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‘Once Upon A Time’ Review: ‘Broken Heart’


After nine episodes and a short, but still inconvenient hiatus, Once Upon A Time returned and finally gave us the full story as to what happened in Camelot. We saw the aftermath of Emma turning Hook into a Dark One and we learned whose heart ended up in the Dark Curse potion. We also got a glimpse of what Nimue and the other past Dark One’s deemed their endgame. Basically, “Broken Heart” proved to be much too tame of an episode title. Totally annihilated heart would have been much more fitting to go with the audience’s tears.

Let’s back up a little bit to pick up where we left off. Hook and Zelena teamed up to stop Emma from murdering Zelena (not cool, Emma), and to learn the real reason she took everyone’s memories. Zelena used the dreamcatcher to pop Hook’s memories back into place. It turned out, he died in Camelot after getting nicked with Excalibur (damn you for being the worst, Arthur), but Emma didn’t want to let him go so she stripped the darkness out of Merlin and put it into Hook. As Killian Jones lay dying in the field of flowers, he begged Emma not to make him the thing he hated most, but Emma loved him too much to let him go. That’s when she went completely dark and Killian was whisked off to be reborn as Dark One Hook.

ouat-510-broken-02With his memories back in place, his first order of business in Storybrooke was to take Emma’s memories and let Zelena put the magic cuff on her. Then he left her behind to go deal with some Dark One business (which we’ll get to). Emma’s family found her magic-less and decided to leave her that way because they love her, but don’t trust her (fair enough). But hearing Henry let his mother have it hurt a lot and Emma didn’t understand why he could forgive Rumple and Regina, but not her. Henry expected better of her, but more than that, he knew she was still on the dark side because she wanted to do everything herself and not let anyone help her.

How much did that revelation hurt? Emma’s spent so much of her life alone that she always falls back on being the orphaned girl who no one cares about so she has to take care of herself. And obviously that’s not the case any longer since she has nothing but people who care about her, but of course Emma’s not going to see it that way when she’s got every Dark One ever whispering in her ear (and it didn’t help that her family and friends all rejected her plan to save Killian in Camelot). So I can’t blame Emma for thinking she needed to fix everything herself, but I also don’t blame Henry for calling her out on it because she was wrong. This is just one of the many moments this episode stomped on my heart.

We have to circle back to Camelot now and Hook’s initial reaction to becoming the Dark One. We saw the pain he suffered at the hands of Rumple and then Dark One Rumple popped up to greet him when he rose in his monk’s robes (two things: 1) Dark Ones are hilarious and 2) for someone who’s always despised magic, Killian definitely seemed to be a quick learner). Rumple told the newest Dark One he could finally have what he’s always wanted – to kill him – but they had to go back to Storybrooke first. Killian rejected the idea of the Dark Curse because he was not about to kill Emma, the person he loved most (my heart, you guys). But Rumple insisted there might be another way.

Emma sought out Killian and he let her have it for turning him into the Dark One. I can’t say that I’m mad over some of the things he said to Emma because he spoke the truth. He pointed out that he’s always there for her, always believes in her, always gives her a choice, even when her own mother didn’t, but she didn’t believe in him enough to trust him. While I do understand Emma’s issues (see above), I also think there are times where she’s been careless with Killian’s feelings (and her parents’ and other people’s too) so if it took the darkness to air the dirty laundry, so be it. But here’s the thing. Emma’s grown and matured (which has been wonderful to watch) so she accepted his feelings and assured him that she wanted the future with him and she said ‘I love you’ first for the first time and asked that he trust her to save both of them (That moment and the look on Killian’s face may go down as one of my favorite all time moments on this show).

They went looking for Merlin and that’s when he was creating the message the group watched a few episodes back – the one about finding Nimue. Hook went inside the diner to retrieve Merlin and that’s when everything went south. It turned out he’d been playing Emma and was still listening to the other Dark Ones. He snatched Merlin’s heart and Nimue explained since all the Dark Ones were part of him and she loved Merlin, it was a loophole that would allow the curse to work. That’s when Emma arrived and things turned ugly. The truth came out, but the savior was not about to lose without a fight. She took Killian’s memories and everyone else’s and held him in her arms as the curse overtook them (can we take a moment to swoon over the parallel to Snow and Charming and the curse that started it all? We see what you did there, show).

