Sunday, December 6, 2015

Once Upon a Time 5.11: "Swan Song'

“Power is only as strong as the one who wields it and all you’ve done are parlor tricks.”
- Rumple

It’s kind of hard to believe that the fall finale is upon us and we are once again halfway through another season. Before we get back to Storybrooke, we flash back briefly to Hook as a child when he was just little wee Killian Jones. He thinks he knows the kind of man his father is but he’s actually a fugitive and ends up trading his sons into the service of some nasty old man so that he can get away from the authorities. Do all the villains on this show have to have crappy parental figures? I mean really!

Anyway, back in Storybrooke, the heroes and Emma spread out to look for Hook to try and stop him from raising the Dark Ones. They learn a little too late that he’s already succeeded and the gang all gets marked for death. As Rumple explains outside his shop, they can’t win this battle. When the moon reaches its peak, they are all going to be dragged down into a place worse than hell so he suggests they spend what little time they have, saying goodbye to their loved ones (which in Robin’s case might actually be his still-nameless baby girl). While the Charmings decide dinner at Granny’s is going to be what they need (rather than doing some more research), Rumple sends Belle out of town with a protection spell to cross the town line and the keys to the car. He urges her to see the world and live her life like she’s always wanted to.

Meanwhile, Regina goes to try and talk some sense into Hook and reminds him a test she put him through that time she wanted him to kill her mother (and he ended up teaming with Cora). We see in the Enchanted Forest of the past that her test involves Hook standing up to his father. It is kind of a dick move on Regina’s part but on the other hand, I mean she is trying to get him to deal with his resentment and daddy issues. So it’s kind of a mixed bag. I have to admit I didn’t see all of their exchange coming. I assumed Hook had to kill his father to prove he could handle Regina’s task. I didn’t expect him to chicken out. Apparently his father’s tale of being caught, tossed under a sleeping curse and falling in love with his nursemaid touched an emotional nerve in Hook’s heart because he lets his father live. He even offers to secure a letter of transit so that his father can get away. But they have to make everyone think he succeeded. But here’s the twist, Hook lost one brother in Neverland but it seems he’s got another half-brother somewhere. That really intrigues me. I want to see how Dark One Hook uses that knowledge. Will he actually care about his half-brother or not? Well it probably won’t matter one way or the other because after Hook hears his father give the same speech about bravery to his half-brother Liam, Hook stabs his father in the stomach (dude died awfully quick from one single stab wound).

Because Emma still feels responsible for everything going wrong (which, to be fair it is), she decides that she’s going to take all of the darkness into herself and then commit suicide to ensure that no one gets taken to the Underworld. Rumple hands over Excalibur without argument or deal making (he’s over that stuff now I suppose) and tells Emma she’s very brave but her plan may not work, given that the sword chooses who it deems worthy and what miracles it will perform. Her acts in Camelot may have sullied her in the sword’s mind (does a magical sword even have a mind?). Oh and Regina manages to send Zelena back to Oz so she can’t get her mitts on the baby. I guess that solves that problem, at least temporarily.

Emma watches her family at Granny’s while Rumple watches Belle leave town. Hook is watching both of them and ends up taunting Emma back at her place, claiming she allowed him to become the man he always wanted to be. She begs him to let her save her family by killing herself but in the end he tricks her into handing it over by posing as the one person Emma could never intentionally (physically) harm: Henry. I have to give it to the Dark One, he knows how to push Emma’s buttons. But even if she can’t stop the Dark Ones from succeeding, she’s going to fight like a mad woman to get her family back from the Underworld. That prospect excites me for the back half of the season.

Things are looking pretty dire for the team as they all get summoned to the lake surrounded by Dark Ones. Emma busts in before they can get swept away but it is Regina who ultimately makes Hook realize that all this madness needs to stop. He uses Excalibur to absorb the other Dark Ones and makes Emma stab him. So she’s no longer the Dark One and her family seems safe for now. But yet another man she loves dies in her arms (Neal’s death was still more moving and emotional for me but I’m probably super biased). Apparently Storybrooke has actual EMTs because a guy shows up with a gurney to take Hook’s body away while Emma sobs into her parents’ arms. And then because the writers of this show are jerks, they let Belle fall back into Rumple’s arms, only for Emma to learn he tricked everyone and became the Dark One all over again but this time he’s got all their power. So Emma threatens him in order to get what she wants, a trip to the Underworld to save Hook. She plans to let them share one heart like her parents. So of course, everyone goes with her into hell. Oh boy!

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