Once Upon a Time: Thanks for the Memories! (S5 E10 RECAP)

look at memories

“Arts and crafts projects are fine Christmas presents to give to your parents when you are five, Emma. But now that you are an adult, we were kind of hoping you’d be like that nice girl in the commercials, and buy us both matching, his and hers, Lexuses for the holidays.”


It’s the episode we’ve waited two weeks to see, Onceies! (Not because it was a particularly good episode, just because it aired a week late. So, we literally had to wait one extra week to see it.) After a summer of flashbacks, and flashforwards that danced around the issue, the writers of Once finally coughed up the missing piece of the puzzle regarding That Thing That happened in Camelot That Turned  Emma and Hook into Raging Assholes!


Also, this week on Once . . . wait . . . there was no “also,” that was pretty much it.

Let’s review shall we?

Hello Darkness, My Old (Annoying) Friend

Like my new outfit? I call this style, 'Unibomber Chic'

Like my new outfit? I call this style, ‘Unibomber Chic’

Emerging from the sewers amidst a pile of black dog poopy like sludge, while clad in a greasy hoodie and kind of resembling a Unibomber, or a Ninja Turtle, a newly anointed Dark One Captain Hook returns to Camelot, reborn. Needless to say, he’s not in the greatest of moods. (But hey, you’d act like kind of an asshole too, if you emerged from a sewer covered in dog poopy.)

what the devil

ONCE UPON A TIME - "The Dark Swan" - Immediately after becoming the Dark One, Emma disappears and the heroes must band together to save her, but first they have to find her, which will require the help of an unlikely ally. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Emma struggles to resist her dark urges as she searches for Merlin in the hope that he can stop her transformation. Along the way to Camelot, she gets help from the plucky and brave warrior princess Merida, as well as King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, in the adventure-filled season five premiere of "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) ROBERT CARLYLE

Congratulations, Captain Hook! You’ve just been gifted with multiple personality disorder, just like Asshole Emma! (And it’s the gift that keeps on giving!) Hook’s new personality, Rumpelstiltskin, has some great ideas for Hook on how he can make the best use of his new status as Co-Biggest Asshole on the Planet. For starters, he can kill Rumpelstiltskin . . .  not multiple personality disorder Rumpelstiltskin that’s sitting inside Captain Hook’s literally dirty mind, mind you . . . but rather, the real Rumpelstiltskin, who is currently back in Storybrooke in a coma.


Really, Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel? Captain Hook is now the co-most powerful dark wizard in the world, and you want him to celebrate that, by murdering an old, incapacitated and possibly incontinent guy (I never did figure out how the whole going to the bathroom thing works, when one is in a coma?). You can do better than that!

Anyway, Dark One Emma and her crazy eyebrows pop by to tell Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel to shut up, and stop making a ruckus inside Hook’s head. The fact that Hook instantly knows that Emma is real, and never wonders whether she, another Dark One, is also part of his multiple personality disorder, indicates that Hook has watched way less psychological thriller films than I have.

Anyway, Dark Hook and Dark Emma make out, which causes Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel to temporarily disappear, but only because watching PDA like this from inside a dirty mind makes him totally nauseous.


After all that “gross” making out stuff is done, Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel returns again, but this time to turn Asshole Hook against Asshole Emma.  This way, they can’t play tonsil hockey in front of him anymore. Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel does this by intimating that Emma has stolen from Hook the Excalibur sword, and will use it to become his puppet master, because she doesn’t trust him to not do some seriously assholey stuff when left to his own devices  . . . like, for example, beating up the old and infirm.

As it turns out, Emma totally did take the sword from Hook, but she’s really sorry about it, and returns it to him, almost as soon as he asks. Cue the additional PDA!

Sorry Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel! It looks like your PDA Prevention Plan has failed, at least for now.  But hey, look on the bright side! It’s an ABC program on at 8 p.m., so at least you won’t have to worry about Hook and Emma boning in front of you.


