During the first season of Once Upon A Time, there was really only one male main character viewers were meant to root for – Josh Dallas’s affable David Nolan, also known as the beyond loyal Prince Charming. By the time the second season rolled around, however, the series decided to introduce Killian Jones, the pirate who would become Captain Hook.
Played by Colin O’Donoghue, Hook was perhaps one of the series’ campiest villains at first, which says something considering the rampant overacting by both Rumpelstiltskin’s and The Evil Queen’s portrayers. An utterly one note character for the entire second season, and even most of the third, Hook was rapidly given more and more importance in the narrative, no matter the fact that he never really fit in there.
For better or worse, Hook remained in a fixture in the series for the remainder of its run, even as O’Donoghue’s acting failed to feel up to par with the heavier material they tried to give Hook in later years. Hook was never made to be a sympathetic character – audiences were told he had changed, when in reality, the pirate was perhaps one of the least likely to change in the entire cast of characters.
With that said, here are the 20 Things That Make No Sense About Hook.
20 He was allowed to become a hero
Being a criminal who takes lives is more or less a precondition for being a villain on Once Upon A Time. It’s also, somehow, a requirement for being a character the series decides is capable of being redeemed, no matter said character’s reliance upon past toxic behaviors and inability to apologize for any of their past misdeeds. To be fair, Hook did try, on a few occasions, to change, and to make amends – certainly more than other villains such as The Evil Queen, Rumple, or Zelena ever did.
However, without fail, every attempt at bettering himself fell short, revealing the ugly truth of his nature inside and consistently disappointing everyone around him, if not outright alienating them time and again.
Yet, he was considered a hero, one who would be forgiven for everything, no matter how cruel.
19 His drinking problem was never seriously addressed
It’s not exactly surprising that a pirate character would be shown to drink quite often, especially when it comes to the pirate’s preferred drink of rum. Once certainly takes great pleasure in making jokes about Hook’s fondness of drinking, his willingness to use rum as a solution for everything, and his tendency to black out in the past from drinking too enthusiastically in the bars he and his fellow pirates frequented.
The jokes the show has its characters make, especially the ones made by Regina, are always incredibly tasteless. In the alternate reality, Hook is a malicious, overweight old drunk, and it’s entirely played off for laughs, even by the real Hook’s significant other, Emma. However, worst of all is the show’s casual treatment of what is clearly a very serious issue.
18 Why he wore eyeliner
Did you know that Captain Hook spends a lot of his time brooding and sulking over past events in his life and the countless vendettas he holds? We bet you probably never would’ve known that, had the series not gone to great lengths to encircle his eyes with the heaviest, most unnecessary display of eyeliner – or, in this case, “guyliner” – seen on television in a long time.
For some reason, guyliner has become entirely conflated with pirates. Look no further than the ridiculous example of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Disney movie franchise Pirates of the Caribbean. However, Hook really has no reason to be going so heavy handed on the makeup, especially when he’s in modern times, and no longer serving as piratesque a role.
17 His friendship with Belle
It’s natural for relationships to change and grow over the course of a series. What would be the point, after all, if people remained static and nothing ever developed – or, in some cases, regressed?
However, what is particularly hard to abide by in the case of Once Upon A Time is the decision to forge a friendship between Captain Hook and Belle French, Beauty and the Beast’s Beauty and the wife of his sworn nemesis Rumpelstiltskin.
It’s one thing to befriend your enemy’s wife: things happen, and there’s really no stopping friendships and affection from forming. However, it’s another thing entirely for the series to try to bill these two as a healthy friendship, considering that, in the past, Hook once knocked her out with a sucker punch, and later shot her and caused her to lose her memory.
16 Why he never change his clothes
Some characters on Once Upon A Time definitely got the short end of the stick in terms of what they were allowed to wear. Take, for example, the characters from Frozen, who were too recent and too popular to be allowed to change out of their signature Disneyfied outfits at any time during their half season arc.
However, for a character like Captain Hook, who is himself already so far removed from the Disney character whose inspiration he shares, it really makes no sense that, for the most part, he remained limited to one or two outfits. In the Enchanted Forest, he would occasionally switch things up with a different colored waistcoat, but in Storybrooke, he essentially wore the same all black, mostly leather outfit every single day.
15 The ableist handling of his disability
Just when you thought Once Upon A Time couldn’t possibly get worse than the way they handle Hook’s addiction storyline, they manage to outdo themselves in terms of offensiveness in the way they treat his disability. Captain Hook is always disabled, in every adaptation; he wouldn’t be Captain Hook if he weren’t, after all. However, few adaptations handle his disability this shamefully.
