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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

I will give credit where it’s due, they did clear up some of the questions I had about Killian becoming the Dark One in the last episode. Not all of them, but some of them. I have a lot of speculative ideas about what’s really happening here, and I’ll get to that at the end of the recap. Still, I find it really hard to believe that just because Killian “forgot” about being turned into the Dark One, he would stop being one. He’s acted completely like himself the rest of the episode. Are they implying that only memories of being dark makes a person dark? They just wanted it to be a twist. That’s the reason. Previously on Once Upon a Time, Emma turned Killian into a Dark One to save his life. I’d like to point out that for weeks she’s been saying she hasn’t really changed. And overall she hasn’t. Her instinct is to protect and save, even while “dark.” I still think they missed a chance by having her be actually dark. More on that later too. Zelena revealed the truth to Killian and now he’s angry at Emma. Also Rumple is apparently a “hero” now and I sneered when I wrote that. Zelena’s baby was born and given to Robin since Zelena was instantly kidnapped by Emma. A long time ago Nimue became the first Dark One, and for some reason Merlin said in his message that only by finding Nimue could they defeat the Dark One. Hmmmm.

Flashbacks first. Emma and Killian have a lot of struggle this episode. He’s infuriated with her for turning him into a Dark One, the thing he hates most in the world, and gets angry even more when it’s clear she won’t trust him. He pointed out that he trusted in her to make the right decisions even with the darkness, but she immediately hid Excalibur and lied to him about it. He’s always had more inner darkness than Emma though, but that’s besides the point. Despite the fact that she strongly tries to connect with him and assure him they can get through this, Killian has other plans. The Dark One in his head wants him to go back to Storybrooke to get “revenge” on Rumple. He kills Merlin, who is leaving his message we saw, by having Nimue crush his heart. That makes the curse work by sacrificing what he (in general the Dark One) loves the most. It’s a clever way around killing Emma, obviously. Killian does the curse and Emma can’t stop it, but she can remove his memories and everyone’s memories until she finds a “fix” for her boyfriend. I have some suspicions here. Merlin can see the future, and it’s weird to me he says something about Nimue, so I think there might be some moves we’re not seeing. It’s possible him and Killian are in on something, but that feeds into an idea I have about the rest of the plot.

In the normal world, Killian challenges Rumple to a fight. Rumple tells Belle if she meets him, and he survives, it means they can start over. I just screamed NO NO NO BELLE NO STOP IT. Thankfully when she does meet up with him later, she says she isn’t willing to trust him again and needs to figure her own self out. I cheered during that, even though I know it’s temporary and she’ll be mooning after him again soon. Still, when they remind us of how strong Belle can be, I’m always delighted. Briefly. I also wanted to throw something when Henry implied that Rumple and Regina have found redemption through their actions, but Emma still trusts no one. Rumple hasn’t found redemption. He’s done shit all this season outside of other people making him do things. Urgh I swear I used to love this character and I hate him now. In the fight, Rumple appears to win, and I’m like “the hell Rumple you used to be smart.” Obviously Killian let him win, and Rumple typically would’ve been intelligent enough to know that, and to know there’s a bigger plan at work here. That plan is when Killian uses Rumple’s blood and Excalibur and they create a portal to the underworld. All the Dark Ones, led by Nimue, step off. And now Storybrooke (and the world) are in big, big trouble. Also side story, Regina and Robin decide that Zelena could change by the love of a child the way Regina did, so she’s allowed visitation rights. Technically she doesn’t need your permission for anything, that’s not how parental law works, but okay. We’re in a magical world. It’s not like you can stop her from letting Regina get distracted and flying off with her daughter afterward.

Personally, I don’t think Killian’s actually dark. I think yet again OUAT is trying to fool us because it likes the twists. They seem to indicate that Rumple is his greatest enemy, but he’s said pretty clearly that it’s the Dark One he hates. He’s said that numerous times this season. I think his revenge is on the Dark One, aka Nimue specifically. He wants to purge the darkness, and the only way to make that happen was to bring them all to town and end it that way. It’s a smart move if that’s the case. The Dark Ones hadn’t shown their hand to Emma because she wasn’t able to be trusted. Killian being true darkness made them believe he’d go all the way. I’m just very skeptical that they’re going to turn their romantic lead hero into a villain so quickly when they worked hard for his redemptive arc. Instead he’s going to help defeat the darkness and then probably end up in the Underworld himself. All magic has a price. They’ve indicated we’ll be doing Greek Gods, so the back half might be them going to the Underworld to save him. I do think it’s likely he and Merlin could’ve been in cahoots, or Merlin could see what was coming. It’s just weird for him to say Nimue would save them. I think they really missed the ability to make Emma darker this season. I was hoping she would be an actual Dark One. She did pretty much zero evil deeds. She took out the little girl’s heart, but that’s the extent of it, and she put it back anyway. It’s weird they seem incapable of letting her do questionable things, when they work so hard at redeeming bad guys and good guys alike. If you let Emma go dark, I promise, fans will probably will forgive her when you bring her back to herself. They’ve forgiven Regina, come on! I guess I’m disappointed with the story I was given. It’s not terrible, but it’s not particularly good either. We’ll see what happens in the mid-season finale this weekend.

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