ByJordan Conner, writer at

Hello, welcome to Once Upon a Time, a show that I haven't given up on yet ONLY because I have a deep love for one of the characters/actors.

Hello, welcome to Once Upon a Time, a show that just completely sucked me back in with what may be one of my favorite hours this show has ever produced.

The upside is that this episode included SO MUCH of my favorite character and pairing. The downside is that so much of that inclusion involved TERRIBLE STUFF HAPPENING. If I can get past my worry, sadness and general confusion over 50% of this plot-line, I hope to shed some insight on what just went down on this zany show. Who am I kidding? This will be 75% me flailing over all of my feelings. Sorry.

We begin the episode in present day Storybrooke with Charming, Robin and Hook confronting King Arthur about burning the Crimson Crown. Arthur chooses flight instead of fight and Hook runs after him into the forest. A short scuffle later, Arthur ends up with the advantage and goes in for the kill but Dark Emma shows up and stops him with the newly re-joined Excalibur. Arthur is beside himself with excitement over Excalibur being whole but Dark Emma doesn’t care and tosses him into a tree.

Hook begrudgingly says thank you. He eventually decides to be less of an angsty teenage boy and apologizes to Dark Emma for saying he didnt love her anymore a few episodes back. He knows that she is more than just the Dark One and she proved it by saving him just then. That is something Emma would do.

Hook then grills her for info on why she officially committed to the dark side. He wants to know all of her plans. You're demanding a lot from her, Hook. Dark Emma tries to avoid the subject but Hook doesn’t give up and it leads to her blurting out that she’s doing everything for him.

Okay. I can dig this. BUT OMG WHY?

Three weeks earlier, in Camelot, Emma is trying to figure out how to light the spark that she and Merlin retrieved from the Flame of Prometheus. As she questions Henry as to why none of her family has returned from getting Excalibur, Merlin shows up and freezes everyone but Emma. He is still tethered to Excalibur, thus under Arthur’s control. He pleads with Emma not to seek vengeance but Emma doesn’t care. Her family is at risk.

Emma wars with her inner Rumple over what to do. She tries to light the spark so she can have a little help when confronting Arthur but it isn't working. Inner Rumple tells her that she can’t get the spark to work because she isn’t ready to let go of her darkness.

Henry shows up and offers her some motivation in the form of real estate property. He has been helping Hook find a house back in Storybrooke for them to move into in the near future. Motivated by the idea of moving in with Hook, because who wouldn’t be, Emma decides to use her dark magic one last time to save her family.

In present day Storybrooke, the gang is holding Arthur in a jail cell. Hook is livid and demanding answers from a rather oblivious Arthur. He also wants to know why Emma is doing this for him. Regina seems to believe that Dark Emma is just manipulating him. Hook clearly disagrees and seeks out Rumple for help.

Rumple tells him that Dark Ones are often motivated by something that they need to fix or atone for. Hook should figure out what Emma is trying to atone for and maybe then he’ll know a bit more about what she is planning.

Over in the insane asylum, Zelena is experiencing a lot of pain. Tuns out her baby is growing rapidly and she is forced into a speedy labor. She blames Emma’s dark magic. I’m a little concerned with what the Dark One wants with a baby.

Hook, meanwhile, sulks around town calling out for Dark Emma. She’s not taking his bait so he decides to force her hand. He jumps from a roof only to have her save him. He was optimistic. Or desperate. Or both. Really though, Emma already told him that she was doing everything for him. It’s obvious she’s going to try to keep him safe.

He begs her to tell him the truth about everything. He tells her that whatever she has done can be no worse than the things he has done in his past. He then shares with her how he got each of his rings. They all belonged to people he killed for really silly reasons. One man called him a name. Another drank his wine. He kiilled them both and took their rings. He was a nasty dude back in the day. The ring he gave to Emma in Camelot, however, belonged to his brother Liam, a man better than he. He confesses all of these transgressions to show that all sins can be forgiven when someone loves you. And he loves her no matter what she did. AWWWWWWWW.

She finally agrees to share the truth with him. She shows him the house ad that Henry gave her back in Camelot. She tells him that he was planning a future for them and everything she is doing now is to preserve that. Dark Emma kisses Hook and tells him that she can’t reveal everything until it’s all over because she knows he will try to stop her. Then he collapses.

Three weeks ago in Camelot, Emma confronts Arthur and Merlin in the forest. She hands the spark over to Zelena but it’s a fake and quickly binds Zelena to a tree. Arthur is angry and orders Merlin to kill Snow. He obeys. Emma reminds him that he is the most powerful wizard of all time and that he can surely resist the control.

Merlin is able to fight off Arthur’s command. Meanwhile Hook slips out of his binding by removing his hook. Arthur really should have accounted for that when tying him up. He manages to get Excalibur from Arthur but not before he is cut in the neck.

Arthur and Zelena flee and Emma heals Hook’s cut with her magic. They now have Excalibur, the dagger and the spark. They can finally free Emma from the darkness.

Except Emma is still hesitant. Regina confronts her about it and uses the dagger to demand that Emma tell her why she is afraid to lose her dark power. This doesn’t go over well with the Charmings or Hook and they stop Regina.

Hook finds Emma hiding out in the forest. She gives him the newspaper from Henry and admits that she’s afraid of what sharing a house with him means. Every man she has ever loved has died and the only times she has really said “I love you” is when she has believed that she would never see that person again. Except you totally said it to Hook last week and neither of you were in any danger? Okay, Emma.

Emma is afraid because she wants a future with Hook but the minute the darkness is gone that future truly begins. So, she’s afraid of wanting that future but also afraid of that future beginning? Fortunately, all Hook hears is “I want a future with you” and asks Emma to trust him with this one. When they kiss, the spark that Emma was having so much trouble lighting, ignites. They literally lit a spark with their love. Your fave couple could never.

