In the eighteenth episode of season 7 of Once Upon a Time, titled “The Guardian,” Rumple seeks Alice’s help in reuniting with Belle, but things do not go as planned. Meanwhile, in present-day Hyperion Heights, Tilly and Margot go on a date, Henry searches for answers, and “Weaver”/Rumple goes to extremes to find the Dark One dagger after it goes missing. (As before, if a character is awake, I will refer to them by their real name or put their cursed name in quotation marks.)

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Rumple Turns to Alice for Help

As the episode begins, we find Rumple talking to his deceased wife in the Enchanted Forest 2.0. It hasn’t been very long since Belle died, but Rumple feels like it’s been an eternity. Rumple’s one-sided conversation is interrupted by Dr. Facilier. Facilier shows up claiming he can talk to the dead and that he’s come to help Rumple. He knows Rumple wants to get rid of the Dark One’s dagger and he’s willing to take it off Rumple’s hands. Alas, when Facilier tries to take Rumple’s power, Rumple easily bests him. Rumple then asks Facilier what Belle wants him to know. Facilier claims Belle is worried about Rumple giving in to the darkness because she’s not there to guide him. Belle wants him to find the Guardian before it’s too late, and Facilier promises that he’ll be there to take the dagger from Rumple if Rumple fails in his mission.

Later, Rumple goes to see Alice. He watches from a distance as she flirts with Robin. (They exchange gifts and we learn that Robin has been passing letters between Alice and Wish-Hook.) Once Robin and Alice are out of view, Wish-Hook appears. He doesn’t want Rumple anywhere near his daughter because, unlike everyone else, he still believes that Rumple is a villain. Rumple tells Wish-Hook that he thinks Alice might be the Guardian and he’s there to test her. Wish-Hook won’t let Rumple saddle Alice with the burden of the Dark One dagger. He says she has a chance at happiness with Robin and he won’t let Rumple ruin that.

If the scales staring to appear on Rumple’s hand are any indication, Rumple doesn’t have much time left to find the Guardian before the darkness begins to consume him once again. To that end, Rumple waits for a time when Wish-Hook isn’t watching over Alice to approach her. He tells her that he has a way to break the curse put on her father’s heart so they can be together again. Rumple claims that Dr. Facilier has the magic they need, but he won’t give it up without a fight. Alice says she’ll do whatever it takes to reunite with her father. Alas, Alice is horrified when she learns what it will take.

As part of the Guardian test, Rumple has Alice rip out Facilier’s heart. Alice thinks they’re just going to use Facilier’s heart to order him to give up the magic they need, but Rumple says it’s more than that. He tells Alice that the only way to cure her father’s poisoned heart is to sacrifice someone else’s heart. Alice can save her father by killing Facilier. Despite her desperation to be reunited with her father, Alice cannot bring herself to take a life. When she runs off, Rumple chases after her. He explains that asking her to kill Facilier was a test. He had to find out if she’s the Guardian he’s been looking for and now he knows that she is.

Rumple Makes a Huge Sacrifice

Off-screen, Rumple apparently fills Alice in on his desire to give up the Dark One dagger so he can be with Belle again. Alice accepts her role as the Guardian and starts a spell that will free Rumple from the dagger. However, as Alice begins taking the darkness from him, Rumple hears Belle’s voice. He then stops Alice before she finishes the spell. He explains that he made a promise to Belle that he would find a way to pass on the dagger without making it a burden to someone else. He knows that it would be a burden to Alice and he won’t put her through that. He wants her to live a happy, normal life with Robin. Rumple says he will have to find another way to rid himself of the dagger, even if it means he will have to lose his battle with the darkness inside him. Given the sacrifice he made for her, Alice knows Rumple is a good man and she promises she won’t let him forget it.

Later, Rumple is watching Alice when Wish-Hook arrives. Alice told him what Rumple did for her and Wish-Hook says that everyone was right about Rumple. He really has changed and he is no longer a villain. Wish-Hook promises to do whatever he can to repay Rumple for the sacrifice he made for Alice. With a new understanding between them, Rumple and Wish-Hook decide to move forward with a new story in which they are friends.

Regina Asks Rumple to Trust Her

In present-day Hyperion Heights, “Weaver”/Rumple and Rogers (aka Wish-Hook) are going to question “Nick”/Hansel about the murders. Alas, when they enter the locked interrogation room, they find their suspect dead. “Weaver” realizes that “Samdi”/Facilier was behind this murder. He leaves Rogers to lock down the building while he rushes off in search of the Dark One dagger. Rumple keeps the dagger hidden in the evidence room at the police station, but when he checks for it, the dagger is gone!

Meanwhile, Margot (aka Robin) finds Tilly (aka Alice) down by the troll bridge. Tilly is upset because she has this buzzing in her head that she can’t get rid of. Margot suggests they spend the day together. They can walk around the Heights and eat some good food and maybe that will help Tilly clear her head. Tilly asks if this is a date and Margot says she hopes so. 

After leaving Rogers at the station to handle the actual police work involving their suspect’s death, “Weaver” goes to see “Roni”/Regina. He finds her as she’s prepping the spell to cure Henry and she explains that “Samdi”/Facilier gave her the magic she needs for the spell. Rumple tells Regina that Facilier kept some of that magic for himself and he used it to kill “Nick”/Hansel before stealing the Dark One dagger. Rumple says he needs the magic she has to find the dagger, but Regina refuses to hand it over, as she needs the magic to save Henry’s life. Regina then asks Rumple to let her talk to Facilier to find out if he took the dagger.

