TV Time: Once Upon a Time 3.07

Dark Hollow

Title Dark Hollow

Two-Sentence Summary Ariel meets up with Belle in Storybrooke to search for an item in Gold’s shop that could be the key to defeating Peter Pan, who we discover has been keeping Wendy Darling prisoner and forcing her brothers to do his bidding in order to keep her alive. Pan is using Wendy to manipulate Henry into believing in him and his games, but the Operation Henry team gets one step closer to their goal when Emma, Hook, and Neal retrieve Pan’s shadow from the dangerous Dark Hollow.

Favorite Lines:
Emma: The only thing I have to choose is the best way to get my son back.
Hook: And you will.
Emma: You think so?
Hook: I’ve yet to see you fail…When you do succeed, that’s when the fun begins.

My Thoughts “Dark Hollow” was a great example of what Once Upon a Time can be when it’s firing on all cylinders: surprising, inspiring, romantic, funny, sincere, smart, and even a little bit unsettling. The recurring theme for this season so far has been belief, and this episode wove that theme through all of its various storylines and character interactions with a sure hand and an open heart. In doing so, what could have been a disjointed episode became one that both moved the plot along in a very real way and hit every emotional beat that needed to be hit on the journey.

I liked that, after a few episodes without any real progress on the Operation Henry front, we got two very important steps forward and each one came from a different part of the Neverland rescue team. The Storybrooke plot was a great way to keep the plot moving along while bringing back all of the characters we’ve been missing so far this season. It was great to see Grumpy, Archie, and especially Granny.

The real star of the Storybrooke plot, though, was Belle, and this episode was a great way to highlight what’s so unique and beautiful about her as a character. She may not shoot arrows or use a sword, but she’s incredibly resourceful. And she can read people and their true natures in the same way she reads the books she loves so much. I loved seeing the return of the chipped cup and all it represents for the relationships between Belle and Rumplestiltskin—what can I say, I’m a sucker for symbolism. I found Rumplestiltskin’s hologram message an obvious Star Wars shout-out (“Help me, Belle, you’re my only hope…”), but that actually made me enjoy it even more. However, the Belle-centric relationship I found myself caring about the most in this episode was the bond she formed with Ariel.

Once Upon a Time has done a good job of creating some very strong relationships between women—both as friends and enemies—that aren’t focused on talking about their love lives. Belle and Ariel made quite the dynamic detective duo, and I really enjoyed the playful, sisterly chemistry that developed between JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Emilie de Ravin. Garcia Swisher was especially strong in this episode—even better than she was in her introductory episode last week. I loved her wide-eyed curiosity in Gold’s shop (Anybody else start singing when she said “Look at this stuff?”), I loved her slightly sarcastic remark about Rumplestiltskin being overly cryptic, and, more than anything else, I loved seeing how her strength complemented Belle’s. Neither woman is a warrior, but they’re heroes in their own right. They used their brains (and tails, in Ariel’s case) to save the day, even though you could feel their fear of the two outsiders. The most real and admirable kind of bravery is when someone pushes on even though they’re terrified, and that’s something I’ve always admired about Belle (and now Ariel)—their fear feels real, but then so does their bravery and heroism.

What ultimately saved the day, though, was Belle and Ariel coming to understand the outsiders’ motivations and getting them to believe that they could get their sister back using the power of good rather than evil. I called the Darling brothers twist early on in the episode (I’ll admit it wasn’t 100% serious—more like a “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” scenario), but that didn’t make the reveal any less impactful. Once again, this show highlighted that all kinds of love can be motivating factors and sources of both incredible goodness and incredible darkness when that love is threatened or destroyed. There haven’t been many examples of the love between siblings so far on this show (besides this season’s exploration of Killian and Liam Jones), so it was nice to see that bond put on display as another example of true love that can exist outside of a romantic relationship.

Trapping Wendy in Neverland made the stakes for this story arc even higher, and it made Peter Pan even more of a villain. To see this young girl caged like an animal and only released to do Pan’s bidding was horribly disturbing but so true to the unnerving, manipulative character the writers and Robbie Kay have created. I wanted to see the relationship between Pan and Wendy explored in depth on the show, but I never imagined it would be like this. And when I think of the fact that young Bae’s sacrifice was all for naught, it absolutely breaks my heart.

Pan’s use of Wendy to play to Henry’s desire to be a hero was perfect. Kay plays Pan’s manipulations so well and with so much controlled malice that I get chills every time he appears onscreen, but I find myself smiling as well at the sheer glee he brings to being a horrible person (or mythical creature or whatever he is). It’s like watching Regina and Rumplestiltskin at their best—and that’s not something I would ever say lightly.