ouat-510-broken-04Anyway, back to Storybrooke. Hook sets out to find Rumple so they can meet on his ship for a duel. He wants to punish him for taking his hand, killing Milah, and setting the darkness loose on Emma (your true love is showing, Captain). Rumple agrees to fight him and Hook even takes away his limp to make it more of a fair fight. All Rumple has to do is disarm him, and then use Excalibur to vanquish him once and for all. Rumple manages to get the upper hand and the sword, but he’s a hero now so he’s not going to kill him. He’d much rather force Hook to live with the knowledge that Rumple beat him. Hook seems okay with that, which seems off, just like the fact that he allowed Rumple to win in the first place because come on. He’s a Dark One. He could have stopped him.

At the library, Emma pleaded with Henry to trust her and help her track down the dreamcatchers. She knew Hook took her memories for a reason and she needed to know why so they could stop him. Henry borrowed a locator spell from Gold’s shop and they found them in the clock tower, but they were protected by magic. Henry used the rest of the squid ink to free Emma because he believed she wanted to change since she came to him for help instead of going it alone (aw). In turn, Emma and Henry met up with the others and Emma returned everyone’s memories, including her own. That meant she knew what Hook’s ultimate plan was…which turned out to be bringing hell to Storybrooke.

Remember that fight he “lost” with Rumple? He needed his blood in order to open the door to the underworld (because Rumple had died, gone to hell, and come back). Once he placed it in the water, a ship came around the bend carrying Nimue and all of the other Dark Ones. They all want to join forces and stomp out the light once and for all. We need to talk more about this, but first, there are two other plot points to mention from the episode:

ouat-510-broken-03OnRobin and Regina agreed to let Zelena have supervised visits with her daughter. Regina believed there might be hope for her sister since loving Henry saved Regina. Did anyone else expect Zelena to poof away as soon as they placed that nameless baby girl in her arms? I’m shocked she didn’t because even as a Zelena fan, I can’t imagine she’s going to be redeemed. But I guess trust is the first step or whatever (still seems a little too risky though). Also, show, would it kill you to let Regina and Robin have important conversations onscreen? I hope these two get more to do in 5B.

As for Rumple and Belle, she showed up to meet him at the well where they got married after he survived his fight with Dark Hook. But Belle did not want to sweep everything under the rug and try again. She’s totally cool with Rumple being on Team Hero now and she’s proud of him, but she has to protect her heart. She’s believed his lies one too many times. I applauded her decision. I’m not against true love winning in the end, this is Once Upon A Time, but I think it’s too soon to just pretend like all the bad things didn’t happen. Yes, Rumple is pure now and magic free, but I can’t blame Belle for needing time. She’s earned that.

Now, back to Dark Hook and some of the terrible things he said to Emma (and about Milah). While I may have been okay with him calling her out on a few things in Camelot, it broke my heart into tiny pieces when he threw the orphan thing in her face along with all of her other deep fears and personal demons. No one can hurt us more than the people who love us most. The darkness knew all the proper buttons to push and after three seasons of watching Killian Jones rise to becoming one of the driving forces of Team Hero, these scenes were painful to watch (but also incredible because Colin O’Donoghue, people. This is how you talent). We have to remember it was the darkness speaking because the show made a point of stressing hero Killian died.

But here’s the thing. I don’t quite believe what the episode is telling us to believe. Hook gave himself over to the darkness a little too fast. Call me a delusional if you want, but I’ve been watching this show for almost 100 episodes now and we’ve never seen a character backslide this fast. Killian Jones is a survivor. He doesn’t just die and let the darkness take over. Throw in the fact that next week is the midseason finale and combine it with the way Emma’s behaved as a Dark One. She did bad things, but for good reasons. Yes, she’s the savior, but if there’s one thing this show loves, it’s parallels. Emma pushed everyone away to make her plan succeed. Maybe Hook’s doing the same thing. Maybe he’s gathering the Dark Ones in one place to allow Emma to get rid of them once and for all. And in doing so, she’d right the wrong and let Killian die for the greater good (just typing that hurts me).

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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1 Comment

  1. I find it interesting that Hook outright refused to kill Emma to enact the Dark Curse and then brings the person they need (Nimue) back from the dead. Granted, with other Dark Ones, but still. Like you said, might be because he’s gathering them for Emma.

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