Once Upon a Time is working at filling some of the past for this season so we can figure out who everyone really is and what has happened to the old characters - and who is missing.
This means we have a lot of flashbacks: beginning in Storybrooke seeing Killian Emma and young Henry being a really good family together even if Henry is more than a little bit of a moody teenager. He’s planning leaving home, Emma’s worried about that and Killian steps in with a magical bottle that lets you basically scream for help wherever you are. Which is a nice idea but it does kind of require everyone to be able to dimension hop to where you are. I mean most of the last 4 seasons have included grand adventures trying to escape from or get to various realms.
And in the other realm he has chance to use it when Diet Regina the evil lady Tremaine (who insists Henry and Cinderella cannot meet for reasons she doesn’t explain) captures Henry and takes her back to one of her guest room for her daughter, the evil Step Sister to torture the location of the glass slipper out of him. Instead he’s able to use the bottle and get a rescue team of Regina and Killian.
Because it’s nice to have your own adventures - and nicer still to have an army of super powered relatives on call if you really really need it.
It’s time for the family to play catch up with Regina happily talking about everyone… but carefully not talking about herself which is marginally ominous. There’s also something going on with Emma she wants to talk about but Killian shuts down - and Regina lets him take the lead on that
Since for Story Reasons magic doesn’t work to track Jacinda, Killian decides to go to the local port and find any random pirates around in case they know anything, as one does. As far as information gathering goes this is… somewhat limited. He heads to the port and finds… himself. Wish Hook. Who is here somehow? This is the older, more rum soaked version of himself who has not led a great life. His history is similar to Killian’s only without the whole falling in love with Malia, grudging with Rumple and finding Emma. So she’s decided to skip all that and just jump to Emma, assuming he can steal Killian’s true love and then...
Well we’ll get to “and then” because it’s actually a little less creepy than it seems. Honest. He manages to beat real!Killian because of underhand means and go to see Lady Tremaine, the Diet Regina to magically turn him into his younger, immensely hotter self. Lady Tremaine’s whole schtick is she doesn’t use magic but she uses magic anyway because I really don’t think Once Upon a Time has thought this through and Killian heads back to the gang (and he knows where this gang was… because… where? I mean Killian never told him - how did he find them?) to hand Henry a letter saying how Cinderella totally isn’t all that into him, sorry - so they might as well all go back and see Emma, right? Regina is more insistent that they pretend to be at least faintly sympathetic while Henry is in major mopey mode. And then Emma arrives!
She isn’t dead (yes I worried - which would have been the worst epilogue to the last 6 seasons ever). No she’s pregnant - Killian and she wanted to wait to tell Henry the good news and remind him that his mum and the sexy pirate are having sex and all get gooey and happy together. Except fake!Killian who now has ALL the guilt because he’s splitting up a dad from his unborn child and rushes back to free Real!Killian
They fight and fake!Killian ends up being stabbed - yay - or not yay because now mortally wounded he gets to tragically gasp out his story. His daughter was imprisoned and even their occasional games of chess was curtained when an evil witch caught him, poisoned his heart with a curse and doomed them never to find each other again. So he’s been looking for a curse cure and Kiss of True Love is a universal curse panacea so he went looking for alternate world Hook’s true love and….
Ye gods this is worse than a convoluted side quest for most computer games. And I played the Monkey island franchise
Anyway he needed Emma to cure his curse so he could find his daughter and reunite the chess piece he carries - because this is Cinderella world and everyone has not only super unique feet but also super unique chess sets.
Emma arrives and is convinced so use her Saviour mojo so she can have awesome-sexy-pirate-threesomes. Oh and for y’know morals and things (admit that you considered the sexy pirate threesomes). She saves fake!killian (and yes we have 2 sexy pirates!) and he is now free to find his daughter again! Yay adventure. And he’s even going to join Henry because neither of them have anything better to do and being backed up by your step-dad-who-is-now-a-complete-stranger isn’t going to be weird… and is Henry just collecting parental figures now?