Speaking of Regina—just when I started to think there wasn’t going to be any of her delicious sass in this episode, she showed up with that perfect line about Ariel using her legs, tail, or whatever Eric is into. Lana Parrilla is eating up her character’s great dialogue this season, and I hope it never stops.

Another thing I hope never stops is the way this Neverland arc is giving Josh Dallas something to do besides saying “I will always find you” and looking dashing while doing so. The tension between Snow and Charming throughout this episode was perfect. (Also, I have to take a moment to celebrate the fact that he FINALLY called her Snow!) And when it all came to a head, Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin made me believe every single emotion playing out for these characters. I could understand both sides of their argument, and I never doubted that both of them were coming from a place of the deepest kind of love. These two characters work because they believe in each other and in the stability of their marriage—and we as an audience believe that, too. With Goodwin and Dallas at the helm, this relationship has always served as a solid foundation for this show, and they proved that once again with the emotional honestygenuine chemistry, and simple intimacy on display in their big moment.

If the love story between Snow and Charming is one of the foundational elements of Once Upon a Time, then the other is the growth of their daughter from a young woman who believes she’s better off alone and was robbed of all agency in her life to a young woman who is learning to love in a healthy way and making her own decisions about her life. “Dark Hollow” could have been a clichéd “love triangle” episode, reducing Emma to a prize to be won or a woman struggling to choose between two lovers. Instead, it played on that cliché, exposing it for how ridiculous it really is and reminding us that Emma is above any and all “Team Neal” versus “Team Hook” shenanigans.

I’m still hoping for more of an exploration into Hook and Neal’s relationship, but I know this episode was just the start of their interactions. The first scene between them in the cave was filled with a lot of great subtext—both men sharing things with Emma that the other won’t ever have (Hook’s kiss representing a present attraction that Neal can’t force with Emma, and Neal’s “our son” comment designed to remind Hook that he and Emma have a past and a child that Hook will never be able to fully understand). But then things got stupid. Neal got bitter, Hook got competitive, and both 300-year-old men were reduced to acting like children fighting over a lighter and the woman it represented. It looked ridiculous, and it was supposed to. We were supposed to be embarrassed for both of them; we were supposed to applaud Emma for hating their antics. In some love triangles, we’re supposed to enjoy seeing the men fight over a woman, but in this love triangle, we’re supposed to look at them fighting and think “Emma has more important things on her plate than you two idiots!” Once Upon a Time isn’t a story about Emma Swan’s love life; it’s a story about Emma Swan’s journey towards believing in herself—and from the pilot that has meant believing in herself as a mother above anything else.

I really liked what Neal had to say to Emma at the end of the episode. The two of them will always be bound by their love for Henry, and that little boy will always serve as their reminder that even two broken people could come together and create something good. But he has to admit that there might be too much pain in their past to allow anything to grow between them other than a co-parenting relationship built on a love that will always exist but isn’t right for either of their futures. I thought Michael Raymond-James delivered those lines perfectly; Neal is opening his eyes to the fact that fighting for Emma may not be enough. The damage may already be too great to overcome, and that’s what makes this relationship so interesting. There is still so much love there, but there is still so much loss, too. It’s a fascinating, all-too-human dynamic, and I think Raymond-James and Jennifer Morrison have always played it wonderfully.

If we’re looking at the facts of this episode, Neal’s chances are looking slimmer by the minute. Hook is the one Emma continually looks to for guidance about Neverland, and he’s the one she pulled aside to ask about Neal’s attitude. He’s also the only one she called out for when the shadows attacked. Don’t get me wrong; like I said, I think Emma and Neal have a fascinating dynamic, but it’s fascinating because it’s so complex and broken. And what do I want for Emma right now as a character? I want hope, happiness, and support for this character who has lived without those things for so long.

And coincidentally, those are all the things Hooks gave to her in their moment alone in the jungle (along with plenty of sincerity and sexual tension—a very winning combination in my book). I love that Hook is nothing but honest with Emma throughout this scene—from telling her why Pan told him about Neal to telling her he’s not giving up on his quest to win her heart. Hook’s honesty and selflessness mean more to Emma than any kiss because she’s never really had either of those things in her life for any extended period of time, and I’m sure she’s had plenty of kisses.

