ONCE UPON A TIME Review: Picking Up the Pieces in “The Broken Heart”
By Meredith Loftus
Well, there was a reason this episode was called “Broken Heart.”
Killian broke Emma’s heart, Belle broke Rumple’s heart, Henry broke Emma’s heart briefly, and Nimue literally broke Merlin’s heart. The episode leaves the audience in a low position, hoping for some kind of hopeful redemption to look forward to in the mid-season finale next week.
Dark Hook Rises
Killian Jones is a man plagued by pain in his life. Yes, he has come a long way since we were initially introduced to his character, much of it due to his love for Emma but he still carries that hurt with him. He told Emma before he died that he is not as strong as her in his ability to overcome the darkness. In one of the opening scenes we see Killian forced to relive the loss he has experienced all over again.
Remember, the darkness amplifies everything a person has felt, so all that pain he’s carried is magnified to a grand new level. Then in his vulnerable state, Darkness pays him a visit. It does not take much for the Darkness to make a convincing case for Killian to finally enact his revenge on Rumpelstiltskin. Rumple has caused so much pain in his life: he crushed Milah’s heart, cut off Killian’s hand, ripped out his heart and controlled him, and played a part in Emma taking on the Darkness. These past transgressions can now be dealt with in using his newfound magic.
Killian also succumbs to the darkness out of the aftermath of betrayal by the woman he loves. Emma Swan saved his life, but she turned him into the thing that he spent centuries of his life trying to destroy, and right back into his own darkness. She is able to help him briefly keep the darkness away until Excalibur calls to him and he finds out that she lied to him about not knowing Excalibur’s whereabouts. Killian never wavered in his trust of Emma, even in her darkest state. He constantly chose to see the best in her, even when she could not see it herself. To not have that kind of trust and belief reciprocated now is a deep cut to the goodness still alive in him. It’s that enlarged hurt that is heard over rational thought and truth and lets the Darkness take control over Killian’s deep-rooted hate for Rumple and do whatever it takes to get his revenge.
The scene in Granny’s in Camelot made it clear that the Darkness had won this battle for the soul of Killian Jones, which is played out in the Storybrooke events of this episode. After remembering his fate and his other dark actions, Killian Jones quickly transforms into Dark Hook, eager to make others hurt around him while letting the Darkness lead the way to their plan all along: snuffing out all the light. What will be enough to draw him back into the light?