"Murder Most Foul" is the 123rd episode of Once Upon a Time.
Before Hook takes the next step in his relationship with Emma, he wants to make sure David sees him as more than just a pirate. So, when David asks him to help him uncover the truth about his father's death, Hook agrees. Meanwhile, Regina works to acclimate Robin to life in Storybrooke, but soon discovers he has a dark side that makes the task much more complicated than she anticipated.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Robin of the wish realm aims his bow and arrow at Emma and Regina, with the latter uttering his name and walking towards him. ("Wish You Were Here") Regina is then seen returning from the wish realm, via tree, with this new Robin in tow. She officially welcomes him to Storybrooke. ("Tougher Than the Rest") In the fairytale land that was, the shepherd David is shocked to learn that he had a twin brother whom Ruth gave away to Rumplestiltskin. ("The Shepherd") David, as we know him today, places a coin down before Mr. Gold and states that it belonged to his father, and now he needs to know if his death was really an accident. ("The Other Shoe") After receiving the info from Gold, David reveals to Snow that his father had been stabbed and that he wasn't drunk when he died, and he ponders the idea of his killer still being out there. ("The Other Shoe")
Rumple has a way to save both boys... by taking one.
A thunderous storm hails down on the sheep farm where we know David to have been raised. Approaching the cottage is a man, covered both by a cloak and by the dark of night, ignoring the scared sounds of his flock as he tries in vain to shield himself from the wet. As he draws nearer, we are taken inside, where a baby's cry is heard. Or rather, two babies'. A young Ruth is tending to them as her husband, Robert, finally makes it through the door, and as he draws down his hood and steps inside, she is eager to hear what happened while he was out. Apparently having journeyed out for some medicine, for their twin sons, Robert is forced to reveal that he hadn't the money to pay for it, then apologizing to his wife. He approaches his sons after stating that he's failed them. "I've failed David and James." And it is then that the names David and James are repeated by an all-too-familiar voice. Ruth and Robert are shocked to turn around and find that Rumplestiltskin has appeared in their cottage, with the Dark One commenting on how the two boys have such strong names and yet such weak lungs. He adds that good medicine is so expensive nowadays and proceeds to throw a sack of gold onto the nearby table, suggesting that perhaps he can help.
Ruth is reluctant to sell either of her children.
Staring down at the gold, Robert, who's currently shielding his frightened wife, assures that they have nothing to give him for that, at which Rumple asks if his boys like bedtime stories. "Alright, here's one," he gives with no reply, "Once upon a time, there was a king named George. He had great riches, but no son. And then there was a farmer named Robert, poor as dirt, yet he had two sons. Can you guess how this story ends?" Ruth, indeed able to guess, quickly grabs a knife off the chopping board and aims it at the imp in her home, ordering that he get out. She makes very clear that their sons are not for sale, but Rumple points out that that means they won't survive the winter, "dearie". To reiterate, he states that she can either have one healthy son... or two dead ones, and Ruth begins to tear up as Robert places his hand on hers and lowers the knife on her behalf. He tells her that there is no other way, and that they have to do this, and she appears shocked while Rumple commends Robert on a wise choice. The Dark One says that all they have to do now is decide which son goes to the King, an idea which makes Ruth cry more and more.
But a coin toss from Robert ultimately leads to: Prince James.
He knows this to be an impossible decision, and so he decides to make it simple. Taking out a coin - the very same coin that was handed to David by the Evil Queen in Storybrooke ("A Bitter Draught"), that he said belonged to his father - Rumple decides that heads shall mean he takes David, while tails shall mean he takes James. He passes the coin to Robert, who gives it a reluctant toss unto the table, and Rumple sees that it comes up... "Tails! Prince James it is!" He gives one of his signature insane giggles as he scoops up the baby on the right, and Ruth's crying gets even more profuse. Robert assures the baby boy that his father loves him so much, while all Ruth can bring herself to utter is, "Oh, my son..." Rumple, now holding the baby in his arms, warns the shepherd's wife to be careful with her words; this deal must stay secret, which means this boy is no longer her son. With that, he vanishes in a flurry of smoke, and Ruth shows sign of immediate regret while her husband stands stoic. Like his mother, baby David cries in his cot, now an only child.
A toast is raised in Emma's honor.
David, in the present, lifts a glass of champagne in Emma's kitchen, announcing to those present - Emma herself, along with Regina, Henry and Hook - that he'd like to say something. It's then that he looks his daughter in the eye and states how proud of her he is for what she did tonight, for defeating Gideon reminds them that, with a little bit of hope, nothing can tear their family apart. "I'd like to make a toast. To family," he finishes, and everyone else raises their own glasses (or in Hook's case, a flask) and repeat his final two words as they clink them against one another, before drinking. Emma thanks her father and says that it's good to be home, then asking if he's okay. He tells her that he wishes the entire family was there, and Emma feels the same, assuring him that they are going to break his and Snow's curse. "I got my future back, and now you and Mom will too." David nods, saying, "Right, of course," while Emma looks to Hook and the two of them smile at one another.
David is haunted by a familiar clue.
The moon is shown hidden by the nighttime clouds as David is later seen sitting out on the steps of Emma's porch, staring longingly at a picture of Snow on his phone. The sounds of the night then draw more sinister and ghostly, garnering the prince's attention, and he soon stands up when the wind begins to whisper his name. "David..." Looking out at the empty street before him, David decides that it's nothing, before turning back around and being utterly startled by the sudden, crackling vision of his father. Robert stands there, fading in and out of existence, with his hands outstretched and covered in blood. David remains in a state of wide-eyed shock, only able to utter the word, "Father..." before reality around him grows distorted; the ghost flickers along with his consciousness and, soon enough, he finds himself collapsing to the ground. He lies there unconscious for a little while, with Hook being the one to eventually emerge from the house and discover him. The pirate hurries on down the porch steps and shakes his true love's father awake, yelling out his name. David finds himself coming to as Hook helps him back up to his feet, wanting to know if he's okay, but, highly agitated, David shakes him off and snaps that he's fine. Hook assures that he doesn't look fine, saying that it's time for him to wake up Snow and get some "bloody" sleep, at which David shouts, "I said I'm fine! And if I wanted advice, I doubt I'd take it from a pirate!" Clearly hurt by this, Hook states that he was just trying to help, before heading back into the house. As he does so, David spots something which shocks him even further, lying on the pavement next to the lawn. He picks it up, and we see that it's his father's coin, having worked its way back to him. This clearly means something.
