Why I believe in Captain Swan:
I love fairy tales. I love stories of true love and happily-ever-afters. I root for the couple who has overcome obstacles and found each other at the end of the journey.
These are good enough reasons to believe in Emma and Neal. I could get on board and it would be simple to follow the obvious formula. Emma and Neal had Henry, surely seeing the three of them together is the happily-ever-after we all expect. It’s good enough.
But then came Hook. Arrogant, vengeful, eye-roll worthy Hook. Could it be that Neal isn’t the one for Emma? Could this one-handed swashbuckler be in fact better for her? I have come to the conclusion that yes, yes he can.
At the end of the episode Good Form Pan visits Hook and tells him that Neal is in fact alive and in Neverland. Hook is faced with a decision: he could withhold this truth and continue trying to woo Emma or he could share this fact and risk reuniting her with the former love of her life. We expect Hook to hold on to this secret, after all he is a pirate (as Emma points out later). But Hook does the very thing you’d hoped he’d do, the honorable thing, the act that cemented my allegiance to Hook and by extension Captain Swan.
I cannot help but see how good Emma is for Hook. His unwavering belief in her has changed him. After all he came back with the magic bean because of what she said to him. He saved David because he cares for Emma. She is why he is able to let go of his first love and the pernicious quest for revenge. In short she brings out the hero in Hook, a hero we know exists inside because he chose Neal over the easy path. When around Emma, he becomes a man of honor. In Dark Hollow Hook makes it very clear, “When I win your heart, Emma, and I will win it. It won’t be because of any trickery. It will be because you want me.” This is no longer a frivolous flirtation. This is a man who has fallen for our dear Emma and it has changed him or perhaps it is more accurate to say she is the path that has led him closer to reclaiming the person he once was.
I also believe that Hook is good for Emma. Our heroine is well-acquainted with people disappointing her. Forget whether their motives justify their actions, Emma’s parents and Neal have all disappointed her. This is why Emma is so self-reliant and why she is so guarded. Hook has yet to disappoint Emma, in fact he surprises her by not disappointing her and challenges her expectations of him. Furthermore, Hook tells her in Dark Hollow, “I’ve yet to see you fail and when you do succeed, well that’s when the fun begins.” His steadfast faith takes her by surprise. Emma needs someone like this in her life. And am I the only one who notices how still Emma gets when Hook talks to her? It is as though she is hypnotized.
I’ve tried my best to avoid bringing Neal up too much in this conversation because I want to show that Hook is good for Emma and not just a good alternative. But I have to point out Emma’s confession in Echo Cave where she admits that she wished news that Neal was alive wasn’t true. Emma sees Neal through a lens of love and heartache. It is impossible for her to separate these feelings from each other. A big reason why she is the person she is today is because Neal abandoned her all those years ago, her worldview is built around being disappointed. To ask Emma to forget her past and the pain she felt is like asking Emma to forget herself. Hook offers something new for Emma. She doesn’t have to forget a part of herself in order to be with him.
And let’s not forget Hook’s utterance of the famous line, “As you wish.” Those three words alone are almost enough to ship Captain Swan with vigor.