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Once Upon a Time - A Pirate's Life - Review: "Infinite Realms, Infinite Possibilities"

Welcome back, Oncers! Review what happened in last week’s episode with this recap.

STORYBROOKE, years ago

Hook is sword fighting young grown Henry (so, older-looking Jared Gilmore) on the docked Jolly Roger and Emma is watching.

(Quick note that seeing scenes like this, with the actor who played young Henry looking so much older, does seem rather jarring when followed immediately by a scene with a different actor playing slightly older Henry. I’d peg them only a few years apart from one anoth… Oh wait, Google tells me that the age difference between the two actors is 16 years. Wow! Okay, so young Henry looks old and old Henry looks young, and all of you are just like “yeah, we know, this is a TV show, we made peace with it in like the first 30 seconds of last week’s episode, get on with the recap.” Fair enough.)

Henry is frustrated and mopey, which Emma interprets to mean that he’s going to leave soon. Hook agrees. To assuage her nerves, Hook shows her a magical message in a bottle that will allow Emma to send message to someone at anytime, in any realm. WELL WHERE DID THAT COME FROM, HOOK? THAT WOULD’VE BEEN USEFUL ABOUT 100 TIMES BEFORE NOW. Or maybe they just found it. Whatever, not important.

(NOTE: Since it worked so well last week, from here on out I’ve split the recap into “Fairytale Realm” and “Cursed Realm” so we don’t all get whiplash going back and forth between the storylines.)

FAIRYTALE REALM, years later:

Grown Henry is racing through the forest on a horse, but is found and stopped by Lady Tremaine. (Guess Ella still has his bike?) She wants to question him about helping Cinderella kill the Prince, and she also wants the glass slipper he found of Cinderella’s. He refuses to help her at all, so Tremaine assumes that means he loves Cinderella.

Henry pulls out the magical bottle and calls for help, saying he’s been captured and he needs Emma, Regina, and Captain Hook.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like if this is the only message in a bottle you have, I would’ve saved it for a really, truly dire situation.

They take Henry back to the castle and he’s being held in the little room Cinderella used to sleep. Tremaine bids her daughter to find out where Henry hid the slipper and kill him so that Cinderella will never see him again. Her insistence that the pair be kept apart makes me think she suspects this is True Love. The daughter pulls out a knife and advances.

But before she can do any damage, Hook and Regina show up to rescue him. Hook slashes his way through the guards and Regina gives him a hug and reacts to the actor change by saying, “You grew up!”

Henry wants to know where his other mom is and Hook shrugs it off. The group examines the glass slipper and Hook realizes that since they’re near water, that slipper would’ve had to have come through a port, and he’s certain that a bunch of pirates would remember seeing something like that.

He heads off to the docks and is approached by a hooded man, who turns out to be… Ah!! It’s old, fat, drunk Hook from the other realm! This should be fun. Original Hook says Drunk Hook isn’t real, he’s made up from a wish realm, and Drunk Hook explains that he’s certainly real, there are “Infinite realms, infinite possibilities.” Interesting.

“Our stories were the same up to a point,” Drunk Hook says, “But in my realm, Regina’s curse was never cast and that’s when our tales parted ways, and that’s when you found love and happiness and I found misery and heartbreak.” Very, very interesting. As convoluted as is this about to become, I’m really digging this.

Turns out Drunk Hook was called there by the message in a bottle, which wound up contacting both Captain Hooks. He came with the goal of getting Emma for himself. As he explains his goal, Drunk Hook passes out and Original Hook reaches over to help him up, but Drunk Hook jumps up and head butts him. He hides Original Hook under a blanket, saying that he hasn’t actually touched a drop of rum for years.

Drunk Hook shows up to see Tremaine and is going all-in on his best Captain Jack Sparrow impression, flopping his arms about, all flirting and faux-drunk. He offers Tremaine a deal - he’ll help her get what she wants if she helps him get what he wants, which is Emma Swan. And he can get Emma Swan if Tremaine use some magic on this vial of blood he just drew from Original Hook - WAIT, WHAT!?! SOMEONE GO CHECK ON HOOK, I DO NOT TRUST THIS DUDE’S MEDICAL SKILLS AT ALL. She agrees, using magic and the bottle of blood to turn old, drunk Hook into young, hot Hook, and a significant percentage of viewers of this show are suddenly paying very close attention now that there’s two Hooks.

