Once Upon A Time – Season 6, Episode 12 Recap: This Hero Stuff Is Hard Business


We begin this evening back at the old farmstead, where a young Ruth waits with twin babies, James and David. David’s father has been out searching for a way to find medicine, but to no avail. In walks Rumple, and he offers to buy one baby for King George.

Ruth balks at first, but after Rumple points out that they’re dirt poor and there’s no way those babies will survive the winter, David’s dad says to do it. Rumple gives them a coin (same coin David has now in his possession) and they flip for which baby to take. Rumple poofs away with baby James, and the rest is twisted history.

Forward now to Emma’s house, where David is raising a glass to Emma for her courage and strength in facing Gideon. He steps outside for a breath of air (and to moon over Snow’s latest phone pic and message) when a weird wind rustles the trees. His father suddenly appears with blood on his hands and David passes out. Killian helps him up but when he suggests that David get some rest, David responds with some choice words:


Except David doesn’t say it nearly as perky and friendly. In fact, he kinda shits all over his main bro.

Across town, Robin is having trouble adjusting to life in the mayor’s mansion. Regina seeks out Snow for some advice over coffee, and Snow recommends that she get to know this Robin – since he honestly isn’t the Robin she knew and loved.


Regina decides to show Robin the story book, but there are no stories of her and Robin in it. Zelena shows up to tell Regina that Robin has no right to his daughter and if he tries to take her, Zelena will ‘make him bleed’. She poofs away and Regina returns to find Robin gone.

Robin, meanwhile, has fled the coop in search of the Sheriff of Nottingham. He fires on him, then gets ready to slit his throat with great relish, but Regina poofs the sheriff away. It’s clear this Robin is not so convinced that being a do-gooder is the right way to go.


After David’s slight, Killian goes to Archie to confess that David is busting on him and will never accept him. He shows Archie the ring he plans to give Emma,  but the problem is he wants David’s blessing, and he’s not sure David will give it.

Hamlet David, it turns out is still seeing the ghost of his Dad, who now makes a visit to the loft apartment to remind David that family is everything. He wants David to seek the truth.


Back in time we go to a tavern in the Enchanted Forest where David’s dad is drinking the night away. The tavern keeper is in the process of telling him to stop drinking his money and spend it on his seven year old kid when King George enters the tavern to let them know that Prince James has been abducted and he’s offering a reward for anyone who can find him.  David’s dad is going to rescue him, not for the reward but hopefully to bring the kid back home.


He vows to Ruth that he’s going to kick the booze and be a family man. David gives Daddy his lucky coin to keep him safe.

David’s father then heads to Rumplestiltskin for a deal so he can get James back. It turns out James ran away – he wasn’t abducted at all. He’s  in a land filled with temptation, but Rumple gives David’s father a ticket to get there. In return, he wants one hair from Daddy’s head.

“Small things can hold great power,” he tells him, then when the man isn’t looking, Rumple tosses the hair aside. “Someday, maybe we’ll all be reunited with our sons,” he says with a sigh as the man leaves. Awwww. Rumple.


Forward to Storybrooke again and Killian shows up to speak with David. David derails the potential conversation by confiding that he’s seeing his father’s ghost. He asks Killian to help him bring his father’s killer to justice, and by that he means he wants to break into Emma’s house (and WTF – isn’t it Hook’s house too?) and steal the potions that Regina gave her so he can enact a spell to find his father’s killer. Because asking your daughter – the one with magic – or your friend – the one who also has magic and owns the damn potions – for help just plain doesn’t occur to him.


Killian reluctantly hands over the keys to the shed and while David is rummaging through, Emma shows up. Killian heads her off with an adorably awkward conversation where Emma starts to call him on his BS excuses so he confesses that he’s been seeing Archie because he’s having feelings. Deep, deep feelings. Emma’s just great with the feelings thing, David makes off with the potion case and Killian wallows in guilt for lying to Emma.

Meanwhile, Regina brings Robin to the vault to ask him (with a great deal of dismay) if he was really going to kill the Sheriff of Nottingham.


Robin points out all the hearts of her enemies and various evil crap in her vault. Regina acknowledges the hypocrisy, and then she tells him that he’s got a kid. Or two. Only one is here. And oh yeah, the mom is her sister. It’s complicated, she finishes lamely.

“Apparently everything here is complicated,” he says, in the understatement line of the decade. Regina asks him to give them a chance and they kiss – but from the look on Regina’s face, it seems as though the magic is gone.


Across town at the Loft, Snow slumbers on as David and Killian mix some manky goo, do an odd version of the electric slide, and inhale a cloud of foul as they attempt a spell that will show them where the lucky coin was the day dear old Dad died.

