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This key will open the gateway to a place called... the Mysterious Island. It is a place where we can start over. This is your chance, Killian. You don't have to swim the dark waters any longer.
Captain Nemo to Hook

"Dark Waters" is the sixth episode of Season Six of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Brigitte Hales, and directed by Robert Duncan. It is the one hundred and seventeenth episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 30, 2016.


Emma tries to convince Aladdin to work with Jasmine to help Agrabah, while Regina teams up with Snow and David to free Archie from Zelena. The Evil Queen sows suspicion between Henry and Hook, even as Mr. Gold reminds her of his most important lesson. Meanwhile, in the past, Hook finds himself kidnapped by the mysterious Captain Nemo and held captive inside his legendary submarine, the Nautilus.[2]


Deleted Scenes

Doc and Archie were deleted from the episode, even though David Avalon and Raphael Sbarge are both listed in the press release.[2]



Guest Starring





  • The title card features a kraken.[3]
  • The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on August 23, 2016.[4]
  • The episode's title appears in a passage in chapter 3 of the second part of Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, in which the first-person narrator Professor Pierre Aronnax describes, "Under these dark waters there stretched the bank of shellfish, an inexhaustible field of pearls more than twenty miles long."[5]

Production Notes

  • The opening shot of the Jolly Roger[6] is a flipped version of a shot of Hook's ship sailing on Poseidon's ocean in the Season Four episode "Poor Unfortunate Soul".[7]
  • When Hook first meets Captain Nemo, Nemo introduces himself as "no one". Nemo is Latin for "no one".
  • Hook throws Henry's unhealthy breakfast in the garbage and suggests a pirate's breakfast of grapefruit and boiled mackerel instead, adding "there will be no scurvy here today". Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. It is commonly associated with sailors in the 16th to 18th centuries who navigated long voyages without enough vitamin C and frequently perished from the condition;[8] this disease killed over an estimated two million sailors during the Age of Sail,[9] more sailors than were lost in all sea battles combined.[10] In the eighteenth century, it was discovered that scurvy could be prevented and cured by consuming citrus fruit (grapefruits and other citrus fruits are full of vitamin c), which led to the prevention of scurvy.[11]
  • The establishing shot of Granny's Diner is stock footage from the filming of the Season Four episode "Smash the Mirror".[12] This can be seen from the identical foliage on the trees and the climbing plants.
  • The segments with Belle and the two ultrasound pictures were inspired by Brigitte Hales' real life experience from when she was pregnant with her own daughter. When she got two ultrasound pictures, she asked why, and was told that it was standard procedure.[13]
  • The episode script features additional dialogue between Belle and Mary Margaret, in which Belle comments on the flowers at the Storybrooke General Hospital, and Mary Margaret tells her about how she used to deliver them, and that this was how she found David when he was in a coma.[14]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections


  • The name of the Shears of Destiny is reminiscent of the Spear of Destiny, the Holy Lance's alternative name. Like the shears, the Spear of Destiny is closely connected to the Savior, as it is said to be the weapon used to pierce Jesus Christ's side as he hung on the cross.


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • The magazine Belle is reading at the Storybrooke General Hospital is called Modern Maternity.[18]
  • The book that Mr. Gold is reading[19] contains an illustration (seen upside-down) of a crucified serpent, which is also known as an alchemical cross. This is an old alchemical symbol representing the "fixing of the volatile," as in making the elixir of mercury.[20] The picture is from a book about ancient alchemy: Uraltes chymisches Werk (Age-Old Chemical Work) by Abraham Eleazar, which was first published in 1734. Nothing is known about Abraham Eleazar, who was supposedly a Jewish alchemist. His name was most likely fictional, and the real author seems to have been a person called Julius Gervasius of Schwarzburg.[21]
    • Note that the illustration has been modified for the show. The show's version is mirror-inverted and colorized, and the size of the cross has been changed. Extra symbols have been added and the caption has been changed to "Rex Mundi", which is Latin for "king of the world".
    • The caption below the illustration cannot be deciphered on-screen. However, according to the concept art by graphic designer Neil Westlake, it reads:[22]

The Serpent points out to the Spiritus
Mundi Universalem, and penetrates all things
under the heavens. This is our Materia
so have we also of the coagulirten.
Air Repariren.

