This review contains spoilers.
3.5 Good Form
Captain Hook is a bit of a gamble. He has some big things going for him: he’s a pirate, morally ambiguous, and freakishly good-looking. On the other hand, he brings with him some insistently tragic backstory and occasional infuriating acts of dickishness. Good Form, though, is surprisingly good. It makes Hook, who has always been a little objectified and quite cliché, into more of a sympathetic, three-dimensional character. Though it is at times silly and does a little clumsy emotional pandering, it’s an intriguing episode that provides both forward momentum and character development.
Though the episode is ostensibly about Hook and Emma, it’s also a lot about Hook and Charming, and Hook and his brother (I don’t remember him having a first name; he’s called “Captain Jones”).
The flashbacks show Hook (then called Killian) as a young naval lieutenant serving on his brother’s ship. Hook’s ponytail is either cute or hilarious, I’m not sure which, but I like it.
Using a sextant and a sail made of Pegasus feathers, the crew sets out to Neverland on a mission from the king for a plant that will cure any illness. But it turns out the plant is dreamshade and the king intends to use it as a weapon of mass destruction. Captain Jones is poisoned, and Hook, on Pan’s advice, gives him water that cures him. But after they leave Neverland, Captain Jones dies. Hook denounces the king and recruits the crew as pirates.
It’s nice to see a young, idealistic, less jaded Hook. His relationship with his brother is cute, and gives him an in on all the family drama that shapes the lives of so many of Once’s characters. The poison comes very close to killing Captain Jones the moment it hits him, which is not the way it worked for Charming – I’m not sure what’s up with that. Also, Hook’s success in getting the entire crew to abruptly turn into pirates is pretty ridiculous.
In Neverland present, Hook tricks Charming into heading to the top of the mountain where the magic spring is. Charming agrees to drink the healing water, even though Hook warns that Charming will die if he ever leaves Neverland. This is an interesting new addition to the characters’ growing host of problems, though Charming continues to be idiotically “selfless” and avoids telling his family what’s going on. That aside, this week Charming is a bit more interesting than usual (not that that’s very hard). Charming and Hook are cute together, and it’s rewarding to see them getting along by the end of the episode. Everyone else shows appreciation for Hook too, for the first time. Hook, who has been vying for Emma’s attention and is consistently rebutted, even gets a kiss from her.
This is my one serious issue with this episode, and I expect this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I feel rather strongly about it: I did not like the circumstances of the kiss. Even after her rebuttals, he pressures her to take part in a sexual act because she supposedly “owes” it to him. She does kiss him then, but says she will never do it again after that. And the fangirls go will, because this is so cute and roguishly charming. Really? Making someone feel like they have to kiss you as a reward is romantic?!? I’m sure the writers did not intend this to seem rapey, but to me it does. There are tons of people in real life who agree to unwanted sexual acts because they feel they owe it to the person, and that is not okay. So why does Once have to even go there? Why couldn’t they have made this a normal, 100% willing kiss? Hook has just saved Charming, so it’s perfectly reasonable that Emma might see Hook in a new light now and decide to kiss him. And it’s perfectly reasonable that she might rethink it later and decide she’s not going to do it again. The result is the same. Why did they have to make this resemble real situations of emotional abuse?
Henry is getting vicious the longer he hangs around the Lost Boys. Emma, Snow, and Regina, in an unusual act of teamwork, set out to contact Henry and let him know they are coming for him before he reaches the point of no return. They reach him after Regina takes a Lost Boy’s heart and has him carry the message. It adds some nice depth to the show when they put Regina’s evilness to use and are faced with the issue of whether ends justify means. It also gives Regina something to do; this season is seriously lacking in Regina action (though she continues her streak of great quips this week). The women also use unusually inclusive language when speaking to Henry, saying “We love you,” among other things. Maybe they can learn to coexist as a family after all? It’s a relief that nobody is shutting Regina down as a mother. I still have major issues with the whole birth-mother-trumps-adoptive-mother thing going on in this show.
In the end, Pan tells Hook that Neal is alive and in Neverland, and Hook looks ready to take action to ensure he gets his lady. Get ready for a love triangle explosion. Love triangles are often tired and overdramatic, but this one could get interesting if Hook and Neal start duking it out. Hook doesn’t have much of a chance though, it you ask me, unless Neal dies. This could be a problem since most fans seem to favor the Emma/Hook pairing, and they are very opinionated about it.
Pan and the Lost Boys have Neal and some other mysterious person hanging from wooden boxes in trees. I am not sure why the trees are necessary. I predict the two of them will escape by rocking their boxes into each other and shattering them.
Next week is the long-awaited arrival of Ariel, along with Eric (Disney’s most boring prince; hopefully he gets an overhaul in Once) and Ursula, who is actually a blonde Regina with tentacles. I’m not sure how that happened, but it means more Regina, so no complaints there.
Read Kylie’s review of the previous episode, Nasty Habits, here.
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