once upon a time - season 3 episode 5 - hook flying ship

This week, Once Upon A Time gained more wind in its sails, with “Good Form.” The flashback to Hook’s time as a Naval officer has sloppy and over-obvious slo-mo, but that’s about it.

The Players

  • Director: Jon Amie
  • Writers: Christine Boylan & Daniel T. Thomsen
  • Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Robert Carlyle, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Michael Raymond-James, Robbie Kay, Jared S. Gilmore, Colin O’Donoghue

Episode Title: “Good Form”

We’re back with Team Charming, as Operation Cobra Rescue inches closer to maybe happening. Emma comes up with the idea that they need to get a message to Henry, lest he lose hope and slip into Lost Boy psychosis. Snow lands on the notion of capturing one of Pan’s minions. Once the girls have him, Regina offers to rip out his heart and make him a zombie messenger. It’s the never ending story of naughty vs. nice all over again, in saecula saeculorum. Fortunately the A story had a bit more bite. Just as David’s poison reached its final stage, he and Hook light on a naval insignia that belonged to the elder Captain Jones. It may, Hook tells him, lead to a sextant and a way off the isle. Two awkwardly forced farewells later, the boys climb dead MacGuffin cliff. Of course, it’s all a lie. Hook lured Charming up there not to find a tool, or as Peter might’ve hoped, to kill him. There’s a magic spring that can cure the ill but tie the drinker to Neverland forever. We learned that Hook’s brother cut himself with dreamshade, on the intelligence it was medicine. He died once their ship returned to sea. This caused Lieutenant Jones to do a complete 180 and turn pirate. Neal and Rumple, who may or may not be hanging in a bamboo cage next to his son, sit the hour out. But now a freshly-kissed Hook knows Baelfire’s on the island. It is, to say the least, awkward timing.

The Good

  • A Man of Honor: Huzzah for Colin O’Donoghue! On-the-nose beats about bad form (alcohol) and good form (uniforms) aside, this was a strong flashback that informed how we read its Neverland counterpart. O’Donoghue has a strikingly open face in his younger incarnation, which allows you to notice the suffering parts of his present, i.e. the interactions with Charming. Josh Dallas is also more of a fiery sparring partner for him than in previous episodes.
  • If You Can Dream It, Stab It: The episode is purposely ambiguous about Henry. He’s stuck in limbo between being a human being, with feelings and rational reactions to things, and being one of Pan’s sooty minions. He’s still sitting out the games but scratching a house into the ground like he’s getting used to the idea. Jared Gilmore isn’t doing terribly by his own standards with these bouts of stupor. The moment he transformed a stick into a sword was pretty cool.
  • We Can Definitely Handle That Action: Now we need a portmanteau for the good ship..Hemma? Swank? The chemistry was better than any nickname we could come up with. It’s not terrible that Hook knows about Baelfire being alive and on Neverland. It will give us a multi-layered Captain Jones. In a show with so many archetypical conflicts, a well-executed, completely emotion-based love triangle might be the elixir of life.

The So-So

  • Deal or No Deal: Robbie Kay’s still playing his evergreen sociopath to the hilt, and we love it. But Pan’s wheeling-dealing with Hook wasn’t a tempting proposition, considering the kind of man built out in this flashback. The secret Pan reveals at the end was much juicier. It was a great hot button for the episode.

The Bad

  • Hip Hip Hooray!: There’s something about the unambiguously good guys on this show that’s just really, really dumb. Sometimes it’s loveable, as in the moment where David gives Hook a toast and some much deserved credit. But sometimes it’s painfully obtuse, as in Snow fretting about plastic hearts or edging out Henry’s moms: “I’m here too!” If we love the anti-heroes so much because they know what’s up, it would be best for the Charmings to show some good form of their own.
  • A Land Where Sound Never Carries: Didn’t the call via two-way mirror not feel remotely secret because Henry was standing like 10 feet away from the Lost Boys? Was that just us? The episode establishes Pan teleporting within frame. It’s a good thing Henry crushed the mirror, because we’re pretty sure it’s been compromised.


With its interesting flashback and the best CGI so far, “Good Form” returns Once Upon A Time closer to the same. Calling the episode progress might be too much. But the characters make progress, and that’s what allows us to put up with small movements in plot – that and people making out. People making out never hurts.

Rating: 7/10

Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC.

What did you think of this week’s episode?