I simply do not understand those who say that Killian is not necessary in OUAT. Are these people watching the same show I am? Do they care about Emma Swan as much as I do? Just say that you don’t like him because he’s getting in the way of a different ship or… because you don’t like pirates or… whatever. But to say that he serves no purpose is just willfully ignorant. The IMMENSE amount of character development that has happened in Emma Swan in the last season is nearly entirely attributable to him.
He didn’t let her shut her family and friends out and leave Storybrooke, which seemed to always be her desire from season 1. No one else made her question her motives, made her see what her family meant to her as he did.
Despite the horrible damage that magic caused in his life, he encouraged and still encourages her to explore her powers and compliments her about her magic always. No one else did this for her as consistently or as long as he has. When she learned new tricks with magic, she ran to him to show him.
He has also lauded her acts as the savior. Through him, she has become firmly grounded in her role as saving people’s happy endings. SO many times, she’s questioned her abilities or whether or not she could accomplish something and he has steadfastly told her she can do anything - that she is the savior. The most recent happy ending she is out to save is Regina’s. And look at the change in Regina. All because the savior believes in herself and her role.
He has never pushed her to express herself physically with him. He patiently waited for her, because of her past with men, even though she clearly was attracted to him. Now, it is through contact with him that she gains comfort and calm. She clearly craves his touch and his embrace.
He has committed numerous acts of heroism to her and her family’s benefit - never telling her about them (unless asked). Because he doesn’t want her to have to live as an orphan ever again. The side effect is that whenever she finds out about these acts, it makes the lost girl feel like she has someone she can count on no matter what.
Everyone needs love in their life. They need a partner. A champion. A lover. A friend. He is all of that to her. As the actors playing these parts have said, they are truly in love with each other.
In this last episode - Best Laid Plans (a very Killian-light episode, imho):
Killian delivered critical information he got from Ursula about the QOD/Rumple plan, which he got by giving Ursula a happy ending.
He told Emma how easy it is to descend into darkness - trying to give her advice based on his own past. And Emma shows him (and the audience) how open her heart has become by embracing him and stroking his face to show him that she will be okay.
And just so we, as the audience, know where Emma’s heart is, they gave us a conversation where Emma assures Killian that he is the only man in her life.
When she was angry at her parents - he held out his hand to her - again, trying to soothe her and keep her from pushing them away. And he respected her when she pulled way. He knows her - knows when she needs to process on her own.
He stayed with Snowing, when Emma needed space to think, clearly discussing what was best for her, because her parents know that his role in her life is to keep her from shutting them off, to keep her out of darkness, to be her rock.
She was at the docks (where she knew she could be found), hurting, and when he arrived he gave her a positive message about her friend, clearly trying to keep her spirits up. And again, she clung to him. She needs his touch, to feel him and hold him, to feel grounded. Because he has been there all along. And she knows that he will always be.
And that’s the thing…See. He has been there all along. In all the episodes. Just in case you need to know the reason why he’s there. To show her that there is at least one person in the world that will not abandon her. Will fight for her and her loved ones. Will not hurt her. Will show her how important and special she is. Even when she doesn’t see it in herself.
No. He does not have magic like Regina or Emma, but neither do Belle, Snow or Charming, or Henry. Henry’s role is to get everyone to believe. Belle’s role is to research. Snow and Charming’s love story and life provide storylines and plots. He may not be the evil Captain Hook anymore and have major storylines related to that, but he has a major role. The true love of the savior. The person who has made her whole again. The person who has made her stronger. The person who, by being there always, has shown her that she is not a lost girl. She is a happy ending. She is his happy ending.
You can’t just remove Killian from her life or the show. He contributes to the plot, as he did with the Ursula info. But, moreover, by way of strengthening Emma, he makes her more able to defeat whatever dangers lie ahead.
If he were to be taken out of the story at this point - killed off - Emma would be devastated. She would relapse because there is no one who has consistently been there for her like him. Remember the tearful middle-of-the-street conversation. That was a HUGE thing for her to admit. JMo teased that moment as being a MAJOR revelation about Emma in all the press interviews prior to 4a. So, if he left her, by death or otherwise, she would close off again. Possibly permanently. Because this would prove to her that everyone she loves gets taken away. And she has NEVER loved like this before.