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Welcome to Once Upon A Time Observations — your weekly guide through the visual clues and overarching connections in ABC’s Once Upon A Time. This week, we’re diving deep with “The Crocodile


  • The foreshadowing title card for “The Crocodile” is Captain Hook’s ship in the Enchanted Forest of Enchantment.

  • Belle’s dream constructs her idealized image of Mr. Gold and their relationship, but her subconscious doubts soon take hold as things get nasty.
  • Belle might not be the sharpest knife in granny’s drawer but her senses are in tune with the reality around her, as her dream leads her to discover Gold hasn’t kept his promise.

  • Interesting that the suspicious aspect of Belle’s subconscious should be represented by Grumpy, of all people, but it kinda makes sense given that Belle’s about to be very upset. Not to mention Grumpy used to be called Dreamy.
  • Further making his appearance seem less random is the fact that Belle and Dreamy bonded in his titular season 1 episode, where they spoke about love.
  • Belle’s grumpy manifestation vocalizes her fears: “just because you possess something don’t mean it’s yours”. Before telling herself: “how can you be with such a monster?”

  • This unleashes the beast in Rumples as ‘he’ changes into his past form and attacks Grumpy (aka Belle): “Oh it’s me deary, always has, always will be”.

  • After Rumples’ transformation into “The Dark One”, he also treated Bae as a possession (“Desperate Souls“), saying: “I’ve protected what belongs to me”.

  • In “Desperate Souls”, the king’s knight Hordor claimed that Rumples ran away from his duties in the Ogre Wars. This account is supported by Rumples’ wife Milah (or ME-lah), who denigrates him for his cowardice. “Run home Rumples, that’s what you’re good at.” (zing!)
  • She eventually leaves him and young Baelfire, for Captain Killian Jones.

  • Moe’s “Game Of Thorns” flower shop makes a return following season 1’s “Skin Deep“. As noted at the time, this is a likely nod to the hit HBO fantasy serial Game Of Thrones.

  • Moe I can understand, but it’s odd that Gold wouldn’t have an actual photograph of him and Belle by now. Now, he did have a phobia of his own reflection (“Skin Deep“), so perhaps that explains it. Still, you’d think he’d have one of Belle.


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  1. Dac says

    I thought the island in the telescope was Neverland. Maybe I just assumed it to be NL. Do you think Neverland and the “safe haven” are the same?

    I continue to be pleased with how the writers weave the stories together. For example, Rumples being the Croc. It keeps the overall show more interesting and makes it seem fresh, rather than the “same old” stories we know.

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    • says

      “I thought the island in the telescope was Neverland. Maybe I just assumed it to be NL. Do you think Neverland and the “safe haven” are the same?”

      Oh, that’s interesting. I assumed it to be the safe haven but NL’s not a bad shout. That might explain Cora’s presence and why Rumples referred to the portal’s destination as an “annoying little world”.

      If they are one in the same then I’m curious as to how it wound up in FTL..

      “I continue to be pleased with how the writers weave the stories together.”

      Yeah, I think this is one of show’s core strengths.

      Like: Thumb up 3

  2. MISSNETT says

    So Roco are you alluding to the fact that Baelfire is Peter Pan? Because that’s what I think! That would make for some more interesting connections between Hook and Rumple.

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  3. ramona says

    Rumples cowardice is oftened mentioned with the Ogre Wars. But Milah’s character seems to show that she wouldn’t spend any time of day with someone who is both a coward and a destitute. So Rumples must have been well-off or at least had great prospects for Milah to even consider marrying him. His cowardice during the Ogre Wars must have been the reason they became so poor. It’s also interesting to note that Rumples was unwilling to leave the village where everyone knew him for a coward and start a new life someplace else with his wife and child. Was this also part of his cowardice or just plain selfishness? Belle’s love, however, gave him the courage to confess to her how much of a coward he really was by being dependent on magic. He also revealed that he set up the original curse to get to this world to find his son. So Rumples’ love for both Belle and Bae might be his salvation. There is still hope for the Dark One!

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  4. Peanut says

    Maybe the Blue Fairy is like Rumples. She doesn’t tell lies, but as Charming tells Rumps, that’s not quite the same a being honest. (And yes, bring back Emma as sheriff. I’m always afraid that Charming will break out in tears over a case. Emma doesn’t cry nearly as much.)

    If Baelfire is Peter Pan, how did he get to Neverland–because if everyone there has eternal life, wouldn’t that be magical & he was supposed to have gone to a world without magic? Of course, he could have been kidnapped, I suppose, & taken to Neverland.

    Why are Cora & Hook so determined to go to Storybookland? The inhabitants themselves want to go back to Fairytaleland. Cora wants to pester her daughter & grandson, & Hook wants revenge against Rumps? But do they understand that magic is not working the same in Maine as in Fairytaleland? And don’t you want to make sure that you can return or, at least, go to another magical realm after you’ve had your revenge & what not? Looks more like a one-way trip at this point with the wardrobe ashes.

    Thanks for observing, Roco. I enjoy the show. The show manages plot twists that I didn’t see coming. The show also benefits from having interesting villains.

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  5. Sammy says

    Roco thank you for these observations, I read them after every episode I watch. I especially like the titles of the sections like ‘disbelle-ever”
    Do you think the man in the first episode that got the postcard is Bae?

    Like: Thumb up 1

    • says

      Sammy, glad you’re enjoying them!

      At this point I do think he could be Henry’s father, though Bae would be my second guess. I’m also starting to wonder whether he could be both Bae and Henry’s father.

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  6. Lisa says

    In Skin Deep, it was not a phobia of Rumples reflection when he unveiled the mirror. He was talking to the queen when he was screaming into the mirror. The queen can see anyone through any mirror. That’s why rumple kept it covered. That was my impression, anyway.

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    • WaySeeker says

      Agreed. But, if you knew the Evil Queen could see you from any mirror, so you avoided mirrors (covered them up), then couldn’t that turn into a phobia?

      I guess my question would be why keep mirrors at all TO cover up and instead just don’t have any! But then that would rob the show of character and plot points so sometimes contrivance is a necessary evil for drama.

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      • Doc says

        @Lisa & WaySeeker

        I believe Rumple’ realized at that point that the Evil Queen was able to use her remote viewing without the need for anything on the other end!
        Meaning, all that was required was her mirror and that was it!….as he smashed all the reflective surfaces in his reach.

        The EQ was able to see Snow and the Dwarves in the forest. Charming running away from her castle, in the forest!….. There are no mirrors hanging about in the forest! That is how the EQ learned about the chipped cup. She watched the whole event as it took place in Rumple’s castle, from her mirror.

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