By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
“Tale as old as time. Song as old as rhyme. Beauty and the…BRAVE?”
A lot of people do not remember listening to Dame Angela Lansbury sing that word as Mrs. Potts during the crescendo of the 1991 animated Disney classic: Beauty and the Beast.
However, for Oncers…. the phrase can perfectly describe two significant characters in the Once Upon A Time universe: Belle and Merida.
Since her introduction in Season One’s “Skin Deep,” Belle has become a fan-favorite character and at times…the heart of the show. While we just met Princess Merida, the Brave princess has proven time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned with. Both women are also strong presences in Mr. Gold’s world for two totally different reasons.
Ever since Mr. Gold reawakened from his coma, the newly crowned Dark One (Emma) has ordered her slave, Merida, to make the former Dark One–a brave warrior. Something that Merida has taken to heart…. despite the objections of Mr. Gold’s true love and wife. Now, thanks to Emma’s manipulations, the former friends are now on opposite sides of the war between light and darkness.
Who won in this battle of strong-willed women? Read on to find out!
Back in Camelot, Merlin and his allies (Charming, Hook & Belle) freed both Lancelot and Merida from their cells. While Merida wanted to retrieve her will-o-wisps, Merlin advised her to not get them and that there is another way to rescue her brothers. Merida explained to Belle that she was captured by Arthur, while trying to save her brothers. She also separated themselves from the group by knocking out Belle.
As Belle regained consciousness, she found herself in Merida’s booth and they bonded over their love of adventure. The duo saw the abandoned witches’ lair, used magic to locate her brothers and their kidnappers: Lord(s) Dingwall, Macintosh and MacGuffin, who were tired of waiting for Merida to vanquish her throne and planned for her brothers’ execution.
With the potion nearing its final stage of completion, Belle shared her concerns that the witch’s potion would transform the Brave princess into a bear. She also stated that Merida could use her wit and a bow to prove herself worthy of being the Clans’ queen. The duo arrived to save Merida’s brothers and Belle tried once more to convince her to disregard the potion and fight using her wit. Merida did not have it and took the potion. Belle revealed her deception and told her that if she used magic to defeat them, they still would not follow her. Merida was able to save her brothers and united the clans.
Over in Storybrooke, Regina revealed to the Charmings, Hook and Belle that they freed Merlin back in Camelot and decided to go after Arthur to free Merlin. Belle suggested that they go after Gold, but Hook stated that the Crocodile had more than his chances to escape the darkness. Unhappy with the pirate’s answers, Belle left the group and went after Rumple. To reunite with his true love, Gold broke the chipped cup and began his way to reunite with Belle. Unfortunately, the darkened Emma was displeased that Merida let Gold get away and harshly ordered her to kill Belle.
Belle reunited with her beast in the Storybrooke Library. A tearful Gold told his wife that Merida is after her and thanked her for being his strength that he needed to be back in the land of the living. He also told his wife that Emma wanted him to become a hero and remove Excalibur the sword.
Meanwhile, Zelena felt her baby moved and received a special visitor: The Dark Swan. She kidnapped Regina’s older sister and gave her the onion rings that she has been craving. Emma offered Zelena protection against Regina, but the Wicked Witch called her bluff and declined her offer of protection. As Emma transported Zelena back to her cell, Mr. Gold revealed that he still thinks he’s a coward. Belle stated while she saw the man behind the beast, she stated that he has become a hero.
Gold and Belle arrived back in their shop moments before Merida arrived and revealed her true intentions. As Merida started target practice on Rumpbelle, the Charmings found Arthur and the Camelot ruler insisted that he would contact Merlin using the mushroom. Arthur betrayed the group by burning the mushroom and told the group that the spell failed.
Rumple tried to cross the town line, but Belle was not having it. He also revealed to his wife that he crippled himself because he did not want to die. Angry that Belle lied to her again, she was left to face Merida alone. However, Merida became more powerful and monstrous than before as she drank the potion and become an enraged bear.
As Belle ran for her life, she fell down in the forest and tried to reason with her friend. Just as Merida was about to eat Belle, Gold appeared from the shadows, rescued his sweetheart and defeated Merida with a counter potion. Gold, Belle and Merida tracked down Emma and the former Dark One planned to release Excalibur from the stone. Rumple released the legendary sword from the stone and promptly gave it to Emma. Gold gave a parting shot to Emma and warned him that she would regret making him a hero!
Next week, Emma must summon the greatest Dark One of all-time to form the ultimate weapon!