"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-hundredth 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.
- The title card features a kraken.
- The title of this episode was revealed by Adam Horowitz via his Twitter account on August 23, 2016.
- 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."
- 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; this disease killed over an estimated two million sailors during the Age of Sail, more sailors than were lost in all sea battles combined. 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.
- The establishing shot of Granny's Diner is stock footage from "Smash the Mirror". 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.
- 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.
- The Storybrooke events take place after "Street Rats" and before "Heartless". (For more details, see the Land Without Magic timeline)
- The Enchanted Forest events take place at the time of the Dark Curse, after Emma decided to stay in Storybrooke in "Pilot" (which is when time started moving again the Enchanted Forest, according to "Broken") and before the curse is broken in "A Land Without Magic".
- Aboard the Jolly Roger, Hook complains about the pace and remarks that Mr. Smee would not have stood for this. The reason why Smee is not there is explained in "The Crocodile", which establishes that Smee was taken by the Dark Curse.
- The garden shed where Hook hides the Fates' Shears is the same shed where Emma kept the dreamcatchers in "Dreamcatcher".
- Regina calls the Evil Queen "queenie". Emma used the same word to address the Snow Queen in "The Snow Queen". It is also similar to "greenie", Regina's nickname for Zelena in "Mother".
- Regina references the Evil Queen masquerading as Archie, an event shown in "Street Rats".
- Archie was turned into a cricket and imprisoned in a cage in "Street Rats".
- Aladdin admits cutting his Savior ties, something he first revealed in "Street Rats".
- The Evil Queen mentions having a difficult time adjusting when someone new joined her and Henry's family. This began in "Pilot".
- Hook declares no one can ever replace what the Dark One took from him. The loss that led him to seek revenge against the Dark One was elaborated upon in "The Crocodile".
- Henry mentions the Wookiee prisoner gag" from "Operation Mongoose Part 2" and "The Dark Swan".
- Emma shows Aladdin the "Welcome to Storybrooke" sign that she crashed into in "Pilot", and mentions Regina's apple cider from the same episode.
- Hook tells Henry about how he killed his own father and left his young brother an orphan, an event that took place in "Swan Song".
- It is strongly implied that Liam brought Captain Nemo to the Mysterious Island in order to keep him from dying. The Count of Monte Cristo did the same thing in "A Bitter Draught" to save Charlotte's life.
- Belle recalls how the Dream World version of her son looked at Mr. Gold with hatred, an event shown in "The Savior".
- The Evil Queen desires Snow White's heart, and she gets it in "Heartless".
- 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.
- The design of the Nautilus is heavily similar to its design from the Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
- The uniforms of Captain Nemo's crew are very similar to the ones in the Disney film.
Fairytales and Folklore
- This episode is a rendition of the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea story, featuring Captain Nemo, his First Mate, the giant squid and the Nautilus.
- Hook refers to the giant squid that attacks him as a kraken. The kraken is a legendary sea monster of giant size that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland.
- The Land of Untold Stories is revealed to be the Mysterious Island from the book of the same name.
- When Regina tells her she wants to talk, the Evil Queen retorts, "Or what? You'll huff, and you'll puff, and you'll blow the house down?". This is a reference to The Three Little Pigs.
- Henry mentions the "Wookiee prisoner gag" from "Operation Mongoose Part 2" and "The Dark Swan"; a reference to the scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, where Han Solo and Luke Skywalker pretend Chewbacca the Wookiee is their prisoner in order to enter the Death Star's detention area and rescue Princess Leia.
- Hook wonders what a Wookiee is, and Henry says, "It's from -", but doesn't finish the sentence.
- The book that Mr. Gold is reading 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. 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.
- 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 details (caption and symbols) have also been added.
- The painting Morning Creekside by the American artist Megan Lightell is hanging in the waiting area at the Storybrooke General Hospital.
- When Mr. Gold pays the Evil Queen a visit, a red apple martini and a green apple martini are sitting on Zelena's table.
- A framed picture hanging on the wall in Liam's hospital room can also be seen in the hotel room where Emma and Cleo were staying in "Firebird".
- Emma is wearing a A.L.C Sosta Dress and a Alice + Olivia Shawl Jacket. Her shoes are Zimmermann Lace Up Dress Booties in the color black.
- Belle is wearing a Diane von Fürstenberg Marisa Print Silk Tie Neck Dress.
|French||"En Eaux Troubles"||"On Troubled Waters"|
|Italian||"Acque profonde"||"Deep Waters"|