"Broken Heart" is the 98th episode of Once Upon a Time.
In flashbacks to Camelot, Hook, having just become a Dark One, finds himself once again out for Rumplestiltskin's blood. When he and Emma disagree about their best course of action, the final pieces of the puzzle are revealed as the events of the past catch up to the present and we witness a charged confrontation between the forces of light and dark that sends our heroes on a collision course with destiny. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Hook's centuries old lust for revenge against Gold puts both of their fates in jeopardy. At the same time, the Dark Swan's love faces the ultimate test as she tries to convince Hook to turn away from the darkness before she, her parents and Regina embark on a new mission, and an unsuspected evil is released.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Just as Emma is about to reunite both halves of Excalibur during the missing six weeks, a wound on Hook's neck reopens, and Merlin reveals that it can never be healed. However, Emma believes that she can use the Flame of Prometheus to release Merlin from Excalibur and tether Hook's life to it instead. ("Birth") Hook is dying in the field of middlemist flowers, bemoaning that he's not as strong as Emma is and that he's succumbed to darkness before. She is more concerned about their future together, determined to save him. ("Birth") In the present, Hook freezes the Dark Swan with a vial of squid ink, ensnaring her. Zelena then reveals that she found the pirate's dreamcatcher outside, proceeding to restore his memories of everything that happened in Camelot; he learns that he became a Dark One, seeing his name is on Excalibur, and when the Wicked Witch asks him if he's ready to learn the rest of what happened, he says he is, "But first we have to take care of her." Emma appears heartbroken. ("Birth")
Hook gives Emma a taste of her own medicine.
A close-up of Emma's eyes as she remains immobilized in her own home, thanks to Hook, who is told by Zelena to get on with what he's planning to do before the squid ink wears off. The new Dark One takes a step forward and Emma begs to know what he's doing, to which he replies that in penance for her taking his memories in an attempt to stop him from knowing the truth, he's going to return the favor. He then lifts up the dreamcatcher which used to contain his own memories and uses his newfound magic to pull thoughts from his now ex-girlfriend's head. Zelena giggles at this, commenting that, by the look on the Dark Swan's face, it would appear someone needs restraining. She proceeds to place her old cuff on Emma's wrist, thereby blocking her magic, before asking the captain if, due to her helpfulness, he'll allow her to go about her business unperturbed. "As long as you don't get in my way, I won't get in yours," Hook promises, and the Wicked Witch decides that she likes this new him, finally wondering aloud what it's like to be a Dark One. "Feels like I've been reborn," says the pirate, an eerie smile on his face as his attention returns to Emma.
The depths of the vault.
Hook's eyes open in flashback as he wakes up within the depths of the Dark One's vault, surrounded by an unsettling amount of nothingness as he gets to his feet. Before long, tendrils of darkness wrap around his ankles, soon swarming their way up his entire body and making it so that he's trapped within a vortex of inky blackness, much like Emma when she became the Dark One. He begins to scream for help, his voice half drowned-out by the sound of swirling evil, and, as he does so, flashes begin to run through his mind.
He recalls the day he lost his first true love, forced to re-witness the murder of Milah by Rumplestiltskin. We are once again shown as the former Dark One crushes his wife's heart to dust, and she falls dead into the arms of her lover Killian Jones (see "The Crocodile").
Hook continues to scream within the whirlwind of darkness, more painful memories apparently filling his head. Again, we are taken into them.
We see more of the earlier seen, re-watching as Rumplestiltskin uses Killian's own cutlass to cut off his hand, molding him into Captain Hook. Killian tries using the hook on the deck of the Jolly Roger to kill the Dark One, to no avail (see "The Crocodile").
More screaming from inside the Vault of the Dark One as Hook prepares to rise from it, his old rivalry with Mr. Gold apparently dominating his brain.
Mr. Gold lunges forward in a memory and removes Hook's heart from his chest, with Hook himself being restrained against a fence thanks to the Dark One's magic (see "Smash the Mirror").
The screaming is silent now, and all we're able to hear are the words of his memories, which grow evermore difficult to have to reflect upon.
Gold prepares to crush Hook's heart inside the clock tower of Storybrooke to service his own devilish desires (see "Heroes and Villains").
We once again see the Apprentice using the Sorcerer's hat to remove the darkness from Rumple's heart, only for it to swarm Storybrooke and for Emma to have to sacrifice herself to stop it, becoming the new Dark One. Hook begs her not to (see "Operation Mongoose, Part 2").
Hook's new guide gives him an idea...
The inky blackness fills the Vault of the Dark One, writhing around within its lid before, finally, a dark figure begins to rise. In this familiar scene, the darkness drips away to reveal its newest disciple: Killian Jones (see "Birth"). With his hook still firmly attached, he has risen as a new Dark One, having had his usual leather garb swapped out for an embossed hooded cloak. The first thing he sees after his grand emergence is the face of Rumplestiltskin, who crouches down to greet the pirate with a small wave and an elongated "hi". Removing his hood, Hook expresses annoyance at being faced with the "bloody crocodile"; however, Rumple assures that it isn't him, although he understands the confusion. Ruled by anger, the new Dark One attempts running at his nemesis, only for the vision to disappear and reappear on the other side of the vault. He comments that that's not going to work; "I'm not out here. I'm in there. I am your guide. The voice in your head." Hook advises him to save his speech, for he knows who he is. He is well-aware that all the Dark Ones are in his head, but it doesn't matter because he won't listen to them. Rumple points out though that if they work together then he can get him what he's been after for hundreds of years: his revenge. Having been trying to walk away, Hook suddenly stops, to the vision's amusement. Rumple says that that's right - he saw what Hook saw and he saw his pain, and he can ease it. "Stick with me and you will finally do what you never could before," the darkness adds as it approaches. Hook wonders just what that is, to which his new guide replies, "Why, kill me, of course." The pirate is intrigued.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Emma's loved ones come searching for her.
