Sunday nights bring the dread of the upcoming work week, but they also bring long awaited, new episodes of “Once Upon a Time,” and last Sunday’s episode brought more drama than ever before. It seems every time the writers of OUAT want to add a little drama to the show they add a flashback or two to hint at future events. In this episode, the audience got a glimpse into Hooke’s childhood and how his father’s abandonment of him and his brother led him to become a vengeful pirate. When Hooke reunites with his father years later it’s because Regina instructs Hooke to kill his father to rid himself of his weaknesses. She brings Hooke to his father where Hooke finds out his father has changed and has another son. Hooke’s compassion overrules his desire for vengeance in that moment and he decides to pretend he killed them and lets his father and his younger brother escape. But Hooke’s jealousy when he sees his father and his other son together brings out the worst in him and he ends up killing his father for the sake of vengeance. Before his father took his last breath, he told Hooke that he could still let go of his need for revenge and be a better man, which foreshadows the choices Hooke will make in his internal battle as a Dark One.
Back in Storybrooke, Hooke has just initiated his plan to get revenge on Rumpelstiltskin by bringing all previous Dark Ones from the Underworld, and since the Dark Ones can’t be given life without taking the lives of others, he targets Emma’s family as the victims. So Regina, Robin, Henry, Snow, David, and Rumpelstiltskin are all marked to go to the Underworld instead of the Dark Ones. Shocker; the heroes are once again facing death, like they do in every episode.
Emma decides that because she doesn’t want her family to die she has to kill the Dark Ones, and the only way she can do that is by taking in the darkness and then sacrificing herself, which is admirable and yet very predictable. For being a Dark One, Emma is still awfully noble and heroic. In fact, not much has changed except her wardrobe.
When Hooke steals Excalibur Emma’s plan is shattered because she needs it to be able to take in the darkness. With Emma out of ideas the only hope the heroes are left with is that Hooke changes his mind, so Regina reminds him of what he did to his father and what his father told him before dying, bringing Hooke back to the good side. So he uses Excalibur to take in the darkness and tells Emma to kill him. He says he wants her to remember him as a hero and left with no other options she takes the sword and plunges it through his heart. When he dies the sword disintegrates and she returns back to normal, no longer the Dark One. The heroes completed the mission they set out to complete when they first journeyed to Camelot, but it came at the price of Hooke’s life.
It seemed as if the story had come to an end despite Hooke’s tragic death, but that’s when Rumpelstiltskin made a reappearance. As it turns out Rumpelstiltskin is the Dark One again. After the power of the Dark Ones was supposedly vanquished with Hooke’s death he channeled that power into himself, imbuing himself with the combined power of every Dark One. Everyone’s favorite big, bad Dark One is back and the heroes will no doubt spend yet another season trying to defeat him in the future.
When Emma finds out about Rumpelstiltskin’s betrayal she threatens to tell Belle unless he opens up a portal to the Underworld so she can go find Hooke. The episode ends with Rumpelstiltskin opening the portal and the group of heroes heading into the Underworld. The twists and turns this episode brought overshadowed the sometimes predictable aspects of the series, leaving audiences eagerly anticipating the next episode and the ultimate fate of the main characters.