Well, what a rollercoaster. Or, wait, can it honestly be called a rollercoaster if you feel like you’ve been kicked down and you’re never, ever going to get up? It probably can’t. Bad comparison. This is more like one of those free falls, only you’re stuck in a time loop, and you keep falling, and falling, vertigo chokes you and you can’t do anything about it.
Welcome to life after “Firebird.”
Welcome to every Captain Swan’s fan personal hell.
Welcome to sweeps!
Oh, pain. How we’ve missed you. (Not really). But with it, comes the good stuff. The fact that the couple we’ve been rooting for all this time was finally confirmed as true love. The most heartbreaking goodbye scene we’ve seen in years. Two actors who gave it their all and a little more.
This is why we watch television. To feel all the feels. For the knot in our stomach, the tears, the screams and the rage. This is why we’re here. This is why we’re invested. It’s why we keep watching.
(But, just as an aside – we wouldn’t mind some happiness from time to time. We’re not asking for much. Just, like 30 minutes. 20 even. A date that doesn’t get interrupted. A lazy afternoon watching Netflix. Just a normal day for Hook and Emma. That’s not too much to ask, is it?)
IS TRUE LOVE ALL YOU REALLY NEED?
This episode seems to answer the question with a very definite no, at least when it comes to Captain Swan. And yet, though Wicked Hell seems to have gotten everything they wanted and more, the question still remains: Is true love all you really need?
I’m afraid the answer to that remains no. True love isn’t everything. True love can’t be everything. And Zelena and Hades are here to prove just that.
Look, before we got into the true love of it all for Emma and Hook, both of them had to travel a very long path. They both had to grow. Hook from the pirate who only cared about revenge to a man who was willing to give up everything for Emma. She, in turn, had to learn to open herself up, to understand that she was worthy of love, to lower the shields she’d erected around her heart and let herself feel.
And yet, they did it. They managed it. Emma and Hook are true love, and yet, that’s not all they are. They’re two people who pushed themselves to become better. They might still have loved each other as their earlier versions, but their love helped them be heroes.
Not so with Zelena and Hades.
Is it true love? The only reason I’m saying yes is because the kiss worked. And yet, sadly, true love is not the be all and end all. Yes, Hades can love Zelena, and Zelena can love him back. It can be real. It can be powerful. It can break curses. But that doesn’t necessarily make them good people, just as having superpowers doesn’t make you a hero. You still have a choice to make.
Can Zelena and Hades choose right? My money’s on no. Rumple can’t be the only bad guy in this story. With just two episodes to go before the finale, something big has to happen. And I rather think our least-favorite lovebirds will prove that true love doesn’t turn you into a hero. It just opens a door. You still have to walk through it.
ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR # 1
Oh, Rumple. I wish I could say I was glad to see that you weren’t really ready to sacrifice Robin for your dear old Dad, but I’m not. To be honest, I’m not even surprised. This was less about Robin than it was about your father. You never really wanted to help him. If you had you wouldn’t have cared if it was Robin or someone else – you would have gotten that heart.
You’re despicable, but you are also, in a way, predictable. There, I even rhymed! You might fool Belle, and you might fool yourself, but you’re not fooling us. You’re always looking out for #1: you.
So, since I have a moment, I’d like to start a petition to FREE BELLE from this abusive relationship. But, of course, that will require the writers taking a step back and looking at Rumbelle for what it is, and I’m not sure they’re capable of doing that. If nothing else, though, I will ask that when Rumple gets Belle back to Storybrooke and he finds out that her father cannot wake her either, he takes a very hard look at his choices. And, okay, I also ask that, when Belle finally wakes up, predictably, because of her baby, she finds it within herself to put that innocent child before her own convoluted history with her very own Beast. Show me you can be a hero, Belle. Show me you understand, Once Upon A Time. I’m begging here.
ONLY A HEART FILLED WITH TRUE LOVE CAN PASS
It’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it? And yet the writing was on the wall. We knew these two were true love. We didn’t really need a confirmation – and yet, we ached for it. Contradictory, but real. Before, this was a fairy tale in progress. Now it’s the fully realized thing, albeit, without the happy ending (for now).
For Zelena and Hades, true love was about doing anything for each other. For Ruby and Dorothy, it was about a feeling of home. For Snow and Charming, it was about never giving up. For Emma and Hook, however, it was about all of those things, but most importantly, it was about choice. They had to choose one another.
Hook had to choose Emma. He had to choose her above all things, his revenge, his former love, his self-doubts, his own doubts, his brother. And Emma had to choose Hook. She had to choose him above her fears, her doubts, and her shields. She had to choose to remain with him, to stop running, to make a home where he was.
And that’s why, in the end, true love kiss didn’t even matter. Maybe they’ll share it at some point, maybe they won’t. This confirmation, in a way, is even sweeter than all the ones we’ve gotten before. Once Upon A Time often presents couples who find true love first and then get to know each other – a fairy tale version of love that doesn’t really resemble real life. Hook and Emma are the exception to that rule. They’re the one couple that we can look at and relate. They are us, and we are them. That’s why we ship them. That’s why we care.
Goodbye will last precious little for this two. Not just because they ARE the main couple in this show, the sun around which all the other planets orbit, but because …well, the story’s not finished. This is the darkest before the dawn moment, and though it hurts (so, so much), we just have to get through it. He’ll be back next episode, in the season finale at the latest. You know how I know? Common sense. Plenty of years of writing and/or studying how story-lines are constructed. Knowledge of Greek Mythology. And, did I mention common sense? No one gets rid of a main actor in the way we left Hook, so inconclusive. When you want to kill a character, you kill it. When you leave it open to interpretation, it’s because something else is coming.
And something else is coming. Hook will find his way back to Emma. In the 5A finale she promised to find him. Now it’s his turn to find her. In the Orpheus and Eurydice myth he had to walk out of the Underworld without looking back. He had to trust that Eurydice would follow. If he lost faith, she’d be gone forever.
Emma didn’t lose faith. Emma did what she had to do – she proved that she was the strong woman we all should aspire to be. She let go of Hook, she followed her family, and in doing so, she allowed him to come back. Orpheus and Eurydice didn’t get a happy ending, but this is Once Upon A Time, and Emma and Hook will. We just need to have faith.
Other things to note:
- Who wants to volunteer to write me an AU where Hook and Regina are siblings?
- I really like where we are right now in the Emma/Regina friendship. It feels real.
- As heart-warming as it was to see Regina and Zelena reconnect, I find it a bit out of touch with reality that Regina would just suddenly expect Robin to trust the woman who, wait, what was that again …oh, yes RAPED HIM.
- Not that Once Upon A Time is ever going to acknowledge this.
- Henry is a much as hero as the rest of his family. That’s both a gift and a curse. Operation Firebird wasn’t just about Hook.
- Still, Henry’s face when Emma tells him that Hook isn’t coming is a tad heartbreaking. How many father figures must Henry lose?
- Greek in the Royal Navy? And he still remembers? Seriously?
- The amount of tears I cried at Hook and Emma’s goodbye scene is enough to leave a girl dehydrated.
NEXT, ON ONCE UPON A TIME
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.