I’m sure Emma has also had plenty of empty promises thrown her way in life, so it’s a big deal that she didn’t shut down Hook’s assertion that he will win her heart. In fact, Emma looked—dare I say it?—incredibly turned on by his earnest profession of his intentions. And, honestly, who wouldn’t be with words like this coming from a pirate with a sense of honor who looks like Colin O’Donoghue:

When I win your heart, Emma — and I will win it— it will not be because of any trickery. It will be because you want me.

I’m sorry, I’m still swooning over that almost a day later. What got me the most was the incredible sincerity O’Donoghue gave to each line. Hook isn’t acting out of sheer bravado; it’s been established that he and Emma understand each other, and he knows that if he continues to be the honorable man that loving her has helped him become once again, he will win her heart. He doesn’t want her as a prize; he wants to earn her heart. He wants her to choose him not just over Neal but over her own walls. And he knows that the only Emma worth having is the Emma who kissed him—the Emma who wants him, the Emma who chooses him.

Morrison did such a phenomenal job of physically showing just how affected Emma was by Hook’s words. The way her body angles towards him rather than away from him, the way she looks at his lips, her soft smile, and the breathless way she tells him that it’s not a competition all show us just how attracted Emma is to this combination of Killian Jones (sincere and vulnerable) and Captain Hook (“A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets.”). But Henry is still her top priority—and Hook understands that. Emma saving Henry isn’t anything but a certainty in his mind, and the matter-of-fact way O’Donoghue said that line just about killed me.

Emma is afraid she’ll fail; she still doubts herself. And Hook is the only one she let her guard down in front of, the only one she let see her doubts about being a leader and saving her son. The way Morrison showed Emma latching onto Hook’s belief in her was beautiful. He believes in her with a totality that is only matched by Henry’s belief in her, and that’s a huge thing for this lost girl who grew up without anyone believing in her. And that matters to her, you can see it all over her face. Not only can she be vulnerable with Hook, she can look to him for strength in her moments of self-doubt and know he’s not lying when he says she will succeed. Once Upon a Time is a show about hope and belief, and that one moment showed how Hook gives Emma both of those things. Good form, indeed, Captain.

However strongly Emma feels drawn to Hook and however deeply entangled she feels her past is with Neal’s, at the end of the day, we all know her true love is her son. Emma defined herself at the start of the season as a mother, and that is all she has time to be right now. One of the things that drew me to this show right off the bat was that the central love story of Season One was about the love between a mother and her son. Once Upon a Time celebrates love in all its forms, and Emma’s choice at the end of this episode reinforced that. All the characters on this show are driven by love and, right now, Emma is driven by love for her son. That scene was a great way to remind viewers that Emma Swan is better than a clichéd point of a love triangle; she’s a three-dimensional character whose life is defined by so much more than which man she’ll choose.

If Once Upon a Time is a show about belief, then it seems fitting to say that I believe the reason this season is so good is because Emma has been its central figure. She’s a character worthy of immense love—from whomever she may choose romantically, from the fans, and from the writers of the show.


27 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 3.07

  1. This was such a wonderful review, you really took time to understand the characters and consider them from different angles, thoughroughly enjoyable! 🙂

  2. Wow, thank you so much for this review. I am getting go tired of reading reviews and reactions from people who are clearly missing the point of everything that has been happening in Neverland, and it was so refreshing to read something I 100% agree with.

    I live on the west coast and I tend to read a lot of the quotes from the episode before I get a chance to watch and I start to get nervous. When you read Hook’s speech to Emma, its easy to think that he is coming off as rude and pushy, but when you watch it, Colin’s delivery is just so perfect, there is no denying that what he is saying is out of complete sincerity, and while playful, is still not disrespectful to Emma in any way. Seriously, I am in awe every week of his portrayal of this character.

    I am curious if you are at all worried about what is going to happen to Hook once they make it back to Storybrooke. I really hope the writers give him something to do, because we know Emma isnt going to find Hook following her around all day with nothing to do attractive. Are they going to send him off on a quest 😦 ? Work down by the docks with Prince Eric? Inter-dimensional tours on the Jolly Roger? Ok those last two are jokes, but seriously I have no clue and its making me nervous.

    One other point, while Regina might have given Emma the IDEA to light the candle with magic, I 100% believe that there is no way Regina can successfully teach Emma magic by telling her to channel her anger (as Rumple says, its about EMOTION, not necessarily anger, he just knew that anger was the right emotion to channel in Regina). If we have been beaten over the head with anything by this show its that true love is the strongest magic of all, and its obvious that Emma’s magic comes from wanting to protect the people she loves. Regina has zero experience with channeling magic in that way, and I dont see her being that much help. Yes, they can do magic together, but as a teacher, no. Maybe Hook and his unwavering belief in Emma will be what finally gets her to control her magic…we will see!

