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REVIEW: Once Upon A Time 6×06 “Dark Waters”

I have always liked Henry in this show. A lot of people can’t stand child actors and their characters in TV shows, but I think Henry Mills is one of the good ones. Jared S. Gilmore balanced the sweet idealism and mischievous nature of Henry, but only in the past season has he started to display more angsty and typical teenage characteristics. Not to mention that cringeworthy speech he did at the end of the fifth season in New York. Crikey. Thankfully, this episode “Dark Waters”, quickly deals with Henry’s sudden teenage angst over his mother’s burden, and focusing on Captain Hook’s own need for vengeance. However, this episode contributes to the overall plot very little.

We join Hook on the Jolly Roger on his initial quest for revenge against Rumplestiltskin for murdering his true love Milah. A member of the crew calls out Hook for his grumpiness, and turns out to be a stowaway. Hook goes to chuck him overboard, but a strange vessel appears from underwater and hits the ship. The stowaway grabs Hook and both fall overboard into the sea. Hook wakes up inside the submarine, which turns out to be the Nautilus, and the stowaway appears in a naval uniform, introducing himself as Captain Nemo. Yep, they are doing Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Nemo invites Hook on a mission, explaining he knows what it is like to seek revenge and he actually achieved it, yet it left him empty inside. So he turned his awesome submarine into a safe haven for those also seeking revenge or a new start, using an enchanted harpoon to locate them, and then will take them to the Mysterious Island. Hook, Nemo, and another crewman Liam venture underwater to a cavern where they come across a treasure chest. However, Hook gets a little too close to the water and gets attacked by a giant squid. Well, there goes the episode’s budget. The squid is surprisingly well-detailed for the show’s budget, and this appears to carry on the improvements in special effects seen in last week’s episode.

Nemo opens the chest, revealing a key that will take them to the Mysterious Island. Back onboard the Nautilus, Hook recognises a blade on Nemo’s desk, realising it belongs to his half-brother Liam, the crewman from earlier. For clarity’s sake, Hook murdered his wayward father in the past, despite having a new brother. Hook tries to leg it, but Liam appears to avenge their dad, accidentally running Nemo through as Hook makes his escape.

In Storybrooke, Hook hides the destiny-cutting Shears in a toolbox as he adapts to moving in with Emma and Henry. Regina appears outside Zelena’s house to lure out the Evil Queen, while Snow and David sneak inside to rescue the imprisoned Archie. Zelena and the Evil Queen quickly realise what is going on and run inside to defend baby Robyn. The Charmings essentially declare war on the Evil Queen and escape. Aladdin is still having doubts about his ability to help Jasmine since he cut off his role as the Saviour, and later tries to steal from a car, but is caught by Emma.

The two go for a ride to the town line where Emma points out the welcome sign she crashed into when she first came to Storybrooke. She reveals just how many times she has tried to run away from being the Saviour but kept at it, encouraging Aladdin to do good even if he is no longer destined to. Aladdin returns to Jasmine who reveals Agrabah has disappeared. Disappeared kingdoms, now that’s a new one. Henry is visited by the Evil Queen who points out Hook is keeping secrets, exposing the hidden Shears to her son. At the hospital, Snow and David escort in an injured Joe Doe in after he was found at the dirigible crash site. Snow meets Belle who is awaiting to get her first ultrasound and admits she hopes she and Rumple can make amends.

Hook finds Henry has taken the Shears, finding him at the docks where they argue. However, the Nautilus suddenly surfaces and Nemo’s men grabs Henry and Hook, taking them onboard. While they await the captain to arrive, Hook reveals to Henry how and why he murdered his father, the revelations being too much for him to handle. They try to sneak out but only find one diver’s suit. Hook pushes Henry through the porthole as Liam appears, revealing Nemo was taken prisoner by Mr. Hyde and the Mysterious Island is actually the Land of Untold Stories. Liam tries to kill Hook but Henry ignores the rules as expected, distracting Liam to let Hook knock him out.

Later on, Hook visits Liam in hospital and they make amends. The mysterious patient is wheeled in after a successful surgery and it turns out to be Captain Nemo. Hooray! Hook comes clean to Emma about the Shears, but he and Henry made sure to dispose of them properly by chucking them through the porthole on the Nautilus. Belle drops off her ultrasound picture at Mr. Gold’s pawnshop, but the Evil Queen has dropped in for a visit and kisses him. Nope, just, nope. It turns out the Evil Queen has obtained the Shears and offers them to Gold to alter his unborn child’s fate to hate him, but only if he helps her obtain Snow’s heart.

I feel that in past reviews, I may have been a bit too lenient on the progress of this season. We lost Mr. Hyde early on, the Evil Queen is fun but lacks the emotional depth that made her so appealing in the first season, and two thirds of the main cast really do not have anything to do. Even the shattered Rumplestiltskin and Belle will they/won’t has dried up and become something ugly. Anyone who isn’t Emma, Regina, or Hook have little screentime, and the Land of Untold Stories has had little impact on Storybrooke thus far.

Hook’s brother Liam seeking revenge ends just as quickly as it is introduced, and the use of Nemo is so underplayed he could have easily been substituted for a one-off character. Nemo is a fascinating character, being a prince, a pirate, a warlord, a hero, but none of that is explored. They have the submarine and a giant squid, but that feels like a simple checklist of iconic imagery from the book and the Disney film they needed to cover and left out all of the other characterization. I was hoping the mysterious hospital patient would introduce us to a new character who would have a pivotal role in the season, but it just turned out to be Nemo.

Now, I’m not trying to be negative. On the positive side, the whole kidnap Archie plot again was resolved quickly even if it means he is stuck being a cricket again and thus his appearance will be even less frequent. The scenes between Snow and Belle were sweet, and there is possible hope for a reunion without Rumple acting like an idiot again (we can hope). And wasn’t the interior set of the Nautilus impressive. Looks exactly like the one featured in the film and theme parks. Sadly, this is the weakest episode so far of the season, plagued by abnormal characterisation, and the pointless meandering of the plot.

Final Score: C-

Pros and Cons:

+ The interior of the Nautilus is fantastic.

– Hook’s rather pointless arc and Liam’s revenge.

– The wasteful use of Captain Nemo.

What did you make of this week’s Once Upon a Time? Let us know in the comments section or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Mark Russell