Rumple and Alice take center stage in “The Guardian” as the Dark One’s dagger goes missing. Rumple searches all over Hyperion Heights with his sights dead set on Facilier, who made his intentions known weeks ago to take the dagger away from Rumple. Elsewhere, Alice goes on a date with Robin while also hearing mysterious voices in her head around town. Henry and Hook team up to investigate the mysterious death of Hansel in the last episode, with both heroes not awake yet but trying to piece the clues together in a scientific way. And Lastly, back in another realm, we’re focused on Rumple trying to find out if Alice is the Guardian — someone who can finally take away Rumple’s own curse and let him be reunited with Belle again.
So as you can tell, a lot was happening in this episode.
It’s refreshing to have an episode centered on fan favorite character, one a long time favorite in Rumple and then another with a relative new favorite, Alice. Rumple is full on hero mode in this episode, long renouncing his dark ways but sadly not fully removed from his curse that consumes him. He’s constantly fighting it and preventing himself from turning green in another realm, while in Hyperion Heights he’s desperate in finding his dagger again before he gets controlled by Facilier or someone worse.
Alice, on the flip side, is still her usual charming/damaged self both in the flashback and in Hyperion Heights. She at first questions what Rumple’s motive is but then after he mentions knowing a way to break her curse between herself and Hook, she gladly helps. It’s not until later that Rumple explains what he’s truly up too, that he garners the sympathy of Alice and moral support. Yet sadly, it may be too late as Rumple’s green skin slowly starts coming back throughout the flashbacks.
The current season of “Once” works best when it focuses on just one overarching plot compared to four concurrent plots. This week it was all about the series MacGuffin, the Dark One’s dagger and the fear of it falling into the wrong hands, namely Facilier’s. It was almost a return to basics that was anchored by Rumple. “Once” always had a habit of giving Rumple the stronger episodes, since we rarely over the years see him, but when he takes center stage the whole series is lifted up for a bit. If the series lasted a few more seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rumple is slowly phased out and Alice takes over as the character in this role. She has presence on screen!
My only grip is the character flaw that Rumple has and how he should be more honest with the awoken characters that are his allies. But hey, some old habits of Rumples are hard to die, I guess.. Get it? Cause Rumple’s immortal… Oh nevermind.
Luckily next week,it’s back to the Gothel/Witch Coven plot that dominated most of the early half of the season as she finally appears to confront both Hook and Alice in Hyperion Heights. It also looks from the preview that Gothel finally wakes up a majority of the characters like Robin and Hook. But hey, more Alice-centric stories are always a good thing! She’s the breakout character this season!