Let’s talk about Once Upon a Time- The Jolly Roger

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Oh my, oh my. This episode ripped out my heart and then proceeded to stomp all over it. Don’t get me wrong, it was great- very well done. Colin O’Donoghue just killed it. And me. His performance killed me. 

We got to see a little of what Hook was up to in the year he was separated from Emma. He was back to his pirating ways without the Jolly Roger. So, dressed as a knight (holy hotness!) he and Smee gets gold from unsuspecting travelers. Mr. Smee and the rest of Hook’s men honor and thank him by hiring a prostitute, but Hook pays her off. Obviously, he’s still hung up on some blonde woman back in NYC. 

After this incident, however, he gets hit in the head and threatened by… ARIEL! She accuses him of kidnapping Prince Eric because she heard he was taken on the Jolly Roger. But Hook has yet to find the Jolly Roger, so it couldn’t have been him. No, it wasn’t Hook. It was Black Beard. Hook, Smee, and Ariel embark on a journey to find his ship and its new owner. 

On their journey, Ariel remarks that she thought it was odd when she heard Hook was the one with Eric. She had heard all the things he did in order to help get Henry back to Storybrooke. She was under the impression that he was a good man. Well, let’s just say he did not want to hear that. Hook has this whole “bad ass” thing down and, as far as he’s concerned, it’s who he is. He’s a pirate. He’s not a prince. He’s not a good man. As the audience, we’ve seen him go from pirate to hero and we also know that while he was back in Fairytale land, he was just trying to get over Emma. 

But, when he gets to the Jolly Roger and to Black Beard, some pretty intense stuff goes down. A sword fight (holy hotness again) and an ultimatum. Black Beard’s heard that Hook has gone soft, so he gives him the option of surrendering his boat in exchange for Eric’s location, or Hook can kill him which would end up letting Eric die alone on an island somewhere. And then it happens. Hook kills Black Beard and Ariel flips her… fin. Literally, after slapping him and calling him a coward (maybe… I can’t quite remember), she jumps overboard and is determined to find Eric all her own. She will never stop believing (as you can see, she’s learned quite a bit from the Charmings. All good things, all good things).

So, in Storybrooke, Emma decides that the only way for Regina to defeat the Wicked Witch is if she learns to use her magic and help her. It’s agreed that this is a dangerous idea, sure, but a very good one, nonetheless. After David offers his and Mary Margaret’s services in watching Henry while Emma’s off with Regina, Emma has to drop the bomb that Henry actually finds them a little… boring. He’s twelve and listening to baby talk just isn’t his thing. He’d much rather hang out with our dear Captain Hook. 

Emma and Henry head to the docks, and while Henry’s glued to his phone, Hook and Emma have a bit of a moment. What I love about Hook and his character development is that, yes, a lot of it has to do with Emma, but he’s interested in saving the town and keeping everyone safe. He tells her that magic is a part of her and she should embrace it. And then they get into a bit of a fight because she brings up taking Henry back to New York once everything with the Witch is over. Hook is not okay with that. He’s tried to go back to the person (pirate) he used to be and it didn’t work. (Side note: We saw him go back to the pirate he used to be, and yes he was rife with guilt, but there is so much more to that story and we need to see the rest of it). Emma asks again what happened the year they were apart and he brushes it off, but he does agree to watch Henry.

While Hook is teaching Henry how to cheat in a game of dice (real nice, Killian), the Charmings and half of Storybrooke stumble upon Ariel on the beach. She’s looking for her prince and the Charmings suggest that Hook would be far better suited to help her find him, what with his time at sea and his knowledge. Little do they know that he has a pretty good idea of where Prince Eric could be. Dead on an island outside of the curse’s reach, perhaps? But he agrees to help her and Henry goes off to learn how to drive David’s truck. 

Hook and Ariel head off to Gold’s where they find Eric’s cloak and Belle uses a locator spell on it. Hook and Ariel follow it to the sea, where it looks like Eric must be dead. Ariel hugs Hook and tells him she just wishes she knew how her and Eric’s story ended. After she leaves, Hook’s guilt bubbles up and the man we now know and love runs after her to apologize for the man he was. 

Ariel slaps him again and definitely calls him a coward this time. He promises he will do ANYTHING to make it better, but how is she to trust a man who doesn’t believe in love. Hook admits that he does still believe in love, it’s just that the Jolly Roger was the only thing to fill the void of his broken heart. Ariel asks if he still loves the woman that broke his heart and he tells her the truth- yes. (AHHHHHHHHHH). She makes him swear on that woman’s name and he so swears on Emma Swan (AHHHHHHHHHH). And then BAM, his lips turn green and he is utterly confused. That is until Zelena shows up! That WITCH! She’s cursed his lips, so when he kisses Emma all of her powers will diminish. And so, she tells him that he must kiss her or she will make sure everyone she cares about- her parents, her friends, her son– will suffer. Now we’ve seen that Hook has taken quite a liking to Henry and he’s just admitted to loving Emma, he won’t let anything happen to either of them. But either way, kissing her will take her powers and Regina won’t be able to defeat Zelena on her own, or everyone will be killed. Umm, hello rock please meet hard place. Poor Hook! What is he to do?!

There was a couple of silver linings I suppose. Henry had a great time with his grandparents. Regina and Emma were able to work on Emma’s magic and found it to be much stronger than they thought. Also, Zelena told Hook that Ariel did find Prince Eric and they have been living happily ever after. Regina and Emma use their magic together to use mirror magic and, even though they don’t know the truth about who Hook was helping all day, they do see Eric and Ariel together and happy. As far as everyone but Hook is concerned, it was good day with a happy ending. 

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