‘Once Upon A Time’ S4 Ep 4 recap: Idle hand

Hook soon realizes that he doesn’t need 2 hands to win Emma’s heart. (Photo credit: Disney/ABC Press)

Oh my, Oncers! “Once Upon A Time” had us on a roller coaster ride of emotions during Sunday’s (Oct. 19) “The Apprentice.” We were elated by Captain Swan’s first date, worried about Hook’s hand, enraged by Rumple’s villainy, endeared by Anna’s niceness, and moved by Will’s homesickness and heartbreak.

Fairytale Land, past: “Love is a weapon.”

Anna is adorable and Elizabeth Lail is dynamite in this role. You can’t help but smile when she’s on-screen. That’s why it hurts even more when sweet, innocent, optimistic Anna is deviously tested by the Dark One.

A long time ago, Zoso, the Dark One before Rumple, tries steeling the Fantasia, which is protected by the sorcerer’s apprentice. As Zoso approaches, the apprentice assures that he is not the first Dark One he has faced. Many have tried, but none have succeeded in attaining the box because the powerful treasure is enchanted. No one with darkness in his heart can break the spell and have the box.

Years later, Rumple finds a way around the enchantment. Anna arrives asking for information about her parents’ interaction with the Dark One. Anna will do anything to know what happened, so she agrees to Rumple’s misleading deal. She must give Rumple’s potion to a child-eating old man (aka the apprentice) who lives in the woods.

Anna visits the apprentice and realizes he is a kind soul. She pours the potion into the fire instead of poisoning the old man. When she meets up with Rumple afterwards, he says that potion was an antidote and not poison. Rumple had already poisoned the apprentice with a potion that has now turned him into a mouse. Ha! Good one, “OUAT.” If only he was as cute as Mickey. Rumple reveals the mission was a test and Anna passed.

The Dark One was trying to tempt her, but she successfully overcame the darkness in her heart. Anna scoffs at Rumple, saying she wasn’t even tempted. Her decision to spare the apprentice was a no brainer. She claims, “I’m unlike you, nice!” So Rumple poses her with a new challenge.

The fine print in her deal says she will be locked away in a tower if she doesn’t fulfill her end of the agreement. If she never returns home, Elsa will be consumed with guilt and succumb to the darkness within. She will become the monster her parents feared she would be. The only way to break the contract is to kill Rumple. Now Anna is truly being tested.

She grabs her sword, but cannot go through with it. She sheds a tear and Rumple catches it on his dagger. He needed the tear of someone who faced one’s inner darkness and turned it away. Anna is appalled by the way Rumple turns love into a weapon. Rumple snickers, “Love is a weapon…so few people know how to wield it.” He goes downstairs and is able to use the tear to retrieve the Fantasia box. Once he has opened the box, Rumple returns upstairs to taunt Anna some more.

He tells Anna that her parents’ problem was Elsa. Ouch! They wanted something that would take her power away forever. They feared her and wanted her to be a normal girl. The wizard’s hat inside the box can steal magical power. When the hat is fully charged, the Dark One will be unstoppable. Uh oh!

Anna tells Rumple that the apprentice dedicated his life to protecting the box and he’s not going to give up now. She looks up to the apprentice mouse for a little assistance. He jumps down and bites Rumple’s hand. Rumple drops the Dark One’s dagger and Anna picks it up. She quickly realizes she has gained control over the Dark One with the “wavy knife.”

This is why Rumple has been desperately trying to get that hat. With its power, he will no longer be under the dagger’s control, but he will still keep all of his power and gain even more. So Anna commands Rumple to give her the box, promise to never hurt her or Elsa, turn the mouse back into the apprentice, and send her home to Arendelle. Rumple complies and Anna vanishes with the box, but the dagger remains.

Is Rumple still bound by Anna’s commands? Is he incapable of harming Elsa and Anna? Or is that command null and void since Anna lost the dagger? The rules of magic can be tricky, so we can’t be sure exactly where Rumple stands. We do know that the apprentice did turn back into a human, but more on that in a bit.

Anna returns to Arendelle and loving embraces Kristoff. She tells him the heartbreaking news about her parents’ intentions. Elsa must never find out because it would crush her. Anna doesn’t know what to do, but she must find a way to help Elsa out.

Well now we know the kind of ammo Rumple has against Elsa. If he tells her the truth, she may lose control of her powers again. As we soon discover in the present, Rumple is back to his evil ways.

Storybrooke, present: “If you go after my love, you will surely lose yours.”

With Henry’s support, Emma asks Hook out on a date. This scene is everything we could’ve hoped for. She catches Killian off-guard, evidenced by the funny way in which his dart drastically misses the target. He’d prefer to be the one doing the actually asking. After all he’s like 300 and obviously old-fashioned. Despite his centuries of experience in Neverland, Hook has “retained his youthful glow.” Classic Killian. He should come off as a pompous ass when he says things like that, but it’s just too irresistibly charming. Anyway, Emma made her move, so Hook decides to commandeer the rest of the date. She asked, so he gets to plan. Yay!

