Once Upon A Time season 2 episode 4 review: Crocodile

Review Kylie Peters
22 Oct 2012 - 07:14

Crocodile is Once Upon A Time's season two highlight so far. Here's Kylie's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.4 Crocodile

Going by the advertising for this episode (and there was a heck of a lot of it), it seemed safe to assume that we were going to get a whole lot of sexy pirate action this week. In reality, The Crocodile includes an origin story for Captain Hook and a promise that we’ll be seeing more of him in the future, but on the whole, the episode centered more on Rumplestiltskin.  The titular crocodile is Rumple, by the way; there are no actual crocodiles. 

Putting aside the irritation at being misled by advertising, the episode itself was the highlight of the season thus far.  Rumplestiltskin is by far the show’s most fascinating character, and Robert Carlyle is phenomenal in the role, so any episode focusing on him can hardly disappoint even if the writing does have a few weak spots. There’s also enough Rumbelle to keep the shippers squeeing for a long time, and that’s a sizable portion of the OUaT fandom right there. 

Although Captain Hook wasn’t the centre of the episode, he still got a good chunk of screentime, and damn is he fine.  There are two types of hot guys: regular hot guys, and hot guys who are so hot that you can figure out whether you’re gay or straight based on how attracted you are to this one man. Captain Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) is that special transcendent type of hot guy. OUaT’s audience is skewed heavily toward the female, and O’Donoghue is hand-picked to please. (Though he could stand to lay off the eyeliner a little.) 

As tempting as it is write the rest of this article about Captain Hook’s hotness, I shall restrain myself. O’Donoghue is a solid actor, though I didn’t find any standout moments like the ones Carlyle delivers practically every two minutes. The two of them have a nice-looking duel, and the scene of Hook, Smee, and the crew getting ready to go to Neverland is pretty neat.  On the other hand, he is entirely unconvincing at playing a guy who’s just had his hand chopped off. I don’t know if it was O’Donoghue or the script’s fault, but it was a huge distraction during a scene that should have been momentous. I know you can’t have an adequate amount of gushing blood on a family show, but he could at least scream and roll around on the floor a little. 

Last season, Rumple mentioned his wife in a sort of offhand manner and the show was mostly silent on her after that. It was hard to believe someone like pre-Dark One Rumple would get over the loss of his wife so easily, so I’m glad they followed up on her. Rumple’s story is largely about his cowardice, which is territory we’ve covered before so although it still managed to be affecting, it was nothing special until the end.

Rumplestiltskin’s new addition to the theme and his best moment of the episode came when he opened up to Belle about his continued cowardice in his search for Bae and how he uses magic and its accompanying power as a crutch. Although he was talking about magic, something that doesn’t exist, it’s a familiar sentiment and Rumple’s struggle easily translates to any number of other things we use to make us feel safe or in-control in real life. 

We got to know Belle a little better this episode, and she is cute but not fascinating. I’d like to see her with a little more agency. It will be great if she restores the library, because that will give her a niche of her own in Storybrooke, and how can you have a town called Storybrooke with no library? For that matter, how can you have any town with no library? The bookworms of the world need you, Belle! 

Emma, Snow, and Regina are all absent in this episode, but I didn’t particularly miss them. That could be a good thing (it’s such a great cast of characters that they don’t even need the three leading ladies all the time to support the story) or a bad one (three of the main characters of this show suck). Interpret that as you will; I think it’s simply because Rumple is so brilliant he can carry the show by himself. One thing is for sure, the three ladies’ absence allowed for more focus on Rumple, Belle, and Hook, which brought out that excellent character-building that defines OUaT

Next week’s episode is about…Frankenstein?  Zombies? The whole premise is out of character for OUaT. Maybe it’s a Halloween thing. It’s an interesting change, and it looks like we’ll finally get some information on Dr. Whale, so perhaps it won’t be as much of a train wreck as I’m afraid it will be.   

Or they could just stick Captain Hook in there. That’ll fix it.

Read Kylie's review of the previous episode, Lady Of The Lake, here.

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