Family is what you make of it. Family is not just the people who share your blood, but the people you love, and who love you back.
That was the message of an emotional episode of Once Upon A Time that explored not just the bonds between Killian and Henry and reinforced the Regina as a member of this family, but delved deep into the idea of revenge and how, most times, it’s better to find peace than payback.
Joining me, as always, to let out all our good (and bad feels) are Sarah, Caryn – and our guest, another Fangirlish writer, Beata!
Let’s do this!
What were your overall thoughts on this episode? Rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 10.
Lizzie: Once again, this was a really, really good episode. Maybe my favorite of the season, tied with “The Other Shoe.” The Evil Queen’s machinations were sorta silly, and the Golden Queen was cringe-worthy, but the Captain Cobra was very good, as was the Captain Swan, the flashbacks were engaging, and I always enjoy Regina + The Charmings. I’ll give it a 9.
Sarah: I’d rate this episode with a solid 8. I absolutely loved the Captain Cobra story and how it weaved in with Hook’s backstory this week. It was wonderful to see Liam, his younger brother come back, a surprise I didn’t see coming in the slightest. The only part that dropped down the episode for me was, once again the Evil Queen and her very uncomfortable scheming.
Caryn: I would give it a 7. I did enjoy the tying up of the loose end of what happened to Killian’s younger brother, Killian making such an effort with Henry and the scenes between Aladdin and Emma, but the Evil Queen’s failed attempts at schemes were annoying to watch, and didn’t make much sense.
Beata: I’m going to go with an 8. I loved the Captain Cobra and the Captain Swan (especially all the marriage foreshadowing!), and it was really nice for Henry to finally get a significant storyline. However, I’m docking one point for Rumbelle (see rant below), and one point for the general lack of direction in this episode. What’s the Evil Queen even planning? What’s the main storyline this season? We’re six episodes in and I have no idea where we’re going. So while I’ve enjoyed the individual story arcs so far, there really haven’t been very high stakes this season.
Henry and Hook went on an adventure together – and in the process, bonded even closer. What do you think about the development of this relationship and the message it sends about family not being only made of people who are related to you by blood? Can Henry ever come to regard Hook as a father?
Lizzie: This was my highlight of the episode, and honestly, one of the highlights of the year. Once Upon A Time has sent this message, again and again, about family being what you choose, and in this episode, they reinforced it when it comes to Killian and Henry. I can’t say it was surprising, because the show has tried, with it’s limited time and the issues it sometimes has with balance, to show us the progression for these two, and it’s good to see the results of that pay off on-screen.
Do I think Henry will ever come to regard Hok as a father? I think a part of him already does – or at least, he sees him as another member of the family he can rely on, make plans with and, more importantly, trust to always have his best interests at heart. What Henry got in this episode was re-affirmation, and that’s something that, even if you feel like you don’t need, is always damn nice to have.
The only reason I think Henry reacted like he did when the EQ referred to Killian as Henry’s “new father”is because it’s hard to put the label “father” on someone new, especially for a kid like Henry, who never really got to spend that much time with his real father, because the figure of Neal is made up more of hopes and dreams than reality. That being said, all Killian has to do is give him time. Be there. Maybe Henry will never be able to use the word, maybe he will. But words are not as important as feelings. And, by the end of this episode, it was clear that, for Henry, home now includes Killian – and that’s a big thing.
Sarah: Hook and Henry’s adventure was everything I didn’t know I wanted for them and more. Their relationship has gone at such a slow and natural pace since season three and after everything we’ve learned of Hook’s past it didn’t surprise me in the slightest that he lives for Henry as much as he does Emma. He lived for hundreds of years without a family, and now he’ll do whatever he can to protect them. On Henry’s part it was lovely to see him make it clear, he considers this centuries old pirate a part of his family as well. Their scene on Nemo’s ship was touching, especially Henry’s grin after telling Hook not to push it when he started to ahem clarify. Family comes in so many different forms and people, blood related or not and their story did a wonderful job showing that. Henry, in my opinion may not be there quite yet, but in the future Henry coming to see Hook as a (step) father is a point I fully believe they’ll reach. I can’t wait to see how!
Caryn: What I really enjoyed about Hook”s relationship with Henry was that he didn’t take it for granted that after he was with Emma he would automatically become part of the family, he actually did the work to build a relationship with Henry. I do think that Henry will accept him, as part of their family and a father-like figure if not a straight up father. Although he’s never really had a present father so any kind of positive male influence would be good for him.