Emma happily returns to her car and finds a mysterious puddle underneath. Melted ice perhaps? Emma is onto her frigid stalker, but she won’t let it spoil her big night. Meanwhile, Hook gets a hand.

As we saw in the buzzed about sneak peek, Hook blackmails Rumple into restoring his hand. Rumple warns that the hand from the former blood-thirsty pirate may conjure up old habits. Hook has come a long way and doubts his idle hand will alter his behavior. He insists, “Nothing can change me back.” Rumple sneers, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Magic comes with a price. Is it really worth the risk? Doesn’t Emma seem happy with Hook just the way he is? The gesture is bittersweet. It is touching to see Hook tap into his romantic side. He wants to hold Emma with both hands and he definitely takes advantage of having both of them. But he also knows that trouble is brewing.

Emma is all dolled up for her big date. Mary Margaret, David and Elsa shower her with compliments. Elsa doesn’t want her icy mess to cause Emma any complications and wants her new friend to enjoy a night off. Meanwhile, the Charmings fawn over their daughter. They never had the chance to send her off on her first ball and this will be the closest thing to it. So Mary Margaret breaks out the polaroid camera. So Snow White is retro. How cute!

Hook makes quite an entrance. He gives Emma a red rose with his newly restored hand. The funniest thing is that it doesn’t even register. Emma is so caught up in the moment that her mother has to point it out. Of course hilarity ensues. David will kick his ass if Hook mistreats Emma in anyway. Hook assures Charming that she “couldn’t be in better hands.” Hehe. Yeah, that’s what David’s worried because now Hook’s got two of them. I’m surprised David didn’t warn Hook not to get too hands-y with Emma. Let’s just keep adding to the pun pile!

Jesting aside, this scene is really sweet. This is Emma’s first date where she has her whole family caring and worrying about her. She keeps saying she needs her own place, but the importance of their involvement in her life is evident. Now for the actual date.

Hook takes Emma to a nice Italian restaurant that even has a couple dining “Lady and the Tramp”- style. Adorable! The only missing part of the ambiance was having “Bella Notte” playing in the background. As they settle into their date, Emma says she’d prefer not to drink. Killian quips about her fearing she’ll get too drunk and easily succumb to his charms. Emma explains that she simply wants to stay sober just in case the Snow Queen makes her move. Emma knows the Snow Queen’s presence in Storybrooke has something to do with her. As Killian takes her hands into his, she promises not to obsess over work. But when you’re sheriff, the job sort of follows you everywhere.

Will spots Emma in the restaurant and makes a run for it before getting noticed. As he rushes by, he knocks into Emma. Killian is suddenly enraged. His hand impulsively grabs Will by the neck and Hook menacingly demands him to apologize. Emma thinks Killian is just sticking up for his gal and shrugs off the accident. She wants to run after Will and arrest him, but she promised Hook a romantic night off. She holds his hands and finally begins to feel more at ease. Unfortunately, Hook’s mishap has become a major distraction. He fears Rumple may be right and his brut instincts have returned.

Hook walks Emma back home. They share a passionate kiss and he embraces her with both of his hands. Even in the midst of a moment he’s been pining for, his thoughts are preoccupied by his wicked hand and the danger it holds. Once again, Emma wishes she had her own place. Hopefully they’ll have more time to spend together on their next date. Hook makes it a point to be the one who does the asking this time. Hooray for date number two! Let’s hope these love birds make it that far.

Emma steps inside and her parents are perkily waiting up for her. Mary Margaret anxiously wants to know all the details and David justifiably doesn’t want to hear any more than it is necessary. Emma plays it down and just goes upstairs, again complaining about how badly she needs her own place. Mary Margaret tells David that Emma looks so happy. Emma quips back that she can still hear them up there. Aww, this new Charming family dynamic is precious. It’s kind of like Emma is living life a little backwards, but it is really great to see her have the sense of family she’s been longing for.

Sadly, Hook doesn’t have a great post-date experience. He catches Will trying to break into the library. Without provocation, Hook’s hand wails on Will. He threatens to kill Will if he ever speaks of this. Oh no! Things really aren’t looking good for Killian. He hates what he’s becoming, so he visits Rumple immediately.

Hook slides into Rumple’s car and says he was right. Killian can’t control his hand and wants it off. Rumple resists, so Hook blackmails him again. If the hand stays on, then Hook may do something that Rumple will regret, like tell Belle the truth. Rumple has switched the dagger, so Hook’s threat ends up being an empty one. Of course, since Hook’s hand was reattached with Rumple’s magic, it is the only thing that can remove it. Desperate, Killian agrees to make a deal. Like Anna, he will do whatever it takes. Rumple says they’ll meet at the docks the following morning. Boo!

The next morning, Emma follows the Snow Queen’s icy trail. She catches up, but the ice witch slips away. Belle calls in the middle of Emma’s chase and has a crime to report. Will broke into the library and fell into a drunken sleep on the floor. At least Emma caught one criminal today. Meanwhile, Rumple meets with Hook on the docks.

Old habits die hard and two-handed Killian got drunk on rum and fell asleep on a bench. Hook is ready to pay his price and get this over with. Rumple animates a broom and instructs Killian to follow it. With Fantasia’s score playing, Rumple and Hook follow their “bristled guide” to the apprentice’s house.

