"Swan Song" is the eleventh episode of the fifth season of ABC's Once Upon a Time, and the ninety-ninth episode of the series overall. It aired on December 6, 2015. It is written by show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton. The episode serves as the series' winter finale.
The cloaked forms of the eleven resurrected Dark Ones are featured in the forest.
In The Character's Past
On board the Jolly Roger, a young Killian is consoled by his father, Brennan, who promised his son that he would become the person that meant to be, only to suddenly abandoned him and his brother, as he sold his sons into servitude, because Brennan was a wanted man and the ship was stolen. Years later in The Enchanted Forest, Regina recruits Hook to kill Cora, and takes Hook to a tavern, where she requires Hook to kill his father, who is now the tavern's owner. After the tavern closes, Hook confronts Brennan, who explains that he has changed his life and is now remarried with a son, who is later revealed to be named Liam. Believed that Brennan has changed, Hook has to make it look like he had his father killed, so he can help his father and Liam escape. When Hook follows Brennan back to his home, he watches him with Liam, and witnesses his father tells Liam the same things he told Hook when he was little, which makes Hook very enraged, thinking that his father lied about having changed. When Brennan goes outside to meet Hook, he takes back his offer, and despite Brennan's insistence that he had changed, Hook kills Brennan, making Hook the person he is now. As Brennan dies, however, he tells Hook that it's never too late to change.
Hook remembers about the last time he saw his father, when Gold arrives to confront him but Hook is steadfast in carrying out his plan. Meanwhile, Emma is determined to stop Hook and everyone follows her and tell the others to split up. Regina and Robin then run into Zelena, who vows to get custody of her daughter, only to confronted by a group of Dark Ones who then place a mark on Emma's family and friends in a similar fashion. Gold explains to Emma that it was the Mark of Charon, who navigates the ferry to the Underworld. The Dark Ones plan to sacrifice the souls of the marked living, who will replace them in Hell.
Regina would confront Hook at the docks to remind him about what happened back in the Enchanted Forest, but Hook chokes her, saying times have changed. At Granny's, Mary Margaret, David, and Henry chose to spend their last hours alive, while Emma reveals her plan to Regina that she wants to sacrifice herself of the darkness inside. Gold then hands over Excalibur to Emma and arranges for Belle to escape town and live her life. Regina and Robin then confronts Zelena again, only to have Regina use Merlin's Wand to conjure up a magic tornado to send Zelena to Oz, with Zelena vowing to return. Emma prepares her plan to confront Hook, who appears at her house, but he had the upper hand after he transforms into Henry, after she hand over Excalibur, leaving her defenseless.
The Dark Ones, lead by Nimue, bring the residents to the lake that will take them to the Underworld, and act as a barrier to keep them from escaping. Hook appears to help Nimue carry out the plan as Emma is left to watch. Regina then reminds Hook that he is unable to destroy Emma's family because of who he is, and when Nimue starts choking Emma (despite being unable to kill her), Hook realizes the truth behind what Regina said, and uses Excalibur to absorb all of the darkness from Nimue and the Dark Ones into himself, which also traps all of the past Dark Ones inside Excalibur. Hook then asks Emma to kill him to destroy the Darkness, in order to allow him to die as a hero. A tearful Emma goes through with his wishes and kills Hook, which kills all of the previous Dark Ones. As Hook dies, his neck wound from Excalibur returns, and Emma is transformed back into her normal self, with Excalibur disintegrating afterwards.
The next day, Belle returns to Gold and forgives. However, after Emma heard the whispers of the dagger, Emma meets with Gold, who reveals the truth about to Emma, about him using a magic potion to turn Excalibur into a conduit, so that when Emma killed all of the Dark Ones, their magic was transferred into Gold, allowing Gold to reclaim his life as the Dark One, and creating a new dagger in the process. He adds that he is more powerful then ever before, since he now wields the combined power of every Dark One that ever lived. Now that Gold revealed what he did, Emma tells him that she now has leverage over Gold, threatening to tell Belle at any moment the truth about her husband. In exchange for Emma keeping the secret, Gold agrees to help her enter the Underworld to rescue Hook. At the lake, Emma is joined by Gold, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Robin, and Henry, as they approach the ferry to descend into the Underworld.
- Gold and Belle conceive their son Gideon.
- Hook's death undoes the Dark Curse he cast, freeing Storybrooke.