I consider this episode a major apology for the last one, and I appreciate it immensely.
We finally are given the origin story of Killian/Hook, and how he was once a Lieutenant in an unnamed kingdom’s royal army, serving under his captain and older brother, Liam. Seeing him in this flashback was really striking. That man certainly pulled a 180- whoathunk there was a time when he openly rejected rum? Also, something interesting I noticed was that in certain angles, you could see Killian already had his cheek scar. Even though I am aware that it’s a real scar, the presence of the scar on this particular character always made sense, considering what Killian/Hook ended up doing for a living- it is something of an occupational hazard, after all. But you can still see it in the flashbacks, before he turned pirate, which begs the question how he got it in the show’s reality. (Was it supposed to be visible during the flashbacks, or did the makeup team just not put enough concealer on it?) Watching the dynamic between Liam and Killian was extremely enjoyable. I always love watching a story when two brothers get along so well (it’s one of the many reasons why Fullmetal Alchemist remains one of my all-time favorite Animes). In their case, I suppose it’s understandable, seeing as their mother was dead (I think) and their father deserted them. Throughout this flashback story, we’re shown how the two brothers were sent to Neverland to bring back a plant that they were told had strong medicinal properties. However, this plant turned out to be Dreamshade, and despite Pan’s warnings and Killian’s resulting doubt, Liam refuses to doubt the word of their king. As a result, Liam gets poisoned and is at death’s door almost instantly. Of course, Pan chooses this moment to pop up and taunt Killian, although I’m not quite sure how Killian was supposed to have goaded Liam into poisoning himself. All he really did was say he didn’t think collecting the Dreamshade was a good idea. He was just saying ‘let’s take a step back and think about this for a minute.’ It’s not his fault Liam refused to listen to his brother’s misgivings, particularly since he didn’t have to test it on himself. We saw that there were pigs on the island earlier in this episode. As much as I deplore the notion of animal testing, it would have been a smart move in this situation. Anyway, Pan shows Killian the magical spring that can save Liam’s life, but cryptically tells him that they still shouldn’t leave unless they’re willing to pay the price. To which I say, PAN YOU NASTY LITTLE GUTTERSNIPE! You call that a warning? How was ANYONE supposed to get ‘your brother will die for good if he ever leaves Neverland’ from that? I doubt even Adrian Monk could have figured that out. The loss of Liam, his only remaining family, left Killian in a state of emotional turmoil, which led to him vowing to turn against the king who sent them to find Dreamshade under false pretenses and began his life as a pirate captain. Watching how this story ended up really brought to my mind something Governor Swann said in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: “Perhaps, on the rare occasion the right course demands an act of piracy, piracy itself can be the right course.” That was more or less Killian’s mindset at the moment. Seriously, how old was he in this flashback? 16? 17? He didn’t choose to turn to piracy because he particularly wanted to. His actions were that of a man who had lost everything and didn’t feel like he had any other choice.
Meanwhile, in the present day. Emma stats fearing that Henry might start losing hope that they’re coming to rescue him, and it’s decided that they’ll attempt to send him a message. Snow plans to set a trap for a Lost Boy in the hopes that they’d be able to convince him to let Henry know that they’re coming for him. But when simple coaxing doesn’t work, Emma and Regina decide to resort to extreme measures, which involves Regina taking the Lost Boy’s heart and using the whole heart-control thing to ensure their message gets delivered. While I did sorta roll my eyes at Snow being all snippy with Emma for the method she ended up going with, I did understand when Snow apologized after the message was delivered. She was simply worried for her daughter, and didn’t want her to lose herself in the process of saving Henry. Even so, I would have thought Snow of all people would be able to understand- a true mother would go to any lengths necessary to save their child. Also had to give an internal cheer in this episode- Emma referred to Henry as ‘our son.’ Meaning she’s now acknowledging Regina as Henry’s mother, too. (Oh, please tell me this marks the end of that ‘he’s my son, not yours’ crap. I’m 1004% done with that.)
While Snow, Regina and Emma are occupied with their plan, Hook/Killian leads Charming on an expedition to locate a sextant that was lost on the island when he’d traveled to Neverland with Liam centuries ago, stating that the sextant could help them decipher Neal’s ‘star map.’ However, Charming, after overhearing Pan trying to talk Hook into betraying everyone in exchange for passage off Neverland, allows his mistrust of Hook’s intentions get the better of him, particularly after Hook/Killian reveals that there never was a lost sextant. But in the end, Hook/Killian reveals that Charming’s doubts were unfounded, as the whole point of the expedition was to bring Charming to the magical spring that could cure Dreamshade poisoning. Finally swallowing a bit of his pride, Charming accepts the cure, as well as the warning that doing so will result in his death if he ever tries to leave Neverland.
