REVIEW: Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep6 – Dark Waters

We delved deep (pun intended) into more of Captain Hook’s back story in this episode of Once Upon a Time. Meanwhile, Regina faced off against her Evil Twin and Emma gave Aladdin some pep talk.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep 6 - Dark WatersThe theme of the episode was family. And really, that’s practically the theme of the whole show. But sometimes, Once Upon a Time wants to needlessly remind us of its emphasis on family. So this time around the focus was on Hook, and the connection he’s been building not just with Emma, but with the rest of her family, Henry in particular. Henry (with the help of his Evil Mummie) finds out that Hook didn’t throw away the Shears of Destiny (this season’s magical MacGuffin) like Emma told him to and instead hid them away in case of a rainy day. This raises the question of Hook’s trustworthiness and Henry becomes very hostile. Before they can quarrel, a submarine rises out of the waters of Storybrooke, one linked to the story by a flashback to Hook’s past during the Dark Curse.

The submarine is the Nautilus, the vessel from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and its captain is Nemo, a mysterious figure who turns out to be a huge softie inside. After bitterly exacting his vengeance on the people who destroyed his family, he decides that this is not the life for him and he wants to get wayward souls (also bent on revenge) to see the light. So he just recruits random bitter sailors and hopes they will give up their anger? Seems a bit dodgy. But this is Once Upon a Time, so let’s just go with it.

Another Verne novel is referenced in this episode – The Mysterious Island – as this is the place Nemo wants to get to where a new life is possible and there is no pain. There’s some treasure hunting, a CGI-kraken, and then it gets into soap-opera territory. Nemo’s first mate turns out to be Hook’s younger half-brother, Liam II (mentioned last season when we saw the flashback with Hook’s father). And he’s held a lifelong grudge against Hook for killing their father (and really, who can blame him?) In the flashback, the young man accidentally stabs Nemo. Back in Storybrooke, Hook has shared the sordid tale with Henry and regained the latter’s trust. Liam II appears, still in a rage, but after some scuffling, Hook brings his brother to the hospital. And lo, all’s well that ends well because Captain Nemo is alive and well, thanks to the advancements of modern medicine.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep 6 - Dark WatersIn other news, I’m quite enjoying the Evil Queen’s shenanigans this season. She’s proving to be a far more compelling and entertaining villain than most of the other half-season villains. And since she’s not weighed down by any humanity, she becomes like a pure force of chaos, wreaking havoc without any emotional consequences. Some of her actions are still a bit mysterious. Like, what was the smooching Rumple all about? Even Rumple was confused. But clearly, she’s up to even more trouble.

Once Upon a Time, S6 Ep 6 - Dark WatersMore parallels were drawn between Aladdin and Emma, where the latter reminded him that even without his Saviour powers, he could still make up for his mistakes. He could come back after running away and face up to his responsibilities. He sees reason and returns to Jasmine, and presumably in the next episodes, we will find out why Agrabah disappeared. Whether these two heroes are ever going to get together is another question that remains unresolved but hopefully, once the quest to rescue their kingdom is complete, they can finally listen to their hearts.

All this and we’re still no closer to finding out the meaning behind Emma’s visions. But I think that the Agrabah mission (or whatever Henry will choose to call it) will have some bearing on this. We’ll just have to wait and see on the next episode of Once Upon a Time.