A hero’s journey is most certainly good form, but can a pirate be a hero?
We open with torches this week. Lost Boys are running through the Neverland jungle pulling an unconscious Nealfire with them. A euphoric Felix hovers over his former comrade as they lock him in a wooden cage.
At Pan’s camp, a lonely Henry observes the Lost Boys before one comes up behind him. He mocks Henry about being the boy Pan has searched for all this time. Henry picks up a stick and the two begin sparring. Speak of the devil, Peter Pan emerges and asks Henry if he would have more fun with a real sword. Apparently, the kid with the heart of the truest believer can imagine he’s holding a sword, and it will appear. Henry has magic, or perhaps Pan did it to manipulate the boy into getting what he wants. That remains to be seen, but our little Henry slices and dices unnamed Lost Boy’s spear into nothing more than a stub. He then slices the kid’s cheek. He’s sorry, but Pan reminds him the great thing about being a Lost Boy and in Neverland is that you never have to apologize. Little Henry is happy when all the Lost Boys cheer for him after the ordeal.
Back in the cave, the Dysfunctional Five (Charming, Emma, Hook, Regina, and Snow) are still rummaging for anything that could be useful in their rescue mission. As a child, Nealfire lost hope. Emma and Hook come across markings on the wall; Nealfire had stopped counting days not because he got off the island, but because nobody was coming for him. As a child, Emma too stopped counting the time she spent in each foster home. Emma is worried about Henry because he has been with Pan far too long. What if he too has lost hope that they’re coming for him? She wants to send him a signal so that he’ll know they’re there.
Regina rolls her eyes and asks how they will send him a message. “Because I haven’t seen a Neverland post office.” (Sidenote: Exhilarated this episode has more of Regina and her sass. It was very much missed in “Nasty Habits.”)
Emma indicates to the Dysfunctional Five that they need to start being as clever as Peter Pan, but how? Every step of the way they’ve had Lost Boys running around trying to kill them. Luckily for them, while Snow was cursed back in Storybrooke she was a school teacher, so she knows a thing or two about how to handle undisciplined children. She comes up with the idea of using the Lost Boys to their advantage. As everyone follows the Princess out of the cave, Hook asks Emma to wait a moment.
His hand brushes her arm, and she looks down at it. This scene is interesting. Last week we saw that Emma and Hook struggled with maintaining their walls around one another. As Hook endeavors to reach out to Emma yet again, she doesn’t move away, but it’s apparent her walls are up. He lets her know that he understands what it feels like to lose hope. She deflects his sincerity-true to Emma Swan’s character-and explains to him she doesn’t have time to bond.
Ouch. He’s been shot down. The expression that manifests on Hook’s face shows how difficult it is for the Captain to take a leap like that with his emotions; he normally guards and protects his feelings well, but Captain Hook has got it bad for Emma Swan. A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets, right?
Charming waited in the cave. After his daughter leaves, the Prince criticizes Hook’s attempts to bond with Emma. She’s never going to want him. Hook has his walls back up now and smugly deflects Charming’s advice. “How could she?” Charming says. “You’re nothing but a pirate.”
Once upon a time in the Enchanted Forest of the past long before the adventures of Prince Charming, Snow White, and the Evil Queen, a young navy lieutenant was inspecting the crew of The Jewel of the Realm before they set out on a journey requested by their King. Hello there young and proper Killian Jones. (Sidenote: love the new outfit.) The lieutenant discovers that one of his sailors has a flask of rum in the pocket of his trousers.
“Do you know what happens to sailors who drink rum?” he asks the crew. “They get drunk.”
He then proceeds to toss the flask into the sea which shows how vastly different Killian Jones is from Captain Hook. Rum, he states is bad form. As he finishes his short speech, the Captain arrives. Surprise! It’s his brother! He presents his sentimental brother with a sextant that will lead them to an uncharted land. Apparently this journey will bring peace to the kingdom. A wide-eyed optimistic Killian is all too excited for a hero’s journey. He believes this journey is good form.
Back in Neverland, Hook is drinking out of his flask and eyeing Emma who is weaving a rope out of vines next to Snow. Emma is staring at Hook when she thinks he isn’t looking. You know who notices? Snow.
