Hook gets an(other) origin story, Henry plays with sharp objects... but nothing really matters until we finally get to The Kiss
Once Upon A Time Good Form
Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

First, let’s get one thing out of the way: It happened. Emma and Hook finally engaged in The Smooch That Broke the Internet, generating enough electricity to power an entire CGI castle. Their wuv may or may not be twue. It may actually be closer to wust than wuv. Either way, one thing’s for sure: It is hot. Hot enough to make a fire-breathing Maleficent blush. Hell, even hot enough to make me a lot less grumpy about an episode that indulged in one of TV’s most annoying habits: a plot centered on one character not telling another character crucial information, for absolutely no reason beyond artificially ratcheting up dramatic tension. Bad form, Hook!

Speaking of: Tonight’s fairyback revolves around the pirate himself, showing us a crucial episode from his two-handed days. Before he gained his hook or achieved the rank of captain, Emma’s future tonsil hockey goalee was known as Leftenant Killian Jones: an honorable navy man with a goofy bicorne hat and a love of rule-following. (Yes, I know “leftenant” is just the way British people pronounce “lieutenant;” it is also more fun to write than “lieutenant.”) Please pause to absorb the dramatic irony.

Young Killian has apparently joined the family business; his similarly handsome older brother Liam happens to be his commanding officer. The Joneses and their crew are setting sail for uncharted waters — specifically, those that surround Never Land, where they’ve been sent to retrieve a plant that supposedly has the power to heal any injury. Who has sent them on this mission? An unnamed king from an unknown realm. Their 18th century-style garb doesn’t exactly jibe with the same faux-medieval society that gave us Snow, Charming, Rumpel, and the rest, so it seems safe to say that the Brothers Jones aren’t originally from the Enchanted Forest. Then again, they manage to make their ship fly with a sail made from Pegasus’s feathers, so I guess anything’s possible.

Ahem. So Killian and Liam arrive on Neverish shores — suspiciously sunny Neverish ones, at that — where they’re promptly interrupted by Peter Pan. Smugly (I’m not sure why I bothered typing that; it’s always implied when Pan speaks), the ageless boy informs them that the plant they seek is actually deadly dreamshade. Killian is horrified to learn that all this time, their king’s been using them to harness and transport a magical WMD. Liam, however, pooh-poohs Pan and chides his brother for being so gullible. He’s like, two scoffs away from giving Killian a Hurtz Doughnut. Just to hammer home the fact that Killian’s a dumb dummy, Liam slices his arm up with a dreamshade thorn. See? It’s perfectly harmless! Then Liam promptly passes out. Finally, some vindication for younger siblings everywhere!

NEXT: Liam Everlasting?

Killian is too frantic to deliver a well-deserved “I told you so” to his sibling. Thankfully, Pan appears just then to let him know that dreamshade is the world’s slowest-acting poison, and that even a massive dose of it won’t prevent Liam from swordfighting or stop him from climbing up mountains or otherwise incapacitate him in any visible way. If Killian really does want to remove those unsightly spider veins from Liam’s forearm, however, he can always give big bro a drink from a magical spring imbued with all the powers of Never Land — which is conveniently located about six steps away.

Barely moments after Pan has delivered the obligatory warning about magic — it always comes with a… $5 off coupon for Gold’s Pawn Shop! — Killian has gathered the healing waters from the Tuck family’s spring and fed them to Liam. Hooray, his brother is cured! Well, at least until the boys fly off into the sunset, land — er, sea — on a more familiar surface… and Liam drops dead anyway.

Here’s what Pan didn’t tell Killian: Though the water can heal people and keep them young, it’ll also kill any drinker who attempts to leave Never Land. Distraught, Killian buries his brother at sea and decides that he’ll make that unnamed king pay for Liam’s death by transforming himself into a sexy pirate. That escalated quickly! Avast, is there a villain in Onceworld who didn’t become wicked only after losing a loved one?

Back in present-day Never Land, the Magical Breakfast Club’s members decide they’ve got two jobs to do. The gals will work on trapping a Lost Boy so that they can convince him to deliver a message to Henry. The guys are going to set off for nearby Dead Man’s Peak, where Hook says there may be a sextant that can help to guide them out of Never Land. (Emma, echoing the audience before this plot’s big reveal: “And you’re telling us about it now?!”)

Snow’s trap idea works like a dream. Unfortunately, the kid she catches spurns the ladies’ Apollo Bar bribe and informs them with a Pan-ian sneer that Henry has become “one of the most vicious new recruits we have had in ages!” And while he’s obviously exaggerating, the Lost Boy spirit does seem to be weaseling its way into Henry’s subconscious — thanks to Pan’s encouragement, Emma’s son manages to use his still-undefined magical whatsis to transform an ordinary stick into a real sword. At Pan’s urging, he even used the weapon to fight off the boy Snow and Co. have just captured.

NEXT: Hello, magical videochat!

So it seems that the Boy won’t do the MBC’s bidding unless they force him to. Regina wants to tear the little snot-nose’s heart out, which would give her complete control over him. Snow, predictably, won’t hear of it. But Emma doesn’t see another option — so she physically restrains her own mother, whispering an apology as Regina does what she does best.