"Emma!" Mary Margaret exclaims as she and David run up the porch to her house, the latter of which saying that he'll check the basement while Regina, who's not far behind, says that she's got the upstairs. The three of them soon enter, with Emma's mother once again calling out her name and, as her husband and stepmother run to their designated floors, she finally spots her daughter lying on the couch with her hands tied. Worried, Mary Margaret quickly approaches, asking to be told by the depressed-looking Dark One what happened.
After having been told the full story, Regina expresses shock over the fact that Emma turned Hook into a Dark One, and, as Mary Margaret hands her a cup of hot cocoa, the darkened savior replies that it was the only way to save him. Regina wonders if she thought of the consequences to everyone else but Emma argues that she couldn't just let him die, thinking Regina should be able to understand that.
The Dark Swan realizes how dumb her arc has been.
She does, but points out that now they have a bigger problem, which Emma knows; she says that she didn't think any of this would happen and that she was trying to get rid of the darkness for good, adding that, after all Zelena's done to Regina, she was just doing the latter a favor by making her gone. Mary Margaret informs her daughter that what she planned on doing was premeditated murder and insists that there had to be another way, wondering why she didn't come to them. Emma explains that she didn't want to risk losing someone else, having thought that the best way to control the darkness was to isolate herself; but, when she did that, there was no one around to give her hope or tell her when she was being stupid. "Fine, you're being stupid! So stop it," Regina orders, getting up and saying that, right now, they have to clean up this mess, but Mary Margaret states otherwise, telling Emma to give them back their memories, "Your dreamcatchers. Regina can access them, can't she? We can piece together Hook's plan and stop him." However, David reenters and tells his wife that that idea is a no-go, for the dreamcatchers that Emma said were in the shed are gone. "What the hell is Captain Dark One up to?" Regina would like to know.
Hook is a natural at being a Dark One.
Over at Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer, the new Dark One stares down at his hook after having just explained to Rumple and Belle what Emma did to him, with the former figuring that now he's come for his revenge. Hook admits that the thought had crossed his mind; "For this lovely piece of hardware, I think I'll take your hand. For Milah, your heart. For filling Emma with the darkness, hmm... I think your head will do quite nicely!" Gold wonders what the pirate is waiting for, beckoning him to get on with it, but, with a copious amount of "no"s, Hook refuses, pointing out that he's been waiting centuries for this moment and really wants to savor it. He grabs a cutlass from one of the shop's shelves and slides it across the floor of the establishment to its proprietor, then doing his best Rumple impression as he tells the former Dark One to get his affairs in order, "dearie", for they duel at noon on his ship... where it all began. Gold points out the poetry in this, but also that they both know the weapon he's been provided with cannot kill him, which Hook confirms as true - "That sword can't kill me, but this one can." Excalibur has appeared in his hand, and both Rumple and Belle seem shocked that he has it. Hook looks excited as he goes on to say that now that Excalibur's whole it can no longer control him, but, it can kill him. Ergo, all Rumple has to do is take it from him. "So, what say you, Crocodile? Shall we finish what we started?" the new Dark One queries. "Indeed," his predecessor replies. Hook smiles impishly.
Stuff gets figured out.
"Once a pirate, always a pirate," Regina concludes as she stares down at the cutlass on her table, having been laid there by Mr. Gold who adds that, as a man, Hook spent centuries trying to kill him so it makes sense that revenge would be on his mind. Emma wonders why he wiped her memory if he was going to announce his plan anyway, thinking that there must be more to it, but Belle says that, even if there is, they only have until noon to stop him, and to save Gold. David wonders about Merlin's message (see "The Bear and the Bow") and Mary Margaret recalls the Sorcerer saying that someone called Nimue is the key to stopping the Dark One. Emma explains that Nimue was Merlin's true love, and Rumple adds that she was also the first Dark One, which the blonde knows; she wonders how they can find out more about her. Gold advises them to start their search with the Dark One chronicles, for there are many texts about her, but Emma interjects that, as much as she appreciates devotion to scholarship, there is an easier way.
Henry continues not to accept his mother.
"I am still a Dark One. I can protect you, Gold. You just have to take off the cuff," she begs, outstretching her bound wrist, but no one does anything, leading her to infer that none of them trust her. Gold asks if she would trust him if the situation was reversed, but, before he can be answered, Henry enters the room, unhappy to see his birth mother in his and his adoptive mother's home. The Dark Swan begs her son to tell everyone that it's okay for them to remove the cuff, believing it to be the only way to figure it all out, but Henry point blank refuses, to her saddened surprise. He points out that she lied to them about Hook and about everything and asks why they should trust her now, at which she simply exclaims that she's his mother. "Are you?" he questions, "Because the mom I knew wouldn't keep things from me." Emma says that she thought he was the one person who would understand and he says he turn that he thought she was the one person he could trust. She wonders why he can forgive Regina and Gold for everything they've done but not her, and he argues that they've changed; they showed him they changed.
No one trusts Emma.
"So did I..." Emma utters. "When we first met, yeah. But the minute things got tough, you didn't come to anybody. You decided you would figure it out on your own. We were a team." She indeed recalls Operation Cobra, but he adds that she just wants her dark magic back so she can do everything alone, and he's seen what she does with dark magic. With this, he runs off upstairs; Emma goes to follow him but Regina tells her that he needs time. Belle announces that they should really be getting to the library, for they have a lot to do, and Regina says that she has a stop to make first and will meet them all there. "Let me guess, I'm not invited," Emma says desolately as everyone prepares to leave. Mary Margaret assures her daughter that they love her, but... "You don't trust me," the Dark Swan finishes. David chimes in, trying to tell her that it's the darkness they do not trust, then telling her to stay there and let them save her. He adds that it's for the best, but this does little, for she still appears bleak.
Lancelot is made to go away.
