Earlier this season, Once Upon a Time looked into Captain Hook’s less stormy past his pirate origin story (“Good Form“). And once again, Killian Jones (AKA Captain Hook) takes center stage as Little Mermaid Ariel returns to the story.
After a run of really compelling episodes, Once Upon a Time pauses to make the case for Killian Jones and his pursuit of Emma Swan. The propulsive motion of the Wicked vs. Evil story is brought in only at the end, when it’s revealed that Ariel (in the Storybrooke timeline) is, in fact, Wicked in disguise, placing on Hook’s lips a moral dilemma. Kiss Emma to steal her powers via magic spell, or watch Zelena destroy all that Emma holds dear.
Hook has become a good guy. We get it. He needs to be reborn as knight noble enough for Savior Emma Swan, and so we learn that back in the Enchanted Forest of last year, Killian had gone back to his pirate ways, but searching his ethical soul. The conduit of that search is the Little Mermaid Ariel, who at first confronts Hook, accusing him of kidnapping her missing husband. But Hook denies any knowledge about Eric, admitting that the Jolly Roger had been stolen.
But Ariel has evidence of who took the ship–the fearsome Blackbeard. And the notorious pirate has sequestered away on a remote island none other than Prince Eric. But faced with the choice of saving his ship or securing Eric for Ariel, Hook chooses his ship.
The parallel plot takes place in the Storybrooke where Ariel turns up, unable to find her missing prince. And because Hook is the only one with intact memories, he is consulted about Eric’s whereabouts. They visit Mr. Gold’s shop, and (magic-averse) Belle conjures a potion to help Ariel find Eric. But Hook knows something about Eric–something that involves him and his unfortunate decision of a year back. Eric isn’t in Storybrooke, because either he is dead–or is yet stuck on his remote island. But all of that story is negated when it turns out that Ariel had been Zelena in disguise.
In the meantime, Emma and Regina begin to work together to beat Zelena. The Wicked Witch may be powerful with her enslaved Dark One, but if Evil and Savior put their magic together, maybe it’s powerful enough (especially if Rumplestiltskin continues resist as much as he can, the pull of the dagger’s command).
In the meantime, Hook gets to play at being babysitter and further develop his feelings for Emma (and vice versa) by being Henry’s companion. For his part, Henry much more enjoys spending time with the swashbuckling Hook than his boring grandparents.
I have to admit, I didn’t really care for “Jolly Roger.” I get that the Wicked vs. Evil storyline needed a breather after last week’s showdown, but to me, the story stopped dead in the water. I understand that the Powers that Be want to make Hook into a bona fide hero, and that’s their right. I do believe, however, that they’ve done an often sloppy job of it, and Hook’s redemption road seems forced and illogical.
Is it the Emma effect that has caused him to be a sudden good guy, even in the Enchanted Forest? Rescuing damsels in distress? And having a crisis of conscience because he chooses his ship over Ariel’s love life? (Because it’s obviously weighing on him.)
So now, Hook is in the position of having enchanted lips (!). One false kiss and Emma loses her magic mojo. Hook must resist temptation to kiss her (or be kissed) or else Zelena’s power will truly be impenetrable. On the other hand, if he doesn’t cozy up to Emma, Zelena will destroy Snow, Charming and everyone else near to her by unleashing the Dark One to destroy them.
To me, this was the weakest episode of Season 3 (parts one and two). I’m as big a fan of swashbuckling as the next girl, but I thought the sword fight aboard the Jolly Roger was less than impressive. (Perhaps I’m spoiled by Game of Thrones and the recently-concluded first season of AMC’s Black Sails).
Next episode looks good, getting back to the main story, as Zelena’s plans take hold, and Regina and company call upon the ghost of Cora to defeat the Wicked Witch.
I will not be airing my BlogTalk Radio show tomorrow night. I will be enjoying a seder with family and friends in observance of Passover.
Once Upon a Time airs Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.
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