Whether it’s Regina frequently referring to him as “one-handed,” his own brief storyline of wanting to magically reattach his hand to “be enough” for Emma, or how often the series even conceals his disability as a whole by having him wear a false handed glove instead of his hook, Once fails to provide a disability-friendly portrayal in each and every aspect of his character.
14 His friendship with Charming
Speaking of friendships that make absolutely no sense, nothing says “we’re gonna be best bros forever!” like the man who once hit on your wife, or the man who once tried to take your life, or the man who, as it turns out, was responsible for your own father’s tragic fate. Yet time and again, no matter every possible reason for them to hate each other that the writers come up with, Hook and Charming are somehow portrayed as the best of friends, even as Hook’s relationship with Emma grows more questionable.
To be fair, Hook did also save Charming’s life in Neverland, but the duo so quickly brush past all animosity to become friends that it’s beyond unrealistic.
The fact that Charming is even okay with being in the same room as Hook, never mind seeing him marry his only daughter, after learning Hook took down his father is just unthinkable.
13 His rescue via Zeus ex machina
For much of its run, the rules of Once Upon A Time’s universe are pretty clear: magic is not meant to be used to bring the no longer living back to life. Characters such as Neal, Graham, Robin, and various other supporting characters met surprising, sudden ends, and were never seen or heard from again. When it comes to Hook, however, suddenly all the rules can change. Half a season is devoted to journeying to the Underworld to try and save him from his unjust end.
Except, of course, for the fact that he had embraced his villainy as fully as ever just before he met his end. However, none of that matters: the series pulls off the ultimate deus ex machina – in this case, Zeus ex machina – by having the Greek god himself return Hook to the world of the living.
12 He never apologized for his actions as the Dark One
Hook’s arrival in the Underworld came about just after he had fully embraced the darkness that came with being forced into the role of the Dark One. However, unlike with other characters who descended into the darkest role of all, Hook was never forced to apologize or atone for any of the evil acts he committed as Dark One – no matter how truly reprehensible they were.
While under the darkness’s sway, he was responsible for the sudden, violent demise of Merlin. He also cast a curse that affected all of Storybrooke. He demeaned and humiliated Emma when she tried to apologize for her own misgivings, and as if that weren’t already enough, he publicly tried to take down the entire Charming family.
11 The creepy age differences between him, Neal, and Emma
Once Upon A Time is a series that finds itself preoccupied by what happened in the past, almost to the point that the flashback sequences overweigh anything that is happening in the present. One of the icky consequences of this fact is it exposes the disturbing reality of the age differences in the series.
In the past, Captain Hook cared for and looked after a very young Baelfire, who would grow up to become Neal, a teenage Emma’s older boyfriend.
Viewers are expected to cast all of this knowledge aside when they view the relationship between the nearly 300-year-old Hook and the twenty-something Emma, as it is in turn meant to be considered one of the series’ True Love stories, somehow.
10 His contentious relationship with Henry, his eventual stepson
Given the rocky nature of his past bond with Baelfire as a child, it makes sense that Hook doesn’t exactly have the best behavior around youngsters. However, it’s truly disturbing that his relationship with young Henry, his future stepson after he marries Emma, never really seems to reach a healthy place. All of their interactions – in seasons three, four, five, and six – are laden with layers of mistrust and Henry’s outright dislike of the pirate his mother has taken up with.
The two fight often, whether in full ugly screaming matches or snide quips here and there. An attempt to bridge the gap is made by the middle of the sixth season, but that half-hearted attempt does little to reassure viewers that these two will have a healthy relationship going forward.
9 He resolves his abandonment issues by taking out his father & abandoning another child
Characters on Once Upon A Time – especially in the cases of central villains The Evil Queen, Rumpelstiltskin, and Captain Hook – are far too liberal in their use of patricide, whether with their own fathers or someone else’s. Hook has a particularly difficult history in terms of his relationship with his father. Once a drunkard, the man sold Hook and his older brother, Liam, off into indentured servitude.
However, when Hook learned, years later, that his father had sired another son and stuck around to clean himself up and raise him, he reacted in anger, committing an act of patricide and, in turn, robbing another young boy of his relationship with his father – one of the most short-sighted, idiotic things he ever did.
8 He struggles greatly with telling the truth, especially to Emma
It’s not like pirates are exactly trustworthy characters to begin with, in any work of fiction, but there’s something particularly aggravating about Hook’s preference for deception, long after he has already sworn he’s a changed man.
This is especially true in his relationship with Emma, where he lies to her all too frequently, regardless of whether they are just beginning their courtship in seasons three and four, or nearing their eventual marriage in season six.
As just one of many examples, Hook even proposes to Emma in the sixth season while keeping one of the biggest secrets from her he ever has – namely, that he was responsible for her grandfather’s murder – and he thinks nothing of carrying on with the proposal as if nothing has changed.