Killian unrolls a map of the Enchanted Forest and David rolls the coin across it, landing it on Pleasure Island (and now we understand the ferris wheel appearing in the opener).

This takes us back to David’s dad on Pleasure Island. The place is full of freaks and kids in cabbie caps playing carnival games. David’s dad gets the stink-eye from a carnie on the way in, and stops to rest on a bench, right next to a familiar wooden puppet, who at first tries to steal his lucky coin.

David’s father asks if Pinocchio knows James. Pinocchio denies ever seeing the kid and the nose starts growing. Dad figures out what the nose means and Pinocchio takes him to where James is laying in an alley. David’s father offers to take James home, and of course, the kid agrees to go with this stranger to God-knows-where for God-knows-what.

We see David’s Dad get intercepted by George. He begs for the return of his son, but George takes James and orders the guards to kill Dad and “make it look like an accident.”

Back to present day, and David takes the lucky coin to August, who vividly remembers every single detail of that throwaway conversation that took place more than three decades ago. And oh, by the way, he has the missing “Pleasure Island” pages from Henry’s story book – he just needs to find them.


Killian cautions David not to seek revenge on George, but David takes a page from his daughter’s book and handcuffs Killian to a bike rack before he takes off.

He finds George in one of the loony-bin cells and George gleefully admits to killing dear old Dad. An enraged David challenges him to knife fight, even though it’s hardly fair as George has a good thirty years on him. Just as it’s getting good, Killian swoops in, staying David’s hand and sending George to another cell in order to save David from himself.

David is furious, lashing out at first.


Killian reminds David that his father died a hero, and someone to be proud of and David has a meltdown. They share a bro moment as Killian encourages him to take the high road, and be a better man.

They head down to the docks, where David throws away the coin, banishing his father’s ghost forever, finally at peace. David thanks Killian, telling him he really is noble, and remarking on how much he’s changed. A very nervous Killian asks David for his daughter’s hand, and David stares him down, making him sweat before he breaks into his trademark goofy David grin:


Along with the grin comes an emphatic yes, as long as Emma is agreeable to being shagged senseless by a gorgeous pirate for the rest of her damn life and bearing children with outstanding DNA.

The following day, Regina  confesses to Snow that kissing Robin was like kissing a photograph. It wasn’t him. He’s not her Robin Hood – and that thought is troubling.”So who is he and what does he want?” She wonders. Cut to Robin sneaking into Regina’s vault and stealing a box.

Over at Emma’s August pulls up on his motorcycle with the missing pages from the story book, and Killian agrees to pass them along to David. When he sees the picture of David’s father, we flashback to the scene I have expected since I saw the previews last week: Captain Hook was the one who actually killed David’s father.


We close on Killian, looking at the ring in one hand and the pages in the other, his hopeful plans all blown to hell if David- and Emma – find out the truth. And on this show, you know that’s going to happen.

I’m giving this one five lucky coins out of five.


I had a feeling this would end this way, and was even more sure of it when Killian was so invested in David’s opinion of him. This will make for some fine fireworks, I have no doubt. The bromance was strong in this one, but I see a breakup on the horizon.

My thoughts:

  1. I love the way two of the most villainous villains have now reformed and had to become the conscience for two of the most heroic heroes who have lost their way. Nice switcheroo.
  2. Not sure what’s going to happen with Regina and Robin. Is she going to finally let him go since kissing him is about as exciting as flossing her teeth? Or is baby Robin going to play a part in excavating his essential humanity and turning him back into the Robin she loves? They’re making the baby a real point of contention so I can’t help but wonder. Then again, she could tell him about Roland, and selflessly send him over to Camelot to reunite with his son – a son he would no doubt embrace since he loved (and lost) Marian. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
  3. I want an episode where David and Killian try to homebrew their own craft beer. Or learn the Electric Slide.
  4. How about the magical memories on these people, eh? August remembers a five minute conversation, and Killian remembers a man’s face seen for ninety seconds on a darkened road over thirty years ago. I can’t even remember what I had for lunch on Friday. Magic!
  5. I firmly stand by my earlier theory that Archie is Jafar in disguise. I find it awfully damn convenient that all the main characters have been crying on his shoulder and singing all their secrets. He did say they were going to tear themselves apart, and being the guy who knows all the dirt would certainly aid him in seeing that plan to fruition.

What do you think? Did you see that ending coming, like I did? Or were you sure it was George, the steely-eyed bastard? Oh, I’ve missed him. Will Killian spill the beans? And to who?


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