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Once Upon a Time S03E05: "Good Form"

“Good Form” zeroed in with laser-like focus on Captain Hook: his origins, his desires, his transition from being HRH’s navy officer with bowl-cut bangs to being a guyliner-addicted pirate in a leather frock coat. But before we discuss the episode, I just want to take moment to say that this show has one of the greatest casts ever. It’s easy to get an audience engaged in a hospital drama, but these actors get material every week that is just genuinely a hard sell (“You’re in Neverland holding a fireball. GO!”) and they often have to perform entire scenes opposite CGI, without the mental scaffolding of actual sets. And yet every week I am like tearing up and getting reeled in by their drama and loving every minute. Colin O’Donaghue is definitely a huge part of the awesome dynamic going on right now, and he really shone in this Hook-centered episode, so congrats. I just have one question, was this guy supposed to be Hook’s cousin or something? Were they related?

HAHAHA J/K they called each other “brother” in literally every line. I was letting it slide for the first scene but straight on through the entire episode, their dialogue was like “Brother, I am so glad you can be my leftenant AS WELL AS my brother, here is an amazingly complicated gift I got you, brother, in honor of the occasion.” “Brother you shouldn’t have! I will cherish it always, brother.” “You’re welcome, brother.” “Brother remember that time we both came out of the same woman’s womb?” “Haha, brother that is why we are brothers.” It was seriously that in every scene. I think it was just that neither one of them actually remembered the other one’s name and they didn't want to flat-out ask. (Older bro was Davy maybe? I loved his curls.)

Perhaps it’s only fitting, as this episode focused on a parallel set of epic bromances: a literal bromance between two brothers and the now legendary bromance between Captain Hook and Prince Charming, who was about to die from all the Sharpie doodles on his tummy.

No obviously those were poison-blackened veins and at the sight of them my panties DROPPED it became very clear Charming was on his last legs. Hook, knowing Charming was determined to die in the next 48 hours, conned him into going to retrieve a “gold sextant” from a mountaintop. There was no sextant up there, only magical curing waters that would save Charming’s life, but Hook knew Charming for some reason believed that he would be of far more use dead than alive to his wife and daughter. I mean, it makes no sense, but Charming thought the heroic thing to do would be to keel over, perish, and leave Snow and Emma to deal with a body and mind-bending grief in the middle of their rescue mission, rather than simply take a couple hours to heal himself. Thus Hook’s elaborate ruse, a scheme all the more noble because Charming was being a total judgy jerk to Hook the entire episode.

I mean I’m going to cut Charming a break because his insides were melting, but man was he a grouch! At one point he said his own twin brother had been a thief and a liar, and then in the same breath revealed that his brother had died before he had a chance to meet him. Well maybe he wasn’t a thief and a liar, dude?! Didn't your life become a lie when you started pretending to be him 24 hours a day 365 days a year?! Damn!

Charming’s incessant harangue against Hook/liars/everyone was all the harsher because the flashbacks were painting a portrait of Killian Jones pre-pirate as the very model of a modern naval gentleman, a ship-shape tip-top fellow in a spotless cream suit who railed against using rum for anything but Christmas Puddings and sacrificed everything for his big bro. Basically he was the opposite of who he is now: wearing all white instead of black, bangs instead of a pompadour, ten fingers instead of five. Intriguing! Who wouldn't be on this guy's side?

Hook and his bro were in possession of a giant CGI sail made out of Pegasus feathers that allowed their ship to FLY ITSELF TO NEVERLAND at the behest of the King. That Pegasus shit seriously came out of left field, but honestly we’ve had so many night scenes in Neverland this season it was a pleasure to see some daytime shots. I was soaking in those aquamarine CGI waves and flying galleons and loving it. No regrets. 

Meanwhile, back on land, while the boys were away bitches were getting shit done. Snow suggested they get proactive and kidnap a tween, and then Regina and Emma broke it down mom to mom that they were going to do whatever it took to get a message to Henry, so he wouldn’t feel abandoned and become a Lost Boy. Like many of the fans who are secretly convinced that Emma and Regina make out behind the banyan trees when the Charmings are asleep, it was hugely significant to me that Emma referred to Henry as “our son” and that she sided with Regina in vowing to use any means necessary, even dark ones, to get to Henry. And so our heroines were off to catch a tween boy with a f-cking net like an animal.

I did love how Regina tried to win the Lost Boy over initially with an Apollo chocolate bar and flashed him her crazy-eyed “Trust me!” smile. 

It was also a little reminder that of the three ladies, she’s the one who’s clocked the most actual parenting time… but as usual, her attempt to win over a boy with food went nowhere. There was only one way to get an ally “on the inside” and that was to pull the ol’ “rip out his heart and control him with it” trick—a decision Snow greatly opposed. Luckily Emma was not about to hear more self-sacrificing Charming mumbo jumbo, and HELD SNOW IN A WRESTLING LOCK while Regina did what she needed to do.

Emma restraining Snow while Regina pulled out the Lost Boy’s heart and equipped him with a magic mirror so they could contact Henry was a truly great, complex moment for the show. It was clear Emma was trusting Regina’s judgement over Snow’s, and she was effectively confirming that the selfless nature of the Charmings was weirdly self-defeating and ineffective. Just like Charming thought quietly dying was the best answer for his family, Snow was unwilling to temporarily puppet a Lost Boy to communicate with Henry, who was possibly in danger (although she had no trouble holding the same Lost Boy at arrow point?). It also validated Snow’s fear that Regina is “turning” Emma dark, and that in itself is an interesting concept. You could sympathize with every character in this scene, and that’s just the kind of nuanced conflict I long to see.

