Fathers and Sons

Right this shouldn’t be as long as last weeks due to the episode focus. However, I’m me so I still have apparently quite a lot to say. I’m actually going to do something that feels a little strange. I’m going to say something positive about Hook, or more accurately his storyline. Spoilers for episode 6.12 – Murder Most Foul under the cut.

Hook and the Reveal
Yeah I’m just skipping to the end, get the weird part over and done with first. Now I’m not a fan of CaptainSwan, I think that relationship is unhealthy, and I think it’s a disservice to both characters. Emma AND Hook were stronger apart, they had better story arcs and were more complete characters because they weren’t forced to occupy roles that didn’t suit, in order to make the relationship semi-viable. I usually focus on what that has done to Emma but it was a disservice to Hook as a character as well.

This episode I had an instinctive “ewww no” moment when Hook showed Archie the ring but I gave myself a mental slap and tried to watch what was on the screen. I’ve said before that if the plot has to go in a certain direction, then I’ve got no issues with that. In my mind the writers can have everything they want – I just want them to justify it. I’m a big fan of things making sense, and of consistent character development etc. If they want Hook to be a hero and to marry Emma then cool, fine, I’ll go along with that – so long as it makes sense.

Hook has never had a redemption arc. He just declared that he’s a hero now, and we never saw him struggle with it. Again I’ve said before that I think out of all the characters Regina had the best, most consistent, and thorough redemption arc. If Hook had been given a similar journey then I would probably feel very differently about him. Which brings us right back to fact that Hook now knows that he killed David’s father.

I admit I do dislike this “twist” because seriously how small is the Enchanted Forest? Everything always comes back to the same handful of people. Occam’s Razor – the simplest explanation is usually right. The level of coincidence is just staggering but the reveal does make sense. The Evil Queen said she was going to watch them “tear themselves apart” and bringing up David’s father only really made sense if somebody within the family was responsible. Hook’s the only one that’s old enough. So it’s not a shock and I think it has potential.

This episode Hook actually “showed” that he was trying to be better, rather than just saying that he was. His anxiety over David’s opinion was realistic – “Prince Charming doesn’t set the bar high at all.” His struggle with what to do for the best over David’s crusade was again good to watch. It was like “if I support him then maybe that confirms that I’m the ‘dark’ friend and not good enough for Emma” but “if I don’t then David might hate me plus he really needs somebody to look out for him” but “I can’t tell anyone because he asked me not to and that would break his trust” – and the struggle goes on.

I’m not a fan of guys asking the father’s blessing. Personally I think it’s nobody’s business but the couples. When it comes to a marriage proposal the only opinion that matters here is Emma’s. It’s a sexist generational thing, asking the man “responsible” for the woman for their blessing, at least using the word ‘permission’ has been changed because that was even worse. I know when Hook marries Emma, he’s getting membership to the family, so if Emma wanted to ask the people she loves (and who love her) if they are ok with it, or if they have any reservations that would be fair enough. Although it probably wouldn’t do anything because she’s in love and she would just brush off all concerns.

Anyway back to the plot. Hook was there when David needed him, he stopped him from making a mistake – which Hook perhaps knows from his own experiences won’t help. After all Hook has killed out of revenge and so would know better than most how hollow that is. I firmly believe from Hook’s expression, that he had no idea until August gave him the pages, about the truth of the matter. Until he saw the illustration, why would he have connected that night with David’s situation? Now’s facing another struggle about what to do for the best.

This is precisely what I’ve always wanted to see for Hook – I want to see him facing his past and not just shoving it under the rug. Hook was a villain, he killed people, he did terrible things and 99% of the time it feels like Hook pretends that never happened. He’s a hero now and that just wipes it away but it doesn’t. Hook still did those things and it’s about time he took responsibility for them. I very much hope that Hook admits the truth, and that he isn’t given instant blanket forgiveness. I want to see everybody – David, Emma, Hook himself – acknowledge that what he did was awful, it was terrible and it can’t be undone.

