Once Upon A Time 2.04 "The Crocodile" REVIEW

TV REVIEW Never Say Neverland Again

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Once Upon A Time 2.04 “The Crocodile” TV REVIEW

Episode 2.04
Writers: David H Goodman, Robert Hull
Director: David Solomon

THE ONE WHERE In the past: We see how Rumple's wife, Milah, ran away with a pirate named Hook, and how Rumple got his revenge by killing her and cutting off Hook's hand. In Storybrooke: Belle leaves Rumple after discovering that he's using magic, and she ends up kidnapped by her own father. In the Enchanted Forest: We discover that Hook and Cora are now working together...

VERDICT Welcome to Once Upon A Time , Captain Hook! And boy, has this guy been a success this season, with Colin O'Donoghue gathering legions of fans influenced by his swaggering pirate ways, tight pirate outfit and bad boy pirate schtick. In a post-Jack Sparrow world it's tough to stamp your own mark on such a scallywag without homaging Depp, but – eyeliner aside – this Hook stands alone.

He's basically a very charismatic bully, which is evidenced from the very start as he cruelly picks on cowardly Rumple and steals his wife. At first it even looks as though he's kidnapped her to be the ship's prostitute (that's a bit naughty for this show), but it turns out that they're actually in love. Quite what we're supposed to make of Milah for running out on not only Rumple, but her little boy as well, is a mystery – are we supposed to pity her? See her side? Condemn her for being a bad mother? (Not only does she leave him, but at the start of the episode we see her getting pissed in the pub while her little boy sits at home alone.) Either way, it ends up being a moot point as Rumple crushes her heart to dust, thus proving that he's an utter bastard.

Which, of course, ties in with the Storybrooke subplot, in which he tries to reconcile with Belle – his one true love. From now onwards, anyone rooting for these two to live happily ever after has to take into account that Rumple actually murdered his first wife! That's quite a hurdle to overcome, not just for her, but for an audience. And yet both Robert Carlyle and Emilie de Ravin play their parts so touchingly that you can't help wanting them to kiss and make up. This show really is quite a moral minefield, isn't it?

Kudos, too, to the writers for so brilliantly weaving together the story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook without actually using Pan (will he turn up later, we wonder?). Due to his scaly skin as The Dark One, Hook nicknames Rumple “Crocodile”, and thus JM Barrie's iconic hatred between the Captain and the Croc begins. Also, remember how the Crocodile in the story swallowed an alarm clock, so he'd tick and Hook could hear him approaching? In this, Rumple says: “Tick tock, dearie. Tick tock!” It's like he knows...

IT'S A FAMILY SHOW We were never going to see too much gore when Rumple slices off Hook's hand, but there really is a ridiculously tiny amount of blood beside it when Rumple bends to pick it up. We're picturing a big discussion between the Once bods and the network heads about how many droplets would be acceptable on a show watched by kids.

DID YOU KNOW? Colin O'Donoghue calls his many followers on Twitter “Hookers”. And why not?

LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT THING! Perhaps this is just some perspective issue, but it looks to us as though Ruby hands Henry the biggest muffin in the world.

MR BEAN Smee joins Hook's crew after providing him with a magic bean (clearly swiped from the Jack And The Beanstalk fairy tale) that can open portals between worlds. If magic beans can open portals, will this be how Emma and Mary Margaret get back to Storybook? How many of those beans are around, anyway?

THE PIRATE'S LIFE Hook's crew don't do much except mull around on the deck, but at one point you hear a pirate growl, “Get your sorry arse up there!” If he'd only said “Arrears!” on the end of that sentence, he'd have graduated from Pirate School with honours.

THIS WEEK'S OPENING CREDITS IMAGE... Hook's pirate ship sailing through the forest.

Rumpelstiltskin: “You have my wife.”
Hook: “I've had many a man's wife.”

Meg Wilde

New episodes of Once Upon A Time air in the UK on Channel 5, Sundays, 8pm

Read our other Once Upon A Time reviews

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