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REVIEW: Once Upon a Time 5×10 “Broken Heart”

I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this recent episode of Once Upon a Time. “Broken Heart” was obviously trying to pick up with the momentum from “Birth”, but it just didn’t work out, mainly due to the fact that we didn’t have an episode to watch last week AND because the last episode we watched was a filler that had almost nothing to do with the “Hook is now a Dark One” storyline. It’s too big of a gap. Jumping right back into that storyline felt clunky and unnatural, and I just didn’t feel too excited about what was happening. (spoilers ahead!)

So we all know that Hook was turned into a Dark One by Emma. That was one of the best plot twists of the season (and possibly the show). Now, we try to pick up right after the big reveal to see what Hook’s plans are now that he has these dark powers. Is he able to use his newfound abilities for good, or will he be tempted by the darkness to snuff out the light? Apparently, his first order of business is to get revenge on the Crocodile aka Rumplestiltskin.

You may think “Really? He’s still holding onto that grudge, especially when HE’S the one who stole Rumplestiltskin’s wife?” But I guess that’s the power of the Dark One. It opens up the inner darkness in everyone, no matter how big or how small. I’m a little disappointed in Hook giving into the temptation. From what we’ve seen of him over the past few seasons, you’d think he was stronger than that. Emma has done a decent job resisting the Dark One’s influence for the most part, but Hook gives in almost right away. However, it’s possible that he gives in because he feels like he has nothing to really fight for. After all, the woman he loved betrayed him and turned him into this demon. He probably thinks “Screw it. I’m gonna be bad.”

Hook challenges Rumplestiltskin to a duel on his ship. In the past, we’d expect Rumplestiltskin to fight dirty or to cower away from the battle. Not anymore. Instead, he takes the challenge with no hesitation, even willing to fight the Dark One with a bad leg. Damn, someone just became a badass! Fortunately, Hook is somewhat merciful and heals Rumplestiltskin’s leg so that it’s a fair fight. But he’ll still need to steal Excalibur from the pirate in order to actually defeat him. There’s a brief but exciting sword fight between the two that was arguably the best part of the entire episode. I loved watching them go toe-to-toe, giving their all to overcome their opponent. Hook manages to get a deep cut on Rumplestiltskin, but he is eventually overcome and soon finds himself facing the blade of Excalibur up against his throat. Rather than run him through, Rumplestiltskin shows him mercy, telling him that Hook will have to live the rest of his life knowing that he was defeated. A bitter Hook teleports away.

Wait a minute – doesn’t Rumplestiltskin know that everyone is looking for Hook? Why did he let him escape? And he has Excalibur now. Doesn’t that mean that he can control the Dark One? Why doesn’t he say “I command you to stay here”? Did I miss the part where they explained that Hook was no longer tethered to the sword? Or was Rumplestiltskin just being dumb?

Overall, this whole part of the episode was the most engaging and entertaining. I was more interested in seeing the results of Rumplestiltskin and Hook’s vendetta rather than watch what else was going on.

There’s a brief moment where Zelena fights her way into the hospital to see her daughter, but she’s stopped by Regina, who reveals that Robin has her hidden and protected. In the end, they come up with a compromise: Zelena can see her daughter as long as Regina and/or Robin are present. They even let her hold the baby.

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Here are a few issues I have with this logic. First, they made it WAY too easy for Zelena to get into the hospital. She barges in and waves off the head nurse with a simple spell. No effort whatsoever. What kind of security is that? You live in Storybrooke; you’re bound to have psychos who might waltz in to steal a baby at any second. At least have some kind of bolt on your doors!

Also, I don’t approve of the compromise with Zelena’s baby. Yeah, she gave birth to the child, but she is pure evil, and she only had the daughter after essentially raping Robin under false pretenses (which I’m glad they acknowledged in the show). Zelena doesn’t deserve this. I still think she should’ve been executed when Emma had the chance. I’m almost certain that this will come back to bite the characters in the ass. Watch Zelena use the baby for her own evil purposes.

Speaking of Emma, she and the rest of the characters are STILL walking on eggshells around each other. Now that the cat is out of the bag regarding Hook being the Dark One, nobody knows whether they can truly trust Swan anymore. Emma manages to get Henry onto her side, and together, they retrieve the dreamcatchers that contain everyone’s memories from Camelot.


I’m happy we got to see how everyone ended up in Storybrooke again. Basically, Hook crushed Merlin’s heart, and Emma wiped his and everyone’s memories before casting the curse. It’s so simple yet so satisfying. You learn that Emma really WAS doing everything to benefit her friends and family; she just didn’t do it the proper way. But Zelena had to come along and screw everything up by telling Hook the truth. Again, just kill the witch once and for all. She’s done almost nothing beneficial for the group.

If the episode ended on this note, I would’ve expected it to be the mid-season finale, but there was much more to be told. That earlier fight with Hook and Rumplestiltskin? Turns out it was a distraction. Hook needed to get some of his opponent’s blood so that he could complete a spell; a spell that will possibly snuff out all the light in the world once and for all.

So that’s another episode of Once Upon a Time down. Next week is the mid-season finale, and I’m just looking forward to getting some closure on this entire Camelot chapter. However, I’m thinking that we won’t get all the answers we want by then. Hook and Emma are still Dark Ones, Zelena is still evil, King Arthur is still a prick, and Merlin is still dead. What can they do to rectify all this in one episode? There’s no way unless… oh God… please don’t use time travel…

Final Grade: B –

+ The fight between Rumplestiltskin and Hook was cool.

+ I’m glad we FINALLY got to see what happened to Merlin and how everyone ended up in Storybrooke with their memories wiped.

+ Great dialogue between Hook and Emma.

– More and more stupid decisions by characters; yeah, let’s allow Zelena to hold the baby!

– It was hard to get back into the show after last week’s break and the previous filler episode.

– The Emma side of the episode was rather slow.

Extra Thoughts:

– Rumplestiltskin got Excalibur from Hook, yet Hook is able to disappear from the fight. Can’t Rumplestiltskin just summon him back since Hook is tethered to the sword?

How did you feel about the recent episode of Once Upon a Time? Are there any questions you want answered by the upcoming mid-season finale? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!