Ah, brotherly love. Family is always complicated on Once Upon a Time, amirite?
A determined Cruella is driving through hell, looking for the quill with Henry. When Henry makes them stop because he thinks he has a lead, he ends up meeting the Apprentice, instead. What unfinished business does the Apprentice have down here? Henry, apparently. He’s here to stop him from making the mistake of resurrecting Cruella because he also apparently doesn’t realize how much the show improves when you have someone like Victoria Smurfit in the cast. He warns Henry that, as the author, he should only use the quill to record and not create stories, but Henry wants to be a hero. The Apprentice relents, telling him that the quill is protected by a powerful spell but the Sheriff here took the key from him. If he can find the key, he can find the quill. And since helping Henry is the only way the Apprentice can move on, he trusts he’ll make the right choice.
Meanwhile, Emma is trying to take care of Hook. With a swish and a flick of some magic, he’s back to his old, charming, attractive self! I wish that worked in real life. Hook is feeling remorseful about everything, mostly because he realizes how fast he succumbed to being the Dark One when Emma managed for like six weeks. Hook doesn’t think he deserves to be saved. Emma, obviously, is not having this. They’re interrupted by Hook’s brother, Liam (Bernard Curry), and Hook is surprised at why Liam is down here — after all, Liam is the most honest guy he knows. What the hell could HE be doing with unfinished business? Liam says Hades has everything rigged down here and talks about needing a storybook to defeat him. Emma quickly realizes he means the Once Upon a Time storybook, and since everything down here has a parallel, there should be a copy hidden somewhere. If they can find Hades’ story and figure out his secrets/weakness, they can exploit it. As usual, simple plan… What could go wrong?
Snow and David help them look for the book, but it’s not in the place it would be in real Storybrooke. (Or, the “Overworld” as Hades likes to call it. Pretty practical, I think.) Liam approaches Emma for some sibling grilling because he thinks she’s not good enough for his brother. He knows Hook’s been fighting some kind of darkness his whole life, and he thinks Emma’s a bad influence. I mean, he’s not wrong — he IS down here because Emma didn’t give him a choice and made him the Dark One, even if it was to save his life. Henry comes home and tells them about how he ran into the Apprentice, but lies about where and how. He does tell him that they need the Sheriff’s key to get into the house where the storybook is being kept, though. This leads Snow and David to the Sheriff’s office because if David is the Sheriff in the Overworld, who is the Sheriff in the Underworld? James, of course. They’re interrupted by Cruella, who sashays in looking for her lover because apparently THAT’S a thing down here. (Look, I don’t blame Cruella. I mean, Josh Dallas ain’t bad looking. I’d be on board.) David makes Snow hide so he can play pretend, and soon realizes he might be a bit out of his depth.
NEXT: In the eye of the hurricane
In flashbacks, we learn that Hook and his brother were once lackeys on a ship captained by a man so evil, hell himself spat him back out. Okay, that’s not true. Captain Silver was a bit of a cruel overlord, though. And Hook wasn’t exactly a good kind of kid. Still, Liam protected his brother even when he didn’t deserve it. When Liam gets papers from the navy — his dream and his golden ticket off Captain Silver’s wretched ship — he gives it up for his brother, who has been goaded into his weakness of drinking by Captain Silver. What a noble thing to do.
What’s not a noble thing to do? Steer your crew into a storm, which is what Captain Silver’s doing — because, hey, why not? And apparently the show has the budget. But Liam and Hook have had enough, and Hook finally stands up to his captain, staging a mutiny and forcing him to stand down, commandeering the crew for themselves. Hades shows up soon afterward, when Liam is alone, and introduces himself by showing off his cool blue hair. What does Hades want? He wants Liam to willingly sink the ship. But if he does so, Hades promises him that he and his brother will survive…and they’ll even get their dream of being in the king’s navy! And he’ll even throw in the coveted eye of the storm stone, which will get Liam anything he wants. Not a bad deal, all things considered. Hook follows his brother’s orders when he continues to steer into the eye of the storm because he trusts him. After the ship crashes, Hades keeps his end of the bargain, sparing both Liam and Hook. They’re found by the king’s navy, and Liam shows them the precious stone, which is enough for them to get an offer on the spot for commission on his ship. Liam, the hero! Kind of.
