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This key will open the gateway to a place called... the Mysterious Island. It is a place where we can start over. This is your chance, Killian. You don't have to swim the dark waters any longer.
Captain Nemo to Hook

"Dark Waters" is the sixth episode of Season Six of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Andrew Chambliss & Brigitte Hales, and directed by Robert Duncan. It is the one hundred and seventeenth episode of the series overall, and premiered on October 30, 2016.


Emma tries to convince Aladdin to work with Jasmine to help Agrabah, while Regina teams up with Snow and David to free Archie from Zelena. The Evil Queen sows suspicion between Henry and Hook, even as Mr. Gold reminds her of his most important lesson. Meanwhile, in the past, Hook finds himself kidnapped by the mysterious Captain Nemo and held captive inside his legendary submarine, the Nautilus.[2]




Guest Starring





  • The title card features a kraken.[3]
  • The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on August 23, 2016.[4]
  • The episode's title appears in a passage in chapter 3 of the second part of Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, in which the first-person narrator Professor Pierre Aronnax describes, "Under these dark waters there stretched the bank of shellfish, an inexhaustible field of pearls more than twenty miles long."[5]

Production Notes

  • The opening shot of the Jolly Roger[6] is a flipped version of a shot of Hook's ship sailing on Poseidon's Ocean in the Season Four episode "Poor Unfortunate Soul".[7]
  • When Hook first meets Captain Nemo, Nemo introduces himself as "no one". Nemo is Latin for "no one".
  • Hook throws Henry's unhealthy breakfast in the garbage and suggests a pirate's breakfast of grapefruit and boiled mackerel instead, adding "there will be no scurvy here today". Scurvy is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the diet. It is commonly associated with sailors in the 16th to 18th centuries who navigated long voyages without enough vitamin C and frequently perished from the condition;[8] this disease killed over an estimated two million sailors during the Age of Sail,[9] more sailors than were lost in all sea battles combined.[10] In the eighteenth century, it was discovered that scurvy could be prevented and cured by consuming citrus fruit (grapefruits and other citrus fruits are full of vitamin c), which led to the prevention of scurvy.[11]
  • The establishing shot of Granny's Diner is stock footage from the filming of the Season Four episode "Smash the Mirror".[12] This can be seen from the identical foliage on the trees and the climbing plants.
  • The segments with Belle and the two ultrasound pictures were inspired by Brigitte Hales' real life experience from when she was pregnant with her own daughter. When she got two ultrasound pictures, she asked why, and was told that it was standard procedure.[13]
  • The episode script features additional dialogue between Belle and Mary Margaret, in which Belle comments on the flowers at the Storybrooke General Hospital, and Mary Margaret tells her about how she used to deliver them, and that this was how she found David when he was in a coma.[14]

Event Chronology

Episode Connections


  • The name of the Shears of Destiny is reminiscent of the Spear of Destiny, the Holy Lance's alternative name. Like the shears, the Spear of Destiny is closely connected to the Savior, as it is said to be the weapon used to pierce Jesus Christ's side as he hung on the cross.


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

Props Notes

  • The magazine Belle is reading at the Storybrooke General Hospital is called Modern Maternity.[16]
  • The book that Mr. Gold is reading[17] contains an illustration (seen upside-down) of a crucified serpent, which is also known as an alchemical cross. This is an old alchemical symbol representing the "fixing of the volatile," as in making the elixir of mercury.[18] The picture is from a book about ancient alchemy: Uraltes chymisches Werk (Age-Old Chemical Work) by Abraham Eleazar, which was first published in 1734. Nothing is known about Abraham Eleazar, who was supposedly a Jewish alchemist. His name was most likely fictional, and the real author seems to have been a person called Julius Gervasius of Schwarzburg.[19]
    • Note that the illustration has been modified for the show. The show's version is mirror-inverted and colorized, and the size of the cross has been changed. Extra symbols have been added and the caption has been changed to "Rex Mundi", which is Latin for "king of the world".
    • The caption below the illustration cannot be deciphered on-screen. However, according to the concept art by graphics designer Neil Westlake, it reads:[20]

The Serpent points out to the Spiritus
Mundi Universalem, and penetrates all things
under the heavens. This is our Materia
so have we also of the coagulirten.
Air Repariren.

  • The text is adapted from another work by Abraham Eleazar, The Book of Abraham the Jew from 1774. The original excerpt is identical to the one from the book, except that it says "winged Serpent" instead of "Serpent".[21]

Set Dressing

Costume Notes


  • The knife that Hook discovers aboard the Nautilus is not the same knife that Hook used to kill his father in "Swan Song". The knife that Hook used had a double edge and a double-sided handle,[56] while Liam's knife is bigger, and has a single-edged blade and a different handle.[57]

Filming Locations

International Titles



  2. 2.0 2.1
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  56. File:511Killian.png
  57. File:606ThatKnife.png
  59. InstagramIcon vfxsup. (Craig Clarke) November 7, 2018.  Retrieved on January 18, 2019. "This was such an amazing set to shoot in!!!" (archive copy created on November 7, 2018)

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