Tonight we begin “During the Time of the Dark Curse” (loving these generic time references – much less likely to trip them up on continuity), and Hook is aboard the Jolly Roger, barking orders at his lackluster crew. He soon discovers he’s got a stowaway on board. The man refuses to give his name, choosing instead to ask a question:
“Is taking revenge against the Dark One worth it?” Of course, we all know how pre-Emma Hook will answer that question, but they’re suddenly interrupted by a submarine passing under the ship, freaking Hook out because he assumes it’s a sea monster. The man pushes Killian into the sea, and jumps in after him.
Next we see present-day Killian hiding the golden shears in a toolbox in the shed because he’s a pirate who knows nothing about hiding treasure, apparently.
Across town, Regina calls her nemesis out for a chat at Zelena’s house while Snow and Charming sneak inside to free Archie from his cage. This scene between Regina and the Evil Queen is awesome – zingers are flying back and forth and I swear, I could watch a show of just the two of them being roommates. Storybrooke Odd Couple, anyone?
Anyway, Zelena hears baby Robin crying and rushes back into the house to find the Charmings standing helplessly over the crib because they know dick-all about taking care of a baby. The Evil Queen sees through Regina’s diversion and revs up a fireball, but Regina stands firmly between her and the Charmings, swearing that the Evil Queen won’t break up this family as she poofs them away.
Over now to Aladdin and Jasmine at Granny’s, and she’s pressing him to talk about Agrabah. He reminds her that he’s not a savior anymore, but she tells him he can still help his people. Aladdin gets cold feet and runs.
Back at Emma’s house, Killian claims he was late for breakfast because he was gardening, prompting Emma to remark about his “Green Hook.” Jasmine texts Emma to let her know that Aladdin has noped the hell out, so Emma takes off, leaving Killian and Henry to do some bonding. Being a typical fifteen year-old, Henry really doesn’t feel like having a babysitter, and then shit gets real when Killian throws Henry’s Pop-Tarts away, favoring instead a breakfast of grapefruit and boiled mackerel to stave off scurvy. You can almost hear Henry’s irritated inner monologue as he takes out the trash. The next edition of the story book is going to look very different:
Into this grumbly scenario poofs The Evil Queen, and she’s more than happy to point out to Henry that Killian is going to be a lousy stepfather who doesn’t really care about what Henry – or Emma – wants.
She’s beautifully sassy as she illustrates her point by showing Henry where Killian hid the golden shears. Henry is visibly upset to see them as the Evil Queen leaves, having sown her seed of doubt.
Henry might be a chip off the old step-block. He seethes almost as well as our beloved pirate. Almost.
Flashback now to Hook during the curse, waking up wet and angry at the point of a harpoon. He’s aboard the Nautilus, and his errant stowaway has turned out to be Captain Nemo, who claims he’s there to give Hook a second chance.
Shout out to the set designer and CGI team for this scene because it was amazeballs. The detail on the set was spot-on and the animation of the Nautilus window and ocean (complete with a fish that looks like Dory swimming by) were outstanding.
Nemo tells the sad story of his own revenge on the men who murdered his family, and how that vengeance only left him empty. He’s got a magical harpoon that guides him to people like Hook, and this ship can be Hook’s second chance for something he needs: a family. That goes over about as well as you think it would – and Hook’s explosive, seething anger at the word ‘family’ pretty much says it all. Nemo then drafts Hook for “an important mission.”
Forward to Storybrooke now, where Killian realizes that Henry has discovered his bad pirate hiding place and therefore, the shears. He finds Henry at the dock and Henry’s pretty pissed. He’s going to do what Hook should have done and drop the shears in the ocean, but before he can, they’re interrupted by the appearance of the Nautilus, and a pair of crewmen who insist that the captain wants to see them. Killian pleads for the crew to let Henry go but they’re both brought aboard the Nautilus.
Suddenly, we zoom over to the hospital, where David is accompanying a refugee with serious injuries who was found out by the mines. He uses one of his two lines in the episode to tell us that no one recognizes this guy (and we don’t get to see who he is, either), and he wasn’t with the refugees at Granny’s. Snow stays at the hospital to keep tabs on the situation and –
Wait a minute. David’s out patrolling. Emma’s chasing down Aladdin. Henry’s stuck on the Nautilus with Killian. Who the hell is watching Neal?
