The saga of Alice being stuck in the tower is sad enough without her mother constantly showing up to sabotage her father. Why this woman feels so compelled to torture him, for trying to do the right thing by the child she so slyly seduced him into fathering, is hard to know. But poor Alice sure is made to pay the price for, well, even existing, again and again and again.
Let’s walk through this week’s installment of Once Upon a Time, shall we?
For starters, Alice looks to be nearing her teenage years when we are reacquainted with her in her
prison tower, and so even a natural sense of wanderlust would probably be starting to set in for anyone her age, and it’s a thousand times worse for the girl who can’t tell you what the ocean smells like or what anywhere besides that bloody room does, for that matter. Hook does his best to comfort her, offering up a few jars of sand from his own travels to satisfy her curiosity and assure her that those things actually exist outside of this cursed container.
After Alice endures a dream wherein “the witch” Gothel comes along to banish Hook from the tower, he decides enough is enough. He’ll find a way to get her out of there (or tharrrr, to borrow some pirate speak), and the two oddly exchange chess pieces — he offers a white knight, for obvious reasons, and she gives him a black rook to remind him of her.
Hook’s first stop is another cell: this time, Rumple’s actual jail. He knows that Rumple’s magic has been deteriorated by his current surroundings, but he offers to help set him free if he’ll do the same for his daughter. “It’s a dealllllll,” the lizard-like man exclaims, not even bothering to follow it with his usual “there’s always a price” cadence this time. He informs him that there’s a magical device that can break any confines, but it’s in the hands of another pirate, who won’t be so keen on giving it up to him without a fight.
Fighting is no longer in Hook’s nature, though, so when he approaches Captain Ahab about Maui’s fish hook, he tries to handle things like a gentleman. Despite Ahab’s many sneers about how Hook is no longer the pirate he used to be and is pretty much the laughing stock of all swashbuckler-kind, Hook still resists the urge to get physical and instead offers to settle it all with a wager. The Jolly Roger for the hook, one hand of dice decides it. Naturally, Hook wins the scrap, but as he’s walking away, we see a glimmer of that old pride bubbling back to the surface. He’s not lost sight of anything in his quietude of late, he says to combat Ahab’s words, and in fact he’s just heading off to kill the Dark One now.
Only … we know that’s not true. And Ahab does, too, because he follows him along to Rumple’s cell and witnesses the lack of animosity between them. He’s so sure that Hook’s gone soft that he even starts taunting him about his stowaway daughter while Hook’s sword is inches from the guy’s neck, so clearly he believes his words. He challenges him to a duel, and Hook accepts. This might be Ahab’s elaborate way of exposing Hook as a true brute, but now Killian just doesn’t care.
After 10 excruciatingly slow paces, Hook and Ahab turn their sidearms onto each other and shoot; both make contact, and both go down, but Hook’s aim is a little more precise than his opponent. He’s won the bout, but at what cost to his honor?
When he returns to Alice, with his handy hook ready to smash down the whole place and set her free, he is unable to hug her at all before being bounced back to the ground in agony. That’s when Gothel shows up to fill Alice in on what she’s missed of her dear old dad’s behavior of late before banishing him from the tower and taking away his hard-won fish hook. As he overhears Alice screaming for him to help her, he’s helpless, hurt, and humiliated.
Not such a white knight after all, huh? (Recap continues on Page 2.)