Regina also made an interesting remark once the deed was done: She basically said that she’s there to do the dirty work, her contribution is taking on the squeamish morally gray stuff that Emma and Snow can’t face, she is not the hero Gotham wants but the hero Gotham needs and deserves. Just that concept will have me thinking about Aristotelian ethics and moral philosophy for the rest of the week. And also, the morally gray stuff IMMEDIATELY paid off.

How adorable was it to see all three ladies talking to Henry in the mirror? This is perhaps the first time we have seen all three of these characters smiling at the same time and it was seriously like staring into a sun bed. I am going to print this shit out and put it in a locket.

Worryingly, Henry threw the mirror on the ground, breaking it instantly, once they’d made it clear they were on the island and coming for him. Presumably he broke the mirror to hide it from Pan, but who knows, maybe he LIKES having an all-powerful, godlike control over his surroundings. I can sort of see the appeal?

Back on Bro Mountain, we learned that Killian Jones Naval Whites Edition had been just straight-up against killing entire races of people with poison. Call him a pinko commie if you must, but he just conscientiously objected to mass murder. His brother had strict orders from the King to bring a magical cure-all plant back from Neverland, but a chance run-in with Pan and his mesh sleeves led to the shocking reveal that the cure-all was actually a deadly toxin! Hook believed Pan but his bro did not, and one of them turned out to be DEAD WRONG. (Meaning the brother poisoned himself almost immediately.)

Another shocking reveal: Pan looks a lot like a hot guy version of Taylor Swift, don’t you think? 

Just me? Just me? I don’t know whether this means they (Robbie Kay, Taylor Swift) should date or whether they should be legally prohibited from dating, I just know what I sees. Anyway, in exchange for promising to pay Pan somehow, someday for the cure, Pan pointed him toward the magical Neverland waters that restored Killian’s brother to life!

Unfortunately, as soon as they left Neverland, the magic wore off but the POISON DID NOT Big Bro Jones immediately died! It was so sad. 

And thus Hook had to break it to Charming: This water is sort of a stop-gap solution, it will save you only as long as you’re on Neverland, which is essentially angry tween purgatory. Josh Dallas was all, “Shut up and put that water in my mouth already,” and I think we all breathed a sigh of relief as he recovered. And then Hook said he'd done it all for Emma. Captain Swan hearts fluttered and who can blame them, it was a crushingly romantic statement for him to make.

And then it was kissin’ time. Dear LORD was it kissin’ time! Charming tippled half of Hook’s rum in a gesture of thanks... 

...(um, never thank me that way. Liquor:me::dragons:Daenerys Targaryen) and he and Snow kissed SO HARD. 

Kind of adorbs. And then of course Killian did his saucy little moment with Emma where he was like, “Thank me, why don’t you, with a big ol' kiss,” and Emma was like, “You couldn’t handle it oh wait HANDLE IT.” And then the sound completely dropped out and many a lip-touching was made. Lips were all over lips!

OUAT was wise and diplomatic enough in making Emma be both like “This is a one-time thing for services rendered, don’t follow me out of this grove of trees, don’t think you’re my boyfriend now,” and yet also having her pant afterwards like she’d just finished a five-mile run, which I’m sure was super gratifying for Hook and Emma fans. But I continue to be stunned that the promos spoiled this so hard leading up to the episode. Like, wouldn’t it presumably be more fun for Hook and Emma fans to see this moment happen as a surprise? Didn’t you sort of miss that dramatic tension? Why did ABC spoil this kiss so hard? I do wonder if they got some note from the network that was all like “Okay sure Mulan can be bisexual, but that means you better put some hot hetero lovin’ in press materials MMKAY.” I mean I don’t think I’m spilling industry secrets here when I say that Disney has test marketing down to a really exact science, and for the kiss to be that heavily featured is significant.

Anyway. Final things we learned: After the death and abrupt burial at sea of his brother, things escalated quite quickly in Killian’s naval-officer-to-pirate transformation. 

There was a sense of whiplash to how fast he was like, “May my brother rest in peace, the King is to blame for his death and now we will GIVE OUR ENEMIES NO QUARTER FLY THE SCARLET FLAG LET’S GO MAKE SOME RUM DOES ANYBODY HAVE ACCESS TO PLEATHER AND A SEWING MACHINE?” Sure, they laid the emotional groundwork, but it was such an abrupt turn. I think we could've just as easily seen Hook tell one of his mates, “We’re going... off course. From now on we sail as… the Jolly Roger.” And we could have filled in the blanks.

But yes, ultimately this Boy’s Night Out of an episode gave some much needed screen time to Josh Dallas—who I genuinely love and who got sort of overlooked for a lot of Season 2—and Colin O'Donoghue, who again is a superlative actor, and I really enjoyed getting to spend time with them. Henry’s transition into Lost Boy is definitely subtle but worrisome, and of course the obvious question is, who did they hang Neal up next to? And will Hook tell Emma that Neal is on the island? And OMG is Emma in love with Hook now? These are all the questions we are supposed to be thinking. And I have a few of my own below.


... Did Emma make the right choice in allowing Regina to tear out the Lost Boy’s heart, or is Regina having a corruptive influence on Emma?

... How will Charming’s new dependence on Neverland effect the exit strategy?

... Robbie Kay and Taylor Swift: related?

... How soon until Henry is a full-on Lost Boy?

... Showing the kiss in episode previews: You didn’t mind a bit, or you wish it could have been a Ross-and-Rachel-type shocker?

... WTF Regina as Ursula?!?!?!