Beata: I love everything about Hook becoming a part of the Charming family. Give me all the Captain Cobra feels. Killian has been alone and angry for so long, and I just love that he’s been able to find this family. His redemption arc isn’t just about Emma. It’s about joining her little hero group and being accepted as part of this ridiculous family. I also feel like Henry hasn’t gotten as many storylines as I’d like him to, especially now that he’s a teenager, so I really like that we got to see his feelings about Hook joining the family. To be honest, I was kind of caught off guard by Henry not being 100% okay with Killian becoming his step dad because, come on, this is the kid who called Belle “Grandma” that one time. But I really like that they did this. While he’s been running around trying to set his moms up with various guys and make sure everyone gets their happy ending, he hasn’t really been able to express his own feelings about his life being changed so drastically.
The Jones Brothers 2.0 had a chance to meet in this episode – and there was a nice message there about revenge, and what comes after. What did you think of this storyline? Do you think Liam can ever forgive his brother? Is there a future for them?
Lizzie: Once Upon A Time has never been great at follow-up, so I don’t know that we’ll ever see Liam 2.0 or Nemo ever again, but I think what happened provided Liam 2.0 with the sense of closure he sorely needed to, maybe, move on with his life. Does Killian deserve forgiveness? I don’t know. I don’t think forgiveness is ever a thing you deserve, it’s always grace coming from the other person. I don’t think I could forgive him if I were Liam 2.0, though. Maybe this is not one of those relationships that was meant to have a happy ending – maybe Killian was just meant to help his brother find peace and that’s it. That’s more than a lot of people get, after all.
Sarah: This story caught me by surprise as I never actually thought they’d revisit Hook’s younger brother. As much as I couldn’t make sense of the timeline, it was wonderful to see Hook refuse to hurt him or run away like he did in the past when Liam confronted him. Liam, I’m not sure has fully forgiven him, but after their understanding in the hospital of how things have changed for both of them, gives me a lot of hope. Hope for their relationship to fully heal from the pain of the past and for a future as family (well the Jones brothers part of it) in Storybrooke. (Really I am hoping Liam will appear again this season and we get at least one sit down dinner catch up at Grannys is that too much to ask for? I don’t think so)
Caryn: I still find it weird that the younger brother’s name is also Liam, but that aside it’s true that a revenge quest is futile and hopefully that’s a lesson that our other characters like Charming, Rumple, the Evil Queen will learn this. I do think that Liam can forgive Killian, I mean people have forgiven much worse crimes in Storybrooke, but it might take awhile.
Beata: I thought it drew a nice parallel to Hook’s own past. I guess a thirst for revenge runs in the family? I don’t think Liam will ever be able to forgive Killian, just as Killian hasn’t really forgiven Rumple. I mean, Killian did a pretty horrible and selfish thing, and I certainly don’t think he deserves forgiveness for what he did to his father and half-brother, even if he regrets it now. But I think now that Liam has gotten some semblance of closure, he should be able to move forward and stop hanging on to the past. Unfortunately, this is something that both the Jones brothers are just going to have to live with. I’ll honestly be surprised it we ever see Liam 2.0 and Nemo again after this season.
Belle struggled in this episode with the notion that, as much as she doesn’t want Rumple in her life – she should probably give him a chance to be in their son’s life. What do you think of the way she handled this conflict? Do you think Rumple can be a good father? Should he be involved? And – do you think the writers are setting up a Rumbelle reconciliation?
Lizzie: I’m of two minds about this. I have a hard time saying that Rumple shouldn’t be involved in his son’s life, because I don’t have a father and I really wrap my mind about someone whose father is alive not getting to have a relationship with him. That’s my personal bias projecting into the story though – I will admit that Rumple has done absolutely nothing to deserve the benefit of the doubt. And that’s putting aside the relationship issues aside and what Belle could have/maybe should have done. For me, their romance is done. Finished. Kaput. Not on life-support, no. They pulled the plug already.
Rumple has never chosen his family over power. Not once. Not with Bae, not with Milah, not with Belle. And sure, this is a show about hope and it feels, in the context of Once Upon A Time, like he should at least be given a chance to fuck this up before we write him off. Thing is – right now, I’m 100% sure he’d chose power. Does that mean you shouldn’t give people a chance to prove you wrong? Debatable – but this is fiction, and Belle has given him so many chances in the context of their romantic relationship, she’ll probably give him a chance in this regard. I would give him a chance in this regard, because of what I said before. And yet, I really don’t think he’ll rise up to the challenge. The show has given me no reason to.
