[Funny story: we were having stormy weather the night that the DVR recorded this episode and apparently also in nearby Henry County. So, throughout the show, there was a little storm map in the corner of the screen that read, “Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Henry.”]
Our episode opens with a carriage being robbed. No, it’s not Robin Hood. It’s a suit of armor! A knight? No, it’s Hook dressed as a knight. And he has his “merry” band of pirates stashed around them in the woods to light flaming arrows so that it looks like a whole army is surrounding them. The men guarding the carriage run away and leave the “pirates” with the carriage and the treasure. Hook remarks that you don’t need a ship to be a pirate and we wonder what happened to the Jolly Roger…lose it in a poker game? Back at ye olde watering hole, the crew celebrates and there are some jokes about Smee not being a literal rat anymore. They have pitched in and rented him a wench. Not the heavy machinery-type wench, but the hooker-type wench. He leaves with her and then pays her off. He tells her to tell the guys she had a good time in the morning to save his image, but he is still hung up on Emma. What is it with men? Can’t they be honest? Is it really weakness to be in love? Do you have to pretend to sleep with prostitutes to be a real man? Sheesh. Then he finds himself with a blade to his throat and Ariel is sitting on him.
(I always want to say, “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…”) In modern day Storybrooke, the Charmings are building a crib. [Side note: is it funny that people keep referring to them as “the Charmings”? “Charming” was a sarcastic nickname that Snow used to refer to him. I guess it’s easier than his name history: he was born David, then took on the identity of Prince James, then in Storybrooke was David Nolan. But, it seems funny to take on a sarcastic nickname as a last name. Snow Charming? Was “White” her last name? Or part of her first name? If he took her name, he could be David White or Prince James White. And could she, in fact, be related to Carrie White? Hmmm….] Well, I should say that Charming and Emma are having a father-daughter bonding over building the crib with complicated instructions, while Snow sits nearby and ponders the usefulness of building a crib when they haven’t seen or heard from the wicked witch or the Dark One. Regina comes in (I guess they have accepted her enough as family that she comes and goes without knocking now–which apparently hasn’t put her in a better mood, though last season, she was longing for acceptance) and says that she has cast a protection spell over the apartment that can’t be undone with blood magic. And she is still wearing red in this episode. She’s not gone back evil, but she is casting magic and preparing for battle, so maybe we can assume that the red is a symbol of her temper and her magic? Maybe the blue is when she is calm and motherly. Emma thinks they need to go on the offense and wants Regina to train her to use her magic. Regina says it’s all or nothing and tells her to meet her at her vault in one hour. The Charmings offer to babysit Henry and Emma reluctantly tells them that Henry thinks they are boring. Apparently, they have been sharing the joys of cradlecap and other baby-rearing tidbits with him. This shocks them, that two such adventurous fairy tale heroes can be boring! I smell a challenge!
Smee approaches Hook and wants to know when they are setting sail again. He wants to know where the Jolly Roger is since Hook is the only one that still has his memory (which begs the question of why can’t he explain the missing year to everyone? I know he says they went their separate ways, but he has to know more than that.). When that fails, Smee wants to get another boat, but Hook is sticking around for Emma, obviously. Emma shows up and asks Hook to babysit. Hook thinks she is using Henry as an excuse to see him. They have another discussion about going back to New York and being who you really are and trying to forget your memories.
The Charmings are walking the beach (Why are they not staying in the apartment with the protection spell??? And why don’t they keep Henry in there while they are at it?) when they notice a crowd and find Ariel washed up on shore. She says she has been out searching for Prince Eric. She says she woke up there in Storybrooke after the curse and overheard people talking about having been in the Enchanted Forest for a year. How did no one notice her before? And why didn’t they question that? They assumed she had been turned into a flying monkey…and they are incessantly fond of the term “simian”. I guess they didn’t want to keep saying “monkey.” They decide that maybe Hook could give her an idea about where Prince Eric is since he is the only one with his memory.
In the past, outside the pub, Ariel has heard that the captain of the Jolly Roger kidnapped Prince Eric and she knows that’s Hook. He questions her about what she’s heard and she says that the dagger she has belonged to the captain that kidnapped Prince Eric. Hook looks at it and laughs because in the handle are the initials “BB”, aka Blackbeard. He goes back inside and tells Smee that they are going after Blackbeard to get the Jolly Roger back and Ariel pops in and insists she is going too.
Back in Storybrooke, Hook is teaching Henry about character and honesty. Just kidding, he is teaching him gambling and how to cheat to always win. Yeah…. The Charmings show up with Ariel and ask Hook if he knows anything about Prince Eric. He lies and says he never heard of him before.
Emma and Regina are in Regina’s vault. Regina asks who is watching Henry and Emma defends her decision to leave him with Hook by saying that Henry likes him. Regina says, “He’s prone to violence, impulsive, and has a hook for a hand.” I totally agree with Regina, for a change! Regina says everyone know about the yearning looks and doe-y eyes. Emma says she doesn’t do that, but Regina was talking about Hook, ha ha. Regina hands Emma a book of spells, written in elvish that Emma can’t read, so she asks what Rumpel used to teach Regina. Regina said he was a bully who made her sink or swim. Lightbulb! Poof! They are standing on a bridge over a deep gorge and a river.