The Vault of the Dark One is zoomed out of in flashback and we see that Merlin is crouched over it, announcing to David, Mary Margaret, Regina and Lancelot that there's nothing they can do because it's already forged Hook as its new Dark One. Noticing some tracks left behind by the pirate, Mary Margaret tries telling the others which way Hook went; however, she quickly notices that the tracks disappear, and so David suggests that they split up and search the woods. Regina reminds them both that Hook is a Dark One, meaning he can transport himself anywhere, as can Emma. David argues that they've got to start looking somewhere but he's told by Merlin that there's no time. The former Sorcerer adds that of all the paths he foresaw for Emma, this was indeed the darkest. He suggests returning to Granny's Diner, for even without his magic he has enough ingredients to make preparations, but Charming is certain that Emma wouldn't hurt them no matter how bad things got. "Maybe. But this new Dark One... we need as many allies as we can get," says Merlin. Mary Margaret recalls that Lancelot's mother is the Lady of the Lake and wonders if she could help them.
The Charmings question whether their daughter did the right thing.
Lancelot replies that perhaps she could, which David questions, and Merlin advises the disgraced knight to go, adding that his mother does have great power and the lake is but a day's journey from where they are; it's worth a try. Lancelot wonders what is to happen if he doesn't make it in time, to which the former Sorcerer retorts that he'll get to spend his last moments with his mother. Finally, Lancelot leaves for this new quest, and Regina and Merlin begin to make their way back to the diner. Mary Margaret notices her despondent husband and decides to stay behind with him, hearing him bemoan that they were so close to having their daughter destroy the darkness and ending all of this and angrily pointing out to him that Hook would have been dead. "She chose love, David. And we would have done the same thing; we share one heart because we took the same kind of risk that Emma took (see "A Curious Thing"). We save each other. That is what our family does. So have some faith in her." "I do!" David assures, "I just hope her faith in Hook is justified." Mary Margaret nods and the two of them proceed to follow on from the others.
Hook can't shake the voice in his head.
Hook, meanwhile, is making his way through the woods and getting his cloak caught on various branches as he does so. He questions what he's wearing, wondering why Dark Ones must dress like monks, and uses his new powers to re-clothe himself, now sporting his normal leather pirate attire. The vision of Rumplestiltskin comments that it's much better, stating that he likes leather as well, but Hook tells him to get out of there, proceeding to walk straight through him and cause him to disappear. However, the former Dark One reappears behind a nearby tree, exclaiming that Hook should try to ignore him and betting that he can't. "Talk all you want, spirit, I know you're lying! There's no way that I can get my revenge when Gold's in Storybrooke and I'm trapped here in Camelot!" the captain whines, at which the darkness says that that's where it comes in, suggesting a Dark Curse. Hook refuses to kill Emma, knowing that one has to crush the heart of the thing they love most in order to enact it, but the vision assures him that there's always a loophole. Before he can go on, however, Emma calls out Hook's name ("Killian!"), approaching him in her new Dark One ensemble which matches her present day look.
Emma drags Killian back into the light.
She happily exclaims that what she did worked and he's alive and he confirms that it did, angrily pointing out that after centuries of trying to quell his blood-lust she threw him right back into the darkness; he sarcastically commends her on a job well done. She argues that binding him to Excalibur was the only way to save him, which leads him to question to whereabouts of his "shiny new tether". Rumple makes eye gestures at this while Emma replies that she doesn't know, claiming that the broken sword disappeared right after he did. "Isn't that convenient?" Rumple chimes in, and Emma asks how long the vision has been with her lover. Hook seem surprised that she can still see the vision, and Rumple says, "Sadly, yes. I mean, she's still a Dark One. No matter how ineffectual she may be." Emma begs the pirate not to listen to the voice in his head because it's not real, but she is; she begs him to look at her instead, claiming that they can still have the future he told her not to be afraid of because she's not afraid anymore. She wants it, with him; it's theirs. He just has to want it too. Hook says that he'd love that more than anything, and she tells him to look. The vision of Rumplestiltskin has disappeared, and Emma claims that they can do this. They can get the darkness out of the both of them for good. Hook wonders how, and she tells him that they'll do it by doing what she just did with him: by going to those they love.
What will Belle decide? Stay tuned.
Everyone files out of Regina's house in the present, with Gold remaining on the porch, both his cane and the cutlass in tow. Belle notices this and wonders what's wrong, asking if he's not coming, and he replies that his preparations for this battle can't be found in a book. Confused, she points out that this was his idea, to which he says, "For you. And the others. There might be some way to protect yourself. For me? I've spent an entire life running away from battles. Time to stop." Belle assures her husband that he has nothing to prove, reminding him that he saved her from Merida (see "The Bear and the Bow") and is therefore a hero now, but he disagrees, stating that that doesn't erase a lifetime of cowardice; nothing can. "Belle... I know that I've hurt you in unforgivable ways, but I also know that not wanting me to die isn't the same as wanting to be with me. So, if I survive this, I wanna do better by you. I wanna love you the way I never could before, with honesty and courage. Let me be the man you deserve; the man I swore on my son's grave I would be (see "A Tale of Two Sisters")." She doesn't know what to say, but he tells her to just not say anything. If he wins, he'll go to the well where they were married (see "There's No Place Like Home"), and if she meets him there... he'll know how she feels. Belle appears deeply conflicted as her husband limps away.
Baby Hood has left the building.
The Wicked Witch bursts her way through Storybrooke General Hospital, walking right past the patient with a mop and towards Nurse Ratched, who emerges from her desk and exclaims that the Mayor told her explicitly not to let Zelena through. "Well then you're just doing your job," Zelena comments, using a simple hand-wave to make the nurse collapse unconscious, "Appalling, but you're doing it. Kudos to you." As she tries making her way further through the maternity ward, Regina tells her not to go so fast, and Zelena sarcastically greets the former Queen as "sister dear", thanking her for taking care of her bundle of joy while she was off being kidnapped, but she's come to take her back now, "Bye." Regina wishes her insincere luck with that, watching as her sister discovers that her newborn daughter, "Baby Hood", is missing from her cot. She appears devastated, demanding to know the whereabouts of her daughter, and Regina asks if she really thought after everything she's done that they wouldn't protect this child from her. Zelena exclaims that the baby is hers but Regina argues that she's also Robin's, making it clear that the Wicked Witch will never take her away from him. "You just can't stand that after a lifetime of you getting everything it's finally my turn!" Zelena yells, tearing up, at which Regina points out that the only reason her sister has that baby is because she killed Marian and deceived Robin in the most vile way imaginable. Zelena confusedly asks if that's a compliment, leading Regina to tell her that this insanity has to stop. "Agreed... but I don't think it can," Zelena states, but Regina seems to think otherwise.