    Wow, ok, that was a long response, but seriously, great review, and I have nobody to bounce these thoughts off of because nobody I know IRL watches this show and Tumblr has just been upsetting me!

    • I love long responses, so feel free to bounce your thoughts off of me and all my other commenters whenever you feel the need! 😀

      I totally agree with what you said about Colin O’Donoghue’s line delivery. The total sincerity he gives to this character is what makes each piece of dialogue he’s given really resonate. I’ve always admired the way this cast is able to make me really feel pieces of dialogue that could sound completely different (and not in a good way) if delivered by anybody else.

      Your thoughts about Regina teaching Emma magic echo my own. I do think they can work together, but I don’t think Regina will be able to teach Emma to harness the full power of her abilities because both women are motivated by such different factors. That’s actually what I love about the moments when they do magic together; Regina’s comes from a desire to hurt while Emma’s comes from a desire to protect. Both are strong motivating factors, and I think them coming together to do magic represents the light and dark that we all have inside of us. But, like you said, Regina doesn’t know how to perform magic out of love, and that’s what Emma needs to do in order to be as powerful as she can be.

      And as for what I think will become of Hook once he gets back to Storybrooke, I honestly don’t know what they’ll do with him, but I don’t think he’ll be far from Emma’s side. He’s proven himself to be someone she can rely on, so maybe he’ll be helping her and her father with their sheriff duties. Or at least that’s what I’d love to see—because we could get Killian Jones working for a royal family once again, but this time serving one that’s not corrupt.

  3. Brilliant review! You hit spot on for the love triangle, it’s nice to have decent one in the show and you really showed that in the review, I love how Emma has been all an out Henry that’s what we need, focusing on Emma’s love for Henry not shipping wars. Best review I have read!

    • Thank you so much for the nice words! And I totally agree with you about shipping wars—there are too many things on this show to love to waste energy fighting over which man Emma should end up with. If we do that, then we’re no better than Neal and Hook fighting over the lighter

  4. OK first off, you called it! Wendy FTW (and possibly for Neal?) But I digress…

    You wrote:
    “Once Upon a Time has done a good job of creating some very strong relationships between women—both as friends and enemies—that aren’t focused on talking about their love lives.”

    I think this has been what is really terrific about the show this season. As someone raising a girl there is an obscene amount of conversation that happens about the influence of princesses and Disney in particular on girls perspective/expectations. What I love about OUaT is not simply their twisting and cross-sectioning of fairy tales and characters, but the reshaping (or frankly in some cases) shaping of the women. There is a fortitude that runs through all the women in this show from Granny telling Ariel she needs shoes to Belle’s desire to be needed for a purpose, not merely needing to be loved. Her journey this episode to reconcile her hurt and disappointment at being left behind only to discover that her strength and tenacity are not only valued by Rumple but critical is telling. I could go one by one across all the women in this episode. I found Regina really interesting in this episode. Her purpose and focus on Henry remains singular but her vengeful reactions are not. Neverland is changing Regina as well. Yes she had her trademark sarcasm for Ariel, but she didn’t break her bargain. She didn’t use her magic only as a means to her end. She allowed Ariel the potential to find happiness. This is not a Regina we would have seen season 1. Regina like the others is finding hope and I think part of it is the relationship she shares with Emma. At the beginning of the season Emma made it clear that all of them brought a skill that would be necessary to saving Henry. Emma has respected and valued Regina throughout their Neverland journey. It’s been slow, understated and a wonderful undertone to the season thus far. It is in my opinion the best example of how OUaT has pushed the women to the forefront and made their flawed journeys interesting because they are not reliant on love. They are reliant on acceptance, both of themselves and within the broader context of the storylines. We saw it with Snow last week in the echo cave and we saw it a little more again this week with Emma in the Dark Hallow (p.s. that was my favorite line of the night. Emma’s sheer exhaustion from the ominous names of locations no one wanted to go).

