Am I ready for this? Is my multiply-wounded Captain Swan shipping heart really ready for this? Oh, God, the anticipation! I can't take it! I can't wait! I -
Have to watch the president talk about terrorists.
Okay, so now we're ready.
We begin tonight with young Killian (aww!) in the hold of a ship on stormy seas, calling for his ungodly hot father.
"We're all braver than we think," Papa Jones tells him. "When you're afraid, look in here," he says, tapping Killian's chest. "What kind of man are you going to be?" Nothing like philosophical conversation to distract from imminent death. Way to go, Dad.
Cue to morning and Pops is gone, leaving Killian and Liam with the grizzled old man he sold them to, trading them into servitude for the money to make a getaway. "Now you know the kind of man your father really is," the old guy tells Killian.
Forward now to a dark wooded path in Storybrooke. Hook is gloating to Rumple about finally defeating him (and Colin's having such fun with this, you can tell). Rumple is unimpressed with Hook's finesse as a Dark One, telling him that he's nothing more than a bag of "parlor tricks." Hook promises something much more substantive: the end of them all.
And now we see our Cadre of CharactersTM marching down Main Street (does no one use a sidewalk in Storybrook?). Snow and the others want a plan of action, but Emma reminds them there's no time for that - they have to take Hook down.
Regina and Robin peel off, and Zelena poofs over to say she's taking sole custody of the baby and plans to teach her how to be wicked. The Dark Ones are closing in, sidling up to everyone.
Rumple advises the cadre to check their wrists, and sure enough, they all bear the mark of Charon the ferryman on their wrists. It turns out the only way the Dark Ones can stay is to trade places with a living soul. When the moon is full, the ferry will arrive and take them all to the underword, a place that Rumple tells them is pretty damn horrific.
Rumple, as usual, just gives up and tells them they're on their own.
Ooooh, look at the perfectly spaced Dark Ones walking down the middle of main street.
How eerie. How long did it take them to choreograph that?
Now we get an extreme closeup on Killian with his red eyeliner and it's just weird. He's nearly unrecognizable. He turns to greet Regina, who's there in a last ditch effort to reach the man behind the darkness. She even calls him Killian as he snarks about her past jibes.
Regina reminds Killian of how she tested him before she recruited him to kill Mommy dearest, and now we flash back to the good old pre-curse Enchanted Forest. A carriage rolls up as Hook - who is standing in the middle of nowhere holding a wine goblet for some reason. He licks his lip and causes me to make a very feral noise. Just watch it. He does it about seven seconds in:
Saucy cleavage Regina and Season 2 flirty Hook. How I miss them both.
Forward to Storybrooke with the Cadre of CharactersTM. Henry is frantically searching for a clue while everyone else decides to cram into a booth at Granny's because who wouldn't want to spend their final hours in a diner? Emma promises to drop by and say goodbye before they're all yknow...dragged to hell.
Once they clear out, Emma calls on Regina to keep her promise to do 'whatever it takes'. She's going to take on all the darkness, and wants Regina to sacrifice her by stabbing her with Excalibur, ending it all.
Meanwhile, Rumple is pacing his shop, waiting for Belle to come in answer to his call. He's sending her across the town line, with a potion to save her from harm. He encourages her to get out of town and have a life, but won't tell her why. Which seems kind of stupid, because if the Dark Ones are taking over, and she's planning on coming back sometime (which she surely is since her father is in town), she'd be walking back into a really bad scenario with no warning.
There I go again, with that logic.
Anyway, Belle decides to spur-of-the-moment go off into this strange new world she's never experienced without any preparation because people do that all the time, you know.
Regina and Emma show up at Gold's shop to get Excalibur. He turns it over without a whimper, or asking for any kind of payment in return, telling Emma she's a brave woman. He also reminds her that what she's planning may not work - the blade chooses who it finds worthy.
Across town at Regina's office, she and Robin are greeted by a smiling Zelena.
"Gina! Robby! Come in!" she oozes. Then she starts discussing paint colors for Regina's office and how she thinks that "Kelly, Hunter, and Pistachio" would make terrific baby names. She reminds them that they're going to be dead in an hour, and she's going to be moving in.
Regina poofs Zelena away to the clocktower with the wand the apprentice gave them (you know, the one that can only be wielded by someone dark, but that was a few episodes ago and that rule is not really a "rule" rule...) and to my complete surprise, she summons a cyclone that sucks Zelena away back to Oz.
Didn't see that coming.
Guess we need to haul her off so we can trot her out later, mad for revenge and determined to get that baby. #SavePistachio coming soon!
On the other side of town, some smooth jazz is playing at Granny's as everyone is saying goodbye to each other, and Emma leaves a goodbye note on the jukebox for her family with a hoarsely whispered, "I'm sorry."
She heads out, watched by Hook, of course. Nimue stands behind him, making sure he's still playing for Team Dark. "You know what you need to do," she reminds him, in a perfectly normal voice. I guess not all female Dark Ones sound like they need a dose of NyQuil.
Flashback again to the Enchanted Forest and a tavern where Regina tells Hook he has to face a man. He runs into a behemoth and takes him down, then Regina points him to the man she really brought him here for - the bartender - who happens to be his father.
Killian hangs around until closing time, then rips Papa Jones a new one over abandoning his kids. It turns out Papa fell under a sleeping curse. His nurse gave him true love's kiss and woke him up. He talks about how her love changed him before she died from the plague, and his remorse seems sincere.
Killian agrees to spare him, securing him a letter of transit so he can start over. He needs Regina to think he killed his father, so he's got to send him away. Papa Jones asks him to bring two because Killian's got a half brother.Forward to Storybrooke now, and Killian is in Emma's house to tell her that she can't use the sword. They exchange some words and she reminds him of the man he used to be - the man he once wanted to be.
