Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep10 – Broken Heart

“Bloody hell.”

Memories restored, Hook goes full Dark One in the latest episode of Once Upon a Time. He remembers how Emma turned him into the thing he hates the most in order to save his life, but he resents being denied any choice in the matter. All throughout the episode, Hook asserts that he refuses to be controlled or manipulated by anyone. And considering his history with Rumple, one can understand his anger. But his reaction to being turned into a Dark One was a bit extreme, considering Emma was trying to save him and that the couple of times she used the dagger on him were to be able to reach out to him, and once accidentally.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep10 - Broken HeartHe also proves that he is way more susceptible to dark influences than Emma ever was. Almost minutes into remembering his Dark One identity, Hook goes on a vengeful rampage, challenging Rumple to a duel, confronting and insulting Emma, and ominously threatening Storybrooke with his secret, nefarious plans. Colin O’Donoghue was clearly enjoying himself as he hammed it up as Dark Hook, speaking in the familiar, melodic Rumple voice, saying “dearie,” and even doing the dramatic hand twirling. It was surreal that in that moment, Hook was more Rumple than Rumple.

Dark One Emma, for all her dramatics earlier in the season and all the big talk about exacting revenge on the people who had wronged her, turned out to be acting from good intentions all along. Which still doesn’t excuse all the threats, manipulation, turning-a-dwarf-into-stone, accelerating Zelena’s pregnancy, and as Snow points out, “pre-meditated murder” of Zelena, no matter how annoying the Wicked Witch is. Her dark acts were a result of her determination to fix the mess she made without asking help from anyone, which is typical Emma.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep10 - Broken HeartFortunately, after an intervention by Snow, Charming, and Regina, Emma starts to realize that she would be better with help from those who care about her. She clashed earlier on with Henry, who pointed out how much she had changed (for the worse) and how he would find it difficult to forgive her after what she had done. This was a powerful moment which would have been more effective had they not so easily reconciled later in the episode, when Emma seeks his help to find the dreamcatchers Hook stole. After a sincere apology in the library where everyone else tried to do research (seriously, Rumple and Belle were able to email each other so why don’t people use the Internet in Storybrooke?), Emma and Henry embark on Operation Cobra, part two.

The most engaging part of the episode was definitely the duel between Rumple and Hook, which was centuries in the making. We got to see a more vicious version of Hook squaring off against a nobler version of Rumple. Determined to really change his ways and to be a better man for Belle, Rumple faced Hook bravely even as the latter taunted him with Excalibur and all the painful memories of the past as they clashed swords on board the Jolly Roger.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep10 - Broken HeartThe tension between them was effective because of their long and complicated history, and revenge against Rumple was really at the core of Hook’s villainy even before he became the Dark One. He wounds Rumple with his hook but the latter is able to best him, taking Excalibur away from him and proving that he is no longer the cowering peasant Hook faced all those years ago. Hook poofs out of there.

Rumple, genuinely happy about his victory, rushes to the well where he and Belle were married, hoping that she would accept his offer to try and start over. She arrives, to his relief and delight, only to crush his heart by saying that, as much as she loves him, he has hurt her too many times for her to consider rekindling their relationship. And of course, given Rumple’s past treatment of her, Belle is completely justified for choosing this and I was glad to see her sticking up for herself.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep10 - Broken HeartBut there was also something about the way she confronted Rumple like this that made me suspicious. I don’t know, but there was a hesitation in her tone and the whole thing seemed almost rehearsed. I’ve seen some theories that Hook may have forced her to break up with Rumple by threatening his life and that’s my take on it too. But if I’m proven wrong, it was still a great scene between the two characters. And it was heartbreaking to see Rumple being left alone at the well.

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