight and finally making her interesting, something that was long overdue. Emilie De Ravin shows more personality and emotion here, now that she now has more to work with.
Her chemistry with Robert Carlyle's Rumplestiltskin (showing once again a more sympathetic side than the standard villain) is heartfelt and poignant, that with Jamie Chung's feisty Mulan is fun and that with Colin O'Donoghue's sinister Hook has tension. Other characters play just as crucial a role, few are wasted apart from Julian Morris' Prince Phillip having relatively little to work with, but it's these characters that are spotlighted.
Visually, "The Outsider" is a very handsomely mounted episode, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. It is photographed beautifully too. The effects are not as sloppy here. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme.
Humour, mysterious intrigue, charm and pathos are beautifully balanced, the corn and unintentional humour seen in the three episode dip between "The Doctor" and "Queen of Hearts" are not just toned down or minimalized, they are also not obvious. Regina/Evil Queen has the best lines that add a lot to her character. The story, in the Storybrooke and fantasy flashbacks, is compelling and paced solidly without trying to do too much.
Performances are all strong, with De Ravin, Carlyle, Chung and O'Donoghue giving the best performances.
Overall, a great episode that shouldn't be given up on. 9/10 Bethany Cox
- Jan 26, 2018