Emma faced her fears about bringing her loved ones to the Underworld ... while Belle came face to face with Gaston and had to figure out how far she’d go to save her unborn child on Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 17.
Below, TV Fanatics Christine Laskodi, Robin Harry and Allison Nichols are joined by Teresa from Once Upon a Fan to debate whether Rumplestiltskin can wield the dagger for good, if Gaston could have been redeemed and why Hades is so obsessed with babies after "Her Handsome Hero."
Is Rumple capable of wielding the dagger for good?
Christine: I really want to say yes, I do, because Rumple's power story would come full circle if he could. But I think ultimately, the answer will be no.
Teresa: Not quite, not now. But I believe that Belle mentioning the possibility was foreshadowing. I can see future events leading to this.
Robin: You know, I'm sure he can, if only for the reason that Once Upon A Time is all about the redemption story. That said, I'm not sure I want him to. This version of Rumple that we're seeing, the one who knows and accepts his lust for power, is my favourite version of Rumple since maybe Once Upon a Time season 1 or 2. He's incredibly interesting this way, and I'd much rather see him dance around his dark magic ethics than become a good guy.
Allison: Maybe in five seasons, maybe. I'm with Robin though, this version of Rumple is more interesting to me. I like that he isn't apologizing for who he is. He likes power. If we could give up on Belle trying to change him, then we could explore potentially more entertaining storylines with Rumple.
Could Gaston have been redeemed?
Christine: No. Gaston wasn't going to stop until he had killed Rumple. No matter what Belle did, or how much optimistic kindness she showed toward him, he was never going to change. He started as an ass and he ended as an ass.
Teresa: I agree with Christine. He didn't want to be redeemed and even when Belle tried to save his life, he went in for the kill.
Robin: Given time, he could have been. Gaston's thirst for revenge is no different from Regina's or Hook's, and they've found their way. However, I much prefer that Gaston died a villain, and I'm glad they didn't change the character too much from the knucklehead he was in the movie.
Allison: I don't believe so, no. He's too hell bent on revenge. If he was to be redeemed, it would take a season, at least.
Why is Hades so interested in everyone’s babies?
Christine: Maybe he's designing a line of shabby-chic Underworld infant clothing? Honestly, I couldn't tell you at this point.
Teresa: I think he still wants to cast the time travel spell and get revenge on his brother. He needs a baby for that, and he won't stop until he gets one.
Robin: I think Teresa is right. I do think he summoned Zelena's baby as a gift to her, not knowing that she was present with her. Belle's baby, however, is likely for the time-travel spell to displace Zeus.
Allison: He's a hardcore creeper, that's why. He wants to travel back in time to get his revenge on Zeus, and the spell, requires a baby. I'm still not sure if I buy this whole "being nice to Zelena because he loves her" thing. I'm still suspicious. I think he will use any baby he can for his spell. That spell is his ticket out of the Underworld for good.
Should Emma have made the trip to the Underworld alone instead of dragging everyone she loves with her?
Christine: I agree with Snow. They all knew what they were doing and they volunteered to come along. There was no way that Emma would have gone to the Underworld alone.
Teresa: I'm not sure if she should have gone alone, but it was rather reckless bringing Henry along. Yes, he is a hero, but he is also a kid. His moms should have put their feet down on that one.
Robin: No and yes. I don't think she could or should have done it alone, but Henry shouldn't have come along.
Allison: I agree with the consensus. She shouldn't have come alone, but the Underworld is no place for a kid, and as much as Henry wants to be a hero and help out, he's still a kid. I'm not saying Storybrooke is the safest place in the world, but it's safer than the Underworld.
Are you happy to see Red and Mulan returning?
Christine: Yes and no. I like seeing their adventure stories together, but I don't want that to happen in place of the story at hand, like last time. But it seems like they're in the Underworld, so that's promising. BUT...how did they get there? Are they dead? Because that would just make me sad.
Teresa: Always welcome! This is fulfilling what was started on Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 8. I like it when stories are followed up on. I just hope they won't be a side-show. There's a lot of potential in their relationship.
Robin: When did they die? When they found Red, I kept wracking my brain to figure out what I've forgotten. Mulan has always bored me so I'm indifferent to her return, but I've always enjoyed Red.
Allison: I would love to leave the Underworld already, so I'm not super stoked about their return. I enjoy the characters, but like everyone's said before, this would mean that they died. Much like Robin, I don't remember what happened the last time we saw them. I can't keep track of everything! I also forgot what happened the last time we saw Gaston, and I only knew we had met him before because of the recap before the episode.
What, if anything, disappointed you in “Her Handsome Hero?"
Christine: I would have liked more between Regina and Zelena. Their one scene was not enough for me.
Teresa: Nothing disappointed me. I thought this was a very strong episode. It had Rumple and Belle interacting as equals, and I adored that Belle finally saw how not everything is black and white. The shade of gray she had to face after she killed Gaston was powerful.
Robin: I'm with Christine on this one. I really enjoyed Regina and Zelena getting along somewhat sisterly, and I was hoping for more of that. I really do hope they revisit this relationship in the future.
Allison: Unlike Teresa, I didn't enjoy the episode all that much. I'm not a Rumbelle person. They wore out their entertainment value for me seasons ago, so watching Belle once again try to get Rumple to be good was boring.
What was your favorite quote or scene from this episode?
Christine: I gotta say, after listening to Belle's "No, we can't hurt anyone" attitude all episode, seeing her be the one who threw Gaston into the river was pretty satisfying, even though it wasn't on purpose, and no malice was meant on her part.
Teresa: I enjoyed the scenes where Rumple and Belle were bickering and meeting each other toe-to-toe. I especially liked when Belle asked Rumple to use magic to open Gaston's locker and he called her on the double-standard. Kudos also to the scene in the diner with Regina and Zelena talking about Hades.
Robin: Three for three on Rumple taking Belle down a notch. My favourite scene was Rumple and Belle at Gaston's locker, and Rumple calling her out on being the judge of when dark magic is "acceptable". Please, writers, please don't make Rumple go back to being a lovesick puppy. Please keep him like this.
Allison: I definitely agree with everyone above. I think my favorite quote was Rumple saying, "It was an arranged marriage! I was doing you a favor!" I really enjoyed his delivery of that line.
Check back Sunday night for our review of Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 18 and if you can't wait for more, you can watch Once Upon a Time online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.