Can Hook Love Emma Without a Heart? 'Once Upon A Time's Past Storylines Have Us Worried

Could our favorite swashbuckling pirate's days be numbered? That's the big, bad question Once Upon A Time Season 4's two-hour episode “Smash the Mirror Part 1 & 2" left fans asking after Rumplestiltskin removed Hook's heart right from his swoon-worthy chest. This means Rumple literally holds Hook's life in the palm of his hand, and given that the two of them are pretty much sworn enemies, his odds of survival are looking pretty slim. However, all hope is not lost quite yet, for the Dark One still needs this scallywag to run a few errands for him first. You know, typical stuff: milk, eggs, an extra large dose of magical powers to place inside the Sorcerer's Hat. (Let's hope there's a coupon for that!) But what I really want to know is — now that his heart is gone, does Hook still love Emma?

Personally, I've always found this whole OUAT heartless concept to be pretty confusing, which has only been enhanced after reading a recent interview Entertainment Weekly had with the cast, where Jennifer Morrison (who plays Emma Swan) revealed that Hook’s lack of a heart won’t necessarily alter their relationship.

As we’ve established before, Regina [Lana Parrilla] spent a long time without her heart and it didn’t stop her from loving Henry [Jared Gilmore] or Robin Hood [Sean Maguire]. Hook doesn’t cease being Hook and doesn’t cease having the feelings that he has for Emma. He’s just blackmailed into a circumstance where Gold can, at any moment, control him.

The problem is, there have been instances in the past where not having a heart has affected a character's feelings toward others. If you recall, Regina's mother, Cora, made the decision to remove her heart many years ago when she felt her love for Rumple was making her weak. This act supposedly removed the majority of her emotions towards everyone, including Regina. And when her heart was finally placed back into her body right before her death, all that love she'd discarded came rushing back with a vengeance. It was like she was seeing Regina for the very first time, and realized that loving her would've been enough.

It was a sweet moment and highlighted the ramifications that come with not having a heart. (You know, other than the logical, human reason of needing it to survive.) However, OUAT isn't sticking to this pattern. We've seen many characters lose their hearts, whether it be temporarily or permanently, and they've still been able to love and have feelings for others. Just look at Sheriff Graham (RIP). He was completely under Regina's control, but still managed to develop strong feelings for Emma. How could he do that without his heart?

And let's not forget how Regina temporarily gave her heart to Robin Hood to look after, yet they ended up getting pretty cozy together long before her heart was returned to its proper place. See the inconsistency? Then there's the concept that whoever is in possession of someone's heart can supposedly control their actions. But if that's the case, why didn't Zelena take full advantage of that fact right before her major battle with Regina? She had her sister's heart at the time. Couldn't she have just forced the Evil Queen to concede? It just makes no sense that Hook has to do Rumple's bidding, but Regina didn't have to for Zelena.

Now I suppose, as far as the love concept is concerned, there's always the go-to loophole reason that "true love conquers all" and that's why certain people are able to overcome the odds if their bond is strong enough. But still, sometimes that feels like a cop-out. Don't get me wrong, I love this show and all its fairytale goodness. And I certainly don't enjoy the thought of Hook losing his love for Emma along with his heart. In fact, I'm thrilled that this evidently won't be the case. I'm merely pointing out that it would be nice to have a clearer understanding of how it all works, especially now that Hook's fate is intertwined with the matter.

So whaddaya say, OUAT? Let's try to make this particular story arc less confusing, shall we? Come on, gang — have a heart.

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