  • The text is adapted from another work by Abraham Eleazar, The Book of Abraham the Jew from 1774. The original excerpt is identical to the one from the book, except that it says "winged Serpent" instead of "Serpent".[23]

Set Dressing

Costume Notes


  • The knife that Hook discovers aboard the Nautilus is not the same knife that Hook used to kill his father in "Swan Song". The knife that Hook used had a double edge and a double-sided handle,[58] while Liam's knife is bigger, and has a single-edged blade and a different handle.[59]

Filming Locations

International Titles



  1. Porter, Rick (November 1, 2016). Series lows for ‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘Madam Secretary’ and more: Sunday final ratings. TV by the Numbers. “Once Upon a Time (ABC). 0.9/3. 3.06.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, October 30, 2016. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#606) "Dark Waters".”
  3. File:606Title.png
  4. TwitterLogo @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter. "Hey #Oncers -- here's another #OnceUponATime #titlespoiler -- hope to see ya 9/25!" (screenshot)
  5. Jules Verne: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas – SECOND PART: CHAPTER 3: A Pearl Worth Ten Million. The Literature Page. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  6. File:606JollyRoger.png
  7. File:415JollyRogerAtSea.png
  8. Crosta, Pete (December 5, 2017). Everything you need to know about scurvy. James Cook Society. “Scurvy, "the plague of the sea," killed over an estimated two million sailors during the Age of Sail.”
  9. SCURVY: HOW A SURGEON, A MARINER, AND A GENTLEMAN SOLVED THE GREATEST MEDICAL MYSTERY OF THE AGE OF SAIL BOWN, STEPHEN R. 2003. James Cook Society. Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “Scurvy, "the plague of the sea," killed over an estimated two million sailors during the Age of Sail.”
  10. Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail. Goodreads. Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “Scurvy took a terrible toll in the Age of Sail, killing more sailors than were lost in all sea battles combined.”
  11. VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID/ASCORBATE). Retrieved on February 8, 2019. “The first association between citrus fruit and scurvy was discovered in the eighteenth century by Johann Bachstrom; however, it wasn’t until the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries when vitamins and other nutrients became better understood that scientists discovered the role of vitamin C in preventing and treating the disease.”
  12. File:408GrannysDiner.png
  13. TwitterLogo @InkTankGirl (Brigitte Hales) on Twitter. "Tiny behind the scenes look: pulled the two ultrasound thing from the fact that I got two with my daughter. When I asked why? They said..." (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo @InkTankGirl (Brigitte Hales) on Twitter. ""... standard procedure."" (screenshot)
  14. TwitterLogo @AdamHorowitzLA (Adam Horowitz) on Twitter. "Here's another #OnceUponATime #scripttease -- hope to see ya tomorrow night!" (screenshot)
  15. TwitterLogo @AndrewChambliss (Andrew Chambliss) on Twitter. "it happened during the Dark Curse. Liam aged because, as he says, Nemo took him outside the bounds of the curse's magic" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo @AndrewChambliss (Andrew Chambliss) on Twitter. "Hook stayed in Enchanted Forest which was under the time freezing magic of the Curse. Nemo and Liam went outside its bounds" (screenshot)
  16. File:606PeopleLikeMe.png
  17. Chelsea Stark & Samit Sarkar (May 18, 2018). Microsoft’s new Xbox controller is designed entirely for players with disabilities. Polygon.
  18. File:606BelleReading.png
  19. File:606GoldReadingFlipped.png (flipped screenshot)
    File:606GoldReading.png (original screenshot)
  20. Crucified Serpent (Alchemical Cross). Retrieved on February 6, 2019.
  21. Abraham Eleazar's Uraltes Chymisches Werk (Age-Old Chymical Work). Bildgeist (October 10, 2014). Archived from the original on March 30, 2018. “Nothing is known of Abraham Eleazar, supposedly a Jewish alchemist and author of this remarkable book about ancient alchemy: Uraltes chymisches Werk… ("Age-Old Chymical Work") which was first published in Erfurt in 1734 (Source). The Jewish Encyclopedia states that the Eleazar's name was likely to be fictional, and the real author might have been Julius Gervasius of Schwarzenberg.”

