The Dark Hook Rises – Once Upon A Time REVIEW/RECAP

hookyhot as hell

It was one hell of a Hook-centric episode as we witnessed our lovable pirate transform into a selfish, ruthless asshole villain.  Questions were answered, memories were restored, bonds were severed and tears were shed (and I don’t just mean Emma’s)(I cried)(a lot)(like a lot a lot). Appropriately titled “Broken Heart”, Sunday’s Once Upon A Time was one emotional roller coaster that proved how delicate a love fueled heart can be and that Colin O’Donoghue is a force to be reckoned with.

Hearts are a long recurring motif in Once Upon A Time.  We were first introduced to these “Enchanted Hearts” in season one when we learned Regina was controlling Graham (RIP, you sweet innocent Huntsman) via his ripped out heart.  In the early seasons the use of these Hearts was solely a symbol of power and control someone (usually Regina) had over another.  The act of taking a heart was a devise used to instill fear in residents of TEF as well as viewers.  It wasn’t until season 3 where these crimson hearts became associated more with a person’s love and soul.  In “A Curious Thing” (3×19), following the “death” of Charming, Mary Margaret voluntarily had her heart pulled from her chest to be split in half to save him, her True Love.

While we only saw one Enchanted Heart (Merlin’s), the entire episode centered on matters of the heart.  Darkness overtook Killian’s heart who quickly set out to break Emma’s.  And did he ever.  But before I get to Dark Hook’s painful truth bombs in Storybrooke, lets talk Camelot first!

We picked up right where we left off in Camelot in “Birth” with Dark Hook rising from the Dark One manhole cover.  A vision of Rumpelstiltskin came into focus with Hook understandably reacting with utter hatred, lunging at him.  But alas he is but a figment of every Dark One’s imagination, and Hook knows it.  While annoyed by the Crocodile, he does spark his interest, telling Hook he can finally give him what he’s wanted for hundreds of years: revenge “Whats that?” Why kill me of course!”.

Hook wonders through the forest (a nice costume change was necessary — Killian’s gotta look good, always) along with a relentless vision of Rumpelstiltskin who suggest they enact a dark curse.  Hook refuses “No no no I will not kill Emma.”   Sidenote: I’m going to hold onto this line as right now it’s one of the only rays of hope that Killian still truly loves her.  But more on my hopelessness later.  Emma conveniently shows up — she had just watched Hook die so she is the definition of happy right about now.  But that big smile was very quickly washed away as Hook immediately responded with anger and disgust. This was our first look at Hook fully giving into the darkness, the evil, and it genuinely frightened me. We’ve seen Killian angry over matters of Emma’s well being, but seeing him full of hatred towards her was chilling.  Emma, the courageous Savior, even appeared scared, her eyes peering up at the love of her life who had nothing but hate in his own.  She tries to distract him from Rumpelstiltskin…

Emma: That future you told me not to be afraid of, we can have it. The house in Storybrooke.  I’m not afraid anymore.  I want it with you.  It’s ours, you just have to want it to.

Killian: My love, I do, more than anything.

In yet another show of the power of their True Love (yes I’m sticking by this, True Love), Rumpelstiltskin disappears.  The two have a sweet make out session but separate to gather water and scout a path.  Alone, Hook begins hearing noises: the Dagger calling to him.   Rumpelstiltskin reappears to tell him that Emma lied to him, that she has the Dagger. Rumple’s manipulation acts as major catalyst in Hook’s growing darkness, leading him to do pretty much all of the horrible things he does from this point forward.    Emma returns and Hook questions her if she has Excalibur – she does.  Hook gets defensive, angry that she not only lied about having it but that she kept it because she didn’t believe he was strong enough to fend off the darkness.  This fight, while disheartening, was very necessary. It not only revealed Hook’s true reasons for anger but also opened Emma’s eyes to ramifications of her actions as well as the fact that Hook loves and believes in her a hell of lot more than she loves and believes in him.

There’s never been a moment where I didn’t believe in you, where I didn’t trust you.  But you clearly don’t believe in me anymore so how am I supposed to fight this?”


