How far would you go, and what would you do, for the ones you love? That seemed to be the theme in this week’s episode of Once Upon a Time — “The Apprentice.”
After being absent in the episode last week, Anna is back continuing her search for why her parents traveled to Mist Haven aka The Enchanted Woods. She finds Rumpelstiltskin telling him her name is Joan but he knows she is Anna of Arendelle. He tells her he will help her if she poisons the tea of an old man – of course Anna can’t do it and returns to Rumpelstiltskin.
Anna finds out the poison was actually an antidote and watches in horror as the old man turns into a mouse. Rumpelstiltskin tells her she failed the test as he needs someone who has faced the darkness within themselves and Anna is too nice. Anna says she will do anything to help her sister and threatens Rumpelstiltskin with a sword. This is all he needs, and takes a tear from Anna and places it on the blade that controls him.
Rumpelstiltskin needed that inner darkness from Anna to retrieve the Sorcerer hat that can suck the magic from anyone. Ah, but as Rumpelstiltskin returns from retrieving the hat the old man that was turned into a mouse, who happened to be the Sorcerer apprentice bites his hand he drops the dagger.
Anna picks up the dagger and compels Rumpelstiltskin to send her back to Arendelle. She now has the dagger and the box containing the Sorcerer hat. As Rumple sends her back to Arendelle Anna drops the dagger but retains the box.
Reunited with Kristoff, Anna laments what she found. She has discovered their parents were searching for a way to rid Elsa of her powers and Anna wonders how she could tell her sister this.
Back in Storybrooke, Hook is also making deals – doing anything for the ones he loves – namely Emma. He asks Mr. Gold, aka Rumple, for his hand back. Rumple tells him he may not know what he is asking but he wants it anyway.
Emma and Hook’s date starts out typical, including David and Mary Margaret sending Emma off like she is going to prom and David giving a threatening glare to Hook. All seems well until Will Scarlett sees Emma at the restaurant and flees when he sees the Sheriff (Emma) and dumps wine on her as he leaves. Hook’s anger, and feeling of losing control, is his first taste that something may be up with his newly returned hand.
As the night progresses, Hook realizes there may be darkness in his hand. Though he hides it from Emma, and the two share a goodnight kiss at her door, he wonders what is up. He realizes it is bad when he attacks Will Scarlett as Will tries to break into the library.
Returning to Mr. Gold, Hook asks him to take his hand off. Of course it isn’t that easy, Gold wants something. And though Hook tries to continue to blackmail Mr. Gold saying he will tell Belle about Gold still possessing the real dagger that controls him – Gold won’t take off the hand until he does something for him.
What does Gold as Hook to do? Assist him as he confronts the old apprentice he had Anna turn into a mouse back in The Enchanted Woods. Gold sucks the man into the Sorcerer hat collecting his powers.
With Hook’s hand removed, Hook says they are done. Gold also tells Hook that the hand he returned really didn’t have darkness it just brought out Hook’s inner pirate. Gold says they still have work to do and if Hook tells Belle he still has the dagger he will tell Emma what Hook has done. Seems they are at a crossroads.
Little side stories peppered throughout the story include: Emma wondering why the Snow Queen has a connection to her, Elsa still looking for Anna, Henry and Regina looking for a spell to save Marion and Henry going to work for Gold in a covert mission to see if he knows who wrote the fairytale book.