Tuesday, October 29, 2013

OUAT 3.5 - "Good Form"

Spoiler alert

Let's talk about the title.

Captain Hook is known for being a little obsessed about 'form.' Good form. Bad form. It indicates that, in the original play, at least, he came from a background where there was a code of honor. "Once Upon a Time" tries to pay homage to that, and gets it half right.

"Good Form" is the story of Killian Jones, an honest sailor from the land of the Enchanted Forest. For king and country he sails under the command of his brother to the second star to the right and arrives in Neverland. Only once there, they find that the king's command is not for honor, but deceit, and Killian loses his brother due to a certain Pan witholding some important information.

So what does Killian do? Why turn Pirate of course! "At least there is honor among thieves!" he declares.

And that's where OUAT fails. We all know the saying "No honor among thieves", and Killian's declaration would work had the story in any way taken the cliche theme and proved it to be untrue, thus explaining why his words are the opposite of the cliche. On the contrary, just last Thursday on their sister show (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland) the theme was that you are a thief if you steal for yourself, but if you do have honor and steal only to make a better life for others, you are not actually a thief. Still a problematic statement, but not as problematic as Killian's.

Which is a real shame because it was a really good backstory up until then, especially when bookended by an even better present-time storyline, with Hook indeed choosing good form by saving David.

But there's still a lack of logic. Killian is a "good man" with "good form" but he's also a 'bad pirate boy.' It's confusing. Is he good, or is he bad? Why turn pirate in the first place? Why not confront the king? Declare the truth to the people? Killian's decision to turn pirate is not at all good form, but rather the actions of a selfish coward... which is not, I think, what the writers are intending with this episode!

Well. Time will tell. Because Killian now has the choice whether to do the right thing and tell Emma that Neal is alive... or hide the truth and continue winning her for himself.

I liked this episode. I found Killian sympathetic, and I enjoyed the plot. It just doesn't hold up under scrutiny, which is a shame. Regina and Rumple were really well done villains with strong motivation... but it feels like the writers cant quite decide what they want to do with Killian Jones/alias Captain Hook.

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