    When she taps into her magic as they fall under attack, unlike Regina she isn’t controlling it with anger, but with fear. An emotion I would argue is more powerful than anger. Whenever Emma has called upon her magic it was in a moment when she was absolutely terrified. What Regina has taught her is to tap into and channel those emotions rather than burying them. Emma’s journey to magic isn’t that much different from Regina’s, their response to their motivations are. Regina’s loss of love and with it hope taps into her need for revenge and to strike out against those who might be the cause. For Emma, her fear and loss of love empower her to persevere when most wouldn’t. What makes Emma heroic is her action in spite of fear and her pursuit to save Henry in the face of self doubt.

    Yes the women of OUaT are complex, flawed, noble and engaging. They may not need rescuing or a true love because ultimately their quest for self love is what will open them up to happiness. That’s a fairy tale I can believe in.

    • I like your take on the Emma/Regina relationship. I tend to get frustrated and disillusioned with the fans that push Swan Queen so hard that they act like all men in this show are evil chauvinistic pigs and women should just go rule the world without them. But I do think the two of them share an amazing relationship, and I think the balance between their two different sources of magic will be an important aspect of saving Henry, and will play a huge part in Emma’s self discovery.

      I think its clear that I am just going to have to come here to have an intelligent conversation about this show from now on…

      • “I think its clear that I am just going to have to come here to have an intelligent conversation about this show from now on…”

        You’re always welcome here! If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I have some incredibly intelligent commenters who are also incredibly welcoming and nice. So we’d be happy to have you join us whenever you want to talk OUaT!

      • I agree with you about the two different sources of magic being critical to saving Henry and will inform Emma’s place within magic. I also agree that the men on the show are more than devices for the women. Hook’s character has been wonderfully fleshed out this season and I have always been a fan of Gold/Rumplestilskin. And some of my favorite scenes this season have been between Hook and Charming. And while Pan is a manipulative evil character, he’s absolutely fascinating in the same way Gold was in season 1. OUaT has it’s flaws but especially this season they’ve done a wonderful job with the Neverland story arc making it character driven and compelling each step of the way.

        As for coming over to NGN for TV dissection and conversation, I highly recommend you continue to do so. I discovered this little gem of a site last Spring and it has some of the most insightful, fan driven discussion about shows we love. And the spirit of the conversation is always thoughtful. That tone and atmosphere is absolutely set and maintained by Katie.

    • This is a beautiful comment, and I have very little to say besides YES to all of it. The women on this show—especially the featured women—are on a journey towards loving themselves and establishing or repairing relationships beyond romantic ones. That is especially true for both Emma and Regina. These two women are very much alike in the way their pasts shaped them—both women were manipulated by men into fulfilling destinies that they had no say in choosing, both are defined by the loss of love in their life, both are trying to become better women through opening their hearts to loving their son. It’s just, as you said, the way they let those things define them and motivate them that makes them different. Regina lashes out while Emma soldiers on. But I think Regina is learning that lashing out has made her life empty, and in Emma she has found an unlikely ally who understands her and what drives her in a way that no one else really can. Regina is changing, and it’s a very subtle but very moving change to see.

      “Yes the women of OUaT are complex, flawed, noble and engaging. They may not need rescuing or a true love because ultimately their quest for self love is what will open them up to happiness. That’s a fairy tale I can believe in.”

      This is my favorite thing I have read on the Internet so far this week.

  5. Hello. As always, you make excellent points.

    I was wondering what your thoughts were on Snow and Charming’s situation. While I love their relationship and do want them to be happy, I don’t like that they don’t seem to be thinking about Emma or how it affects her. I was a little weirded out last week when Charming said, “And I know, with all my heart, that you would make an amazing mother.” I’m not sure how I felt about his use of the word ‘would’ because she’s already a mother. I thought it might of been because he was talking about mothering concerning all the ‘first moments’ but with this week I’m no longer sure. They are both planning a treehouse but they seem to be forgetting they were supposed to have a castle with their daughter.

    I’m not sure if I’m reading into it too much, what do you think?

    • Thank you for the nice words and the very thoughtful question!

      My sister and I were just talking about this exact thing…I can understand Charming using the word “would” in that context because Snow was talking about being a mother to a baby and how much she feels she missed out on that part of being a mother. But, like you, I was very confused as to why Emma was never brought up in their conversation in “Dark Hollow.” I’m not sure if it was a writing oversight or if Snow and Charming feel Emma doesn’t need them, but it breaks my heart to think that Emma could be abandoned by her parents once again (even though I’m sure Charming will find a way to get off the island). I’ll be interested to see if they continue with this idea of Snow and Charming both planning on staying in Neverland and what Emma’s reaction to her mother willingly leaving her would be.