ONCE UPON A TIME
The next day, we are taken into the Mills house, where an odd noise is heard ringing out as Regina approaches the study with a pile of clothes in tow. Robin of Locksley is inside - the ringing louder in there - and, as she enters, Regina expresses her surprise that he's up already. He points out that it's hard to sleep when this "demon box" keeps screaming at him, then gesturing the clock, the source of the noise, which of course shows us the time as being 8:15. Regina tells him that it's called an alarm clock, and soon moves to shut it off with an apology. "Anyway," she goes on, still bearing one of the real Robin's old outfits, "I brought you some clean clothes." The new Robin thanks her awkwardly, while Regina, even more awkward, sets them down and decides to leave him in privacy to change. More awkwardness as a silence soon envelops them, and then the Mayor leaves the room.
Snow and Regina argue over the reality of this new Robin.
"Regina, what were you thinking? How could you bring him here?" Snow, who's finally been awoken, is heard exclaiming over coffee as she and her old stepmother catch up in the kitchen. Setting her coffee down, Regina argues that Snow wasn't there; that this Robin was miserable in his world and wanted a fresh start, and she's just trying to help him. However, Snow tries making clear that Regina doesn't know who he is, for looking like Robin Hood doesn't make him the same person. She then uses the fact that she once kissed David's twin as an example ("Souls of the Departed"), saying how there was a world of difference, while Regina defends that she and this Robin have barely even talked. Snow suggests that there are some things that she should probably tell him, like, for example, he has a daughter. Regina retorts that it's not his daughter, which Snow says is exactly her point: they're different people. Continuing to indulge herself, Regina goes on to theorize that there could be a part of him in there; after all, he was able to cross into the real world, and that has to mean something. Snow tells Regina that she wants this to work out for her, that she deserves this... but she's worried. "Yeah," Regina finally agrees, "Me too."
Hook plans on proposing, but first needs David's blessing...
Over at Archie's office, the therapist - no longer a cricket - expresses what a pleasant surprise it is to have Hook come visit him, wondering what it is that brings him there. Sitting down on the couch, Hook says that it's actually about David, for he's worried that he still sees him as what he used to be. "A pirate," Archie realizes, at which Hook states that technically he is still a pirate, just the good kind now. And yet, sometimes, he thinks David wants better for Emma. Archie thinks that that sounds complicated, and Hook reveals that it's about to get a lot more complicated. He takes a small box from out of his pocket and opens it with his hook, allowing us and Archie to see that there is an engagement ring inside. The former cricket is both taken aback and overjoyed, now understanding a little better, and he comments on what very good news it is that Killian apparently plans on proposing to his girlfriend. Hook confirms that he can't wait to give this ring to Emma, but... he needs her father's blessing, so he's just trying to figure out how to ask him, and when. He shuts the box while a beaming Archie comments, "Captain Hook buying a ring. I mean, that alone shows progress." He moves from his armchair to sit beside his client on the couch, then telling him that he's listening to his conscience now and that everyone can see it. Hook doesn't think David does, so Archie adds that if this is the only thing that's standing between he and Emma then he shouldn't wait. Life is too precious. And if he wants to know what David thinks of him, then he should just ask him. Hook nods, apparently planning to take this advice on board, though he still appears heavily nervous.
The ghost of David's father needs his son to find the truth.
With Snow back asleep, David sits awake in bed, reaching for the cell phone that's been left on the nightstand. He soon plays a video that's been pre-recorded for him by his wife, which features her saying, "Hey, David. I hope you had a restful sleep. This gets harder everyday, doesn't it? I miss you. And I love you so much." She is getting tearful in the video now, which soon comes to an end, while David replies that he feels the same way... not that she can hear him, of course. Another ghostly wind echoes through the loft, rattling the sheep of Neal's mobile, and David turns to once again see the ghost of his father standing in the middle of the living area. "Family... is... everything," Robert breathes, and David gets up to confront this vision, demanding to know why he's there. Robert says that David's forgotten his father, while David defensively exclaims that he was barely his father; he was a drunk who died when he was six-years-old and he owes him nothing. "You don't truly believe that," Robert tries to reason, at which David reaches into his pajama pocket and takes out the coin, raising it to his father's ghost and asking him if it's why he's there. Crying, he yells that he's spent his whole life trying to forget him, and then, far louder, "Tell me what you want!" "The truth," Robert responds, and this affects David greatly.
King George brings word of James' abduction.
We are taken to a tavern in the fairytale land that was where Robert drops some money onto the innkeeper's tray, wanting another tankard of ale. The innkeeper retorts that Robert should be spending that on his family, then asking how old his boy is now, and Robert reveals that David is six; he's a good lad, and Robert acknowledges that he deserves better than him... but still asks for that drink. Reluctantly, the innkeeper serves him his next tankard, plonking it onto the table, though soon enough a royal guard is seen entering the establishment, ordering that all the "cretins" therein are to rise to their feet. "Show respect for King George!" Robert is one of those to rise, and indeed King George himself proceeds to walk in. He announces to the humbled peasants that he knows what they're thinking: what is a neighboring king doing there in this filthy tavern? The answer: his only son, Prince James, has been abducted, and anyone who provides him with information will be rewarded. Anyone who withholds such information, meanwhile, will pay dearly. This obviously strikes a cord with Robert, with him being James' true father, and he watches in deep contemplation as George works his way out of the tavern.
Before Robert departs, David gifts him with his lucky coin.
