This episode is a big improvement compared to the last couple of episodes & was very enjoyable to watch. Not only is the writing smarter & the tone more serious than before, but also it finally progressed very important plot details, particularly with the hat Rumple found in 4x01! I thoroughly enjoyed the flashbacks thanks to the funny interactions between Anna & Dark One Rumple & the way they've adapted The Sorcerer's Apprentice in the show is also very interesting & had an opportunity to be fun yet dark & serious (especially the opening featuring Zoso from Desperate Souls in season 1). Even the references didn't feel in your face like the Frozen ones have been at the moment like the fact the apprentice is turned into a mouse, the music being very similar to the short itself, the imagery & yes, even the alive broomstick makes an appearance which leads Rumple & Hook to the apprentice in Storybrooke! Even if they've been ruining Rumple's character in Storybrooke by turning him back into a complete jerk, I oddly enjoyed it as Hook did get what he deserved for blackmailing him & trying to screw with his marriage, which was just deliciously satisfying to watch for it all to come to bite him in the ass. Easily Robert's performance is easily what glues it all together in this episode & I adored seeing his Dark One self in the flashbacks with Anna & seeing more of Mr Gold in Storybrooke after being in the backseat for the last 2 episodes. All I wish for by the end of this half is for Rumple to have a deeper reasoning behind his regression other than that he's a selfish power obsessed man given how much he went through in season 3! And I'm glad Hook is getting screwed over for threatening to ruin Rumple's marriage so I had no sympathy for him when it turned out the hand wasn't cursed! Anyway, the CaptainSwan date bothered me even if it thankfully didn't overshadow everything else since, well, it's a bit weird Emma is turned on by Hook acting violent by his own accord right in front of her & the fact Will didn't tell her that it was him who beat & threatened him just bothered me! Oh yeah, and leaving him in jail just cos he interrupted their date...not cool! Anyway, I was kinda sad Regina didn't have nearly as enough screen time as others & I liked seeing Henry & Rumple interacting in the end, but I found it sad he's only doing it to go undercover. Clearly he's inherited his grandpa's cunning streak! And yes, although Rumbelle weren't in it together, I was prepared for that since it is a Rumple centric episode & the little bits were nice like his reactions to Hook's threats over her clearly show he loves her so much & doesn't want their marriage ruined & the fact he got flowers for her on his way home-AWWW!!!! Overall, this episode was very enjoyable to watch with fun writing, great plot progression, some pretty solid acting (especially from Robert, as always!) & is no exception to the long list of good Rumple centric episodes!
Nice to see you again Zoso!
'You know how to chase a snow monster, I know how to plan an evening out.' says the man who'd get women drunk to have sex with him!
I wouldn't make yourself at home in the shop if I were you Hook!
'This hand belonged to the man you used to be. Cunning, selfish pirate. If I reunite this with your body, there's no telling what influence it could have on you.' Rather fitting price if you ask me!
Not really a fan of the dress & hair...don't get me wrong it's nice, but it's just not Emma if you get what I mean!
Love Mary Margaret acting like a overexcited mother when their teen daughter is going to prom or their first date!
Out of all the flowers he could have chosen he chose a red rose...that's Rumple's romantic gesture, not yours Hook or Killian whatever you're gonna be called now that you have both your hands!
*Sighs* so nice to see Dark One Rumple again!
Haha! 'Is there something wrong with your skin? Not that there's anything wrong with your skin!'
Nice reference to the segment with the broom!
Yeah, that's definitely an Anna thing not going through with it since he showed her kindness!
Nice Lady & the Tramp reference!
How charming Hook/Killian/Captain Hand!
Nice seeing Regina & Henry bonding!
Ugh, it's not fair they get all the kisses while the other couples have had none!
HAHA! Love how they've turned into the cliched embarrassing parents after their teenage daughter has gone on a date (especially David)!
How nice, punching Will out & threatening him!
God, Dark One Rumple is just hilarious in this!
Very subtle reference to the Sorcerer's Apprentice segment!
Love Anna standing up to Rumple in her own adorkable naive way!
I'd be lying if I didn't say she was badass & Rumple constantly saying 'Do it!' had other connotations in my head...
So all he needed was a tear from her...?
Nice to see how he knows about the hat!
N'aww! Sweet he chose a bouquet of blue flowers that goes with his wife's eyes! Too bad we don't see him give them to her, but still, nice to see him still have a romantic side!
OK, you'd think he'd learn after the first time that's not gonna kill him unless he's powerless!
What the hell is the Snow Queen doing?!
Nice to see that Belle still goes to the library!
Yeah, that looks pretty silly, but still a nice homage to Fantasia nonetheless!
Interesting that the hat stores magic...
Love that even as a mouse, the apprentice can beat Rumple's ass!
Gotta say Anna is pretty badass using the dagger to make sure he doesn't get the box or hurt her family!
So the mansion the box was in does not belong to the apprentice...now I'm wondering how it got there if Anna had it in the past!
Rather grim price if you ask me!
Still love Kristoff & Sven's interactions!
'You were right. Dark One lies, Dark One tricks. This hand is nothing but a lump of flesh. The only thing it did was give you permission. Permission to be the man you really are. Not some puppy dog chasing after the object of his affection, but a ruthless pirate who'll stop at nothing to get what he wants. I did you a favour. I helped you remember the darkness that's underneath.' That's what you get Hook for trying to screw with Rumple's marriage!
Nice callback to the spin-off show!
Aww, he just wants to be with Anastasia! At least she's not dead! <3
Aww! Nice to see them bonding even though Henry is pretty mean since he's going undercover!