Once Upon a Time recap: Doubt: A Parable

Angst is the flavor of the week, afflicting Emma, Snow -- and even Rumpelstiltskin. Also: Rufio shoutout!
Ep. 02 | Aired Oct 6, 2013

UNBEWEAVABLE "My kingdom for a bottle of conditioner!"

Jack Rowand/ABC

On to confidence crisis #2! This one belongs to Rumpel, who has recently performed his own shadow-ectomy. (He's dispatched the shade to hide his dagger, the only weapon with which the Dark One can be killed.) While wandering through the jungle, he's surprised by a familiar face: Belle. Wait, what's Belle doing there -- nursing a squirrel baby?

Though it seems almost inconceivable that her sudden appearance isn't some sort of mind game courtesy of Pan, Belle -- or her spirit/astral projection/whatever -- swears that she's there because Rumpel has unconsciously conjured her. Rumpel is way too quick to believe this explanation, though perhaps you would be too if something that looked an awful lot like your long-distance girlfriend was in town for one night only.

Anyhoo, Belle provides the same service for Rumpel that Charming provided for Snow -- making him believe that he has the capacity to do the right thing, which in this case means saving Henry even if it ensures Rump's death. His first step, Belle says, will be to stop holding onto his cowardly past -- here represented by that straw doll Rumpel received last week, which isn't actually one of Bae's old playthings. (My b!) Instead, it's the last object Rumpel's own deadbeat father ever gave his son -- before abandoning him. It's not a Disney story without massive daddy issues!

Rumpel drops the doll over a cliff, thus physically and literally letting go. Awesome; two doubters down, one to go! Er, actually strike that. While wandering through the jungle again, the Dark One is disturbed by mysterious noises. Smoke monster! Smoke monster! Nope, it's just the literal straw man, which lands neatly at Rumpel's feet -- and can't be destroyed, even by Fiendfyre. Looks like letting go will be easier said than done.

Which brings us to the story of Emma, who's being disturbed by a different mysterious din as the rest of the Magical Breakfast Club (or MBC, as the cool kids nobody but me calls it) slumbers. It sounds almost like crying children... the perfect introduction for Peter Pan, who then materializes for a bit of midnight taunting. He's also arrived to give Emma a special present: a map that will lead her straight to her missing son. There's just one problem -- the piece of paper he hands over is totally blank.

NEXT: Mischief managed

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