Being evil is a full-time job, and it’s hardly a kid’s game. That’s where we pick up this week on Once Upon a Time: with a father’s need to keep his less-evil boys out of trouble. But sometimes that means that you have to be more evil yourself. And you just can’t trust people to be as evil as you need them to be these days. Let’s jump in.
Back in the past, we start in war times. We get a little background on that sword that Emma’s carrying around. Beowulf had it and ran into battle with it because Saviors have to be Saviors, ya know? Inspired, his men ran into a battle against giants with him, but the problem is… when only one person has a savior sword, everyone else pays. Foreshadowing? Probably. In a one-on-one battle, he’s saved when Rumple kills the giant. But then Rumple announces that he killed them all. But what does he mean?
In the present day, Archie meets Hook, who announces he has some secrets from his past. We now know that big secret is that he killed Emma’s grandfather. Archie encourages him to tell the truth, but is that really a good idea? Speaking of bad ideas, Rumple is making his way through the woods looking for Gideon to make sure he doesn’t use black magic to do himself in. Even Belle is on board for stopping him, but also, Gideon is clearly kind of intense, so maybe chill out.
In the past, we learn just why Rumple’s worried about that dark magic. He got a little crazy with it back in the Beowulf days, and his first son begs him to stop using it now that the war is over. We’ll ignore the fact that Baelfire was with Hook at that age and not Rumple, but you do you, Once Upon a Time. But past lessons aren’t good enough because Gideon breaks into a safe at the sheriff’s office to steal a piece of black magic for himself. Rumple knocks him out and nabs the sword before Gideon can use it on Emma.
Elsewhere, Regina stumbles upon Robin, who pulls an arrow on her. She apologizes for putting pressure on Robin to adjust to a world he’s not ready to adjust to, but by the looks of that sexy outfit, it seems like he’s doing FINE. He talks his way out of Regina’s surprise visit and keeps her from seeing that dark magic he stole. In the belltower, when Gideon wakes up, Rumple has him tied up for a good ol’ father-son chat, where he tells him that giving into darkness can only lead to more darkness. Logically, it’s pretty sound.
Back in the past, Baelfire shows up covered in mud, thanks to the baker’s son, so that he could look like a monster… like his dad. When Rumple goes to address it, he’s stopped by village people distraught by a new monster in town. Rumple says he made a promise to his son not to use dark magic, but they need him. And Bae thinks he might be able to do it without the dark magic.
In Storybrooke, Zelena shows up ready to destroy Robin, but instead of killing him, Robin manages to get a word in about that dark magic and how they may be able to work together to escape Storybrooke. He doesn’t want that kid — he’s here for some “grand theft sorcery.” Being easily persuaded, Zelena is down. Robin is a jerk. And Regina is being painted as weak… again.
Back in the bell tower, Rumple wants to know what the Black Fairy did to Gideon to make him think killing Emma is the only way. Gideon asks how he can trust Rumple with the truth if he’s tied up. As Rumple unties him, we flash to the past, where Rumple reveals he brought that dark magic dagger with him to take on the giants. Bae is pretty disappointed, but he gives a nice speech that convinces Rumple to turn it over to Bae. Back in the present, Gideon reveals the book that Belle read to him, but when the Black Fairy caught him reading it, she mocked him for ever thinking he could be a hero. So he wants to show her that both he and Rumple are strong enough. Rumple agrees to help him and hands him tea, but it’s laced with a memory potion to help him forget everything that happened with the Black Fairy. In a surprise twist, Gideon angrily asks, “Do you think a memory potion will work on me?” He pulls back and has Rumple’s dagger, and it’s on, y’all.