Dem Dark One skills.
One of Merida's arrows is pointed firmly at the Dark Swan; the former is saying that, when Regina asked her to guard the darkened savior, the last thing she wanted was to be in the same room as her. But, now that they're there, it isn't so bad. Emma, who's lying on Regina's couch, tells Merida to put the bow down for they both know that she's not going to shoot, but Merida questions this, pointing out that, after everything she's done to her, an arrow to the knee would do her some good, "and maybe me too." "Don't worry, love," says Hook just as Merida's about to fire, causing the warrior princess to turn and release her bow in his direction instead. He catches it between his fingers before it can inflict any damage and Emma looks up as he throws the useless piece of weaponry aside, using his magic to knock Merida out. He comments that a broken knee is nothing on a broken heart, asking Emma, who's sat up, if that's not right. She remains silent as he asks what "this" is, referring to the situation, for he expected to find she and the heroes huddled over a mountain of books trying to figure out his terrible plans. Getting to her feet, Emma realizes that that's not why the new Dark One is there, claiming that it's because he still has feelings for her.
Hook makes Emma cry.
"Oh, Swan... of course I still have feelings for you. Anger. Hatred. Disappointment." She insists that he doesn't mean that, but he insists otherwise, explaining that when she tethered him to Excalibur she opened his eyes, and he now sees her for what she really is: an anchor. And he sees clearly now that she was nothing more than a pretty blonde distraction, but he's a free man now, and she will never hold him back from getting what he wants again. She tries telling him that whatever deal he made to get his revenge on Gold isn't worth it, assuring that the darkness is using him; it doesn't care what he wants, only caring about itself. Hook argues that he's only a pawn if he doesn't know he's being used, but as long as he gets what he wants then he doesn't give a damn about the rest, and Emma of all people should understand that. She exclaims that what she did she did for him, which he says is her problem: "You're so afraid of losing the people that you love that you push them away. That's why you'll always be an orphan. You don't need some villain swooping in to destroy your happiness. You do that quite well all on your own." Beginning to tear up, Emma asks why he's doing this, and Hook replies that he wants to hurt her like she hurt him. A twitch of a smile, and he backs out of the room. Emma is left crying.
Hook and Emma are kissing passionately in flashback until the latter finally announces that they've had enough distractions, wanting to go and scout their path. Hook offers to go replenish their water supply and, as the two of them head off in separate directions, his head becomes swarmed with a loud whispering. He wonders what the devil it is and the vision of Rumpelstiltskin explains that that's the sound of the dagger singing to the soul, and if he can hear it then that means that Excalibur is quite close. Hook sees this as impossible, for Emma told him it disappeared, at which Rumple exclaims for him to wake up, "dearie", and tells him that his lover's lying - she has the sword. The pirate wonders why she would lie to him and the wicked vision says that it's so she can control him, not that she needs Excalibur; "She's quite good at doing that all on her own." Hook wonders what "the bloody hell" that's supposed to mean, at which point Emma returns and orders the vision of Rumple to leave. Rumple exclaims that they were just talking about her, advising Hook to ask her himself, and Emma wonders what he plans on asking, wanting to know what's going on. Finally, Hook asks Emma if she knows where Excalibur is, the whispering having gotten louder, but all she responds with is that Rumple's manipulating him; that's what he does.
The new Dark One explains that he can hear his tether calling, demanding to know if she has it, and, finally, she admits that she does, making it appear in her hand in a flurry of silver smoke. He asks if she used it on him but she assures that she didn't, and he asks further why she didn't tell him the truth. "Were you afraid I was gonna ask you for it? You never planned on giving it to me, did you?!" "I did it to protect you," she promises, "You told me yourself you are not strong enough to resist the darkness." "Which is why I begged you not to turn me into the bloody Dark One in the first place!" he yells, making Emma look guilty. He adds that she went and did it anyway, trying to walk away. She tries defending herself by saying that he was dying but he turns back around and asks her if she knows what the worst part is. He then recounts for her that when her own mother wanted to use the dagger to stop her from crushing Merida's heart (see "The Dark Swan"), he was the one who convinced her that she needed to make that decision herself. There's never been a moment where he didn't believe in her; where he didn't trust her... but she clearly doesn't believe in him anymore, so how is he supposed to fight this? "Killian..." she tries, but he simply says, "Don't," and proceeds to poof himself away in a whirl of red mist. Emma is unsure of where to go from there.
Gold refuses Emma's help.
Mr. Gold is practicing with his cutlass within the confines of his shop, but puts it down when Emma enters, greeting her as "Dark One". He apologizes for the shop being a bit of a mess since she sent Merida there to kill Belle (see "The Bear and the Bow"), then telling her to forgive him if he doesn't offer her tea, and asks what he can do for her today because he assumes that this isn't just a social visit. After approaching him, Emma tells Gold that she needs help; to stop Hook, she needs to get everyone's memories back, including her own. Gold wonders how she plans on doing that and Emma reveals that she's holding the vial of squid ink, explaining how Zelena and Hook used it to immobilize her and offering it to the pawnbroker to use on the new Dark One during their duel. "All I ask is that you last long enough to occupy him while I steal back the dreamcatchers," the Dark Swan iterates, but Gold makes it clear that he doesn't need the ink to do that; instead he has made his way behind the counter and opened up the painting behind which his safe is hidden, then opening that and hiding the vial of squid ink inside, commenting that that's where it belongs before locking it in. Emma wonders what he's doing, assuring that he can't beat Hook without it, at which Gold informs her that his feud with the captain predates her by centuries. If he's going to beat him, he's going to do it with honor. Emma rolls her eyes while he grabs the cutlass, heading towards the door. The Dark Swan tells him that he's on a suicide mission and Gold says that they'll see, adding that his stakes are himself; hers, on the other hand, are far greater. "Do you really think you can win on your own?" he asks. "I know I can," Emma asserts, to Gold's amusement. He tells her that the thing about confidence is: it's great at starting a fight, not so great at finishing one. He then wishes her good luck before finally leaving, and Emma appears perturbed.
