Is Emma atoning for past sins or is she trying to save the one thing that keeps her human?
“Birth” reveals the true reason why Emma chose to be the Dark One, and explains why she erased Storybrooke’s memory. Emma protects herself, especially her heart.
She grew up feeling abandoned and out of place, moving from foster home to foster home. She loved Neal only to loose him. She builds walls to keep people she loves just far enough in the distance to keep them close but not close enough to hurt her. Fear creates those walls. So in true Star Wars fashion, “ Fear is the path to the dark side.” The one reason to use her dark magic has always been to protect the ones she loves. So it is only fair to believe she would do anyting to save Hook.
Emma needs Zelena to complete her plan to use Excalibur. Zelena’s pregnancy is on super speed and Emma is quick to capture Zelena once the baby is born. It isn’t surprising that Emmais willing to sacrifice Zelena to rid the world of dark magic. However, even though she doesn’t want to place the innocent child in danger, even Regina knows this sacrifice isn’t a good idea.
It was always evident that Emma’s connection to her loved ones had something to do with her motivation. But it wasn’t only to save Henry. Merlin and Nimue’s love story seems to parallel Hook and Emma’s relationship. Hook must watch Emma plunge into darkness.
But Once gives an interesting plots twist. They decided to closely parallel the Nimue plot by turning Hook into another Dark One. Emma changes the game when she doubles the power of the Dark One. She had the greatest of intentions. Watching her break down as she comes close to saying goodbye to Hook forever is heartbreaking.
It all seems heroic, but why is it so cruel? Hook has been fighting the darkness within him for decades and it was only his love for Emma that gave him the ultimate push. He wants to be the better person and has tried so hard to push the dark away to become the hero he believes Emma deserves. It is cruel to take all that away from him, against his wishes, and turn him into the one thing he has fought so hard to destroy.
But can Emma be blamed? Didn’t Regina ask Emma for the same sacrifice to save Robin? How does Nimue play into all of this?
The one true surprise is Hook’s response. He had just explained to Emma that he would forgive her for anything she might have done in Camelot. He talked about his own past actions and the power of forgiveness only to turn his back on Emma the instant the truth was known. Why did he turn against her so quickly?