Clone Hook (yep, I 100% took that nickname from the comments section, thanks guys!!) walks back to where Henry and Regina are. She’s catching him up on everything going on at Storybrooke and they fleetingly mention Snow and Charming as being very happy. Regina shrugs off his questions about herself and Emma, then encourages him to talk about himself. Specifically, about Cinderella.

Clone Hook stumbles in (they both think he’s Killian) and makes up a story about how he saw Cinderella and she’s not interested in Henry, even presenting a letter as proof (one that he probably wrote,) before encouraging Henry that they all need to head home. AKA to Emma. A disappointed Henry runs off and Regina sends Clone Hook off to encourage him.

Henry asks Clone Hook why he’s acting strangely and what’s going on with Emma at home, and Clone Hook simply describes Emma as “savior, ticklish, tall.” Amazing. When pressed, Clone Hook says again that they just need to go home. And then suddenly, look! There’s Emma! She’s here! Wearing a very obvious wig! She explains that she didn’t come with the group because “Killian wanted me to rest,” but she wanted to make sure they were both okay. Once she’s confirmed that her son and husband are fine, she has some exciting news: she's pregnant! Henry is happy, Clone Hook is stunned, and I’m figuring out what the writers are about to do and I’m very impressed.

Hearing Emma go on and on about how she and Killian try to do the right thing and they’re going to do something good together from the start sends Clone Hook into a guilt spiral. He mumbles that he has to fix something and runs off.

Clone Hook runs to the dock where he hid Original Hook (whom I’ll just call Killian now) and the two fight. Alright, this is the kind of thing I signed up for! Killian stabs Clone and Clone explains the whole story as he’s bleeding out: He wanted to have Emma for himself and take Killian’s place, but now Emma’s here and he knows about the pregnancy and he would never come between a father and his child. Killian is understandably concerned that Emma is alright and surprised by this sudden change of heart, but Clone explains that he’s doing all of this because he’s trying to find his daughter.

Wait, WHAT!?! He has a daughter??? Who’s the mother!?! (Also, the comments section tipped me off to a very popular theory as to who the daughter is - I won’t share the theory here, you’ll have to read the comments if you want to see it, but i have to say… Interesting. I don’t know that I agree with the theory quite yet, but it’s certainly an interesting one.)

Killian is helping Clone stay awake until Emma arrives, asking him questions about his daughter. Clone says that a vengeful witch trapped her in prison and every day he snuck in to play chess with her, but his heart was cursed so he could never save her. But he knew True Love was the cure, so he thought maybe Emma would help, which is why he wanted to have Emma for himself. Clone gives Killian a rook chess piece - his daughter has the knight - and asks Killian to find his daughter and give that to her.

Emma shows up and uses her magic to heal Clone, and it’s very weird to see Hook and Emma have a weepy moment and not kiss afterward.

Emma returns to see Henry, who looks a lot like young Henry in profile, and they catch up. Henry wants to come back to Storybrooke, but he still hasn’t found his own story and can’t give up. Plus, he’s still hung up on this Cinderella girl. Emma says he’s not allowed to come home until he finds an answer.

So they’re all one big happy family and Clone Hook says it’s time for him to find his own happy ending - his daughter. That adds a nice little twist to the cursed realm if Hook’s whole mission is that he’s trying to find his daughter. Killian gives him back his chess piece, then Emma suggests Henry and Clone team up, saying she’d feel better if some sort of Killian was looking out for him.

Regina says goodbye to Henry and, sensing her reluctance to return to Storybrooke, he suggests that she come with them. “Your story’s not over. Maybe you need to be here to find it. And maybe I need you here too.”

And with that, they begin Operation: Next Chapter. Soon-to-be parents Killian and Emma say goodbye to Regina, Henry, and Clone Hook, and the two go off to live happily ever after with their baby in Storybrooke.