And here’s the thing: Their plan actually works! The Imperius’d kid travel’s back to Pan’s camp, where he tells Henry that his family is coming to save him. Then he hands over one half of Regina’s old compact mirror. Oh hey — it’s not a mirror anymore, it’s a magical iPhone! And so Henry briefly videochats with both of his mothers (Snow, adorably: “I’m here too, Henry!), gaining new resolve and somehow not even being caught by the omniscient Pan. Of course, something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll see of the magic mirror or Sorcerer’s Skype.

Meanwhile, Prince “Felix” Charming and Captain “Oscar” Hook odd couple their way through the jungle and to Dead Man’s Peak. Hook ascends the mountain first and finds Pan waiting for him. The little stinker first establishes that Hook once worked for him (interesting!), then offers his old comrade a deal: If Hook kills Charming before the dreamshade can, Pan will let Hook and Emma leave Never Land.

There was a time when the Captain would have immediately accepted this sort of indecent proposal. But because he’s slowly morphing from Unrepentant Baddie (i.e. J.K. Rowling’s Draco) to Sensitive Bad Boy Who’s Really Good Underneath It All (i.e. Fanfiction Draco), he instead rejects Pan’s offer, telling David only at the very last moment that he hasn’t brought him to the peak in search of the sextant. All that stuff about nautical instruments was only a ruse to get David to the magical spring so that Hook could heal the prince’s dreamshade poisoning.

Hold up. How easy would it have been to say, at any moment since Charming got stuck with that damn arrow — at any point since the whole dreamshade plant was introduced, really — that its poison isn’t really incurable? Sure, the magical waters bring their own side effects, but this is absolutely information that could and should have been communicated, oh, three episodes ago. Also: Charming’s clearly not going to be stuck on Never Land forever, probably due to the help of his soon-to-be-all-powerful grandson. We can agree on that, right?

NEXT: “As you wish.”

But in the meantime, Charming says that an eternity under Pan’s thumb is a small price to pay for the ability to help save Henry — so he drinks the water, then runs back to the MBC’s clearing so he can kiss the stuffing out of Snow White. (Big night for makeouts.) He and Hook tell the gals that Pan got to the sextant before they did — and then Charming adds that Hook saved his life, though he lies about the exact circumstances. Everyone but Regina (“I don’t do rum”; a woman after Olivia Pope’s own heart) drinks a toast to Hook. Then Regina and the Charmings walk off, leaving Emma and Hook behind… where they do this. Go ahead, watch it five more times. I won’t tell. Extra squee material: After the big kiss, Emma basically tells Hook to get lost. He replies by saying “as you wish” — and we all know what “as you wish” means.

Everything’s comin’ up Killian! Well, until Pan shows up and informs Hook that there’s a fly in the ointment: Neal, or Baelfire, or Glumsy Magoo, or whatever he’s calling himself these days, is alive and on the island. Has Hook reformed enough to tell his smooch partner that her real Twue Wuv is just a jungle away… or are his pirate instincts still too strong?


– Not only is Bae in Never Land, but he’s being held captive in a bamboo box… one suspended next to another box holding another of Pan’s prisoners. Who could he have in there? Rumpelstiltskin’s deadbeat dad, who’s set to show up in a future episode? Little mermaid Ariel? Red Riding Hood, to prevent her from moving to CBS? Gwyneth Paltrow’s head?!

– Wait, speaking of dudes Emma’s made out with on this show — can we take a minute to discuss the fact that freakin’ Sheriff Skinnyjeans has been cast as the lead of Fifty Shades of Grey?!?!

– Emma intuits that Little Bae gave up hope and stopped marking the days he was stuck in Never Land, “because it’s what I did every time I went to a new foster home.” Maybe Emma got kicked out of so many homes because she couldn’t stop writing on the walls.

– Could Henry speed things along by just imagining that his family has rescued him already? We’re already five weeks into this plot; something’s gotta give.

– Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that Hook knows more than he’s letting on about where the sextant is now. Is this really the gang’s key to leaving Never Land?

– Who else wanted to yell at their TV when Hook impulsively burned that Pegasus feather sail? Dude, even if you’re mad, it gives boats the power of flight!

– What war was the Jones brothers’ king fighting? Did it have anything to do with ogres?

– Henry, like his dad before him, tries to comfort himself by drawing a crude picture of his old Earth house. Aw!

– Perhaps this Mulan/Aurora thing has just gotten me twisted, but when Pan was all up in the Captain’s grill sneering that he wanted to “see your hook inside [Charming]’s body,” I could swear there was a whiff of sexual tension. Maybe we should just ship Hook/everyone.

– This spring business may have revealed the secret to defeating Pan: Those imbued with the powers of Never Land die if they leave its shores. That’s got to be why Pan sends his shadow to steal kids; he’d perish if he abandoned his perch for any other world. All the MBC has to do, then, is find some way to push Pan out of Never Land. Update: Of course, as a commenter points out, Pan did appear in Hamelin during Rumpel’s fairyback… but that was before he even had a crew of Lost Boys, so he may not have been tied as closely to Never Land’s magic yet. Or, you know, my theory is just totally wrong.

– That said, nothing on Once is an accident — and having Snow and Emma drink from Hook’s rum flask just moments after we learned about the magic water seems like it can’t have been a coincidence. Might Regina be the only MBC member who’s actually capable of leaving Never Land now?

– Next week: ARIEL! And… Regina is Ursula? Can’t wait to be part of that world.

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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