I mean there’s Emma and Regina, obviously. But thought Snow and Charming are his grandparents they’re more parental-age range and the relationship isn’t exactly grandparenty. Then there’s Rumple much the same, only slightly deadbeat-cool-dad and then we have the step-father Killian and then Fake!Killian. Suddenly Henry wanting to leave home seems more understandable.
For extra goodness/badness Regina decides she’s also going to come along. Which kind of defeats the whole point of Henry going off and having his own adventures really but hey if you have an actual GOAL (find Cinderella) then Regina and Killian make good back up.
But… I don’t know. I mean Emma and Killian have their new life and happy ever after. This all kind of implies Regina literally has nothing else going on in her life so she can literally drop everything and help her son find a girlfriend (which is creepy no matter how you spin it). Is her life so empty? I also am torn with the implications that Regina’s story isn’t over - I mean, yay, more Regina. But the implication is that Emma’s story IS, because she’s found her long term relationship and is now With Child, the story of Emma Swan here endeth with the True Love + Working Womb. Especially when we then look at Regina’s singleness. Now I’d like to see Regina be happy with true love because the way the Robin storyline treated her was awful - but there’s still a sense of Regina being “incomplete” because she hasn’t landed herself a man.
But it does explain why Regina (Roni) and Killian (Officer Rogers - and he’s Fake!Killian) are now around but Emma isn’t
So we come to the present with “Officer Rogers” going to see Henry because he’s super super obsessed with the picture of Emma in his book… while Henry is still looking for the graves of his apparent family who died in a fire but he then misplaced. Lucy is now controlled by Victoria the Evil and she’s refusing to allow Jacinda to even see her ballet recital because she’s this level of petty and there’s no child custody or visitation laws in this place.
Henry, in a totally-not-stalky-kind of way wants to help Jacinda be with her daughter and she’s somewhat not having him sticking his nose in. Being a complete stranger her daughter latched onto and all.
And Killian is getting used to being Rumple - or Detective Weaver’s - partner. Weaver is all kinds of sinister but the worst thing about him is the head to shoulder denim. Good gods wardrobe department, did Robert Carlyle run over your cat?! And you put Killian in dad jeans? We need to have words with these sick sick people. Victoria keeps calling them in to handle “problems” And her current problem is Henry. She wants him gone. Killian is clearly not comfortable with what he’s involved in here while Rumple oozes evil and makes it clear Killian works for him. NOT Victoria
Hey side note - if I were living in America, presumably for some time, and suddenly was partnered with a colleague who also had an English accent? I’d probably talk about that with them
After dropping in with Roni who has no time for their nonsense and warns Killian that Rumple kills off partners semi-regularly, they go and search Henry’s house. There Weaver finds evidence that Henry had a daughter which makes him all “MUAHAHAHA A WEAKNESS!” And Killian searching for his missing daughter deeply uncomfortable
Henry comes through for Jacinda, getting him, her and Tiana-who-needs-a-storyline-beyond-sidekick a job catering the ballet recital (and, really, Jacinda, Henry is being a level 8 creepster already. He may be cute but he’s badly in need of being pepper sprayed).
Tremaine sees them there and is furious that they dare to imitate the help so she demands lackey Weaver plant stolen goods on Henry so he can be arrested. He subcontracts this to lackey Killian and then they have a big scene where Weaver reports there’s been a theft and they’re going to search the help because all the rich folks are above such petty things. Jacinda objects and he tries to intimidate her, Henry tries to intervene and his grandfather elbows him in the face and then turns out his pockets to reveal- only his own keychain. Killian hasn’t done the switcheroo.
After the party Weaver confronts Killian - but apparently was quite happy to see his lacky have a moral compass and I have no idea what game Rumple is playing here. And I approve. I much prefered conniving, 20 moves ahead Rumple, to moping, “ah I’ve relapsed into evil for the 11th time!” Rumple.
Henry and Jacinda and a moment in the bar (Jacinda hates the whole concept of being Cinderella as Lucy says because it suggests a prince will rescue her which is belittling and ficitonal - so Henry playing rescuer sits badly with her) before Killian (Officer Rogers), Regina (Roni) and Henry gather in the bar to decide Victoria is Evil and Up to Something. They form an alliance against her.