While this was fueled by anger and hopelessness, it is the greatest declaration of love that we have seen on Once Upon A Time.  This is a show about believing: believing in hope, love, and happiness.  Hook was consumed by his love for Emma, his entire being, his heart and soul, had infinite belief in her. His speech exhibited the core values of this show and defined the true meaning of love.

Hook disappears in a cloud of red smoke but Emma soon summons him with Excalibur to the now iconic Captain Swan location; the field of Middlemist flowers.

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Hook says that he did not abandon her, which while a simple response it truly speaks volumes to his deep love for her.  From the beginning, Emma and Hook connected because they were two lost souls with painful histories.  While this connection was not fully realized until later, it was an unspoken bond they shared having lost loves and being “abandoned” by loved ones.  For Hook it was the death of his brother Liam and Emma being sent to our world by her parents.  Hook knows Emma better than anyone.  She has abandonment issues, moreover deep seated fears of losing everything and everyone she loves.  As the man who guards her heart, Hook’s ultimate failure would be allowing Emma’s greatest fear to come true by abandoning her.  He immediately gets defensive, even angry, that she could consider his death “abandoning her” because that would have meant he had failed and left her heart broken and forsaken.  One fantastic Oncer made this glorious gif set -> here which makes my heart ache but also supports my point.

Emma pleads to him that she was so afraid of losing him she had no other choice.  But when he tries to storm off and she unintentionally commands him to return, the argument intensifies.  Hook expresses his hatred towards being controlled, that it is a horrible feeling that he now cursed with forever, because of her.  On top of this he believes she doesn’t believe in his strength whatsoever.  Emma tells him that she does, that she trusts him and that he can have Excalibur to prove this.

“We are going to get the darkness out of both of us.  We are going to do it together.”


This is Emma’s way of responding to Hook’s previous declaration, but she amplifies it all by telling him sincerely that she love him.  This was the first time Emma has said I love you without it being a response to Hook or under the pressure of impending deaths.  He is taken aback by this, noting that he is usually the one who says it first, and quickly swings her in for another passionate kiss amongst the flowers.  What a shame it. was. all. A. LIE.  Wait what’s that sound? Oh nothing, just my heart breaking into millions of pieces as I relive the painful memories of the rest of episode as I write this.  I’m going to need a moment to decompress.

Ok, I’m good now.  Ha! No I’m totally not, that was a lie.  I probably won’t be better until my beautiful ship is sailing happily once more.  This may take awhile.  Oh god.

Sorry — back to the episode and the pain that is to come…

In Storybrooke, Dark Hook shows up to Emma’s house ready to rip into her for what she has done to him.  While I fully understand Hook’s anger, I was stunned by his no holds barred declaration.  He said some harsh words that cut DEEP, and not just for Emma.  I was left in shock as Hook, the hopelessly devoted swashbuckler who stole my heart (and the hearts of many) in Neverland,  emotionally ravaged Emma…

“You’re so afraid of losing the people that you love, that you push them away.  That’s why you’ll always be an orphan.  You don’t need some villain swooping in to destroy your happiness.  You do that quite well on your own.”

-Dark Hook

My jaw dropped.  And this wasn’t the good kind of awe, like last week as he ascended from the black goo, this was horrifying and appalling.  It reminded me of the uncomfortable feeling I had watching  Jamie Dornan in The Fall — I loved him in OUAT, but then seeing him as a creepy sadistic killer was severely off-putting.  I know, Hook being a POS Dark One doesn’t compare to a serial killer but watching such a sweetheart that I have a HUGE crush on do something heinous is downright unsettling.  Dark Hook, with the vast knowledge of Emma Swan knew the exact words that would break her.  It was a true stab in Emma’s heart to hear the man she loves, the man that she would (and did) do anything for, abuse her.  “I want to hurt you like you hurt me.”  This line, along with his terrifying gaze and head tilt, rendered me speechless, nay, paralyzed.

I have to say as well that Killian calling Emma “nothing more than a pretty, blonde distraction” felt very uncharacteristic of him.  Even though he’s the Dark One and his persona is different, I’m having trouble believing he would also become a misogynistic ass.  We are to believe that being the Dark One heightens your inner darkness but never once has Killian (even in scenes from his evil pirating years) been portrayed with any hint of insolence toward women.  