Anyway, Snow sees Belle, who is hanging out for her first ultrasound and wondering how she can ever let Rumple be a part of their son’s life when she doesn’t even want him along for this.
Back aboard the Nautilus, Killian confesses to Henry that he has a “history” with the ship’s captain.
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Henry responds dryly. Then he proceeds to tear Killian a new one for trying to cut away the very thing that brought him and his mother together. And was that a swear word coming out of Henry’s mouth?
They have a little repartee with a Star Wars reference in the middle of all this scathing angst, which seems kind of over-the-top, honestly.
Henry has spent the whole season being happy about his mom being happy, bonding with Killian just last week over swordplay lessons, and now all of a sudden he’s seething pissed because Killian wanted to save his mother’s life? I’ll give the writer’s a pass because it serves the plot, but all this angst did sort of come out of no real foundation, if you ask me.
Flashback now to Hook, who manages to be sexy even in an old time diving suit. Oh, let’s face it: he’d be sexy in a suit made of brussels sprouts and moldy ocelot fur.
He and the first mate are accompanying Nemo on his quest, and the first mate confesses his undying loyalty to Nemo. It turns out he, too, lost his family as a boy, but Nemo deterred him from the path of vengeance. Hook declares that bunk, and just as Nemo finds a treasure chest, Hook tries to run. A giant squid tries to take him, but Nemo kills it dead, as the first mate assists – saving Hook’s life. Nemo repeats that he’s part of the ship family, and that’s why they saved him.
Forward to Storybrooke, where The Evil Queen puts on her best Southern Belle accent (which is something I never knew I needed until now) to receive Rumple, who’s stopped by to let her know he’s pissed that she took the golden shears. It turns out the Shears of Destiny don’t work only on the savior. He wants to use them on Belle and the baby so he can change their fate. Sounds ominous.
The Evil Queen lets him know the shears are long gone, and Rumple warns her to watch her back.
Next we see Aladdin, who has returned to his thieving ways, that is, until Emma catches him. Instead of arresting him, she decides to take him for a ride.
I am having a really, really hard time understanding Aladdin. It’s like he talks with a mouth full of oatmeal.
I mean, the accent is cute but seriously, dude – enunciate. See Colin for training.
Emma tells Aladdin about her early days as Savior and how she tried to run from it. She confesses that she made Hook take the shears because she was worried she might just use them.
Then she encourages Aladdin to make up for his mistakes, but he feels like he can’t because he doesn’t even know what happened in Agrabah. Emma points out that you can’t fix a problem until you know what it is.
Aladdin returns to Granny’s with a cappuccino and a mumbled apology for Jasmine. He tells her he wants to fix things, but Jasmine tells him they can’t go back to Agrabah, as it disappeared in a magical sandstorm.
Meanwhile, on the Nautilus, Killian confesses to Henry that he murdered his own father and he feels a tremendous amount of guilt for leaving his younger half-brother Liam an orphan. Henry just takes this confession in stride because hey – he’s used to hanging out with reformed murderers.
No big deal.
Flashback to the Nautilus during the curse, and Nemo is showing Hook a key that will open a gateway to the Mysterious Island, a place where you never have to lose anyone again. “Join the crew, see for yourself,” he urges.
Unfortunately, next to the key is a knife that Hook recognizes instantly, and a moment later it’s revealed that Nemo’s first mate is none other than Hook’s now grown up half-brother, Liam.
Hook decides to leave, sure that Liam will try to kill him. Nemo assures that him that his first mate wouldn’t betray him like that, but of course, Hook was right about the need for vengeance. Liam appears and when he goes for Hook, Nemo steps between them and ends up getting stabbed instead. Liam is devastated at what he’s done, and Hook makes a quick getaway as Nemo lies bleeding.
This was a great callback (I was hoping they wouldn’t leave that plot thread dangling), but I have to say that young Liam didn’t get much of the dazzling Jones DNA, did he? I mean, he’s not ugly, but he’s rather…slightly above average.
