Once Upon a Time “Swan Song” (Season 5 Episode 11)

Once Upon a Time  Swan Song

In the midseason finale of Once Upon a Time, we got a peek into Hook’s path and what made him into the guyliner wearing pirate we know and love. Hook’s past follows Once’s well-trodden path of child abuse and neglect. I’m starting to find that pattern a tad disturbing.

Initially, it looks like Emma is willing to abandon her Dark One creation. That is until the Dark Ones mark everyone she loves. It’s part of a weak plot where the Dark Ones suddenly need to swap places with the living in order to come out of the Underworld. The nefarious plan did give several moments of “awww” with the family huddling around to enjoy their last moments on earth. But because we know it will never happen, it lacked any significant emotional impact.

So basically, Emma is now back to her old self, except she’s all in black and has granny hair. That’s kind of a let down. Why build her up as this big bad villain and then pull the equivalent of “and then she woke up”? All her evil shtick was just an act? I just don’t understand why the show made all these promises about the Dark Swan and even went as far as to show Emma killing that guard at the beginning of the season – and then did a complete 180 degrees. Obviously, Emma was going to turn good at some point, but it seems a lot more like she was good the entire time and just acting like the Dark Swan to protect Hook.

I was struck during the scenes between Hook and Regina that Lana Parrilla is really fantastic in this role. It’s a shame she’s been so marginalized in the first half of the season. I liked her Storybrooke costume – it was much more risqué than we normally see on the show. I also love when she took care of business and sent Zelena packing back to Oz. Though, I do hate to see my new favorite villain go.

The scene between Killian and his father was heartbreaking, but their reconciliation happened at breakneck speed. The moral of the story is you can be a total scoundrel (and sell your children for a dingy) and a good woman will change you. This really is the stuff of fairy tales. I think we get an important counterpoint to this idea at the end of the episode when we learn that Rumplestiltskin is back to his old ways. I do like that twist. He’s supposed to be a villain.

I had a feeling when they said that Hook would be heading to the Underworld that there would be a way to get him out of there. I’ve seen enough Xena and Hercules episodes to know that going to the Underworld isn’t a one-way ticket. It was sweet when Emma said, “Hook, I will find you. I will always find you.” I am glad that my Liam theory was wrong and they will, in fact, be keeping Hook around for the foreseeable future.

What I’m super bummed about is the preview for the second half of the season. So the Underworld is basically just Storybrooke with some old familiar faces. That is so incredibly lame. I like Storybrooke, but if you’re taking me to the Underworld, I want to see what that realm looks like. Don’t just change the contrast or the color of the episode.