Subtitle: The adventures of the pirate and the mermaid
In the Enchanted Forest of the recent past (the lost year), a knight stands in the middle of the road, stopping traffic. He tells the soldiers accompanying a treasure-laden cart to heave off or else. The soldiers think they can take a lone dark knight but are spooked when the woods light up with torches to indicate he’s not alone.They bugger off and the “army” is revealed to be a handful of pirates, including no-longer-a-rat Peter Pettigrew, er, I mean Smee.
The crew head to a tavern to celebrate their highway piracy and buy Hook a girl that he pays to lie about their amazing night together. Sneaking out the back he is knocked to the ground by a mysterious maiden. Hook blinks his eyes.
Forward in Storybrooke Emma and Charming are bonding over being completely inept at crib assembly while Mary Margaret frets about the Wicked Witch and Rumple being MIA. Don’t be so doom and gloom, MM!
Emma: If we can’t take the time to showcase every ‘expecting a baby’ cliche, what are we fighting for in the first place?
Snow: Wait, gimme a sec. I know this one.
Emma: It was rhetorical, Mom.
Snow: I don’t think you are taking the danger seriously!
Regina: Don’t worry, I’ve magicked the apartment. Without using blood locks because I pay attention to details.
Charming: Wait, is she living here, too, now?
Regina: You are 100% safe as long as you never leave this room.
Emma: That’s stupid.
Emma: We have to go on the offense!
Regina: Remember last night? Z flung me around like a doll? She’s a witch, with powerful magic.
Emma: So am I! Or I could be. If you taught me.
Regina: Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it.
Emma: I promise to pay attention this time. Really. I promise!
Regina: Well, if you promise.
Regina tells Emma to meet her in her vault and Emma informs the Charmings they’re too boring for her to leave Henry with. Twelve year old boys aren’t interested in getting ready for a baby aunt-or-uncle they don’t know they’re related to. Snow pouts and Charming asks who IS exciting enough for Henry?
Remember this shot.
On the docks Smee tries to convince Captain Hook to steal a boat and head out into the open sea to pillage and plunder and pirate. Hook refuses because he loves Emma – and Henry – even more than Smee loves Fro-Yo.
Emma: Look, can you watch the kid again?
Hook: You don’t have to make up reasons to seek me out, love.
Emma: Got nothing to do with you. I gotta go have magic lessons with Regina. If we team up I think we can beat the Witch.
Hook: Finally, a plan. I’ve seen your magic, Swan – LOL, remember when I was on Cora’s side? – I’m betting on you, kid.
Emma: Yeah, whatever. I know I told Regina I’m totally committed to magic and blah blah but as soon as Greenie is gone I’m taking the kid back to New York and we are gonna live happily ever after without any of you happy ever after freaks.
Hook: Wait, what? Emma, this is who you are. You can’t change who you are and you can’t forget what it means. Believe me, I tried.
Meanwhile, the Charmings are having a stroll on the beach.
I don’t know if it’s the big red jacket and super sweet gloves or the umbrella but I find them utterly adorable. However, why are they walking along the beach plotting Operation: Show Henry We’re Fun? instead of staying protected? OR looking for the villains? The Charmings are really not the brightest.
But of course the answer is: Ariel just arrived. Prince Eric is missing!
Back in the alley outside the tavern, Hook gets the drop on Ariel and she tells her tale.
Ariel: You stole my prince and I want him back!
Hook: Sounds like me! But no.
Ariel: I know it’s you! One of Eric’s men escaped and said the ship was the Jolly Roger!
Hook: Now you have my attention. Who has my ship?
Ariel: Idk, but that’s his dagger.
Hook reads the initials BB on the dagger and runs off to gather his men. He knows where Black Beard moors his ships and intends to head over and take the Jolly Roger back. Smee thinks that’s a terrible idea seeing as Black Beard’s the scariest pirate ever (after you, of course, Captain) and a ship is a ship, right? Hook says Nope, MY ship is MY ship. So hoist your butt.
