Once Upon A Time Hits The Terrible Twos
We learn the dark truth of what happened in Camelot as the season's timelines come together.
Hook received an unhealable wound, so Emma tethered his life to Excalibur, saving him but turning him into another Dark One in the process. Zelena found his memories, so they know that now, but everyone else in Storybrooke is still ignorant (more than usual).
Yes Hard Feelings
Now that Killian knows he's a Dark One, he's suddenly behaving like one, because sure why not. He's understandably upset about having his memories stolen, so he gives Emma a taste of her own medicine and uses the dreamcatcher on her. Zelena puts her magic-restraining cuff on Emma, and Killian promises to stay out of Zelena's way if she stays out of his.
Situation: Killian is reborn as the Dark One. As he does so, he flashes back to all of his worst times with Rumple.
What makes it awkward? He's greeted at the top of the Dark One Portal by Head-Rumple.
What makes it even more awkward? Head-Rumple points out that as a Dark One, Killian can finally ease his pain and get the revenge he always wanted by killing...him.
You Guys Have All Seen Buffy, Right? Remember How Cute It Was When She Dated Demons? Okay, So...
Who called the meeting? Emma. (Sort of; the others rush in when her spell from last week wears off.)
What's it about? You know, that time she turned her boyfriend into a Dark One and put everyone's lives in danger. Emma tells Regina and Mary Margaret everything. (Wait, but didn't Killian take her memories?) She really seems to think everything she did was for the best, with her ultimate goal of destroying the Darkness for good a noble one, and Zelena's life a small price to pay. She kept the others in the dark to protect them. So despite her outfit, we're back to the mopey Camelot "I Don't Wanna Be The Dark One" Emma, which is no fun at all. Can someone get Maleficent in here?
How'd it go? Mary Margaret wants her memories back, so they can at least try to figure out what Hook might be up to, but David arrives to inform them that the dreamcatchers are gone.
That Quote"I thought the best way to control the darkness was to isolate myself. But when I did that there was no one around to give me hope or tell me when I was being stupid."- Emma -
That Quote"Fine, you're being stupid! So stop it."- Regina -
The Ten Duel Commandments
Situation: Killian arrives at Gold's shop to announce his plan for revenge.
What makes it awkward? The lengthy list of ways Rumple has wronged Hook over the centuries. Hook's considered simply taking Rumple's hand in exchange for his; his heart for Milah; and his head for filling Emma with the Darkness.
How is order restored? After all this time, Hook wants to savor his revenge, so he's here to order Gold to meet him on his ship, where it all began, at noon the next day for a duel. He'll have Excalibur, so there's at least a chance Hook can be killed -- if Gold can get the sword away from him.
The Dark Whine
Who's causing a family crisis? Emma.
How? After Gold and Belle fill the Scoobies in on their visit from Hook and suggest reading up on Nimue in The Dark One Chronicles, Emma suggests that they just remove her cuff so she can protect him.
Which relatives have a problem with it? All of them, but especially Henry, who mopes in, and does not have Emma's back as she expects him to! He feels betrayed not by her Dark Oneage, but by her deciding to go it alone when things got tough, instead of remembering the lesson of the first four seasons: that they were a team. And now she wants her dark magic back so she can do it alone some more.
I don't want to tell you how to parent, but... The gang goes off to the library, leaving Emma behind (with Henry? good plan) because while they love her, they don't trust the Darkness. "Stay here and let us save you," David tells her, in his most condescending Dad mode. Way to drive home that message of teamwork and family, guys.
Plot Lightning Round
You Can't Expect To Wield Supreme Power Just Because Some Watery Tart Threw A Sword At You
In Camelot, a magic-free Merlin informs the gang that, of all the possibilities, this path was the darkest he foresaw for Emma. Mary Margaret asks Lancelot whether his mother, the Lady of the Lake (really?) can help them.
