Killian and Zelena have a helpless Emma – and both bind her magic with Zelena’s leather cuff and strip her of her memories (Killian being a Dark One after all after the amazing and startling revelations of the last episode). Killian considers himself reborn – he has a bad history of darkness
And we have some flash backs of bad Dark one moments he had before his rebirth as his newly robed self. He gets his own hallucination Rumplestiltskin guide as well (who he tries to kill which is pretty hard to do with your own inner voice). Rumple starts tempting him straight away, trying to lure him with the temptation of vengeance against, uh, Rumple. That’s probably Freudian.
Back in Storybrooke Emma fills everyone in on her whole Killian is a Dark One thing. Regina is Not Impressed. Neither she nor Mary Margaret of the Wet Lettuce are particularly happy with her plan to kill Zelena either (Mary Margaret is only happy with the kidnapping and sacrifice of children. Still not over it). I wish to make it clear that I would have been totally pro-murdering-Zelena. And evil sexy leather Dark One pirates in eyeliner for that matter. Go Dark Swan, go!
Emma tried to isolate herself to control the darkness and in doing so she lost her support network and guidance of her friend and fellows. Regina offers to step in again while Mary Margaret wants their memories back to help fix the whole mess by dripping wetly on it. But Killian (“Captain Dark One” in the words of Regina) has stolen Emma’s Dreamcatchers
And he has gone (Dark One Killian not only has eyeliner and leather but also looks all rumpled and dishevelled. Evil is a good look on him) to visit Belle and Gold to unleash vengeance on Gold by challenging him to a duel (he also sexily creepily has adopted some of Rumple’s mannerism) on his ship – and with Gold being able to use Excalibur which can actually kill him
He may be easy on the eyes but he sucks at revenge. It doesn’t have the power to control him now because it’s whole but it can still kill him. Also Dark Killian has an amazing sexy evil grin.
Team good-guys-ish (Emma, Gold and the Charmings are included so… yeah… sorta good guys) consult and Emma is leery that Killian must be planning more than vengeance or why erase her memory? She also reveals who Nimue was since Merlin told them all that she’s the key to stopping the Dark One which is… somewhat cryptic. And no-one’s taking off Emma’s magic cuff. Not even Henry – because not even he trusts her any more.
Emma takes issue with Henry forgiving Regina and Gold (a fair point) but not her – though Henry points out they worked for it, they showed him they changed (ugh… yes for Regina. Gold?) while Emma has not – and she’s only shown herself wanting to work alone rather than part of a team. Henry leaves, Emma is devastated and of course Regina has
Gold has decided, with all his history of cowardice, he simply has to confront the Dark One – because “not being a coward” now means “suicidal nonsense”.
And Zelena and Regina have a confrontation, both bringing their quality snark. Zelena wants her baby, Regina has already removed her – she will not tolerate Zelena taking Robin’s child and when Zelena appeals for her child Regina points out she has that child by murdering Marian and “deceiving Robin in the vilest way possible.” Yes it look like Regina is thiiiis close to calling it rape.
Yet Regina still takes her to see Robin and the baby – Regina still loathes her but makes it clear she is way way more evil and dangerous than Zelena. And that, since motherhood helped prompt Regina to be redeemed, she hopes that allowing Zelena to visit the baby will prompt the same with her.
Merida is guarding Emma which I pretty pointless when Killian shows up and happily knocks Merida out. Killian has gone all dark side (such sexy sexy dark side) who claims he no longer loves Emma and is all focused on evil evil revenge with some very very nasty blows to Emma’s sorest spots.
Emma goes to Gold with a plan – he needs to distract Killian long enough so she can take back her dream catchers. She wants him to use the Squid Ink but Gold decides that honour and courage requires him to use no magic at all because… silly. Instead they decide to present Emma wanting to face Killian alone as the silly thing
Instead Emma goes to Henry and asks his help in finding the Dreamcatchers – asking for help (and not her magic back) prompting some return of trust.
Gold goes to his very silly duel and in the interests of a “fair fight”, Killian cures Rumple’s leg. Time for them to duel over their centuries old feud. They fight while Henry and Emma find the Dreamcatchers – guarded with a spell which she can’t break –until Henry is willing to remove her cuff since she’s proven herself by trusting her.
