Once Upon A Time Gets Very Murky with "Dark Waters"

Once Upon a Time's "Dark Waters" gave us the kiss that no one asked for, no one wanted, and I'm pretty sure no one enjoyed. We should have known the Evil Queen ( was looking to lock lips with Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) when walked into frame without her trusty burgundy matte lipstick; yet still my soul, like a frightened child, refused to believe and turned and fled until it was all over .

The giggly, elfin Rumplestiltskin that Regina knew from her youth as her teacher -- the same slender, much older man who'd had an affair with her mother and a... something... with her sister, who is the grandchild to her son, and up until now has been one of her better buds -- this figure from her childhood is now on the verge of becoming her friend with benefits? Is this just to fire up drama between him and Belle (Emilie de Ravin), because merely (and conveniently) turning off Belle's feelings doesn't feel like conflict enough?

The moment of Belle slipping her sonogram under the pawn shop door for Rumple while inside the Evil Queen landed a lusty kiss on him was by far the most tense and interesting in the entire episode . It lasted maybe twenty seconds. The rest of the episode was taken up with Hook proving to us all that he REALLY LOVES HIS GIRLFRIEND'S SON OKAY.


Hook is the show's bread and butter. For better or for worse the majority, or at least the largest plurality of OUAT fans love him, they love him across from Emma, and to maintain a market share in this day and age of streaming this and instant that, you can't just thumb your nose at the fans. I get it. Still, you'd think the show would find a more creative way into the psychology of Captain Hook other than just spackling over Hook's once-mischievous nature with so much goodness and light he's basically a male Mary Poppins.

Henry and Hook were kidnapped by sulky seamen and dragged onboard the steampunk-y Nautilus, and Hook acted quickly to get Henry off board so Henry could return to Emma, even though he knew it would mean sacrificing his life.

Yes, the same Hook who, last season, decided to kill everyone Emma loved, casually decided to sacrifice his life for Henry's so we'd all know he's SUPER SERIOUS about putting Henry first. It seemed, honestly, off character. And I don't mean "because Hook is such a bad person!" but because the charm of Hook has always been that he's a wily, rascally pirate, and loves life, and would probably (even if he is no longer a villain) at least TRY and hatch a daring plan to save both himself and Henry.

But the show is determined to make Hook march in lock step right behind Regina along the Redemption Arc to Complete Boringness, where nitwits like Snow and Belle and Charming currently reside, and also presumably has some kind of edict about shoving around a couple brand new characters into each episode. So we have to hurry and meet them and learn their backstory before they're inevitably killed off in act three. Tick tick tick, lots of meaningless tertiary characters to get through this season folks, let's not waste time on the leads we actually like or something!

While the points at which Hook was 1) hurt that Henry saw him as not being part of the family 2) dutifully put Henry first anyway, and 3) rejoiced at Henry's begrudging acceptance of his place in Emma's life were as clearly marked as holes on a Putt-putt course, what made the journey through the episode particularly schizophrenic was the fact the flashback b-story was visually almost indistinguishable from the present day arc. The same characters walking stiffly and awkwardly through a third-rate industrial burlesque club in old-timey leather scuba suits in scene after scene, while presumably existing two different timelines.

Also I forgot Hook killed his dad!


Hook brained his half brother and then somehow got him from the Nautilus submarine to a hospital by the end of the episode, because he's good now or whatever. The brother, to give him credit, despite spending his life in a ramshackle cobbled-together mishmash of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and hazy-thatched-roof-cottage-time-period-of-OUAT-lore, was utterly un-phased by waking up in a hospital surrounded by computers and medical technology.


Meanwhile, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) drove Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) out to the Storybrooke sign.


Emma encouraged Aladdin not to run from his problems (ironically, something that she's struggled with in every single season) and to talk honestly with Jasmine (Karen David) about what's going on, though his conversation with Jasmine raised far more questions than answers.

Also Hook, after his big undersea bonding sesh with Henry (who really should be like, studying for PSATs and applying to colleges instead of this tomfoolery) confessed to Emma that he'd kept her shears on hand just in case they, you know, could help save her life.


But of course this season's most gilded MacGuffin isn't in the bottom of the ocean. It's in Regina's hot little hand, and she's willing to trade the shears for Snow White's heart, so we've now officially re-set to Season 1.

QUESTIONS...

-Hook's half-brother: possible potential as a new regular guest star or will we never see him again?

-Does Henry seem just a little too old for all these shenanigans?

