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The Jolly Roger

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This article focuses on the Season Three episode, "The Jolly Roger". For the ship, see Jolly Roger.
"The Jolly Roger"
Season Three
Season 03, Episode 17
Episode Information
Character backstory:
Premiere date: April 13, 2014
Viewers: 6.50 million[1]
Written by: David H. Goodman
Directed by: Ernest Dickerson
Episode Chronology
Previous Episode: "It's Not Easy Being Green"
Next Episode: "Bleeding Through"
Related Pages

"The Jolly Roger" is the seventeenth episode of Season Three of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman and directed by Ernest Dickerson. It is the sixty-first episode of the series overall, and premiered on April 13, 2014.


Ariel returns to Storybrooke and pleads with Hook to help her find Prince Eric, who never returned to the town when the new curse was invoked. Emma agrees to let Regina teach her how to use magic so that she can help defeat Zelena, and Mary Margaret and David try to prove that they can be just as much fun as Hook is with Henry -- who thinks they are boring. Meanwhile, in Fairy Tale Land during the past year, an angry Ariel confronts Hook over her missing Prince Eric, who she assumes was kidnapped and possibly killed by the swarthy pirate. But when Hook confesses that the Jolly Roger has been stolen and Eric is most likely the thief’s prisoner, Ariel unknowingly provides him with a clue as to who the culprit is, and Hook – with Ariel in tow - goes off in search of his ship.[2]




Guest Starring


  • Jessa Danielson as Wench
  • JC Williams as Lead Guard


Production Notes

  • The title card features David's truck.
  • The page with roots of incantations in Regina's spell book shows the Sephirot from Kabbalah. The characters on the Sephirot are not actually Elvish, but symbols for alchemical processes—Abstraction, Putrefication, Digestion 1, Purification 1, Pulverise 1, Purification 2, Pulverise 2, Reverberation 2, Coagulation 1 and Reverberation 1. The symbols for Fire of Circulation 3 and Fire of Rotation are printed on the opposite page.[3]
  • Hangman's Island, where Prince Eric is imprisoned, is a real-world location near Boston.

Event Chronology

Episode Connections

  • The new baby crib has been put together in "Snow Drifts".
  • This episode reveals what happened to Hook during the last year, and what he has been keeping from Emma, something that was alluded to in "New York City Serenade" and "The Tower".
  • Hook, Smee and Emma all mention how William Smee was transformed into a rat, which occurred in "The Outsider".
  • Regina casts a protective spell around Mary Margaret's apartment, which Emma planned to ask of her after discovering Zelena's true identity in "Quiet Minds".
  • Regina refers to how Zelena was able to break her blood magic, which occurred in "Witch Hunt".
  • Regina first began teaching Emma magic in "Ariel".
  • Regina mentions how she "barely outwitted" Zelena yesterday, referring to events in "It's Not Easy Being Green".
  • Emma talks about the last time David and Mary Margaret looked after Henry, which occurred in "Witch Hunt".
  • Hook talks about how the people who try to leave Storybrooke are attacked and turned into Flying Monkeys, which was shown in "Witch Hunt".
  • Smee's question about what happened to Hook's ship, is answered in "There's No Place Like Home".
  • Hook mentions how he was there when Cora failed at ripping Emma's heart out, which occurred in "Queen of Hearts".
  • Emma talks about Henry's old life in New York City, which was shown in "Going Home" and "New York City Serenade".
  • This is not the first time Regina notices Hook's feelings for Emma; she made a similar comment in "Quite a Common Fairy" and "Save Henry".
  • When Regina shows Emma roots of incantation from the Book of Spells, two of the pages are the same ones that Mr. Gold was reading in "Going Home". 
  • Regina mentions Rumplestiltskin teaching her how to use magic. Their lessons began in "The Doctor".
  • Ariel and Prince Eric first met in "Ariel", and became a couple in "The New Neverland".
  • Ariel is wearing the magic bracelet Regina gave her in "Ariel".
  • Hook first set out to find the Jolly Roger in "New York City Serenade".
  • Other people have held a knife to Hook's throat and "lived to tell the tale"; including Emma in "The Doctor" and Tinker Bell in "Going Home".
  • The locator spell that Belle used on Eric's cloak is the same spell that was used on Jefferson's hat in "We Are Both" and on Ruth's ring in "A Land Without Magic".
  • Ariel talks about how Hook helped Mary Margaret's family in Neverland; a journey which began in "The Heart of the Truest Believer" and concluded in "Save Henry".
  • Ariel's human legs were given to her by Regina in "Dark Hollow".
  • The harbor where Hook finds the Jolly Roger is also the harbor where the ship docked in "Snow Drifts".
  • It is also the very same harbor where the ship, then known as the Jewel of the Realm, was docked in "Good Form", although the buildings look slightly different since the scene in "Good Form" takes place in daylight.
  • After reclaiming his ship, Hook uses it for a future purpose in "There's No Place Like Home".
  • Hook says to Ariel that "love brings nothing but wasted years and endless torment"; alluding to how he lost Milah in "The Crocodile" and was separated from Emma in "Going Home".
  • Emma learns of Zelena's curse on Hook's lips in "A Curious Thing" and loses her magical powers in "Kansas".
  • Hook mentions Walsh was working for Zelena by keeping an eye on Emma, which is shown in "New York City Serenade".

Cultural References


Fairytales and Folklore

Popular Culture

  • This episode features Black Beard, the infamous English pirate who is the figure most often associated with the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean. He is the first Enchanted Forest character—or indeed, any character in the series—to be adapted from an actual historical person.

International Titles



Start a Discussion Discussions about The Jolly Roger

  • Captain Swan in 3x17

    5 messages
    • When you love someone, and it's not reciprocated, you're "broken-hearted."
    • He was so blinded by his guilt, he didn't pick up on Ariel's quickness to changing subjects and once she got Hook to say he would do anything...
  • Theories on who Hook traded his ship to?

    2 messages
    • I honestly wonder who Hook traded his ship too. I have this theory that he traded it to Dr. Facilier and at some point next season, he will arr...
    • Captain Jack sparrow I'm not shore why I just really want 2 see him on once:-):-):-):-):-):-)

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