Although still an interesting episode with a good deal to admire, "Lacey" is something of an uneven one too that doesn't quite hit the target. After Season 2 generally was showing signs of significant plot advancement and characters being given more dimension, "Lacey" felt like it back-tracked on both while not being non-existent. Some strands are better executed than others and there are characters more interesting than others too.
"Lacey" is most successful with the relationship between Belle and Rumplestiltskin, which has a lot of heart and both characters show great chemistry and interesting to watch on their own. The whole stuff with Lacey and the false memories also intrigued and much clearer than it seems on paper. Greg and Tamara, along with Belle and Rumplestiltskin, are the closest the episode gets to progression of plot and setting things up for what is to come.
Not as successful is the Robin Hood conflict. For what it was touted to be, it is not focused on enough or features enough, something of a waste really. It could have easily replaced the filler-like scenes regarding the magic beans. Character advancement also has been done much better before and since, too many characters having lost their complexity and being one-dimensional (Regina being evil rather than conflicted and Emma dumb and selfish). Rumplestiltskin and Belle are exceptions.
It may sound like "Lacey" was a terrible episode. It isn't, far from it. Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla and Emilie De Ravin (with Belle being the most interesting and likeable she's been yet) give great performances, have nothing to fault with any of the cast but they dominate.
As has been indicated above, there are things that are done very well in the story and "Lacey" certainly isn't dull pace-wise.
Furthermore, "Lacey" is a very handsomely mounted episode visually, the settings and costumes are both colourful and atmospheric, not too dark or garish and never cookie-cutter. It is photographed beautifully too. The music is haunting, ethereal and cleverly used with a memorable main theme. Writing has the right balance of humour, pathos, mystery and intrigue.
Overall, interesting and generally admirable episode but doesn't quite hit the target. 7/10 Bethany Cox