Dashing pirate with flashing eyes and waggling brows, how could he fail to charm? Charm he does. Hook, Killian Jones began his life as an honest man, a navy first mate to his brother. The sharp moral betrayal of his king and consequent loss of his brother left him bitter and rudderless. Thus he decided to make his own rules as a pirate and live life as he pleased. Even still, he had a code. Good form.
Emma, independent to a fault, had, at first, far more important things on her plate than to pay any mind to a pirate with a broom and plans to sweep her off her feet. She also had an ex whom she still loved, Henry’s father Neal (Baelfire), who took precedence in her heart. *Spoiler Alert!* I feared Once would take this classic set up for an irritating love triangle and just plunge right into this trite excuse for romantic tensions.
But Once didn’t do that. Instead, Once gave us one of the more tragic and painful character deaths I have seen on TV. The loss of Baelfire hurt keenly for everyone involved including the pirate who helped to raise him after Rumple abandoned him.
Emma’s reticence to risk her heart might be what makes this love story resonate. Sure, Hook goes through a marvelous heroic transformation at the hands of love, but Emma just doesn’t want to get hurt. Again. Lots and lots of people have been there and decided to take the pragmatic road away from perceived future heartache. Emma has had enough misery for a life time and does not want to sign up for more for another pretty face.
Emma needed a reason, a beautiful reason, to believe that real love could spring from this unlikely source. The picture above bears the file name “Your Ship for Me,” in my folder of screenshots for this reason. Hook proves to Emma in that moment that he does not consider her a conquest, an idle project, the next piece of tail. He loves her for real.
The rampant popularity of CaptainSwan stems, I believe, from Once’s dive into the source material of our real lives. Who hasn’t thought they might rather not be hurt or doubted whether a suitor might be only looking for a rather short term outcome? How many of us have pursued someone whom has given up on love?
I cannot think of a more unexpected way to retain tension between two people than what Once shocked us with in the recent episode Birth. I had thought testing this relationship with Emma becoming the Dark One was more than enough to hold our attention, but the wheels have just fallen off this ‘ship. Ingenious.
Next to SwanQueen.
Back to Once in Love.
Before you go, you can check out my research project! I have conducted a study of OUAT viewer preferences and you can check on my progress here. Yay for science!