Once Upon A Time's "Dark Waters" gave us the kiss that no one asked for, no one wanted, and I'm pretty sure no one enjoyed. We should have known the Evil Queen ( was looking to lock lips with Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) when walked into frame without her trusty burgundy matte lipstick; yet still my soul, like a frightened child, refused to believe and turned and fled until it was all over .

The giggly, elfin Rumplestiltskin that Regina knew from her youth as her teacher — the same slender, much older man who'd had an affair with her mother and a... something... with her sister, who is the grandchild to her son, and up until now has been one of her better buds — this figure from her childhood is now on the verge of becoming her friend with benefits? Is this just to fire up drama between him and Belle (Emilie de Ravin), because merely (and conveniently) turning off Belle's feelings doesn't feel like conflict enough?

The moment of Belle slipping her sonogram under the pawn shop door for Rumple while inside the Evil Queen landed a lusty kiss on him was by far the most tense and interesting in the entire episode . It lasted maybe twenty seconds. The rest of the episode was taken up with Hook proving to us all that he REALLY LOVES HIS GIRLFRIEND'S SON OKAY.


Hook is the show's bread and butter. For better or for worse the majority, or at least the largest plurality of OUAT fans love him, they love him across from Emma, and to maintain a market share in this day and age of streaming this and instant that, you can't just thumb your nose at the fans. I get it. Still, you'd think the show would find a more creative way into the psychology of Captain Hook other than just spackling over Hook's once-mischievous nature with so much goodness and light he's basically a male Mary Poppins.

Henry and Hook were kidnapped by sulky seamen and dragged onboard the steampunk-y Nautilus, and Hook acted quickly to get Henry off board so Henry could return to Emma, even though he knew it would mean sacrificing his life.

Yes, the same Hook who, last season, decided to kill everyone Emma loved, casually decided to sacrifice his life for Henry's so we'd all know he's SUPER SERIOUS about putting Henry first. It seemed, honestly, off character. And I don't mean "because Hook is such a bad person!" but because the charm of Hook has always been that he's a wily, rascally pirate, and loves life, and would probably (even if he is no longer a villain) at least TRY and hatch a daring plan to save both himself and Henry.

But the show is determined to make Hook march in lock step right behind Regina along the Redemption Arc to Complete Boringness, where nitwits like Snow and Belle and Charming currently reside, and also presumably has some kind of edict about shoving around a couple brand new characters into each episode. So we have to hurry and meet them and learn their backstory before they're inevitably killed off in act three. Tick tick tick, lots of meaningless tertiary characters to get through this season folks, let's not waste time on the leads we actually like or something!

While the points at which Hook was 1) hurt that Henry saw him as not being part of the family 2) dutifully put Henry first anyway, and 3) rejoiced at Henry's begrudging acceptance of his place in Emma's life were as clearly marked as holes on a Putt-putt course, what made the journey through the episode particularly schizophrenic was the fact the flashback b-story was visually almost indistinguishable from the present day arc. The same characters walking stiffly and awkwardly through a third-rate industrial burlesque club in old-timey leather scuba suits in scene after scene, while presumably existing two different timelines.

Also I forgot Hook killed his dad!


Hook brained his half brother and then somehow got him from the Nautilus submarine to a hospital by the end of the episode, because he's good now or whatever. The brother, to give him credit, despite spending his life in a ramshackle cobbled-together mishmash of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and hazy-thatched-roof-cottage-time-period-of-OUAT-lore, was utterly un-phased by waking up in a hospital surrounded by computers and medical technology.


Meanwhile, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) drove Aladdin (Deniz Akdeniz) out to the Storybrooke sign.


Emma encouraged Aladdin not to run from his problems (ironically, something that she's struggled with in every single season) and to talk honestly with Jasmine (Karen David) about what's going on, though his conversation with Jasmine raised far more questions than answers.

Also Hook, after his big undersea bonding sesh with Henry (who really should be like, studying for PSATs and applying to colleges instead of this tomfoolery) confessed to Emma that he'd kept her shears on hand just in case they, you know, could help save her life.


But of course this season's most gilded MacGuffin isn't in the bottom of the ocean. It's in Regina's hot little hand, and she's willing to trade the shears for Snow White's heart, so we've now officially re-set to Season 1.

QUESTIONS...

-Hook's half-brother: possible potential as a new regular guest star or will we never see him again?

-Does Henry seem just a little too old for all these shenanigans?

-How did you feel about the Evil Queen kissing Rumplestiltskin? Did you have to look away?

Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.