7 The series reprogrammed his entire personality to make him a boyfriend
When Hook was introduced in the second season, he was a bloodthirsty, over dramatic villain just like any of the others. He seemed to be a character with a short shelf life, who would come in for an arc or two and then disappear whence he came. However, no matter what seemed likely at the time, the character was brought on as a series regular, and thus required more depth to be introduced to his narrative as he was no longer a solitary, isolated sociopath.
However, in realizing the error of their ways early on, and in figuring out that he was ultimately going to be a love interest for Storybrooke’s resident Savior, Emma Swan, the writers were forced to basically strip Hook of his earlier scoundrel-like personality and reprogram him with the personality of a semi-suitable boyfriend instead.
6 The entire concept of "Wish Hook"
Season six’s Wish Realm episodes are far and away considered two of the worst episodes the series ever produced by most fans. Filled with bizarre situations, entirely out of character behavior, and frankly insulting alternate realities for beloved characters, the two episodes truly added nothing of positive value to the series.
The depiction of the alternate world’s Hook, in particular, drew considerable ire from fans for its offensive portrayal of him as a jaded old drunkard who was meant to be seen as comedic because he was fat and stupid. So what does the show do after that point? Rather than listen to fans’ complaints, the series doubled down on its concept of Wish Hook, making him a main character in its seventh and final season.
5 Framing Peter Pan as the real villain when Hook was a monster, too
Once Upon A Time often tried to come off as smarter than it actually was by subverting well known fairytales and folklore, revealing some surprising twists to the stories we thought we knew in order to pull off “aha!” moments that would keep people watching and talking.
In the case of Peter Pan, however, the series tried to bite off so much more than they could chew.
The reveal that Peter Pan was a villain all along was certainly surprising and made for a briefly interesting storyline. However, the weight of that change was severely undercut by the fact that Captain Hook was still monstrous, too. Neither man was a hero in this story – and thus, neither deserved our sympathy.
4 His creepy way of pursuing Emma
We’ve already addressed some of the uncomfortable truths about Captain Hook and Emma Swan’s relationship here: the age difference is hard to get over, when put into a larger context, and the lack of communication and reliance upon lying is fairly troubling. However, one of the most unsettling things of all came long before the two were in a relationship, and yet it certainly set the tone for the relationship that would follow.
In Neverland, after Hook was responsible for saving Charming’s life, he demanded gratitude and repayment from Emma in the form of a kiss. After she told him this would be a one time thing, he neither respected her wishes nor her personal space, following her around like a predatory lovesick dog until he wore down her defenses and she gave in.
3 He's openly misogynistic
Nothing says romantic lead material quite like a man who routinely demeans and physically harms women, right? Somehow, that’s the toxic message a show about fairytales and happy endings decided to send by making Hook into its misunderstood romantic lead. He has physically harmed multiple female characters, whether directly or indirectly, including Belle, Emma, Regina, and Elsa.
He’s verbally demeaned almost all of the female characters, ranging from inappropriate remarks about Ruby, Snow, and Emma to just plain mean comments about Regina and Belle. In the past, he’s also shown to deliberately target inebriated women as conquests, often going so far as to further weaken their defenses against his clearly ever so alluring charm.
2 Why he traded his ship - his home - for a woman he barely knew
Hook pressured Emma into their relationship in many ways – demanding a kiss from her, following her around, encouraging her to embrace feelings she was just clearly denying – but one of the most surprising and puzzling ways he pursued her was the reveal that he had traded the Jolly Roger – his beloved ship and home – to bring her home safely.
At this point, Hook and Emma had only known each other for a few months, and no matter what connection the series was trying to force between them, there was no way that so epic and grand a gesture was at all warranted at that time.
Because this is a world filled with grand romantic gestures, the series treated it as one, with Emma finally kissing him of her own free will – allegedly.Because how could anything really be of her own volition after so momentously loaded a reveal?
1 His blatant hypocrisy about cowardice
Hook really has a lot of nerve sometimes. One of the biggest attributes he lambastes Rumpelstiltskin for displaying is his cowardice: his refusal to fight for his wife, for his family, for his life when Hook runs away with Rumple’s unhappy wife, Milah, is the conflict that leads to their centuries-old rivalry. However, as can be gleaned from some of the above issues with his character, Hook isn’t exactly a man of great bravery or fortitude by any means.
Through his tendency to lie and run away from conflict, Hook shows a remarkable amount of cowardice as well. However, he’s never once castigated for it by any one, and certainly not to the extent that he attacks the Crocodile for.
What do you think makes the least sense about Once Upon A Time's Captain Hook? Let us know in the comments!