Sunday night's Once Upon A Time finally checked in on what's been happening back in Storybrooke (which has been pretty much nothing), but the real focus of this week's episode was the following question: Who Should Emma Choose? Emma and Neal were finally reunited last week, which threw a huge wrench in Hook's plan to make her fall in love with him, and this week the two men exercised their right to openly fight over the same woman. Childish? Yes. Not really the time or the place? Surely not. After almost getting killed and ruining their chances of saving Henry and getting off of Neverland, the two finally figured out the simplest way to settle their conflict: by asking Emma which she wanted.
Emma is damaged (as she never neglects to remind us every damn week). But, as an orphan who's done jail time, I suppose she has an excuse. She's a fighter and she's been in love before (with Neal), and that didn't really work out to well, since he hung out her to dry, forcing her to take the fall for his criminal behavior. (Not such great boyfriend material.) In the past few weeks, Emma's proclaimed her undying love for Neal, but also revealed that she was relieved when she thought he was dead. Allowing herself to have a moment of weakness, she kissed sexy, sensitive pirate Hook. So, Sunday night when the two men asked her to choose, instead of picking one (because obviously she can't), she chose Henry, because his love is all she really needs. Noble and heartwarming, but c'mon Emma. You need to pick one. Don't worry, we'll help.
WHY EMMA SHOULD/COULD CHOOSE NEAL
He's the father of her child. I would consider that a huge leg up for him, considering everyone loves Henry so much that they're willing to be trapped on an island with a perpetually young sociopath. He's also charming and Emma's been in love with him her entire life. Neal also has some serious strength and independence, stemming from his obvious daddy issues. It may not make him the best father in the world (he did desert his baby, after all), but he can handle a crisis situation pretty well and be a pretty good rock when necessary. If Emma's really interested in "reuniting family" and having a run-of-the-mill happily ever after, she should/could choose Neal. She's already admitted that she loves him.
WHY EMMA SHOULD/COULD CHOOSE HOOK
He's got a swoon-worthy accent and is incredibly easy on the eyes. (Hello, tall, dark and handsome.) Hook is also one of he most reformed characters on OUAT. He's displayed a honor code and a perseverance that's making even me fall in love with him. He saved Emma's dad, helped save Neal even though he knew it would complicate his impending relationship with Emma, and vowed, ever so romantically, that he would not give up fighting for her. SWOON. Seriously, Emma, what are you even doing? The biggest con is that the ex-pirate could return to his deceitful life of no rules at any time, but then again, so could Neal. If Emma wants a fresh start, Hook is her guy. They're both suffering from pain inflicted by their "first loves," which means they can grow and help each other recover. She kissed him and a kiss always means something.
WHY EMMA SHOULD/COULD CHOOSE NEITHER
Emma's really only hanging around because of Henry. She never came in looking for love, even though love stories seem to constantly be unfolding around her. We also are painfully aware of the fact that Emma LOVES carrying those huge chips she's got around on her shoulders, and she'll whine at every opportunity to do so. Hook and Neal are also both ex-criminals with a history of not being the most honest and honorable men around. (I guess Emma has a type, huh?) We wouldn't shame her for not choosing either man. She's been dealing with the traumatic situation of a kidnapped son, so when that's all over, she might need some time to focus on that relationship, which is reasonable. Emma could also hold out for a guy that she can trust rather than work on growing trust with Hook or Neal. But, most of all, Emma could/should choose neither, because she was probably voted "Most Likely To End Up A Bitter Old Shrew" in her high school yearbook.
My personal vote goes to Hook. He's sexy, he's shown true change and personal growth, and he's made it perfectly clear that he won't give up. Hook's a keeper. Neal's not really my style, and Emma was already coming to peace with the fact that he was gone. (She was miserable, but she was trying.) How far could the two of them go without having to painfully rehash their way through their dysfunctional past? Answer: not very far. Emma needs to give love a chance, so she should choose someone so she can let go of a little bit of that anger. (I'm sure mom Mary Margaret will weigh in on this soon.)