"Murder Most Foul" is the twelfth episode of the sixth season of ABC's Once Upon a Time and the one-hundredth and twenty-third episode of the series overall. It aired on March 12, 2017. It was written by Jerome Schwartz & Jane Espenson and directed by Morgan Beggs.
Before Hook takes the next step in his relationship with Emma, he wants to make sure David sees him as more than just a pirate. So when David asks Hook to help him uncover the truth about his father’s death, Hook agrees. Meanwhile, Regina works to acclimate Robin to life in Storybrooke, but soon discovers he has a dark side that makes the task much more complicated than she anticipated.
A ferris wheel from Pleasure Island is featured in the forest.
In the Character's Past
In the decades before the first curse began, Ruth and Robert are the parents of newborn twins David and James who require serious medical attention, or they will die. When Rumplestiltskin shows up and sees them, he offers them a deal that results in Rumplestiltskin taking James as part of a deal he made earlier with King George in exchange for giving the parents medicine for David.
Six years later, King George wants to know the whereabouts of Prince James who has been abducted. Robert, who has become a alcoholic, hears this news and believes that finding the son he gave up will solve the family’s problems. Masquerading the quest as a supply run, he is then given a coin by David (the same one that The Evil Queen returned to him as a grown man in Storybrooke) as a sign of good luck. The first stop Robert makes is to see Rumplestiltskin in his castle. Rumple, emphatic to Robert's desire to make things with his son, then looks into a crystal ball and located James to a place called Pleasure Island. As part of a deal, Rumplestiltskin gives Robert a ticket to the island to find James, he takes the hair strand from Robert (only to discard it as he really had no use for it and was empathetic to Robert's desire to make things right for his son). When Robert arrived to the amusement park-themed Pleasure Island, he is met by Pinocchio, who already has met James. Pinocchio leads Robert to his birth son, who really ran away because George wanted to make him a knight. Robert offers to take James to his real home, revealing he's the boy's true father. As they attempt to escape, the barkers goes after them and they are caught by King George outside, who asks for James back. Robert strongly refuses the offer for returning James, so the guards are ordered to kill him and make it look like an accident. James is then handed over to King George to continue his life as a prince (which leads to his corruption and death in adulthood and eventual place in his afterlife).
The truth of Robert's death is later revealed. It turned out that just as Robert was about to murdered, a group of pirates intervened. They then killed the guards for the gold, with Robert, despite his pleas, soon being among the victims. Robert's murderer was none other than Captain Hook.
The mystery surrounding Robert's murder is starting to have a strange effect on David to the point of seeing visions, as his father starts giving David cryptic messages to find out the truth. Meanwhile, Hook scheduled a meeting with Archie on how to propose to Emma, but is worried about the reaction from David. When Hook later sees David, he noticed how obsessed David has become with finding out with who murdered Robert, and now wants Hook to help him, albeit reluctantly from the pirate. Later on, David sneaks into Emma's place to look for items to help him. Hook agrees to play lookout when Emma approaches and he convinced her not to go in the place. David then finds a spell book and with Hook's help try to follow the instructions, and it leads them to a clue which reveals that Robert may be on Pleasure Island.
David and Hook go to see August to ask about Pleasure Island. He reveals what Robert was really doing: finding James and reuniting his family. August removed the pages that could include more information about Robert and starts looking. By now, Hook is starting to worry David is seeking revenge, but David turns on Hook by handcuffing him to a bike rack and drives away, having a hunch of who his father's murderer is. David goes to the asylum to confront the now-jailed Albert. The man reveals Robert was offered temptation as a reward for finding James, but the sober shepherd rejected and was sentenced to death. Angered at George for he did to his family all those years ago, David challenges his former "father" to a fight to the death, only to have Hook intervene and place Albert back in jail before he can be killed. David is still heartbroken to learn his father finally sobered up to save his family only to die for it, and begins fearing he too will fail to protect his own. Hook talks David out of vengeance by stating that Robert was able to face his son as a drunk and questions if he in turn could be able to gaze back as a murderer. Finally letting go of the past with newfound respect for his father, David thanks Hook for stopping him from making a terrible mistake. Hook in return asks David for Emma's hand in marriage and David gives Hook his blessing.
In between the events, the Wish Realm Robin is starting to adjust to life in Storybrooke and after a heated Zelena confronts Regina about the Wish Realm Robin not having any rights to his daughter and leaves, Regina checks on Robin and finds him missing and a picture of Keith, who Robin thinks is the Sheriff of Nottingham from his realm, Regina stops Robin from killing Keith by making him disappear. Regina tells Robin about his real world counterpart having a son and daughter in this realm, and agreed to start afresh with a kiss. Later that night, Regina visited a now awake Snow, and tells her that bringing this new Robin back was a mistake, even stating her kiss with him was like kissing paper. She is now starting to question how he managed to survive coming to the portal. It turned out that the Wish Realm Robin had a real reason, and a ulterior motive, when he steals a heart from Regina's vault that he sees as powerful.
Hook is later confronted by August, who gives him the pages out of the book featuring his time on Pleasure Island and meeting Robert. Seeing and recognizing Robert's picture, Hook recalls that he did the deed, not George's men. He then hides the pages from Emma and after she kissed him, looks at the engagement ring and finds himself worried about how to deal with the newfound revelation that he killed his true love's grandfather.
- Hook states he's 200 years old.
- This episode's backstory reveals how Prince James knew David; Robert told him he would have brother to play with when he went back home. It could also mean Cruella was right about James being envious of David having a loving family (other than his ire of the latter stealing his glory).
- This is shows why the Evil Queen gave David the coin that belonged to his father. Presumably using a magic mirror, she gazed into the past and learned Robert was murdered. She knew that David would want to seek vengeance for the act, thus driving wedges in his family.
- If he simply believed his father's murder was because of King George's involvement, he would kill the Spencer thus straining his relationship with Snow. But if he learned it was really Hook, then it would drive a rift between them. In fact, Emma would torn between siding with her father or boyfriend as well.