"If you didn't want me to change, you should have let me die," he sneers at her. She takes a few swipes at him with the sword, which he evades. He transforms himself into Henry in front of her damn eyes and she proves that the apple doesn't fall far from the Clueless Charming tree and hands over the sword, and Killian poofs away with it.
Come on, writers. Season two Emma and Hook would have sword fought like all hell, trading barbs and innuendos before one of them was bested.
Remember those days? I sure do. Now it's just a lot easier to make people temporarily dumb, I guess.
Back at Granny's, everyone's finally smiling and interacting with baby Neal now that they're all gonna die. Snow finds Emma's note and she and David decide to find her. Unfortunately, Nimue and the Dark Ones show up just as the marks on their wrist start glowing.
They're all pulled to the waterside to await the boatman. Killian is there, along with the Dark Ones, waiting. Robin is kind enough to let Snow know that the fairies are taking care of Neal and Roland as the they're all about to get dragged to hell.
"It's time to drop the act," Regina says to Killian.
"You don't want to talk about what you did to your father," Regina says to him. "What kind of man do you want to be?"
Flashback to Hook watching his papa put his young son to bed. Papa Jones reminds the new kid (whose name is Liam) to look inside and be the man he wants to be.
Hook gets pissed."You named your boy Liam after the son you replaced" he seethes.
He throws the letters in the fire and stabs his father. With his dying breath, Papa Jones reminds him that it's never too late to be a better man.
Forward to Storybrooke, and Emma shows up, vowing to fight Killian if she must to save her family. Killian watches Nimue choke Emma and as he looks into her tortured eyes, he seems to come to his senses. He turns on Nimue.
"What do you think you're doing?" she demands.
"Being the man I want to be," he answers.
Killian calls all the darkness out of the others, tying it to Excalibur. Then he begs Emma to help him. "Let me die a hero," he asks. "As the man I want you to remember."
Emma takes the blade and kisses him, they exchange I love you's and then in a total Buffy and Angel move, she runs him through.
Suddenly, she's back in her red jacket with golden blonde hair, and he's bleeding to death from the neck. Rumple looks good and freaked - possibly because that dirty pirate just sacrificed himself for all of them.
And oh, the feels as they're pulling the sheet over Killian's body and Emma loses her shit. I have a serious lump in my throat as she cries in her mama's arms. Let's all take a break for a moment and remember the good times.
Sometime later, Rumple is drinking in his shop and Belle has come back to town. She chides him once more for lying to her, but she's okay with that because he was "truly selfless."
Meanwhile, Emma's laying on the couch in her house, holding Killian's ring and hearing whispers.
She texts Rumple and he meets her at the shop, where she tells him she's still hearing the dagger. He realizes that he's caught, so he pulls it out and it has his name on it. When Emma came to him for Excalibur, he saw his chance to fall back on a plot convenience again, so he found a bottle of "magic" in his safe, splashed it on the blade and viola! He altered every magical rule we've defined about the function and passing on of the dagger.
Hook's sacrifice unknowingly channeled the darkness to Rumple who now has the combined power of every Dark One who ever lived. Emma is furious that Hook gave his life to rid the world of darkness only to have it end this way.
"It's what I do," Rumple tells Emma. "It's the man I am."
Emma won't hear of that shit, and tells Rumple he's going to help her get to the Underworld or she's going to rat him out to Belle. She lets her family in on her plan: she's going to split her heart, giving Killian half and saving him. Regina tells her it could work, so they all head down to the water.
"How does one get to the underworld?" Robin asks, even though they just saw the damn boat. Pay attention, Robin. Sheesh.
They all walk across the water toward the boat, and Emma straightens those shoulders under that red jacket and makes a pledge:
"I will find you. I will always find you."
I'm giving this one four conveniently regenerated dark daggers out of five.
I was going to go with three, but Colin was phenomenal in this episode, despite the rushed and hurried feel of his turnaround. And Emma ending with that iconic line was a great touch.
And now for the comments and speculation:
- WTF with Rumple? I'm okay with them turning him dark again - I half expected it, actually, because neutered Rumple isn't nearly as fun as dark and deadly Rumple, but come on....the way they did it just made me roll my eyes. Seriously.
- They should have condensed "The Bear and the Bow" into a few scenes in another episode, and made this one the two-parter. Killian's redemption seemed entirely too quick of a turnaround, and we only got dark, hot, fun, hot, cunning, ohmygodsohot Killian for such a short time.
- I still find it hilarious that it takes a near-death experience for Snow and David to spend some quality time with their baby.
- I'm guessing we'll see Killian's half-brother again somewhere. Based on the timeline (and who the hell knows if anything is based on the timeline anymore) he should be about the same age as Killian appears to be now. I only hope they're not setting him up as an escape clause for the now insanely popular Colin O'Donoghue, who is doubtless getting tons of other offers and whose contract is soon to be up for renewal. If they decide to kill him off for good, they'll need a hot new piece of romance fodder, and having another Jones stroll into town looking for vengeance on the man who killed his father would be just the ticket.
- I'm honestly going to miss Zelena. I never would have believed it in season three, but there it is.
- So Merlin's magic mushroom voicemail telling them to seek out Nimue means...what exactly? Why would he direct them to someone who was dead? Or dark? And what about Lancelot and his Mom, the Lady of the Lake? What was the point of that? Maybe we'll get a callback when they resolve the Arthur thing (he's sure to be taking over in Storybrooke while they're all gone).
- I'm guessing we're going to have a whole lotta fun in underworld Storybrooke with all the villains of episodes past, but why does Rumple go along? You'd think he'd stay in Storybrooke, figuring out some way to blow up the boat and keep them all from ever coming back.