1. After getting to know Gaston better in the flashback and current story, do you think he deserved his fate?
Sam: I'm not sure anyone deserves to be cast into the River of Lost Souls, but Gaston did turn out to be a pretty bad guy as we suspected all along. I really don't believe that all the stories about him were just "tall tales" made-up by LeFou. I'm pretty sure Gaston really was a hunter of game and women. I do feel kind of bad for Belle that she was the one who pushed Gaston to his eternal doom, but it was a sure-fire way for her to learn this week's lesson about going to extremes to protect those you love.
Ashley: I think so. I found Gaston more interesting in the flashback when he would go from sincere to sinister at the drop of a hat. If we had seen that Gaston throughout the present-day happenings, I would have said maybe he didn't deserve his fate, but in the Underworld he was blinded with bitterness and revenge.
Laurie: Yes! He was untrustworthy from the beginning, as much as they tried to fake us out with his friendly, humble act at the beginning of his association with Belle. He just bugged me throughout the episode. I’m sorry Belle had to be the one to do him in, but it had to happen.
2. Do you think Belle learned anything about the subjective nature of Dark vs. Light and will this affect future ultimatums she throws at Rumple?
Ashley: Oh yes. I especially love the chiding Rumple gave Belle in the animal shelter, the one about different points of view. That and the threat against their child pushed Belle a little more in the grey area that so many other characters dwell in.
Laurie: I love the conversation Belle and Rumple had regarding magic throughout this episode. Love to see them argue and have conflict without it being a game changer. Just regular normal arguing about dark magic vs. light magic. :) I think Belle is learning a lot from this new, more honest Rumple. I also love that he isn’t backing down to appease her. They are both being true to their characters (AT LAST!) and still staying together. I think Belle’s new knowledge will make her think twice before throwing any more ultimatums at Rumple. She now knows that dark and light depend on your point of view. This will force Belle to find new ways to work and accomplish things using different methods, and may mean that she will eventually “allow” dark magic.
Sam: I was so mad that she started off by giving Rumple another ultimatum! I hope that her actions this week do teach her something about Dark vs. Light being all about perspective like Rumple tried to tell her. I loved it when he challenged her about using his magic to do something like opening Gaston's locker. Regina has spent the last three seasons trying to use her magic for Good and not Evil. Emma struggled with the same thing when she was the Dark One. If anyone can handle the magic, it would be Rumple, but it's the temptation of Darkness that he needs to be wary of.
3. Do you think Zelena is Hades' weakness and how can this be helpful in getting everyone back home?
Ashley: Totally. i think we are in for seeing a Persephone type arrangement, where Zelena stays with Hades for six months out of the year, then returns to Storybrooke for six months. This could be the trade off for letting the other heroes leave AND would be a good way to resolve the custody issue surrounding her little Pistachio since the baby's time could be divided fairly between all parents.
Laurie: Zelena is definitely Hades’ weakness. Knowing that he is vulnerable is the first step in exploiting that weakness. The Hades/Zelena relationship has to be the key to getting our heroes home safely. I hate that their fate is dependent on Zelena, but it makes for great drama.
Sam: I am still not 100% sold on this love story, but I do see how they Hades and Zelena could be together. I think it's contrary to Hades' nature for him to be in Love. If he feels Love, wouldn't that change the Underworld? If they do end up together, I wonder what that means for Zelena and her baby. Will one or both of them take turns living between two worlds like Persephone? This has become a pretty popular theory among Once fans.
4. Red is in the Underworld! Any theories about how this happened? What are your expectations of the Red and Mulan relationship?
Laurie: I have NO idea!! I was shocked to see her there! And as a wolf! What??? (Good call, Snow!) Hopefully she isn’t dead but why else would she be there? I have no expectations for the Red/Mulan relationship because at this point they are minor characters and there are a lot of major characters that aren’t getting enough screen time. So I think any relationship will be fleeting - limited to one or two episodes at best.
Sam: I sure hope Red isn't dead! I really hope that there is some clear definition of any relationship between Red and Mulan. If MulanRouge is going to happen, the show has to go for it!
Ashley: I bet the silver slippers sent her there since they are very powerful magic items, powerful enough that Rumple wanted the to get to a land without magic, so they definitely could be used to travel to the Underworld. Why she's there... no idea. And I expect to see Ruby and Mulan to become more than just friends in this episode.
5. Favorite Moments
Laurie: Belle and Rumple arguing like a normal couple.
Sam: I have to give this to pretty much all the Rumbelle in the episode! It worked on all levels for me.
Ashley: The sister chat between Zelena and Regina. The lack of sass and quiet nature of this short encounter means a lot for their relationship.
6. Favorite Quotes
Sam: Rumple: "That's the thing with Dark and Light, it all depends on your point of view."
Ashley: When Rumple asks permission to use "just a little bit of Dark magic".
Laurie: Rumple: “It was an arranged marriage. I was doing you a favor!”
Regina: “I’m glad your reflexes are better than your sense of style.”
7. Anything Else?
Ashley: I'm interested in the fact that this episode is the first time we've see someone's dreams directly effect the plot, instead of just being an insight to their current character or anxiety. Perhaps some of the Seer magic Rumple absorbed back in Season Two made its way to Emma via their shared Dark One-ness. I'd be on the look out for more of Emma's dreams.
Laurie: Love seeing Emilie interact with any and all live animals on this show. She is really an animal lover!
Sam: I don't read press releases or even watch sneak peeks because I like to be surprised by the story as it happens, so I was really surprised to see Red show up in the Underworld! BTW, I really recommend experiencing the show this way and letting the story unfold each week. Certainly I like to speculate once in a while, but I've found I enjoy Once more when I just sit back and go with the story the writers are telling.