-How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away?

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

This article originally appears on TV Guide.com.

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Nov 05, 2016
This is worst season so far. Past seasons,e ven alter ones, were entertaining at least in "watching car crash" entertaining. you could laugh at stupidity of the plots, characters, their motivations, their interactions, retcon upon retcon.....

But when it comes to this season I just can't get into it. Maybe its the unholy mix of oh so many plots, stories and characters who drop in, get their stories resolved and then vanish. Or maybe its because whatever drives main characters this time is so moronic.
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Nov 04, 2016
This is starting to be a '90"s tv sitcom where everything gets wrapped up neat and tidy by the end of the episode. I'm ready to see the part where Emma, Hook, and Henry decide to leave Storybrooke...because if Emma isn't there, she can't be killed. They go live in some podunk town, and we get to see the shenanigans they get into there. Emma settles down as a Lucy type of stay at home wife, Henry is a Beaver Cleaver, and Hook is a Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor type. The catch phrase is "Oh, hook" insert audience laughter, and the episode ends. Might as well, that's the way it's going.
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Nov 06, 2016
Oh Hook, you killed the neighbor again. Har har har...

Emma is wearing more 50s dresses.
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Nov 03, 2016
Maybe the shears can be used to cut Regina's destiny, i.e. the tie with the Evil Queen and eliminated the queen completely? (The queen is deliciously evil though, i will miss her.)
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Nov 03, 2016
1. Hook's half-brother: possible potential as a new regular guest star or will we never see him again? Even though I thought he was cute I will be amazed if we ever see him again.

2. Does Henry seem just a little too old for all these shenanigans? Yes. I look for spin off series titled OUAT: The Collage years coming soon to a TV or Streaming near you.

3. How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away? Worst nightmare ever. I really did think that Belle was going to open the door.

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Nov 02, 2016
-Hook's half-brother: possible potential as a new regular guest star or will we never see him again? He's gonna be kissing Rumple next season.

-Does Henry seem just a little too old for all these shenanigans? Nah, he matches the rest of the too old cast now.

-How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away?
Honestly, i was more worried about Belle seeing them and was screaming "SOAP OPERA" at my screen.
Someone else here pointed out that Emma couldn't tell Hook was lying. That was her "superpower" set up in SEASON ONE. Hello? He lied right to her face when he first said he put the shears in the ocean... Tsk smh @ writers
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Nov 04, 2016
"He's gonna be kissing Rumple next season."
LOLz!
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Nov 02, 2016
I'm sad this show has turned into a soap-opra the last couple of years. :(
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Nov 01, 2016
I so wanted Belle to walk in on that awkward kiss- seemed the only reason for the showrunners to force that interaction. But she didn't even have the courage to open the door.
Did Belle see them through the window or not? I think we're supposed to be concerned about that, but I'm far more interested in whether Jafar put Agrabah in a bottle on his dresser
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Nov 02, 2016
Pretty sure there would be a reaction from Belle if she saw anything. :)
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Nov 01, 2016
Watching Rumpelstiltskin and Regina together reminds me of Cersei and Jaime Lannister, wouldn't be surprised if Rumpel pushed nosy Henry off the clock tower soon...

I'll do myself a solid and skip this episode too then.
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Nov 04, 2016
eh, I actually like jaime and cersei together

not these two though
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Nov 01, 2016
How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away? ...he kiss that no one asked for, no one wanted..
is totally boring hook. Because they just do not kill? and please stay dead!! And Emma WTF?
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Nov 01, 2016
"Does Henry seem just a little too old for all these shenanigans?"
YES. Dear gods, this boy went to hell to help bring back Hook to life, isn't that enough? He was like, supporting Emma with this relationship from a reeeeeeally long time and look, he could call Hook grandpa or something because of Neal but he said nothing. He's totally fine with everything as long as Emma's happy and that's great!
Besides, he's like 20 now, he should get a job and start his own family. Leave that boy alone, OUTA, just... leave...

"How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away?"
It was so wrong. I still can't understand why they did this to us. Why. What if EvilQuenn is just the libido of the Regina? Maybe all bad things you do in your life you do because of your sexual desire?

