Saturday, December 12, 2015

Once Upon A Time Recap: “Swan Song” [5x11]

     Well, Dear Readers, the time has come. And by “the time,” I actually mean two things: first, it’s that time of year when shows go on hiatus for the holidays, and leave a massive cliffhanger to freak audiences out until January gets here. And second, that it’s my time to say farewell from writing these recaps for a while.

     Now, don’t panic; I’ll still be writing for The Fangirl Initiative throughout the year: it just won’t be regular recaps. Every season of a television show is different, and my life is entering a new season of its own as well. Hopefully another fan of Once Upon A Time will step up to recount the weekly episodes (and maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll be less-picky than me about wardrobe choices, plot details, and historical accuracy). But, for old times’ sake, let’s take one last look at the winter finale of ABC’s Sunday-night fantasy drama… and never, forget, Dear Readers:

     The episode starts many years in the past, when a frightened boy in a ship’s cabin awakens in the midst of a terrible storm. A draft from above decks blows the lantern out and he calls for help — and his father comes to re-light the lantern. The man reminds his son to look inside himself whenever he feels scared, and to decide what sort of man he’ll be. The boy wants to be just like his father. Who is this boy? Killian Jones, of course!

     But the next time Killian wakes up, the lantern has gone out. The captain comes in and announces that Killian’s father is a wanted man. He rowed away in the ship’s boat because he’s being hunted… and he sold his sons into slavery in exchange for the boat.

     Back in present-day Storybooke, Captain Dark One comes to gloat over the fact that Belle actually rejected Gold. But Gold isn’t in the mood for games, and he tries to take a swipe at his enemy with Excalibur. Hook taunts him, and says that Belle made her decision because Gold always values power. But that hasn’t stopped Captain Dark One from planning to get his revenge anyway.

     Meanwhile, the Heroes march down Main Street and are joined by the dwarves on the road. Now that Emma knows what Hook’s plan is, they realize they need to hit him with everything they’ve got. Even if it means killing him. Once they split up, Regina and Robin head towards the harbor, but suddenly Zelena stands in their way. She’s decided to take sole custody of her (STILL UN-NAMED) daughter… since they’ll be dead soon. Why? Regina and Robin turn around to see—

DEMENTOR! Oh, wait...

     All over town the Dark Ones are sneaking up on Heroes and the dwarves and passing through them like ghosts! At first everyone seems to be fine afterwards, but then Mr. Gold arrives and tells them to look at their wrists. They all find what he calls the ‘mark of Charon,’ which is the name of the person who ferries the boat to the Underworld. If the Dark Ones want to stay in the world of the living, they each need a soul to exchange. When the moon reaches its peak, the ferry will arrive and drag everyone with a mark down to the Underworld. And having been to the Underworld, Gold knows two things: that it’s awful, and that there’s no hope for them to do anything but spend this time wisely and say goodbye. Cheery bloke, isn't he?

     As the Heroes split up again in search of Captain Dark One, Regina finds him on the pier and warns him not to go through with this. She tries to remind him of when she recruited him to kill her mother, but he chokes her before she can finish and warns her not to speak of that subject again.

     The touchy subject in question is some sort of test that Regina put Hook through before sending him to kill her mother. Many years ago in the Enchanted Forest, we see Hook meet the Evil Queen and agree to murder Cora in exchange for a way to reach a land without magic so that he can have a chance at revenge against Rumpelstiltskin there. But Regina warns him that Cora will exploit any weakness, so first he has to pass a test.

     Back in Storybrooke, the Charmings can’t find any way to escape this curse in a book. Snow is actually starting to give up hope that there might not be a way out. Even though she plans to leave Baby Neal with Emma, she’s still worried that they could be wasting their last moments together. Henry suggests dinner at Granny’s, and they make Emma promise to be there (which means she totally isn’t going to show up).

     When Regina finds the Savior, Emma admits that she does have a plan… but she’ll need Regina’s word, just like in Camelot, that she’ll swear to secrecy and do what has to be done to end the Darkness. Emma’s plan is still to channel the Darkness into one person and sacrifice them… but this time, it’s going to be herself.

     Down the road, Belle arrives at Gold’s shop after receiving a message from him. He gives her a potion that will allow her to cross the town line safely, and he tells her to see the world. She can tell something’s wrong, but she can also see that this is him finally being selfless, and so they say their goodbyes.

     So, let me get this straight: Hook wants revenge on Gold, but he hasn’t gone after the one person that Gold cares about? And also, how has Belle not noticed the myriad of sinister hooded figures waltzing around town? Why did not one of them target her? Why did none of the Heroes think to send her a message about it? In fact, why doesn’t this town have a mass-text-message system in place for situations like this!? “All Dark Ones resurrected at once; stay indoors; if symbol appears on wrist, you’re marked for death; join Heroes to survive.”