Oh my God! You Killed Merlin! You Bastard!

merlin rip

Later that day, Merlin is busy preparing his virtual voicemail for the Storybrooke folks of the future (the one we witnessed a few episodes back, for those paying attention), when Asshole Captain Hook pops by to rip out the Great Tree Dwelling Wizard’s heart, and return Excalibur to its stone. “Hey,” Emma argues. “Back when we were swapping spit, not to mention, a likely case of mono, you intimated that you weren’t going to do shitty things like that anymore, at least until we figured out how to un-Asshole ourselves, also how I can tweeze, and/or rid myself of these awful eyebrows, and old lady bun.”

“You stole Excalibur, and tried to control me, so all bets are off,” Hook explains. “Me = Major Asshole 4 Eva!”

“But why are you crushing Merlin’s heart? He’s really hot, and clearly not that big of a threat as a wizard, considering he’s spent the last 5,000 years of his life stuck inside a tree. That’s the kind of crap that would have Harry Houdini rolling over in his grave.” Emma argues.

“But to kill Real Rumpel, I need to get back to Storybrooke. And to get back to Storybrooke, I need to enact a curse. And to enact a curse, I need to destroy the heart of the one I love most,” Hook offers by way of plot explanation.

“So, you are gay, and have been in love with Merlin all this time. This explains so much,” Emma responds. “Your wardrobe, for starters. I mean, seriously, how tight are those pants?”

“No silly! I’m not in love with Merlin. But one of my multiple personality disorders, Nimue, is! So, I get to cheat and kill her loved one, instead of killing you, because you are the main character on this show, and contractually obligated to live forever, or at least until the series’ inevitable cancelation.”

“That doesn’t seem entirely fair. I mean, the whole point of you having to kill the person you love most, in order to enact a curse, is that it requires a sacrifice, thus proving to all those impressionable kiddies out there that all magic has a price. But you are getting what you want by murdering someone who you don’t give two shits about, based on a loophole!” Emma argues.

“Yeah, isn’t it great?” Asshole Hook inquired, before murdering Merlin.

“Wow Asshole Hook, you are kind of the worst,” Emma complains. “Here, stare at this Dreamcatcher, so you forget to act like the asshole you are, deep down, for three-quarters of a season, until I can figure out a way to magically un-asshole you.”

the dreamcatchers

“OK,” replies Hook, as he obediently stares into the Dreamcatcher.

Seconds later, Hook says, “I don’t remember my name. I think I’m a hot actor named Colin.”

“You don’t have amnesia, you moron! You just don’t remember that you are an asshole,” Emma yelps.


“Oh, yeah! Thanks for the clarification,” Hook answers

“Quick, the rest of you, before we return to Storybrooke, stare at these dreamcatchers, so you can also conveniently forget stuff.”


“But we aren’t assholes,” Snow, Regina, Henry, Charming and the dwarves (totally forgot they were here, by the way), reply in unison. “At least not really big ones.”

“I know, but Plot requires you to forget that this happened, so kindly inflict potentially permanent damage on your brains for me,” Emma pleads.

“OK,” the rest of the cast responds, before having their IQ points sucked away by a Native American weaving that you can find in the furnishings aisle at Target for $5.00.

Just a Matter of Trust

no memories

Back in Storybrooke in present day, Zelena has put a bracelet on Emma that temporarily removes her ability to use magic, and Hook has dream-catcher vacuumed her memories of his evil plans away. Then, to further complicate things, Hook goes and hides all the dream catchers containing the Once gang’s memories away, while Emma takes a much-needed nap.   (Having evil eyebrows and wearing an old lady bun all day can be super exhausting!)

sad em sad eg one sad egg two

Hook then pays a “Welcome the New Asshole to the Neighborhood” visit with Rumpel and Belle, and invites the former to a fun little “Duel to the Death” aboard his trusty ship, The Jolly Roger, a.k.a The Ship that is a Metaphor for Hook’s Man Parts.  When Rumpel astutely notes that this wouldn’t exactly be a fair fight, given the fact that Hook is now an immortal asshole, and Rumpel is an aging cripple, who spent the time he should have been training for battle in a coma, Hook gallantly offers to fight using Excalibur, the only sword with the power to mortally wound a Giant Asshole.

the dance by hook

“But I’m still about a million years older than you, and a cripple, who spent last summer in a coma,” Rumpel argues.

“So, you don’t want to fight me?”  Hook inquires honestly.