"Are you mad?!" we next hear Ruth exclaiming, back at the cottage, but Robert, who's busy packing supplies, reminds his wife that James is their son and he's in trouble - and he needs to rescue him. Ruth asks if Robert really thinks the young prince is going to want to come back there, to a dying farm and... a drunken father. Robert responds negatively, slinging his sack of supplies over his shoulder, but adds that he has to try. At the same time, young David can be seen peering down at his parents from upstairs, curious as to what it is they're discussing, while Robert adds, "I have to be better for the boy. I have to stop." The sack falls from his shoulder as he takes a hold of his wife and swears to her that fixing this broken family - he begins to tear up - is how he's finally going to fix himself. Ruth nods, and then they both turn at the sound of their present son making his way down the creaking steps. "Hey there, little man!" Robert greets, attempting to hide his tears, and David asks his father where he's going. Robert, with his hand in Ruth's, replies that he's going on another supply run, and David asks if he's really going to be better when he gets back. "Yes," Robert eventually promises, stepping towards the boy, "I will be better. I'll never touch another drop. And in two weeks, I'll be home. Myself again." David smiles at this, and then asks if his father would take his lucky coin, to keep him safe. It appears to be the same coin used to determine his fate as a baby - certainly the same one currently in the possession of the present-day David - only it's attached to a loop of string which the child is now holding out for his father to take. Robert thanks his son, allowing the string to adorn his wrist, for he thinks he could use a little luck. David ties the string tight, making sure the coin is well-fastened to his father, and then the two of them share a heartfelt hug. The shot lingers on the coin dangling from his wrist.
An investigation has begun.
That same coin is being rotated between David's fingers in the present as he sits in the loft contemplating something. There is then a knock at the door and he rushes to answer it, seeing that Hook is on the other side. The pirate clearly wants to ask his true love's father for his daughter's hand in marriage, as Archie urged him to get it over with, and so he starts by apologizing for coming by so early. He begins to add how there's something he wants to ask, only for David to then shut the door behind him and exclaim his mate's nickname, saying that he's glad he's there and that he needs his help. He then directs Hook towards a large board he's set up, with evidence pinned all around in regards to the murder of Robert. A full-blown investigation is taking place, and the prince needs the pirate to tell him if he sees anything; any connections or patterns, for example. He continues to ponder over it himself, while Hook, rather concerned, reminds David that this isn't what they talked about - in fact, this display of obsessiveness is exactly why the Evil Queen gave him that blasted coin to begin with.
David needs a pirate right now.
David defends that he tried to fight it but something happened, that being he saw his father's ghost. Skeptical, Hook asks if he's entirely sure about that, and David exclaims that yes, he is, begging the pirate not to tell him that he needs more sleep for he's had plenty and he still saw Robert right there (he gestures) staring at him. "I'd given up on him. What kind of son does that?" "A son with a family of his own," Hook replies, but David insists that he can't abandon one family for another; his father was a weak man but he was still his father, and he deserves justice. "Now... will you help me?" Hook points out that perhaps Emma would be better suited to help, considering she's the sheriff, and the savior, and has magic. David can't call Emma, though, because he doesn't want to worry her, or Snow, who's currently slumbering away over in the bed. He adds that they wouldn't approve of what he might have to do, and Hook is rather hurt to realize, "But you think I would..." "You're a pirate," David points out, "And a pirate's what I need. Come on, you gave me an idea." With that, he grabs his jacket and exits the loft, and Hook takes another look at the evidence board before following on.
An unfriendly visit.
Back at the Mills house, Robin - who's now sporting the fresh clothes provided for him - can be seen sitting and combing through Henry's storybook with Regina at his side, and he asks if everyone depicted within it lives there in Storybrooke. "Most of them," Regina responds, and, as he continues to turn pages, he points out that he doesn't see any tales of she and Robin, saying that that must be quite the story. Regina sullenly assures that it is, and the new Robin suggests that perhaps she'd care to share it with him sometime. She goes to react, but she hasn't the opportunity; the doorbell rings suddenly and she apologizes to her house guest, telling him not to go anywhere for she'll be right back. Robin remains seated with the book in tow while Regina gets up to go answer the front door, and, to her surprise, she is greeted by none other than Zelena. "So when were you planning on telling me?" the Wicked Witch exclaims in a huff, then demanding to know where the "bloody hell" this new Robin is as she attempts to barge her way past. However, Regina keeps her sister at bay, lowering her tone and pulling the door to as she snaps that Zelena can't see him yet. Zelena wants to know why, wondering if he's scheming to take back baby Robin, because that's not going to happen, but Regina assures that that's not the problem.
It's then that Zelena realizes that Regina has yet to tell him that he has a child, and the Mayor says that she is going to tell him, but it's difficult. "Actually," the witch fights back, "it's quite easy. You tell him that he has no rights to his daughter. None. And, if he comes anywhere near her, I will make him bleed!" "Go home, Zelena," Regina eventually spouts, sick of this pointless confrontation, and the Wicked Witch gives a bored giggle before announcing, "Ta-ta," and vanishing in one of her signature green flurries of smoke. Regina then heads indoors with the intention of telling Robin something important... only Robin is no longer where he was. Regina grows worried looking for him, realizing that he fled via the now open window, and then she looks down at the storybook he left behind and sees it open on a page which depicts him being imprisoned by the Sheriff of Nottingham. He's in town like everyone else, and Regina comes to realize that Robin has gone after him.
Indeed, right now, Robin of Locksley is stalking Main Street. The Sheriff of Nottingham - or Keith, as he's known in Storybrooke - is casually strolling on down the sidewalk, sipping on his coffee, when Robin appears across the road, bringing with him his bow and a quiver full of arrows on his back. Soon enough, the thief draws an arrow and nocks it back, ready to fire at his otherworldly nemesis.
This Robin acts a li'l different.
Robin continues to aim an arrow at the sheriff and then... he releases it. The coffee goes flying out of Keith's hand just as the arrow hits the cuff of his jacket, and suddenly he finds himself both utterly startled and pinned to a telephone pole. "Well fancy that," Robin comments as he tosses his weapons to one side and begins to barge across the street, "The Sheriff of Nottingham." Clearly panicked, Nottingham tries to reason with the thief, outstretching his one spare arm as he says that he heard he was back, and that he's not that man there for nobody calls him that in Storybrooke. Robin makes clear that he's not from Storybrooke, promptly shattering his old nemesis' attempts to free himself as he grabs him and punches him hard in the face. The force of this is enough to detach the arrow from the pole, and Keith is sent hurtling to the pavement. And then, Robin draws a knife from a small sheath on his belt, commenting on how he could have killed the sheriff with that arrow, but, after what he did to him, he wanted this to be more personal. He is crouched behind him now, holding him in a headlock and pressing the edge of the knife to his throat, just as Regina comes running to stop him.
