Saturday, November 16, 2013

Once Upon a Time..For King and Country

Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 5: "Good Form"
In the fairyback, we are introduced to Lt. Killian Jones, a member of some nation's navy, and his brother Liam, the captain.  They are under orders to set sail for Neverland, using a sail constructed of Pegasus feathers that allows the ship to fly, and retrieve a plant that is purported to cure any illness.  However, when the brothers reach land, they are greeted by Peter Pan, who, when shown a drawing of the plant, warns them that it is the deadly Dreamshade.  Liam disregards Pan's warning, and the brothers travel into the jungle in search of the plant.

When the two find the Dreamshade, they have an argument over whether or not to return with it.  Killian is apt to believe Pan and thinks it could be used as a weapon against opposing forces.  Wanting to prove to his brother that there's nothing to fear, Liam scratches himself with the Dreamshade and rapidly succumbs to its poison.  Pan reappears and tells Killian of a restorative spring that will heal his brother, but cautions that magic always has a price.  Killian brings the water to his brother, who immediately becomes healthy again, but Pan is gone.

The brothers return to their ship, determined to return to their kingdom and out the king's machinations.  However, once the ship reaches open water, Liam collapses and dies.  Furious with their king, the crew, now led by Killian, decides to become pirates.

As the main group continues to search for a clue in Neal's cave, Emma realizes that at some point he ceased to tally the days, indicating that he lost hope.  Worried that Henry will also lose hope, Snow suggests that they devise a plan to contact Henry.  David and Hook head into the jungle to gather vines for a trap, where they get into a fight over Hook's interest in Emma.  When the argument is about to come to blows, David collapses from the Dreamshade. Hook then claims that he knows of a sextant that will help lead them from the island, and he and David decide to search for it while the women prepare the trap.

Emma, Snow, and Regina lay in wait for a wild boar that is also being hunted by a Lost Boy.  When the boy nears the boar, Snow fires not at the animal, but at a net, trapping the boy.  Regina offers the boy a chocolate bar, hoping to coax him into giving them the information they seek, but he refuses it.  He claims that he's in Neverland because he doesn't want to go home.  Snow notices the scar on his cheek and asks why he would want to stay with Pan if it results in injury, and the boy explains that it was actually Henry who gave him the scar during  a duel.  With no other way of working with the boy, Regina removes his heart in order to control him and sends him back to the Lost Boys' camp with a magic compact with which they can communicate with Henry.  The plan works, though Henry must abandon the compact as Pan returns to camp.

Meanwhile, Hook and David climb the mountain to retrieve the sextant, David belittling Hook all the while.  When the two reach the precipice, Hook tells David to wait while he climbs ahead.  At the top, Pan is waiting for him.  Pan offers Hook a deal where Hook and Emma will be free to leave Neverland if Hook kills David.  Hook neither agrees to nor refuses the deal.  David, disregarding Hook's wish for him to wait, climbs to the top and unsheathes his sword, having overheard Hook's conversation with Pan.  But before he can incite Hook to battle, he collapses.  Proving that he's the better person, Hook retrieves the healing water and offers it to David, warning that he will never be able to leave Neverland if he drinks it.  Realizing that Hook concocted the sextant ruse as a means of convincing him to travel to the spring, David drinks the water and the two return to the others.

Reunited with the group, David claims that the Lost Boys beat them to the sextant and the two were ambushed, with Hook saving David's life.  The group, save Regina, toasts Hook's heroic act.  Emma thanks him for saving David, and Hook tells her he'd like a kiss as a reward.  After some back-and-forth, Emma kisses him before returning to the others.  Alone, Hook is met by Pan, who tells him Neal is alive and imprisoned.  Pan hopes this information will prove to Emma what type of man Hook truly is.

I enjoyed the backstory given to Hook, as it not only fleshed out his past by showing why he chose to become a pirate, but also exemplified his honor.  Rather than a straightforward revenge arc, it also demonstrated that Hook is genuinely concerned for his country and his crew, making him one of the more complex characters on the show.  I definitely look forward to seeing more of his early pirate days, though I doubt the writers will bring them to us unless the king somehow fits into the plot.  I sort of expect it to be another loose thread.

David proved himself, once again, to be a completely insufferable blowhard.  I continually struggle to understand how any viewers could enjoy his character, or what Snow might see in him.  I have to applaud Hook for saving David's self-righteous behind, as I don't think I would have been able to do so.  Hopefully, David will have learned a valuable life lesson here and change for the better, but I doubt it.  The writers seem only to know how to write their heroes as paladins.

Also, this whole "Captain Swan" business being perpetuated by the Internet just needs to stop.  I wouldn't categorize myself as "Team Neal," but I was appalled by the speed at which Emma moved on from her supposed true love.  Six episodes ago, she believes she saw Neal die and now she's initiating a kiss with Hook?  I can't be the only person who thinks that makes Emma a horrible person, right?  And angling for a love triangle between Emma, Neal, and Hook smacks of a daytime soap opera.  I know the ratings have been dropping this season, but I don't think this is the way to combat the problem.  On the bright side, the writers don't seem to have the attention span to continue arcs for more than a few episodes, so I'm sure this will resolve itself by mid-season.

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