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This article focuses on the Season Five episode.
For the Season Five episode with a similar name, see "The Broken Kingdom".
For the Season Two episode, see "Broken".

Don't worry, love. A broken knee is nothing on a broken heart. Isn't that right, Swan?

Hook to Merida and Emma

"Broken Heart" is the tenth episode of Season Five of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Dana Horgan & Tze Chun, and directed by Romeo Tirone. It is the ninety-eighth episode of the series overall, and premiered on November 29, 2015.


In a Camelot flashback, Hook becomes a Dark One and his lust for revenge against Rumplestiltskin is reignited. When Emma and Hook disagree about their best course of action, the final pieces of the puzzle are revealed as events in Camelot catch up to the present and we witness a charged confrontation between the forces of light and dark that sends our heroes on a collision course with destiny. Meanwhile, in Storybrooke, Hook's centuries old lust for revenge against Gold puts both of their fates in jeopardy while Emma's love faces the ultimate test as she tries to convince Hook to turn away from the darkness before she, Mary Margaret, David and Regina embark on a new mission as an unsuspected evil is released.[2]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

Regina brings Zelena to the loft, where Robin is cuddling their baby daughter. Regina, whose maternal love for Henry changed her into a better person, has some hope that the same could happen for Zelena with her child. Although Robin is skeptical the three of them can ever be a family, he consents to allowing Zelena to visit and be part of his daughter's life as her mother, as long as either he or Regina is present. Robin then allows Zelena to hold the baby, and as Zelena coos over her daughter, Robin and Regina exchange uncertain looks with each other.

Hook steals parts of Emma's memories so she will forget what his ultimate goal is, before allowing Zelena to put the enchanted cuff on Emma. At some point afterward, he takes all the dreamcatchers from Emma's house shed, hiding them in the clock tower and putting a protection spell on them.

Believing he finally has the means to kill his nemesis, Hook challenges Mr. Gold to a duel to the death on the Jolly Roger. While Excalibur in its complete form can no longer control him, he dares the crocodile to steal the sword from him during the fight, as it is the only weapon that can kill a Dark One.

Belle joins Mr. Gold and their allies at Regina's house to discuss Hook's plans. While Emma believes it makes sense Hook wants revenge on Mr. Gold, she suspects there is more to it than that, though she doesn't know what else because Hook stole some of her memories. Going by Merlin's final message to them about Nimue being their only hope of defeating the Dark One, Mr. Gold suggests the heroes learn as much as they can about her by researching The Dark One Chronicles.

As everyone leaves for the library, Belle notices Mr. Gold is not going with them. He tells Belle that he will face Hook alone, as yet another attempt to prove himself brave after being a coward time after time. He wants to be the man she deserves, but he understands that her continued efforts in not giving up on him isn't the same as wanting to be with him. Mr. Gold vows that if he survives the battle, he will love her in the way he never could before. He asks her to meet him by the wishing well after the duel so he'll know she loves him and wants to be with him.

Emma believes she can help the heroes with her magic, but her friends and family refuse to remove her cuff, believing if she regains magic, she might be influenced by the darkness to do bad things. She is flabbergasted at their lack of trust in her, and only gains a semblance of why when Henry points out the gravity of her own actions in pushing her loved ones away.

Going back to Regina's house, Hook knocks out Merida, who is guarding Emma, before confronting his former love. He cruelly thanks Emma for helping to open his eyes, naming her a pretty blonde distraction, as now he has nothing holding him back from his revenge. Emma insists that the darkness is helping him get his revenge only because it'll help the darkness get what it wants. Hook doesn't care what the darkness does as long as he gets his due. He reasons that Emma should understand him since she was just as selfish, but she justifies her actions were for his sake. To this, Hook alleges that she is a self-sabotager, with her fears of losing her loved ones leading her to push them away, which in turn, will make her the orphan she always has been. Emma, on the brink of tears because of his callous words, asks why he is behaving like this, to which he declares he wants to hurt her like she hurt him.