     After Belle leaves, Gold nearly breaks down in tears and looks down… at the mark of Charon on his own wrist.

     Moments later Regina and Emma come to him to fetch Excalibur, and they explain their plan to him. The news seems to hit him like a thunderbolt, and after vanishing into the back room, he emerges with the sword. He warns Emma that it might not work: the blade chooses who is worthy, and it chooses its miracles.

     After leaving Emma to make sure that Robin and his children are safe, Regina finds Zelena in her house and gloating over her future victory. Regina threatens her with Mickey’s wand. She couldn’t use it last time because she didn’t believe herself to be a hero, but now she is: and the wand surges with power! Regina poofs them both to the clock tower, then uses the wand to summon a green tornado and suck Zelena back to Oz! But not before the wicked witch can cry out the classic warning of a temporarily-defeated villain:

     Not far away, Emma sneaks into Granny’s and sees her family together… but she can’t bring herself to join them, so she leaves a note on the jukebox instead and sneaks away.

     Back in the Enchanted Flashback Forest, Regina brings Hook to a bar to face a certain man to prove himself. But Hook’s not supposed to fight the biggest man in the room: he’s supposed to face the bartender… who also happens to be his father.

     Killian waits until everyone in the bar is gone, then confronts Jones. Even though they were separated over a century ago, they both found a way to cheat death. Jones explains that after he sold his sons, he got caught put under a sleeping curse. However, his nurse fell in love with him, and he, hearing her voice in his sleep, fell in love with her. Eventually the curse broke with true love’s kiss. However, she died of plague a few years after they were married.

     Having lost Milah to Rumpelstiltskin years ago, Hook knows the pain of this story only too well. He admits that he came here to kill his father, but they’ve both lost too much. Everyone needs to believe that Jones is dead in order to convince the Evil Queen, but Hook can secure a letter of transit to smuggle him away in secrecy.

     However, his father requests two letters instead of one. Why? HOOK HAS A LITTLE HALF BROTHER!

     Meanwhile in Storybrooke, Captain Dark One comes to Emma’s house to try and convince her not to use Excalibur to destroy the Darkness. She thinks it’s because he cares about her, but he says it’s because he owes her for helping him on his journey to revenge. Emma warns him that she’ll fight the Darkness, even if she has to kill him. But every time she tries to strike him down, he vanishes in a puff of smoke and appears behind her! He keeps poofing back and forth until Emma whirls around and sees Henry instead of Hook. DON’T GIVE IT TO HIM, EMMA! IT’S NOT HENRY!

     She gives him the sword, but — big surprise — it was Hook in disguise.

     Down the road at Granny’s, Henry is playing with Baby Neal whose face is actually visible for once and he is totally adorable… and then Snow finds Emma’s letter on the jukebox. But they don’t have time to go after her because the Dark Ones have come. All the marks on their wrists glow, and the Heroes are summoned to the lake. (Fortunately, Robin arranged for the fairies to take care of Baby Neal as well as the Hood children.) Emma runs to her family to say goodbye, and Captain Dark One summons Charon’s ferry to come for them all!

     Regina, however, won’t give up on Hook; she asks him to remember again what he did to his father and asks what sort of man he wants to be.

     Back in the Enchanted Forest of Flashback, Hook comes to his father’s home with the letters of transit and finds his father comforting a little boy that’s nearly the same age that Killian used to be. Jones is comforting the boy the exact same way that he used to comfort his other sons. He even named the boy Liam!

     When he comes out and Hook asks about this, Jones explains he named his son as a reminder to himself never to make the same mistake. But Hook doesn’t buy it. Since his father’s words about bravery haven’t changed, his heart surely hasn’t either. He burns the letters of transit and runs his father through!

     As Jones falls to the earth, he tells Killian with his dying breath… it’s never too late to change.

     Back in Storybrooke, Emma steps forward to fight, but Nimue is powerful enough to keep the Savior from intervening. Hook watches as Emma’s choked and forced to the ground…

     …and eventually he can’t take it anymore and tells Nimue to stop.

     Nimue doesn’t think Hook has the authority to stop her… but actually, he does. He summons the power out of all the Dark Ones and sucks it into himself with Excalibur! The sword is glowing and shaking with power! Emma begs Hook not to do this, but he begs for her to help make up for everything he did. Even though they don’t want to lose each other, he needs her to let go and let him die a Hero. They kiss and swear on their love for each other.