Zelena gives us another classic.
Regina leads her sister up the stairs to Mary Margaret's apartment, telling her that before they go in she should remind her that she may have her powers back but she's also got hers. Zelena simply wonders what they're doing there, saying that if it's more lectures about hope, redemption and decency then she can save her the trouble, for she's heard it all. Regina doesn't say anything, merely opens the door. Robin is revealed to be inside, carrying Baby Hood in his arms. He greets Zelena with relative hostility, and she sarcastically wonders if he missed her; "Told you, once you go green, you'll never go Queen." Regina raises her hand in anger but quickly pulls it back with her other one, with Robin reminding her that they talked about this. Zelena asks if they've been going to couples' therapy, imagining the two of them need that now, and Regina takes this opportunity to remind her sister of something else: "As wicked as you may think you are, you're not even in my league. I've spent so many years doing terrible, terrible things, beyond your imagination. But you know how I turned it around? Henry. It took having a child, that unconditional love; it made me my best self. And I'm hoping that kind of love will do the same for you."
The Wicked Witch finally meets her daughter, and it's super cute.
Robin steps forward with the baby and acknowledges the mistakes which have been made, making it clear that the three of them - Zelena, the baby and himself - are never going to be a family. He adds that he and Regina have agreed that Zelena is the baby's mother, so, against their best instincts, they still have hope for her. "So, you can visit with our child, as long as one of us are present," he explains, and Zelena stares longingly at her baby as she's finally passed over to her. She takes her daughter into her arms and turns away from the other two, smiling at the child with love in her eyes. "There there, my little green bean," she says, cradling her baby girl, "There there." She then takes a gasp for air as the rush of unconditional love that Regina was talking about consumes her, and she emotionally announces, more to herself than anyone, "I'm a mummy..." She begins to cry with happiness while Regina turns to Robin, looking somber.
Operation Cobra, Part 2 is on.
Belle and the Charmings are at the library, going through the Dark One chronicles in an attempt to uncover Hook's plan; luck doesn't seem to be in their favor, however, as the research continues. Henry drops a fresh book onto his grandparents' desk before proceeding to peruse the shelves, heading into another section. Emma is there waiting for him, exclaiming her son's name via whisper as he goes past, and he is shocked to turn around and see her there, surmising that she escaped. She assures that it was for good reason, saying that she may have figured this all out but needs his help, wanting him to trust her. He tells her that he doesn't, which she knows, and she tells him in turn that she heard him before - she really heard him - and that's why she is not asking him to remove her cuff, leading him to wonder how she's going to go through with her plan without the use of magic. "I'm gonna do it with help," she replies, "With you." She adds that Hook stole the dreamcatchers and took her memories too, meaning she must know something; if they can get them back then she can help everyone, and no one was ever better at figuring out how to break a spell than Henry. She once again cites Operation Cobra and Henry, looking to make sure Mary Margaret, David and Belle are still busy, says that they can get a locator spell at Mr. Gold's shop - all he needs is the stuff she used to make the dreamcatchers, and it will take them to the others. Emma is happy that he seems willing to help her and he says that he just needs one more thing. "What's that?" she asks, to which he reveals, "A name." She suggests Operation Cobra, Part 2, and he smiles as he tells her that that'll do. The two of them then head out of the establishment.
Emma summons her love.
Emma is looking for Killian in the past, wandering through the middlemist field where she rescued him from the brink of death as she calls out his name, hoping for a response. She sighs when she receives none, and finally forces the broken Excalibur to appear in her hand with magic, forcing the new Dark One to be by her side by summoning him. Hook appears in front of her, looking hateful, and she apologizes, not having know how else to get him there. He points out that she could have given him a choice while she exclaims that she needed to talk to him about everything. He asks if she has any idea how it feels to not be in control of yourself, reminding her that the last time a Dark One controlled him he had to watch as Rumplestiltskin almost killed her; he had to kneel, powerless, as he almost crushed his heart (see "Heroes and Villains"). "I know exactly how it feels! All my life, everyone I ever loved abandoned me!" she defends. Hook makes clear that he didn't abandon her, which she knows... but she was about to lose him to the darkness, and when she's scared that's when her walls go up and she stops trusting the people around her; "You know this!"
And it's on again, again.
He says that that doesn't make it fair, trying to turn and walk away. However, as he does so, Emma exclaims for him to wait, and he is compelled to do so since she is holding his tether. Frustrated, she assures that she didn't mean to do that, and he says that he knows, but she did, and that's his point. She goes on to yell that the reason she called him there is because despite what he said earlier she does believe in him and she does trust him to control his own fate. She then extends the broken sword and says that it's his if he wants it. The new Dark One takes it as the white-haired blonde before him states that they are going to get the darkness out of both of them, and they are going to do it together. Sheathing Excalibur, Hook continues to listen as she promises to never try to control him again, taking his hand and assuring him that she loves him. The two of them hold hands for a while and she wonders what he's thinking; he says that usually he's the one that has to admit his love first, adding that he loves her too before they begin to passionately make out once again, surrounded by the romantic middlemist.
The fight is on. Lots of things "on", basically.