At the pawnshop, Emma gives Mr. Gold what's left of the squid ink she previously took, asking him to paralyze Hook with it during the duel, so she will have time to retrieve the dreamcatchers Hook stole. Instead, he refuses, deciding to win the fight with honor and no magic. 

Before the duel begins, Hook heals Mr. Gold's limp, so there will be a fair fight between them. At one point, Mr. Gold manages to stab Hook through the chest, but since the sword isn't Excalibur, it has no effect on him. Hook slashes Mr. Gold with his hooked hand, and prepares to finish him off, but Mr. Gold loosens a pulley weight on Hook, who drops Excalibur. Mr. Gold grabs the sword and points it at Hook's throat, but instead of killing him, he spares him, wanting the pirate to live with the fact his worst enemy defeated him.

After Mr. Gold wins the fight, Belle meets up with him at the well. While he is ready to put the past behind and eager for a fresh start with her, Belle rejects him. Although her love for him remains, she is unsure whether she wants to mend their relationship.

That night, Hook fulfills the darkness' plan to open a portal to the underworld. With the blood of Mr. Gold, who has been to the underworld and back, he opens the gateway, allowing Nimue and the other previous Dark Ones to arrive in town.

Deleted Scenes

These scenes are included on Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season.

"Earning Trust" (Scene 15)

After Merida awakens from the sleeping spell that Hook put her under, she realizes that Emma is tying her up. But Emma says that she will let her go after she remembers the Darkness and Hook's plan, and that the only way to remember it is to return everyone's memories.

"Safe & Cloud" (Scene 29)

On his way to find and get help from his mother, Lancelot sees the curse clouds up in the mountains across the sea.



