In Once Upon A Time's episode "The Changelings," we met Rumplestiltskin's (Robert Carlyle) mom, and would you believe she abandoned him? Talk about an out-of-left-field, never-seen-before twist! Where do these writers come up with these unprecedented turns of plot, each more original than the last?!

I'm being disgustingly snarky of course, because as you obviously know this whole series is about parental abandonment and literally every character has been abandoned by their parents or seen them die tragically right before their eyes. I used to think someone up top in this show's producing roster was working through some family issues but it's pretty clear this is just the writing room's favorite shortcut to make us care about whatever new character they've wrangled into a Halloween costume this week.

Yes, it turns out Rumple's mom is the Black Fairy, a character we just heard about this episode, and that is why he hates fairies so much, a characteristic we just heard about this episode, when he chased down and aged up a fairy.

And that is also why he stole a baby in the flashback segment of this episode, to lure his mom down for a chill talk about how she abandoned him as a baby without even giving him a name.

Except I'm pretty sure Rumple was stealing babies here there and everywhere in the previous five seasons? What exactly has he been doing with all those babies? Are we supposed to believe he has just stolen them to lure his fairy mom into brief awkward tête-à-tête? Also, why were we ever OK with him stealing those babies? And why was Belle (Emilie de Ravin) OK with him stealing those babies?

The whole point of the much-beloved story of Beauty and the Beast (soon to be made manifest in live-action flesh starring Emma Watson as Belle!) was that, even though the Beast looked fearsome and off-putting, he was kind, courtly, and noble. He was handsome on the inside.

But when OUAT reimagines Rumple as Beast in flashback episodes, he is cruel and vaguely sadistic to Belle. Having her fall in love with a Beast who is ugly on the outside and on the inside kind of misses the point of the story. It's less about loving someone authentically and more about, well, Stockholm syndrome. (Could Belle's 36-year-old Dream Son explain this to her?)


OUAT has backpedaled hard on Rumple's redemption arc. Not only has he been basically abusive to Belle this entire season, he's made the Evil Queen his side piece and then tried to bully her into killing her own sister (something the Forever Alone Evil Queen actually tried to pull off, but she was thwarted by Nice Regina and her Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Jacket).


When Rumple dumped the Evil Queen she hit back, hard, putting the aging potion in Belle's tea so that her pregnancy came to turn in 9 seconds instead of 9 months. Seems like a pretty sweet deal, to be honest, but it was a real dealbreaker for Belle. And she had told Rumple specifically that if he tried this crapola on her, she was going to leave him like, FOR REAL this time.


Terrified that Rumple would steal her baby and use the shears to cut him off from his fate, Belle decided the only option was to send her minutes-old newborn off with the worst character in the entire series indefinitely.

Rumple's wholehearted dismay at this escalation reminded me of redemption Rumple and you know what? I really miss that guy. I also miss Reassuring Redemption Belle, who believed in Rumple and loyally defended him through thick and thin. I am not sure how things got so far off the track at this point that Belle has sent her one and only son flying out the window with the equivalent of a pigeon in a tutu for his "best chance," but that's where we find ourselves currently -- and frankly, listening to Belle and her "Beast" bitterly dress each other down every episode offers all the fairy tale fun of watching your parents get divorced.


And of course, this most bitter and heartbreaking turn of events was engineered by the Evil Queen, who put the Rapid Pregnancy Spell Powder in Belle's tea to push the couple apart.


Yeah, all in all a depressing albeit soapy little episode. And next week, of course, we're headed into the winter finale, which will mean some kind of wacky time travel and Emma in a princess dress so, too late --I'm already excited!

QUESTIONS...

-Why is Belle's Dream Son aged up to like 40?

-Why is Belle's Dream Son dressed like a monk?

-If you had to give your newborn to one person in Storybrooke to raise, who would it be and why?

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.