The crocodile of title is Rumpelstiltskin as the Dark One, whose skin became more discolored and scaly as he became greedier and more hearless. This is not to be confused with the original Rumpelstiltskin, who was timid and cowardly. Nor with present day Rumpel, also knows as Mr. Gold.
Last year, “Skin Deep,” the episode which introduced Belle, was one my favorites. In comparison, “The Crocodile” felt old and tired. Last year, Robert Carlyle’s performance was Emmy worthy. This year it was just plain hammy. Rumpelstiltskin (and Carlyle) is best when he’s conflicted. He loves Belle, but either he can’t or doesn’t want to change his evil nature. (Of course, if he became a good guy, he wouldn’t be Rumpelstiltskin, would he? And who would be able to match Regina magic-for-magic?)
So present day Belle leaves Rumple because he can’t seem to change. Of course, she can’t go far because she’ll lose her memory if she leaves the Storybrooke city limits. But she does eventually step out on her own, with a little help from Ruby, and in the end, Rumpel/Mr. Gold (who doesn’t seem to have a first name) accepts her decision. Oh, and she becomes the town librarian.
Last year, I couldn’t wait to get more of Belle, but now I’m sort of “meh.” I’m not sure why. It’s like her personality didn’t make the trip from Fairy Tale Land. Then again, she was held in the mental ward for a year. Surely that has to take it out of you. Or maybe it’s the darker hair. I wonder if this was a production decision given that most Beauty and the Beast beauties are brunette.
Or maybe because with Aurora/Sleeping Beauty is in this year’s series, and she’s traditionally been a blond, they felt the need to differentiate between Beauties.
Someone I do want to see more more of is Ruby. I loved her trying to tracking Belle with Charming and Rumpel in tow. Wearing an adorable hat (which I want!) and rockin’ leather pants.