In the present, Hook is standing on the deck of the Jolly Roger, eyeing down Excalibur as he awaits his opponent. Soon enough, Gold is seen arriving, and the new Dark One sheathes his sword as the verbal portion of the confrontation begins. "I wasn't sure you'd show," he says as the pawnbroker limps his way aboard, cutlass in tow, but Gold assures that he wouldn't want to miss his chance to take the pirate's other hand. "No, this won't do," Hook announces, "This has to be a fair fight. I can't have your surviving family members blame this loss on your limp." He contorts his hand and his magic is worked, making it so that Rumplestiltskin's leg is completely healed. As such, he throws his cane to one side and wields only his sword, preparing for the confrontation's more practical element. First though, he comments that it's been centuries since he stood aboard the deck of this ship as a mortal, and Hook realizes that the former Dark One is referring to the time he took Milah (see "The Crocodile"). He remembers Rumple as being a sad little man who was too afraid to fight for his own wife, but Gold assures that he's not afraid anymore, and he knows he has to fight for the people he loves. Hook wonders if he doesn't mean die for the people he loves, proceeding to draw Excalibur. Gold supposes that they shall see, before diving right into the duel. Blades clash vigorously as the two men start to lay into one another.
The Dark Ones return.
Regina and the Charmings are waiting outside Granny's Diner when the former notices Emma and Hook approaching, saying that they've looked everywhere for them. The two Dark Ones are walking hand-in-hand, and Mary Margaret asks her daughter what happened to her, surprised by her new look. She doesn't respond and so her mother simply asks if she's okay, to which Emma replies, "For now. It looks worse than it is." Regina asks if she's sure and Hook confirms it, saying that they're ready to get this sickness out of them and asking where Merlin is. David reveals that he's inside, and Hook decides to get on with it then, telling everyone to wait where they are as he heads into the diner.
Merlin leaves his voicemail.
Inside, in the back room, Merlin is hunched over a cauldron, recording a message that the heroes will later discover in Storybrooke (see "The Bear and the Bow"). "If you are receiving this message, then things are worse than I feared. There is only one person who can help you defeat the Dark One now. Her name... is Nimue. If you want to destroy the darkness then you must..." He stops talking because he hears the door to the diner opening behind him, watching as Hook enters. "The Dark One's found me already," he tells the cauldron as Hook uses his magic to lock the door, telling the former Sorcerer that he heard he was preparing for a worst-case scenario. He then apologizes insincerely before saying that it's already there. Merlin steps out of the back room to face the new Dark One, but Hook is quick to the draw and immediately lunges at him, shoving his hand into the former Sorcerer's chest and pulling his now enchanted heart straight from his body. The glow illuminates Hook's face, a villainous shade of red, and the vision of Rumplestiltskin tells his most recent disciple to be careful, for what he holds is the oldest heart in all the realms; "Let's cut it open and count the rings!" he excitedly suggests.
The thing she loves most.
Weakened, Merlin tells both the Dark One and the darkness that they're too late, for he's already left a message for the others, but Hook assures that they can't do anything to stop him - not while he has Excalibur. Merlin demands to know what the pirate wants, and Hook says that he wants his revenge, and, for that, he needs to get back to Storybrooke, hence he's casting a Dark Curse. Merlin sees this as impossible without him crushing the heart of the thing he loves most, and Rumple chimes in, saying that that's why he isn't going to crush it - but someone else will. Someone who might actually have feelings for the former Sorcerer. "And that's not me." The vision of Rumplestiltskin then morphs into one of Nimue, the first Dark One. "But it is me," she announces. Merlin is jarred by her presence and she takes this opportunity to remind him that she is all Dark Ones. She then approaches him, pointing out the romance of it all; that after everything that's happened between them, he's still the thing she loves most... and she does love him. She always has. Merlin says that she's not really there, but Hook amends him, explaining that Nimue lives in all Dark Ones which means when he crushes his heart, so will she.
Could Hook be about to skin himself a crocodile?
In the present, Hook and Rumple continue to clash blades aboard the former's ship, moving their way around the pirate's wheel as they do so. However, this leads to Gold being pushed from atop the small set of stairs by his adversary, landing on the deck below. He soon gets up though, and continues to do battle; despite the hard punch he receives to the face from the Dark One's hook, Gold is quite effectively holding his own in the duel. In fact, he is even able to spear Hook right through the belly with his cutlass... but Hook simply laughs, pointing out that they could do this all day but until Gold has Excalibur it won't make a lick of difference. He then cuts the pawnbroker's arm with his hook as he simultaneously throws him back down to the ground and removes the sword he's been run through with, which lays to one side. Standing over his bleeding nemesis, Hook espouses, "They say the first cut is the deepest. Well they lied." Rumple appears scared as the evil pirate intends on killing him very shortly.
Emma regains Henry's trust.
With a glowing ring of dreamcatcher materials, Henry steps out of the clock tower's lift, followed by his mother. He says that this is it - they're there - and indeed we are shown that all the dreamcatchers have been suspended from the roof of the tower. As she makes her way up the stairs, Emma comments that it makes no sense, wondering why Hook would leave the dreamcatchers where they could so easily get to them; however, when she tries to reach out and grab one, a protection spell repels her hand, and Henry tells her, "Because we can't get to them." Emma realizes that the new Dark One knew she wouldn't have magic, meaning he's toying with and tormenting her, and Henry says that it's a good thing the locator spell isn't the only thing he took from Gold's shop. With that, he takes out a vial of potion that allows for his mother's cuff to be removed, admitting that he was hoping he would have to use it. Emma asks if he's sure and he points out that she didn't have to include him in this operation, but she did; she didn't try and do it alone. If she's willing to take that first step back, then so is he. She smiles as she outstretches her wrist and Henry pours the potion onto it, making the cuff glow momentarily. The young man then removes it for his mother and, as her magic returns, she promises that she will make everything up to him. "Wanna start by saving the day?" he asks, to her delight.
After killing Merlin, Hook enacts the Dark Curse.
