“And that Dearie, is the conundrum we’re all depending on you solving” (OUaT, S02E08).
The thing about the television show Once Upon a Time is that every single one of my favorite characters are incredibly shady. And by shady, I mean that they’re the bad guys.
Don’t get me wrong, Charming/David is awesome, Snow White/Mary Margaret kicks butt, and Phillip, though on the screen for two seconds, was sweet and dedicated and such a prince. And I like the good guys. I want them to win.
I just want them to really fight for it.
Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold has pretty much been my favorite since he was properly introduced. And it doesn’t matter which one he is—I think he is utterly fascinating. He’s also really evil and you can’t trust him as far as you can throw a crocodile, but every time he’s on the screen, I love watching him work. Is he gonna help? Is he gonna hinder? Will he actually find his son? And when, for the love of all that is good in the land, will he get his favor from Emma (child of Snow and Charming and breaker of the curse)? But the thing that is truly amazing about him is his relationship with Belle.
Every bad guy trying to reform, or at least be less evil, needs someone to believe in them. Belle is that person for Rumple. She’s always asking him to do the right thing, to prove her trust in him, and to establish that her love isn’t meaningless. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s where Mr. Gold shines brightest.
In the first season, there was also the Huntsman/Sherriff Graham. Now, he’s the least evil of the lot because his loyalty to the Evil Queen/Regina isn’t entirely his idea (she literally stole his heart). He clearly works for Regina, but he didn’t kill Snow and he set Charming free and he even started falling for Emma, who kept pushing him to be good. Too bad that he was killed before it could really happen. But he pops up sometimes in flash backs, so he’s still around, sort of.
The Evil Queen/Regina is not a favorite of mine, but she’s interesting as well because she wants to prove her adopted son Henry (who is actually the child of Emma, grandson of Charming and Snow) that he can trust her and love her. The problem with Regina is that she doesn’t really have anyone rooting for her. And without any support system (like Gold has with Belle), I don’t think she’s gonna make it. But here’s the thing: if Rumplestiltskin can reform, or at least try to, then Regina can, too. Her hatred and wickedness isn’t nearly as deep as his. As a side note: I wish there had been more emotional fallout after she dealt with Daniel, her true love that her mother Cora killed years ago. That would have been a perfect place to really dig in to her conflicting nature. But, c’est la vie.
Now, for the newest member of the bad boys club: Killian Jones, aka Captain Hook. He’s brand new this season, but I am loving him. I don’t know how many of you have actually read the novel Peter Pan, but he didn’t do anything particularly evil in that story. I mean, he was the “bad guy” who hated Peter so you were automatically supposed to hate him too, but he never gets his way far enough to really cause a problem. So when he showed up and was, let’s be honest, smoking hot and in love with Rumplestiltskin’s wife, I didn’t have the initial problem of thinking, “Dude, I can’t like you, you’re Captain freaking Hook.” And then he helped Emma and Snow, and then he stole Aurora’s heart, but then he gave it back, and most recently caused all manner of problems in Storybrooke. But I love his scenes.
With Rumple, the question is: how will he twist words today? With Regina, it’s: will she keep fighting to be good? But with Hook? He’s a loose cannon. There is no telling how he’s going to cause problems, or if he’ll help instead. Personally, I can’t wait to see some of his time in Neverland.
Now, as if rooting for villains wasn’t bad enough, now I have two bad guys going after each other. Hook wants to destroy Rumplestiltskin and Rumple isn’t exactly a fan of Hook’s. I don’t want either one to die, but I don’t know who to root for when they throw down. Rumplestiltskin is still angry about Milah (Rumple’s wife) running away with Hook and Hook wants revenge on him for killing Milah, his true love.
Who do you root for in that situation? No, really, tell me. I need help.