Regina needs for Robin to, like, naht try and kill people.
Robin orders her to leave now, while she begs him not to do this; this isn't him. He thinks she means this isn't him; this isn't her Robin; but him? He's wanted to do this for years. With that, he prepares to slit Nottingham's throat... only for Regina to then use her magic to make the would-be murder victim vanish in a puff of purple mist. Robin is left crouching there with nothing but his knife, then getting to his feet as he demands to know what the hell it is Regina just did. She explains that she sent him somewhere else before he did something he'd regret, but Robin, knife now away, asks who says he'd regret it. "Trust me, someday... you would," Regina tries to assure, while he angrily shakes his hand. His knuckles have some injuries from the struggle which Regina asks to see. She says she knows someplace where they can fix it up, but she needs him to promise that he'll stop running away and trying to kill people. After a moment of hesitation, Robin finally responds, "Alright. Lead the way." And Regina does just that.
David pressures Hook into doing things he ain't comfortable with.
"You're sure Emma's gone?" David asks as he and Hook exit the former's jeep, heading towards the savior's house. Hook, as he follows, assures that she's taken Henry on a canoeing trip and is therefore expected to be gone all day, but he wants to know why they're even there. David then reminds Hook of what he said, about how Emma has magic and they don't, and Hook grows both more curious and more worried about what this is they're doing. The prince reminds his mate that Emma's currently trying to break the sleeping curse he and Snow are under, and Regina just gave her a whole box of potions to try and do so with. Hook confirms this as they head for the shed, saying how it smells of newt in there, and David iterates that they're to borrow a few ingredients and a spell book and then learn what happened to his father. "Wait, stop," the pirate intervenes, preventing David from going any further, "Are you trying to cast a spell?" "Look, if you're too afraid, forget about it! I'll do it myself!" David snaps, continuing for the shed, but Hook makes clear that he's not afraid - he's concerned. He asks if Charming really has no qualms about stealing from his own daughter, at which David asks what is with him today, with him having spent his whole life being a thieving pirate and, the one time he needs him to be that guy, he gets cold feet. Hook suggests that perhaps he's trying to not be that guy anymore, at which David stops and says, "C'mon. Buddy. It's just me here. Now, I need a key to the shed and a lookout." Seeming deeply hesitant, Hook eventually provides that key from his pocket, and David points out that that wasn't so hard. He then tells the pirate to keep watch while he sneaks off to the shed. Hook appears less than comfortable.
Rumple is mysteriously persuaded to help Robert.
Back in time, Robert can be seen entering the main room of Rumple's Dark Castle, with Rumplestiltskin himself currently busy spinning at the wheel. Robert announces that, six years ago, the Dark One took his son, and now he needs his help. Rumple, not bothering to turn around, apologizes, saying that a deal's a deal and he can't give him back the boy, but Robert assures that he's not asking for that. He explains that James is missing and he wants Rumple to help him find him, and Rumple, realizing a new deal to be afoot, asks what the shepherd intends to give him in exchange for this little feat of magic. "I have nothing to offer," Robert reveals, leading Rumple to point out that he's not much of a negotiator, and then Robert removes his supply sack as he states that the Dark One owes him. "So," Rumple comments, finally turning on his stool, "you finally grew a spine." He then gets up and approaches, while Robert retorts that he thinks he finally became a father. He'd do anything to see his boy and tell him he's sorry. Considering the disheartened shepherd for a moment, Rumple soon dismisses him by exclaiming that he doesn't have time for maudlin stories, adding that everything has a price. Although, he could be persuaded to help him in exchange for... one hair off his head. "Small things can have great power," he justifies. Robert agrees that it shall be his, and Rumple giggles - as he does - before conjuring a crystal ball of his onto the table.
A cute moment ensues.
He picks it up and works his magic inside, able to see something which he describes as "curious". He proceeds to reveal that the boy wasn't abducted at all - rather, he ran away. But where he went to, Robert won't want to follow. Robert wonders why, needing to know where James is, and, as he sets the crystal ball down, Rumple states that he's in a land built from temptation. "And I have an extra ticket in," he says as he conjures said ticket into his palm. Robert goes to take it but the Dark One snatches it away, needing the hair first. A tad reluctant, Robert leans forward and allows the imp to pluck a hair from his head, snatching the ticket off of him at the same time that it's pulled. Clutching the hair, Rumple giggles again, leaning in to clarify that their second deal is now complete. "Thank you," Robert nods, dragging his sack out of the Dark Castle with the ticket in tow, off to find and rescue James. Once he's gone, Rumple perches himself down on the end of his dining table and stares up at the hair he's just received. "Small things can hold great power," he repeats almost jokingly as he proceeds to toss the hair to one side and laugh, for he's in no actual need of it. "Someday," he adds in an air of all genuineness, "may we all be reunited with our sons."
Emma knows you lyyyyyin'. (:(:(:(:
Robert's son, in the present, shuts a cabinet within Emma's shed, having found nothing useful in it as of yet. He then takes to sweeping the cupboards under the counters for possible potion ingredients while, outside, Emma herself pulls up in her yellow bug. Hook sees this and wants to go warn David, but he hasn't the time, for Emma and Henry are already stepping out. "Emma's here, hurry up," he tries exclaiming towards the shed, while Emma comes hurrying from around the corner. Needing to provide a distraction, Hook greets her, asking what happened to the canoe trip, and Emma explains that Henry forgot the life jackets; "And you're the one always going on about boat safety." She goes to head to the shed to get them, but Hook tells her that he can't let her in there. Amused, she wonders why not, and Hook makes up that he just really, desperately needs to kiss her. He then tries to do so but she laughs, stopping him. She says that he's forgetting something, to his worry, and then adds, "My superpower; I know when you're lying. What are you hiding from me?" Hook, thinking hard, eventually tells her that the truth is: he's a bit out of sorts, because of Archie. Emma questions this and Hook explains that he paid the cricket a visit because he needed to talk to him about her.
