Season 3, Episode 8 (Think Lovely Thoughts)
This is one of those episodes that opens up many more questions than it answers. A new chapter in Rumpelstiltskin’s biography is introduced – the earliest one yet, in fact – and we are treated to a performance by a young actor who manages to evoke the adult Rumpelstiltskin, Baelfire, and Henry while still being an eight-year-old boy. Even though I had never seen the boy before, it was immediately obvious that he was a very young Rumpelstiltskin.
Finally, this episode reveals how Rumpelstiltskin knows Peter Pan – and my theory about the poached eggs was proved correct. Peter Pan is none other than Rumpelstiltskin’s cowardly father. He is cowardly in that he never wanted to grow up, shying away from responsibility and respectability in favour of drunkenness and cheating. When given the chance to turn back into a boy and never grow old in Neverland, the man seized the opportunity even as it meant giving up his son.
Unfortunately, returning to eternal boyhood only enhanced Peter Pan’s sociopathic tendencies, and as he learned magic, he only grew more monstrously evil. He would even sacrifice the lives of his son, grandson, and great-grandson if it meant gaining immortality. The scariest part? It was not as though he did not care for them.
My big question, however, is whatever happened to Rumpelstiltskin’s mother? His father hardly seemed like the type to stick around, nor like the type to change diapers and drag around a wailing baby simply because its mother died. Did she, like Milah and Emma, abandon them? Was the relationship between Rumpelstiltskin’s parents a love match, or just a one night stand? Was his mother also a fairy tale character? Which twisted version of a classic is she?
Season 6, Episode 9 (Disciple)
Nothing is scarier than the unseen and unknown. For crime dramas, that rule especially applies to cases that are nonsensical and personal. When a killer can taunt the police, no one is comfortable. This episode reminded us that sometimes the killers get away – leaving us just as confused as before.
The first murder victim is a dead ringer for Lanie. Everything, even her tattoos, has been reproduced on an otherwise stranger who has been strangled to death. To further make things odd, the second victim has been reconstructed to look like Esposito. While Castle, Beckett, and the team track down the killer and try to determine why on Earth the victims have been surgically altered to look like Lanie and Esposito, files go missing and finally someone notices that every single file that has disappeared relates to the 3XK killer. Castle is certain that 3XK is still alive despite having been shot off of a bridge, while Beckett is naturally sceptical. The ending of the episode changes her mind – and the look of horror on her face would not be out of place in a Silence of the Lambs-style film.
Everything about Disciple is unsettling, from the initial reveal of the Lanie-lookalike to the last wafting notes of Vera Lynn singing “We’ll Meet Again,” an otherwise sweet and endearing song. It is uncertain whether 3XK is truly dead and merely being copied, or whether he has managed to survive with help from loyal loved ones or followers. The lack of resolution on this front is truly frightening – what storyline do the writers have in mind for this character next?
Season 7, Episode 7 (Loch Ness Murdoch)
In a bizarre turn of events, this episode finds Inspector Brackenreid and Detective Murdoch convinced that there is a lake monster in Lake Ontario responsible for the deaths of two young women, while Constable Crabtree is cynically and steadfastly sticking to the investigation by questioning those involved with a beauty pageant held at the beach. The former two men are shocked that Crabtree does not embrace their enthusiasm regarding the lake monster – but despite believing in ghosts, zombies, curses, and other paranormal causes, Crabtree is unconvinced that the lake monster is real.
Unsurprisingly, the culprit turns out to be quite human. Crabtree’s line of reasoning is quite correct, although the case continues to twist around and offer red herrings and false clues. Still, the lake monster theory is amusing. Brackenreid is convinced that the monster is real and lets his heat-addled imagination (helped along with a relaxing ale – as he was initially on the beach for a day off) run rampant. He and Crabtree switch places in terms of their beliefs, much to Murdoch’s initial amusement until he, too, sees the lake monster.
Murdoch’s curiosity and scientific mind lead him to determine if there are in fact reptilian creatures in Lake Ontario. Helped along with Dr. Ogden, who sees the opportunity for experiment as an excuse for a date, they end up on the beach at night in likely one of their funniest romantic scenes in the series. In 1901, paleontology was still a new science – dinosaurs had only been properly documented in recent decades. Meanwhile, marine biology was still in its infancy. One could still speculate at the monstrous creatures that might exist in both salt- and freshwater. Alas, modern technology has largely taken away the mystery. Now, our horror monsters have to be genetically-engineered in order to reach gigantic proportions.
This episode takes place during a summer heat wave (curiously, also filmed during a summer heat wave) and thus provides ample commentary on Edwardian bathing costumes. Thankfully, wool stockings are no longer required women’s beach attire. Interestingly, while women have gone far in the other direction nowadays, the men’s costumes from 1901 are only noticeably different in that they have tops and are perhaps slightly longer than the average pair of swimming trunks today.
Season 5, Episode 7 (Hook, Line & Sinker)
Sounding like the set-up for a horror movie, Mal, Jake, and Des are on a fishing trip in the woods for a male-bonding experience. Mal wants to do something to take Jake’s mind off of Leslie, while Des is struggling with the secret that he is romantically involved with Tinny. Of course, the trip turns into a disaster – but only because they come across murderous mobsters and a pretty young femme fatale. Meanwhile, Rose has to deal with the return of an enemy from her criminal past and the impressionable young Sloan who sees this woman’s life as something to emulate. While Rose never set out to be a mother or grandmother figure, she sees herself in Sloan and wants to set her straight. Unfortunately, Sloan is bordering on sociopathic – I would really like to know where the writers intend to go with her.
The main meat of the episode is the fishing trip. While hilarious, it retains the elements of both horror and gritty action. There are traps, missing bodies, bodies suddenly materialising, and endless woods conveniently out of cell phone range. The plot is so intriguing, in fact, that I felt that the plot in St. John’s with Rose, Leslie, and Sloan (Tinny must have been at work) was distracting. The episode would have been much better had they stuck with the one storyline. There would have been more suspense and more room for dialogue. As it was, the story seemed too rushed.
However, for what was presented, this was a funny and suspenseful episode with lots of excuses to present the natural beauty that is Newfoundland. For a place known for her oceans, she’s got pretty fine forests too.