  6. You’re being so sneaky about rooting for Hook. You mention Neal’s relationship with Emma as only “complex and broken,” and then you simplify Emma’s attraction to Hook as potential “hope and happiness.” You’re overlooking the fact that Hook has always had ill intent and used manipulation to get what he wants regardless of him “loving” the person (look at his relationship with Neal, for instance). You conveniently forget that Hook’s history with Emma, her mother, and the other women of the show had been nothing but vile, cruel, creepy, and crossing personal boundaries. With the exception of Cora and Regina, Hook has physically and emotionally hurt pretty much all the women on the show. But all you can imply in your “analysis” is that Emma’s “present attraction” to Hook is of “hope and happiness” without looking at his character’s persona or malfunction.

    PS: You also forgot to mention how unrealistic it is for Hook to come from “I will kill Rumple and everyone who gets in my way” to “I’m so in love with Emma.”

    The show is currently pandering to Colin O’Donoghue’s fans, or fans of attractive men with no concept of personal boundaries.

    • I think its pretty fruitless to keep track of a rap sheet or karma on any of the characters on this show. Truthfully they should probably all be in jail, even Snow. Does Storybrooke even have a courthouse? They never seem to get that far. Also, I find it kinda hilarious that Emma was arrested for crashing into the Storybrooke sign in the first episode. Oh, those were more innocent times for sure.

      In regards to Hook, who’s to say that Hook is her “true love” or “endgame”, but I do think he is the right person for her right now (someone who is honest and upfront with her and gives her confidence). Maybe she needs a Hook now so she can have a Neal later? And as far as Hook’s past goes, all the nasty things he has done before were all motivated by revenge, and the moment he gave up on that quest for revenge he lost all need to be a morally ambiguous person. He had faith in his King at one point in his life, and he lost that faith and purpose and decided to look out only for himself which lead to questionable things. With Emma he has someone to have faith in again and that is all the motivation he needs to be the honorable man he once was. I personally think Hook seemed to be a pretty lousy pirate to begin with (at least since the first moment he met Emma). I mean, how many times has he been knocked down since he he first appeared? Someone else is usually always either sparing his life or saving his butt. Hell, even Bell has been able to get away from him (twice!!). I like to think Hook lost all ability to be a pirate the moment Emma tied him to that tree. He might not have realized it until Neverland, but the change started awhile ago.

      Life is a journey, and so are long running TV shows. If we got endgame now that seems kinda rushed and boring. But we were promised fun once we get out of Neverland, I want the fun! (after Emma and Henry are in a good stable place of course). This show is essentially based around Emma and her journey from a lost girl to whatever she will become. When she has everything figured out her part in the story will be over. I hope thats not yet, its only season 3!

      • Also, I apologize for spelling Belle’s name wrong, thats probably a cardinal sin to some people…i wish we could edit these things.

    • First of all, thank you for taking the time to comment, and I want you to know that I do appreciate you offering another way of viewing Hook as a character and the arc we’re getting concerning his relationship with Emma.

      I’m not trying to be anything but truthful in how I feel about the way this season is playing out. We all have different favorite characters, different reasons for watching the shows we love, different life experiences that affect how we experience the media, and different biases. That’s what makes it so much fun to talk about. I would never want anyone to think that I don’t value Emma’s relationship with Neal. I think he’s a great character, and I’m hopeful that he and Emma can grow together in whatever way the writers decide to take their story.

      I have to admit that I disagree with the idea that Hook always acts with ill intent; perhaps he did when he was driven by his obsessive quest for revenge, but now I think his intentions are honest and sincere. No, he isn’t faultless, and I would laugh at anyone who tried to say that he was. However, I do genuinely believe that he is being written right now as a character who is trying to change for the better, but I respect your choice to think otherwise. You can call it naivete, but I believe that Hook’s change of heart feels realistic. He was already beginning to realize that his quest for revenge and 300 years of darkness left him empty, and then Emma reminded him that just because life has been cruel to you, you don’t have to turn to darkness.

      I trust the writers to tell whatever story they feel is best for these characters, especially Emma Swan (my favorite character). And that’s what I love about this show—there are so many opportunities for great stories to be told. And so many opportunities to discuss those stories.

  7. hi I just discovered this website a month ago and I have to say I love all your OUAT reviews! Emma is also my favorite character on the show and I think Jennifer Morrison’s acting has been phenomenal this season – I am loving all her scenes with Hook and you can see Emma is trusting Hook more and more after each episode. I can’t wait to see how this Neverland story is going to end and I just hope the 2nd half of the season is as good.

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