*All of our episode recaps contain spoilers*
Captain Dark One
This week we got out first real look at Hook as the new Dark One, or as Regina labelled him ‘Captain Dark One’. As we cut straight back to the scene from episode 8, where Hook discovered the truth about his Dark One status, we see him ‘return the favour’ using a dreamcatcher to take away Emma’s memories. Zelena also chimes in using the bracelet that had been restricting her own magic to block Emma’s powers. When Zelena asks him how it feels to be a Dark One, Hook simply replies ‘it feels like I’ve been reborn’.
As all the darkest moments of his life so far flash before his eyes, we see the moment where Hook emerged as the Dark One back in Camelot, just as we saw Emma do at the beginning of the season. Again, reflecting Emma’s journey, the first person he meets there is the Rumple-vision and he is none too pleased about the presence of the ‘bloody crocodile’. Despite the fact that he claims he won’t listen, the Rumple-vision tells Hook that if they work together he can help him finally get his revenge by killing the real Rumple.
Thanks to his new Dark One status, present-day Hook’s desire for revenge is fully reignited so naturally he heads straight off to find his crocodile. Hook challenges the former Dark One to a duel on his ship but as we all know, the only sword that can now kill Hook is Excalibur. With this in mind Hook is quick to tell Rumple that he can kill him… he just needs to take Excalibur first.
The Race To Stop Hook
Rushing into the house, Regina, Snow and David find Emma who finally confesses what she did to Hook. Keen to put the pieces together and figure out what Hook has planned next, Snow asks Emma to return their memories only to find that the dreamcatchers containing them are gone.
Interestingly, Rumple also turns to our favourite Storybrooke squad for help, revealing Hook’s duel plan as they all convene at Regina’s place. The group decide they need to find out more about the mysterious Nimue mentioned in Merlin’s message and decide the library is the best place to start. Whilst there Emma asks Rumple to remove the cuff that’s blocking her magic but it turns out that no one thinks they can trust her anymore. Even Henry refuses to help his mother, angry and upset that she lied about everything.
As everyone else heads off to research at the library, Rumple holds back, telling Belle that the preparation he must do for the battle can’t be found in a book. Despite his new hero status after saving Belle from Merida the bear, Rumple doesn’t believe that this can erase a lifetime of cowardice and wants to do things right this time. He tells Belle that if he wins the battle with Hook he will go to the well where they married, inviting her to show up if she still wants to be with him.
With everyone else gone, Merida has been tasked with guarding Emma. As we know the pair have a bit of a rocky past and as Merida points her arrow at Emma’s knee Hook shows up, using his new powers to knock her out. Now a ‘free man’ Hook declares that Emma – or rather a ‘pretty blonde distraction’ - will no longer hold him back from getting his revenge. Emma tries to explain that the darkness is just using him but Hook doesn’t care… as long as he gets what he wants too. When Emma asks him why he’s doing this Hook coldly replies ‘because I want to hurt you like you hurt me’.
Operation Cobra Part 2
Not one to give up, Emma asks Rumple to assist her in stopping Hook by helping her retrieve the stolen memories. Although she arrives at the shop armed with what’s left of the squid ink he refuses to use it but agrees to keep Hook occupied whilst Emma looks for the dreamcatchers.
Whilst her friends and family search the library for help, Emma hides out and manages to catch Henry’s attention, once again asking him to trust her. As always Henry is the voice of reason, suggesting that a simple locator spell is the way forward, agreeing to help and naming the mission Operation Cobra Part 2.
Whilst the pair manage to locate the dreamcatchers up in the clock tower, they aren’t able to get to them without Emma’s magic. Of course, Henry thought of this too, and brought along some squid ink for the occasion. Since Emma made the first step by asking him for help, Henry is sure that he can trust her again and removes the cuff, allowing them to retrieve the dreamcatchers. They then restore the memories of Regina, Robin, Merida, David, Snow and of course, themselves. As Emma looks into her dreamcatcher she declares ‘I remember. I know what he’s doing. I know what they’re doing’.
What Really Happened In Camelot
Back in Camelot we find David, Snow, Regina, Merlin and Lancelot following Hook’s tracks from the DO vault, trying to figure out exactly what happened to him. After we’re let in on the fact that Lancelot’s mother is a ‘Lady Of The Lake’, he heads off to find her, hoping that she will be able to help. The rest of the group head back to Granny’s, concerned about what Hook’s next move will be.
Back with our new Dark One, the Rumple-vision brings up the idea of enacting another dark curse, but Hook is quite clear that he does not want to kill Emma to do so. As our other Dark One shows up she is met with anger from Hook who not pleased that his years of work to leave the darkness behind him were wasted. Emma insists that she does not know the current whereabouts of Excalibur and tells Hook she is no longer afraid of the future, erasing the Rumple-vision from both of their minds. She believes that they can remove the darkness from both of them, for good, and all they need is the help of their loved ones. After agreeing to work together, the pair split to gather supplies only to have Rumple-vision reappear to Hook, claiming that Emma is lying to him about the sword.
When Emma returns Hook confronts her about Excalibur and after stating that the Rumple-vision is trying to manipulate him, reluctantly she confesses that she does in fact still have the sword. Furious, Hook demands to know whether she has used it to control him to which she replies no, leaving him confused as to why she chose to hide the truth. Emma claims she was just trying to protect him as thanks to his past he is unable to resist the darkness in the same way that she can. Still, Hook is angry about being tethered to the sword at all as well as being blind to her lies. Whilst he has trusted her this whole time, she still won’t trust him with the dagger and Hook disappears, leaving Emma alone.