    Gottheil, Richard. ELEAZAR, ABRAHAM:. The Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved on February 6, 2019. “Fictitious author of an ancient work on alchemy published in Leipsic in 1760, and bearing the title "R. Abrahami Eleazaris Uraltes Chymisches Werk." The real author seems to have been Julius Gervasius of Schwarzburg, whose name is given as the editor on the title-page of the first part.”
  22. File:ManuscriptsVariousEpisodesConceptArt.png
  23. Rabbi Abraham ELEAZAR: The Book of Abraham the Jew. Rex Research. “The winged Serpent points out to the Spiritus Mundi Universalem, and penetrates all things under the heavens. This is our Materia, so have we also of the coagulirten Air Repariren.”
  24. Morning Creekside. Canadian Art Prints & Winn Devon Art Group. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  25. Summer Secret By Megan Lightell. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  26. File:606MaryMargaretSeesBelle.png
  27. File:212LettingHimDie.png
  28. File:213ComfortsFromHome.png
  29. File:219WhereIsShe.png
  30. File:320CharmingFamily.png
  31. File:206MotelRoom.png
  32. File:704MightThatBe.png
  33. File:706RogersTilly.png
  34. File:606JoinMe.png
  35. File:606HookGetsUp2.png
  36. File:520CleoComesOut.png
  37. File:621TryingToSteal.png
  38. File:606YourLifeFamily.png
  39. File:212IDidIt.png
  40. File:212IPurchasedYouACommission.png
  41. File:403DiscoveredSomething.png
  42. File:407DiplomaticMission.png
  43. File:407WelcomeToMyKingdom.png
  44. File:417OffWithHisHat.png
  45. File:516OzGuard.png
  46. File:618ToRemindThem.png
  47. File:614GiveThatOrder.png
  48. File:615FromThoseBeasts.png
  49. File:606ThisIsNot.png
  50. A.L.C. Sosta Dress. Shopbop. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  51. alice + olivia Kylie Long Shawl Collar Jacket. Shopbop. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  52. Zimmermann Lace Up Dress Booties. Shopbop. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  53. Younger: Season 3 Episode 3 Liza's Red Floral Print Dress. shopyourtv. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  54. File:606FirstUltrasound.png
  55. Diane von Furstenberg Marisa Print Silk Tie Neck Dress. Nordstrom Rack. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  56. JESS'S BLUE PRINTED TIE NECK DRESS ON NEW GIRL. WornOnTV. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  57. MANDY'S BLUE PRINTED TIE-NECK DRESS ON LAST MAN STANDING. WornOnTV. Retrieved on February 8, 2019.
  58. File:511Killian.png
  59. File:606ThatKnife.png
  60. TwitterLogo @whatsfilming (What's Filming) on Twitter. "Got a tip that something is filming along Allard Crescent near Derby Reach Park in Langley. Anyone seen or heard what it could be?" (screenshot)
    TwitterLogo @Teresa_Roe (Teresa Roe) on Twitter. "that would be OUAT" (screenshot)
  61. InstagramIcon vfxsup (Craig Clarke). November 7, 2018.  "This was such an amazing set to shoot in!!!" (archive copy)
  62. FacebookIcon nick.eversman (Nick Eversman). June 20, 2017.  (archive copy)

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