This review contains spoilers.
5.10 Broken Heart
A lot of characters (and shippers’ hearts) were broken on this week’s episode of Once Upon A Time, aptly named Broken Heart.
We experienced our first taste of Dark Hook, and he did not disappoint. Back in his leathers and with a slightly new hairstyle, he is the image of a swoon-worthy swaggering pirate. Well, except for the whole evil bit, like when he tells Emma she will always be an orphan. He knows how to hurt.
Unlike Emma, who managed to hold off the darkness for days (weeks? Months? The passage of time is very foggy), Hook is consumed by it in a matter of hours. Besides Hook telling Emma he’s not strong enough, I think it’s also due to his circumstances. Emma willingly chose to become the Dark One and has yet to express regret over her decision. Believing that she had made the right decision would have been a comfort and a source to draw strength from when she was struggling with Rumple/Nimue. On the other hand, Hook was never given the choice. Emma made it for him, even when he clearly expressed he would rather die than return to his blood lust, so when he turned, that betrayal of his wishes would have pulled him closer to the darkness. Emma was able to use Hook as an anchor to stop herself turning, but with her breaking his trust, Hook had no one he could rely on.
The second major heartbreak came in the form of Rumple and Belle, who have been through so much together that a defibrillator must be kept on hand at all times to keep their relationship alive. When Hook challenges Rumple to a duel, he tells Belle that if he survives he wants to ‘love [her] in a way [he] never could before’, which yes is an actual quote, and someone please take that out of context and make into a gif.
Yet, even this isn’t enough to entice Belle back. After a lacklustre and illogical fight with Dark Hook, Rumple somehow miraculously survives and meets Belle by the well, where they first got married. I gave up on Rumple after he lied to Belle and killed Zelena at the end of season 3, and was deeply satisfied when Belle finally stood up for herself and booted Rumple to the curb (more accurately the town line.) To me, it’s too little, too late. How many times can someone be lied to before repairing the trust is impossible? I must admit I gave Belle a metaphorical fist bump for calling it quits. It’s not that she’s stopped loving Rumple, but as she says ‘I have spent too many years trying to mend your heart. Now, I need to protect mine.’ Hey, Belle. Here’s an idea. Maybe you should give Will Scarlett a call?
The C-plot of this episode belongs to Zelena, who rightly wants to be reunited with her baby, or more officially known as ‘Baby Hood’, which is still a better name than Operation Cobra: Part II. I know logically that Zelena is super evil, but I still can’t help myself feeling sympathetic to her every time Regina and Robin try to keep her from her baby. I just need to remember that she killed Marian and essentially raped Robin, as Regina kindly reminds her and the audience. Motherhood is a powerful theme in Once Upon A Time; it’s what practically drives it, so if Zelena were ever to turn to the good side, it would be because of her daughter. Her last scene hints at this possibility, but with Regina and Rumple now part of the good guys team, the show would lose another great villain. I think I love Zelena too much being evil to want to see her good.
Besides from relying too much on purple mind wiping curses, Once is generally good at leaving audiences on strong finales, and with the appearance of the Underworld and arrival of all the past Dark Ones, it definitely looks promising. With all the references to Greek mythology so far this season, my bet is that a major character, maybe Hook, will die and it will be up to Emma and co. to venture into the Underworld to get them back.
What did you think of this episode? What are your theories for the mid-season finale?
Read Alyce’s review of the previous episode, The Bear King, here.