Ugh, Charming. I used to really like you, but in this episode? You REALLY got on my second nerve. What is your major malfunction? Is increased levels of open hostility a side effect of Dreamshade poisoning ? WHY are you so downright nasty to Hook in this episode? ‘You're nothing but a pirate.’ Yeah, Charming. And you’re just a shepherd boy turned fake prince! Not one to talk! You’re supposed to be the hero, man! Stop being a judgmental, holier-than-thou jerk, all right? While I can totally appreciate the instinct to be an overprotective dad, particularly after Emma’s meltdown in the last episode, this was taking it to the extreme levels. Yes, Hook might have helped Tamara and Greg get Regina’s self-destruct gem, which ultimately led them to getting the opportunity to kidnap Henry, but you never would have made it to Neverland to get Henry back without Hook’s help. And you certainly wouldn’t have been able to save Emma from drowning if he hadn’t assisted you. As for your statement that he’s only here for Emma? Um, isn’t that a good thing? I’d have thought any decent father would want to see their daughter with someone who’d willingly risk his life for her. Is he just thinking he’s only after Emma for her ‘assets?’ Let’s not forget that Emma is the mother of Gold/Rumpelstiltskin’s grandson. If Hook was only interested in a simple tryst, I seriously doubt he’d set his sights on a woman who has a connection to his bitterest enemy. The fact that he’s still interested in Emma even after finding out about that connection seems a pretty clear indicator he wants more than just a roll in the hay when it comes to her. So is Charming trying to insinuate that Hook is automatically the scum of the Earth simply because he lists ‘pirate’ as a profession? Dude, your wife, Snow, used to be a bandit, and your daughter was once involved in petty theft! Just saying! At least Charming sorta got his act together at the end, but even that was a bit off. ‘I thought he deserved a little credit.’ PFFFFT. A little?! Still, I suppose allowing some baby-steps isn’t that unreasonable. At least we had Emma to make up for her father’s stinginess in the gratitude department.
Yep, it’s time I talked about this moment. Unless I haven’t been clear before this point, allow me to spell it out for you: I have been a proud supporter of Captain Swan from the moment they climbed the beanstalk together. So you can imagine I thoroughly enjoyed seeing their kiss in this episode. With any show, the first kiss between two people is always going to be a big deal- the show writers and film crew have only one chance to do it right, and here, they did not disappoint. It starts with Hook/Killian being all flirty with Emma, like he’s been a number of times before. He might not even expect Emma to actually kiss him, and that she’d just roll her eyes and walk away, just like she’s done all the other times he’s flirted/tossed out innuendos. But when she doesn’t, the flirting shifts to a clear two-sided challenge, one neither intends to back down from. There is a brief moment of silence when they’re both sizing each other up, almost daring the other to back down. And then, it happens. Up until now, the kissing scenes in the show have ranged from sweet to romantic. But this one? This is unbridled passion and a release of pent-up sexual tension. If this show aired on a more adult-themed channel instead of the family-friendly ABC, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this kiss escalated into an actual sex scene. I cannot think of words that would do this kiss justice. But what’s even better is the aftermath of the kiss. Even when they come up for air, they don’t step away from each other, still breathing one another in as they try to catch their breath, with Emma still clinging to his coat collar. It’s glaringly obvious NEITHER of them could handle it. For the second time since we met him last season (remember how nervous and shy he seemed when he tried to comfort Emma back in Neal’s cave at the start of this episode?), Hook/Killian is at a loss for words. ‘That was, um...’ He’s so taken aback from what just happened, he cannot come up with a word to describe it. It’s probably been over 300 years since he was kissed quite like that, if he ever had been before. And then he instinctively starts to turn his head slightly, completely ready and willing for a second round. But then, Emma’s walls come rearing up again and she pulls away, declaring the kiss ‘a onetime thing’ (from the makers of ‘I’ll only eat one potato chip.’) as she, quite possibly, forces herself to turn and walk away. Because this is what she does when things get a bit too real for her. Much like how she abandoned Hook atop the beanstalk because she was scared of how easily she was starting to trust him, here she’s trying to act like the kiss didn’t affect her at all (even though it clearly did) by pretending like everything’s completely normal. At the same time, she knows if she doesn’t remove herself from the situation right now, she probably wouldn’t be able to keep herself from doing something else she won’t completely regret. To further protect herself, she instructs Hook/Killian to not follow her and gives him a menial chore to make sure he keeps his distance for a bit. To which he responds ‘as you wish.’ There is no way anyone could hear that line without being at least somewhat familiar with the phrase’s alternate meaning. That line, and the movie it’s associated with, is so iconic, the only people who wouldn’t pick up on it are the ones who have either been living in a sack or are simply too young to be really interested in the show to begin with. So don’t even try and tell me the people who wrote the script didn’t know what they were doing. Because they clearly knew. And then they sat around giggling to themselves for hours. Even Emma herself picked up on the reference and gave a tiny smile, even though she knew Hook/Killian couldn’t possibly have known about that movie at this point. And of course, after Emma walks off, we’re treated to that brief image of Hook/Killian touching his lips as he continues to process what just happened. No matter which way you slice it, this kiss was a game changer for both of them, and they both know it. Of course, because Pan’s a miserable devil child, he can’t allow anyone to enjoy one moment of peaceful happiness, as he approaches Hook/Killian to inform him that Nealfirebagelperson is alive, leaving him with a choice- tell Emma that Henry’s baby daddy is alive and risk his chance at being with her or keep the information to himself so he can be free to build a relationship with Emma without Nealfire in the way.
More moments of Henry sliding down the slippery slope. Joy bunnies. Seriously kid. That Lost Boy saying ‘how are you gonna handle what Pan has in store for you?’ WHY did that not raise any alarm bells for you? No, really, I’m asking. Why is it so darn easy for Pan to manipulate you like this? Regina may have had her issues, but I’m sure you were raised to be sharper than this. Is this just the show writers saying it’s all too easy to lead little boys astray? Then again, we never saw any girls on Pleasure Island in the original story of Pinocchio. And I’m certainly not seeing any girls among Pan’s army of delinquents. Maybe there’s a reason for that? I don’t know, and I’m going to stop talking about it before I risk angering the male demographic. Hopefully, now that he has the confirmation he needs that his family is here to save him, we won’t be getting more of this.