'Once Upon A Time's Big Death Isn't Good News For Hook & Emma 'Shippers — Not Yet At Least

Slow your roll, Emma and Hook 'shippers because they're not going anywhere fast. Following Neal Cassidy's shocking Once Upon A Time death on Sunday night, fans might think that the Neal-Emma-Hook love triangle is finally over. And it might be, technically, but that doesn't mean Emma and Hook are going to hook (hehe) up anytime soon. In fact, Hook and Emma's relationship might not happen for a long time.

Regardless of your feelings about Neal's untimely death on Sunday night's "Quiet Minds," you know you were wondering how it'd affect Emma and Hook's potential relationship. Hook and Emma versus Emma and Neal has been a big debate since they introduced Killian Jones, the eyeliner-wearing reformed pirate. Fans divided and fiercely 'shipped both relationships for OUAT's leading protagonist and rejoiced when Hook and Emma finally kissed in Neverland. But the game changed big time following Sunday night's fatal episode. Showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz opened up about the love triangle's remaining relationship and where it might be headed, prepare yourself for disappointment — Horowitz told E!:

Their relationship is continuing to develop and grow, but right now, both of them are embroiled in something beyond romance. So while they're dealing with any feelings they may or may not have for one another, the stakes are raised so high now.

Which is true. They're got this crazy-evil villain to locate and destroy before she ruins anyone else's lives — romance should absolutely be the last thing on their minds right now. Kitsis elaborated on his colleagues remark:

I also think that Emma right from the beginning was somebody who has walls up and, really, Henry is the only one who has truly penetrated that. Even in the last year, when the fake memories allowed her to fall in love, the guy turned out to be a flying monkey. And now this experience over this weekend just made her walls go up even higher.

Also, extremely true. Emma just watched her first love and the father of her child die — there's no way she's going to rush into anything romantic right away, even if his death was somewhat heroic. Because like Kitsis said, she's always had walls up and between flying-monkey-guy and Neal biting the dust, they're at least 50-75 feet higher than they were before. Good luck climbing over those, Hook — but perhaps we're underestimating their connection.

Both of them had a strong connection to Neal — Emma romantically and Hook fatherly — so the loss is hitting them both hard. (Neal and Hook's interaction in the hospital brought a tear to my eye, I won't try to hide it.) So, perhaps they'll find comfort in one another's presence because they're the only two people in Storybrooke with such deep, long-standing connections to Neal. Will they bond over that? Probably and their relationship will grow from there. But does it mean they're going to rip each other's clothes off? Probably not. Hook is a changed man and although he didn't feel remorse going after Emma in Neverland, he may very well feel remorse now for going after a dead-man's girl. Especially since he saved Neal's life way back when and still feels that brotherly/fatherly love for him.

OUAT's love triangle might be over (or rather, simplified), but Neal's shadow is going to hang over Hook and Emma for long enough to prevent them from 'shipping anytime soon. Eventually, as they start to heal from the loss, there might be a chance for them. When the witch is gone and Henry's memories are restored and order has been restored to Storybrooke, they might have time to think about and address their feelings and that kiss. But all signs point to that moment being a long way out from right now. And frankly, that's more than acceptable — patience is a virtue Hook and Emma 'shippers. If they're going to do this, the timing has to be right.

Image: ABC