Okay, I gotta say, well done, writers. I really didn’t like how like 5 seasons of this show have been devoted to Hook being in love with Emma and then they have a friggin’ musical episode for their wedding, and we’re suddenly supposed to be fine with him being solo again. This whole “it’s a different Hook” thing is pretty clever. So all the Captain Swan shippers are very happy, since they/we (yeah, yeah I read the fan fiction,) don’t have to be worried about Hook being separated from Swan for however many seasons this goes on. OH!!! AND it opens up the door for him to have a new love interest (since he doesn’t really know Emma) and no one feels guilty about rooting for that. VERY interesting. Clever, writers. Very clever on that. Very well done. How long do you think until Clone Hook (Cook? Hook 2.0?) gets a love interest?

…. OH MY GOSH, WILL HOOK AND REGINA GET TOGETHER? OH. MY. GOSH. I doubt that’ll happen, it’s a great opportunity for another new face to join the show, but just think about it for a minute. Can y’all even imagine how the internet would melt if that happened? I actually could see it happening with Roni and Rogers in the cursed realm.

Speaking of…


Detective Rogers knocks on Henry’s door at 6 a.m., very insistent that he find out who the picture of Emma is in Henry’s book. He feels like he’s met her before and Henry insists that he made her up. As a disappointed Rogers turns to leave, Henry asks for help finding where his family is buried.

Meanwhile, Jacinda is at Victoria’s office trying to get a ticket to see her daughter’s dance recital, but Victoria has decided to turn the recital into a charity event, setting the ticket price to $550, just out of Jacinda’s price range. So you’re telling me that every other parent is super fine with that price?

“Second chances aren’t given, they’re earned,” says Victoria, as though that somehow explains how she just turned a children’s dance recital into the social event of the season.

At the station, Rogers shows up an hour early for his shift and Detective Weaver (aka Rumple) is already waiting for him and ready with a case. Turns out Weaver deliberately hand-picked Rogers to be his partner and plans to turn him into a “real” detective. Does Rumple’s accent seem slightly different in this scene to anyone else?

I feel like now is a good time to mention that I have a cheat sheet of every character’s cursed name and real name side-by-side that I reference when I write these things. Otherwise, no matter the realm, everyone would be Regina, Hook, Rumple, and Cinderella. And Victoria would simply be “Fi from Burn Notice.” (Question for the readers: Should I do that anyway? Call them by their real names, even in the cursed world?)

At Roni’s, Jacinda is eating with her roommate who suggests that she make some quick cash by working for the “WorkBunny” (aka TaskRabbit) app, where you get paid to perform small errands and occasional odd jobs.

Their conversation is interrupted by Henry, here to apologize to Jacinda for straining her relationship with Lucy. He offers to help pay for the ballet ticket and she gets offended. She tells Henry to stay out of her life, since she doesn’t believe in fairy tales and doesn’t need rescuing.

Weaver and Rogers go to see Victoria, who is looking with disdain at some flowers that grew in Lucy’s magical garden. It turns out that she called the detectives in to help a “little problem” go away - she needs them to deal with Henry Mills. Rogers recognizes the name, and this is the first time I really can see clearly that he’s not wearing eyeliner in this cursed world. Do we think the actor is happier that he: a) reduced his time in the makeup chair, or b) doesn’t have to wear a hook anymore?

Either way, Rogers doesn’t like this plan, since he’s a good guy and he asks Weaver why they’re taking orders from Victoria. Weaver explains that Rogers doesn’t take orders from Victoria, he takes orders from him. So it’s time to dig up dirt on Henry.

The detectives go to talk to Roni at her bar and I’m really stoked that we’re finally seeing a scene with just the three of them. Weaver asks what’s going on with Henry and Roni says bartenders are like therapists, they don't share secrets. Weaver finishes his drink and walks off, telling Rogers to pay for it. As he does, Roni warns Rogers that Weaver is dangerous and brings a lot of new partners in here, but not a lot of them stick around.

Meanwhile, Jacinda’s roommate is still pushing this app idea, but it’s actually good that she wouldn’t let it go since she signed them both up for a catering gig at Lucy’s ballet recital! They arrive and discover that the bartender is Henry - who arranged the whole thing. He feels terrible for separating mother and daughter and is just trying to make up for it. The roommate is impressed. I’m a little creeped out.

