As we lay on the cusp of Season 5A, a lot of questions were answered in last night’s episode but new ones were revealed as we learnt more about Hook’s evil plan and why Emma decided to wipe everyone’s memories. It also feels that for the first time this season the plot is actively moving forward instead of letting us play catch up. Let’s get into what happened this week:
Keen to pay back the favor, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) removes Emma’s (Jennifer Morrison) memories of everything that happened post-her turning him into the Dark One. So Emma turns to the Storybrooke Gang for help in finding out Hook’s nefarious plans, but when they go to her shed to get all the dreamcatchers of everyone’s memories they discover it’s missing so there has to be something that Hook is keeping from them. Zelena (Rebecca Mader) also left Emma with her magic suppressing bracelet on her arm, as a parting gift.
We get to see Hook’s transformation into the Dark One and he gets to share Emma’s Head!Rumple (Robert Carlyle) who tries to steer him to the Dark Side by saying that now with the power that he has he can finally get his revenge on the real Rumple, which does entice Hook. It took him centuries of failure to give up on that lost cause, might as well have one last shot now that he has magic. Head!Rumple does suggest to Hook that he uses the curse that Regina did in order to transport back to Storybrooke but Hook refuses to crush the heart of the one he loves the most – which is Emma – but Head!Rumple reminds him that there are always loopholes.
Never one to be overdone Hook drops in on Rumple and Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and announces his plan to get revenge on Rumple (a hand for his hand that he removed, for killing Milah his heart and for turning Emma into the Dark One – his head) and challenges the old crocodile to a duel on his ship where Rumple will be fighting with the only weapon that can kill a Dark One – Excalibur. He also doesn’t see much use in hiding the fact that he has taken ownership of his co-Dark One status.
Rumple, now that he is a hero, goes to the Storybrooke gang and tells them everything that Hook told him (tattletale), the group go over Merlin’s (Elliot Knight) advice to seek help from Nimue (Caroline Ford). They seek information of her’s from the Dark One book which apparently is in the library, but Rumple refuses to go with him as he intends to prepare for his duel. Before leaving, he tells Belle that if he survives he wants to be a better man for Belle, and if she still wants to be with him, she should meet him at the well where they got married. Sidenote, uh where is Will Scarlet though?
The crew is also having a hard time trusting Emma – which I mean they have a good reason for, she did do some dodgy things – and none of it hits harder than Henry (Jared Gilmore), who tells her that despite the fact that she thinks her intentions are good, the fact that she did not come to any of them for help, says tons about her trust issues. It’s harsh but it hits home for Emma and the gang decide not to take her magic suppressing bracelet off or take her along to the library.
In the Camelot flashback, the gang is looking for Emma and Hook, and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) suggests that Lancelot (Sinqua Walls) go and ask his mother, the Lady of the Lake for help. This is slightly significant because in Arthurian legend, Nimue is the Lady of the Lake so either they are changing things for the purpose of the show or Nimue is going to play an interesting role. Emma, on the other hand, found Hook and she told him that Excalibur disappeared when she turned him into the Dark One. She also tried to distract him from the Rumple in his head by using kissytime. Much like he did with her in the meadow with the horses.
In present time, the gang has Merida (Amy Manson) guarding Emma in her house when Hook barges in. He’s there to stick some significant daggers into the hearts of some Captain Swan shippers as he tells Emma, who’s lovestruck and hopeful, that the feelings he once had for her are gone and he just sees her as a blonde distraction. Hook says he wants to hurt her as she hurt him, which whoah this Dark!Hook sure can hold a grudge, jk I know it just happened for him.
So we flash back to what happened between our favorite twosome in Camelot, and apparently Head!Rumple reveals to Hook that Excalibur is near him, and that Emma lied when she said she didn’t know where it is. Hook confronts Emma about this, and she said she did it because she knew that he feared what he would do with dark magic. But he isn’t so easily swayed and he tells her that she immediately thought the worst in him by keeping this from him, and has betrayed his trust. She argues that it’s because everyone always abandons her, and he says that he never will, and they kiss again, committing to conquer the darkness together.
In Storybrooke, Emma realizes that she must have known more about Hook’s plan if he wanted to remove her memories. She approaches Henry for help and he creates a locator spell for her dreamcatcher which they can steal back while Hook is distracted with his duel with Rumple. Henry is convinced that Emma is finally on the path of righteousness because she asked him for help so he removes her magic suppressing cuff so she can get back the dreamcatchers.
Aboard the Jolly Roger, Hook and Rumple are engaging on a duel which does not look fair – Rumple is an old man without his cane – although he has Excalibur. But through some nifty swordplay and supposed 300 years of training, he bests Hook, but he chooses not to kill him. He’s totally taking his hero status seriously. He says he wants Hook to live with the knowledge that he was bested by Rumple yet again.
Reinvigorated by his victory, Rumple returns to the wedding well, and Belle is waiting for him. He takes this as a sign that she’s ready to go with their relationship yet again but Belle isn’t up for that as she tells him that he betrayed her trust too many times for her to just hop back into her relationship with him, even though she loves him. She said that even if she does give him another chance she would need time in which to think about it. So much for victory sex for Rumple.
Back in Camelot, Emma and Hook are reunited with the Storybrooke gang and she tells them that Hook is totally okay, nothing at all for them to worry about, which even in writing sounds slightly dodgy. Hook on the other hand makes his way over to Granny’s where Merlin is recording his voicemail message that we heard a couple of episodes ago. Hook reveals that he is trying to send everyone back to Storybrooke so he can get his revenge on Rumple and so he needs to enact the curse. The loophole that Head!Rumple was talking about is that instead of Hook crushing Emma’s heart, he would get Nimue (who is inside Hook because all Dark Ones are one) to crush the one of the person she loved the most in the world – which is Merlin. It all happened so fast and not even Emma who ran in at the last moment to stop Hook could save him, Hook crushed his heart and used the ashes to complete the curse. R.I.P. Merlin, truly one of my favorite new characters we’ve seen in awhile. Emma does however manage to remove Hook and everyone else’s memories of their time in Camelot before the curse truly takes hold of them, which brings us back to the present.
Everyone is gathered over at Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) place as they get back their memories from Emma, and while she’s having her session with her own dreamcatcher she remembers what Hook’s plan is. I thought the episode was going to end here but luckily they decided to fill us in as we see Hook and Head!Rumple chilling by the lake. Head!Rumple reveals that they needed the blood from a man who died and came back to life – like Rumple – which was why Hook staged the whole duel. He’s like a small scale Voldemort who staged the whole Triwizard Tournament just to get Harry Potter’s blood for a spell. I see you, undercover Potterhead, Hook. Head!Rumple reveals that the lake is a portal to the Underworld and after Hook drops Rumple’s blood in, a dodgy boat docks there and Nimue gets off, apparently she brought the entire Dark One squad with her and they’re going to help Hook extinguish the light. This is going to be interesting…
One final point I would like to make about this episode is that Colin O’Donoghue shone in his role as Dark!Hook, it reminded me of how enticing and engaging he was as a villain. It also harks back to when Robert Carlyle was the Dark One, Hook has all the dramatics and flamboyance that Dark!Emma lacked with her cold and rigid approach. I’m looking forward to see Hook become even more compelling as the series enters into it’s final stretch for Season 5.
Episode Rating: 8/10