As in, I would be very pissed off if Killian gets his hand back. No, I’m not freaking out yet because I don’t know if it is true or if I’m understanding the statement correctly, but if “getting his hand back” means what I think it means and turns out true, then I will be upset.
For me, the context doesn’t make a difference. It doesn’t matter if first Emma accepts Killian with the hook and then the hand is just a bonus. Nor does it make a difference if getting the hand back is meant to be symbolic. Still… no. I’ve thought this since the beginning, and I definitely don’t trust the writers.
I’m going to first go through example of the situation with Gold before talking about Killian.
Mr. Gold had a limp, due to a leg injury he caused himself when he was a “coward.” It is true that no one devalued him because of the limp (well, at least not while in Storybrooke). Belle accepted him with the limp and never thought less of him. That’s great, but it doesn’t make loosing the limp “okay.” Gold loosing his limp was DIRECT symbolism for him walking away from being a coward (literally, he helped to save rather than hurt Henry and then chose to face Pan and sacrifice his own life).
What’s the message that occurs from all this? The message is that as long as Gold had a physically disability, he would be likewise stuck in the patterns of the past. Perhaps one could say “no no. Gold could have stopped being a coward and still have to deal with the physical disability.” Well, yes, he could have, but the fact that is he didn’t. He only truly turned away from past patterns at the same time he lost his physical disability.
I’m not saying it is completely intentional that the message is trying to say that of anyone in a real life (IE us viewers without magical solutions). I’m going to tell a personal story here. I used to cut myself, and I have a few nasty scars and lots of smaller ones. I know it is not the same a disability… I don’t deal with not being able to walk or not being able to use both hands, but my point is, that I’m not stuck in the past just because the scars remain. For me, if anything, the scars remind me of a place I don’t want to be again. If I was a character in a story, and I decided to start a new way of living, I wouldn’t also need a magical salve that erases the scars. I would like for viewers to be able to tell I changed without all that. Physically, I can look one way while emotionally being in a new place.
One more thing before moving on to Killian… I was able to get over Gold and the limp situation based on continuity. As the Dark One in the Enchanted Forest, Rumple did not have a limp, so clearly magic was able to keep the injury at bay. In Storybrooke without magic, the injury was back, but when magic came to Storybrooke? The only thing keeping Gold injured was himself, not using magic on it either consciously or subconsciously. So if I’m just looking at the situation from a character perspective, well, of course Gold isn’t going to stay injured forever when magic is around. It has already been established that magic can keep that at bay. Doesn’t mean I like all the message that comes with it, but I get it.
So why would I be more upset if Killian got his hand back?
Well, for one, this would the SECOND time the creators healed (“fixed”) a character with a physical disability. There would be no way for me to be able to sweep the message under the rug and say they HAD to heal the injury for the story to make sense or that the character and situation required it. Having twice the situation of the only two characters with a physical disability being magically healed… the message is clearly saying that in order to be whole again, they also have to be physically whole. And Killian’s situation (literally no hand) feels more permanent, more major, more.. part of him that he has to live with. A limp is a minor injury compared to a missing hand; thus, getting a hand back is much stronger of a message of ableism.
I understand that for Killian, the hook is a representation of his past, and well, it is literally the representation of “Captain Hook” and much of the violence and vengeance that goes with it. Without a hook, Killian cannot be “Hook” (well, of course, he would still be Hook, but physically, that would be gone). If they want to get the message across loud and clear that Killian is no longer Captain Hook, then loosing his hook shows that.
BUT - yes, there’s a but - Killian IS Captain Hook. Not meaning he has to have that persona, but that all those experiences are his. He can gain a hand, remove all make-up and jewelry, and get a completely new wardrobe; and it won’t change his past.
For me, part of the appeal of Killian is that he has a physical reminder of his past. It is very real-life relatable. He may never be “over it” anymore than any other person is over a physical injury, a scar, or an emotional wound. Some wounds never completely heal. Moving forward is not about going back to a version of yourself that you were before. On the contrary, you cannot move forward by moving back. Sometimes moving forward is in spite of past wounds. Sometimes moving forward is because of those wounds. Sometimes those wounds shouldn’t be physically erased. It may not always be easy to live with the reminder, but sometimes that’s what real-life is about. Life isn’t always easy.
Since I looked at Gold from his perspective, perhaps I should do the same for Killian. If given a choice, I imagine that Killian would choose to get his hand back. If the story gets to the point of giving him that option, it would be hard to write is as him not getting his hand back. Also, the option of getting his hand back has been set up to be a very likely possibility. Whale had his arm reattached, and Killian’s hand has been shown to be preserved. So the only thing that has to happen is for Killian or another character to find his hand. If that happens, they have backed themselves in a corner where he more or less HAS to get his hand reattached for the story to work. (I supposed they could loop-hole it where a 300 year unused hand doesn’t “work” anymore, but then… it seems like what would be the point of having that scene at all?)
Point being, I can understand from a character standpoint of getting the hand back, but unlike Gold, I won’t be able to not be upset. The writers’ are the ones who set up this possibility. Based on the fact that they showed Killian’s hand tells me that they at least wanted this possibility of regaining the hand from the beginning. This makes me very upset. I don’t think they understand the message that may come across. This isn’t a minor injury that needs to be healed; this is something that has become part of Killian for a long time. Plus, the writers could have had Rumple throw the hand away forever. Poof. The situation wouldn’t ever have come up in that case.
For now, I’m going to hope that the hand in Mr. Gold’s shop remains forever forgotten and that Gold himself is moving to San Francisco.