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Its date night in Storybrooke! Even though she’s gone back and forth struggling with her feelings for Hook, Emma cautiously takes the plunge and asks a more than willing Hook out on a real date but more on that later. The name of this episode is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice so that’s where we begin.
We start things off a long time ago in Fairytale Land, an older man with long hair and even longer beard, clearly cared for with the best beard oil is protecting the circular box we last saw in Rumple and Belle’s honeymoon B&B. It’s the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and he’s protecting the box which contains the Sorcerer’s hat from none other than Zoso, the Dark One who preceded Rumple. They battle for the magic box but we soon learn of the enchantment protecting it and that every Dark One through time has tried and failed to open it.
The only way to access the hat from within the box is by someone who has never succumbed to the darkness within their heart. I guess there aren’t many pure of heart people running around so the box has been safe a long time. We don’t know who the Sorcerer is just yet but his hat holds the key to the Dark One maintaining his power without servitude to the dagger.
Fast forward a little to Anna finding Rumple and of course the game of tricking her into helping him is afoot. Anna finds Rumple and makes a deal where he will tell her all about her parents’ journey to the Enchanted Forest but first she must help him and so of course she signs the contract without reading the fine print because as she puts it will do whatever it takes to help her sister Elsa. Rumple gives Anna a vile of a sinister looking dark liquid to slip into the Apprentice’s tea. She’s hesitant but makes her resolve to help Elsa and she’s on her way.
Arriving at the Apprentice’s modest home he of course asks her inside. She’s a fresh faced girl, what harm could come of that…right? She tells him of her plan to help her sister and attempts to spike his tea but she just can’t harm the old man and dumps the liquid at the last second. Returning to Rumple she assures him she did as Rumple asked and the old man drank the spiked tea. Of course Rumple knows that isn’t true and reveals to Anna that what he gave her was in fact an antidote and not a poison, showing her the Apprentice fall to floor turning into a mouse…yes they went there. How could they not?
At this point of course Anna is seething mad for being tricked by Rumple. He of course taunts her to the point of Anna grabbing a sword and nearly striking him but Anna being the kind soul that she is falls to the floor and drops the sword defeated. It’s because of Anna’s inner rage that Rumple is able to acquire the box with the Sorcerer’s hat inside bringing him one step closer to his freedom. Anna asks him to keep his end of the deal and reveal the information about her parents which he does. He confirms her and Elsa’s deepest fears that their parents were afraid of Elsa and wanted to find a way to remove her powers permanently. The big rub is that Anna and Elsa’s parents left empty handed because the only thing powerful enough to remove Elsa’s power is the hat which Rumple now owns. The hat is able to remove the magic powers of others and once it obtains enough magic is capable or freeing Rumple from the dagger while allowing him to keep his unending power.
As he explains the ways of the Apprentice Rumple gloats that Anna helped him eliminate the last remaining obstacle in his plan but is suddenly surprised when the Apprentice Mouse jumps down from the rafters and bites the Dark One on the hand, momentarily distracting him and causing Rumple to drop his dagger. Anna grabs the dagger and soon realizes Rumples plight. She commands him to hand over the magic box and to send her back to Arendelle safe and sound but not before slipping in a safeguard for her and her sister where Rumple can never harm them. The girls a little flighty but she thinks on her feet.
NOW it’s date night in Storybrooke. Back to present day we find a nervous Emma with Henry approaching Granny’s trying to muster up the courage to ask out Hook. I don’t know why she’s so nervous there’s no way he would turn her down. He’s been chasing her for two seasons. Doesn’t she watch the show? After a little nudge from Henry and his reluctant ok about her asking out a pirate Emma asks out an all too willing Hook on their first date. Hook’s one request is that he plan the date. Now I had to laugh at this because yes, I’m sure Hook aka Killian Jones has seduced many women over his 300 years as a pirate but I just can’t see him planning a romantic evening for two. But maybe that’s just me.
Before he can plan this romantic date, hook decides to pay Rumple a visit. He’d like to be prepared to hold Emma with two hands instead of one and a hook so demands Rumple reattach his hand which Rumple just so happens to have hidden away in his shop. But Rumple isn’t going to just give up the goods because he’s a nice guy so Hook uses blackmail to get what he wants. Call me crazy but blackmailing the Dark One never seems like a good idea. Can it really end well for you Hook? Really?
Rumple agrees to the deal but warns Hook that while he may think he’s a changed man, the hand that he is reattaching is part of the man Hook used to be not the man he thinks he is now. Though Rumple isn’t convinced Hook has changed at all, Hook assures him he has and doesn’t buy that his hand is cursed with the ways of the man of the past and takes his chances.