Ariel: Take me with you so I can rescue Eric!
Ariel: The Pirate’s Code says you have to take me.
Smee: She’s right.
And away they go. Forward at Granny’s Hook and Henry are gambling with french fries.
Hook: Know how I win every time?
Hook: Loaded dice.
Henry: That’s cheating.
Hook: Only if I get caught.
Henry: Nope, still cheating.
Hook is called away by Charming and tells Henry to Practice cheating.
This is an interesting exchange and I feel it is more important than it seems. The Charmings introduce Hook to Ariel and ask if he knows anything about her missing prince. He says nope, never heard of these people and looks super shifty but the Charmings don’t notice a thing.
Regina brings Emma down into her vault and tells her not to touch anything. So Emma starts pawing everything.
We need to talk about Emma’s clothes. Since she got back to Storybrooke she’s had this particular aesthetic that is coded queer but I’m guessing is supposed to be “what a New Yorker wears to fit in in Maine”. Which is notably not what she wore last time she was the city girl in Storybrooke. While Emma has always worn layers they would cling to her figure; this hangs (reminiscent of her Neverland get up, which could be on purpose). Of course this outfit screams “playing on a rope bridge in the northern woods” so maybe it is just the costumer costuming the scene that hasn’t happened yet.
Regina pulls out her spellbook and after mistaking Elvish (interesting) for Spanish Emma starts whining so much that Regina decides to throw her off a rope bridge and make it look like an accident.
No, really, Regina brings them onto the forest bridge to force Emma to act on instinct. Which doesn’t entirely make sense but is something she learned being taught by the “bully” Rumple and THAT makes total sense.
Back in the Enchanted Forest Hook and Ariel are tromping through the forest.
Ariel: There is WAY too much tromping through the woods in this show. Life is better under the sea.
Hook: Or on top of it.
Ariel’s cloak gets caught on a branch and Hook tears it cutting her free.
Ariel: Hey! This is Eric’s cloak! He’s had it forever and gave it to me and now he’s missing and it’s torn! Torn!!!!
Hook: Are you seriously crying about a tear in your cloak when we are quite likely tromping to our doom? Black Beard is a Really Bad Guy.
Ariel: Thanks for helping me. I knew you weren’t really a pirate.
Hook: Uh, I am totally a pirate.
Ariel: You’re a hero. You helped Snow White reunite her family.
Hook: Don’t believe everything you hear.
Ariel: Being good isn’t something to be ashamed of.
Hook: Ick-snay on the ood-gay.
Ariel: People can change! I did!
Hook: Seriously, you talk too much.
Forward in Storybrooke Hook and Ariel go to Gold’s Pawn Shop to find something of Eric’s and put a locator spell on it (why didn’t they do this when they were looking for Neal? Or any of the missing townspeople?). Hook doesn’t think it’s a good idea for Reasons he’s keeping to himself but Ariel and the Charmings believe in True Love™ and David tells Hook he just has to Believe™, too.
BTW, Ariel is adorable all the time and has the cutest and best outfits, I love them ALL.
Ariel is reunited with Belle.
Hook is reunited with his spyglass. And uses it to find Eric’s cloak, which I’m sure he was going to hide because Reasons (Shady Reasons) but the girls catch him and GUSH at how wonderful he is to have…stumbled upon what they were looking for because he happened to go in the back room and…anyway, GUSH.
Ariel hugs Hook and his sideye says There is no way this will end well.
Back in the forest…
Regina’s force your instincts plan works and then some.
Emma: Did I do that?
Regina: Yes, when all I wanted you to do was retie the rope.
Emma: I did it, who cares how.
Regina: I’m not mad at you for what you did. I’m mad at you for what you don’t do. All this wasted power.
What I am getting from all this is Regina is the least powerful magic user on this show and the one who puts the most effort into it.