Emma enters the diner in flashback, shocked to see Hook holding Merlin's heart, with the vision of Nimue standing nearby. She realizes that he was playing her the whole time and he reveals that once she lied about Excalibur all bets were off and he knew it was just a matter of time before she tried controlling him, and now no one will ever control him again. He stares down at his tether which rests in his sheath and tells it to go back from whence it came; back to its stone. With that, it vanishes in a flurry of red smoke, meaning that it can no longer be wielded against him. The Dark Swan doesn't understand why Nimue is helping Hook get his revenge and she tells Emma not to be naive, saying that Dark Ones never do anything without getting something in return. "What do you want?" Emma demands, but Nimue points out that she's a Dark One and therefore already knows, suspecting that she wants it too. After a pause, Emma finally utters, "No... you can't," but Nimue assures her that yes they can, and they will. The darkened savior tries convincing Killian that his revenge is not his happy ending - she is. He told her that (see "Poor Unfortunate Soul"). If he destroys Merlin's heart, then he will destroy his happy ending along with it. However, Hook says that Killian Jones told her that, a lovesick puppy dog, but that man died the moment she turned him into a Dark One. Leaning in close to his former love, Hook outstretches his heart-toting hand and crushes Merlin's life force to dust, causing him to collapse to the floor. Emma, shocked, rushes to her friend's aid, but she's too late. Merlin is dead, and Hook is carrying the heart dust to the cauldron in the back room, placing it inside and causing purple smoke to rise. The Dark Curse has been enacted.
The odds turn in Rumple's favor.
Excalibur is held at Gold's throat as he stares down at his gaping arm wound. "Well, I have to hand it to you, crocodile. You lasted a lot long than I expected," Hook admits, "If you'd fought me with such vigor back in the day, I might have given you your wife back. Soiled, but returned." The Dark One vision of Rumplestiltskin then asks the pirate what he's waiting for, telling him to finish off the pawnbroker, but this distraction allows the latter to tug on a nearby rope and make it so that a falling piece of ship gear smacks Hook right across the head, forcing him to drop Excalibur as he hits the deck. Gold then grabs the almighty sword and, in an unexpected turn of events, now aims it at Hook's throat, with the pirate telling him to get on with it. Rumple admits that there's nothing he'd like better than to run him through, but he thinks he'd rather let him live, knowing for the rest of his life that he bested him. "Today," Hook assures, before poofing himself away. Rumple stands there and throws Excalibur to one side, overwhelmed by his victory.
Belle follows through on a difficult decision.
Rumple has laid down Excalibur on the edge of the well by which he and Belle were married, waiting for his wife to show up so that they can start their new happy ending together. "You did it," she realizes as she finally approaches, making Rumple turn around. "You won," she adds, while he replies, "And you came." He is deeply happy to see her, ready to do their relationship right and put the past behind them, but Belle tells him that this isn't easy for her, to his confusion. She assures him that she loves him, and some part of her always will, but he's broken her heart too many times and now there's too much broken trust. He reminds her that he's changed, that his heart is pure now, and she acknowledges this, saying that he's the man that she always hoped he would be, leading him to wonder why she's doing this now; now they have a chance to make it work. "I don't know that I wanna make it work," she admits, upsetting him greatly. She continues in saying that she does know that if she's going to figure it out then she needs to do it on her own; "I have spent too many years trying to mend your heart. Now... I need to protect mine." Crying, Gold begs her to rethink what she's doing, but it's too late; she's already walking away. Her husband is left devastated.
Killed by a Dark One, mourned by another.
Merlin's dead body continues to lie there in flashback, with the vision of Rumplestiltskin telling Emma, who's crouched over the corpse in mourning, not to take it too badly because he died for a good cause. "I'm sorry," the Dark Swan says, ignoring the voice in her head, "Rest in peace." And with that, she uses her magic to cremate the body, turning the former Sorcerer to dust and allowing him to drift away amicably into the beyond. Hook then exits the back room of the diner and tells Emma that it's over; the sound of the curse can be heard bubbling in the background. The darkened savior reminds her ex-lover that she told him she'd never give up on him, and she doesn't intend to start now. He smiles, reminding her in turn that once a curse has been enacted then it can't be stopped, and she knows this. She might not be able to stop it, but she can make him forget why he cast it. With that, she waves her hand and he falls unconscious to the floor, and she adds that she'll also make him forget that he was ever the Dark One in the first place.
Emma recreates the conditions of 5.01.
The vision of Rumple commends her on her cleverness as she holds up one of her dreamcatchers, standing over Hook's head and enchanting it to begin extracting his memories of the last six weeks spent in Camelot. When the process is complete, she drops the dreamcatcher and crouches down beside her love, touching either side of his face with her hands and whispering an instruction: "When you wake up, you'll be the man you were. The man I love. The man who loves me." She kisses him, resting her head against his, but Rumple says that she's going to have to do more than that if she wants him to forget he was ever a Dark One. She knows, which is why she proceeds to pick up the dreamcatcher and rise to her feet, waving her arm and making it so that everyone who traveled to this realm in Granny's Diner appears on the floor, all of them unconscious. "I need to erase the memories of everyone who knew that I turned Hook into a Dark One," she states, drifting the dreamcatcher around the room and causing golden streams of memory to be pulled into it from each individual. David, Mary Margaret and Regina are all seen having theirs removed, as well as everyone else, making them all forget.
The Dark Curse is tampered with.
When she's done, she swiftly teleports the anti-magic cuff onto the wrist of a sleeping Zelena, and Rumple agrees that no one could possibly understand, asking why she would trust her family to help when she can do it all herself. She claims that this is her fault, and therefore she's the one who's going to fix it. She then heads into the back room where purple smoke continues to rise from the cauldron, and Rumple realizes that the way she's going to go about putting things right is by using dark magic to add a memory-wipe to the curse, and indeed she drops the dreamcatcher full of memories into the mix. The curse grows more violent now, spreading more rapidly, and Rumple assures the Dark Swan that she's not going to like where this leads. Or worse: she will. She heads into the main room of the diner and holds Hook as the curse starts to envelop them. It isn't long before she's completely immersed. She is crying her eyes out, wanting this to work, as the purple smoke washes over her and all those she teleported back.
