At first glance, Gideon (Giles Matthey) looks like one of the worst villains Storybrooke has seen yet. He’s out to kill Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and steal her powers, he was willing to murder a fairy, and he stranded Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) in the Enchanted Forest against his will. The bad behavior is seriously piling up.
However, despite all his misguided tactics, we’d still argue that Gideon is more of an antihero than a villain.
First of all, the kid grew up in what sounds like a hell dimension with an evil fairy physically and emotionally abusing him. That’s enough to turn anyone evil, but somehow it only managed to harden Gideon’s heart, not turn it black.
Right and wrong seem to be all mixed up in his head, which explains his “the end justified the means” mentality. He’s willing to do or say anything to save the people of the Black Fairy’s dimension, which is proof positive that there is goodness left in him. It sounds like he grew up in a dog-eat-dog kind of world, so it’s a miracle he’s not more selfish or bloodthirsty.
In fact, anytime we’ve seen him talk about killing Emma to steal her power, he’s seemed incredibly uncomfortable and even guilty about the prospect of murdering her. When you compare him to villains like Cora (Barbara Hershey) or the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), who felt little to no guilt about the endless line of people they killed, he looks downright cuddly.
Since he arrived in Storybrooke, we’ve barely gotten to see him spend any time with his parents, and that seems like it could be the key to setting him straight.
As he said in the mid-season premiere, he doesn’t consider himself to be evil. No matter how hard the Black Fairy tried, he never forgot his mother and her goodness. While Rumple (Robert Carlyle) might be willing to darken his own heart to protect his son’s, it will undoubtedly fall to Belle (Emilie de Ravin) to help redeem him.
Who better to pull an antihero back from the edge than Belle? She’s already done it several times for Rumple, and we can only imagine how much more committed to the cause she’ll be when it’s her son on the line, rather than her true love. You just don’t mess with mothers, especially in Storybrooke.
So far, Gideon hasn’t done anything that can’t be undone. The Blue Fairy’s magic can most likely be restored to her, Hook can be pulled back from the Enchanted Forest, and Gideon’s vendetta against Emma can be dropped. With the right incentive and backup, Gideon could feasibly be convinced that taking on the Black Fairy with the help of his parents and the other heroes of “Once Upon a Time” is a better strategy than taking an innocent life. After all the time he’s tried to keep the Black Fairy from turning him evil, resorting to murder seems like he’s falling straight into her trap.
For Gideon’s sake — as well as Belle and Rumple’s — we hope that he sees the error of his ways sooner rather than later. Not only because we love this new character and want him to stick around for a good long while, but because the alternative is Rumbelle losing their baby, or Emma losing her life. We’re just not okay with either of those options.
“Once Upon a Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.