Hook dun't feel right about this. :(
"Oh," she responds, with Hook adding that he thought she was gonna die, and that does something to a man. It changes the way he thinks about things. "About us." In the background, one can see David clutching a spell book and a case of ingredients, and he and Hook exchange some brief eye contact as the former successfully sneaks off... and Hook appears even more guilty. "And he reminded me how important it was to share my feelings," he continues for Emma, "And I didn't wanna let you in the shed without sharing them, so... feelings shared." Getting close to him, Emma assures that she likes feelings, once in a while, before kissing him. She then finds herself questioning why she was there, before remembering the life jackets. With a smile, she heads off to the shed, with an ashamed Hook then meeting David on the other side of the house. David commends Hook on his good work, but Hook says that it didn't feel good. "Well it was. Now let's find out who murdered my father," the prince decides, magic now in tow.
Regina the hypocrite keeps Robin away from her dark shiz.
We are taken to the Mills family mausoleum where, in the vault below, Robin can be heard complaining that his hand's really not that bad. Regina tells him that she didn't bring him there for that, for they need to talk, and then she asks if he was really going to kill Nottingham. Robin seems taken aback that she would be judging him for that, seeing as how she told him it was her curse that created this place, and then he takes a look around the vault and tells her to do the same. Gesturing a set of familiar drawers, he asks to know what's in them, and Regina very awkwardly replies, "The hearts of my enemies, but..." Robin moves on before she can defend herself, with her just shutting the drawers away in their cabinet, and he asks about a nearby, ornate-looking box which is resting nearby, commenting that it looks nasty enough. Indeed it does, and he reaches out to touch it, only for Regina to quickly swoop in and tell him not to. "It's... powerful," she reveals as she lifts it up with caution and puts it away in a chest, out of sight. Confronting him once more, she acknowledges that she sounds like a hypocrite... but she has changed. She outstretches her hand and he takes it with his injured one, allowing her to work her magic over the wounds and make the knuckle good as new again. "Which is why I have to tell you something," she goes on to add, finally revealing that the other Robin had a child - two, actually, but only one of them is in town - an infant daughter.
A lackluster kiss.
"But I mean, she's not yours. N-not really." Robin asks if the mother knows that, and then asks who the mother even is. "You?" He is further taken aback to learn that it's Regina's sister, with her assuring that it's complicated, and he points out that apparently everything there is. He wonders if she brought him there just to drop him in the middle of this mess, but Regina, getting tearful, professes that she hoped she could be part of a fresh start. His fresh start. Stepping closer, he questions if she'd maybe hoped for one of her own as well, and she smiles and says, "Maybe." She doesn't know, but she thinks maybe if they give themselves a chance, then his being there could be a good thing. And then Robin leans in, and the two of them share a kiss. It lasts a small while, but Regina hardly appears lost in the thrills of passion; rather, trying to push for said passion, because it doesn't quite seem to be there. When the kiss ends, she is confused and disheartened, and Robin, slowly and awkwardly drifting away from her, doesn't seem as though he felt any sort of spark either. "Well then," Regina breaks the silence, "How about I show you more of the town?" Robin nods, still awkward, and leads the way out of the vault. Regina is left standing there, closing her eyes in sorrow, touching her lips in unsatisfied longing before she follows on.
Over at the loft, a bunch of chemistry equipment has been set up as David and Hook attempt to work a bit of magic, mixing and melding potion ingredients as the stolen spell book instructs. As David adds something to a beaker, Hook iterates that, according to the spell, this concoction should tell them where the coin was on the day that Robert died. Conferring with the instructions, David murmurs aloud, "'Turn counter-clockwise'," then asking the pirate if he thinks the book means the beaker, or do they have to turn. Hook points out that it's better to be safe, and so the two grown men rotate in a full circle to the left in the middle of the living room, with David turning the beaker at the same time. "Yeah, seems right," Hook states as he takes a look at what they've got, and then David pours the beaker's contents into a larger container, which is holding some pre-prepared liquid. He then adds a flaky substance, causing a fizz, while Hook jokes that if he turns them into raccoons then driving that truck of his is gonna be a challenge. David doesn't seem too amused though, merely adding more solids to the mixture in order to complete; a lump of something, and bubbles emerge; a sprinkling of something else and it really starts to go crazy.
Robert died on...
The prince announces that he thinks they got it, with the two of them then leaning down to give it a sniff and then immediately recoiling in disgust. Hook goes to comment on it, but instead just rolls a map out onto the table, assuring David that he has the whole of the Enchanted Forest at his fingertips. David dips his old lucky coin into the potion's froth before leaning down over the map and announcing that it's time to find out where his father was before he died. The coin is then let loose, and the magic now being worked over it allows it to roll its way across the map, clearly headed somewhere specific. Hook exclaims that it's working, while David watches intently. The coin makes its way across the ocean before finally landing over a depiction of a small island. This comes as a surprise to David, with Hook then inspecting it and revealing that he knows this island from many a nautical chart; it had dealings with Neverland, though he never went himself. "What is this place? Why would he be there?" David wants to know, and Hook tells him, "A terrible, dark place it is. It's called Pleasure Island."
And Pleasure Island is what we're shown. The place is like one massive fairground, filled with bright lights and extravagant rides and children screaming in both terror and glee from all corners. A Ferris Wheel is prominent, as are its creepy, carny-like residents who guide the kids from attraction to attraction, heightening their already stimulated sense of temptation. Young ones are working games machines and eating candy and all-round having a good time; punching bags, painting faces, throwing bottles at gargoyles; one girl is even served melted chocolate from a fountain, going from the ladle right into the palms of her hands. Robert is currently busy trying to make his way through all this frivolity, on the lookout for James. He spots a beer carny nearby, who houses many kegs behind his bar, filling a tankard with beer from one of them. Staying silent, his face white and his eyes having black patterns painted around them, he offers the tankard to Robert, outstretching his other hand in want of some money. However, despite his known tendencies, Robert turns it down, managing to resist this place's first bout of temptation. The carny, though he doesn't make an expression, looks disappointed as Robert walks away and says he's looking for his son, with him continuing to make his way through all the rowdy children. Eventually he spots a bench and parks himself on it, needing to rest for a little while, and he doesn't quite notice the little someone sitting next to him...