On a lighter note, we saw sisters hearts opening, allowing acceptance and familial light to enter.  Zelena, in hopes of making a wicked exit with her new daughter storms into the hospital to take her.  “Baby Hood” isn’t there but Regina is and tells her sister she will take her to her.  In a scene that was both surprising and sweet, Zelena was reunited with her baby as a weary Robin and Regina watched.  In what I believe to be one of the most genuine and human moments on OUAT, Regina makes an honest (slightly intimidating) confession then does what only a true hero would do: believe that even the most villainous of foes can be redeemed…

“As wicked as you may think you are, you’re not even in my league.  I’ve spent so many years doing terrible terrible things beyond your imagination.  But you know how I turned it around? Henry.  It took having a child, that unconditional love, it made me my best self.  And I’m hoping that kind of love will do the same for you”


Sadly we must return to the craziness.  While Hook has already torn are hearts into shreds, he ever so slightly redeems himself in one scene which not only proves Colin O’Donoghue’s worth but sets himself apart from the rest.  We got a different flavor of Dark Hook as he confronted his greatest foe and could finally get that revenge of his, entering Gold’s shop with a mischievous smile sprawled across his face.

This episode, along with “Birth” are indisputable evidence that O’Donoghue is the strongest actor (tied with Robert Carlyle) on the show.  I commend Jennifer Morrison for her radical portrayal as the Dark Swan, creating a new form of Emma we have never seen before.  She really took this opportunity to prove she isn’t just a one note actress, which she succeeded at however at times it felt a bit overdone.  (There were moments in 5A where her cold dark persona came off a bit too stiff with her rhythm feeling a bit choppy at times).  It wasn’t until the rise of Dark Hook where I realized not only is Colin O’Donoghue even more fantastic than I previously believed but that he had mastered the art of transforming a character far more than Morrison.


Colin’s take on the Dark One was unlike that of Morrison and Carlyle. Rumpelstiltskin was theatrical and cartoonish (in the best way possible) and Dark Swan was cold and distant. Dark Hook was what I consider mental, like a man on the brink of a breakdown. On top of this, he added a heightened display of Killian’s’ usual sarcasm and mockery that was less charming and more, for lack of better word, douchey. And to indulge in my inner fangirl, O’Donoghue all the while managed to turn the dial of Hook’s sexy smoldering up to 11 — and don’t even get me started on the sex hair .

Hook playfully mocks Rumple, reciting a similar line to what Rumple said to him years ago “Get your affairs in order, dearie, for we duel at noon on my ship!”  along with his signature gesture (props to Colin, he nailed this). tumblr_nye8l0wnfz1qf5hjqo2_500

At noon, Rumple boards the Jolly Roger where a creepily giddy Hook awaits with Excalibur.  Long sword fight short, Hook gets in a few good slices – Rumple bests Hook –  Rumple takes Excalibur – Hook disappears in his red smoke.

In Camelot,  Hook and Emma return to Granny’s where David, Mary Margaret and Regina all cautiously greet the love birds.  Hook asks where Merlin is as to get the darkness out them as soon as possible.  Oh how I wish this were true.  He enters the diner and locks the door.  Merlin is in the back making that voicemail within the Crimson Crown.  As some fans theorized following last week’s episode, Merlin’s line we heard weeks ago “the Dark One is coming” was in fact referring to Hook.  Hook locks the door and as much as I wanted answers, these were not the ones I was hoping for.  He rips Merlin’s heart out and in true villain fashion reveals his entire plan (well part 1 of it).  He plans on enacting the dark curse using his heart.  But how? Well in simple-not-so-simple OUAT logic, while Hook sees Rumpelstiltskin, he really represents every Dark One that ever was, including Nimue.  So apparently if Hook crushes the heart with Nimue’s spirit in his head, the dust will successfully bring on the curse as Merlin is her greatest love.  Wait what? I just confused myself.  I’m just gonna go with it.  Before he squeezes the heart Emma storms in and quickly realizes she had been played by Hook.  Yep all that Captain Swan amazingness was. A. LIE.  Excuse me while I weep.  Damn you Hook! Damn you straight to Hell! Wait that might actually happen, forget it!