Sarah: Belle is not facing an easy situation, but I really liked how they wrote her thoughts towards Rumple right now. It felt completely real that while she may not have any hope for her and Rumple, she keeps some for Rumple to have a good relationship with their son in the future. Rumple, I do think deserves one chance to build a real relationship with their son, however given his current choices trying to use magic to take the easy way out to “fix” their family doesn’t give me a lot of hope it’ll turn out that way. Depending on how the season goes I may change my mind, but for now I do think he deserves one chance with him. As for Rumbelle, no I don’t believe for a second they are setting up another reconciliation. It may not have been blatantly obvious, but everything Belle said this episode just screamed she’s finished with giving Rumple more chances. He’s put her through so much at this point, and while I’m glad she hopes for their son, I don’t think her happy ending includes Rumple in that sense anymore.
Caryn: No, just because he is the physical father of the child does not mean that he should be. He wasn’t a good father to Baelfire and the fact that he is just as possessive with them now as he was before does not attest to his behavior and why he would suddenly be good at parenting this time around. I wish Belle had seen the Evil Queen kissing him though.
Beata: No. A million times no. Look, I understand where Belle is coming from. She wants her kid to grow up with a father, and she knows how much it must be killing Rumple not to be involved in his son’s life. That said, Rumple has had plenty of chances to show Belle that he could be a good father, and instead he has proven time and time again that as much as he may love his son, or grandson, or wife, love will never be as important to him as power. Oh, I’m sure he thinks he’ll make a good dad, and one of these days he’s going to go up to Belle and make more empty promises about how he’s Actually A Good Guy and This Time He’ll Change For Real and If She Doesn’t Let Him Have A Part In His Son’s Life He May Or May Not Destroy The Entire Town And Hold His Family Prisoner, and I hope she spits in his face. Because if Rumple actually wanted what was best for his kid, he would stay far, far away from him.
Yes, he cares about his son now, but what about the next time he has to choose between power and someone he cares about? We all know that he’s going to try to get both and end up screwing everyone over. Again. And then he’ll try to make excuses for himself. Again. And then blame other people for not loving him enough to pull him out of the darkness, which is so wrong I’m not even going to go into it right now. He’s a bad influence and a selfish, entitled man who wants to be loved more than he wants the people he loves to be happy. Just because he loves Belle and their unborn child does not mean that Belle has to make him a part of the baby’s life. I think the writers have finally given up on this ship, and I’m so grateful. Forget about him, Belle. He’s not worth it. If you need help parenting your kid, go to the Charmings or Ashley. Rumple will only make your life, and you child’s life, more miserable.
At the end of the episode Hook came clean with Emma and explained why he’d kept the shears, and Emma was quick to forgive him. Do you think she went too easy on him? Do you understand why he did it? Are you excited for Captain Swan to move on and finally get a chance to be together without any secrets?
Lizzie: I want to start by saying that Captain Swan is, right now, the standard to which all OTPs should be measured against. The Once Upon A Time writers have their issues, yes, but they’ve truly taken the care to develop this pairing, to write them in a healthy way, to put them in situations that allow them to grow as a couple, and to have them respond to problems in a healthy, mature way.
This is exactly what happened this week with Emma. Yes, Hook shouldn’t have kept the shears, because she specifically asked him to do something else. And yet, Emma gets why he did it, because Emma is not reacting like a stereotypical TV character. Emma is acting like a mature, rational woman, who realizes that she would have done the same thing in his position. I would have kept the shears – hell, most of us would have. There’s not a lot of rational thinking that goes into a situation where someone you love could die.
Of course, the development of their relationship has a lot to do with her reaction. Emma trusts Killian 100% and that trust means that she doesn’t have to even ask why he did it – she knows it was because he loved her so much that he couldn’t bear to lose her. She knows he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or dismiss her feelings. She knows. And that makes forgiveness easy.
As for the going forward – yes, please. No more secrets. Just a couple facing life together. That’s what we want to see.
