Let’s talk about Killian Jones...
So, my first reaction to the end of 6x12 was totally, “Was that really necessary?” (Okay, actually it was “The fuck”, but that’s what was implied.) And then Writer Margaret took over and she thought back to some of her favorite redemption arcs and it actually made sense.
Disclaimer: You are well within your rights to disagree with me and I still love you if you do. You are also welcome to skip this if you like, if this frustrates you or makes you angry, ignore it. It’s only my opinion and I won’t be offended if you choose not to be upset further. No judgment. We all bring different life experiences to an episode, so we are all affected differently.
(I’m also not interested in comparing Killian’s arc to Regina, because as much as I love her, I think the writers sometimes forget that she’s still in the middle of hers. He’s gotten a much better, fully fleshed out redemption arc and that’s my final word on that subject.)
To me, as the audience, Killian has been through enough. He’s changed, he’s repented, but the thing is…it’s very clear that he’s not at peace with his past.
And part of that is because he hasn’t truly made amends. (Bear with me a moment, I know you’re thinking about Belle.)
Think of the best redemption arcs you’ve ever seen. If you’re an ATLA fan, you might think of Zuko. If you’re an FMA fan, you might think of Scar. They both have one thing in common: at some point they face the victims of their crime. Every good redemption arc has that moment. The moment when a murderer stares down a gun held by the girl whose parents he killed and accepts the consequences of his actions.
Since so many of his crimes are centuries old, Killian has never has never been confronted by someone hurt irrevocably by his actions. And yes, he shot Belle, but Rumple wiped that injury away with a wave of his hand–in the end it altered her life very little. In the end, there was very little for her to forgive.
But David… David has a wound that hasn’t fully healed. David has lived under this shadow his whole life. He lost someone he loved. He spent years thinking his father had betrayed him. He and his mother scraped by every year to make up for his father’s loss.
Killian is going to have to confront that.
Now, I know someone out there is going, “What about Liam 2.0?″ And it’s true, Liam fulfills all the same criteria as David. But his story–and by all accounts we’re not fully finished with that story, so it might still tie in–fulfills a different purpose. Liam’s story was about breaking a cycle.
David, though… When that moment comes, David will represent Killian’s dark, sordid past in it’s entirety.
And David is going to forgive him. It may take him an episode or two, but David is going to look him in the eye and tell him that he isn’t that man anymore. And when David forgives him, it will symbolize every horrible thing Killian has ever done being put truly and finally in the past.
Killian will finally have peace.
Killian will be able to move on.
(And he won’t have to die a fourth fucking time to do it.)
Which means when he finally (finally!) asks Emma to marry him, it will be with his past truly behind him. He’ll be going into his future with his redemption arc fully complete.