Btw what is wrong with Emma's superpower? Hook lied (about garage) and she didn't know?
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Nov 01, 2016
Great recap!
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Nov 01, 2016
the evil queen is
1.winning over zelena"s heart
2.brainwashing henry
3.planting doubts about the past in charming"s head
4.smooching rumple
for.... snow white"s heart? is it even worth it?
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Nov 01, 2016
Snow doesn't even have her own heart anymore, right? Just half of it? Gave the other half to Charming when they needed Dark Curse 2.0

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Nov 02, 2016
Ooh so if she wins both charmings will be gone? I am rooting for EQ even more now :)
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Nov 03, 2016
Upping the ante!

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Nov 01, 2016
Oh, one more peeve. So the way out of the submarine is to go down the gurgling tube, right. I guess it just spits you back out at the shoreline of your hometown or something? (Or was Henry supposed to swim back while his vision was blocked by a 65 pound metal helmet swarmed by clownfish?) Anyway, my point is, that's the portal out of the submarine for humans, but pushing the trunk with the magical scissors in it just means it stays at the bottom of the ocean?

*sigh* At least I'm glad that EQ magicked them back to Storybrooke and we didn't have to go on some convoluted multi-episode journey to the sea floor with Sebastian the lobster.
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Nov 01, 2016
Don't say that too soon... Sebastian would jump at the chance

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Nov 04, 2016
Sebastian would be cool at this point.
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Nov 04, 2016
Only if they chose wisely- that is not a given with this gang. Wyclef Jean?
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Nov 01, 2016
-Hook's half-brother: possible potential as a new regular guest star or will we never see him again?

Don't know, don't care! I hated or yawned at every moment of Hook or the related to him scenes... The only good thing i got out of all of this is that Henry managed to say everything we've all been thinking... Well, at least while he was angry. The whole "You don't get to make decisions for me, and you certainly don't get to make them for my mom!" was GOLDEN! Absolutely loved it! The kid was right for once and I'm happy he said it, because it's obvious Emma won't... Thank god he was raised by Regina.

-How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away?

Why did they have to ruin them as frenemies? It worked sooooo well for them. They don't have any sexual tension whatsoever! I mean... EQ flirting... That is magical. Watching her spin her charm? I'm in love! If i close my eyes and imagine it with (wish it was me) half the cast, it would probably even be hot... But him????? Nooooo!!!

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Nov 01, 2016
Gaaaahhhh. I miss Regina/Emma. Why did Hook have to live? WHY OH WHY!

Q. Hook's half-brother: possible potential as a new regular guest star or will we never see him again?
Giiirl, you know we aren't gonna see him ever again.
Q. Does Henry seem just a little too old for all these shenanigans?
Yup, whatever happened to Henry's girlfriend? He should be off losing his virginity.

Q. How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away?
I'm not a fan. But I'm glad Belle didn't see. I don't want to see Belle's disappointed face ever again..

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Oct 31, 2016
Maybe Emma's saviour personality can be pulled out of her Regina-Vs-Evil-Queen style. That way Henry can have 4 moms. Still think the plot will probably be a lost-esque story where he is an adult in therapy who has constructed an elaborate fantasy world to explain his childhood and teenage trauma:

  1. childhood abandonment

  2. the deadbeat boyfriends of both his mothers (Robin and Hook) and his deadbeat father
  3. One of his mother's mental health issues and possible dissociative disorder where she thinks she's a queen and trying to hook up with his grandfather - who already hooked up with his step-great-grandmother (who is also his adoptive-grandmother) and his adoptive-aunt.
  4. his grandmother's Stockholm syndrome.
  5. his two other grandparents who are as dumb as a box of hair and possibly part of a hippy cult that sprout love (and both his mothers slowly getting sucked into it).
  6. :)
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Nov 04, 2016
Actually there was a fanfiction somewhere where the Evil Queen and fairy tales characters part was explained by Henry having issues after his moms broke up, blaming Regina for it and creating the Evil Queen persona for her.
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Nov 04, 2016
For the last 2 or 3 seasons I have thought the end of the show will reveal this was all Henry's fantasy, either because he's still in a coma from the "sleeping curse" or he's nonverbal/autistic and Storybrooke is in his snow globe, ala St. Elsewhere.
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Oct 31, 2016
This show is a literal steaming pile of dog turds at this point.
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Oct 31, 2016
This show is still on? Jesus...
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Oct 31, 2016
So I know the fan reaction to this question will be, "Oh it happens so often, she's unfazed, they will always find each other, blah blah," BUT...

In the hospital waiting room, how was the first thing out of Emma's mouth not, "I left you with my only child for half an hour and y'all wound up 70,000 miles under the ocean and you both could have been murdered?! Boy, bye."
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Oct 31, 2016

I agree with everything you said.I really don't like the idea of the Evil Queen so most of the time I don't like seeing her. But all of her scenes without Rumple were great in this one.