Robert talks to Pinocchio, whose nose betrays him.
The shot returns us to the lucky coin fastened to Robert's wrist, and then a small wooden hand grabs it, startling the wearer a great amount. "Is this worth something?" asks the highly intrigued young Pinocchio, and Robert snaps to the living boy puppet that it's worth the world - but only to him. He snatches his arm back and explains that it was a gift from his boy, David, and Pinocchio guesses that he ran away and now he's looking for him, suggesting that he try the sugar pit. Robert reveals that he's actually looking for his other boy, James, and asks if any of the boys have talked of being a prince. "A prince? Do I look like I was carved yesterday?" Pinocchio questions, commenting that Robert doesn't look like a king. Robert says that James was his son before he was a prince, and needs to know if Pinocchio has talked to him, but the puppet replies, "Nope. Not me." And then his nose grows longer. He gasps, while Robert is confused, wanting to know what that means. "Nothing," Pinocchio assures, making his nose grow again. Robert asks if that means he's lying to him, which Pinocchio denies, and of course more nose growth ensues. Robert figures that Pinocchio knows where his boy is and so grabs him by his wooden shoulders and demands that he tell him right now. Pinocchio appears very frightened, shaking his head, but it seems he's not far from loosening his artificial tongue...
James wants to come home with his true father.
Right now, James is lying down against some barrels with a half-eaten chocolate bar in his hand. Robert, having gotten the information he needs, is soon seen approaching him, gently crouching down to wake him up. The young prince wakes with a start, with Robert saying how he's come to bring him home, but James exclaims that he doesn't want to go, for his father wants him to be a knight. Pinocchio is seen climbing up onto some wooden framing as this goes on, apparently on the lookout, while James adds that he doesn't want to be a knight; he doesn't want to kill things. Robert makes clear that he'd be bringing the boy to his home. It' clean and nice there, and he'll have a brother to play with and grow up with. The prospect of a brother seems exciting to James, with Robert revealing that he is also the boy's father, and the prince gets to his feet alongside his apparent dad. Pinocchio appears worried suddenly. Robert tells James that it's time to go home, and begins to lead him out of the island, with the two of them going on by the living puppet. Robert thanks him, and Pinocchio says he's glad he could help, then spotting the beer carny from earlier alongside an even more scary-looking ticket carny. They've seen Robert and order him to stop, and Pinocchio hurries the father and son, yelling that they get out of there; "Run! Go on! Go! Go!" And indeed, Robert and James run to freedom while Pinocchio watches.
August confirms some stuff for David.
Pinocchio of the present - now known as August, of course - can be seen inspecting the coin he saw all those years ago, confirming for David and Hook that it is indeed definitely the same one that was fastened to Robert's wrist. He adds that that was the last he saw of him, when he left with the boy, and honestly he never put two and two together and connected the whole thing to David. "He went after James..." the prince realizes, "I thought he was just a drunk who fell prey to his temptations." August shakes his head though, allowing David to arrive at the correct conclusion that his father was trying to fix their family, and then the former puppet adds that he was stone-cold sober too. David takes the coin back, and then August reveals to him that, a few years ago, he took some pages out of Henry's book (see "What Happened to Frederick") and he never put them back. Pleasure Island is a part of his story that he's not exactly proud of, but he could look for them and they could see if there's anything more about Robert. David appreciates that, thanking August before going to leave his workshop, and Hook follows him out.
Hook's left in a familiar predicament.
Outside, David and Hook continue on round the corner, next to a bike rack, when the former comes to realize, "I know who killed him..." They stop, and David adds that the killer is still alive and that he knows where he is. Hook appears quite reticent, though, merely saying, "Okay," in deep contrast to the energy being exuded by his mate, leading said mate to realize that the pirate doesn't want him to go after the man who murdered his father, "Do you?" Hook is silent, which speaks volumes, and David has another out-loud realization - that apparently Hook really has changed how he feels about vengeance. "Yes, I have," he finally replies, "I didn't think you'd see it, but yes. I would try and stop anyone setting out on revenge if I could." This irks David deeply, considering what he's about to do... and so he grabs Hook by the wrist and takes out a pair of handcuffs he totes as sheriff, using them to trap the pirate to the bike rack the two of them are next to. With Hook stuck, David rushes to his truck and starts the engine, driving off to go have his revenge while Hook tries his nonchalant best to break free.
Robert resists George's temptations.
"WELCOME TO PLEASURE ISLAND" reads a big fairground sign as Robert and James come rushing out of it. At the island's dock, they are surprised to be met by King George and his men, and they stop dead in their tracks. Upon seeing his adoptive son, safe, the King is overjoyed, approaching Robert as he believes him to have recovered the prince. However, said prince huddles to his biological father, fearing his royal one, who insists on giving the shepherd a reward. "No," Robert then utters, to George's confusion, and he adds, "Please. James... He doesn't want to be with you. Let him live where he'll be happy; where he started out. Before Rumplestiltskin took him. With me." It's then that King George realizes that this is the miserable wretch who sold his own flesh and blood, and he tells the shepherd that he looks older than he should - a conscience must be a terrible thing. Robert argues that he made a mistake, but he's making it right. He has James now and he's not giving him back.
And thus he's dragged off to die.
The pair of knights accompanying George step forward, but the King beckons them to stay back for the time-being, pointing out that there will be no need for that for the "right price" fixed it last time. James then looks up to Robert and begs him not to let George take him, and Robert looks down at his son with a great amount of love, and then back to George with a great amount of strength. "No," he states, "I didn't protect this boy the first time, but I'm gonna do it now." And so the King orders, "Take him down," and the two knights step forward and begin to manhandle the poor shepherd. He and James are separated as the soldiers begin dragging him away. He reaches out for his boy, who reaches back, but the two can't quite make contact. Instead, it's George who steps forward to take James' hand, then telling his guards that the reward for finding the prince is theirs... if they kill this man. "And try to make it look like an accident." And, with that, Robert is dragged off to his death, kicking and screaming out in defiance all the while. He cries out for James, who watches, helpless, with his other, wicked father by his side.