Hook realizes giant cloaks are a liability in the woods and magically changes back into his pirate clothes. Head-Rumple: "Yes, much better. I went leather as well." Hee. Rumple suggests a dark curse to get Hook back to Storybrooke so he can get his revenge, but just then Emma arrives, relieved that her life-saving trick worked. Killian's not: "After spending centuries quelling my bloodlust, you threw me right back into that darkness. Job well done, Emma!" She talks him down by explaining that she's not afraid of the future anymore. She thinks they can get the Darkness out forever by being all schmoopie and with the help of those they love. Oh, and they can both see Head-Rumple and Excalibur's gone missing, no big deal.
Belle's wig looks great! In Storybrooke! The Darkness is gone! Oh, sorry, plot. As the Scoobies head to the library, Gold tells her he has to make different preparations, and he wants to do better by her if he survives. If he wins, he'll go to the well where they were married; if she meets him there, he'll know how she feels, and if not he'll let her go.
Merida's got her bow drawn on Emma, even though Emma is non-threateningly lying down on the couch in Regina's living room. Hook arrives and knocks Merida out. He's pretty grumpy (but alas, not Grumpy -- now he'd be an awesome Dark One). Blah blah blah betrayal. Emma says that his revenge on Gold isn't worth it: the Darkness only cares what it wants. "You're only a pawn if you don't know you're being used," he says. "You're so afraid of losing the people that you love that you push them away. And that's why you'll always be an orphan." Okay, I'll just say it: Mean Hook is fun. Let's get him menacing some Lost Boys.
In happier, merely dark-ish times, they make out in the woods, but they have to get back to work. Emma goes to scout their path and Hook to get some water. He hears a noise in his head, which Head-Rumple tells him is Excalibur, which means it's nearby, which means Emma must have it after all and is lying to him so that she can control him. Which, as it turns out, is true! "I did it to protect you. You told me yourself you were not strong enough to resist the Darkness." Which is why he didn't want to be turned into a Dark One in the first place, you idiot! So we're back where we started two scenes ago.
Emma visits Gold in the shop. She wants Gold to squid ink Hook during their duel to ensure that he lasts long enough to keep him occupied while Emma steals back the dreamcatchers. Gold's confident that he doesn't need the ink, and that he can beat Hook with honor. Confidence is "great at starting a fight, not so great at finishing one."
That's The Nicest Thing You've Ever Said To Me
Zelena charges into the hospital to take her baby, but Regina is waiting for her and has already placed the baby somewhere safe(r).The only reason you have that baby is because you killed Marian, and you deceived Robin in the most vile way imaginable.Is that a compliment?This insanity has to stop.Agreed. But I don't think it can.Actually, I think maybe it can.
Changed For Good?
Who's mending a family rift? Babies.
How? Regina reminds Zelena that they both have powers, so she had better not try anything, and then opens the door to Robin's apartment. She tells Zelena that the unconditional love of having a child is what made Regina stop being evil, and she hopes it will do the same for Zelena, which is why she's allowing Zelena to see her baby.
Which relatives have a problem with it? Zelena's like, "Wait, this thing could grow up to be like Henry? You guys keep it, I'm gonna go back to Oz and adopt some flying monkeys." JUST KIDDING: she tears up. "Make no mistake, Zelena: we are never going to be a family, the three of us," Robin adds. "But Regina and I have agreed, you are her mother, so against our best instincts, we still have hope for you. So you can visit with our child, as long as one of us is present." Remember when Zelena really was planning to take the baby back to Oz? Then you'd have no Zelena and no baby? WIN-WIN!
Who's an unlikely ally? Me. Zelena calls the baby "my little green bean," which is too adorable. I'm not made of stone, people.
Plot Lightning Round
Emma pulls Henry aside in the library, telling him she's figured everything out and she needs his help. So, points for coming to Henry, but deducted for escaping and for still sneaking around the others. Henry still doesn't trust Emma, but he's a sucker for being asked to help and a stupid codename, and she says she can do it without her magic.