I'm at the point where when I see a person who looks familiar to me on this show, I can't remember if it's from this show or another one...

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Oct 31, 2016
Worst moment of the latest episode:
Regina kisses Rumple.
Rumple: So, you want me?
Regine: No, I want Snow's heart.
So... that fake kiss no one needed to see was also completely meaningless. And at the same time Belle slipped her baby's picture under his door. Why not introduce the fairy tale character of Jerry Springer in the next episode? It will be the most believable and effortless development yet.
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Oct 31, 2016
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Oct 31, 2016
I'm not buying it. That kiss seemed really fake. I was 95% expecting Belle to open the door, storm out and then The Queen to just laugh into Rumple's face. But even though that didn't happen, it still seemed like she was just using her charm to get Rumple to cooperate. Maybe there was a hidden camera somewhere so EQ can blackmail Rumple later? :)

P.S.: EQs face at the end of previous Rumple / EQ scene was the opposite of lust. 'Hate' would be a far more accurate description.
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Nov 01, 2016
I think EQ expected she'd have to seduce Rumple to get him to help her. EQ is not accustomed to dealing with men who don't lust after her! But Rumple was so obviously NOT interested, she moved on to the next bit.

I doubt EQ really wants Rumple, any more than he wants her. But she does want him firmly in her corner. And what if Rumple DID decide to reform? That would spoil everything...

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Oct 31, 2016
I don't know what I would do without you & your recaps. Thank you.
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Oct 31, 2016
Worst episode of the season for me. Do you think the creators will ever get over the jonesing they have for the polarizing character that is hook? Other than Dawn Summers from Buffy I've never hated a tv character so much in my entire life.
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Oct 31, 2016
He can never be as bad as Robin Hood
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Nov 04, 2016
that guy that gets paid to stand in every scene and say nothing?
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Oct 31, 2016
The scene where Regina rescues Snow and Charmimg was cute. (The Charmings never can take care themselves, can they? If Regina didn't come, they would be the next two being captured.)

The Evil Queen - Henry moment was great.

The Queen and Rumple... I liked both characters and it's always pretty hot when they flirt and tease each other (scene chemistry), but the kiss has no chemistry and it ruins The Evil Queen.

Meh about Hook and Aladdin moment which was 90% of the show. Liam's time line didn't even make sense. It was like 7 years since the curse was broken? Shouldn't Liam be like a teen boy?
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Nov 01, 2016
Even if the timelines went sideways, Liam shouldn't be old enough to buy a drink- oh wait, they didn't card people back in those days!
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Oct 31, 2016
I can't remember - have we ever seen Emma in a dress outside of formal occasion / date? I don't know what's going on, but I like it. I loved the combination of that red dress and Emma's ponytail. However, the coat thing has to go.

Evil Queen kissing Rumple just seemed wrong.

Is it not enough that we have Jasmine and Aladdin this season? Did they also have to haul poor Captain Nemo to Storybrooke? Is nothing sacred anymore? Also why is Captain Nemo bald?

I'm starting to think they should re-cast Henry. Jared S. Gilmore is simply too old to play him.

It's a pity they didn't show us Belle actually getting ultrasound.
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Nov 01, 2016
I didn't like the print on the red dress- my eyes kept trying to make all the black spots be cat faces. Dunno why- Halloween?
I liked Nemo better than Liam, but both were barely developed enough to care about.
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Nov 01, 2016
Emma was wearing a coat over a zip-up hoodie over a dress over skinny jeans. It was such a curious outfit.
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Nov 02, 2016
I think Emma wasn't wearing skinny jeans, but thick blue tights or leggings. I agree her outfit was very curious.
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Nov 03, 2016
She made Hook look well dressed, and that's saying something!

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Oct 31, 2016
Still loving your reviews even though they're shorter now. I used to enjoy OuaT but nowadays not so much & I could never figure out why, but now I know it's the Regina/Emma dynamic that's missing, back in the day their interactions were the heart of the show but now they seemed to be keeping them apart & pairing them up with boring love interests. I'm not for or against SwanQueen (slightly for) but it seems a shame to wreck a show just because you want to prove unequivocally that the two leads are heterosexual. When they were working together for the good of Henry & each other, is the best the show has been.
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Oct 31, 2016
OUAT these days should come with a vomit bag.
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