Let me preface tonight's recap with a little story. My Editor-In-Chief, the darling Dani Strehle, asked me if I was able to watch Once Upon A Time live. Unfortunately I had things going on during the show and had to watch it after. A little more than half way through it airing on TV, I get an urgent message from Dani saying that I need to keep myself off the internet. Of course, knowing that there's all sorts of emotional trauma that this show can inflict on me, I immediately ask her who died.
She said she wouldn't answer a thing.
And then I get on today to start my recap and look up the title of the episode: "Swan Song".
So here I am, bottle of wine in hand, and plenty of emotions leaking out of my eyeballs. You aren't ready for this recap, but you know you can't resist it...
Past: Baby Hook is sailing the high seas with his father and is scared of the storm that's tossing the ship all over the water. His father asks him what kind of man he wants to grow up to be, and the boy replies he wants to be like his father: brave. Baby Hook wakes up later to find out that his father has not only abandoned him and his brother Liam, but he traded his sons so that he could escape freely. Good parenting skills.
Present: The town is panicking knowing that it's about to be taken over by the Dark One army. Emma faces the reality that she may have to kill Hook to end the chaos. Regina and Robin come across Zelena, who is planning on taking her child back to Oz and will raise her to be a witch. Meanwhile, Dark Ones are literally walking through the citizens of Storybrooke. On all their wrists is a mark - the Mark of Charon, the ferrysman who ships people to the underworld. Gold explains that they have a matter of hours before they're dragged to Hell, and there's nothing they can do to stop it. He scares the crap out of everyone, especially Henry, and advises everyone to say goodbye to their loved ones.
Hook and Regina have a little chit-chat on the docks. They definitely crossed paths back in the Enchanted Forest, a past that Hook has no intention of discussing. We flashback to Regina and Hook meeting for the first time; the Queen of Pleather hires the pirate to kill her mother in exchange for a ticket to a land where there is no magic so he can corner and kill Rumple. First though, she decides test him, as going up against Cora is no easy feat. She takes the pirate to a bar, where he basically has to "know" whose ass Regina wants him to kick. He sees nobody and takes a goon down that is anti-pirate, when Regina throws him a bone: standing at the bar is his father, not looking a day older than when Hook last saw him.
The Charmings, Dark Swan and Henry are searching for an answer to fight against the oncoming storm when Snow realizes she wants to give in and spend her last moments with her family. They all agree to head to Granny's to have one final dinner, and Dark Swan tells them she'll catch up after one last look through spellbooks. The Charmings, of course, fall for that crap and leave the mischievous Dark Swan behind. Regina strolls in and Dark Swan tells her the plan: funnel all of the Dark Ones into Excalibur and then plunge it into Emma, making her the end of the darkness by becoming a martyr. The noble Dark Swan, still a Dark One, wants to die heroically, after all that she's done.
Gold asks Belle to come to his shop and he gives her a potion to get across the town line, encouraging her to go exploring. He's the most sincere we've ever seen him; he just wants Belle to live, knowing everyone is about to die. Belle is genuinely touched and Gold is devastated to see her go. Before he can compose himself, Regina and Dark Swan barge in to explain their plan. He hands Excalibur over without hesitation, and without making a deal (RED FRIGGIN' FLAG, Y'ALL). He tells the ladies that it may not work, to which Emma basically replies "Long hair, don't care" and they leave Gold's shop.
Regina and Robin stroll into the Mayor's office, where Zelena is sitting pretty. Regina whips out the Apprentice's wand (Z quips, "The withered knob of that sad, old man" and I burst out laughing), which can't be used by anyone in town... or that's how it was. Regina has found her confidence again and poofs them to the clocktower. She summons a green tornado and sends the wicked witch back to Oz. Seriously, it was that simple?
At Granny's, Emma sneaks in and leaves her family a note, clearly not intending to tell them her plan. Hiding outside, Hook hides in the shadows with Nimue and watches her.
