With Once Upon A Time Season 4 Episode 12 wrapping up the first half of the current season tonight, will Captain Swan fans find themselves swooning... or distraught?
Things could go either way since Hook's heart is still in the clutches of nemesis Rumplestiltskin and our one-handed pirate has been forced to do things that could threaten his relationship with Emma Swan, as well as the lives of the citizens of Storybrooke.
Will Hook get out from under Rumple's thumb? What kind of repercussions are in store for Hook for his actions? And, with the upcoming arrival of Maleficent, Cruella de Vil and Ursula, has Hook maybe crossed paths with them before?
I spent time last week on the set of Once Upon a Time, grabbing a cup of coffee with Colin O'Donoghue to get the lowdown on what we'll see in the mid-season finale, what's coming next and, given the time of year, the actor's love for the Christmas holiday...
TV Fanatic: I feel like you’ve been able to do some different dramatic work this half of the season with the current storyline. Do you feel that?
Colin O’Donoghue: I do, yeah. Look, Hook as a character, I’ve been very lucky with because he drifts out of light and dark and he can be charming and he can be dangerous but I definitely think that this season he’s been trying to focus more on making this relationship with Emma really work within the confines of living in Storybrooke where they fight snow monsters. It’s been fun to be able to try to explore that side of him because you’ve never really seen that.
At the end of the day, with the whole thing with Milah and his quest for revenge for those hundreds of years, when he gives his heart to somebody, it’s theirs and he’s in it one hundred percent even though he’s been a pirate for hundreds of years and he’s done things that he’s not proud of so when he’s in love with somebody he’s really in it, you know?
TVF: So now that he is ‘heartless,’ so to speak since Rumple took it, have there been challenges in playing him that way?
COD: There has been. With this, we kind of thought the way I’d approach it is I thought it would be fun because Rumpelstiltskin would want to torture Hook but you can see that he still feels but I think that makes it all the harder that stuff that Rumple is trying to get him to do.
TVF: Do you think that maybe Hook and Rumple are more alike than maybe either of them would want to admit?
COD: Oh, that’s interesting. You know what? I think you’re not wrong. They both have done things that they felt were for the right reasons but turned out to be such heinous things. The only difference is that maybe Hook maybe feels a little bit more remorse than Rumple does.
I’m not one to talk about somebody else’s character because it’s their decision how things are but you can see that [Gold[ wanted to be the better person for Belle but he lies to her, keeps the dagger from her…but I think with Emma, I think [Hook] has given into this relationship more. I know that he’s held some stuff back from her but that’s more to protect the situation as opposed to protect himself.
TVF: I like how the villains are never full-on villains. I still wonder if Hook could go back to the dark side again because the line for them is pretty thin between good and evil for them.
COD: It would be interesting to see if he went back that way again. I think that Hook is really misguided and he sort of became the villain to try and avenge the death of the woman he loved so I think he has a warped sensibility there as to what he thought he was doing to avenge the death but he was causing devastation along the way.
TVF: First question for Sunday’s episode, how would you predict Captain Swan fans will react to this finale?
COD: I think they will be…intrigued. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t want to give it away. There’s a definite cliffhanger at the end of the episode. It’s very difficult especially with a mid-season finale or a finale to not give too much away because I think what’s important is for fans of the show to just go in and go ‘oh my God, that just happened!’ But I think that people will be very, very happy with the episode and it sets up the second half of the season very, very well.
TVF: Any chance we’re getting more of Hook’s backstory anytime soon?
COD: We definitely get more of Hook’s backstory in the second half of the season. Weirdly, I kind of miss my pirate outfit. I’m very, very happy with my modern clothes and I was delighted to get them but I kind of miss that big long, leather jacket.
TVF: That coat was heavy!
COD: It was heavy but it sort of gives you stature and it’s fitted and makes you feel like a pirate.
TVF: So maybe we’ll see you in that coat again?
COD: [grins] Maybe.
TVF: Any idea about the future of the Jolly Roger? Is Hook going to get it back?
COD: You definitely see the Jolly Roger again but I’m not going to say in what context. Hook misses the Jolly Roger. I miss the Jolly Roger. It’s my boat!
TVF: The fact that Hook comes from the sea and we know Ursula comes from the sea, is there any chance there’s some history there?
COD: All I can say is that Hook has history with one of the three villainesses but I won’t say which one.
TVF: The show has such a big cast but is there anybody you’d love to see Hook have more scenes with?
COD: I’m very lucky because Hook in the course of the three seasons I’ve been in has worked with just about everyone and has been involved in one way or another. At the moment, maybe with the three villainesses and maybe Robin Hood. Sean [Maguire] and I are good friends so I’d like to see them go for a pint and chat about things.
TVF: I’d like to see that! It would be a fun scene to have Robin Hood and Hook having a beer talking about their relationship woes.
COD: They could be having a chat and then Will Scarlett can come in, that one mate that the other mate doesn’t like. [laughs]
TVF: Let’s make that happen! What else are you up to? Anything with your music?
COD: I did shoot a movie in Nashville in the summer where I play a musician.
TVF: You look very comfortable holding a guitar.
COD: I’ve played since I was eleven so I’ve been playing for a long time. I’ve got four guitars here with me here and a ukulele. I don’t get a chance to play since it’s difficult when you’re so busy with the show and I have a 16-month old. But I love the guitar.
TVF: What can you say about the movie?
COD: The movie is called The Dust Storm. It’s a love story of sorts. It’s a small, independent movie but it was great fun to play a completely different character than Captain Hook. I absolutely love playing Captain Hook but he’s very specific so it was fun to play something else.
TVF: Maybe there can be a karaoke bar when you guys are having a pint.
COD: Maybe! Maybe!
TVF: Hook can pull out a ukulele…
COD: Well, he’d have to play slide guitar, ya know, with the hook.
TVF: That’s right! Are you looking forward to the holidays?
COD: I absolutely love Christmas. I’ll be going back home to Ireland and I can’t wait to spend time with the family. I have the Christmas music station on in the car and listening to it. I just love it.
Once Upon a Time Season 4 airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.