Emma looks for Killian in the Camelot woods, but she gives up and uses Excalibur to summon him. They have another version of the same conversation they've had twice already this episode, but then she offers him Excalibur to show that she trusts him and won't control him. She tells him she loves him, for the first time.
Henry's done a locator spell to find the dream catchers in the clock tower, but they're under a protection spell. Henry trusts Emma now, so he takes her cuff off, allowing her to retrieve them.
Pay Attention, This Is Complicated
Alert Type: Not What We Thought Alert.
Issue: Emma and Hook arrive back at Granny's. Everyone's frightened of Emma's new look, but they insist they're okay and ask where Merlin is. "We're ready to get the sickness out of us," Hook says. Inside, Merlin is recording his final message about Nimue.
Complicating Factors: It turns out Merlin's "The Dark One's found me already" referred to Hook, who enters the diner alone and locks the door behind him. He was faking it in the woods, and he quickly rips out Merlin's heart. The curse Hook wants to cast requires "crushing the heart of the thing you love most." (Erasing people's memories and traveling between realms seems pretty easy, so it's unclear why all of a sudden the stakes are so high, but go with it.) Since every Dark One is all Dark Ones, if Hook crushes Merlin's heart, Nimue is really crushing it too.
Even More Complicating Factors: Emma comes in. Killian helpfully explains: "Once you lied about Excalibur, all bets were off. I knew it was only a matter of time before you tried controlling me. And now, no one will ever control me again." This is clearly the Darkness talking but it also makes a certain kind of sense for Killian. Dark Emma went mopey, Dark Hook went...dark. He sends Excalibur back to the stone, so no one can control him with it again.
Resolution: Emma makes one last attempt: "Your revenge is not your happy ending. I am."
"Killian Jones told you that...but that man died the moment you turned him into a Dark One."
Spoiler: Emma, connected to the other Dark Ones, can see what Killian is planning. These are the memories Hook took from Emma. So she remembers turning him to save his life, and what she did upon returning to Storybrooke, but nothing in between that might help her stop his plan.
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Dark One vs. Ex-Dark One
On the Jolly Roger, Hook cures Gold's limp to make it a fair fight. Gold does okay for a while, and even gets a good stab in...with a regular sword that can't hurt the Dark One. Hook cuts Gold's arm with his hook and knocks him down, and should kill him, but rambles long enough for Gold to pull a rope and drop a weight on Hook, getting Excalibur away from him and reversing their positions. But then he decides he'd rather "let you live, knowing for the rest of your life that I bested you." Sure, because that's smart.
Winner: Gold, technically, but a draw due to stupidity on both sides.
Wrap It Up
Belle comes to the well, but to break up with Rumple. "You've broken my heart too many times. There's just too much broken trust."
Emma keeps her promise to not abandon Killian. The curse can't be undone, but she can make him forget why he ever cast it, or that he even did. "When you wake up, you'll be the man you were. The man I love. The man who loves me." Okay, so that explains that: it wasn't just a simple memory spell that made him not dark -- but really, why not just use that trick on every bad person ever? Regina could pull that off! Anyway, Head-Rumple points out that she'll have to do more than that, since everyone else could spill the beans too, so Emma teleports the rest of the gang, unconscious, to the diner, and wipes their memories too. She combines her dreamcatcher with Hook's curse as it spills out from Merlin's cauldron.
The curse smoke engulfs Merida in the woods, Arthur and Guinivere just as Excalibur reappears in its stone in the Round Table, and all of Camelot.
In Regina's office, Emma returns everyone's memories, including her own. She knows Hook's plan now.
...It wasn't killing Gold, Head-Rumple helpfully explains; Hook just needed his blood. The pond in the park contains a portal to the Underworld (remember the Fury?), and since Gold died and came back, his blood can open it. Killian dips his hook in the water and a boat appears, full of all the past Dark Ones, live and in person. Party!