Snow says that when they returned to Storybrooke, they had belongings with them and that Gold’s shop is full of them, so if they find something of Eric’s they will know he is here and they can use a locator spell to find him. They want Hook to go with her since he might remember something and they want to spend time with Henry.
In the Enchanted Forest, Hook, Smee, and Ariel are walking through the forest on their way to find Blackbeard. Ariel is complaining about trudging and land travel. Far from the Disney version who sang, “I wanna see, wanna see them dancin’, walking around on those – what do you call ’em? Oh – feet! Flippin’ your fins, you don’t get too far. Legs are required for jumping, dancing, strolling along down a – what’s that word again – street. Up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun, wanderin’ free – wish I could be part of that world. What would I give if I could live out of these waters? What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand? Bet’cha on land they understand. Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters, bright young women sick of swimmin’, ready to stand.” [Tell me you didn’t sing that in your head–you know you did!] There’s a discussion between Ariel and Hook about whether he is a good man and hero or not. He obviously is torn between being good and his reputation of a ruthless pirate.
At Rumpel/Gold’s shop, they look for something of Eric’s. Hook sees his cloak and Ariel hugs him.
On the bridge, Regina is collapsing the bridge under Emma’s feet and Emma must use her magic to save herself. When Emma falls, Regina has a momentary panic, but then Emma rises on the debris. Regina is upset that Emma is wasting her potential.
Belle sprinkles the potion on the cloak and it rises and they rush off to follow it.
Meanwhile, Hook, Ariel, and Smee have found the Jolly Roger and Hook challenges Blackbeard. They have a duel but just as Hook is about to win, Ariel steps in because she wants to know Eric’s location. Blackbeard sees that Hook has gone soft and he says Hook can either kill him and get his ship or he can give up his ship and get the location of Eric.
As Hook and Ariel follow the cloak, it leads to the water and then falls in the water and goes under. Ariel begins to cry and Hook looks guilty.
Snow is arguing with Charming about the safety and legality of something. Charming is going to teach Henry to drive a truck. It doesn’t go very well as Henry almost wrecks into another vehicle and then smashes a mailbox. Have they never heard of a parking lot or a deserted road for a beginner?
Ariel thanks Hook for helping her and says kind things that make him feel even more guilty.
On the Jolly Roger, Hook has Blackbeard walking the plank while Ariel begs. Hook says some cynical things about love and throws Blackbeard overboard. Ariel slaps him and insults him and jumps overboard to swim away to find Eric herself.
In Storybrooke again, Hook catches up to Ariel and confesses that he knew her and that he killed Blackbeard rather than help her to find Eric. He confesses that he had a broken heart and that he would do anything if he could make it right. She asks how she can trust a man that doesn’t believe in love. He says he does and she asks him to swear to her on it, on the name of the woman he loves. He invokes Emma’s name and just when we were wondering if we were going to have a whole episode without Zelena, Ariel turns into her and she casts something on his lips. The whole thing was a ruse. The real Ariel found Eric and they have been living happily ever after. Zelena changed herself to look like Ariel to use his guilt to cast a spell. The next time he kisses Emma, all her power will be gone. He says he won’t, he’ll just tell Emma and she will defeat Zelena. Zelena says she will send the Dark One to kill Emma, but Hook realizes that she can’t or she would have done it already. So, Zelena threatens to kill everyone Emma loves (her mom and dad, her friends, and Henry) if Hook does not kiss her and take her magic away. I can’t tell if I am not thrilled with the actress that plays Zelena or just the way they have Zelena so desperate and chlidish and whiny. Her character bugs me. I’ll be glad when they defeat her and move on.
Hook shows up at the Charming apartment and is surprised to find Emma there, who is surprised that he doesn’t have Henry. I suppose he must have been going there to talk to Charming about what to do. Regina has Emma enchant a mirror to look in on Ariel since Hook said she left to go find Eric. He is leery about this because he knows that Ariel was never really in Storybrooke. However, the mirror shows Ariel hugging Eric on a beach and Emma is all gooey that Hook helped this happen. Once the Charmings return with Henry, he just says that their mutual friend found her husband, and goes to leave. He is invited to join a celebratory dinner at Granny’s but declines. Emma tells him that whatever he isn’t telling her, she doesn’t care–she’s tired of living in the past.
Hook goes a little stalkerish when he uses his spyglass to watch Emma at Granny’s.
In the preview for next week, Belle says that Zelena is planning to go back in time. So, they appear to be having a seance to talk to Cora. Oh, yay! Let’s bring back Cora, shall we? <read with sarcasm> There was a flash of the young Cora, so maybe we will find out where Zelena came from and who’s her daddy.