Then obviously they can choose to move past it but I don’t want it excused. It happened, and it was awful, David’s father pleaded for his life and to return to his family and Hook heartlessly killed him. It’s like, well I always come back to the SG1 quote from Teal’c and this is the kind of redemption I want to see on the show. It’s messy and real and it doesn’t ignore the consequences of people’s actions.

Nothing I have done since turning against the goa’uld will make up for the atrocities I once committed in their name. Somewhere deep inside you you knew it was wrong, a voice you did not recognize screamed for you to stop. You saw no way out, it was the way things were, they could not be changed. You’re trying to convince yourself the people you’re hurting deserved it. You became numb to their pain and suffering, you learned to shut out the voice speaking against it.

There is always a choice. The day when you forgive yourself will never come. One day others may try to convince you they have forgiven you, that is more about them than you. For them, imparting forgiveness is a blessing. You will never forgive yourself. Accept it. You hurt others, many others, that cannot be undone. You will never find personal retribution, but your life does not have to end. That which is right, just and true can still prevail. If you do not fight for what you believe in all may be lost for everyone else. But do not fight for yourself, fight for others, others that may be saved through your effort. That is the least you can do.

So yeah I think this plot has potential for Hook. Maybe he can actually be shown to grow as a character and finally become the person that he keeps telling everyone he is.

David and the actual plot
To start with I was a little confused because I thought I remembered Ruth telling David that they traded James for the farm. The “give me one of your sons or they both die” – trading James for medicine feels like a retcon. However, I’ll let it slide because while Rumple was kinda monstrous in the deal, I’m guessing he was being driven by the prophecy (he had to save David so he would father the savior). Besides Rumple showed himself to be the father he always was later in the episode.

When David’s dad went to the Dark Castle and pleaded for help as a father, I was certain that if Rumple was true to character then he would help him – and he did! “Someday maybe we’ll all be reunited with our sons” I was so excited to see that. Seeing the globe again reminded me I have questions about that. I saw it in a gifset for 4×04 and it reminded me of the eternal question of whether Rumple ever used it. I’ve always headcanoned that he didn’t dare because if he saw that Bae was miserable or hurt, then it would be pain like nothing else, because there would be nothing he could do. It’s like Schrodinger’s cat, so long as he doesn’t look, he doesn’t know for sure.

Somebody spotted Pleasure Island on August’s typewriter just last episode, so this was a quick followup. I do have a question – what was in the sack? He left it at the bench with Pinocchio and then left the island without it so it couldn’t be important. Maybe it was supplies for his journey. I actually felt sorry for James here, how much did he change with his upbringing? He didn’t want to kill things but then he massacred the giants, stole their treasure etc. Poor guy, nature vs nurture right there.

I am really glad that King George came back. I always wondered what happened to him after the Child of the Moon. We finally have confirmation that he’s been locked up in the asylum all this time. You know I do wonder what happened to him during the year they went back to the Enchanted Forest. I find it really sad that James has no loyalty to King George, that’s the man he believes to be his father (who has raised him), and he is willing to go with a complete stranger. Makes me wonder what the poor kid suffered to be only six and to be so disillusioned. Do you think James remembered this encounter? He should have taunted David with it in the underworld. The tiny little dagger fight was a little funny, but I suppose there wasn’t room for swords.

I really felt sorry for David here. When I saw the scene at the beginning I was confused as to why David was toasting victory. They hadn’t defeated Gideon because a) the details didn’t match the vision and b) Gideon ran away, he’s still out there – it was obviously just round one. I thought at the time perhaps David was trying to be encouraging. It was a nice sentiment, the toast to family was lovely, and giving Emma hope back was important. I thought maybe David believed that if Emma believed that she had a future, then it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, I think actually it had more to do with him and his own fears.