“Of course, I want to fight you.  I may be centuries old, but I’m still a dude who thinks with his weiner.  And a dude who thinks with his weiner never steps down from a challenge to a pissing contest, especially when that challenge is issued in front of the girl he wants to bone,” Rumpel explains.

“Excellent,” Hook replies.  “Enjoy your remaining hours on Earth.”

Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Emma wakes up to learn that the Storybrooke gang is super mad at her for turning her boyfriend into the Biggest Asshole on the Planet, and not bothering to tell them about it.  (Besides, Storybrooke already has more than enough assholes running around it.  Case in point: Zelena.)


I mean, honestly, how could someone who willingly wears a hat like that NOT be an asshole.

Then, Henry pops by, to throw his mom some major shade for lying to him lots, and mind controlling his girlfriend into dumping him . . . (Note: This sentence pretty much describes every mother / teenage son relationship that ever existed.)

lied to us needs time

Since no one trusts Emma not to (1) make more people into assholes; (2) steal their memories; or (3) really stink up the bathroom, the rest of the Scooby Gang leaves her alone in the house, with Poor Merida as watchdog, while they all troop off to the library in hopes that they will find a book entitled: “How to Save the World from the Biggest Asshole in the Planet for Dummies.”


Misty Water Colored Memories (of the Asshole I Used to Know)

stand at attention

Just in time for the next commercial break, all is seemingly well again between Mother Asshole Emma and Son Doormat Henry, who agrees to help her with a locator spell the two of them can use to find the purloined dream catchers.  The pair decide to call their mission “Operation Mongoose 2,” presumably because Henry has canceled his subscription to National Geographic, and knows of no other exotic animals after which to name his missions.  Also, because someone probably wised up and copyrighted Operation Honey Badger.

The locator spell is a success.  And the dream catchers are found.  This means that the portion of the story in which all of the cast members conveniently have amnesia about everything that happened prior to this point in the season can finally come to an end.  But at what cost?

Meanwhile, over on the Ship that is a Metaphor for Captain Hook’s Man Parts, Rumpel and Hook have a rumble.  And the old man, who spent half a season in a coma, and had a limp until literally about two seconds ago, wins, but spares Hook’s life for plot reasons.  It is a good thing that the Ship that is a Metaphor for Captain Hook’s Man Parts isn’t literally aligned with Hook’s man parts, otherwise, we’d be looking at a Titanic situation here.

no cane hook to fight

As Hook limps off with his shriveled ship / tail between his legs, Rumpel’s man parts take a beating too, when Belle meets him at the well where they were first married, and dumps his ass.  She argues that he is being foolhardy with his life, and risking it to engage in a pissing contest with The Biggest Asshole on the Planet.  Belle loves Rumpel, but fears that she will never truly be enough for him, and doesn’t want to live in constant fear of the next pissing contest that may take her lovers’ life.

“I have to protect the heart in my chest,” a tearful Belle admits.  “Even if it means chopping up and shrinking the one between your legs.”

please belle

Elsewhere, Emma is forcing the cast of Once to stare at poorly-constructed, cheaply made, artwork again, only this time to RETURN everyone’s lost memories.  Immediately, a light bulb goes off above Emma’s head, which, at first you might miss, because the lightbulb looks very much like her Evil Asshole Bun.  But it’s there.  She now knows what Asshole Hook has been planning along!  And it is not good folks.

Still elsewhere in Storybrooke, by way of explanation of Emma’s recent epiphany, Hook uses Rumpel’s blood to open the Hellmouth from Buffy the Vampire Slayer a Highway to Hell, or more accurately a Boatway to Hell, since everyone knows that the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions . . . also stinky poo water.

 From the portal, a Big Boat that Does Not Serve as a Metaphor for Hook’s Man Parts arrives, bringing with it all the Biggest Assholes on the Planet who ever lived led, of course, by this chick Nimue.


Because, why have a bunch of assholes knocking around in your multiple personality disordered brain, when you can have them instead living in your house, eating all your potato chips off of the good China, and using up all your toilet paper!


Gee, thanks a lot, Hook!  There goes the neighborhood!

Hide your valuables and your booze, folks!  Until next time!


TV Show: Once Upon a Time

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