1. What did you think of the flashback story of the Brothers Jones and their relationship?
Sam: I have to admit I was not terribly invested in the Brothers Jones story, but I gave it a second watch to see what we learned. Finding out that Hook grew up in his brother's shadow does help to explain the low self esteem that he's shown sometimes during his redemption arc beginning in Season 3. In addition, earlier flashbacks about Hook portrayed Killian as an upstanding sailor, but now we learned that he's always had a tendency toward darkness. This revelation does help explain why Hook took such a hard turn when he was a Dark One, and why he was so mad at Emma.
Ashley: I felt it was a bit ... I don't know if dry is the right word. I wasn't invested in it probably because we've seen and heard so little of Liam that we the audience don't really know him enough to make the emotional connection that I think was expected with this episode.
Teresa: I preferred their story in "Good Form." A lot of the heart that made Young Killian and Liam special to me from that episode got the life sucked out of it. The whole premise--"Big brother wasn't what he seemed and Hook is a Hero!"-- was not deep nor was it new territory, especially so for the latter. I must admit though to getting shamelessly teary-eyed when Liam's Heaven was revealed to be a ship.
Laurie: The only thing useful about the backstory was getting to see Hook as a screw-up, not as the noble naval officer turned pirate as in the previous Hook backstory. The writers are very invested in Hook and in his redemption, which is why we got this backstory which had nothing to do with the current story line. One good thing is that we also got a nice redemption for Liam, which led to his recovering his ship and crew in his “better place," which shows us that each destination is personalized. Forgiveness is a powerful thing, and forgiving ones self is clearly a theme for this season. The last scene with Hook and Liam was also very well done, so I would have to say that overall I didn’t hate it, but I wish the time had been used on other characters.
2. CaptainSwan was reunited! Do they deserve each other?
Ashley: I think that was both damaged adults learning that it's ok to rely on someone else. I appreciate that they had a bump in the beginning of this episode and even though they love and care for each other, they weren't 100% ok after things had calmed down.
Teresa: I'm starting to think they deserve each other. Hook is the most important thing in Emma's life now and he has shown that he has the tenacity to pursue and reciprocate long-term within a romantic relationship.
Laurie: I think they do deserve each other. Both have made mistakes in the past and both are trying to overcome those mistakes. I liked their relationship more in this episode because it felt more honest to me. Also, it was nice seeing Emma have to try a little harder in this relationship. Previously Hook has been the one pursuing her and in the Underworld she has had to reach out to him. It has made me see how important Hook is to Emma.
Sam: Emma grew up feeling unworthy of love because she had been, from her point of view, abandoned by her parents and later Neal. Hook came from similar circumstances, being sold into servitude by his father and then being compared to his high achieving brother making him feel unworthy. I think this is part of why Hook threw himself into a pirate's life and acted with so much bravado. He was hiding his own feelings of self doubt. After being reunited with her parents and Henry, Emma finally began to accept the Love that her family had for her. She eventually saw herself as worthy and accepting that is part of what made her the Savior. I think Hook has just taken the first steps toward seeing his own self-worth and his ability to love himself and Emma should improve.
3. Henry wants to be treated like a full member of the Hero Squad. Where do you see his power as the Author leading?
Sam: Now, this storyline really intrigues me! I want to see what Henry can do as the Author. He once again showed that he is mature beyond his years by deciding to be open with his family about finding the pen and taking on his duty as Author and not abusing it for his own gain. It's a tough choice to have power and not use it for selfish purposes. Just ask Rumple.
Ashley: I honestly don't know, but I'm excited to find out! I love that Henry is getting his own stories and adventures that don't rely on the adult members of the Storybrooke Hero Brigade. I'm interested to see what he has to write in the Book.
Teresa: I can see how his power could lead to restoring order, thereby making the Hero Squad's return to Storybrooke possible. It is such a delight to see Henry taking more of an active role in the current storyline. I've missed him!
Laurie: The writing of Hades’ story is going to mean that Henry takes a larger role, which is what he has wanted all along. I see that getting him into trouble along the way and possibly requiring some type of sacrifice in order to keep him alive. As we gear up to the final episodes, the stakes always get higher.
4. Our heroes found the Under Storybook, but they don't know Hades' weakness yet. What do you think his weakness might be?
Laurie: Well, it’s definitely something to do with Zelena (“our secret romance”) - ICK.
Sam: I think we got a clue about his weakness in the flashback when Hades told Liam that he could not kill people in the "Overworld". This would be why he liked Rumple who sent him such a great supply of souls over the years. Zelena?!? Hades has been a great villain so far. I'm just not sure about seeing him get in bed, figuratively or literally with Zelena.
Ashley: I couldn't say, but I find it intriguing that someone as confident, in control, and five steps ahead of everyone could be worried about something in his past. In mythology, Hades had Persephone, so perhaps we'll be seeing a take on that.
Teresa: Cora says "Love is weakness". And if it is Zelena, I think they are perfectly paired!
5. Favorite Moment
Laurie: Regina telling Emma she was “actually” too good for Hook.
Sam: I really enjoyed David's efforts to counsel Henry. I loved his opening line, "Hey there!" Spoken in a true dad voice.
Teresa: Mine too! It was a lovely throwback to their special Grandpa/Grandson relationship in Season 2.
Ashley: Oddly enough, the scene with Cruella and Charming. It had well-timed humor and a dash of character exploration.
6. Favorite Quote
Sam, Teresa: "Don't argue with your mother ... or your mother."~Regina
Ashley: I don't know if it's a favorite quote, but I am deeply amused/horrified that Cruella's pet name while with a man who has mommy issues is "Mama". Ew, haha.
Laurie: "It smells like dirt and things that smell like dirt.” "Don’t argue with your mother…or your mother.” And a shout out to Josh for his quick “too late” after Henry asks him not to make this a lesson. That was perfection.
7. Anything Else?
Ashley: I'm not sure how I feel about the pacing of this season, I'm finding it a tad slow. But I always do when the season doesn't take place in Storybrooke. Right now though, I don't know what everything is leading up to and I'm excited that I'm a bit clueless. Also, I am so glad that the show picked up the Henry as the Author story line again, as well as all the little explorations into Once Upon a Time lore. I really appreciate these things.
Teresa: I'm with Ashley on all points. Especially not being sure about the pacing. It seems to be the pattern now that significant developments/regressions/negations happen at the very end--even last minutes-- of the season. So hard to judge until we've seen every last second. This could be one of the best arcs in quite some time or the worst. I'm quite intrigued for May to hurry up and arrive. Then, "we shall see".
Laurie: Loved the torture implements in the sheriff’s office. Great restraint NOT alluding to them, and just letting us observe them. And Snow telling David that he and James are so much alike - um, Snow, did you not see the rack in the center of the room???
Sam: I have to admit I am troubled by Cruella's revelation to David that James resented him "his whole life." How did James even know about David? King George didn't know James had a twin until after his death when Rumple told him there was a brother. I can see James coming to resent David after he died and learned more of his family history, but I don't see how he "grew-up" with those feelings. Even if King George did tell James that he was "adopted" and James felt abandoned by his birth mother, he still couldn't have known about David. Perhaps in a future episode we will see another flashback where Hades or Rumple tells James the truth about his origins.
Finally, shout out to the set dressers for all the peppers used as decoration in Underbrooke!