Emma appears more pissed off than heartbroken at first, believing that it is all the result of Nimue and Rumpelstiltskin’s manipulation.  Nimue tells her that they are making a dark curse which leaves Emma shaken.  She tries to reason with Hook “You’re revenge is not your happy ending.  I am.  You told me that.”  Unfortunately this held absolutely zero weight for Hook, who looked at her like he was enjoying messing with her.  She even quoted him “If you crush this heart, you will destroy your happy ending along with it.”

“Killian Jones told you that.  Your love sick puppy dog.  That man died the moment you turned him into a Dark One”


Once again, this was a scene that disturbed me solely because it was so far from the Killian Jones we know and love that it felt weird and almost scary.  He calls his former self a “love sick puppy dog” which actually makes me hopeful.  He is so disconnected from Killian Jones that he is not Killian Jones at all.  This is not the same man who sold his ship for his true love, who sacrificed his life traveling through time, through Neverland, who made a life in Storybrooke and was devoted to making Miss Swan happy.  No, this is Dark Hook, a man so possessed by darkness he has lost himself entirely.  I pray we have not seen the last of our Killian Jones.

Hook crushes the heart into dust (killing Merlin) and throws it into the cauldron which quickly bubbles over with the famous electrified purple smoke.  Hook tells Emma she can’t stop the curse, but much like in Storybrooke, he is somehow easily bested.  She swipes her hand and down goes Hook, unconscious.  Simple, but effective.  She magically obtains a dreamcatcher and holds it over Hook’s head pulling out all his recent memories. She kneels down to dim, clutching his head, and kissing him gently…

“When you wake up, you’ll be the man you were.  The man I love.  The man who loves me.”


Cue the waterworks.  Mine AND Emma’s.  Emma then brings her family and friends into the diner, all unconscious, in the positions we saw them in the season premiere on the floor.  She uses the dreamcatcher once more to wipe all of their memories as well then throws it into the cauldron.  The purple smoke consumes Granny’s as Emma holds onto Killian as she did weeks ago with his lifeless body, crying in heartache.

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Finally, we returned to Storybrooke (bye Camelot, see you never I hope!), with Emma returning everyone’s memories, including her own.  Meanwhile Killian and Rumpelstiltskin are at the lake where they dip the blood stained sword into the water.  The blood of a man who had been to hell and back (Rumple) has the ability to open a portal to the Underworld.  This episode was a tough one but I am hella excited about whats to come in the second half of the season.  Hades! Meg! Hercules! Ahhh!  A large cloud of fog travels over the lake and small boat with about 15 people aboard sail in from out of nowhere or the Underworld, I suppose.  One of these cloaked beings exits the boat and reveals themselves to Hook – its Nimue.

Nimue: Where are here.  All of us.  In the flesh, as promised. And now it’s time to get to work, to do what Dark Ones do best: snuff out the light.

Hook: Welcome to Storybrooke, love.

It was a truly compelling episode with Colin O’Donoghue in the well deserved spotlight (get this man an Emmy! Or at least a People’s Choice Award!).  I am still feeling a bit hopeless but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for my sweet Killian and my girl Emma.  Captain Swan will survive this.  They.  Have. To.  I can’t wait for next week’s episode, I may or may not have a countdown on my phone…I do.   But at the same time its the midseason finale and it wont be back until MARCH, are you kidding me! I may not survive, especially if this Captain Swan mess isn’t resolved.

Thanks for reading.  I’m sure it was only about 5 people but nevertheless thank you. xx

Some Extra Thoughts…

1. Can we just take moment to appreciate this:


Hook has had Magic for what? 2 hours? And he’s already making sassy exits in a cloud of red smoke with a flick of the wrist?


2. Is it me or did Emilie de Ravin look gorgeous in this episode? Pregnancy glow, right?!

3. “Welcome to Storybrooke, my love” I’m trying not to read into this too much but I’m worried Hook is into her, like he likes her.  Please Adam and Eddie please god no. Don’t.

4. How does Henry feel about his Step Dad going crazy? I need to know…

5.  What is the baby’s name? Please say its Marian…

6.  Did I mention how hot Colin was in the episode?

7. No really.  Like wow.


8. Where’s Roland????


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