It’s Valentine’s Day. Or, it will be soon. And we all want a little romance – in our lives, and in our TV screens.
Which is why this week we’re counting down on those moments that make our hearts go pitter-patter, our hands shake, our mouths emit a sound that is half wail, half awwww. The ones that make us feel. And I have the not so easy task of trying to narrow down the list of those moments for Captain Swan.
And that’s not because there’s too few of them, no. It’s because there’s too many. It’s because from that first meeting to now their journey has been pretty much all we look for in an OTP – slow, real, and heartfelt. It’s because when they say they love each other, we believe them. They’ve proved it.
So here are the Captain Swan moments that made us believe in true love, starting with:
Some of us had shipped this from the first beanstalk, but here was actual proof that the ship was plausible, that it was not one-sided. Emma did want him as much as he wanted her, she just didn’t know how to want something for herself and actually get it, didn’t trust him, and, of course, had bigger things to worry about at the moment – like Henry. But their time would come …
“When I win your heart …”
This, right here, is the defining moment that makes Captain Swan the kind of modern romance we all wanted in our lives. Hook “informs” her of his intentions to win her heart, but he’s also makes it clear that he’s not going to cheat and trick his way into her heart. When she wants him – and the part of him that already cares so much about her can’t but believe she’ll come to feel the same – it’ll be her choice. This is what we want in our OTPs! Not just romance, but choice.
“There’s not a day that will go by that I don’t think of you.”
What’s more telling than his line is her response: “Good,” she says. Not don’t do it, or forget me, but “good.” Because, even though she was choosing what was best for her son, a part of her was also accepting that this man was serious, he really did care, and though it seemed like they might never get a chance to explain what might exist between them, in this instant, Emma was, at least, willing to accept that there was something there.
“I’d go to the end of the world for her, or time.”
Emma never gets to hear this declaration from Hook, but Charming does, and it goes a long way toward garnering his approval. By this time Hook had already proved more than once that his words were factual – he would go to the end of the world or time for her, he had, actually, but the recognition, the ability to express his feelings, has always been one of his best qualities. Killian Jones has certainly never been shy about his feelings for Emma Swan.
“You traded your ship for me?”
Hook has been insisting left and right that he’s serious, he cares, and this is when Emma finally lets herself not just see it, but accept it. She has eyes, she’s not oblivious to his feelings, but Emma has been hurt before, and the tangible proof that he’s willing to not just say the words, but to sacrifice the one thing he called home for her, is enough for her to take that leap of faith into a relationship. This is not when she starts caring, no, this is when she finally accepts that this is something she can actually try.
“Well, maybe just this once …”
The importance of this moment cannot be underscored. Emma is not the type to do many things, and yet, her relationship with Killian has allowed her to grow, to evolve, to become a woman who’d want a tearful goodbye from the love of her life and yet, at the same time, who’d go save the town after that goodbye. Emma is no less of a hero because she loves, if anything, she’s more of one, because now the stakes are raised. Now she has something to fight for.
“I’ll never stop fighting for us.”
For so long, Killian Jones has had nothing. You could say he had his revenge, yes, but that’s not a nice thing to fight for. But now he has Emma – he has a future, and he’ll fight just as hard, even harder, for her, than he ever did for his revenge. If he’s proven one thing in the last three hundred or so years is that, when he cares for something, he’s all in. Completely.
“I’m going to choose to see the best in you.”
This is a giant leap of faith for Emma, the woman with trust issues. This is her admitting that she doesn’t know everything, but she doesn’t need to, because she trusts Killian. Not just to love her and to be with her, but to be the hero he never saw in himself. To be a good person, not just for her, but for him. She might have been his motivation for going on the right path, but she’s not dragging him along with her, no. She’s just walking and trusting he’s there with her.
“Don’t you know, Emma? It’s you.”
It shouldn’t be a revelation for Emma, it certainly isn’t for the viewers, and yet, for all that Emma has grown into the relationship, she still has a time grasping the notion that this man might not just want her, love her, but that he’ll continue to do so. That a future is possible. That he’s not going to leave, at least not willingly. And that’s what he’s saying with his words. He’s saying …you’re all I want. Forever.
“I hope it’s my job to protect your heart.”
