By Natalie Abrams
Updated November 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST
Credit: ABC/Jack Rowand

In a twist basically no one saw coming, Once Upon a Time turned Hook into the one thing he’s hated for hundred of years: The Dark One.

Cut down by Excalibur, Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) faced certain death as Emma (Jennifer Morrison) prepared to merge the sword with the Dark One dagger. Desperate to hold onto what she hopes is her happy ending, Emma tethered Hook to the sword, creating a second Dark One, which no one knew about until Hook got his memories back in Storybrooke. As promised, EW caught up with O’Donoghue to get the scoop on his transformation:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How surprised were you when you learned that Hook would be a second Dark One?

COLIN O’DONOGHUE: It was a bit of a shock. I was excited, to be honest. I was excited to delve back into the darker side of Hook. That’s where he was when I came on, [though] he was maybe not quite the same as the way that I play him as the Dark One. He’s a little bit more — not fun, but it’s nice to be able to explore that again.

Emma was very different as a Dark One since she’s always been good, so how different is Hook as a Dark One?

He’s kind of similar to the original Hook, but amplified by the present. What we have to remember is that Hook embraced the Darkness before, whereas Emma has always tried to fight it. Even as her Dark One, she still comes from a place of hope as the Savior. That’s where her Dark One is starting from, whereas Hook knows that he can’t resist that side of things, so he fully embraces it and goes into himself.

How do you get in the mindset of playing evil?

I try to think of the darkest things I can think of, and try to figure out how people can do stuff to other people like that. I don’t understand it, but that’s where I start. I look at paintings and I’ll try and research harrowing stories and all that kind of stuff, and try to get into the mindset of somebody who’s completely lacking empathy. Then, you just go, well, if somebody really doesn’t care that much about anybody, I’d imagine they’d enjoy that, because they probably enjoy the suffering or be completely indifferent. Then it’s about trying to play something like that. I don’t sit and listen to music all day, although music is a big influence on me. I play the guitar and stuff a lot, but it wouldn’t be a direct thing that I’d listen to a particular song that would make me feel like a villain.

The one thing Hook has always hated is the Dark One. Is he basically a self-hating Dark One?

Yeah. He’s always admitted that he hates the Dark One. He says that to Emma. He desperately tried to keep Emma from becoming the Dark One, because it’s something that he hates. However, when he embraces the Darkness, he has no choice in becoming the Dark One. It’s not his decision. Once the Darkness is in him, he has no other real choice because he’s always been open to it. He’s always had that weakness. He just fully embraced it. You sort of see him struggle a little bit, but when he decides that that’s who he is now, then he’s in it.

What is Hook motivated by? He’s always wanted to kill Rumple, so will that play into it?

There are a few things that are more complex. They all have slightly different things that they want out of the Darkness. A big part of who Hook is, and who he has been for hundreds of years, is that motivation for revenge, and you definitely see elements of that come up.

When Emma became the Dark One, the previous Dark Ones appeared to her in the form of Rumple. If that happens with Hook, will that drive him crazy?

You’ll have to see. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially because now there’s two Dark Ones. It’s interesting to see how they all work together and what their motivations are.

How does Hook feel toward Emma since she created him?

Deep down — he’s seen it with Rumple and Belle, and even with Emma and Hook — they still have the ability to love. You know when you have that massive argument with your partner and you’re just really pissed off with each other? Just imagine that, only you are the darkest person in the world, so imagine what that would be like. But that’s not to say that he doesn’t love her. They still have the ability to love, but when you get pissed off as the Dark One, that’s serious business.

What can you tease of Hook’s plans for Storybrooke?

Hook has really embraced this. Whatever the Darkness wants, he’s willing to give it to the Darkness to get what he wants for his own selfish reasons, if that makes sense. We’re talking about the Darkness like it’s a real thing. It’s an entity that lives as itself and uses these people as conduits to get what it wants. So Hook is willing to do that for the Darkness. If that means hurting people, he’s willing to do whatever it takes.

We’re going to be seeing some backstory for Hook with his father. What can you say about that episode?

I was excited to get to explore that, because we talked about Hook’s father and he was cagey about it, so we get to see what happened in that backstory. It is linked with Regina, which is about all I can really say about it. It’s a fascinating insight into who Hook was back when he was Captain Hook, but not Killian Jones, if you know what I mean. Season 2 Hook! Let’s just call him that. You get to see a real insight into how he became that ruthless pirate and the person who just really didn’t care about anything except his revenge.

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Episode Recaps

Once Upon a Time

Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.

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