Once Upon a Time (S07E04) “Beauty”

Tonight’s title of “Beauty” was particularly apt, not only because we see the return of Emilie de Ravin as Belle, but because it’s perhaps the most touchingly beautiful of the OUAT episodes this season. It felt very reminiscent of season 1 in that way.
The most important story tonight is Rumple and Belle’s happy ever after – or almost ever after. We open back in Storybrooke with the two throwing Gideon his first birthday party. After calming Belle’s anxiety about throwing the perfect party, Rumple gives her a travel scrapbook. He promises to spend their days with Gideon traveling the world, just like Belle always dreamed of doing.
Thrown forward to Hyperion Heights, Weaver is taking food to a young transient girl, Tilly. If the blond hair and rambling didn’t give it away, the white rabbit mask tells us that this is actually Alice. Alice sees more than anyone else, “we’re all wearing masks”. She tells Weaver with a sly grin “bet you didn’t know you’re wearing a mask too.” This is the first hint we get that Alice knows Rumple from before the curse.
Meanwhile, Jacinda visits Victoria’s building, running into evil step-sister Ivy. Even dropping off Lucy’s costume for the night causes drama since Ivy has been tasked with trick or treating. Ivy snarks and snaps and sends Jacinda on her way, getting the flabbergasted hurt puppy look that’s become standard from Jacinda in dealing with her “family”. I’m so ready for kick ass Cinderella to show up again.
Alice is waiting for Victoria in her car, taunting her with a “I’m more interested in how I got to Hyperion Heights”. She even reaches for Victoria’s face as if to pull off a mask and gets a full pepper spray in the face for her effort.
Victoria, understandably upset at being accosted in her car, calls Weaver into her office. A little threat here, a threat there and the mention of “tapes” has Weaver headed out to find Tilly.
Our first look at Henry this episode is him writing in Roni’s bar – is this familiar to any other writers out there? She gives him a new drink of her design, a poisoned apple. I’m seriously loving all then Evil Queen references Roni makes. Henry suggests just a dash of cinnamon (I miss Emma, sigh). The two discuss lost love with Roni’s advice being that although losing love makes you afraid, you have to try to find happiness again. Hopefully we’ll see her following her own advice.
Weaver and our favorite pirate Rogers are out trying to locate Tilly.  Weaver brings up a cold case that Roger’s keeps in his desk. He mentions it being a lost girl – the first mention we’ve had of Roger’s missing daughter?
Finally, we’re back to Belle and Rumple. They’re in a magical land, young Gideon running ahead of them. Stopped on a bridge Rumple shows the biggest willingness for sacrifice we’ve seen from him. He’s decided to live out his days with Belle as a mortal so that they can grow old and die together. Cue the cuteness. But when he tries to throw the dagger away, the power of the river is not strong enough. It simply reappears at his side. Belle vows to search with him to find the answer, no matter how long it takes.
Back in Hyperion Heights, Lucy is trick or treating with the not-so-thrilled Ivy. She “escapes” by placing her bag head on another girl, which it takes Ivy all of 10 seconds to realize. The glaring blue of an unexpected Elsa costume was a dead giveaway. I’m still trying to figure out how Lucy got so far away in such a brief amount of time.
Weaver finds Tilly playing with her unsolvable puzzle, claiming to have figured it out. She’s seen enough now to remember, “We all have stories, even you Weaver and it’s a thing of Beauty.” Sigh. OUAT is not subtle lol. Of course she can’t just tell him, he has to see to believe.
Back at the castle an older Belle discovers a fairy prophecy that she’s sure is the answer to Rumple’s curse. “When the Dark One finds eternal love, at the sun’s brightest set where time stops, the path will appear to where Darkness should rest.” Rumple recognizes what it’s describing and they head to the Edge of Realms.
Henry, having finally gotten the courage up to ask Jacinda on a date, is interrupted by Ivy announcing that Lucy is missing. It’s never easy for our hero. Jacinda can’t leave her job, so Henry agrees to go with Ivy to find Lucy.
Rumple is driving Tilly to look for the truth when she discovers that he has crushed up pills in her food. She’s incredibly distraught- the pills make her “small”, make her foggy, and she won’t be able to see the truth. Even though she feels betrayed by him she’s determined to help him find the truth. She leaps out of the moving car and sprints away.
At the Edge of Realms Belle and Rumple realize it could be years before the sun sets. Time works differently there of course. They decide to built a home there and we get a silly montage of Rumple doing manual labor, culminating in a charming cabin where they can while away their days. My favorite part was a little dance scene with the music from Beauty and the Beast, got me a little teary eyed to be honest.
Henry and Ivy have a bonding moment about feeling alone. Ivy admits that she doesn’t want to do her mother’s bidding but feels stuck. Henry gives her a very “Henry” pep talk – we definitely see young Henry shining through in this moment.
We get a quick shot of Tilly arriving at a shipping container with Weaver. Triumphant, she holds out the key to him remembering – Chip!
At the Edge of Realms we’re getting to the true shining moment of this episode. A very aged Belle lays on the couch obviously ill. Rumple wants so badly to heal her with the dagger, but she admits that she knew all along that the sun that needed to set was her life. “You need to believe that our love is powerful enough to outlast death”. Robert Carlyle’s acting here is flawless, tears streaming down his face he gazes at Belle. She tells him a story of a Beast and a girl. We get flashbacks of their story from season 1 on and I’m crying. Such a beautiful moment and then Belle breathes her last.
In the storage container Tilly is frustrated when Weaver doesn’t recognize Chip. Tilly, almost at her wits end “We’re all mad here!”, grabs his gun and with a “You told me to”, shoots Weaver.
At Belle’s grave Gideon and Rumple say farewell. Rumple is off to find “the guardian” who is the only person he believes can handle the darkness of the dagger. When he emerges in a new realm he runs smack into Alice.
Weaver, waking up in a hospital bed, has a dream vision of Belle surrounded by light. He tells Rogers to let Tilly go, she’s back on her medication (no more seeing the truth) and no longer a problem. Victoria comes into to express  her anger at this outcome and make more threats. My absolute favorite moment of the episode? Weaver’s reply, “I found something much bigger than what’s on those tapes DEARIE.” Boom, Rumple is Back.
We close with sparks flying between two characters – Henry and, oops, Ivy. They cheers to “uncomplicated” which of course means it’s anything but.