Sarah: Emma’s forgiveness of Hook was faster than I expected, but honestly it didn’t surprise me in the slightest either. As Emma said herself “she would have done the exact same thing” in keeping the shears. After everything they went through last season, it was completely easy to see how she’d understand why he did what he did. The first woman Hook loved he watched by and couldn’t do anything to save her, is it any wonder he’d keep the one instrument he thinks could save his true love from her “doomed destiny?” I don’t care what anyone says, Emma didn’t go too easy on him, because Hook was straight up honest about what he did, how Henry helped him understand the mistake he made and had truly buried them now. They love each other so much, and I’m so glad they have put all the secrets and lies this season behind them to face the future and fight for it together. They’re on the same path now, and I honestly can’t wait to see where their journey this season takes them next. (Because let’s face it Emma is *not* dying).
Caryn: I love the fact that they did not make a big deal out of this. I feel like in real life situation when two adults are in a relationship they are much more understanding and don’t drag things out. Emma understood, she forgave and she moved onto more pressing issues, I love this change of pace. And with all the alluding this episode, I know the Captain Swan wedding is coming.
Beata: So, so excited. I’ll admit I was a bit worried about Captain Swan after last week’s episode. Killian holding onto the shears just screamed of contrived drama for the sake of keeping a couple apart for a little longer. But I’m so happy the writers didn’t go that route. Too many TV couples break up for stupid reasons, and it’s so nice to see people making mistakes, acknowledging them, and moving past them. No, Hook shouldn’t have done what he did. But Emma’s right that she would have done exactly the same thing in his place. Hook wanted a plan B in case they didn’t find a way to save Emma (because he obviously loves Emma more than he loves the Savior), and in the end he realized his mistake and made up for it. I’m really glad that he was honest with her in the end, and that she didn’t make a huge deal about it. I feel like this storyline proved once and for all that the writers have no intention of breaking up Captain Swan. They’re not perfect, and there will always be bumps in the road, but that just makes them even more entertaining. No unnecessary drama for my OTP.
The Evil Queen has proven to be less than strategic so far – her attempts to pit Emma against her family and Hook against Henry have failed – and now she seems to have pivoted back to hating on Snow. But is that really the endgame here? What do you think the Evil Queen really wants? Also – do you ship Golden Queen?
Lizzie: I like the Evil Queen, she’s fun, and she wears those killer outfits, and I like Lana Parilla, but …eh …what’s the point? What’s the endgame? Is there even one? Because we’re going into episode 7 and I have no idea of where this is going – which, on any other show you could say ha, we got the viewers right where we want them, and in Once Upon A Time you have to admit it’s kind of troubling not to have a glimpse of endgame. And sure, this season the arc is not going to end in episode 11, it’s going to last longer, but that just makes me worry even more about how utterly incapable I am of answering this question.
As for Golden Queen, God no. I mean, I admit I couldn’t look away, but it was more morbid omg look at this trainwreck than actual fascination. The two actors are outstanding, and there IS chemistry there, but no …not with their story. I just can’t.
Sarah: Honestly, it doesn’t really seem like she has a plan at all. Getting Snow White’s heart was the long endgame for her back in the Enchanted Forest, but she got too distracted at the idea of pitting families against each other in Storybrooke. The only possibility I keep coming back to my feeling that we are missing a puzzle piece to why the Evil Queen is doing what she’s doing. Some part that they’ll go back to explain what in the world she’s trying to gain keeping Zelena by her side and messing with everyone in town. Either way I don’t think it’ll take long to find out (at least I hope not.) Personally I just think she wants, what she’s always wanted, to take away everyone’s happy endings but her own. As for Golden Queen, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Not in a million years, it’s honestly the only ship on OUAT that’s ever sent shivers up my spine and not in a good way.
Caryn: The Evil Queen just feels like a plot point at this point she just messes things up for the benefit of the story than it seemingly like she has a main goal. Basically the role that Rumple used to play. Why does she want Snow’s heart? Everything really seems futile at this point, even Hyde’s plan seemed more coherent. And all the nopes for Golden Queen.
Beata: At this point, I’m not even sure the writers know what the Evil Queen wants. Like, what was the point of splitting up Emma’s family? Not that I’m complaining – it made for some interesting storylines – but was there ever a point to it? Has she been after Snow’s heart this whole time? Is she going after Regina? Emma? Or is she just running around causing trouble for the hell of it? I don’t know! And I don’t quite understand what’s happening with Golden Queen but as long as Rumple is kissing someone who isn’t Belle I guess I’m okay with it? I don’t know. It was weird. It made me uncomfortable. I don’t understand what’s going on with the Evil Queen.
Finally, just for fun, use a gif to describe your reaction to the Golden Queen kiss. (Please post the link as well)
Once Upon a Time airs on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.