When Regina approaches Facilier, he easily admits to killing “Nick”/Hansel. Regina asks if he also took the Dark One dagger, but Facilier says he did not. Despite knowing that Facilier came back to town specifically to get the dagger, Regina believes him when he says he didn’t take it. Once Regina leaves, Rumple approaches Facilier. Facilier once again says that he did not take the dagger, but Rumple doesn’t believe him. “Weaver”/Rumple pulls a gun on Facilier, but Facilier knows Rumple can’t kill him without risking a permanent separation from Belle. Rumple may not be able to kill Facilier, but he is determined to find his dagger, no matter the cost.

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Rumple Finds His Dagger

While on their date, Tilly takes Margot to a local bookshop. It’s one of her favorite places in the city because she can travel anywhere in the world via the stories in the books. Margot talks about her travels around the world, and Tilly says she hopes she gets to travel someday. Margot thinks she will, as she knows Tilly is going to have many wonderful adventures. Alas, their date is interrupted when Tilly starts hearing the awful buzzing sound again. Tilly is so upset by this sound that she rushes off and leaves Margot behind.

Rumple is so desperate to find his dagger that he ends up betraying Regina by stealing the magic she plans on using to cure Henry. He does a locator spell and it leads him to Tilly. She tells him about hearing the buzzing sound all day, but now she knows the buzzing is actually a voice. Rumple checks her bag and discovers that she has the Dark One dagger. He asks her if she stole the dagger from the evidence locker, but she says she didn’t. Once Rumple has the dagger in hand, Tilly says the voice has stopped. She doesn’t understand what’s going on, but Rumple says he does. He knows she was guarding the dagger. (I don’t know if this means Tilly took the dagger, but didn’t remember doing so or if the dagger just magically came to her because she’s the Guardian.) Tilly asks “Weaver” if he’s mad at her, but he says that she isn’t the person he’s angry with. (He’s clearly angry with himself because he realized how wrong his actions were and he’s feeling the guilt of that.)

Regina stops by the station to see Rumple just as he is returning the dagger to the evidence locker. Rumple lets Regina know that he found the dagger in the hands of the Guardian. Regina is confused because she thought Anastasia was the Guardian, but Rumple says Ana was merely a potential Guardian. Rumple says that the previous Guardian made sure the dagger was kept safe. Regina then realizes that the dagger was never stolen at all and she is furious that Rumple wasted the only magic she had to find his dagger. Now she doesn’t have the magic she needs to cure Henry. After everything they have been through, Regina can’t believe Rumple betrayed her like this. She says she now realizes that he hasn’t changed at all. Before storming off, Regina tells Rumple that she’s done with him. (Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle have always worked well together, and they are both particularly wonderful in this scene. You really feel Regina’s devastation over Rumple’s betrayal and the weight of the guilt Rumple feels for said betrayal.)

As the episode comes to an end, Tilly goes to the bar to see Margot. She explains that she never really knows what kind of day she’s going to have and she doesn’t want Margot to see her on one of her “not good” days because it can be too much for some people. Margot understands why Tilly ran off, but she says that it will never be too much for her, even on Tilly’s bad days.

Henry Learns the Truth

Early in the episode, Henry and Jacinda (aka Ella) talk about Nick. Jacinda is upset that she didn’t see the truth about Nick, but Henry says that no one realized how crazy Nick was until he snapped. Jacinda wants Henry to talk about what happened when Nick kidnapped him, but Henry says he’s not ready to talk about that yet. In truth, Henry is still confused over those blood test results that Nick showed him.

At the station, Rogers discovers that Nick’s murder was captured on the security footage because the station’s hard drive was corrupted. Luckily, Rogers gets stills from the camera across the street around the time Nick was killed. The stills show that “Drew”/Prince Naveen was near the station at the time of Nick’s death. Just then, Henry stops by to see Rogers. He was hoping that Rogers would let him see Nick, but Rogers tells Henry that Nick is dead. Rogers also says he’s planning to go to Nick’s apartment to search for more leads as to who killed him. Henry convinces Rogers to let him tag along because he needs to find the blood test results Nick showed him.

When they search “Nick”/Hansel’s apartment, Henry finds the test results he’s looking for. Before he can read them, Rogers and Henry hear a noise and they realize someone else is in the apartment. When Rogers chases down the intruder, he realizes it is “Drew.” 

“Drew”/Naveen explains that he broke into the apartment because he’s in danger. Naveen says that “Samdi”/Facilier killed “Nick” and he thinks it was because “Nick” had something on Facilier. “Drew” thought if he could find whatever “Nick” had, he could use it to protect himself from Facilier. When Rogers asks why “Drew” didn’t just go to the police for help, “Drew” says that “Samdi” is more powerful that Rogers could ever know. He tells Rogers to check the medical report to see how “Nick” really died. 

Rogers does look into the medical report, and as he explains to Henry, the report shows that “Nick” was killed to a single stab wound to the heart, from the inside. Henry asks how that could be possible, and Rogers says it’s not. Rogers then wonders aloud what is going on in his town.

In the final scene of the episode, Henry stops by to see Jacinda. He tells her about the blood test results that Nick showed him while he was holding him captive. After double-checking the results with the hospital, Henry reveals that Lucy was right all along and he is her father.

What did you think of this episode of Once Upon a Time season 7? Will Jacinda believe Henry about the blood tests results? Will the truth about Lucy’s parentage lead to Henry and Jacinda waking up from the curse? Can Rumple find a way to purge himself of the darkness without saddling Alice with a life of immortality? Is Alice the true Guardian or is she merely another potential Guardian the way Anastasia was? How will Regina cure Henry now that she’s lost the magic she needs for the spell? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV