'Once Upon A Time' Recap: 'Good Form'
Ever since Colin O’Donoghue joined the Once family as the sassy, sarcastic, brooding pirate Killian Jones, I’ve waited – perhaps not so patiently – for more concrete backstory. “Good Form” finally awards us with insight into the man better known as Captain Hook – and although there is (hopefully) much more to be seen of his past, let it be said that I am very happy with what the episode chose to show us, and the possibility of what’s to come.
We learn that like Charming, Killian also had a brother (a nice touch to connect the two characters, given that a majority of the hour was spent with them. I never would’ve expected Josh Dallas and O’Donoghue to work so well together both on a character level and otherwise, but I truly enjoyed watching the show play up their small fusing of trust within one another.) As the usual trope goes, Killian’s brother Liam (Bernard Curry) was arrogant and stubborn, charting a course to Neverland on the orders of the king, to retrieve a “secret weapon” that would end the war. That weapon? None other than the poisonous dreamshade. While Liam believes that the king is acting on good measures – and that the dreamshade is simply a harmless weapon to help win the war – Killian soon determines otherwise. That doesn’t stop his brother from trying to prove him wrong, however, and much to Killian’s horror, he ends up poisoning himself.
It’s this moment that leads us to Killian’s first real interaction with Pan, though Neverland’s gate keeper and master greeted the two sailors when they first arrived, attempting to warn them of the dreamshade’s true nature. Pan seems strangely sympathetic to Killian’s sadness, offering him information on a cure in the form of a spring that fuels Neverland’s magic (speaking of – Apollo bars aside, the LOST parallels in the show were out of control tonight. A magic spring in the “heart” of Neverland? I was waiting for Jacob and Smokey to show up.) As we know, all magic comes with a price – whatever world you live in – and what Pan craftily fails to admit is that drinking from the spring also means that you’ll die if you leave Neverland. Liam’s death at the (alleged) hand of the king is ultimately what motivates Killian became the pirate who would later become Captain Hook, and I continue to be impressed at Robbie Kay’s ability to hold his own against all the adult actors in this show. Oftentimes, I find myself forgetting that he’s as young as he is – both in story and in real life. I will never knock Once’s ability for knowing how to cast the right people in the right roles, and Kay is no exception.
Meanwhile, in our present, Charming is slowly succumbing to the effects of the dreamshade. In the guise of going on a hunt to find his brother’s sextant, which could help the group decipher a map that would allow them to leave Neverland, Hook wisely concocts a lie to get Charming away from his family and to the place where the magic spring is hidden. Since day one, I’ve compared Killian to LOST’s Sawyer, and tonight was no exception. Killian may be a pirate and he may be a thief, but it’s worth it to note just how good he is at his game – like a great con man once taught us, the best lies are often the ones shrouded in truth, and the story Killian weaves to convince Charming is intricate in both accuracy and deceit.
Elsewhere, we’re slowly seeing the downfall of Henry as every day that goes by is another where the Lost Boy hold takes effect. At the beginning of the episode, he’s fighting with a sword at Pan’s urging, and inflicting wounds on others (it’s good to know there’s at least enough of old Henry still in there that allows him to immediately apologize and feel remorse for his action.) Upon realizing how high the stakes have risen, and how close they might come to losing Henry for real, Regina, Mary Margaret and Emma resort to capturing a Lost Boy and using Regina’s magic to compel him to deliver a message to Henry. I truly, truly love the “coming together” of all of Henry’s parental figures this season, and the image of Emma clinging to her mother as they both try to reconcile how desperate they’ve become – resorting to black magic and hurting others to get back their son – was probably one of the more compelling scenes of the series for this reason. Props to Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison, who never fail to deliver, especially on the emotional front.
It is desperation that often leads us to act out in moments where we’re faced with a situation that we might otherwise think through and recognize the consequences. Killian takes up Pan’s offer to save his brother, even though he knows in the back of his mind there are probably bad repercussions. Emma lets Regina take the heart of a lost boy in order to find a way to Henry, despite the fact that it goes against everything she’s fought for since coming to Storybrooke. And likewise, Charming chooses to take the cure that will bind him to Neverland forever, even though it means that he’s going to be harboring another secret – one worse than a slow death from a poisonous arrow. I’m extremely intrigued at how Once is going to deal with this storyline, especially if we do plan to move forward and leave Neverland at some point in the future…though if anyone can survive being continually torn apart, it’s the greatest couple true love has ever known.
Though we’ve been teased for a good few weeks now about the Hook and Emma kiss with many pictures, videos, and cast intel, I’m still glad to see that it didn’t come out of some red herring, or something that happened because it was “necessary” to the plot. As someone who has been on board with Emma and Hook since the beginning, I liked that the moment came out of genuine, if not surprising, feelings from both (and I dare anyone to argue there weren’t shades of the well-known Sawyer/Kate season one kiss from LOST.) Granted, the moment was soon followed up with Hook finding out from Pan that Neal is alive and in Neverland – something that will obviously come up in future episodes. On one hand, I like that we’re going to see Killian struggle with his humanity in balancing his feelings for Emma, his selfish streak, and the “right” call of letting Emma know the truth about the man she loves. On the other hand, I dislike that it’s most likely setting us up for the inevitable Neal-Emma-Hook love triangle. But for now, I’ll hold my doubts and be excited about what’s to come – especially given that next week we finally get a look at one of my favorite Disney characters to ever exist. (Hello, Ariel!)
- Favorite Regina sass of the night: “What I wouldn’t give for another sleeping curse.” I hope someone compiles a list of all of these lines so when the show moves past its Neverland phase, we can all look back and remember the gloriousness that is Lana Parrilla’s sarcasm.
- Our group got to Neverland via a magic portal, but in Killian’s flashback, we found out how him and his brother got there the first time – a magical sail containing the last remaining feathers of Pegasus. The flying ship, combined with the “second star to the right and straight on til morning” line from Liam was a nice callback to the original Pan story that we all know and love.
- I know the moment wasn’t supposed to be funny – and I was fully on board with the emotional resonance – but I still couldn’t help but laugh when Regina, Emma and Mary Margaret showed up in the mirror to talk to Henry. I’m envisioning a new product for magic mirror Skyping in Neverland – apparently magic makes any technology workable.
What did you think of the episode?