We start, for once, on modern Storybrook, with David, Killian and Robin moving on the villainous Robin in his camp. David accuses him of lying, demands to know who Nimue is – Arthur runs, fights and is not defeated by the Three Stooges but by Emma, wielding a whole Excalibur. In the Dark One’s hands is very very scary
Killian and Emma now get one of their sad emotional moments. Killian wants her to tell him about Nimue and why she wants Excalibur – but all she’ll say is she’s doing everything for Killian.
Why is that not comforting?
Anyway they take him for questioning and David objects to Killian raising his voice (He’ll sacrifice babies but he has limits). Regina also wants them all not to trust what Emma says at the moment because she is the Dark One – they need to stop her. Killian doesn’t buy it because twu lub.
And he goes to see Rumpelstiltskin and Belle (Emma has also stolen his lethal squid ink) for more insight into Dark One thinking – and he comes up with atonement. The Dark One is always haunted by regret and he needs to figure out what Emma is atoning for.
Now for some flashbacks! 3 weeks earlier, in Camelot with Emma dressed as a Cistercian monk with the Spark of Prometheus – but no sword. Merlin is being compelled by Arthur and uses woo-woo to freeze Henry and *gasp* Granny (oh he will pay for that). Merlin has been ordered to reforge Excalibur or he will kill her family and he cannot disobey.
He also begs her not to go all dark and vengeancey like Nimue did (I am, of course, chanting “vengeance, vengeance vengeance!”). Her inner Rumple would rather she didn’t light the spark since Arthur will probably use a newly forged Excalibur to kill her. She’s also having trouble lighting it since she can apparently only do that when she’s ready to let go of the darkness (so what does that mean in the future when she does light it?).
Henry brings some sappy happy goodness (a newspaper advert for a home that Killian wanted to own with her with their collective zero income) and she decides she simply must use the Darkness one last time as she goes to the meeting with Arthur, Zelina (and the Charmings tied to trees and in peril but totally not going to die because Once Upon a Time loves to destroy my dreams. Also Regina who needs to live because she’s awesome.)
Emma chooses to fight – incapacitating Zelina because Wicked Witch vs Dark One is not a fair fight before we get the real clash: Merlin vs Emma – but Merlin is far more experienced. Arthur orders Merlin to kill Mary Margaret (Yaaaaaaay!) while Emma urges him to resist the darkness (does compulsion count as Darkness?).
While this is dramatically happening, Killian escapes. See tying someone’s arms around a tree by the wrist isn’t that effective when the one-handed man has a detachable prosthetic. Arthur runs to Zelena and frees her so they can escape (everyone watches him. Seriously, everyone. Killian, Emma, Merlin – they just watch him).
So everyone rejoices and decamps to Granny’s but Merlin is out of action because resisting Excalibur isn’t easy – that leaves Emma and Regina to be awesome together. Emma is still having issues with lighting the spark and letting go of the Darkness; something Regina understands since she knows the temptation of the Dark Side. Regina is also awesome – Regina keeps gently poking her to admit where she’s clinging to the darkness before, in the name of friendship, using the Dagger to make Emma tell her why. Regina urges her, pushes her – until Killian steps in and stops it.
Emma leaves – because the truth is painful.
Back to the Present, Zalina’s pregnant is magically accelerated and she enters labour – presumably due to dark Magic. Emma’s. They rush Zelena to the hospital to see Dr. Whale (Frankenstein – also Blaine from iZombie which I cannot not unsee, especially since he has his blonde hair which Regina duly mocks – and either way he has the hilariously WORST bedside manner). Regina’s line “is there really no other doctor in this town?”
Belle and Mary Margaret arrive with bad news – to destroy white magic in the world, Emma needs the cries of a newborn child. Robin pledges to defend the baby, more importantly, so does Regina.
Killian manages to find Emma by jumping off a roof and relying on her to save him. He again begs her to tell him the truth and how he totally won’t blame her because he’s done so many bad things himself and he’s totally ready to forgive her of everything because he loves her that much.