Spencer is confronted for his role in Robert's death.
In the present, David barges into the hospital basement, with the shot drifting down below Nurse Ratched's desk in order to show us his progression through the halls of cells via the multiple surveillance screens. He moves from Camera 3 to 2 to 1 and eventually he's shown unlocking a particular cell door. Upon it being opened, we see that King George - or rather, Albert Spencer - is residing inside. (See Child of the Moon) "A visitor," he announces sarcastically, "To what do I owe the pleasure?" But David is in no mood. He barges in angrily and grabs his pretend father by the shirt, physically dragging him out of the cell and into the halls where he throws him forward. Spencer scrambles to remain on his feet, while David accuses him of having killed his real father. The old king laughs, straightening his shirt, and points out that, technically, he only ordered him killed; he wondered if Charming would work it out. David then calls him an evil bastard, for Robert didn't deserve that, and George acknowledges that that's true. "He was a good man in the end. I offered him temptation, and he withstood it. I'll bet he was imagining your little face when you opened the front door and found him standing there: sober, victorious, with your brother in his arms. Aha. Instead, you got news he died a drunken failure." "Stop!" the prince begs, then adding, "Talking," as he takes out a leather-sheathed knife and throws it at the old man's feet.
David comes close to claiming vengeance, violently so.
He then draws one of his own, revealing the sharp blade, and aims it forward. "Now fight for your life. If you think it's worth it." Apparently up to the challenge, Spencer picks up the knife and draws it as well - and then the two nemeses prepare to do battle. George swipes his knife, with David dodging it, and then he lunges, missing again. David then rams himself into the old man in order to knock him back, twirling with the knife in an attempt to come round and gash his face, which he fails at. Then his torso, but George is surprisingly quick and able to jump back. Another lunge, this time from David, but he ends up grabbed and pushed against the hard wall. It doesn't take him long to bounce back, though, literally, as battle is further delved into. The knives clash, and David earns the upper-hand as he's able to get Spencer in an arm-lock and force him to drop his weapon. He then pushes him backwards, against the other wall which contains his open cell door, and forces him up against it. He holds his knife to his throat, and George appears genuinely scared... that is, until David is flung to one side by Hook, who grabs Spencer and shoves him back in his cell, promptly shutting and locking the door. "What the hell?!" David cries as he gets back to his feet, yelling how that bastard admitted he killed his father, and then he goes for Hook, pressing him up against the closed cell door and holding the knife to his throat.
But Hook saves him from making a dark mistake.
He makes clear that if the pirate takes this from him then he will never, never forgive him, at which Killian, with amazing calm, retorts, "Yes, he killed your father. But he also told you about his final moments. That he resisted temptation." "And it didn't work!" Charming screams, finally backing off, "He still died. I thought he didn't fight for us, but he did. He fought with everything he had; he did the right thing... and it wasn't enough! So what if... what if Gideon comes back stronger and kills Emma? What if I can't be with Snow ever again? What if being 'Prince Charming' isn't enough, and I start losing, and it keeps going and I lose everything that matters to me!" He is very emotional now, having teared up quite a bit, while Hook, maintaining that calm, steps aside. He says that David can kill this man if he thinks it'll make him feel stronger, but implores him to think about his father. "He wanted to look you in the eye. Do you wanna be able to look back?" David stands there, his eyes glistening with tears and rage, holding the knife, shaking. Conflicted. Finally, he takes a step back, and then he drops to his knees crying. Hook crouches down to comfort his mate, taking the knife away from him as he assures him that it's alright. And then the friends embrace.
Robert's "accident" is set up.
Robert is now tied to a supply cart out in the woods. King George's men have placed him there, now out of their armor, and Francisco grabs the sack containing the reward money and hands it to his comrade as he comments on what a fine payment it is for a simple murder. He adds that there is a ravine nearby and everyone will think Robert crashed during a supply run, at which the shepherd speaks up and says that no one will believe it, and that it will be traced back to the two of them. "You think the King'll defend you?" Francisco's buddy appears stoic as Francisco himself continues to pass him the sacks of money, telling the shepherd that he's sure people will believe that a drunk drove his cart off the road. Robert states that he's not drunk, at which Francisco uncorks a bottle of some ambiguous alcohol and pours the contents all over him, meaning he'll be found smelling like he spent the night in a tavern. And then Francisco draws a knife, declaring, "Better not take a chance he might survive the fall." And Robert cries as it looks as though he's about to be stabbed, the shot drifting down to that lucky coin still fastened to his wrist.
David lets go.
That same coin remains in David's possession as he stares down at it, still teary-eyed, standing over the water out at the harbor. Robert's ghost is standing next to him, leaning against the railing just like his son, but then his son stands up straight, and he finds himself launching the coin out into the ocean. It lands with a splash, never to be seen again, and finally the ghost fades away in a dying cloud of gray mist. David breathes heavy, and Hook, approaching from behind, asks him if he's okay. The prince manages to give a slight nod as he replies that he thinks so, and then he laughs, turning to the pirate and admitting that he owes him an apology. "You were the noble one, not me. And I'm sorry it cost you more than I realized it would. I'm sorry I risked what you're making with Emma." Hook asks if this means David thinks he's good enough for her, and David responds that he's done the hardest thing anyone can do: he's changed. And today, he saved him from making a terrible mistake, and he doesn't know if he's gonna be able to pay him back. In this vain, Hook tells him that, as luck would have it, he might have an idea.
Hook gets the approval he's been waiting for.