Forward now to the Nautilus off the coast of Storybrooke. Killian feels like he’s a failure and breaking Henry’s family apart. “We’re trapped in here and I can’t even pick the lock,” Killian complains. Henry pulls out the shears. “First rule of kidnapping,” he points out. “They never search the kid.” They free themselves from the room they’re in and Killian puts Henry gets into the only available diving suit. “If only one of us is going to get back to Emma, it’s going to be you,” he swears.
He’s barely sent Henry off when in walks Liam, ready to take his revenge now that Killian is finally in his sights. He pulls a dagger and it’s clear Killian is doing his best to not to hurt his younger brother as they fight. Liam lets him know that the Mysterious Island was in fact, the Land of Untold Stories, and Hyde took Nemo with him when he left, thereby restarting Nemo’s story, and likely restarting his death as well.
He holds a dagger to Killian’s throat, and is just about to strike the death blow when Henry appears and begs him to stop. While his attention is diverted, Killian cold-cocks him and that’s that.
“You said you couldn’t ruin one more family – neither could I.” Henry tells Killian, and it looks like they’ve renewed their growing bond again. Oh, Henry, you’re such a budding hero. Love it.
Killian vows to Henry that Emma’s vision will not come true. Then he puts the shears in a chest and drops it to the bottom of the sea.
Across town, Snow is at the hospital where the mystery patient is now in surgery and it looks like he may pull through. Belle has two copies of her ultrasound picture and she thinks maybe she should give one to Rumple.
In one of the hospital rooms, Killian is with Liam, who is recovering from a concussive blow to the head in the hospital like a normal person instead of like someone on TV who would just get up and go on their merry way like nothing happened. Liam admits that he hesitated when he saw Henry because he couldn’t kill Killian in front of a kid and destroy his family. Then an orderly wheels in the mystery patient – who is of course, Captain Nemo, and he and Liam are overjoyed to see each other. Killian takes his leave, allowing them some time alone.
Killian finds Emma and confesses that the whole mess with the Nautilus crew and Henry is all his fault and it all started because he was going to keep the shears. For once, the writers don’t overblow the whole damn thing. “It’s okay, I get it,” Emma says. “I would have done the exact same thing.”
Well, knock me over with a feather. I thought sure this would lead to her breaking up or refusing to talk to him or something. Whadda ya know – a real couple talking through their issues in a rational and empathetic manner. It’s like a fairy tale!
We end with the Evil Queen, who shows up at Gold’s shop in a stunning gown, claiming that she’s there to make amends. And Ugghhh! She kisses Rumple just as Belle shows up outside, sliding the ultrasound picture under the door. The Queen claims that Rumple is what she really wants, but she also wants something else and she needs his help to get it.
She gives him the shears (there are still a few underwater creatures that owe her a favor) in return for his help in achieving her goal: she wants Snow White’s heart.
I’m going to give this one a full five storybooks out of five:
This season has been so damn good so far. I am seriously digging these untold stories and oh, am I loving The Evil Queen. I hope they do more split screen scenes with her and Regina.
And now for my meandering thoughts:
- I wonder if they’ll keep Nemo and Liam in Storybrooke for awhile – it’d be nice for Killian to have a father figure, and even nicer to see him bonding with his brother. They can sail away as family, and pop back up some later season for a reunion. Might be nice.
- I’m starting to get really miffed that the writers have left Regina and Zelena’s budding relationship in the dirt. You would think that Regina would be reaching out to her now more than ever, with The Evil Queen being such a threat. I know the estrangement helps build Zelena’s need for The Evil Queen, but you would think Regina would have made an attempt or two at least to reach out.
- I am still completely, utterly and thoroughly squicked out by The Evil Queen coming on to Rumple. It’s so incredibly off-putting to me. The dude used to bang her mother. Yech.
- Did you notice Archie didn’t stay around to thank Snow and David? Hmmmm.
- How will these shears be used to change Belle and the baby’s fate? Is he going to cut her ties to the child? That’s pretty harsh, and I can’t see Rumple turning his back on his kid like that. I’m curious to see how this fleshes out.
So what are your thoughts, mates? Did we enjoy sopping wet pirates, seething teenagers and sassy queens this evening? And what’s your opinion of young Liam Jones?