So far this season, our heroes and villains have been to Camelot and back. Emma remains the Dark One, while her friends and family try desperately to regain their memories and help her turn away from the path of Darkness. In a twist of fate, Regina and Rumple are the heroes they never thought they would be, while the former savior and the famed King of Camelot have both fallen to evil and conniving thoughts. Merida is kicking ass and taking names, while the fate of the town may yet rest again on Henry’s young shoulders.
Spoilers ahead, dearies.
When last we saw Hook and Emma, the biggest twist of the season thus far was revealed: our former savior is not the only Dark One. Emma turned Killian Jones into Dark Two (see what I did there?) in order to save his life. But her plan to choose love has backfired—now that Killian’s memories have been restored, the Darkness within him is back in full force. And needless to say, he is not a happy camper.
Hook emerges from the lair of the Dark One, reborn as a ruthless creature. All the anger, resentment, and hatred that we may remember from his time as a villain has returned, and is magnified by the Darkness that he worked so hard to avoid ever since meeting Emma. And just like Dark Emma, he has Imaginary!Rumple in his head, who urges him to kill Rumplestiltskin. After all, he’s wanted to for years, and is finally more powerful than his adversary.
Emma, now dressed symbolically in black, tries to explain to Hook why she went against his wishes when she tethered him to Excalibur. Hook pretends to understand, aligning himself with Emma in order to get close to Merlin. At the first chance he gets, he tears Merlin’s heart out in order to create a new Dark Curse to send everyone back to Storybrooke. (Small OUAT history lesson: for those who have forgotten, the Dark Curses are cast by crushing the heart of the thing you love most in all the world—i.e. Regina crushed the heart of her father back in season 1). Since all the former Dark Ones live within current Dark Ones, when Hook crushes Merlin’s heart, it is technically Nimue crushing Merlin’s heart.
Emma sees too late what Hook has done, and must act quickly to rectify what she views as her own mistakes. She knocks him unconscious and steals his memories, realizing that she must also steal the memories of everyone who knew that Hook was Dark Two. Everything comes full circle as the curse creeps across the land, and Emma is the only one who knows how and why.
Now with his full memory restored, Hook tells Zelena that he feels “reborn.” In retaliation, he uses the dreamcatcher to take a portion of Emma’s memories from Camelot before disappearing. Zelena puts the magic-restraining cuff on Emma, leaving the Dark One without any powers.
Emma admits to her parents and the rest of the Scooby Gang what has happened. Regina takes it upon herself to tell Emma that what she did was stupid (thank you!), and the group realizes that Hook will be after Rumple to settle their old score. After several scenes of emotional tug-of-war filler, Rumple and Hook face off on the deck of Hook’s pirate ship. Although Rumple manages to best Hook, he refrains from killing him, eager to maintain his newly purified heart and soul. Our favorite curmudgeon returns in one piece to Belle, who explains what while she still loves him, he’s hurt her too often for her trust to come easily.
Meanwhile, Emma and Henry are reunited in Operation Cobra Part II. Their mission? To find the dreamcatchers that were stolen by Zelena and Hook at the beginning of the episode. They locate them in the clock tower, and are able to give everyone their memories back. The gang removes Emma’s cuff, placing their (slightly unstable) trust in her once again.
Hook turns up at the river where the Fury had tried to take Robin Hood to the Underworld. It comes to light rather quickly that the duel with Rumple was premeditated not for revenge, but for the collective plot of all the Dark Ones. Dark Two needed the blood of a man who’d been to hell and back in order to open the portal to the Underworld. He has Rumple’s blood on his hook from their scuffle, and uses it open the gateway to the beyond. Charon’s boat approaches, bearing all the former Dark Ones, including Nimue, ready to wreak havoc upon the Light.
I have to be honest: it was difficult to pay attention to this episode because HOT DAMN, Dark Hook is even sexier than usual. Yes, there was heartbreak and intrigue, and we are finally back where we started (no more flashbacks, please!), but I say we appreciate Dark Hook while we have him.
Next week is the midseason finale. Are you ready?
Until next Sunday, dearies.
-The Collected Mutineer