     Then she takes the shaking sword… then runs him through and embraces him in the same stroke!

     Emma’s Darkness is sucked away, the sword disintegrates, and Hook is restored to the way he was before he became the Dark One: dying by the wound in his neck, with Emma sobbing over him.

     Later the next day, Belle rushes into Gold’s shop; Henry called her and told her everything. (Great job, Henry, Way to not warn her about the imminent danger until it’s no longer imminent). He was being truly selfless by sending her away, but she doesn’t need to see the world; she just wants to be with him!

     That night as Emma lays in her house clutching Killian’s ring, she suddenly hears whispering. She texts Gold and follows the sound… all the way to his shop! Why? BECAUSE HE HAS THE DAGGER.



     He hadn’t suspected that Emma might hear it, but then again most ex-Dark Ones are dead. When Emma had come asking for Excalibur, he saw an opportunity and used a potion to turn the sword into a conduit before he handed it over. Hook's sacrifice was actually just channeling the Darkness back into Gold this whole time.

     Emma tries to choke him, but he freezes her; she may be the Savior, but he has the combined magic of every Dark One ever now. However, Emma demands that he do something for her since she still has magic and could possibly warn Belle before Gold can stop her. He asks what she wants.

     Not long afterwards, Emma goes to the Heroes and tells them what happened… and that she’s going to the Underworld to get Hook.

     Even though he’s dead, she remembers that her mother was able to split her own heart in two to save Charming’s life, so she’ll do the same for Hook. Gold brings her and the heroes to the pond, cuts his hand with the Dagger, and lets the blood drip into the water.

     The boat comes through the fog with Charon onboard, then Emma and… EVERYONE ELSE FROM MR. GOLD TO EVEN TEENAGED HENRY… walk across the water and step aboard!

Tune in Next March…

     …when the Heroes find a decrepit Storybrooke as the Underworld, and they come face to face with all the worst villains from their past like Cora and Maleficent and Peter Pan!!

     (Okay, so it doesn't look like Hades is going to be there, and that's a tragedy. But STILL. Did I not say last year that someone would go on a quest to rescue someone from the Underworld? I did. So that's good enough for me!)

Quote of the Episode:

     “Power is only as good as the one who wields it.”


Current Questions:

1. Um, where were Arthur and all the Camelot-ians(?) this whole time? And Lancelot! Where is Lancelot when you need him!?

2. Why didn’t Emma split her heart and give it to Killian before he died and went to the Underworld? I get that it miiight not have worked while his neck was still injured, but… if a wound from Excalibur can never be healed, then doesn’t it stand to reason that as soon as he comes back from the Underworld, he’ll still have that wound and die again? If the split heart will work after he’s dead, why not before as well?

3. So let me get this straight: Gold lost his power. Became an actual Hero. Became so selfless that he let go of the woman he loved. And after she left, he saw someone willing to sacrifice themselves to save the world and thought, "I know: I'll use their sacrifice to take all the power for myself!"

     That's it. I'm done. There is no possibly way to trust Gold anymore. He drew Excalibur from the freakin' stone and then turned around and became the Dark One as soon as he saw an opportunity. This negates his internal journey throughout the entire season. The ENTIRE season!

4. Why did Robin and Regina and the Charmings decide to join Emma on a journey to the Underworld after spending the entire episode trying not to go to the Underworld since they have CHILDREN to take care of!? Robin and Regina haven’t even named their baby yet!

5. Will Lillith show up next year? Or her father? Because we just kind of left that entire storyline behind during this season, and there's a lot of potential there.

Current Theories:

1. Regina’s father, Henry, is in the underworld trailer. WHAT IF he turns out to be the worst villain of all, since Regina killed him and perhaps he’s been harboring a grudge ever since!?

2. Will Hook's little half-brother show up again? Because I want him to.

3. Also, we were kind of left hanging about Henry and Violet. Where was she during all of this? And I'm still banking on the fact that her mother is Morgan LeFay.

4. Though it looks like Gold has sucked all the power of the Dark Ones back inside himself, will the Dark Ones still be waiting in the Underworld? Will they be powerless if they are? Ooh, will Merlin be there? Without her magic, will Nimue finally get a chance to get back together with him?


     The possibilities are endless! But now it’s time for you to make the predictions as the next season rolls around. Until then, Dear Readers... I hope your holidays are magical.

1 comment:

  1. Hoooooly crap. My head is spinning. The 100th episode is slated to have a stinkin' reunion of *everybody*--but in the Underworld?! *bites nails* I can't with Rumple. I just can't. LOL This season's been stellar though (but for those pesky loopholes you reminded me of LOL).