Is Belle's Mother Alive on 'Once Upon A Time'? Frances O'Connor's Role Could Go Beyond Flashbacks

In yet another instance of "everyone knows everyone" mixed with "everyone has met Anna and Elsa at some point in his or her Enchanted Forest life," this week the Storybrooke resident with that honor is Belle. It feels like for this past season Belle has taken up residence on the back burner, which we'll just chalk up to the fact that she's spending so much time exploring the grounds of her Honeymoon house and occasionally stopping by the library. So for the first time in what feels like forever, we've got some Belle flashbacks on Once Upon A Time . And while yes, she does run into the spunky Anna, Belle is actually on her own quest to find out information about her mother. From my countless viewings of Beauty and the Beast, I've always assumed that Belle's mother was dead. However, it looks like OUAT might pull another fast one on us, and Belle's mother could be alive.

Just before Season 4 of OUAT kicked off, Entertainment Weekly announced that Frances O'Connor had signed on to play the role of Belle's mother, Colette. Their description claims that we'll meet her briefly, but that "there’s a possibility to see her again later in the season." Which is basically just OUAT code for, "she's not actually dead."

But wait, back to Frozen. Why is Belle suddenly hanging out with Anna? Well, from the synopsis released for Sunday's episode, Belle is looking for help regaining some of her "lost memories." I was unaware that Belle had lost some of her memories, but then again, we were all collectively unaware of the fact that there's been an ice cream parlor in Storybrooke this whole time. Anyway. Somewhere along the way, Belle lost her memories, and now in the Enchanted Forest she's ready to get them back. But the only person who can help her is not in the Enchanted Forest, which is what takes Belle to Arendelle to meet with Grand Pabbie of the rock trolls. I was unaware Grand Pabbie was made head of the Lost Memory Council, but hey, maybe Emma should check out that option out too.

What does Belle hope to learn once she takes a meeting with Pabbie? That's still anyone's guess until Sunday's episode. From the sound of it, Belle's mother's possible death — or disappearance? — has still left her with a lot of unanswered questions and now she needs answers. At the same time O'Connor's casting was announced, it was also noted that she'd appear in a flashback before Belle met Rumpelstiltskin. She must be incredibly desperate for answers if she can't find them with her nose buried in a book.

It wouldn't be the biggest twist to come to OUAT if suddenly Belle's mother were still alive. However it would probably make us roll our eyes if suddenly she were alive and well in Storybrooke. The fact that Colette could have the potential to be a recurring character makes it sound like at some point in time she'll appear more than in just a flashback. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the show loves the idea of family. So in one way or another, Belle's mother will be sticking around, whether through a heartwarming return, or just as a memory.

Images: Jack Rowand/ABC; Giphy