ABC’s Once Upon a Time season six episode 12 finds David and Hook on a quest for the truth. The episode titled ‘Murder Most Foul’ begins with a trip back in time to the night Rumpelstiltskin paid a visit to the home of Ruth (Tara Wilson) and Robert (David Cubitt), David’s parents. David’s family was dead broke and didn’t have any money to purchase medicine for their sick babies, so Rumple offered them medicine for one baby in exchange for giving up the other son. The flip of a coin decided James would go with Rumple to be the son of King George while David would stay with his parents. Robert and Ruth were not allowed to ever mention a word of the deal.
In Storybrooke, David (Josh Dallas) makes a toast to his family, saying he’s incredibly proud of Emma (Jennifer Morrison). Emma swears they’ll break the curse so that her mom and dad will be together at the same time, but David doesn’t sound so sure. Later that night, alone on his front porch David hears whispering and then sees his dad standing in front of him, blood on his hands. David’s father vanishes as David passes out. Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) finds him that way and although he’s just trying to help, David tells Hook he doesn’t take advice from a pirate. After Hook leaves, David finds his father’s coin on the ground.
Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Regina have a chat over coffee, and Snow doesn’t mince words. She doesn’t think it was a good idea to bring Robin to this world, reminding Regina this Robin is definitely not her Robin. Regina still holds onto hope there’s part of her Robin in this Robin, but she admits she’s worried.
Hook pays a visit to Dr. Archie Hopper (Raphael Sbarge), confiding he’s worried David still thinks of him as just a pirate. He believes David wants better for Emma, but Hook pulls out an engagement ring admitting he’s anxious to give it to Emma. He won’t give it to her until he has David’s blessing, and Dr. Hopper is happy for him and glad he’s listening to his conscience. He advises Hook to just ask David what he thinks of him.
Speak of the devil, David is getting ready for bed and listens to the latest message of love from Snow. As it ends, David once again sees his dad. This time his dad says, “Family is everything.” David yells at him that he was a drunk who died when he was six and he owes him nothing. Teary-eyed, he asks his dad to tell him what he wants. His dad replies, “Truth.”
Another trip back in time reveals David’s dad is spending his money at the tavern. (David is six.) King George enters the tavern and everyone’s shocked. He informs the crowd his son, Prince James, has been abducted and he’s offering a reward.
Robert returns home and packs a bag. He’s going to search for James because he wants to fix his broken family. David comes downstairs and asks his dad if he’ll be “better” (as in not a drunk) when he returns. Robert says he will be and David offers him his lucky coin to keep him safe.
Back in Storybrooke, Hook is ready for a candid conversation with David but David demands his help on a project as soon as Hook enters his home. David shows him a map and admits he saw his father’s ghost. Hook asks if he’s sure and David is adamant he did see him, and he won’t abandon him until his father gets justice. David asks Hook for help, and Hook suggests Emma would be a better choice since she has magic and she’s the sheriff. However, David doesn’t want anyone to know other than Hook because he doesn’t think Snow or Emma would approve of what he needs to do. Because Hook is a pirate, David thinks he will be up for what he has planned.
Regina shows Robin the storybook and he wonders why there aren’t tales of her and the other Robin in it. As they’re looking through the pages, Zelena (Rebecca Mader) rings the bell and Regina pushes her outside, trying to explain this isn’t her Robin. Regina admits she hasn’t told this Robin he has a daughter, and Zelena demands that she warn him never to come near their daughter. After sending Zelena away, Regina discovers Robin is missing and that the book was left open to a drawing of the Sheriff of Nottingham holding him prisoner.
Robin, armed with his bow and arrow, sees Keith/Sheriff of Nottingham (Wil Traval) on the street and takes aim. He pins Keith’s sleeve to a telephone pole and even after Keith tells him he’s not called the Sheriff of Nottingham in Storybrooke, Robin punches him in the face. He puts a knife to his throat, just as Regina runs up. He won’t let Keith up so Regina uses her magic to send the Sheriff of Nottingham away, telling Robin he would regret it some day if she let him kill his old enemy. She asks him to promise to stop running away and trying to kill people and he agrees.
David and Hook visit Emma’s house when she’s away because David wants to steal items from Emma in order to do a spell. Hook doesn’t agree with this plan, and David is shocked since Hook’s spent his life being a thieving pirate. Hook says he doesn’t want to be that guy anymore, but David’s not listening. He tells Hook to keep an eye out as he checks out Emma’s shed.
Another jaunt to the past and Robert visits Rumple’s telling him he owes him so he has to help. Robert says he’d do anything to see his son and Rumple agrees to do it in exchange for a hair from his head. Rumple looks into a crystal ball and sees that James wasn’t abducted but instead ran away to a land built from temptation.
Back in Storybrooke, David’s going through Emma’s shed when Hook warns him Emma’s arrived home. Hook attempts to distract her with a kiss, but Emma knows he’s hiding something. Hook confesses he visited Archie to talk about how he felt when he believed she was going to die. He said Archie told him to share his feelings, so that’s what he’s doing. Hook notices David is finished in the shed and so he kisses Emma and takes off. (She’s only there to grab life jackets for a boat trip with Henry.)