Back at Gold’s, Belle drizzles a potion on the cloak and it springs to life.
Belle: I’m awesome.
Hook: What is my life.
Back at the docks where Black Beard moors his ships, Hook and his men plus Ariel find the Jolly Roger. Hook knocks a pirate off the boat and announces he’s taking his ship back. Black Beard accepts the challenge and they battle.
This is clearly a reference to the climactic battle between Hook and Pan in Peter Pan but here Hook is in Pan’s place and that is cool.
Hook outsmarts Black Beard and gets set to finish him but Ariel cries not to, Eric isn’t on board, he needs to ask what happened.
Hook: Tell her what she wants to know.
Black Beard: So all this was for her? You really are a hero, now.
Hook: I’m a pirate!
Black Beard: Prove it. I’ll trade this ship for the location of her prince. Kill me and he dies, too.
Hook: I am conflicted.
I am only including this because Ariel’s clothes are so adorable and I still find it hilarious that Hook refuses to wear anything modern ever.
Hook and Ariel follow Eric’s magicked cloak back to the docks where it jumps into the water and disappears into the depths. Ariel starts to cry and flings herself into Hook’s arms.
Meanwhile, Charming has the most absurd idea of fun: teaching Henry to drive.
He runs people off the road and knocks over a mail box.
Really cute gloves.
Remember the shot I told you to remember? Ariel and Hook are tied together in many ways in this episode. She thanks Hook for his help, if he hadn’t showed her the truth she would have spent her life searching.
We flash back to the Jolly Roger and learn that Hook didn’t accept the trade. He forced Black Beard to walk the plank and he took the Eric intel with him.
Ariel: How could you?
Hook: I did you a favor. Love stinks. It’s never brought me anything but sorrow and heartache.
Ariel: Love is beautiful and special. You’re a coward afraid of changing and that’s what brings you sorrow and heartache.
She jumps into the water and swims off to find Eric herself.
Back at the docks in the present a distraught Hook follows Ariel and confesses that he’d met her before, and failed to help her. He was heartbroken and thought getting his ship back would fix it, but now he is heartbroken and guilty. Ariel asks him if he still loves the woman who broke his heart.
Hook answers Yes and when prompted by Ariel to swear on the name of his True Love™ he says, I swear on Emma Swan.
And it turns out Storybrooke Ariel was Zelena all along. She knew everything about Ariel and Hook’s encounter because she has spies everywhere (okay).
Zelena has put a spell on Hook’s lips (no, really) so that the next time he kisses Emma he will steal all her power. Hook figures out that Zelena can’t just kill Emma outright, that she needs him to depower her first, so Zelena threatens the rest of them, Emma’s friends, her parents and Henry. She leaves Hook with the choice: steal Emma’s power with a kiss or make her watch everyone she loves die.
Hook heads to the Charmings apartment to talk it over with his best bro but he finds Emma and Regina. He tells them Ariel found where Eric had gone and went to be with him. This is mostly true since he’d seen Ariel go after Eric and Zelena told him they’d been reunited.
Regina wants to see for herself and/or force Emma to use her super-magic again. She talks Emma through turning a mirror into a portal.
Emma is amazed that a) she can do this, b) Ariel and Eric got a Happy Ending™, c) Hook facilitated it. Hook says he didn’t do anything, it was all Ariel – she never stopped believing in her love story. Emma mistakes this for modesty.
But Regina senses there’s something going on.
The Charmings return with Henry in tow and they talk about underage driving and the destruction of the town. They decide to head to Granny’s for dinner.
All except Hook who bows out.
Emma: You’re not coming?
Hook: I have a lot to think about.
Emma: Whatever happened to you, that you’re keeping from me, I don’t care. I’m looking forward, not backward.
Hook: What is my life.
Emma: If you change your mind, you know where to find us.
Hook: Stalk you later.
What will Hook do?