For all that this list is made up of very romantic declarations, this is the quote that speaks more closely to what it’s like to be in a real, loving relationship. It’s not just taking the good with the bad, but pushing each other to be better, protecting each other, not just physically, but emotionally, and being each other’s constant support, in good times and in bad times.
“We can find another way, together.”
No you can find another way, we can find another way. And he’s not just saying me, he’s saying me and your family. Killian’s love for Emma has never been the kind to exclude all others, it’s never been selfish, it’s never looked to take her away from the people who also care about her. All he’s doing in this moment is reminding her of why she should be fighting the darkness, and promising to accompany on the journey, no matter where that takes them.
“I love you, Emma Swan. No matter what you’ve done.”
Emma’s turn as the Dark One, even before she revealed her reasons, was a trying time for their relationship, more because of the secrets than because of anything else. And yet Hook, of all people, understands darkness. He knows it’s not about making one bad choice, but about continuing to make bad decisions day in and day out – and he’s not ready to give up on Emma, not ready to give up on their live. He probably never will be.
Emma turns into the Dark One to save Hook.
This might be a controversial pick, but hear me out. Should Emma, as the hero of this tale, have been willing to let him go? Done the right thing? Maybe. But heroes aren’t heroes because they always make the right choices, but because they continue to fight. And anyone who’s ever list someone they love understands why, having a chance to do something, Emma would not care about the consequences. Love makes us all a little mad like that.
“Hook, I will find you. I will always find you.”
The trend continues with Emma’s declaration that she’s gonna find Hook – she’s not going to let him go. In real life, of course, this is impossible, but in the world of OUAT, I would also walk to hell itself to save those I’ve lost. How can we blame Emma for trying something that we would do in an instant if we were given the chance?
“It’s true love.”
Of course it is. What else could it be? Though not a true love’s kiss – how could it be when neither of them was cursed – Emma and Hook passing true love’s test is the obvious conclusion to the journey they started together in season two. If you’ve seen the show, or even if you’ve read the quotes above, you already knew these two were true love. Still, it’s nice of the show to confirm it – for Emma and Hook’s sake, more than ours.
Hook and Emma say goodbye.
Here, Hook lets Emma go because he can’t bear the idea that she might come to harm to try to continue on a doomed mission, and she leaves, not because she doesn’t love him, but because, confronted with his words, she can’t do but honor what they have by letting him go and continue living. This is the ultimate test of love, and if they hadn’t passed true love’s test before, this would have been enough to prove how rare their connection is. Loving someone enough to die for them is always easier than loving someone enough to live for them.
“Zeus sent me back …”
Even the almighty Zeus was like: What is this madness? You can’t break up my OTP! I need to send Killian back, which is saying a lot, especially as we can assume Zeus is merely the voice of the writers. And their reunion is everything you might expect from someone who just came back from the dead and their significant other: giddy, heartfelt and enthusiastic, to the exclusion of all else.
“I love you.”
We’ve heard the declaration before, but this is the first time Emma just says it when there’s nothing at stake, when they’re just quietly walking down the street and no one’s in mortal peril. For a woman like Emma, this means the world. It means she accepts the weight of this relationship, not just in trying times, but in quiet times. It means she’s ready to move forward with it. It means she’s ready for the future.
“Move in with me.”
Emma proves that she can move past her fears when she finally invites Hook to share her life in more than a metaphorical way. Before, though they were in a serious, committed relationship, they were still two separate ships, so to say. Moving together, yes, but not completely in sync. Now they’ve taken the first step towards that future they both so desperately want, a future that belongs to both of them.
“I would have done the exact same thing.”
This is not Emma being glib or weak, this is her admitting that, to save him, she’d do questionable things – she has done questionable things – so she’s in no position to judge him for trying to do the same. This is them saying, let’s try to do better, together. Because that’s how they face life now. No couple is perfect – no person is perfect – we all make mistakes. Killian and Emma are moving forward, as partners.
“Remember who you are.”
You’re not just the savior, you’re a hero. You’re the product of true love, and the love of my life. You’re Emma Swan, and you can do anything you put your mind to. (What do you mean that’s not the line? That’s clearly what he’s thinking. Look at this face!). And, that happens to be exactly what Emma needed. His unconditional support.
Agree? Disagree? Have other Captain Swan moments you think should have made the list? Share with us in the comments below!
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. It’s currently on hiatus and it will return Sunday, March 5th.