Back at the loft we find Snow, Charming and Elsa trying to figure out who the Snow Queen is in Storybrooke by going through the census books. Who the hell took a census? Someone did because they have stacks of books to go through.
Just then Emma emerges in a beautiful yet somewhat out of character 50’s style pink dress with high ponytail wanting everyone’s opinion. They are floored by her transformation and in her excitement and need to catch up on mothering, Snow pulls out the old Polaroid camera and takes a picture of her baby girl going out on her first date. It’s hilarious and endearing and everything you expect Snow White to do. Emma’s horrified but it’s a cute family moment. Hook soon arrives with a single red rose, new trendy leather outfit (seriously his old stuff had to stink to high heaven) and sporting a new hand. Emma is a little confused but makes light of the hand and wonders if she should start referring to Hook as Captain Hand.
Cue in the cheesy music, Italian restaurant (where’d that come from?), old school wine bottle with drippy candle and of course a couple in the background slurping on a single piece of spaghetti…in other words, Lady and the Tramp. It was a cute homage to a movie we all loved as kids and set the scene for what could have been a romantic first date. Could have been because a semi-drunk Will Scarlet was at the bar and decided to walk up to the happy couple and spill his drink on Emma’s pretty dress.
Hook becomes enraged and threatens Will who slips away when Emma tries to calm Hook and reassure him she’s fine. They sit back down and hold hands and Hook is starting to wonder if Rumple was right and his old new hand is indeed cursed with the life of a man he used to be.
The date has come to an end and Hook walks Emma to her door. Emma’s wearing Hooks leather jacket while in her pink 50’s inspired dress and high ponytail. I don’t know if it’s intentional or just my obsession with Grease but it has a very Danny and Sandy look to it. Of course they kiss and Emma invites Hook in for coffee with her parents, little brother and Elsa which makes them both laugh and once again Emma insists she needs her own place. Yeah girl, you really do.
On his way home, Hook runs into a now very drunk Will Scarlet trying to break into the library. Hook tries to stop him while still seething over Will interrupting his date with Emma and nearly knocks Will out. He leaves Will with a freshly beat up face and threats him to keep his mouth shut about what happened or he’ll wind up sleeping with the fishes.
Hook is horrified by his actions. He’s now convinced Rumple was telling the truth and he is determined to get his hook back ridding himself of this cursed hand. Finding Rumple leaving the shop about to enter his sweet vintage ride (yeah, I’m into cars don’t judge me) Hook slips into the passenger’s seat demanding his hook back. Rumple reminds Hook that he doesn’t have to do anything and Hooks threat of outing him to Belle about Rumple having the real dagger is futile because he returned it to her none the wiser. Hook has no choice but to make a deal with Rumple terms unknown and they agree to meet at the docks in the morning. Will they never learn? Rumples deals always come at a price!
The meet up at the docks the next day where Hook is introduced to a dancing broom friend of Rumples who leads them to none other than the old Apprentice. Hook is now Rumples muscle and ties the scared old man up so Rumple can reveal the magic box with the Sorcerer’s hat. Sadly the Apprentice is absorbed into the hat. I must say the CGI for the hat is spot on and I am thoroughly impressed. CGI isn’t always this shows strong suit but they are bringin’ it with this accessory.
They return to the pawn shop and Hook gets his hook back only to find out his hand wasn’t actually cursed. It was all a lie, a mind game played by Rumple who was all too willing to assure Hook that he hasn’t changed and is still the rogue pirate he always was the only difference is now Rumple owns him. Confused as to how exactly Rumple came to this conclusion, Rumple pulls out a VHS tape of Hook roughing up and helping to eliminate the old Apprentice. I love the use of 80’s technology in this show even though Emma and Henry both have iPhones and internet. Ah nostalgia!
Sadly we only get a brief moment or two of Henry and Regina through this episode. Regina is desperately trying to find a cure for Marian’s curse searching relentlessly through her books of potions and magic in the vault where Henry finds her. They share a sweet moment when he reveals he knows Robin is in love with Regina and wonders why she isn’t happy about it but Regina has to break it to Henry that some things are just incredibly complicated when it comes to adult relationships. Henry later decides he knows just how to find the author of his book and convinces Regina he needs to spend some time with his dear old gramps in an undercover mission with the hopes of pulling the needed info from Rumple.
The older Henry gets the more he takes on the traits of both his mother’s, for better or worse. He enacts his big plan but paying Rumple a visit and asking with giant puppy dog eyes if he could get an after school job working for his grandpa since he is that last real connection to his departed dad. This kid is good. Scary good. Of course Rumple agrees and tells Henry his first job as his new apprentice is sweeping up the shop. The scene ends with a shot of Henry and the dancing Disney broom sweeping up Fantasia style.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8pm ET on ABC.