Regina brings Robin to her vault, asking him if he was really going to kill the Sheriff of Nottingham. He asks what’s in the bottles on the wall and she admits they are the hearts of her enemies. But, she tells him she’s changed and then drops the bombshell that Robin had a child – an infant daughter – with her sister. He asks if she brought him there just to drop him in the middle of this mess, and she replies that she did it to give him a fresh start. Tears in her eyes, she says maybe his being there could be a good thing. They kiss and it’s obvious it doesn’t affect her the way kissing her Robin did.
David and Hook try and follow the instructions to do a locator spell, but have no real idea what they’re doing. Hook tries to make a joke about transforming into raccoons, but David’s not in a joking mood. They think they’ve got the spell worked out and they place the coin on the map. It lands on Pleasure Island, a place Hook describes as terrible and dark.
The next scene is, of course, of Pleasure Island. Children appear to be having fun at a carnival as Robert walks through the crowd searching for James. He even turns down alcohol because he’s vowed to stay sober and he’s focused on finding his son. Pinocchio arrives and when Robert asks if he’s seen his son, Prince James, Pinocchio’s nose grows when he says no. Robert forces Pinocchio to give up the location, and James is frightened when Robert tells him he’s bringing him home. Robert explains he’ll take him to his home, not back to King George, and he can grow up with a brother. He then tells him he’s his father.
Robert thanks Pinocchio and Pinocchio warns him to run as men chase them through the carnival.
In Storybrooke, David and Hook visit August Booth/Pinocchio (Eion Bailey) and he recognizes the coin. He remembers telling Robert to run, but didn’t connect David to Robert or James until this very minute. David is happy to learn his dad was trying to fix their family, and August assures him his dad was sober when he met him. August also reveals he took pages from the book that mentioned Pleasure Island and he’ll look through them for mentions of David’s father.
After leaving August, David is sure he knows who killed his dad and he wants to go after him. He’s shocked Hook doesn’t want him to get revenge and that Hook has changed that dramatically. Hook admits he will stop anyone from trying to get revenge, so David handcuffs him to a post and takes off in the truck by himself.
And now we finally get to see what really happened to David’s father. Robert and James run into King George and although the king offers a reward, Robert asks only for James to be allowed to live with him. King George realizes this is the man who sold James, and Robert confesses he made a mistake but he’s not going to give James up now. James begs Robert not to let King George take him, and Robert swears he’s going to protect his son. The King’s men haul Robert away, with the king promising his guards if they kill Robert and make it look like an accident, they can collect the reward for finding James.
David yanks Albert Spencer/King George (Alan Dale) out of his cell and screams at him for killing his father. Albert admits he offered Robert money but he wouldn’t take it. David throws him a knife and tells him to fight for his life. They go at it and David gets the better of him, holding a knife to Albert’s throat ready to slice. Just then Hook arrives, yanks David away, and throws Albert back in a cell. David’s furious and tells Hook he’ll never forgive him, now putting a knife to Hook’s throat. Hook doesn’t fight back and instead holds his hands out in surrender mode. Hook tells David that at least now he knows his father was honorable at the end. David, angry and emotional, says his dad fought for them and did everything possible to get the family back together but it wasn’t enough. He asks Hook what if Gideon comes back and kills Emma, what if he can never be with Snow, and what if being Prince Charming isn’t enough and he loses everything that matters to him? Hook steps aside and tells David he can kill Albert if he wants to, but he needs to think about his father. His father wanted to be able to look him in the eye; he needs to be able to look back. David drops to his knees, overcome with emotion. Hook embraces the man he’s hoping will be his future father-in-law.
Robert’s death is at hand as the guards, dressed in civilian clothes, tie him to a cart and douse him in alcohol. He’s going to be stabbed before they crash the cart.
In Storybrooke, David is crying as he tosses the coin into the river. He apologizes to Hook, calling him the noble one. He adds that he’s sorry he made him risk what he has with Emma, and Hook asks if that means he thinks he’s good enough for Emma. David tells Hook he believes he’s done the hardest thing anyone can do – he’s changed – and he’s not sure he can ever pay Hook back. Hook replies, “As luck would have it, I might have an idea.” He asks David if he can have his blessing to ask for Emma’s hand in marriage. David is quiet for a minute, staring at Hook, and then he smiles and says, “Of course. Of course, you have my blessing. I mean, it’s up to Emma of course, but yes, you have my blessing!” He adds that he didn’t realize Hook was so old-fashioned. He also says he won’t tell Snow until it’s official.
Speaking of Snow, Regina tells her she told Robin about the baby. She also reveals they kissed and that she felt nothing. “It was like kissing a photography,” says Regina. Snow’s sorry she was right and Regina tells her it’s not her fault. Regina just wanted to believe and still wants to know how he made it through the portal. She wonders who he is and what he wants.
As Snow and Regina are having a talk, Robin is busy in Regina’s vault.
Hook’s almost at Emma’s when August rides up with the pages about Pleasure Island. Hook says he’ll pass them on to David, but he looks at them first while standing outside Emma’s.
In a flashback, we see one of the guards tell Robert it’s time to die just as Hook and his men arrive. They kill the guards and Robert thinks he’s about to be saved and swears he’ll never say a word if he lets him go home to his family. Hook says he might believe that, but adds, “Dead men tell no tales,” and then stabs him with his sword through the stomach. Hook steals the king’s gold and doesn’t care about any of the men he just killed.
Emma meets Hook outside and announces she’s making her specialty: microwave popcorn with Milk Duds. Hook says he’ll be right in and after she heads inside, he pulls out the engagement ring, looks at it, and closes the ring box.