Once Upon A Time's "Strange Case" was by far the most entertaining episode of the season, and not just because Robert Carlyle got a makeover.

How many season do you think he was begging for them to let him do this? Looking good, bae!

No, in one stunning episode "Strange Case" made us sympathize with Victorian Bane (a.k.a Mr. Hyde, a.k.a Sam Witwer), shocked us with twist after twist after twist, and got ride of Victorian Bane, bringing the stakes up to a spine-tingly-dingly high: the only way to get rid of evil doppelgangers is to kill the original people they sprouted from!

Therefore, the only way to kill the Evil Queen is to kill Regina!


It's almost like you can't just excise everything negative about yourself into a separate person, kill it, and just continue on being just the good parts of yourself. Wait, that's a crazy thing to even suggest as possible; who would suggest such a thing? Oh, this show. This show specifically insisted that such a thing is possible and made us all suspend our disbelief and go along with it, and now it is pointing to that same idea and saying it's ludicrous, like that's some kind of "a-ha!" moment.

Which, what? OUAT, this was your premise, OK? It's sort of like if Bill from True Blood turned to Sookie in one episode, popped out his fangs to reveal square human chompers and said, "Wait a minute, you thought there were vampires? No, vampires don't exist. What are you, crazy?" OK, thanks, show. Very helpful.

AND YET let me be clear, I loved-LOVED this episode. SO many twists! For example, we learned that, back in Victorian England, Dr. Jekyll was a total creep who got friend-zoned by his boss's daughter, Miss Mary. However, within mere hours of meeting his hunky Darcy-esque alter ego Mr. Hyde, Miss Mary was ready to "drown in passion," aka take him to the bone zone , despite the fact that in sexually repressed Victorian England, a one-night stand would be the moral equivalent of throwing yourself down a Slip-n-Slide greased with the blood of innocent schoolchildren while shooting meth into your eyeballs.

,

Needless to say, when Mary woke up the next morning she was REAL confused to see the milquetoast Dr. Jekyll curled up in bed beside her, in place of her hunky pink-eye victim. And when Jekyll figured out Miss Mary had gotten very NOT contrary with Hyde he flew into such a rage he CHUCKED HER OUT A WINDOW!


I gasped forever. What a twist! All this time we assumed Mr. Hyde was the jerk just because he walked like a jock and talked like Thomas Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises. But nope, Dr. Jekyll was the real villain all along, and he wanted to revenge himself on Rumple, who had split Hyde from Jekyll in the first place.

So that his (their?) enemy could witness this grisly revenge, Mr. Hyde faked Rumple into stabbing him with the Darque One Blade or whatever they're calling it these days, took the dagger and then ordered Rumple to take them to the Jolly Roger, where Belle was living under the "protection curse" Rumple had cast. It was essentially a giant bell jar. Or Belle jar, get it? Sorry. That was horrible. I apologize.

Secretly-awful Dr. Jekyll had decided to kill Belle, despite the fact Mr. Hyde was supposed to be all the badness in him, because apparently humans don't work that way -- everyone has free will. Luckily, Belle has been 'round the old "an enemy of my husband wants to kill me" mulberry bush too many times to put up with that noise so instead she STABBED JEKYLL WITH A CONCH SHELL!

I know I am using a lot of caps lock but, guys, this was a CAPS LOCK EPISODE! Belle, trapped on the Jolly Roger by Rumple's protection spell, hunted by a creepy friend-zoned lady-killer, armed with only a conch shell to defend herself?! Where did she get a conch shell, you ask? It was mermaid magic on loan from Hook, of course.

So Hook heard her scream or stab into the conch shell or whatever, and appeared in the nick of time to skewer Dr. Jekyll with a freaking machete-sword. When he did so, Hyde died too and it was all very sad, because even with the weird voice Mr. Hyde was kind of starting to grow on us. I mean, who doesn't love a moody, misunderstood Victorian heartthrob?

Ah well, better to have loved and lost than to exist on this show in that weird hinter-land C-plot area where no one knows why you're still around for several episodes (ahem ahem Merida from Brave ahem ahem.)

Also, the show needs to make room for the new B-plot room because guess who's in town? PRINCESS MOTHA-EFFING JASMINE Y'ALL! (The lovely Karen David, from Galavant!)

No, she's not in a blue bra and hammer pants, but yes, this is the Princess you grew up idolizing as a child and she is Snow White's assistant teacher and also has a secret agenda to save Aladdin! I mean, I will trade three of Hyde for this development, no problem. Bring it. Now I'm in a whole new world of childhood nostalgia and why not: come on in, stop on by, take a carpet and fly to another Millennial Night of Nostalgia.

So, yes. Makeover madness this episode, literally: Rumple lost his jaw-length surfer cut, and figuratively, Jekyll's makeover into Hyde won him the girl but cost him his self-worth and also, it turns out your darkness is inextricably bound to you no matter what. But we already knew that, didn't we?

QUESTIONS...

...Hook and Belle: new favorite roommates or awkwardly forced friends?

...how many pancakes can you eat in one morning?

...so basically Regina has to either die, or accept she'll always be a little bit campy and glamorous and naughty? Is that really a bad thing?

...your best pancake recipe: GO!