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In the Underworld, Hades comes into the bar that Liam apparently works at, and tells him that he knows what’s going on…and that he knows they need the storybook. He tells Liam to find it first and destroy the pages, and if he doesn’t, he’ll tell everyone the real reason he’s down here. What bribery. Hades really does love making deals. No wonder he’s president of the Rumple fan club. Regina and Emma, meanwhile, are sharing a moment at Granny’s when Regina actually tells Emma she’s too good for Hook. I really love whenever we get a good Regina/Emma scene, and I need more of them in my life. Henry arrives with the key to the Sheriff’s house, and they manage to get inside, despite the protective spell on the door. They split up, leaving Henry alone, who isn’t too happy about that.
Liam finds the book easily, and also tears out the pages easily, hiding them before anyone can see. When the rest of the group meets up with him, they’re disappointed to find that they don’t have what they need. Hook calls Emma out for being bothered by something, and Emma admits she thinks Liam is lying to them and hiding something, and maybe he DOES know what his unfinished business is. But Hook refuses to believe his brother is anything less than the hero who always protected him. When Emma catches up with Liam outside, she tries to prove to Hook that Liam took the pages, but Hook still refuses to believe Emma’s words. He thinks this whole thing is about him and Emma more than anything else, and he’s decided he won’t be returning after they defeat Hades. His fate is down here, not up where he can actually do good. Unfortunately, Liam’s accosted by a dead Captain Silver and the rest of his crew right at this moment, and Hook realizes Emma has been right. Meanwhile, Cruella is still trying to get it on with Not!James. I mean, the girl’s even got handcuffs and champagne. After a few uncomfortable tries, David uses the handcuffs to trap her to the chair, but Cruella isn’t dumb. She knew he wasn’t her lover because he didn’t have “unique delicious damage.” What does that mean? Apparently, James is pissed at David and resentful because David got the better family life. “One of these days, you two are going to meet, and it’s going to be one hell of a reunion,” says Cruella. Man, I can’t wait for that episode.
NEXT: A brother’s sacrifice
Captain Silver spills the beans about seeing Hades with Liam making a deal in the bar and reveals that he’s down here because he secretly traded their souls. Which means that BOTH Jones brothers get to die. They magic themselves to the Fiery Chasm of Mordor, but before they can push them over the cliff, Hades arrives, because no one — especially the lord of the underworld — should be late to his own party. Hades gets the party started early by pushing Captain Silver off the ship, and Liam is next, but noble Liam is willing to take the fall for his brother if he can spare him. Hades isn’t into this, and pushes him into the fire too…but Hook attempts to save his brother with some desperate Frodo/Sam “don’t you let go” determination. Liam falls, but to Hades’ annoyance and anger, he gets a nice journey to the other side. His brother was his unfinished business, and now that he’s corrected that by choosing to sacrifice himself, he can take the rest of his crew and sail into the heavenly sunset. With no hurricane, obviously. Hook chooses to stay behind, unsurprisingly, because he’s staying with Emma until Hades is defeated. Liam asks him to apologize because moving on really does solve everything. Just ask Lost.
Hook apologizes to Emma and then tells the group that Liam destroyed the pages because of his deal with Hades. But they have bigger problems on their hand — teenage problems. Henry is avoiding his family, so David goes to try some father-son bonding. He tells Henry about what he learned from Cruella, how his brother resented him because he grew up with a loving mother. Family is important, and hell, Henry has a lot of it. He should be grateful for that. David’s words seem to work, and Henry comes clean about finding the quill, about Cruella, and about what he was planning to do. He didn’t like the fact he had so much power but had to live in everyone’s shadow, but now he realizes what the Apprentice meant when he said Henry would choose do to the right thing — tell stories, not change them. Henry is going to re-write Hades’ story. And maybe we can figure out what Hades is hiding.
What IS Hades hiding? A romance, apparently. With Zelena. Someone make this family tree or timeline — this is getting out of control.
Stray Odds & Ends:
- Today in “why don’t I have these powers”: Emma’s ability to heal and Hades’ ability to magic shots of scotch out of thin air. But make mine whiskey.
- “Captain Jones, that’ll be the day.” (There’s a million things I haven’t done…just you wait. Just you wait.)
- “Don’t argue with your mother…or your mother.” Quote of the night.
- I was wondering when David would find out about the kiss between Snow and James. Good on you for being wary, David.