Surprisingly, gold wins the duel thanks to distracting hallucinations but
Gold goes to see Belle and say how amazing it all is and now we can be together and be in true love forever. Belle says, sadly, no. She needs time and space to grow and protect her own heart before taking yet another risk on Gold. He has done far too much
Prequel time to the Enchanted Forest to try and explain why Killian and Emma are so very hostile. Merlin declares this to be the worst possible outcome, especially since he doesn’t have magic any more. They opt to send Lancelot to see his mother, the Lady of the Lake since she has major mojo. That leaves the Charmings to argue over what just happened – David is all sad that the Darkness didn’t get all vanquished while Mary Margaret objects because Emma chose love, dark, sexy, evil, leather-clad love and that makes everything ok (albeit my version is considerably less mushy than Mary Margaret’s).
Dark Killian continues to stalk through the woods, changing into sexy sexy leather and being tempted by revenge. Emma runs to him to find him very not happy at her completely destroying all his attempts to resist naughty-dark-evil. They can both see the hallucination Rumple as well – and when they’re all lovey-dovey hallucination-Rumple disappears.
When they split up, Rumple returns to corrupt Killian some more and turn him against Emma – claiming she’s hiding Excalibur and is just controlling him. He exposes that Emma is hiding Excalibur and daren’t tell him because she feared his darkness. This just jumps on the whole reason why Killian didn’t want to be the Dark One at all. She made the decision for him – something he has always let her do herself.
When he leaves, Emma uses Excalibur to summon him back so they can talk – and wins no brownie points for taking more of his choices. She does offer him Excalibur and seems to rebuild some bridges. They go, ostensibly to get rid of the darkness (of course the Charmings believe them because Wet Lettuce) and Killian goes to get Merlin. Alone.
Yup, he’s up to no good: he takes Merlin’s heart – he wants to go back to Storybrooke to get at Gold. And to do that he needs to crush the heart of the one he loves most (a vital ingredient). Killian doesn’t care much for Merlin but Nimue? Who is, ultimately all Dark Ones? She does.
Emma arrives to try and stop it – Killian returns Excalibur to the Stone. Emma tries desperately to appeal to Killian – and he crushes Merlin’s heart and casts the curse. Emma’s attempt to reduce the damage is to use her dreamcatchers to make Killian forget not just he cast the Curse – and that he was even the Dark one at all
But to make it stick she has to erase everyone’s memories whoever knew that Killian was the Dark One and even sexier than they ever imagined. Hallucination!Rumple mocks her for her lack of trust, utterly failing to include her family and continuing to rely on Dark magic.
The curse is enacted and drags everyone into it.
And in the present, Emma restores everyone’s memories with the Dreamcatchers. Including her own and the Dark One’s plots
The plot which involves the Dark One getting Gold’s special blood for his current plan – which he got during the duel. He’s now talking to his hallucination to open a portal to Hell – probably a bad thing. From it he smmons a dark clad figure – Nimue. She’s apparently brought all the Dark Ones… that’s not good.
Dark one Killian has some of Rumple’s mannerisms which… I really like in a rather disturbing manner. On a scale from “shameful” to “you terrible excuse for a human being how dare you show your face?!” how bad is it to be kind of Team!Evil because Dark One Killian is hot enough to set the furnishings on fire.
I both like Henry’s point on “they changed, they showed me they changed” because that’s the key to a good redemption arc – Regina has been through entire seasons of growth to reach her redemption and earn it and deserve it and it has been AWESOME. And at the same time I’m kind of annoyed because she’s mentioned in the same line as Gold who DIDN’T have anything close to the same arc or arduous journey. To have them both compared is to talk about two people arduously climbing a horrendously tall mountain – only one took a helicopter.
I do love Belle saying no to Rumple precisely because of Rumple’s hyper-easy path to redemption and because you can’t just wipe away the pain you have caused someone. Yes he’s brave now – but it doesn’t change what he has done or the times he has hurt Belle. Love is not the cure all.
One element I really liked about this episode was how it emphasised how important a support network was (to resist temptation, even addiction, to maintain a moral grounding and generally do the right thing in general) – and why this how Emma failed. From isolating herself to trying to solve things alone, Emma fell because she tried to go it alone rather than rely on the awesome people (and terrible Charmings) around her.
While I know Rumple would be impaired with his leg fighting Killian I still hate the curing of it because of the ongoing pattern – when Rumple is brave/strong/powerful his leg is taken out of the picture (magically or otherwise just ignored). Whenever the show wants to make us see Gold as weak, pathetic or cowardly it draws attention to his limp and inability to walk without a stick. It’s done this over and over again and has really become an established pattern.
I’m extremely not happy with Merlin being dead because he could have been such an important character – but he needs far far far far more than he already has. We need more from Merlin – far more than to kill him off now. Am I naïve to cling to the idea he may come back? Look at Lancelot after all… Honestly there were Charming hearts to crush!