Admit it: You let out a little squeal of glee when that pirate ship came lurching out of the shadows during tonight's title card. A guyliner-festooned Captain Hook just has that effect on people. What else can explain how the pirate garnered a die-hard fan base of "hookers" weeks before he officially appeared on Once? (Word to the wise: Do not Google "once upon a time hookers" unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences.)
Happily, the captain's debut lived up to admittedly high expectations. It's a good thing Colin O’Donoghue was made a series regular earlier this month; something tells me Once's fangirls have finally found a dude to fill the Sheriff Skinnyjeans-sized hole in their hearts. Granted, that hole is pretty small, since his jeans were pretty skinny.
But before we discuss Hook -- a.k.a. the Hottie of the High Seas -- we should turn our attention to poor Belle, who can add "nightmares about boyfriend murdering dwarfs" to her already long list of troubles. After jerking awake, she discovers that while she was sleeping, Rumpelstiltskin has been up to his old tricks -- specifically, spinning golden thread and using the result to make potions. He's hiding the magical equivalent of a meth lab in his basement. Before breakfast, Belle confronts Rump about what she saw, and the imp gives his version of the classic Addict's Denial Speech: "It was just a couple of spells! What's the big deal? I can stop anytime I want to; I just don't want to." Belle, this is your beau's brain on magic. Any questions?
Several years before his transformation into the Dark One, Fairyback Rump is having lady problems of his own. His wife, raven-haired Milah, is disgusted by her husband's cowardice -- he had the nerve not to fight and die gloriously during the last last Ogre War. Milah's dealing with her feelings by drowning her sorrows at a local tavern -- the Poison Apple? -- playing dice and flirting with a certain handsome stranger before Rumpelstiltskin sheepishly appears to bring her home.
But Milah doesn't stay at Rump's Sadness Cottage for long. The next morning, the spinner receives word that the pirates who came to town last night are headed off -- with Milah in tow. Rump screws up what little courage he has and heads to the ship, where he and the audience are formally introduced to Milah's drinking buddy: Killian Jones, a man of wealth and taste. Though he, too, looks down his impeccably shaped nose at Rump, Killian considers himself a man of honor. So he's willing to give the guy his wife back -- provided Rump can beat him in a duel. Naturally, Original Recipe Rump is too scared to pick up a sword, let alone aim it at the charismatic captain. Maybe he should have tried invoking parley, or at least parsnip.
NEXT: Game of Thorns: A Song of Dads and Flowers