There were a lot of mysteries surrounding Once Upon a Time
season 7 when it was first announced. One of the biggest (and most concerning for some fans) was how Colin O'Donoghue was going to continue the show as Hook without Jennifer Morrison as Emma. The solution Once Upon a Time
found was simple, if silly.
It was revealed very quickly into season 7 that the Hook of the story wasn't the one from the first six seasons. Rather, he's the Hook from the Wish Universe, who first made his appearance in season 6. Even if the existence of Wish-Hook is a little funky, he's become one of the best parts of Once Upon a Time's seventh (and now final) season.
What Does a New Villain Mean for the Final Season of Once Upon a Time?>>>
All the Hook Charm with None of the Baggage
In the original iteration of Once Upon a Time, Hook was one of the most beloved characters. A large part of the love fans had for Hook was the love he shared with the series' heroine, Emma Swan. In a series with a lot of couples, Emma and Hook managed to snare most people's hearts and for pretty good reason. However, Wish-Hook, or Nook as Zelena has started to call him, proves there's much more to the character than his romance with Emma.
Wish-Hook allows Once Upon a Time to explore Hook from a new angle, without taking anyway anything from the Emma and Hook romance fans love. As explained by Wish-Hook himself, he's largely identical to the original Hook. The only difference is that the original Hook fell in love with Emma and "Nook" never met her.
As lovely as Emma and Hook were together, Hook really did feel a little too tied down by that relationship. This was the right way to go on Once Upon a Time as Emma was the main character but by the end of season 6 Hook felt more like Emma's "true love" than his own character. Every big moment Hook had directly related to Emma and his relationship with her and Wish-Hook doesn't have that experience at all. The character has responsibilities, but they're not so deeply tied to one person or relationship.
Through Wish-Hook, Once Upon a Time has been able to explore the character's relationships with Henry, Rumple and even Regina all in a way that never could be done with the original character. Once Upon a Time has found an interesting way to mix the familiar with the new in season 7 and Wish-Hook is largely emblematic of that change. Wish-Hook often acts like the original Hook but there are just enough differences to make him feel refreshing and exciting, much like Once Upon a Time season 7 is like the first six seasons but with new elements.
Transformation Through Fatherhood
The wisest thing Once Upon a Time has done with Wish-Hook is that they have made him more than just a Hook without an Emma. There's a real compassion to Wish-Hook that just didn't exist with the original Hook. This is all because Once Upon a Time made the decision to give Wish-Hook a daughter.
Once Upon a Time has always done well with parenting stories, even if the ages of the characters make no sense. (Henry and Robin are both grown adults but Regina and Zelena haven't aged a day.) Yet there's still something special and unique about the relationship between Wish-Hook and Alice that transcends the aging confusion.
Maybe it's the fact that the show really hasn't focused on father-daughter dynamics much. Father-son and mother-daughter relationships have been given a big spotlight but the same can't be said of the love a father has specifically for his daughter. With Wish-Hook, that feeling has been nailed in the most satisfying way. Colin O'Donoghue has done an excellent job in playing the concerned father for Alice and the chemistry between the two actors is excellent every time they come together.
The whole experience puts Wish-Hook in a whole new light. He can be just as driven as the original Hook. Yet there was always rage and anger driving the first Hook. Even when he fell in love with Emma, Hook had way too many moments of reckless passion. Wish-Hook's driving motivation is a very selfless and compassionate love for his daughter. Wish-Hook is much more patient and kinder than his original counterpart and that can all be directed back to Alice.
The original Hook would've never been as nurturing to Zelena as Wish-Hook was in "Secret Garden." The first Hook had a fun, but very antagonistic, relationship with practically everyone but Emma. Wish-Hook is much more gentle and frankly more likable. He still has a lovable snarky edge but it comes in a much kinder package. This even bleeds out to his cursed version and how he interacts with the characters around him, even if he's still not aware of his true identity.
Once Upon a Time has offered a lot of surprises in season 7 and not all of them have been welcome. However, taking Hook, an already great character, and turning him into something new but maintaining and some ways even improving that level of quality has been the season's greatest feat. Currently, there's no chance of the new Once Upon a Time continuing beyond season 7 in any form but it would be worth just to get more of Wish-Hook.
Do you agree? How do you feel about Wish-Hook? How does he compare to the original? Which Hook do you prefer? Do you miss the old Hook and his romance with Emma too much to invest in the new one?