One of the biggest flaws that Once Upon a Time has always had is its refusal to give Belle the proper storyline she deserves. But all of that changed during Sunday night's Once Upon a Time episode "Her Handsome Hero" when Belle reunited with Gaston in the Underworld. For once, her storyline wasn't just purely centered around a man, but rather her strong determination to do the right thing and stand up for what she believes in. I mean, OK, fine — yes, Gaston was courting her and the whole flashback part of the episode did end in a marriage proposal, but there was so much more to it than that.
Belle took a stand against an army of men to save an innocent ogre from harm. Sure she found Gaston charming, but not enough to make her ignore her moral integrity. But it wasn't just Past Belle to rise up against men in positions of power. She demanded that Rumple try to turn his Dark Magic into Light Magic; she refused to let him push Gaston into the River of Lost Souls, even if it meant saving their baby from Hades contract; she even went toe-to-toe with the Lord of the Underworld himself. And while she was the one to accidentally send her former beau down the river (quite literally), it was not a planned vendetta but rather an instinctual reaction when Rumple's life was in danger.
In the end, the whole ordeal turned out to basically be a lose-lose situation since darkness won out and their contract with Hades is still in one piece. But, in a way, that's OK. I'm sure they'll be able to think of something to bring this Big Bad down once and for all. I just loved seeing Belle take control and get her nose out of those books long enough to take some serious action. Even when she agreed to marry Gaston, it was more so she could be a hero for her people rather than just swooning over some guy. She was willing to make sacrifices for the greater good and I hope we see more of this side of Belle as the season progresses.
Image: Jack Rowand/ABC