So she takes him to her home – the home he picked out for the both of them. She’s still keeping her secrets because she knows he’ll try to stop him – and she drugs him.
A baby is born, a girl while Regina is torn over helping her evil sister and all the conflict over her new niece. Then Emma shows up – and takes Zelena. Turns out she didn’t want the baby.
Zelena and Emma get imprisoned together – and Emma arrives to tell them her evil plan: she doesn’t want to destroy Light Magic – she wants to destroy Dark Magic. Which requires a nice disposable vessel. Hey there Zelena! Killian is super sad that she’s going to engage in cold-blooded murder (like him! Or Regina! Or Mary Margaret – but not against a baby, only the Charmings are that evil). He wants them to go to Merlin – but that’s apparently not an option
Flashback again! Emma and Killian talk about the house where Killian wants them to live in together – and we learn the truth. Emma is holding on to the darkness because she has a major case of Commitmentphobia. The minute she gets rid of the Darkness there’s no barrier to her moving in with Killian for their happily ever after. They kiss – and the spark lights to flame.
Present Regina is planning an epic show-down against Emma because she only gets to hurt Zelena… Mary Margaret and David wetly slop all over this plan and Regina reminds us all that Emma gave her the Dagger because she trusted Regina to take her down if they had to.
Regina and Emma confront each other – and Emma uses magic to stop them
In the basement Killian realises he has to use his magical Hook to remove Zelena’s cuff and give her back her power. Zelena escapes, Killian is determined to stay and find the missing squid ink to freeze Emma.
And Zelena returns. While Emma is frozen she stabs Killian… which doesn’t kill him. To explain that she has a dreamcatcher full of memories:
Flashback: When Emma starts to reunite the sword – and Killian starts bleeding to death. He was cut by Excalibur, and Excalibur causes mortal wounds with even the most minor of injuries. Emma refuses to give up her power until she saves him – which she can do; by freeing Merlin from the sword and binding Killian to it, making him immortal. But the cost can multiply dark magic, maybe create another Dark One and mean she can only end it by paying “the steepest of prices”. It will also take her to the deep dark side.
Even Regina thinks this is a bad idea – but she can’t argue when faced with what she would do to save the man she love.
She teleports out, taking Killian with her – he begs her not, he doesn’t think he can resist the darkness not since he already went all evil before. As he dies Emma binds Killian to the sword – and becomes the leather clad Dark One we know. At the shrine of the Dark One a new Dark One emerges – Killian (he looks better in leather than in a robe).
Present Killian is hit by this huge revelation but Zelena shows him the complete sword and removes the spell that hides his name on the blade. Killing Zelena was all about saving Killian – Killian is hellaciously pissed.
Regina always has the best lines. Though Whale is pretty good too.
After last episode and this I am still more curious about the nature of “darkness” and moral decay – which, in turn, does poke more holes into this show’s morality (which is already pretty shredded – ask the baby sacrificing Charmings). I mean, Merlin would be giving in to the Darkness if he is magically compelled to kill
an evil baby killer Mary Margaret? And should we be concerned that the Uber Binding Spells of Awesome apparently have limits since they’re pretty much the only thing that can hold the Dark One in check?
Regina and Emma are always awesome. And I kind of like Emma’s commitmentphobia motive because it’s so classically an aversion of the trope (usually it’s the male partner who fears commitment in fiction) AND it’s very very true to the character. She only admits love when she feels she can’t follow up on it.
Emma’s dark plan involves killing Zelena! ZOMG that would be… uh… a really good idea? Sorry are we only allowed to sacrifice babies to the Greater Good? Sorry Zelena but we’ll buy you a nice headstone. With a dance floor. Regina will look awesome dancing on it.
I do not rate or even begin to grasp the idea of Regina going to bat for Zelena. Nope nope nope. If it were a choice between Emma or Zelena, Zelena would be dead and rotting before the echoes died.
Dark One Killian? We are about to reach peak sexy leather.