Alscales: Can you please ask how Emma feels about her parents having another baby? Also curious what this Henry knows about Neal?
Emma will be a little astounded when she first sees her momma’s royal baby bump, but you would be too given the circumstances. As for memory-enchanted Henry? All he knows about Neal is that his father abandoned Emma to take the fall for him and she ended up in jail. In their little made-up world, Neal doesn’t even know that Henry exists because Emma never told him.
::cough::*told you so*::cough::
Hence the beginning of the Henry/Hook relationship and the ‘why’ Henry is open to the idea of a man for his mom. This will also play into that event which should not be namedand it will affect and grow the characters and move the story and all of the characters involved.
Moving on from love that causes you pain is just as important a lesson as embracing love that makes you your best self, even if it’s a lesson that’s often left out of more conventional fairytale romances.
Both moving on from love that hurts and accepting love that heals require the same thing: bravery. For the characters of Once Upon a Time—princes, princesses, saviors, queens, and pirates who wield weapons and wage wars in basically every episode—real bravery is manifested in having an open heart, even when you’ve seen the worst in the world and in yourself. To love is to be vulnerable, and vulnerability is a terrifying thing. Snow drinks a potion that wipes her memories because she’s afraid of the continued pain she might feel over losing Charming. Rumplestiltskin destroys his first chance at a relationship with Belle because he’s afraid that loving her means giving up his power. Regina runs away from a second chance at love because she was scared of loving again after losing Daniel in such a horrible way. And Emma struggles to open her heart to anyone after years of believing she was abandoned by everyone who could have loved her.
To love is to take a leap of faith, to believe in the person you choose to love and to believe in yourself. On Once Upon a Time, to accept true love is to accept that you can be happy and hopeful even after life gives you every reason to be angry and cynical. As Snow said to Emma in Season Three’s “Ariel”:
…happy endings always start with hope.
So many love stories in today’s media choose to glorify angst. But Once Upon a Time chooses instead to glorify the ways that love can make us happy. Snow and Charming’s love story—the foundational love story for the entire show—is one that some have called “boring.” It’s stable instead of volatile; it shows itself in warm smiles instead of dramatic outbursts. But should we really be glorifying love stories that feature people who make each other cry and feel miserable more often than not? Shouldn’t we instead be teaching young viewers—especially young women—to reach for the kind of love that makes you feel supported and genuinely good?
“Love is strength” has become a kind of mission statement for Once Upon a Time, and that’s a brave mission statement to take on in today’s jaded media landscape. But the kind of love that represents strength in this show isn’t the love of fairytales of old. It’s a kind of love built on equality, acceptance, and courage. And that’s the kind of true love I can truly believe in.
Honestly, you’re missing the fact that just as Emma has never held a grudge against Hook for leaving her and the Princess Squad in Rumple’s cell, Hook has never held a grudge against her for leaving him on the beanstalk. In 2x12, after he’d just shot Belle and been hit by a car and otherwise had his worst moment ever, his priority when he saw Emma (for the first time since the fight at Lake Nostos) was to cheerily greet her with “Hey beautiful,” and say that he was worried she didn’t notice him. Where Emma then kneels down, looks concerned, says, “Your ribs are broken,” and immediately pulls Gold off in a panic when he comes busting over to finish the job (and Hook, having stated multiple times in the last episode that he wanted to die and wanted Gold to kill him, suddenly starts fighting back). Then comes their exchange at the hospital, where they snark at each other and Emma jostles him, but neither of them seems that upset. Hook explains why he did what he did (“I hurt his heart, Belle’s just where he keeps it”) and Emma warns him about Gold having magic and being immortal (she doesn’t know, of course, that Cora already told him). Then they end by smiling pretty adoringly at each other; seriously, I’m not sure we saw Emma smile like that again for the rest of the season. If that was the time that either of them were actually going to be done with each other (lololololol) that’s when it should have happened. But it didn’t, and Colin broke his leg and deprived us of CS for 2B, alas.
Anyway, the point is, even right when they should supposedly be “mad” at each other, they’re not. Both of them are aware that they were enemies/uneasy allies working together for convenience, didn’t owe each other anything, and ended up having a connection that scared both of them. As is said and said again, Hook understands Emma. He recited her entire life history to her on the beanstalk, he knows about her abandonment issues, he gets that she’s a lost girl with walls a mile high. If he didn’t know that about her (and if he wasn’t in love with her, lbr) and if they didn’t get each other so fast, then no, he probably wouldn’t have forgiven just another person who betrayed him. But we learn in 3x06 that he fell for her pretty much at first sight. For someone who has spent 300 years trying to avenge one woman and never thought he could love again, that would have been a revelation. Even if Hook didn’t want to acknowledge it at the time or was scared to. Just the fact of him feeling again something that he’d thought was lost to him forever, just the hint of it, means he’s going to fight for it and take it seriously, seeing as he’s so deeply motivated by love. And knowing that, and knowing that she was just as scared as him, is I think very crucial to him. He knows he’s done things he’s not proud of, left behind people he loved (see: Bae). And maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t want to lose that chance again.
Also, when Hook turned around and came back with the bean in 2x22, he wasn’t doing it just for Emma (although her offer to be a part of something certainly was important). It was for himself. He’s making a decision to commit himself to the hard and dangerous way, the way he thought was closed to him ever since Liam died, finally wanting and trying to be a hero. That’s why his arc is powerful: he isn’t insincerely trying to be someone he’s not in hopes of getting into Emma’s pants, but rediscovering the honorable and broken man he really is, for himself. Over and over he’s demonstrated that he loves Emma enough to value her happiness, even at the cost of his own, and that loving her has opened him to the possibility of becoming a good man again. It’s precisely because he’s no longer being selfish that he’s “okay to be into her again.” If it was just about him and his feelings and his self-absorption in his revenge quest, he would have been done with her (again, lololololol) after she left him behind, because she wasn’t helping him get revenge by doing that. But he doesn’t WANT revenge anymore. Her stopping him from getting that isn’t something he needs or wants to hold against her. It’s him seeing her for who she is, and him seeing HIMSELF for who he wants to be.
Bless you for all eternity. Perfectly stated.
Check the site after Sunday’s new episode to find out! (Also yes.)