Once Upon a Time: “The Brothers Jones” Further Thoughts

The Brothers Jones was one of my favorite episodes of the series and it moved me deeply. I poured my heart into my review for The Nerd Machine, and would love for you all to check it out. Of course there arr always things that I do not have proper room for in those review, which is why I do these further thoughts. Hope you enjoy!

Home and the Future:

As I wrote earlier in the season,“home and the future” have always been ingrained in Emma’s journey and in turn her love story with Killian. Consistency is one of the things that I find remarkable and OUAT has certainly done this, especially the season. The amount of times “home” and the “future” have been referred to is astounding and there are consistencies not only in writing but also the music. In 5A “home” and “future” we’re a large part of the episode “Birth” and “The Broken Kingdom,” written by David H, Goodman and Jerome Schwartz, so it’s not surprising that their episode “The Brothers Jones” continued these references, making it an essential part of it. The moment Killian returns to Emma is an exquisite continuation of the home and future they’re fighting for. Killian’s line to Emma says it all.

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But what’s really beautiful is that the same musical cue that played in the scene where Emma and Killian ignite the Promethean flame, ready for their future together, was played in this moment as well. It should go ahead and just be entitled “Emma and Killian’s Future. “Consistencies like this demonstrate how beautiful and carefully crafted every aspect of the story truly is.

Brilliant Acting:

OUAT always seems to inspire wonderful performances from its actors and in this episode it was Colin O’Donoghue and Bernard Curry. Especially impressive were the similar nuances that made us feel as if they are truly siblings, and not just the one natural ease between them we first saw “Good Form” but also the expressions and mannerisms that are spot on similar, specifically the shy and uncomfortable smile when they are receiving praise. In Bernard’s case, this is an actor who obviously studied Colin’s performance so he can mimic a similar expression.

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What I love about the last gif here is that Killian deserves all the praise his brother is giving him in this moment and his expression, while still shy is less uncomfortable. It’s humble but accepting, the way you appreciate someone you love complementing you. This is just wonderful acting here. But Colin was truly brilliant not just in one scene in particular but in many. One astounding one was the confrontation between him, Emma and Liam. When Killian is upset he often clenches his jaw and in this moment when Emma says he could come home if you just forgave himself, he’s clenching so tightly, tears brimming in his eyes, unable to even look at Emma. It shows just how torn he is about his decision not to return to Storybrooke. Deep down he longs to, but his self-loathing is so strong at the moment he cannot bring himself to admit it, nor does he think he even deserves it. His pain and torment is all seen in his heartbreaking expression.

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Of course he was so good and all his other scenes. Just see for yourself. He conveys much in his eyes and his mannerisms.

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Killian’s Self-loathing:

The Killian we’ve known has always been a combination of confidence and bravado mixed with deeply rooted self-loathing and shame for his fault and mistakes. If there were moments and expressions that demonstrated this hatred it would be these and it breaks my heart because in one he’s so young and in the other he is loved so deeply by a woman who sees him as a hero. He’s broken without much hope and his moments of weakness make him feel great shame. He thinks he can never be the brother Liam, and the man that Emma deserves. If only he knew the great strength he is capable of.

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A Lucky Ring:

It was already beautiful that Killian gave Emma Liam’s ring saying “bring her home to me.” But now that we’ve seen the exact moment where Liam’s bestows this ring to his brother, the meaning feels even more significant. His lucky ring was the one that always “brought him safely home” so it’s so moving that not only Killian believed it kept him alive and safe, but that he gave its “power “or “luck “to Emma. Equally moving is that now Emma still keeps that ring close to her heart in her quest to bring Killian home. Whether its power is metaphorical or real remains to be seen. It is interesting that after Liam agrees to Hades’ deal that he gives Killian the ring. Was it enchanted to keep him alive? It does seem coincidental that when Killian then gives it away to Emma he is mortally wounded. Regardless, the ring is beautiful symbol of Emma and Killian’s journey to return safely home – a journey Liam began and gave to his brother always wanting the best for him.

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Symbolism:

When Killian tells Emma he plans to come home with her, to have the future Liam wanted for him, it’s beautiful and touching. Aesthetically I love the symbolic aspects of the scene. When they kiss and break apart, foreheads still touching light behind their faces shines through symbolizing that there is a light behind them guiding them safely home. The wide shot revealed a painting on the wall behind them of a ship – a ship resembling the one that Liam just departed on. The ones we love are always with us and Liam will always be in Killian’s heart. But now they are both at peace, neither no longer tormented or in pain with how they said goodbye. Seeing the painting there was a way of showing Liam’s guidance to indeed fight for the future he tried to ensure for his brother.

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A Final Goodbye:

One of the things that always haunted Killian was the way in which Liam died, helpless and unable to say goodbye. In “Good Form” he tells David that he is fortunate he got to say goodbye to his loved ones for what he thought would be the last time. The fact that he finally got to bid his brother farewell and know that he was a peace was so significant. It gives him the closer that he was once denied, and allows him to move forward in his life with that weight lifted off his shoulders.

