ONCE UPON A TIME “Dark Waters” Recap
By Meredith Loftus
ONCE Travels 20,000 Leagues Below in “Dark Waters”
“Dark Waters” takes the audience deeper into the relationship between Captain Killian Jones and Henry Swan-Mills while connecting to the untold story of Captain Nemo and the crew of the Nautilus. In the past, Killian and Nemo worked together on a mission that would lead to the Land of Untold Stories and a reunion with Killian’s half-brother Liam. In the present day, Killian and Liam reunite after Liam’s crew kidnaps Henry and Killian and eventually make amends. Killian tells Emma the truth about what he really did with the golden shears before he and Henry really dropped them in the bottom of the ocean. The Evil Queen is unable to create a wedge in the Charming family, but she does retrieve the shears and forms an alliance with her former teacher, Rumple.
Killian’s Untold Story
When we learned about Killian’s half-brother last season, many wondered if we would see him again — via flashback or in present-day. In this episode we were treated to both. In the past, Captain Nemo found Captain Hook and offered him a second chance for a family and a life free from vengeance aboard the Nautilus. Hook helps him find a key to the Land of Untold Stories that could give the crew a future. For Hook at the time, his motivation for revenge was the closest thing he had to keeping a family alive; he believed honoring Milah’s life would come from Rumple’s death. Apparently his half-brother had the same mentality because Liam, Nemo’s first mate, spent most of his life trying to kill the man who killed his father when he was a boy. Hook destroyed the only family Liam ever knew out of hurt and selfishness. Instead of dropping their revenge plans to create a new family together, Liam failed to kill Hook and wounded the only father figure in his life, Nemo, while Hook escaped.
Killian has become a better man from the villainous pirate he used to be. Though he still carries the guilt of his past actions, he has given up revenge in favor of becoming part of something bigger than himself. After being captured by Liam’s crew, Killian knows he has to pay for his past actions. He tries to talk it out with Liam, but like Killian was for centuries, Liam still holds a grudge for the pain Hook caused to essentially two fathers in his life. However, it takes Liam seeing Henry to realize that killing his half-brother would not fill the gap in his heart. Killian takes him to the hospital and reunites him with Nemo, after he was founded severely wounded in the woods. The Jones brothers make amends, and now Killian has helped his brother start a new chapter of second chances.
Henry Swan-Mills almost has everything he’s ever wanted. He has two loving mothers, an extended family that usually gets along, power as the heart of the truest believer and the author of the realm to record the stories around him, and a home where he’s surrounded by love and support; he even has a girlfriend. Despite how happy his life is in the midst of the chaos that comes from living in Storybrooke, Henry has been deprived of having a father, a relationship he has longed to have for a while. He got a chance to meet his dad and start to create that special bond with him for about a season; but Neal sacrificed himself back in Season 3, a loss that Henry is reminded of often. So when the Evil Queen taunts Henry by calling Killian his new father, it strikes a chord in Henry. It’s a wound that is still healing for a young man growing up. During the healing process, he has started to slowly let Killian into his life, and vice versa, Killian has been trying to earn the approval and respect from Henry and the rest of the Charming family. After everything they’ve gone through together, it hurt to find the golden shears in the garage and discover that the man his mother loves lied to them. Plus, Killian was holding on to an object that would change Emma from being the Savior, which was what brought Emma and Henry together in the first place. It was a betrayal of trust in Henry’s eyes.
After Henry and Killian are captured by the crew of the Nautilus, Henry does not hold back with Killian. He angrily blames him for getting them in this situation in the first place and does not give room for the reformed pirate to explain himself. Then he takes it another step further and tells Killian that he is not a part of his family. For a man who never thought he would ever have a family again, a slap in the face would’ve hurt less. However, it was the verbal slap he needed to realize he needed to do right not just by Emma but by his family. Secrets and the things left unsaid create dissention; honesty strengthens trust. Killian tries to make amends with Henry by sharing his untold story of his half-brother with Liam and the burden he carried with it. He also puts Henry first by helping him escape, promising not to break another family apart; Killian knows how special Emma and Henry’s relationship is, and he is willing to sacrifice his personal happiness and relationship with Emma to maintain her relationship with her son. That selfless act as well as new perspective leads Henry to come back and save Killian from Liam.
Their adventure in this episode allowed the two most important men in Emma’s life to get on the same page when it comes to Emma’s protection and their own relationship. Henry and Killian love Emma Swan and they are both willing to do whatever it takes to keep her heart good and alive. Henry now understands that Killian kept the shears because he loves her and wants to create options to save Emma should the worst happens. Killian recognizes that Henry is trying to do right by Emma and keep her wishes. Together, they drop the shears to the bottom of the ocean and both agree to work to prevent Emma’s visions from becoming reality. In regards to their relationship, let’s be clear: Killian will never replace Neal in Henry’s eyes, nor does Killian want to. What they want and what they deserve is a mutual bond of love, respect, and friendship between each other. Strong relationships take time to forge, but they are worth the effort and commitment. When Henry leaves Killian with Emma, he tells him that he will see Killian at home. This signifies Henry’s approval of Emma and Killian’s romantic relationship, the forgiveness and renewed trust between him and Killian, and most of all it implies that Killian Jones is a part of his family.
- With multiple complicated timelines and realms, there are going to be mistakes along the way. For the flashback portion of the episode, Hook met Captain Nemo during the Dark Curse aka the First Curse. In Season 2, he was with Cora when that curse was cast which means he was frozen in time in the Enchanted Forest, not sailing the high seas. I know it can be hard writers, but this is a timeline inconsistency that can’t be ignored. Also, when Hook was kidnapped, what did his crew do while he was gone? Please don’t tell me they were just twiddling their thumbs.
- Because the show did not specify the type of sea monster that tried to kill Hook, I’m just going to assume it was a kraken and call it a day. Speaking of which, Killian at the end of the episode told Emma that the shears were at the bottom of the ocean where they can tell no tales. The newest Pirates movie is called “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” I see what you did there, Disney. No judgment.
- Killian, don’t throw out Pop Tarts until you’ve tried them for yourself!
- As soon as Captain Nemo introduced himself, I had to fight the urge to yell out “I found Nemo!” It didn’t help that not only did we find Nemo in Storybrooke, but there were royal blue tangs, same type of fish as Dory, swimming around the Nautilus.
- Two characters that hardly have any scenes between the two of them are Snow White and Belle. In this episode, we were blessed with a couple of small scenes between the two as Belle was debating on how much her estranged husband should be involved with her pregnancy. She’s going to need more support along the way and I do hope that Snow can offer that to her. Why they aren’t already close friends kind of baffles me.
- The Evil Queen kissed Rumpelstiltskin. Just… gross. That’s all I have to say about that.
- So is there a chance that Agrabah is under some protection spell or even buried underneath the sand?
- Aladdin, please don’t try to lie to a human lie detector. You would think being in Storybrooke as long as he has would make him a better liar and thief. On a serious note, the scenes between Emma and Aladdin are really wonderful. These two are so alike, from similar upbringings to the same burdens they hold as saviors. Together these saviors can be encouraged by each other as they prepare for their own battles to come.
- Ok, there have been way too many opportunities to explain to Captain Killian Jones what the heck a Wookiee is! Henry mentioned the Wookiee prisoner gag a couple of times now. Please teach the man Star Wars, like now. I don’t have time for excuses!