When he had that breakdown after nearly killing King George the truth of his obsession became clear. It wasn’t about his dad, or what happened to him, it was about hope – faith really. David wanted to prove that if he tried hard enough that things would work out, but sometimes they don’t and he’s losing faith. I think that’s probably why he toasted to victory at the beginning – if they believe it hard enough then maybe it’ll be true. It’s so sad. Anyway, I do wonder if the Evil Queen bewitched the coin for the ghost visions and it only showed up now because it had to wait until David’s mental defenses were weak.

Couple of last comments about this part. When Josh Dallas cries, the world cries – seriously. Child!David/James was really cute and aww-worthy. Oh and a question about the sleeping curse. I’m surprised it’s actually restful because it’s not really sleep. Couldn’t David/Snow leave the other under the curse and just sleep normally? Maybe that would help them because cursed!sleep is probably not good for you.

Regina and Robin plus random remarks
My repeated comment on this was “stop saying he just has a daughter! He has a son – Roland!” but then eventually Regina did mention that. I suppose as Roland is in the Enchanted Forest, it doesn’t have the same immediacy. It was just something that bothered me a little.

Regina is seriously breaking my heart over Robin. She wants it so badly and I’m worried for her. By the end of the episode she seemed to accept that he wasn’t her Robin, but in a way that’s torture. It looks and sounds like him, but it’s not him – a walking reminder of everything she lost. Plus when he goes it’s going to be like losing him all over again. I’m not surprised that the kiss wasn’t right. Regina thought that they were true love, and the spark of that probably would have been present in every kiss with her Robin. So as he’s not actually Robin, it wouldn’t be the same.

I’m not surprised Zelena was demanding – that is in character, but really it has nothing to do with her. Plus to be honest while wish!Robin doesn’t have any claim on actual!Robin’s kids, when it comes to baby!Robyn, I think he probably has more claim than Zelena. She had that baby out of deceit, whereas wish!Robin at least has committed no crimes. I know we’re supposed to have white washed how the conception happened but I haven’t forgotten. It’s baby!Robyn I feel most sorry for.

I did laugh a little at Robin sleeping in the library – what about all the guest bedrooms? Also at calling the alarm clock a ‘demon box’ – I feel that way every morning. Oh and yet again with Robin’s quip that “Apparently everything here is complicated” – truer words were never spoken. Oh and one last funny was Regina’s line of – “I need you to promise you’ll stop running away and trying to kill people” – I think Lana should win awards for keeping a straight face while delivering that line. Only in Storybrooke would that make sense.

I really liked the heart to hearts that Snow and Regina had in this episode. I’m sad about how limited Snow’s screentime is – seriously she deserves better – but she did a top notch job with what she had today. I really felt her concern and her caring, and I love them delivering on their promise of the conversation they had in 6.01.

The side reference to “Emma trying to break the curse” made me wonder if they’d finally remembered the third dark curse. Otherwise I want to know what curse Emma is trying to break. I have my repeated question of – where is baby!Neal? Because seriously who is looking after him?

So Regina said “he’s not my Robin Hood” and then we segued to Robin stealing the powerful box from her vault. Really begs the question of what he wants and why he’s there. I read a theory that it’s not Robin at all and is instead imp!Rumple. I doubt that’s true but it’s a nice theory.

Not a bad episode. It was more of an ‘other’ episode than focusing on my favorites, but that’s ok because it’s an ensemble cast. Everybody should get their time in the sun and David really killed it. His breakdown was heartbreaking but it showed a good insight into his character and his current struggles and I like to see that in all characters.

imp!Rumple was fantastic in the flashbacks but there was no present day Rumple. There was no Rumbelle, no Gideon, and it looked like a couple of days passed during the episode. I’m guessing that Gideon is plotting, and Rumple and Belle are hopefully brainstorming over what to do about it.

The promo for next episode takes us back to the Gideon arc. I’m a bit worried about Gideon’s threats that Rumple will “help him whether he wants to or not” but hopefully Gideon is just talking about manipulation – positioning events like a chessboard so people help him no matter what. I really hope he’s not talking about the dagger, I loathe it’s very existence. Controlling somebody like that is horrific and there’s never any consequences shown.

I guess we’ll find out next week!