Guest Starring



*: Only in archive footage



Production Notes

  • HIDDEN DETAILS: This episode reveals that Merlin's message from "The Bear and the Bow", was recorded in the kitchen of Granny's Diner, and that the Dark One who found Merlin was Hook. If you watch the "recording" in "The Bear and the Bow", you can see the kitchen shelves and lamps behind Merlin, and as Merlin turns his head as he hears the Dark One coming, Hook's silhouette can be seen in the background, behind Merlin's left arm. It matches what is seen when Merlin records the message in this episode.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • Inside the vault, the Darkness writhes its way around Hook and envelops him, just like it did with Emma in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Hook emerging from the vault is one of the last scenes in "Birth".
  • As Hook is re-living his worst dark memories inside the vault, clips from "The Crocodile", "Smash the Mirror", "Heroes and Villains" and "Operation Mongoose Part 2" are shown.
  • When Hook emerges from the vault, he sees Rumplestiltskin as a manifestation of the darkness, just as Emma did in "The Dark Swan".
  • Hook displays knowledge about the darkness appearing to him in the form of Rumplestiltskin. This is due to Emma confiding in Hook about her own visions in "The Broken Kingdom".
  • Emma divulges to the heroes that she turned Hook into the Dark One in an attempt to save him, which took place in "Birth".
  • Hook recounts Mr. Gold being the reason for his hook, Milah's death and Emma's status quo, events that occurred in "The Crocodile" and "Operation Mongoose Part 2" respectively.
  • When Hook challenges Mr. Gold to a duel, his mannerisms and dialogue reflect those which Rumplestiltskin displayed when he himself challenged Hook to a duel in "The Crocodile".
  • Hook acquired Excalibur in "Birth".
  • Emma and Mr. Gold divulge that Nimue was Merlin's true love and that she was the first Dark One, both of which were discovered in "Nimue".
  • Henry is upset at Emma because she broke his heart, which took place in "Dreamcatcher".
  • Emma recalls her and Henry's mission was Operation Cobra, which was first established in "The Thing You Love Most".
  • David expresses frustration to Mary Margaret about how close they were to removing the darkness from Emma, which occurred in "Birth".
  • Emma first saw Rumplestiltskin's manifestation in "The Dark Swan".
  • Emma tells Hook of their future they planned to have in Storybrooke, the Swan House, which was established in "Birth".
  • Belle reminds Mr. Gold that he's already saved her from Merida, which happened in "The Bear and the Bow".
  • Mr. Gold tells Belle that he's hurt her before in unforgivable ways, which was established in "Heroes and Villains", "Enter the Dragon" and "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • Regina relays the way in which Zelena deceived Robin, which was established in "Heart of Gold".
  • Merida seeks to settle her score with Emma after all that Emma's put her through, which took place in "The Broken Kingdom", "Dreamcatcher" and "The Bear and the Bow".
  • When Merida fires an arrow at Hook, Hook catches it in his hand, just like Emma did in "The Dark Swan".
  • Hook describes Emma as an orphan, which he also did when they climbed the Beanstalk together in "Tallahassee".
  • Hook hears the dagger calling to him, the same thing happened to Emma in "The Broken Kingdom".
  • Emma possessed Excalibur since "Birth".
  • Hook reminds Emma that he supported her and stopped her from crushing Merida's heart, which occurred in "The Dark Swan".
  • Mr. Gold reminds Emma that she sent Merida to attack both him and Belle, which occurred in "The Bear and the Bow".
  • Emma regains the squid ink that was used to immobilize her in "Birth".
  • Regina tells Zelena about how her love for her own child might change her for the good, just like Henry did for Regina during and following the events of "Save Henry".
  • Emma and Hook first stood in the middlemist meadow in "The Broken Kingdom".
  • Hook recalls that the last time a Dark One controlled him, he had to watch as Mr. Gold almost killed Emma, which occurred in "Smash the Mirror". He also recalls that he had to kneel, powerless, while Mr. Gold almost crushed his heart, referring to events in "Heroes and Villains".
  • Emma recalls being abandoned by everyone she loved, such as by her first adoptive family, which she mentioned in "Pilot", and also by Neal, which was established in "Tallahassee".
  • Mr. Gold recalls the first time he was on the Jolly Roger when he was a mortal, which occurred in "The Crocodile".
  • Merlin records his message over a cauldron, the message that was first seen in "The Bear and the Bow".
  • Nimue admits still being in love with Merlin, which was established in "Nimue".
  • Hook sends Excalibur back to whence it came, which is how the sword is shown to be back in its stone in "The Price".
  • Emma says that Hook told her that she was his happy ending, referring to dialogue in "Poor Unfortunate Soul".
  • Hooks refers to his former self as Emma's "lovesick puppy dog". In "The Apprentice", Mr. Gold refers to him in a similar way, as "some puppy dog chasing after the object of his affection".
  • Mr. Gold spares Hook just as he did in "The Crocodile", in this case, however, for a different reason.
  • Emma took everyone's memories using a dreamcatcher-infused memory wipe spell in the curse, which was established in "Dreamcatcher".
  • Emma magicked everyone unconscious on the floor of Granny's just as the curse swept over Camelot, which is how everyone ended up in Storybrooke in "The Dark Swan".
  • The reason for Merida's visit to Camelot is explained in "The Bear King".
  • Rumplestiltskin's manifestation reminds Hook that Mr. Gold was the only one to have died and come back to life, which occurred in "Going Home" and "Quiet Minds", respectively.
  • Hook recalls that the Fury tried to drag Robin to hell at the pond and thought the portal to the underworld only appeared when the moon reached its zenith, both of which occurred in "The Price".
  • The concept of the darkness trying to snuff out the light was first established in "Operation Mongoose Part 2".
  • All the Dark Ones were first seen in "Nimue".
  • The Dark Ones are defeated in "Swan Song".


