[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Sunday's Once Upon a Time. Read at your own risk!]
We hope you had your tissues ready for this episode of Once Upon a Time.
Belle (Emilie de Ravin) thought she had at least a few more months to figure out how she would protect her unborn son from Rumple (Robert Carlyle) and his plan to cut their child's tie to his fate. However, some meddling from the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla) brought their young son's due date up immediately and with only moments to prepare, Belle had to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep her child safe — she gave him up for adoption.
Sending the child away and out of Storybrooke was the only way to make sure that Rumple couldn't use his shears to cut the child off from his destiny. Giving up her child allowed Belle to ensure that he would grow up happy and away from Rumple's dark impulses, but it also meant separating herself from her first and potentially only child. She wouldn't even tell Rumple their child's name, to make sure that he had no way of being able to track the boy down.
The salt in the wound of the decision, though, is that Rumple had once again shown that he has the potential to be a better man, if not an entirely good one. Yes, he initially planned to use the magic powder to speed up Belle's pregnancy, but when she warned him that it would cause him to lose her forever, he backed away. He wasn't able to pay that steep of a price for the magic. Instead, it was the Evil Queen that forced his hand — not that Belle will ever believe that — and now Rumple has not only lost the love of his life, but also another son.
Folded into Rumple's (and Belle's) heartbreak, is the revelation that Rumple's mother is the Black Fairy. A flashback to the Enchanted Forest showed that she also left Rumple at birth. Since she deserted him, she had taken up collecting babies instead of saving them, but had no explanation for why she left her own child when confronted by a grown-up version of him. The meeting took place after Rumple let Baelfire (Michael Raymond-James) go through the portal without him. Did he wonder if the tendency for abandonment was genetic? We may never know, because the Black Fairy disappeared before she gave any satisfactory explanation for why she left her child behind.
The dream version of Rumple and Belle's son affirmed that he'd never forget that Belle loves him, but is there any chance for Rumple to repair this relationship? He spent hundreds of years and endless scheming trying to find his way back to Bae. Does he have that sort of time and resources to find this son as well? More importantly, can he do it if Belle is there to stop him?
The sad truth is that both Rumple and Belle are too heartbroken to be able to communicate with each other, much less see eye to eye at this point in time. These are wounds that will take a long time to heal, and thus, it may be an unbearable amount of time before either of them is able to see their son again.
What do you think of Belle's decision to give up the child for adoption?
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.