In Storybrooke, Zelena gives birth to her and Robin’s baby girl. Dark Emma crashes the party and Regina and Robin go into super defensive mode.

Dark Emma isn’t here for the baby, however. Plot twist! She takes Zelena with her and deposits her in her underground cave. Oh, Hook is there too. Both are chained up and a little miffed at Dark Emma.

Luckily, Dark Emma saunters in to clear a few things up for them. She plans on using Zelena as a vessel for her dark magic. Once the magic transfer is complete, she can kill Zelena thus getting rid of the darkness for good. It’s a solid plan, really. Zelena is totally the worst, but even Hook realizes that this is killing someone in cold blood and is a very non-Emma thing to do.

When Emma leaves, Hook helps Zelena out of her magic-inhibiting cuff by using his magic-laced hook. Who remembered that was a thing? I didn’t! Anyway, Zelena isn’t totally horrible for once and frees Hook from his bindings as well. Zelena leaves but Hook stays to find the squid ink that Rumple told him Dark Emma had stolen from his shop earlier. Hook plans to use it on Emma to get the answers that he so desperately desires.

He finds the squid ink behind a picture and throws it at Dark Emma before she can really do anything to stop him. Zelena casually pops back in because she really couldn’t miss this next part. Of course compassion for her new baby is non-existent. Shouldn’t she be back with her? Oh well.

Zelena is clearly privy to some new information and decides to stab Hook in the chest. I was about to throw my shoe at my tv until I realized that Hook was neither dead or injured.


Zelena whips out one of Dark Emma’s dreamcatchers and shows Hook his memories from Camelot.

Turns out, Hook’s cut from Excalibur is not easily healed. In fact, Merlin and Emma are powerless against Excalibur's magic when Hook's cut reappears. Basically, he is going to die. Emma refuses to let that be an option and tells the group that she will save him. She can untether Excalibur from Merlin and can instead tether it to Hook. Somehow, and it’s all very unclear, this will make Hook into a Dark One.



Everyone tells her to not do it, but they are being silly and I am so on this one. Hook cannot die! She magics them out of Granny’s Diner and into a field of flowers. As he lays dying he asks her not to perform the spell. It will turn her completely dark and it will do the same to him.

Hook doesn’t want that. He says that he’s not as strong as her and that he won’t be able to resist the darkness. Emma wants her future with him, though, and, as he dies, she performs the necessary magic. Hook disappears and Emma instantly morphs into her Dark One frosted hair look.

Over in the circle of hell, where all Dark Ones respawn, Hook emerges from the black goop a newly crowned Dark One.

Storybrooke Hook finishes watching this from the dreamcatcher. Dark Emma instantly apologizes but Hook is hella mad. He doesn’t want to believe it at first but Zelena shows him that the now whole Excalibur holds both Emma’s name and his.

So, he and Emma are both Dark Ones. Hook is incredibly angry as he tells Zelena that he wants to know what else happened in Camelot but not before they take care of Dark Emma first.

Okay. Thoughts:

1. My first reaction to the reveal that Hook has been a Dark One this entire time they’ve been back in Storybrooke was "LOL that makes zero sense." Like, how has he NOT felt the darkness? Or the fact that he feels no pain now? Does he not have little inner-Dark Ones speaking to him as well? What about sleeping? Dark One’s don’t sleep. Is he just staying up through the night and not questioning any of this?

What I’ve basically ended up with is not knowing he was a Dark One kind of left it dormant inside of him. He has shown brief glimpses of a darkness since the first episode. He has been back and forth with his love for Emma. He has also been very aggressive with figuring out how to rid Emma of the darkness. So, now that he has these memories and knows he is a Dark One, maybe the power has come to the surface a little more? Or maybe he’s just going to embrace it in a totally unhealthy way?

2. Hook is very upset with Dark Emma and basically tells her that they have no future now. This seems a bit out of character but I’ll roll with it. Hook’s entire existence as "Captain Hook" has been centered around his severe hatred for the Dark One. His life was consumed with revenge.

Enter Emma Swan. She gave him a better path. It was a path to redemption and he was doing super well. Then she turned into the Dark One. He only handled it semi-well because he believed that his Emma was still there underneath all of the new darkness.

Now, Emma has made him into a Dark One, the very thing he hates, against his own wishes. That’s one reason to be angry. But he loves Emma! He wouldn’t hurt her! True, I don’t want to really speculate whether or not he’s going to try to hurt Emma because of this. What I will say is that it makes more sense to me than I thought it would.

Hook’s manifestation of darkness stems from hundreds of years of self-loathing, revenge and pure hate. Emma became the Dark One when she was a wholly good, product of true love, light magic-wielding being. She had the benefit of inheriting the Dark One title as a person of inherent goodness. Hook was only recently on a path of redemption and good. Who knows how the darkness is supposed to affect people? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that his darkness feeds on the blackness that plagued his heart until only recently.

3. I don’t know where the writers are going with this but I do know that Hook hurting Emma in any significant way is pretty out of character. Either way, I’m excited for this plot twist. I want to see Hook be evil again even if he wasn't great at it the first go around.

4. I love Emma and Hook together and their journey has been fun for me to watch. I in NO way think there is ever going to be an end for them. This show rarely breaks apart their couples and Emma and Hook are kind of their IT couple. So, whatever happens next happens. I hope it's a bit more fun than doom and gloom but I'm also here for some angst. Whatever it is, Emma and Hook are forever which unfortunately means I'm with this show until the end.

5. I say "unfortunately" but I secretly love this show more than I let on. Well, at least 60% of it. Don't tell anyone.


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