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Set Dressing

Costume Notes

  • BRAND INFO: Zelena is wearing[45] a Zara Contrasting Piped Cape[46] (no longer available).
  • HIDDEN DETAILS: After Hook changes into his Dark One outfit in the Enchanted Forest, the clasps on the new vest are dragon-shaped, with their tails forming a trinity knot.[9]

Filming Locations


International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (December 2, 2015). Sunday final ratings: ‘Madam Secretary’ and ’60 Minutes’ adjust up. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC) (...) 4.38”
  2. 2.0 2.1 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, November 29, 2015. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#510) "Broken Heart".”
  3. LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME: Air Date: Sunday, September 25, 2016. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#601) "The Savior".. The Futon Critic (September 2016). “Peter Marcin as Chief”
  4. File:510Title.png
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  6. File:305Title.png
  7. TwitterLogo.svg @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter (October 7, 2015). "Here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler (lunchbox purchased separately) -- hope to see ya Sunday!" (screenshot)
  8. Nguyen, Hanh (December 3, 2015). Once Upon a Time's Colin O'Donoghue: Dark Hook Is Like a "Really Pissed-Off Boyfriend". TV Guide. “Yes, you'll see a little bit more magic, not a huge amount. A few more with the red smoke, which is nice ode to the Disney Hook.”
  9. 9.0 9.1 File:510YouWantIt.png
  10. File:510LeavingLibrary3.png
  11. File:521DoYouWant.png
  12. File:510WhatAreYouWaitingFor.png
  13. RED Valentino Women's Pink Ribbon Button Wool Cotton Twill Coat. Lyst. Retrieved on January 12, 2019. (Note that the details are located at the bottom of the page.)
  14. File:511HenryCalled.png
  15. File:510ThingsGotTough.png
  16. ALLSAINTS Survey Regular Fit Leather Blazer. Bloomingdale's. Retrieved on January 12, 2019.
  17. File:511Promo5.jpg
  18. File:512WhereAreYou2.png
  19. File:513LetMeGuess.png
  20. File:514HowDidYouDoIt.png
  21. File:515CruellaKissesDavid2.png
  22. File:516WeJustTalkOr.png
  23. File:517EmmaReginaMagic2.png
  24. File:518GoToBed.png
  25. File:519DavidSeesJames.png
  26. File:519JamesSmiling.png
  27. File:707BiggerOnYourPlate.png
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  29. File:710Test.png
  30. File:711WhatsHappened.png
  31. File:712NowYoureAwake.png
  32. File:715IfFacilierSucceeds.png
  33. File:716StudyingTheBook.png
  34. File:717IKnowThat.png
  35. File:718IKnowBetter.png
  36. File:720HandsAreShaking.png
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  38. File:722LookAtYou.png
  39. Screenshot from The Originals: "Heart Shaped Box"
  40. File:510ThingsGotTough.png
  41. 'Zhen E' Wool & Cashmere Sweater JOIE. Nordstrom. Retrieved on January 12, 2019.
  42. File:511ToThat.png
  43. Screenshot from The Big Bang Theory: "The Escape Hatch Identification"
  45. File:510DoingYourJob.png
  46. CONTRASTING PIPED CAPE From ZARA Singapore. ShopperBoard. Retrieved on January 12, 2019.
    The Sales Part 1 - Zara. A Life To Style (December 27, 2015). “Contrasting Piped Cape - £59.99”
  47. File:511CertainlyDo2.png
  48. File:516CleverGirl.png
  49. File:517FindingGift.png
  50. File:510YouToldMeThat.png
  51. InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). June 4, 2018. "Dark Monday's featuring Colin ;)" (archive copy)
    InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). June 25, 2018. "Colin enjoying a full day of screaming 😂" (archive copy)
  52. InstagramIcon.png vfxsup (Craig Clarke). February 7, 2019. "Just playing around with some editing with this pic of Colin as the dark one." (archive copy)
  53. Minaty Bay. Advantage Waste. Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “Minaty Bay is a small community in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District which includes Cheekye, Coquitlam, Nanaimo, Pitt Meadows, Whistler Village, Garibaldi Highlands and Ladner. Sea Island, Lulu Island, Gabriola Island, Roberts Bank Superport, Peace Arch Park and Galiano Park, Browning Lake and Zorro Bay are also around this area.”
  54. File:510WalkingToCauldron.png
  55. File:501YouSupposedToBe.png
  56. File:510MemoriesAreBack.png
  57. File:502SavingRobin.png