Out searching for him after their earlier argument, Emma resorts to using the sword to summon Hook to her. Understandably he is angry that he didn’t have a choice in this, and once again Emma tries to explain herself, failing miserably. In an attempt to rebuild trust Emma offers Hook the sword and tells him that they will get the darkness out of them both but they will need to work together to have a chance at success. As she promises she won’t try to control him again, Hook takes the sword and things seem as though they are on the mend.
After making up, Hook and Emma head back to Granny’s to find the rest of the group waiting for them. As Merlin is inside Granny’s, Hook offers to go in and find him so that they can fix things and go home. As Hook walks through the door, we see a familiar scene; Merlin recording his warning message mentioning Nimue, revealing the Dark One he referred to in the speech was in fact Hook. Giving in to the darkness, Hook rips out Merlin’s heart as the wizard asks what it is that he wants. As we know, Hook – the villain - is all about revenge, and we see him tell Merlin about his plans to cast the curse and go back to Storybrooke. Merlin explains that to do so he will need to crush the heart of the one he loves most, but Hook already has it all planned out.
Right on cue Nimue shows up to declare she still loves Merlin, which as we already know Emma suspected was the case. A confused Merlin is aware that this Nimue cannot be real and therefore cannot hurt him, but he’s forgotten something very important. As the original Dark One, Nimue lives on within all of the other Dark One’s who have come after her, including latest addition Hook, meaning that if he crushes the heart, Nimue will be doing so too.
Emma heads into Granny’s realising something is wrong and is confronted by Hook holding Merlin’s heart. Determined that no one will ever control him again Hook sends Excalibur back to the stone as Emma realises that Nimue is helping Hook with his plan. Nimue explains that Dark One never do anything without getting something in return but when Emma asks what it is that Nimue wants she is told ‘You’re a Dark One. You know what we want. You want it too’. Despite Emma insisting that she is his happy ending, not revenge, just as he once told her, Hook coldly states that it was Killian that told her this – “But that man died. The moment you turned him into a Dark One”. And with that, we see Hook crush Merlin’s heart, adding the ashes to the curse in the cauldron.
With Merlin gone, Hook declares ‘it’s over’ but Emma thinks on her feet, erasing his memories of both his Dark One status and casting the curse. Rumple-vision is of course on hand to tell her she’ll have to do more than just erase Hook’s memories to make him forget, causing Emma to take desperate measures to fix things, removing everyone’s memories of Camelot by adding a memory wipe to the curse.
Over on Hook’s ship in Storybrooke, Rumple arrives ready to duel. Hook begins by removing Rumple’s limp – to make things fairer of course – and the ex-Dark One refuses to let Hook win, explaining that he is no longer afraid. As the pair have an old-fashioned swordfight, Rumple manages to stab Hook right through the stomach but of course without Excalibur in his hands this move is ineffective. As the duel continues Rumple is injured but escapes death when the Rumple-vision shows up and distracts Hook for a second, just long enough for Rumple to pull on the ship’s ropes causing Hook to fall to the ground unarmed. With Excalibur pointed straight at Hook’s throat, Rumple has the opportunity to get rid of his long-standing rival once and for all but interestingly chooses not to kill Hook, who disappears in a puff of smoke.
Duel over, Rumple is waiting at the site of his wedding along with Excalibur as Belle arrives. Pleased that she decided to show up Rumple expresses his feelings, talking about how he wishes to put the past behind them. Unfortunately for the ex-villain turned sort-of hero, Belle isn’t ready to forgive him this time. Struggling to trust Rumple after their very rocky past, Belle tells him that whilst she does love him she needs to take some time alone to figure things out. Despite his insistence that he now has a pure heart, Belle wants to protect her own heart rather than trying to fix his, leaving Rumple devastated.
Also over in Storybrooke this week we see Zelena head to the hospital after escaping capture at Emma’s house, keen to see her newborn daughter. Unfortunately for her the baby is nowhere to be found, but her ex-Evil Queen sister is there to greet her instead. Regina tells Zelena that her and Robin are protecting the child from her.
It seems Outlaw Queen have come to an agreement that they should still have hope for Zelena despite her so-called ‘wicked’ past. Having her own experience with both motherhood and being a villain, Regina explains that it took unconditional love for her to change her evil ways, and perhaps this will work for Zelena as well. With this in mind, Zelena will only be allowed to visit with ‘Baby Hood’ (who apparently does not yet have a name) if either Robin or Regina are also present, however they do allow her to hold her daughter, causing Zelena to become visibly emotional – can the wicked witch really change her ways?
The episode ends with Hook putting his master plan into action by opening the portal to the Underworld. A portal that, evidently, has always existed in Storybrooke. Accompanied by the Rumple-vision, Hook stands by the pond we saw earlier in the season (when the Fury tried to take Robin) now armed with ‘the blood of a man who’s been to hell and back’; that’s Rumple to you and me.
With Rumple’s blood still on his hook, our new Dark One dips the metal into the pond causing the portal to open. A ship arrives and so does a familiar face along with it; Nimue. As apparently promised, Nimue has brought all of the previous Dark One’s along with her – in the flesh this time. As he welcomes her to Storybrooke she tells Hook ‘it’s time to get to work on snuffing out the light’.
What did you think of ‘Broken Heart’?