"There's one way for you not to lose your family, and that's to let it grow." He pauses, for what comes next is hard, but then, finally... "David, may I have your blessing to ask for Emma's hand in marriage?" There is a long period of no response. David just staring, blank-faced. Confused, even. Hook appears fearful. Afraid of rejection. Perhaps ready to defend himself. And then... a smile from the prince. And Hook smiles back, realizing what this means. "Of course," David finally blesses, and Hook is over the moon. "Of course you have my blessing," he reiterates, with Hook saying what a relief it is. David adds that it's up to Emma, of course, but yes, he has his blessing. He puts his hands on the pirate's arms and comments that he didn't realize he was so old-fashioned. Hook then points out that he is over 200 years old, "mate", and they continue to laugh and walk together. David asks him if he was really that nervous to which Hook asks, "Why would I be nervous? 'Prince Charming' doesn't set the bar high at all..." David says that he's overdue to wake up Snow, but thinks that they shouldn't tell her the news before it's official. Hook appreciates that. "I appreciate all of it." David puts his arm around his future son-in-law's shoulder, and they continue on.
Snow learns she was right about Robin... so who is he?
David is next seen sleeping back at the loft, meaning that Snow is awake. Currently, she's in the kitchen chatting with Regina, having heard that she talked to Robin and eager to hear how it went. She wonders if she told him about the baby and Regina says he did, explaining how they sort of fought about it and then... there was a kiss. Snow is surprised to hear this, and then her old stepmother adds, "And it was nothing. It was like kissing a photograph." It seems it isn't him. It just isn't. And Snow was right. Snow apologizes for this, assuring that she didn't want to be right as she prepares a hot beverage for herself and Regina. The latter tells Snow that it's not her fault, "It's mine," for she just wanted to believe. Snow gives a sad smile at this, and Regina goes on to say that there has to be a reason that this Robin made it through that portal. And if she's not the reason, then, what is? The way Snow sees it, though, he made it through the portal because he had something it recognized as real, and maybe it's not about there being a reason why. Maybe it's just who he is. "Well, he's certainly not my Robin Hood," Regina makes clear, "So... who is he? And what does he want?" Pondering this makes the both of them concerned.
We cut to Robin of Locksley using a crowbar to bust open a chest down in Regina's vault - the very same one in which she earlier locked that apparently powerful black box away. Robin then takes the box from its resting place and begins to inspect it, curious about what it can do. And then he sneaks off with it.
August delivers some crucial pages.
Hook is still en route to his and Emma's house when August pulls up outside on his motorcycle. The former puppet greets the pirate, glad to have found him, and Hook wonders why, watching as Pinocchio unzips his leather jacket and takes some papers from out of his inside pocket. Hook wants to know what they are, and August explains that he found the part of his story that he took out of the book. There's nothing in there that he didn't already tell them, but, he figured David might like to have the pages for himself. He hands them over to Hook, who promises to pass them along, and then the motorcycle leaves with August on it. Hook continues heading up to the house, unfurling the pages and stopping in his tracks when he sees something which irks him. An illustration of young Pinocchio sitting with Robert in Pleasure Island. It seems that Robert might somehow be familiar to Hook...
Turns out Hook is the one whodunnit.
We drift back into the past, this time from another perspective. Robert remains staring at the edge of Francisco's blade, with the latter declaring, "Time to die, drunk." However, just as he is about to plunge the knife into the shepherd's gut, he suddenly finds himself run through by a cutlass from behind. He drops his knife as he falls from the sword, dead, and Robert appears shocked as he is left staring up at the man whom we know very well to be Captain Hook. One of Hook's pirate crew warns him that the other knight is getting away, handing his captain a dagger. Hook then takes the dagger and throws it, and it lands square in the back of Francisco's comrade. He too drops dead, and Hook retakes his cutlass. "What've we got here then?" he asks, evaluating the situation of the shepherd who's been tied to a cart. Sheathing his sword, he comes to comment on the fact that he and his crew are surrounded by the King's gold, and that the winds of fortune are flying today. Robert thanks Hook profusely for saving his life, only for the captain to lean in and question why he would go and do a foolish thing like that; "You saw me kill the King's men." Robert shakes his head, assuring that Hook doesn't have to worry about him. He has no love for the King. He begs. He promises to never say a word. He even swears on his son's life; he just wants to get home to his family. "That is a heartfelt plea indeed," Hook coldly acknowledges, "And you know what, I actually think I might believe that. But... dead men tell no tales." And, with that, the as-of-yet unreformed pirate redraws his sword and shoves it through David's father's gut, allowing the blade to protrude out his back, covered in blood. He then withdraws the sword and watches as Robert slowly sinks to the floor, dying. Yes, Hook is his killer, and he tells his boys to pack up the rest and, when they're done, to find somewhere to hide this cart and this poor, departed soul. His crew members nod as we are shown one last glimpse of dead Robert.
Contemplation 'n' stuff.
Hook continues to stare down at August's pages in the present, having just realized that he was in fact the one to murder his true love's grandfather, and then that true love exits the house before him and says how she and Henry just got back. The pirate quickly hides the pages in his back pocket while Emma approaches and tells him that she missed him. She then gets close and reveals that she's making her specialty: microwave popcorn with milk duds mixed in to get all "melt-y". Hook says that it sounds wonderful and assures her that he'll be in in just a minute. "Okay," she responds, giving him a quick kiss before heading back inside. Once she's gone, Hook takes out the engagement ring he was intending to give to her, popping open the box to unveil the diamond piece of jewelry within. As he holds it, he begins to look unsure as to whether or not he can still propose, and then he shuts the box, knowing he can't.
- The title card of this episode features the Ferris Wheel from Pleasure Island.
- Although credited, Emilie de Ravin (Belle French/Belle) is absent from this episode.
- The title of this episode is derived from a line from Hamlet, a play by William Shakespeare, said by the ghost of the titular character's father: "Murder most foul as in the best it is: But this most foul, strange and unnatural."
- In the original script, when Hook is trying to prevent Emma from entering her shed, she said, "Hook, you forgot about something," whereas in the actual episode she exclaims, "Hang on! You're forgetting something."
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on November 1, 2016.
- This episode marks, overall, the twenty-seventh writing credit for Jane Espenson and the fourteenth for Jerome Schwartz.
The viewing figures for this outing saw a slight increase from the previous outing, garnering 0.3 million more viewers at 3.06 million total.
This episode received generally positive reviews from critics.
- Christine Laskodi of TV Fantic gave the episode a good review: 4.5 out of 5.0.
- Justin Kirkland of Entertainment Weekly gave the episode a B+.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.