Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Okay, I love Captain Hook so much I wrote a novel about him. (Alias Hook, coming soon to a bookstore near you.) But tossing the character into the chaotic mosh pit that the TV series Once Upon A Time has become hasn't done nearly enough to improve the gene pool in terms of story.

The Irish actor playing him, Colin O'Donoghue, is sexy enough. (Although if you've read your Barrie, you know that Mr. Smee, the bosun, is the Irishman; Hook is pure Etonian-bred English.) O'Donoghue would likely rise to the occasion if the writers gave him anything interesting to do.

But, no. After one brief episode that took place at least partially aboard ship, now Hook is landlocked on the Island of Lost Toys, or wherever it is where half the cast is segregated this season, wandering around with the rest of the superfluous characters—Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Snow White, Lancelot (Lancelot? I thought these were fairy tale characters)—in search of a plot.

And—most egregiously of all—last week they introduced the Frankenstein monster, in the person (at least, the cadaver) of Regina's lost, reanimated stableboy lover. It must have been some kind of Halloween thing; the reanimation sequence was even in black-and-white, performed by a doctor called "Whale." (But if you want a truly clever homage to the classic James Whale movie, go see Frankenweenie).

The weirdest thing about the Hook subplot (and I use the term "plot" in the loosest possible sense) was the backstory establishing his enmity with Robert Carlyle's Mr. Gold. Each is responsible for depriving the other of the woman he loved, which suggests a tedious and prolonged grudge match of vengeance between the two of them if Hook ever gets out of Purgatory. And just so we get the point, Mr. Gold, in his sorcerous Dark Lord persona, is the one who cuts off Hook's hand, equating him in the storyline with—yes—the Crocodile.  (They even call him "Crocodile" in the episode.)

Carlyle remains the best (possibly only) reason to watch the show. But, seriously, give a guy a break! They've already got him playing Rumplestiltskin, the Dark Lord, Beast (in the Beauty and the Beast subplot), and now the Crocodile. How long can he be expected to carry the show all by himself? Talk about the hardest-working man in showbiz!


  1. Lancelot, Schmancelot! Captain Hook is no more a fairy-tale character than I am, and neither is Mulan. However, Disney did release movies featuring all three--and Disney owns ABC! I expect they'll be throwing in Nemo, Pocahontas, and John Carter of Mars next.


  2. Sshhh, don't give them any more crack-brained ideas!

    Anyway, that explains a lot; I was looking for the Disney brand in the production credits, but forgot about the big corporate picture. I was wondering why all the names were so annoyingly Disneyfied (Grumpy, Jiminy Cricket, Malefecent). Only Cillian Jones (their name for Hook) is original, although that grinding sound you here is J. M Barrie rolling in his grave over the non-Englishness of it.