WATCH FOR SPOILERS. DEARIE!!
The resurrected Dark Ones storm into Storybrooke where they mark everyone with a strange insignia. Gold tells them that it is the Mark of Charon, the Ferryman of the Underworld, and that the Dark Ones have to switch places with living souls in order to exist in this plane. Fearing the end, Emma asks Regina to fulfill the promise she made back in Camelot, to place the darkness in Emma as a sacrifice. They go to Gold and get Excalibur from him. Regina and Robin return home to find Zelena there. Regina transports herself and Zelena to the clock tower and then uses the Magic Wand to send Zelena back to Oz. Emma sees her family one last time at Granny’s diner, leaves a letter and return home to collect Excalibur. Hook is there, asking for the sword. Emma attempts to kill him with it. Hook takes on the guise of Henry which allows him to take the sword from Emma and leave with it. Emma’s letter is found by Mary Margaret at the diner. They attempt to stop Emma but Nimue informs them that Hook has the sword. The Mark of Charon glows brightly and transports everyone to the lake to be taken to the underworld. Emma tries to save her family and friends until Nimue stops her. Hook, realizing the mistake he has made, turns on the Dark Ones. He uses his power to absorb them into Excalibur which Emma then stabs him with, destroying the darkness and killing him. However, all is not right. Emma hears the whispers of the Dagger and follows the sound to Gold’s show where she discovers that Gold is once again the Dark One. She strikes a deal with Gold to recover Killian’s soul in exchange for keeping his deception secret from Belle. The Charmings, Regina, Robin Hood and Henry meet Gold and Emma at the lake where Gold opens the gateway to the Underworld.
There is no doubt the greatest villain in this series is Rumplestiltskin. He has played Killian Jones ever since he became the Dark One, manipulating him to his own end. I wouldn’t doubt that Hook’s proposed betrayal was all a ruse concocted by Rumple in order for him to regain his powers. When he was given Excalibur, Rumple took the opportunity to come up with a crafty way to get what he wanted. He had used a spell that would move the darkness into him when it was contained within Excalibur. His insight and ability to read people led him to predict that this would occur. Whoever held the sword was of no matter, so long as the proper steps were carried out. Rumplestiltskin has been working from behind the curtains since before the first episode when he helped Regina enact the original curse that brought them to our world so he can search for his son. Nearly everything that has happened in the series has been his doing, from the people of the Enchanted Forest being brought here to them going to Neverland to a trip to the Underworld. Rumplestiltskin was behind it in some way, shape or form. What’s worse is how he keep manipulating Belle into believing that he can change. He can’t help it. He tasted the power and he cannot let it go. Because of his mechanizations, Rumplestiltskin has become a villain who is the greatest threat anyone has ever known. And now that has phenomenal power, what true terror will he have in store for Emma and her family and friends.
This episode saw the ends of a couple key characters. Regina succeeded in sending Zelena back to Oz to keep her from corrupting her daughter. But I got a feeling that she might be back. She was mildly annoying but that annoyance is what made Zelena interesting. Since his introduction in the “Peter Pan” arc of the third season, Hook has become a fan favorite and even more likeable when he “hooks up” with Emma. He was a notorious pirate driven by revenge until he found love again in Emma. His death impacted Emma hard since he is the only other person she has grown to truly love after Neal Cassidy/Baelfire’s death. She finally gets a wakeup call and realizes that she needs to think more clearly when it comes to helping others. Though she did become the Dark One, Emma hasn’t lost sight of her family and friends even though she did screw them over. Still, Emma does end up becoming the savior in the end. She did what was necessary for the greater good by sacrificing Hook in order to rid themselves of the darkness. This was a defining moment for Emma as this is the first step in the development of her character (finally).
Once Upon a Time has taken us on a magical journey to majestic places. This time the show heads to the Underworld, the realm of dead souls. Who will they encounter in these depraved lands? We’ll find out when Once Upon a Time returns in the Spring.
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