After weeks of barely any forward motion and endless nesting flashbacks, Once Upon a Time is finally moving forward with an actual plot. Why they couldn’t have told this story in order so it didn’t feel like we were stuck in a time machine hopping all over the place, I still don’t know.

On the one hand, I’m actually kind of into the Dark One Hook plotlin, especially since this season finally seems to have some momentum. On the other hand, the Rumpelstiltskin bit of “Broken Heart” is pretty unforgivable.

Spoilers...

It really feels like this whole season was spinning its wheels waiting to dump the Hook reveal on us. And so “Broken Heart” takes off running, with revelations and plans hurtling towards us.

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First off, in both the past and the present, Hook is fully pissed at Emma for binding his soul to Excalibur and turning him into another Dark One. In the past, she compounded her awfulness by using Excalibur to force Hook to listen to her, and then accidentally used it in a casual way that added insult to injury. Plus, as Hook very logically points out, he was a villain for a while and it’s taken him a while to not give in to his every dark impulse. So thanks to Emma for plunging him right back there against his wishes!

The best part is that now that both Emma and Hook are Dark Ones, they get to share their hallucinations. In Hook’s case, that means Rumpelstiltskin’s showing up to help him figure out how to kill... Rumpelstiltskin, since Dark Hook has decided that he needs revenge. This means getting back to Storybrooke.

Evil needs some eye drops.

Past!Dark!Hook decides to go about that the way that Regina did: cast a big old dark spell involving crushing the heart of the thing you love most. Since all Dark Ones are the same Dark One, Hook crushes Merlin’s heart for Nimue’s pain. Yes. This is how Merlin, the greatest and oldest sorcerer of all time, dies. That seems like a huge waste just to get home. I mean, there had to be a way that didn’t involve losing MERLIN, right? Because killing him seems very short-sighted. Plus, this plan sucked up Camelot and its horrible masters into Storybrooke.

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But it does explain why Emma sucked out everyone’s memories. If Killian didn’t know he was the Dark One, he went back to normal. And once he had that knowledge, he was instantly evil. Darkness is like the opposite of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle; once you know where it is, you also know how fast it’s going.

And it is going fast. Emma and the rest of Team Not Evil are never even close to catching up to Hook. Emma’s in the No Magic cuff and Rumpelstiltskin’s grabbed the nearest sword and run off to face Hook. Rumpelstiltskin manages to get the upper hand long enough to get Excalibur and get away.

AND SOMEHOW THIS IS THE POINT WHERE BELLE DECIDES TO WALK AWAY. She’d better be enchanted or something, because seriously? After all of his BS, she’s deciding she needs to think when he’s finally a hero? NO. If Hook doesn’t have her heart in a vice, I’m setting fire to this whole show.

You have changed and you are good now. So it’s time for me to bounce.

Emma and Henry manage to find all the dreamcatchers with all the memories, get them back, and restore them to everyone. Including the memory that Hook took from Emma.

Her memory tells her what Hook is up to, and it’s using Rumpelstiltskin’s blood (he died and then came back, remember?) to open the portal to the underworld and bring all the old Dark Ones back for an epic “End of light magic” battle.

That’s a lot of plot to pack into this episode. Almost too much, because I have questions. We have been told, endlessly, that what drives Dark Ones to use their power is the need to get their “happy ending.” Rumpel wanted his son back. Emma wanted to save Hook. And Hook... wanted to kill Rumpel? And Nimue... wants to end all light magic? I’m not sure I get that connection.

In assorted musings, Regina continues to be on point at all times:

Emma: There was no one around to give me hope or tell me when I was being stupid.

Regina: Fine, you’re being stupid. So stop it.

And sadly she doesn’t get to punch Zelena for uttering the unforgivable line “Once you go green, you’ll never go queen.” Can’t wait to see Zelena, Regina, and Hook co-parent that still unnamed child!

This was the best moment of the show. “Baby Hood” is completely ridiculous in exactly the right way.


Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.