Regina criticizes Snow’s idea to lay a trap to catch a Lost Boy. Hook seems to agree with Regina as there is no reason for the Lost Boys to betray Pan. Snow asks for move vines, so Charming starts walking towards the jungle and says Hook is coming with him. Hook, who has not taken his eyes off Emma this entire scene, doesn’t seem to care about the Prince’s demand that he accompanies him. Emma says they need to make more rope; Hook bows because if the lady insists he’ll go. Emma watches him as he leaves, and once again Snow notices.
Alone in the jungle, Hook asks, “what would you like to yell at me about now, Dave?”
“Stay away from my daughter.”
Emma can take care of herself, Hook responds, but the subject quickly shifts to the Prince’s imminent death. He has still refused to mention he’s dying to his family. Neverland has brought out some of the worst qualities in all six core characters. Charming maintains he’s being honorable by sacrificing his life to save Henry, and Hook as he has the last two episodes doesn’t agree.
He offers the Prince a way to save himself, which Charming who is stubborn as ever refuses to listen to. He claims it would be selfish. Charming then calls Hook selfish. Hook finally loses his cool on account of he has been risking his own safety to help everyone.
“Please! You’re not here out of any nobility! You’re here for Emma!” Hook’s face says it all. It’s true.“Let me tell you something else you’re never going to get her! I’ll see to that!”
Hook retorts with it’s a good thing you’re dying, and a sick hot-headed Prince attempts to punch the pirate. Hook easily swerves Charming’s punch, and then Charming faints.
Hook pours rum into Charming’s mouth to wake him, and then demands to see the wound. The dreamshade has virtually reached Charming’s heart; he has hours left to live. Hook pleads once again for him to tell his family and once again the Prince refuses. As Charming looks for something to change the subject, he finds a military insignia buried loosely in the dirt. It says JONES. Charming asks if he knows him. “Aye, he was my captain and my brother.”
Hook proceeds to tell the Prince the story of how his brother lost his satchel in a duel with Peter Pan. The look up towards Dead Man’s Peak. Hook says that if the insignia survived all these years that perhaps the sextant, the same sextant given to him from his brother might have survived. Charming looks hopeful. He decides that he can do this to save Henry and asks Hook to take him there. Charming mirrors the pirate’s brother by asking Hook if he’s ready to be a hero.
Back in the past, Captain Liam Jones is revealing star maps to Killian of constellations he has never seen. As they discuss it amongst themselves, the crew warns that three enemy ships are approaching. A cannon just misses the Jewel of the Realm, and Killian notes they’ll never outrun the attack. Just then Captain Liam gives an order to lower a special sail made out of pegasus feathers. The ship takes to the sky in quite possibly one of the coolest CGI scenes ever on Once Upon A Time.
“Set a course lieutenant! Second star to the right and straight on till morning!”
At their camp in Neverland, Emma jumps at Hook’s word of a sextant and demands to know why he hadn’t told them about it earlier. Regina questions how they don’t know he isn’t lying. They don’t, but Hook assures the ladies’ he’s not. Emma wants to go and give up their plan to capture a Lost Boy but Hook-HOOK USES EMMA’S NAME!
This is the first time since last season that Hook has used Emma’s name when speaking to her. She has been Swan, Savior, lass, and love, but he hasn’t called her Emma since she left him chained atop of the beanstalk in Tallahassee-which this episode parallels completely by the way-because names are a powerful thing in this show.
Emma’s reluctant at first, but Charming agrees with Hook, and tells them that he and Hook will go and retrieve it because Hook is right Henry has been with Pan far too long, and they need to get a message to Henry. The Prince then hugs his daughter and tells her to be careful. He tenderly kisses Snow’s face. Neither of them seem to catch on that something is incredibly wrong with this goodbye.
Snow is pointing her arrow at a large pig when the unnamed Lost Boy from earlier approaches it with his spear. The Princess shoots down the rope trap they weaved earlier, and the Lost Boy asks if they’re insane. Do they want to start a war with Pan?
“Pan started the war when he kidnapped my son!”