Past: The bar is closing down and Hook is the only man left to serve. It's a tense father and son reunion, and Hook is clearly allowed to be furious with his deadbeat dad. They both have cheated death so far, but Hook's younger brother Liam didn't find a way to live forever. Hook decides not to kill his father, against Regina's wishes, because he wants to give him a second chance. His father was put under a sleeping curse and was awoken via 'true love's kiss' from his nurse. So basically while in a coma he heard the voice of the nurse and fell in love... and she fell in love with a man who was out of his head. Anyone else find that remotely creepy? But the two married... and had a child. Hook offers his father a way out of the town so he can start anew, but will go their separate ways after that. No love lost there.
Present: Emma goes home to find that Hook is creeping, trying to gain access to Excalibur. Hook is hellbent on revenge, even though Emma does all she can to talk him out of it. He pulls a couple parlor tricks, eventually appearing in front of her as Henry, making her vulnerable enough for him to take the sword.
Eventually the Charmings find Emma's note and go to stop her. Nimue appears and transports the Charmings and Henry to the lake, where they meet up with Regina, Robin and Gold. It's time to take the ferry to the underworld. Emma shows up and begs forgiveness, with a coldhearted Hook standing by and watching another family be destroyed. Regina tries to appeal to his humanity, reminding him of the "The thing they're never supposed to speak of", and she ultimately asks him, "What kind of man do you want to be?"
Past: Hook stands in the doorway of his father's new home, watching him send his new son to sleep, telling him the same thing he told a young Hook before abandoning him. The child's name is Liam... which of course throws Hook off the deep end. He named his new child Liam in honor of his "lost" son. Hook calls him a liar and he throws the safe voyage passes for his father and new Liam in the fire. Hook takes a dagger and plunges it deep into his father's chest. In his dying words he tells his son, "It's never too late. You can change... be a different man."
Present: Hook reflects on his past, still clearly unfazed by his past indiscretions. Dark Swan charges at him and Nimue puts her in a death grip. Seeing the love his life struggle to breathe brings him back... He summons all the Dark Ones into Excalibur, turning the blade red hot.
The magic is too much for him to handle and he argues with Dark Swan about how to dispose of it. He has her take it, telling her that she has a family and he needs to make up for all the awful shit he's done by going to the Underworld. "Let me die a hero. That's the man I want you to remember... please."
Saying "I love you" one last time, Dark Swan reluctantly runs Hook through with Excalibur... and I throw up in my mouth a little.
Have no doubt, fangirls around the world screamed at their televisions, watching true love die before their eyes.
The darkness dissipates, Dark Swan turns back to normal Emma, and Hook lies on the ground, bleeding to death.
Because killing Hook the first time wasn't enough for MY POOR HEART, why not DO IT AGAIN?! Thanks, jerks.
Once you've dried your eyes, I want you to remember something: Rumple wasn't selfish for once, and gave Dark Swan the sword freely. Suspicious, right? Right.
Well, here's your twist.
Belle comes back, seeing that once and for all, Gold can be selfless, and is 140% in love with him again. Why is Belle so goddamned stupid?
Emma hears voices while relaxing on a couch, and bolts up in a daze. She texts Gold to meet her at his shop, which pisses him off. She tells him about the whispers, saying that the dagger is calling to her.
Gold has a fucking dagger. And his name is on it.
The Dark One isn't dead. The darkness isn't gone. And he's chipper as fuck about being evil once again. He shall henceforth be known as Twatface VonDouchepilot because I am so done with his shit.
Gold explains that before he gave Emma the sword, he took a vial of magic and poured it onto Excalibur, turning it into a conduit. The darkness wasn't destroyed when Hook died, it was simply redirected back to Gold. He was evil before, but now he's got the power of every Dark One that's ever existed. Emma is livid beyond all imagining and threatens Belle. Gold doesn't appreciate this, obviously, and Emma TELLS him that he's GOING to help her. Emma has no right to talk to him like this, but she is out of fucks to give.
Emma spills the details of her plan to the Charmings, Henry, Regina and Robin: it's time to head to the Underworld to get Hook back. The issue with this? To get a life, another life must be sacrificed.
Meeting up by the murky death lake, the Charmings, Henry, Regina, Robin, Emma and Rumple watch as the ferry to the Underworld is summoned. Seven people will go in and seven people will come out. Someone will have to die.
Emma is coming to find you, Hook. Come Hell or high water, she is coming... and in this instance, it's more Hell than high water.