Rogers breaks into Henry’s apartment, flippantly asking, “How’d you like my search warrant?” Weaver is impressed. The older detective, whose accent is DEFINITELY different than it’s ever been on the show before, figures out that Henry has or had a daughter that doesn’t seem to live with him, and that’s a pressure point they can use against him. Sensing Rogers' reluctance, Weaver deduces that Rogers has been to Henry’s apartment before and insists on Rogers' loyalty. Rogers sees the swan keychain hanging off of Henry’s key ring and takes it as they lave the apartment.

Meanwhile, back at THE WORLD’S FANCIEST SIXTH GRADE BALLET RECITAL, Lucy proclaims to her mom her undying belief in Henry, and then Jacinda’s roommate just straight-up asks Henry if he’s in love with her. Well, that’s direct.

Victoria sees Henry at the recital and calls up the detectives to get him out of her life. Weaver gives Victoria’s bracelet to Rogers and asks him to plant the jewelry in Henry’s pocket so he can be accused of stealing it.

The ballet starts - and by “the ballet starts,” I mean “about a dozen 12 year olds do beginner ballet moves for exactly one song then leave, and the whole thing happens on one of those wooden stages that folds out from a wall in a school cafeteria during assemblies.” It is so very, very weird that this thing is catered and there are not one, but two bars. If this is the kind of treatment their run of the mill ballet recitals get, I shutter to think of how insane their high school graduations will be.

Anyway, Rogers runs into Henry, planting something on him.

The children finish their SINGLE BALLET DANCE (I’m sorry, I can’t get over this ridiculousness,) and Detective Weaver announces that someone stole Victoria’s bracelet. He says paying guests can remained seated, they’re just going to search the wait staff. Jacinda immediately calls him on that utter BS and when Henry runs up to defend her, Weaver elbows him in the face.

This begins a line of questioning that gets Henry to empty his pockets… Where he finds his keychain. Weaver stares angrily at Rogers  who (as he said himself in the first episode,) is one of the only few people left at the precinct who cares about doing the right thing.

After the “ballet," Rogers goes to dump the bracelet and explains to Weaver that he couldn’t frame a man who had lost a daughter. (So he retains that feeling from the real world… Interesting.) Weaver pulls a 180 and explains that this whole thing was a test - he wanted to see what Rogers' moral compass looked like, and he passed the test. Turns our Weaver’s a good guy, too. Surprise!

Weaver follows up this revelation by going to tell Victoria that she’s not the boss of him, and she doesn’t like that very much.

Back at Roni’s, Jacinda buys Henry a beer. She explains that she doesn’t like being a damsel in distress and being saved, but she appreciates what he did today. And he has earned a second chance.

Rogers goes to see Henry at the bar - I guess Roni’s is the new Granny’s - with a list of all the cemeteries in Seattle so he can hopefully find where his family was buried. Then he explains that he thought he’d recognized Emma in Henry’s book before because it looked like a woman who saved him years ago after he was shot. So parts of Clone Hook’s actual memory have carried into his cursed memory as Rogers.

The detective explains that he’s been on a mission his entire career to find this little missing girl and it’s gone nowhere, but he thinks he may have a lead now - he finally knows of someone very powerful in this town with a lot of pull who may have been keeping her hidden.

Roni joins the conversation after Henry vouches for her trustworthiness. Rogers says he thinks all of their problems have the same name - Victoria Belfrey. He thinks she’s dirty and they’re going to take her down together - Roni will feed him information and Henry will write about it. And together they may find that missing girl.

“Sounds like that’s enough for a book,” jokes Henry. “Possibly two,” Hook replies. Okay then, so I guess we can all expect that the Once writers are hoping for at least two seasons of this rebooted concept.

The three toast to their new mission, and I’d say we are now officially rebooted! We bid goodbye to old characters and wrapped up their storylines, as well as explained why the characters we kept are still here. And now we are ready to move full steam ahead into the new season! Let’s g- oh, wait, we still haven’t explained Rumple.

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