Camelot is consumed.
The same purple smoke envelops the entirety of Granny's Diner, as seen from the outside, ready to take it and everyone inside back to Storybrooke (see "The Dark Swan"). The shot moves up to show us the full moon as this transpires.
The Dark Curse is then seen raging its way across Camelot, startling Merida as she rides her horse to Arthur's castle, ready to get her revenge on the King. Her horse bucks, spooked, before the purple mist prepares to envelop her too.
Inside the castle itself, Excalibur has returned to its stone at the center of the Round Table, to the great shock of Arthur. He asks how it got back there while his wife Guinevere stares out the window, seeing the smoke that's swallowing the land. He too then sees it, and the Queen asks what it is. "Dark magic," he tells her, and the two of them look on in fear as the curse nears completion. "Extremely dark magic." It illuminates the whole of Camelot as it consumes the kingdom.
In the Mayor's office, in the present, Merida asks if they're supposed to believe that Emma's just going to give them back their memories, just like that. Henry, who's standing there with his birth mother opposite David, Mary Margaret, Regina, Robin and the warrior princess, assures that they can trust her, but even Regina questions this. Emma tries to reassure the former Queen, and she accepts this, holding up her dreamcatcher. Everyone in the room is holding one and, as they prepare to have their memories return, they hold them out in front of them. Emma then uses her magic to access them all, causing each of them to glow gold as the memories from within stream back into the respective owner's heads, allowing them to finally remember the missing six weeks spent in Camelot. They are stilted when the process completes, but none more so than Emma, who's now able to recall Hook's plan. David notices this and asks her what's wrong and she tells him, "I remember... I know what he's doing. I know what they're doing."
Hook summons every past Dark One from the Underworld.
The vision of Rumpelstiltskin congratulates Hook on not having completely failed, saying that he returned from his duel with exactly the right ingredients for their plan: the blood of a man who's been to hell and back. Rumple has done what few can claim - he died and then he returned - and the pond the two of them are currently standing before holds a portal to the Underworld inside of it. Hook recognizes the locale as the place where the Fury tried to drag Robin Hood to hell (see "The Price"), having thought that the portal only appeared when the moon reaches its zenith. "Yes, for a Fury," says Rumple, "But it's always existed, dearie. You just have to know how to open it." The vision gestures Hook's hook, which is still doused in Gold's blood, and then to the pond, and Hook proceeds to bend down and dip his namesake piece of hardware into the water. The blood spreads quickly through the murky depths, causing a shimmer across the pond, and it isn't long before a mighty fog begins to spread and a boat emerges from it.
Time to do some damage.
The Charon remains at the head, while a myriad of hooded figures are his passengers, and Hook finds himself uttering the only thing he can think to say, which is, "Bloody hell." As the boat approaches, Rumple says that that's exactly where that came from, and soon enough one of the hooded figures steps out onto the water. They bear a familiar golden mask, and walk across the pond as though it's another piece of mere land; clearly this is a powerful individual. Hook gives the hooded figure a hand and, finally, the first Dark One steps back into the land of the living. Nimue removes her mask and her hood, revealing her green and scaly face, and the newest Dark One greets her. "We're here," she tells him, "All of us, as promised. In the flesh. And now it's time to get to work. To do what Dark Ones do best... snuff out the light." Hook appears excited at the prospect Nimue is offering as all the other Dark Ones who ever lived - or rather, died - prepare to make their way to land as well, and he says to his most ancient predecessor, "Welcome to Storybrooke, love."
- The title card of this episode features the Jolly Roger.
- Hook's outfit at the end of this episode's flashbacks is different than the one he's wearing in the final scene of "The Dark Swan", wherein he's sporting his red velvet vest as opposed to his black leather one.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on October 7, 2015.
- This episode marked the fifth writing credit for Dana Horgan and the fourth for Tze Chun. At the same time it marked the seventh directing credit for Romeo Tirone on Once Upon a Time.
This episode garnered 4.38 million viewers, displaying a marked decrease from the previous week's double episode feature. This marked the lowest ratings seen in the entire history of the series thus far.
The episode received generally positive reviews from critics.
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman said, "All in all, while “Broken Heart” had its shortcomings, I thought it was a fun episode for Once Upon a Time. Everyone has their memories back, and we’re right at the point the season started. So, presumably, we won’t be getting any more flashbacks. Rather, the story will move forward, hopefully, and show us just how the Darkness and the Light will clash. Knowing Once Upon a Time, there will probably be some sort of compromise, but I think it’d be bold if the show snuffed out one or the other, just to show us what a world without Light, or a world without plot-driving evil, looks like."
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly notes in her assessment of the review: "We’ve got one more week until the winter finale of Once Upon a Time, and we’re finally getting some answers to what happened in Camelot all those weeks ago. Namely: We have memories! Finally! Which is good because those memories are definitely going to come in handy with what currently is threatening Storybrooke..."
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN said of the episode, "This week's Once won the day in the small moments. Years of fleshing out characters and their relationships paid off in scenes like the one with Henry and Emma reconciling and Regina bringing Zelena over for a visit with her daughter. We got to see Belle stand up for herself, and we saw the biggest threat of them all introduced. But as far as Emma and Hook are concerned, the story fell short. Hook's fall was too rushed and sort of undermined Emma's turn to the dark side." Ratcliffe gave the episode a 7.7 rating out of 10.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "Once Upon A Time’ Review: ‘Broken Heart’ Takes Us Back to the Start", by Nick Roman, Rickey.org (November 29, 2015)
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: Broken Heart", by Andrea Towers, Entertainment Weekly (November 29, 2015)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: "Broken Heart" Review, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN (November 29, 2015)