Mama Regina tries to coerce the Lost Boy with none other than the fictitious Apollo candy bar that Emma and Nealfire were stealing during their backstory in Tallahassee. He tosses the candy in the jungle. He doesn’t’ want to go home, he wants to be in Neverland. Emma asks why he would want to stay with a monster like Pan after all look what he’s done to his face. Unnamed Lost Boy laughs because Pan didn’t do it; this cut was done by Henry. Regina and Emma exchanged worried looks.
Charming is struggling with his goodbyes and asks that Hook tells them he died a hero trying to retrieve the sextant to help save Henry. He’s sure they’ll understand. Once again he begs Hook not to tell his family about the dreamshade. The Prince is quick to tell Hook that if he didn’t steal the bean than none of them would be on the island, and he wouldn’t be dying. Interestingly enough Hook doesn’t deflect or try to defend his reason for taking the bean-he owns up to it.
Charming discovers that Hook lost someone as they walk towards Dead Mans Peak. Hook changes the subject, because he doesn’t show his emotions to anyone. Charming assumes it’s a brother, and then attempts to bond with the Captain saying he too had a brother once. Even better it was a twin.
“There were two of you? I can barely stomach one.”
“You would have liked him he was a thief and a liar,” Charming says.
“Yeah? You would have liked my brother he could be a stubborn ass.”
In the past, Killian and his stubborn ass brother Liam step foot on Neverland. They are in search of a plant what can cure any injury. Peter Pan appears and asks who they are. He eyes Killian as Liam speaks. He looks at him as if he knows him, but it’s clear Killian has no idea who the boy is. Liam asks Pan where the dreamshade is, and Pan warns the duo that the plant is the most deadly thing on the island. Killian believes the boy, but Liam brushes off his brother and Pan’s warning.
In Neverland, Pan attempt to appeal to Hook’s selfish nature by offering him a deal; if Hook comes and works for Pan like in the old days (WHAT HAPPENED IN THE OLD DAYS???) than he will give Hook safe passage off the island. The pirate doesn’t seem interested, so the master manipulator offers him a sweeter deal. If he agrees to do his dirty work, Pan will allow Hook to take Emma with him.
In the past, Hook was in love with a woman who abandoned her child. In Straight On Till Morning, you got to see a glimpse of how he understood that when Milah left Nealfire that she regretted it. You can see on his face as Pan offers him a deal to survive and take the woman he cares about with him he’s not even considering himself. He’s doing this all for her after all. Hook knows that Emma would never abandon Henry, not again and because he cares about her he steps past the selfish part of him who in the past would have taken the deal without a question. He has put someone before himself in who knows how long, and it’s completely selfless. I think that when Pan set up his elaborate game in Neverland he may not of predicted that the Hook he once knew would have changed so much for Emma.
Pan wants Hook to stab Charming in the heart with his namesake. If he does, then he knows that he’s taken his deal. Hook questions what will happen if he doesn’t accept his offer and Pan plays at his insecurities by saying, “have a drink. You know it always helps you think!”
Charming ascends the mountain without the help of Hook, and Pan is long gone. He asks what happened, and Hook lies saying he was speaking to himself which is common from all his long lonely days at sea.
Back in the past, Killian refuses to help his brother gather dreamshade because it could obliterate an entire race. He’ll fight his enemies, but he wants it to be fair. His brother slices off a branch of dreamshade from the large bush, and then drags it’s thorns across his forearm. Liam is attempting to prove to his younger brother that the plant is perfectly safe, and his distrust in the King is foolish because their King would never lie to them. He then collapses to the ground, because duh, it’s poison. Killian is screaming.
The unnamed Lost Boy is egging on Emma. Emma rips herself away from him, so Regina decides it’s time to rip his heart out. Snow disagrees, but Emma tells Regina to do it.
Snow begins to struggle as Emma pulls her away from Regina. Regina rips out the boys heart, and Snow cries. Again-Neverland has brought out the worst in everyone this season.
Can we all take a second to appreciate that Emma and Regina have gotten closer in Neverland regardless of the circumstances?
Snow is visibly upset about what just happened and says she’s worried about Henry and that Emma doesn’t have to apologize to her she just wants reassurance that when they finally reach Henry a line will be drawn between what Regina is willing to do and what Emma is willing to do. Emma tells her she’s willing to do anything to get to Henry. Regina questions if she’s having second thoughts. Emma isn’t. The Queen pulls out a compact from her pocket and snaps it in half. They aren’t simply going to use unnamed Lost Boy to send a message, nope, they are going to see Henry.
