Scene Breakdown: OUAT 5×02 – For The Love of Captain Swan

Episode: The Price
Written By: Andrew Chambliss & Dana Horgan
Directed By: Romeo Tirone
How did we get here?: Hook paid a visit to Belle, questioning her about the power of True Love’s Kiss, in hopes that he can save Emma with a kiss…

I’ll go on record and say that I am obsessed with Hook and Emma. Their fairytale romance, written beautifully by the OUAT writers, has grown into one epic love story.  

From their battle with a Giant to Neverland to the rise of the Dark Swan, Killian Jones and Emma Swan have been inseparable, trekking a path to true love and an inevitable happy ending.  Season 5 however (in just the first two episodes and I’m sure the rest of 5a), has made this path anything but easy with the introduction of Emma as the cold hearted Dark One.  

Their connection began the moment the two character’s met.  Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue’s on screen chemistry was visible from their character’s very first encounter.  Back in season 2, in “The Crocodile” we’re first introduced to Killian as Cora’s lying minion, attempting to trick Emma, Snow, Mulan and Aurora (key word here being attempting).  Killian’s charade as a weak scared villager was not good enough to beat Emma’s superpower, with her immediately pegging him for a liar.  Leaving him to be Ogre bait if he didn’t start telling the truth, Killian gave in, reverting back to his true self: a devilishly handsome swashbuckler.  He snapped back into Captain Hook and so began the first page of the Captain Swan love story.  

Fast forward three seasons to tonight’s episode “The Price.”  We left off last week with the Dark Swan making her grand entrance in Storybrooke after six forgotten weeks in Camelot.  Her whole family, along with Hook were frozen in fear and confusion as they watched their beloved Savior, clad in black and a cold dark heart, announce her rebirth as the Dark One.

Hook goes to Emma’s car, anxious, with his heart on his sleeve.  He says he doesn’t want to summon her – if he summons her it would be him accepting that she is the Dark One – that she is a dark being who can be conjured.  Emma appears then immediately transports them via her black smoke to her new home in the suburbs of Storybrooke.  When they arrive Hook has his head down, in disbelief that Emma has grown so powerful she has the ability to do this.

Unlike any scene between these two, there is tangible sense of separation.  Even when they first met in the Enchanted Forest, there was a connection – both characters were present in the conversation with an effortless back and forth that had viewers interested in where this relationship would go (just friends? more? enemies?).  However is this scene the conversation was disconnected.  Even though Hook came in, lips ready to save the day, the mere sight of who his beloved had become left him in heartache.  Colin O’Donoghue  (much like Parrilla did at the docks) stole this scene.  Once again I commend Morrison for her remarkable transformation as the Dark Swan this season, but O’Donoghue’s portrayal of the ever evolving Killian Jones never ceases to amaze me.  He enters the house, unsettled and attentive, the camera pans around the house, we along with Hook study this new house.  Emma swoops in as Hook eyes a mysterious door…

“I still also know the fastest way to a Pirate’s heart is through his liver.”

She steps close to him, their eyes locking.  The close proximity clearly flips a switch in Hook’s head. It’s a fast transition as he quickly goes from being uneasy and distant with this stranger, to giving into his undeniable love as he looks in her eyes.

“There’s an even faster way”

He kisses her passionately, very reminiscent of their first kiss in Neverland.

Only this time when it ends Hook isn’t left in shock because of ecstasy but rather there was no love at all, no magical spark that could heal all wounds (or inner darkness). He pulls away, studying Emma, desperately waiting for her to return to her natural form.  But alas she doesn’t and he is left utterly heartbroken.  O’Donoghue has the ability to portray such deep emotion with just his eyes alone.  His eyes zig zag across her face, horrified that it failed, that it was not a True Love’s Kiss.

His soft “It didn’t bloody work…Why didn’t it work” just about killed me.  He was so genuinely let down, crushed. I was crushed.  This ship I have grown to love and adore was sinking and I along with Hook were left heartbroken without a paddle.

Emma realizes this was Hook’s attempt at trying to fix her and immediately gets defensive.  The shot of Hook (at the 1:24 mark), still paralyzed by the belief that their love isn’t True was poignant and urgently important because it uncovered a fear of Hook’s that has never been brought to pass: was his deep and undying love for Emma mutual? Is this love he worked so hard on, his happy ending, True?

Sidebar: I think it is True Love, absolutely.  They both lost their first loves who they fell so hard for but managed to make  it past that heartache and find love with another. Their story is a true epic, spanning multiple realms and universes.  They survive together, believe in each other, support each other, love each other, if that isn’t True Love, I don’t know what is.  This Dark Swan business is just a bump in the road.  Sadly, for Hook, it’s a heart-wrenching one but he has made it clear time and again that no obstacle is insurmountable when it comes to his love for Emma Swan.

They have a bit of a lover’s quarrell with Hook demanding she tell him what happend in Camelot.

“You can tell me anything”

-Hook

But Emma refuses to share the details. Hook once again stares at her, looking for even a shred of his Emma.  She responds with a deadpan “But that’d be no fun” – this is clearly not his Emma.  There is a blink and you’ll miss it expression from Hook, as if he’s on the brink of being seduced, but he restrains himself…

“Sorry Swan, this may be who you think you are but this isn’t who I am.”

Hook leaves as the camera lingers on Emma, almost pleased that it will be a challenge to entangle him in her web.  Judging by the promo for next week, that will be her exact mission.

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