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This article focuses on the Squid Ink that can be used to paralyze a person.
For the ink used by the Authors., see Magic Ink.

It wasn't the quill itself, but the ink, what captured the Dark One... Harvested from the rarest species of squid, from the bottom of the bottomless ocean. Impossible to find, unless you're a mermaid, or me.

Mr. Gold to Henry src

Squid Ink is a magical substance featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the fourth episode of the first season.


Before First Curse

Squid ink, a temporary paralytic used on magical beings, can be found in a bottomless sea from the rarest squid, but can also be obtained from a mermaid. ("Into the Deep")

After luring in the Black Fairy, Rumplestiltskin uses squid ink to paralyze her as he questions her about why she abandoned him. The Black Fairy, at first, is shocked to learn he is the son she left behind, but then, she laughs at him and callously admits she chose power over love. When the ink's power wears off, she holds Rumplestiltskin's neck in a vice grip and mocks him for not having enough time to ask more questions. ("Changelings")

Learning of Ursula's simple wish to sing at Glowerhaven, Hook, moved by her desire to bring others happiness with her voice, agrees to take her there. Not willing to let his daughter leave, Poseidon offers Hook squid ink for immobilizing his hated nemesis, Rumplestiltskin, if he absorbs Ursula's singing voice into an enchanted shell. Instead, Hook reveals the deal to Ursula, and she helps to steal the squid ink from her father's vault for him. As a last ditch attempt to prove to Ursula that Hook only cares about having vengeance, Poseidon takes away the squid ink. Overcome with anger at losing his chance at revenge, Hook removes Ursula's singing voice so Poseidon can never use her gift to lure sailors to their doom ever again. ("Poor Unfortunate Soul")

Desperate to change her life, Cinderella makes a deal promising Rumplestiltskin an unknown price. After she attends a ball and wins the heart of a prince, Rumplestiltskin reveals he desires her first-born child. With the Blue Fairy's help, Cinderella tricks the Dark One into signing a new deal with a magic red quill coated with squid ink, which freezes him in place. Now paralyzed, he is transported to his jail cell to keep him from taking Cinderella's child. ("The Price of Gold")

Secretly, Rumplestiltskin takes a jar of squid ink with him to his prison. In exchange for information about the Dark Curse, Snow White tells him her unborn child's name, Emma. Aware that the child, born of true love, has immense power, Rumplestiltskin writes down Emma's name repeatedly on parchment using squid ink as an attempt to remember her even if the curse takes away his memories. Rolling up the parchment, he hides it as a scroll in the cell and leaves it behind once the curse takes him to another land. ("Pilot", "Queen of Hearts")

After First Curse

In StorybrookeHenry is having dreams of being in the Netherworld due to recently waking up from the sleeping curse. In this world, he meets another trapped person, Aurora. They are able to exchange information so Henry knows Emma and Mary Margaret are now stuck in the Enchanted Forest with a nemesis, Cora, preventing them from finding a solution to return home. Mr. Gold tells Henry to inform Aurora while in the Netherworld that the best way to stop Cora is the same way he was stopped—with the squid ink. By means of communication with Aurora, Henry tries to tell her about the ink in Rumplestiltskin's old cell, but she is forced out of the Netherworld and doesn't hear him. ("Into the Deep")

After Mary Margaret learns from David about using squid ink to combat Cora, she goes with Emma, Mulan and Aurora to find some at Rumplestiltskin's cell. There, they find the ink jar is empty, but discover a piece of parchment with Emma's name repeatedly written on it. Upon being trapped and left in the cell by Cora and Hook, Mary Margaret suddenly remembers Cora practicing magic from her spell book, and the way she used to make the magical substance appear. She demonstrates this by blowing the ink off of the parchment, which forms a cloud that disintegrates the cell bars, allowing them to escape. ("Queen of Hearts")

During the mission to rescue Henry from Peter Pan, Neal kills a colossal squid by the lake so Mr. Gold can extract squid ink from it. They storm into Pan's camp, where Neal shoots an arrow at Pan, which is coated at the shaft with squid ink. While Pan is still paralyzed, he tells Neal about a prophecy that Mr. Gold wants to keep from happening by murdering Henry. Neal later demands an explanation from his father, who reluctantly acknowledges that the prophecy spoke of a boy, presumably Henry, who will help him find his son, but who is ultimately his own undoing. Despite that Mr. Gold insists this was before he discovered Henry is his grandson, Neal becomes afraid he will return to his old bad habits, and then presses a leaf coated in squid ink into his father's palm to paralyze him. ("Nasty Habits")

After Third Curse

During one day, Emma steals a vial of squid ink from Mr. Gold's pawnshop and then hides it behind a wall painting in her home. After Hook and Zelena free themselves from Emma's captivity, Zelena departs from the house, while Hook decides to stay and confront Emma. He quickly finds the ink behind the painting, just as Emma walks in, giving him the chance to throw it on her, rendering her paralyzed. Hook questions her on what she is hiding about what happened in Camelot, but, to his surprise, Zelena returns to offer up answers by stabbing him in the chest. The injury has no effect on him, to which Zelena slowly unveils the reason for his immortality by letting him see his forgotten memories within the dreamcatcher. ("Birth")

Since learning from the dreamcatcher that Emma prevented his impending death by turning him into a Dark One, Hook turns on her, as his interests deviate towards getting revenge on Mr. Gold, who he challenges to a duel to the death. Before the fight occurs, Emma returns the remaining squid ink to Mr. Gold. She asks him to use it on Hook to buy her time so she can retrieve the dreamcatchers Hook stole from her, however, Mr. Gold refuses, citing that he wants to win the battle with honor instead of relying on magic. ("Broken Heart")

After Belle being told by her son that the answer to defeating Mr. Gold is right in front of her, she awakens from the world and finds a book she was reading before she fell asleep. Hook realizes the book is written in squid ink, and then, he instigates a confrontation with Mr. Gold, while Emma ambushes the man with squid ink, paralyzing him so they can look for the shears. After the ink wears off, Mr. Gold slips out of the shop to go after Belle. ("Changelings")

After Fifth Curse
To overpower Wish Rumplestiltskin, Hook goes to his old home near the ocean and summons the mermaid Ariel, whom he obtains a shell of squid ink from. ("Homecoming")


On-Screen Notes


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