On top of Dead Man’s Peak Charming pulls a sword on Hook. Turns out he heard about the deal Pan offered Hook. Charming doesn’t believe that the Captain didn’t accept the deal. That’s when Hook drops the bomb that he made up everything about the sextant. He brought Charming up there to save his life, Charming calls him a liar and attacks him so Hook knocks him out.
In the past, a heartbroken Killian pleads with Peter Pan to save his brother’s life. His brother’s all he has left. Pan shows him a spring behind the dreamshade. The powers in the spring can cure any illness. Pan warns him that using its magic comes with a price and not to leave the island unless he’s willing to pay it. A naive young Killian agrees without listening to the literal meaning behind the boy’s words. Liam drinks the water and is cured. Pan has vanished.
The unnamed Lost Boy approaches Henry with the message. He hands him the mirror and tells him his family is here. Henry doesn’t believe him. As he looks into the mirror he sees Snow, Regina, and Emma absolutely thrilled to see him. He still looks doubtful and throws the mirror as Pan approaches. Regina says, “we love you.” Judging by his expression, were not sure if Henry truly believed what he saw. Seems viewers will have to wait till next week to see if that’s the case.
The amazing flying Jewel of the Realm is making its way back to the Enchanted Forest. In the Captain’s quarters, Liam is feeling shipshape, and Killian is happy he’s survived Neverland. Liam and him decide together that the King using unholy weapons is bad form, and they will tell everyone in the realm. As the ship lands Liam grasps at his heart and collapses. Killian rushes to his side. He holds him screaming for help as tears fall from his face.
Hook is cursing to himself as he covers his mouth with a scarf and begins to hack away at the dreamshade covering the entrance to Neverland’s equivalent to the fountain of youth. He fills his canteen and rushes to Charming’s side. The dreamshade poisoning is visible on his face now.
“In this canteen is the water that will stop the dreamshade that will save your life.”
“That’s why you brought me up here?”
“You knew that I wouldn’t come up here on my own; that I wouldn’t leave my family.”
“That you were stubborn? Yes. I gathered that rather quickly.”
Hook cautions Charming that if he drinks from the water that he will never be able to leave Neverland. He ultimately leaves the choice to the Prince.
Can we take a moment to discuss how much Hook has developed as a character? His hero’s journey started the moment he came back at the end of season two with that bean. Think for a moment how for 300 or so years Hook had dedicated his life to his selfish revenge. He has put Emma, her mission to save Henry, her feelings, and now saving her father ahead of what’s in his best interest. Captain Hook would have taken Peter Pan’s deal without question because it met his need to survive. Just like Pan, he is capable of manipulating the situation to his best advantage. But he has changed drastically since the end of last season. Since bringing everyone to Neverland, Hook has not done anything selfish. Everything the pirate has done thus far in Neverland has been for someone else-Emma.
On the surface, Hook deflects the snarky comments from the remaining members of the Dysfunctional Five and behaves as if their acceptance isn’t important to him, but you can see how much it is in this episode with Emma. He can say to her 1000 times he’s here risking his safety for the group and Henry, but it’s his actions that will make it meaningful.
Charming drinks the water and is saved. “One question: why risk your life for me when there wasn’t anything for you in return?”
“I didn’t do it for you mate,” Hook replies with a wink.
Regina quips and rolls her eyes about how they’re all one big happy family as Charming and Hook emerge from the bushes. The Prince and Snow full on make out. Regina wishes she had another sleeping curse as Emma and Hook look away uncomfortably.
Charming tells the motley crew that Hook saved him. Of course, he lies, but Charming tells the group with such gratitude toward Hook that he owes the pirate his life. The Prince thanks him, and you can see it in Hook’s eyes how much this means to him. Walls down he accepts the thanks with such a humble expression; truly a touching moment.
Regina rolls her eyes at everyone because she don’t do rum, y’all. They all celebrate Hook as Emma makes her way with his flask behind the bushes. Hook follows.
Hook – no scratch that, this is Kilian right here – tells Emma that he wouldn’t let her father die on this island; Emma thanks him. Hook buries that glimpse of Killian and true to his character, deflects her sincerity by throwing up his walls and masking how much this means to him with playful banter. Emma smiles, and flirts back. What she does next blows him away completely. She grabs him by the lapels of his coat and kisses him.
