When I first saw “The Crocodile” I had great hopes that my brand new favorite Captain Hook would one day run into my other favorite Emma Swan. (I also wanted him to have scenes with Jefferson, *sigh* what a wasted opportunity). So I was very excited to see that I didn’t have long to wait.
I had an inkling based on his backstory (Tragic Villain/Anti-Hero v. Overarching Villain) the writers could be setting this handsome newcomer up as a potential romantic lead, and I was eager to see their first interaction to confirm my suspicions.
I do enjoy the Captain Swan first meeting, there is something morbidly amusing about meeting your future True Love from under a pile of corpses.
I also love their first real conversation. I am very fond of couples that start off in opposition to one another (obviously), and that particular scene is a fun study in body language and voice: the lean across the table, the softer more intimate tone, their hands almost touching.
But the winner this episode has got to be the moment when Captain Hook, realizing they are his best option to get what he needs, makes the decision to throw his lot in with this band of heroes.
There are a few reasons why this scene sticks out for me.
Probably the most obvious is I love Interrogation!Emma. Their entire exchange here is wonderful, she is tough and in charge and she’s not falling for any of his BS
right out the gate. I base a lot of my Bountyhunter!Emma headcanons on this scene.
Hook for his part gives it his best effort to stay in character for a few more seconds, but quickly realizes it’s a nonstarter.
From that point forward he drops the act and in this scene he is so honest. He knew he had to be, Emma wouldn’t respond to anything else and she’s already revealed she can see through his lies. He doesn’t resort to charm and flirtation, he doesn’t try to appeal to sympathetic natures. He is direct and truthful because he has quickly done the math and realized he has no choice.
“Here is Cora’s plan. Here’s how I am useful to you. This is the reason why I’m doing this.”
In this scene you can see his thought process and internal conflict in both body language and facial expression, Colin does a wonderful job conveying this, even while restrained.
Hook is not only physically vulnerable tied to the tree, but emotionally vulnerable in his desperation and fear and in those circumstances, under those conditions, he decides to go with honesty.
This Killian is the first glimpse we have at the man behind Hook after Milah in the present day, he is without artifice here. He doesn’t try to charm them or flirt his way out of it, he is direct and to the point because he is smart, and he knows people, and he instantly realizes his best course of action is to just have out with it. Rather than go with half truths or some other form of con/trickery he goes for broke and tells them everything he knows.
This was also the scene I realized that my suspicions might be correct, so it holds a very special place in my heart.
Even though it’s a group scene and others have commentary and brief interactions during it, it is very much setup as being focused on the interaction between Emma and Killian. He looks at the others when they speak or address him directly but he directs everything else to Emma , and most of the scene is framed where the others are out of focus or cut out altogether.
One of the many reasons I have no doubt of CS being intended from the start, is he makes no mention of Milah to the group here, even after Aurora and to a small extent Mary Margaret at the camp, have already revealed themselves to be softer of heart. Surely, an emotional appeal about lost love might have been both honest and effective in this moment rather than implying the only reason he sought revenge was for himself?
The fact that they save that conversation about his previous love for Emma alone says quite a bit, not only about the intentions with regards to Captain Swan but also about Killian himself. His love for Milah is a precious thing to him, one he is respectful of and he doesn’t use it to further his advantage or curry sympathy or favor. He is, as always, respectful of her memory and the love they shared.
I wouldn’t sell my soul until the next episode but I was certainly preparing it for a transfer after this scene.