We're only about a month away from the spring premiere of Once Upon A Time Season 5, and after the initial flurry of teasers for what's to come — a trip to the Underworld to save Hook (ugh), a sojourn to Oz to catch up with Zelena, that dangling carrot of an LGBT plotline still to come — things have been a bit dry, admittedly. Of course, there's not much more showrunners could tell us about the upcoming episodes without ruining them, and we don't want to spoil the anticipation, now do we? One element of Season 5B that I'm really looking forward to exploring concerns Belle, who'll not only be reuniting with Gaston via flashback, but who will apparently play a pretty important role in upcoming events. Belle won't be going to the Underworld with everyone else, but that doesn't mean she won't be keeping up with all the action.
We won't be spending the entire second half of the season in the Underworld — and frankly, if you ask me, the sooner we accept that Hook is dead and leave him to rot, the sooner we can get back to the stuff that actually made the show enjoyable to watch — but someone's gotta watch over stuff while everyone's in hell. Who's more capable than Belle?
You have to wonder why she stayed back in Storybrooke and what she'll do there while everyone else is off meeting Hades and trying to keep the remaining shreds of Emma's character intact. Could all of this have something to do with the fact that she found out Rumple lied to her yet again and instead of dedicating himself to being a redeemed soul, he's lied and deceived his way back into being the Dark One? Well, maybe.
As executive producer Adam Horowitz explained to TV Line, "We have plans to keep Belle busy. Although she didn’t get on the boat [to the Underworld] with our heroes, she’s important to the story and becomes very involved. We left [Belle and Rumple] in a place where that relationship was evolving. We’re not abandoning any of those story threads, and we’re hoping to pick up on them in an unexpected way."
I hope the "unexpected" element of this equation is Belle kicking Rumple to the curb for good. I'm sorry, Rumbelle 'shippers, but isn't enough enough? I love Rumple and think he's an excellent villain, but a villain he's always been and a villain he'll remain. He'll never give up his power or his darkness for Belle, no matter how much he says he wants to (or even if he genuinely does). The great love of his life is being the Dark One, and there's no changing that. Let's hope Belle finally sees that once and for all.
There is, of course, one potential problem: Emilie De Ravin's real life pregnancy could be written in to Belle's on-screen storyline. A decision hasn't been made (or at least hasn't been announced) either way, but if Belle does indeed end up pregnant, things could get mighty complicated. Even if it isn't, Belle will certainly play a major role in what's to come. After all, it might be easy enough to open a portal to the Underworld, but getting back? That's going to take some help, and Belle could just have the answers in one of her beloved books. We'll have to wait and see, I guess.
Images: ABC; Giphy