This Sunday on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the Brothers Jones’ reunion dredged up unexpected bits of unfinished business, Henry was warned about seeking out the Author’s quill and Hades’ deep, dark secret was (partly) revealed.
This episode relied heavily on your investment in the Hook-and-Liam of it all, but if you allowed the show some latitude, I think there was plenty of narrative payoff.
For one, we learned in flashback how Killian’s penchant for drink sank the brothers’ first stab at joining the Royal Navy. Then, once again fated to servitude with Captain Silver, Liam led a mutiny to save them from a doomed voyage in search of a fabled gem. But when charting their course to safety, Liam was visited by Hades, who offered a very sweet deal: guaranteed safety and the priceless sapphire in question, in trade for letting the ship sink as planned, thus gifting the Underworld with many souls.
Liam takes the deal and steers the ship straight into a storm, lying to his No. 1 cheerleader, Killian, about his plan. After the ship is wrecked and the rest of the crew perishes, Liam and Killian wash ashore, where they are met by the Royal Navy and — thanks to the coveted jewel — handed commissions aboard the Jewel of the Realm, all with Killian fancying his brother a top-notch hero.
How did this translate into the current storyline? Liam shows up on Emma’s Underbrooke doorstep, delighted to reunite with his bro but lying about his unfinished business. Liam also isn’t ‘shipping #CaptainSwan the slightest, instead deeming Emma unworthy of his brother. Hook conversely deems himself unworthy of Emma, rebuffing her bid for a reunion kiss by lamenting how easily and pettily he gave into being a Dark One.
When the heroes learn that the Underworld’s version of Henry’s storybook might help them best Hades, David and Snow search the sheriff’s office for the key to the sorcerer’s mansion, leading David to have to pose as his twin when Cruella shows up looking for some hanky panky. (In actuality, Cruella knows all along who isn’t who, seeing as David has none of James’ “delicious damage,” seeing as James has spent his while life and now death wondering why their mother made the choices she did back when they were infants.) Nonetheless, with the key in hand, the heroes search the mansion, but Liam finds the book first — and promptly rips the Hades pages from it, as part of his new deal with the Underworld overlord. Later, a suspicious Emma accuses Liam of stealing the pages, but Hook takes his brother’s side, resulting in a teary Emma walking away.
But when Captain Silver and his crew show up to confront Liam and thus educate Hook on the deal he made with Hades, Hook realizes his brother isn’t the hero he made him out to be. When Silver sets out to make the brothers “walk the plank” into the Boiling Sea, Hades shows up and flits Liam over the edge… but Hook catches his brother’s hand and saves him. Liam releases his grip as a way to “make amends” for all he has done, and in doing so erases his unfinished business, allowing him — and the rest of the crew — to “move on” from the Underworld. Before sailing away, he acknowledges that Hook became “a true hero in a way I never could.”
Back at the Charmings’, David gives “emo teen” Henry a pep talk, opening up about the guilt he now feels, learning that though they never met, James has resented him since childhood. This nudges Henry to come clean to everyone about his side mission, to find the Author’s quill. But rather than rewrite events (e.g. Cruella’a mortality) in the name of being some kind of hero, Henry says he will take the apprentice’s advice and simply record stories. The gang agrees that the stolen storybook pages confirm that Hades is hiding something very important about himself — and as we see in the final scene, it’s that the pages reveal some sort of relationship with Zelena: “Our secret remains safe….”
What did you think of “The Brothers Jones,” and what is the true and potentially damning nature of Hades and Zelena’s “secret”?