There Are Things Worse Than Death – Once upon a time (5×8 & 5×9) (Spoilers)
This week on Once Upon a Time it was a 2-hour block. What it actually was, was two separate episodes. The first one we finally learned what happened to turn Emma into Dark Swan. The second one finished up much of Merida’s story while also telling us what Mulan and Ruby have been up to. I am going to concentrate this review on the first episode because it holds more for what is coming and what has been happening then the second one did.
We got our answer as to why Emma allowed the darkness to take over her. I hypothesized a few reviews ago that she would only allow the darkness to take over in order to save someone she loved, probably Hook or Henry. I was right on that point. Emma did the unthinkable in order to save Hook’s life.
Before Emma made her fateful decision she had a moment where she learned what has been bugging her about giving up the darkness inside of her. In order to light the fire of Prometheus and thus, recombine the dagger and sword and cut out the darkness, she had to be willing to completely relinquish the darkness inside of her. There was some reason she was unwilling to part with that side of herself.
At first Regina tries to force her to admit what it was with the dagger, which backfired on her. She had a talk with Hook where she revealed what has been holding her back. Earlier Henry gave Emma the paper with the house that Hook wanted to get for the two of them to move into. Henry did it to give Emma hope for the future but what it did was scare Emma.
The future has always been a scary and unattainable thing for Emma. She has never had the opportunity to think about a real, tangible future for herself. Before Storybrooke she kind of just existed. She didn’t have any goals or plans for herself. She didn’t care. She just did the simple things in order to live day to day.
Once she found her real family and started to build a life, situation after situation got in her way. She confessed her love to Neil and he died. She is scared of what that means for her. She tries to plan a future and it is snatched way from her. She can’t deal with the disappointment over and over again. She tells Hook that his love and the distinct possibility of a real life scares her more than she can understand.
Hook reassures her that he has been through much and that he is willing to help make their future a good one. He tells her that together they can face the future.
After talking with Hook Emma now had hope and was ready to give up the darkness inside of her. She was ready to have that future. Of course, though, disaster strikes. Earlier in the episode Hook was nicked with Excalibur which leaves a cut that does not heal. It can’t be cured by anything and Hook begins to bleed out.
In one brief moment everything Emma hoped for and was excited about was being taken away from her like it always is. Hook was dying in her arms and Emma made a quick and selfish decision. She would not allow the love of her life to die.
Emma used her power to untether Merlin from Excalibur and tether Hook’s life to it instead, creating a second Dark One. Merlin warns her that her actions will bring the ultimate consequence and that will lose her battle with the darkness. Emma hears him but does not care, she will not lose Hook, no matter what it costs her.
What Emma doesn’t consider is what it costs Hook. We saw last season that Hook is still struggling with the darker side of himself. He spent the whole time he had his hand back fighting that side of himself. He is terrified of allowing that darkness to take over again. He has fought so hard for so long and now Emma has erased all of that work. He is now one of the darkest beings there is.
While I watched with my mom she kept saying, but she saved his life. Without doing what she did, he would have died. That is true, but she did not save him for him. Emma saved Hook because she couldn’t bear to be without him. She never stopped to consider what that kind of decision would do to him. She never considered the consequences for Hook. She made a selfish decision.
Hook can’t escape the darkness now. Why it hasn’t quite affected him before, I am not sure. But he is aware of it now and he is going to have a real battle on his hands. Can Hook overcome that side of himself? Can he still fight the darkness, especially since he so upset with Emma. She could have saved him at one point but can she now?
I have stated before that these decisions Emma has been making is going to make it hard for the others to forgive and forget. I thought Henry was going to be the one with the most to repair, but it appears that is actually going to be Hook. Emma has done the worst thing she could do to him. Henry stated that he knew the woman who took out Violet’s heart and broke his was not his mother. He separates Emma’s actions from The Dark One’s actions.
Hook can’t do that. The person who put the darkness inside of him was Emma. She used her dark powers, but that decision was made by her and her alone. She would have done it no matter what. Even if and when they remove the darkness that woman will still be there. It is going to take a lot for Hook to forgive Emma if he ever can.
“Acceptance is a form of strength,” – Merlin- If Emma had accepted Hook’s fate that pain may have made her stronger. Instead she has lost one of the main people keeping her connected to her old self. She is losing all connection to her old life.
“It’s always simple mistakes that get us in the end,” – Arthur- Arthur’s downfall is coming soon. He has done too many selfish things and hurt too many people. He will mess up very soon.
Why was the darkness dormant in Hook, until now?
If the darkness is removed will Hook’s wound reopen and will he die?
Can Hook ever forgive Emma? Can Hook fight the darkness now? Does he even want to? Does he have a reason to do so anymore?
What will Emma do now?
Is Emma still going to try to take the darkness out of the two of them?
What is Zelena’s plan?
Is the darkness diluted now that it is in two people instead of one?
Is Zelena going to try to take her daughter back?
What are Arthur’s options? Who will take him down?
Will we see Ruby, Mulan and Merida again?
Can Emma ever go back to her old self?
What role will Rumple play in all of this?