Hook strong-arms the apprentice on Rumple’s behalf. Once again, the apprentice tells Rumple that every Dark One has tried to get the box and each one has failed. But Rumple isn’t like the other Dark Ones. He always gets what he wants. Rumple opens the box and sucks the apprentice into the hat. The poor old man becomes a new start that sparkles in the Fantasia galaxy. Once the hat is completely filled with magic, nothing will be able to compete with Rumple’s power. Oh no, Rumple. Not again!

They return to Gold’s shop and Rumple restores Killian’s hook. The deal is done, or so we thought. Rumple turns the tables and blackmails Hook. He has a video tape of the security footage from the apprentice’s house. He magically erases his presences from the tape, so Hook will appear to be the sole culprit of this horrible crime. But wait, it gets worse.

Rumple tells Hook that his hand was never cursed. He just planted the thought in Hook’s mind and the pirate did the rest. That notion gave Killian the permission to unleash the darkness he keeps trying to bury deep down inside. Hook crossed the line when he threatened to destroy Rumple’s marriage. Belle is the light of his life and he will stop at nothing to protect his relationship with her. Because of that threat, Hook will owe Rumple forever. Noooo!

This is so annoying! Rumple was doing so well and now he’s back to his super evil ways. What about the promise he made to Neal? For shame, Rumple! And poor Killian. How heartbreaking. He wants to be honest with Emma. He was planning on telling her all about the hand and now he’s blackmailed into keeping another dirty secret. This just sucks. Plain and simple. The only bright side is that Robert Carlyle and Colin O’Donoghue are a delight to watch. Their scenes together are riveting…and enraging.

After Hook’s world comes crashing down, he visits Emma at the sheriff’s station. She has Will in custody and asks how he got the shiner. Hook glares and Will keeps mum, saying he doesn’t know who did it.

By the way, the book Will broke in to steal was “Alice in Wonderland.” Aww! He tore out a picture of the Red Queen and was staring at it in his cell. Poor Will! He’s so heartbroken. What happened? How did he wind back up in Storybrooke? Is this all taking place after “Once Upon A Time in Wonderland’s” finale? Hopefully we’ll learn more about Will soon. Michael Socha is such a great addition to the cast. It would be nice to see Will make a friend in Storybrooke.

Emma seems to believe Will, but she’s still keeping him locked up for being a sneaky little thief. David interrupts and calls her over with new information. They searched through all the Storybrooke records and could not find the Snow Queen’s alter-ego: Sara Fisher. Which means the curse didn’t bring the Snow Queen to Storybrooke. She must have been living in this world like Emma, August and Neal. So what’s Sara’s story? How does she know Emma? Could she be connected to the foster home Emma grew up in? There must be some ties to Emma’s past because we’re going to learn more about it this season. If you have any theories, share them below!

During all of these escapades, Regina and Henry have been working on Operation Mongoose. Henry believes his mom deserves a happy ending. If Rumple was able to marry Belle, then she should get to be with her True Love too. Plus, Henry knows that Robin Hood is still in love with her since True Love’s kiss didn’t work on Marian.

Henry comes up with a clever plan. He believes the Rumple knows the author’s identity and forced him to change the book so he could get his happy ending. So Henry is going undercover as Rumple’s apprentice, in order to do some digging. Rumple just gives him two rules to follow. Don’t go into the back room. Don’t touch anything without asking first. Of course, Henry will end up breaking both rules. But what price will he pay when he does?

Henry is still a persistent fighter. He puts his neck on the line for his mamas and it is wonderful. Jared Gilmore is a joy to watch and it’s nice to see him have a mission again this season. Let’s hope Henry finds some good clues and does end up in too much trouble working for Rumple.

This was a fantastic episode, Oncers! There was so much to love, and at times hate. Rumple is in full-fledged Dark One mode and Hook is being tempted by darkness. Love seems to drive both of these men into madness. They are destined to ruin each other. Their feelings towards one another, which we saw in “The Crocodile,” still strongly exist. They are both brutally vengeful, yet romantically protective of the one’s they love. It is a fascinating dichotomy to watch unfold, especially under the new circumstances surrounding their second chances at True Love.

Do you think Rumple was lying to Hook? Is Killian’s hand cursed? Or was it really the darkness within bursting to get out? Either way, Rumple is in a really bad place. Belle should start to notice her husband’s manipulative behavior. She knows him too well and he can’t carry on this charade for long.

Will Hook ignore Rumple’s warning and tell Emma the truth? How would Emma take the news? Hook can’t hide his unwanted ties to Rumple without Emma noticing that something is up. Plus, her “superpower” is to sense when people are lying. She may have fallen for Walsh’s deception, but her relationship with Killian is different. Storybrooke’s fate can be altered by Hook’s honesty. If they know Rumple and his magic hat are a major threat, they can figure out a way to defend themselves. What do you think Hook should do? Will he manage to stop Rumple on his own? Will he decide to confide in some other than Emma?

Share your thoughts and stay tuned for more scoop!

“Once Upon A Time” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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