When “The Jolly Roger” set sail on “Once Upon a Time” Sunday night, the ABC series delved into Hook’s present and the lost year. Since Hook is the only character we know of who can shed some light on what happened, the episode was quite enlightening. Unfortunately, in both timelines, Hook’s passion for Emma left him hanging from the yardarms, figuratively speaking. Hypable called it the ‘Kiss of Death” in their April 13 recap.
The Lost Year
What does a pirate captain and his crew do when the captain is madly, passionately in love with a woman but unable to completely let go of his pirating ways? They take to the open road, where they rob a passing carriage. Back at the pub, they celebrate their land-based victory and the men reward Hook with a woman they have paid for on his behalf.
Outside, Hook adds some coins to the woman’s purse and sends her on her way. It seems he is still in love with Emma and no one else will do. As he sets out on foot, he is clubbed from behind and knocked groggily to the ground. When he can focus, a beautiful buccaneer woman holds a knife to his throat. She introduces herself as Belle and demands to know what he did with Prince Eric.
It seems a pirate kidnapped the Prince and hauled him aboard the Jolly Roger. Hook determines the pirate was the notorious Blackbeard and convinces his men and Ariel to go after the villain. Along the way, Ariel tells Hook she’s heard about his heroic actions in Neverland but Hook denies the claims and vows he has not gone soft.
They find the ship and Hook leaps to action. Once on board, he duels with Blackbeard and finds himself facing an ultimatum. It seems Blackbeard has stashed Prince Eric on a deserted island where he will surely die unless Hook relinquishes the Jolly Roger to Blackbeard. The Eric’s location will be revealed. Despite Ariel’s pleas, Hook tosses a bound Blackbeard overboard and takes control of his ship. She slaps him and sets off to find Eric.
Though Regina has cast a protection spell over David and Mary Margaret’s apartment that cannot be broken by blood magic, the group knows it is not enough. They must defeat the Wicked Witch. Emma asks Regina to teach her how to harness her magic and use it. Before they leave, Emma explains that Henry would rather spend time with a man wearing eyeliner and brandishing a hook than with two expectant parents.
Mr. Smee confronts Hook over why the captain has chosen to stay in town instead of fleeing Storybrooke and the Wicked Witch and returning to their life of piracy. Hook claims he stays in part because the Jolly Roger is missing and because it’s too dangerous on the seas. He cautions Smee not to push the matter.
When Emma drops Henry off with Hook, she informs him of her intent to learn magic. He thinks this means she will be sticking around which delights him. Then she explains that once the witch is gone, she plans to take Henry back to New York where he was happy. He tries to warn her that you can’t run from your past no matter how hard you try. He knows from experience.
Regina discovers that Emma doesn’t learn well from books so instead, she tosses her into a life threatening situation to force her into reacting to the situation with magic. Her powers are amazing and Regina is disgusted at the way Emma has been wasting them.
Meanwhile, Ariel washes ashore, exhausted from searching for Eric. He never turned up after the curse landed everyone back in Storybrooke. David tells Hook to take Ariel to Gold’s shop to find something of Eric’s that can be used to use locator magic which will help find the missing prince. Hook finds the cloak Ariel wore when she mugged him in Fairy Tale Land and Belle puts a tracking spell on it. Hook and Ariel follow it until it lands in the sea and sinks, indicating Eric is dead.
David decides giving Henry driving lessons will make him seem cool like Hook. The lesson doesn’t go well for the mailboxes of Storybrooke but Henry loves it.
Ariel thanks Hook for his help and says his courage will not be forgotten. As she walks away, he chases her down, his guilt getting the better of him. He explains that he is responsible for Eric’s fate. She forces him to admit his love and to name the woman who curses his existence. As he speaks Emma’s name, a green cloud of magic settles on the pirate’s mouth and Ariel transforms into Zelena. The witch had been sing Ariel’s visage as camouflage. Ariel found Eric and they have been living happily ever after on that deserted island.
Zelena, using her spies, kept tabs on Hook during the lost year and knew what he had done to Ariel and Eric. Now, the curse she has placed on him is really meant for Emma. When he kisses her, her magic will be taken away and she will be powerless. Hook threatens to warn Emma but Zelena has a plan for that too. She will take out her vengeance on every member of Emma’s family, including Henry, if she has too. Hook realizes that Zelena can’t kill Emma as long as she has her powers otherwise she would have already. Still, there is nothing he can do about his predicament.
When Hook arrives at Mary Margaret and David’s apartment to tell of them of the problem, he discovers Emma, Henry and Regina are there too. He tells them Ariel was able to locate Eric and has swum off to be with him. Regina challenges Emma to use a magic mirror that will let her look between realms, a task Regina cannot do herself. Emma does and sees Eric and Ariel happily frolicking on a beach.
Emma tries to congratulate Hook on a job well done but he pushes her ad the compliments away, even after she invites him to join them for dinner. Instead, he walks off alone, the weight of his problem weighing heavily on him.
What do you think Hook will do? Will he used the cursed kiss on Emma and rob her of her magic to save her loved ones? Or let her keep her magic as Storybrooke’s only means of fighting back and risk her family?
Once Upon a Time season 3, episode 18, “Bleeding Through,” airs Sunday, April 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC according to IMDbTV.