Hook’s in shock, and his walls come crashing down as the two become entangled in another lip-lock. Both look completely starstruck. I can’t even describe how amazing this scene is. I don’t think there are enough adjectives in the English dictionary to do this kiss any kind of justice. Here you have two broken people breaking away at each other’s walls brick by brick. Hook understands Emma, and Emma understands Hook. Last week, this week, every week since they’ve been in Neverland he has shown her in little ways that he is here for her if she wants him. It’s Emma’s choice.
ABC promoted the hell out of the long-awaited Captain Swan (Hook and Emma pairing) kiss all week. While “Good Form” tells how a young optimistic navy lieutenant becomes a pirate, it’s also the story about Emma. Every major decision Hook has been making in the present is done for her and more importantly for her happiness. Throughout this episode, Hook emphasizes that he wants to be there for Emma, but he understands it can’t be forced. Letting in Hook is Emma’s choice.
In the season premiere, Rumeplstiltskin berated Emma that she has never taken a real leap of faith. Here we have Emma seeing for the first time, really seeing, just how much this man has been here for her without asking for a thing. She gave Hook a second chance in life by offering him to be a part of something. Right here, this kiss, everything happening at this exact moment are happening because Emma wanted it to. Her kissing him, her throwing caution to the wind and accepting him for who he is that is Emma’s first real leap of faith this season. It’s beautiful.
As they break apart, Hook is speechless, but Emma tells him it’s a one time thing. Don’t follow her, she says; pretend to get firewood or something. His reply, “As you wish.”
AS YOU WISH!
Liam is buried at sea in the way Milah was in the “Crocodile”. Killian Jones is now Captain of the Jewel of the Realm, but he’s done.
“They sent us to retrieve an unthinkable poison. One that killed our dear Captain. Never again shall anyone set sail to that cursed land. Never again shall we take such orders serving the King fighting his wars! That is the way of dishonor, and all you who disagree flee now or walk the bloody plank!”
That’s right Killian, down with tyranny! There is no honor is serving an unjust ruler who wished to commit mass genocide in a war by poisoning countless people. Hats off to you Captain Jones. Stand up against that corrupt King! (Sidenote: Just like Charming did to King George!)
“We no longer sail as the Jewel of the Realm – we now sail as the Jolly Roger! When they come for us, I want them to know exactly what we are – PIRATES! For at least among thieves, there is honor!”
Hell yeah! That speech was awesome!
Hook is alone in the jungle drinking. They have focused on drinking a lot this episode. In the past, Killian equated drunkenness with bad form. Earlier this season when Emma asked Hook if rum was a solution to everything he noted it certainly helps. What I’m gathering from this is that perhaps being Captain Hook is bad form and that Neverland is his hero’s journey back to good form. Moving on-
Pan approaches him, surprised that he didn’t take his deal. Again, I don’t think Pan saw that Hook and Emma’s crush on one another as a wrench in whatever his grand scheme is. Pan questions Hook if he thinks the kiss meant something, and the Captain does. He believes that Emma is starting to see him for the man he truly is.
“What? A one-handed pirate with a drinking problem?”
Pan is good at getting under everyone’s skin. He’s known Hook a long time, and pushing at the pirate’s insecurities is a way to manipulate him into getting what he wants. True to all bad guys on Once Upon A Time, when a couple gets together the bad guy ultimately tries to tear them apart. Regina had done it with Snow and Charming; Regina had done it with Rumpel and Belle; Cora had done it with Regina and Daniel; now we have Peter Pan doing it to Captain Hook and Emma.
“So tell me – what would a man of honor such as yourself do with a big fat secret?”
Pan tells Hook that Nealfire is alive, and even better he’s in Neverland. He leaves it up to the Captain on if he tells Emma or not. He’d hate to get in a way of a budding romance, he tells him. “Let’s see what kind of man you really are.”
Pan and Felix hover over Nealfire who is still in a cage. Pan instructs Felix to hang him up next to the other one. Who is in the other cage?
This has been the best episode of season five thus far, and possibly one of the best episodes of Once Upon A Time ever.