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“You’re Safe”:

I was moved by Killian’s saying to Liam “you’re safe.” Not “you’re okay or alright” but “safe.” It is difficult to put into words but it is so beautiful to me. He is safe from danger or harm. He will be safe in his journey to the afterlife. From a religious perspective like myself, He will be safe in the arms of the Lord. It is a much more profound word than any other because it reflects peace and comfort and a sense that his pain is gone.

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“Not Until Emma and I Defeat Hades”:

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I love this line for several reasons. One, it proclaims a sense of true heroism because it’s not just about saving himself. Everyone came to the Underworld with the intention of saving Killian not defeating Hades necessarily. They discovered they could help other souls move on, but now there is another objective- to defeat Hades once and for all. I also love that Killian says “Emma and I” displaying the  equality between them and how he continues to see them as quite the team. No matter what they do, they do it together, whether it’s fighting an evil snowman or defeating an immortal God. He says it so matter of fact as well. He believes they will succeed because of his faith and Emma, and the faith he is beginning to have in himself.

It’s such a pretty ship:

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There was something so endearing about Killian calling The Jewel of the Realm, later the Jolly Roger, “pretty.” It reflects his innocence and inherent sweetness that is part of his character. It was love at first sight for him and the ship became a symbol of freedom so many times – first from servitude, then from correction. It makes the fact that he gave her up even more meaningful, as he truly did give up what had been a source of freedom for hundreds of years. But giving up the Jolly Roger he did not shirk him of that freedom. Instead it freed him from his loneliness and heartbreak and he would make the same choice again and again if it meant a chance to be with Emma.

Henry as the author and his love for Family:

I so look forward to seeing Henry work as author, especially now that he wants to use his power the right way. But I was really touched by two specific things they chose to have Henry focus on when he spoke to the Apprentice about his feeling of hopelessness to stop certain things.

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It’s not surprising that he feel that way about his mom, but seeing the steady development of affection Henry has for Killian is really heartwarming. Beyond just wanting to see his mother happy, he now really cares about him and it’s lovely. We went from him not being sure about his mom dating him, to being taught to sail, to going on adventures to save Emma, to Henry watching Killian die, completely devastated. And he may be experiencing growing pains that all teenagers go through, but he loves his family-  all of them and that now includes not only Emma, Snow, David, Regina and Robin but also Killian.

Flashbacks of the Brothers Jones:

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What I loved about these flashbacks besides being thoroughly engaging and just plain amazing to watch, was how they helped explain Killian and Liam’s characters. Killian’s behavior especially makes pristine sense, even more so than before. In “Swan Song” we saw Killian as a child look up to his father, wanting to be just like him. Hours later he abandons his sons and sells them into servitude. Given how much he looked up to his father it’s only natural Liam tried to be this good and honorable man, to inspire and his younger brother and always forgive him his vices. He never wanted to abandon him like their father did. Moreover, after they are the only survivors of their crew, Liam knowing why, Killian simply grateful for his brothers heroism, their straight-laced way of life – the good form, never indulging in alcohol, longing for a heroes journey and goodness for their family lineage- is even more understandable.

Where was Robin:

Robin’s absence from this episode was the one glaring flaw because it may know sense. Where was he? He should’ve been right alongside everyone else in the loft and the quest to the Apprentice’s house, unlike Gold who we know is in his shop. I’ve been longing for more screen time for him and being completely missing from this episode fell off. There should have been at the very least a single line explaining where he was.

More Liam Jones and missed opportunities:

The only other missed opportunity for this episode was not having a scene between David and Liam. They are definitely similar, and the way Killian and David bonded in “Good Form” over talking about him, it’s a shame they didn’t have a scene together. Moreover, I know Liam’s character has moved on, but two episodes is not enough. My love of pirate and nautical stories withstanding, Killian could always use more back stories, so we definitely need to see Liam again in flashbacks.

A Beautiful Video:

I love to highlight talent in the fandom, and this video by XxMitikaSanaxX is so stunning. I think it highlights their journey and bring some parallels to Liam so amazingly so. It’s so well done, I believe it could make a non-viewer want to watch the show and instantly make them fall him up with Emma and Killian’s story.

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3 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time: “The Brothers Jones” Further Thoughts

  1. This is fantastic! 1. Did not notice the painting of the ship in the Emma and Killian “future” talk. 2. I HOPE this week they mention where Robin was the whole time last week. It bugs me that he has gotten ZERO character growth this season. 3. I agree we need more Liam Jones…and I guess I’ll have to settle for flashbacks but man, I wish they could have brought him back to Storybrook. Again, I really loved this Marianne!

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    • Thank you so much!! I noticed the painting on my rewatch and a light went off 🙂 I definitely agree about Robin. He is a great character and deserves more screen time. Honestly, I would much rather see more story for him over Belle as much as I like her. But alas we take what we can get. I knew Liam would not be brought back, but it would have been great of he was. Such a fantastic character!!

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