There is no reason to gloss over the negative aspects of Hook’s character, just to justify pairing him with Emma. If anything, it makes the story more complex and interesting.
No murder that we know of as fact before then & the only attempted murder he committed happened AFTER & ONLY to Rumple himself.
Watch Queen of Hearts. Hook kills one of Regina’s guards just to break into Belle’s cell. When Belle won’t tell him anything useful, he raises his hook as if about to kill her too, but then Regina intervenes. He then agrees to go kill Regina’s mother to help him get to Rumpel. It is easy to overlook, since to the audience Cora is “the Horror” 👿 👿 👿 👿 . ..and a guard is a nameless, minor character but it is still murder and he is willing to do it/did it.
He may try to keep the collateral damage pretty low compared to other villains, but he is still willing to hurt a lot of people to get to Rumpel. He knocks out Charming to get his hook. He threatens to “dissect” Hopper, though he doesn’t actually cut him (nor free him!). He “borrowed” Aurora’s heart to get back on Cora’s good side. Then there’s what he did to Belle.
They guy knows how to use a gun, if he wanted Belle dead when he shot her, he’d have killed her- he wanted her to loose her memory & wounding her with the gun was the method he had at hand & so the method he used
It is really hard to say what his intent was with Belle at the town line. Just because you know how to use a gun doesn’t mean you’re a great shot in the dark. But even assuming his intent was to rob Belle of her memories, not kill her, that’s still pretty evil. His beef is with Rumpel, not Belle. He took everything away from her of who she was. Remember when Belle’s father Mo was going to take her memories from her?(Was that foreshadowing?It happened in the Hook centered episode The Crocodile.) Belle thought the action so horrible that she tells Mo that she never wants to see him again, that she can’t forgive him for it. Belle, the character who tries to see the good in everyone, cannot forgive her own father for trying to take her memories away. So I’d say causing a total memory loss is not a “minor misdeed”.
He hasn’t done 1/10th the bad/evil stuff Regina or Rumple has done (I doubt anyone…aside from Rumple can match Cora’s bad deeds to date), yet Hook seems to be taking the rap for his minor misdeeds, in the face of their real evil- people amaze me sometimes 😮 🙄
There is a spectrum of evil. At one end you have Cora, for sure, but then you have characters like the Blind Witch, George/Spencer, Sydney Glass,Hook,Maleficient Jefferson, Jimminy’s parents and others I forget. I absolutely agree that Regina and Rumpel are in Cora’s leauge , but some fans view those two as having mitigating circumstances (Rumpel’s curse, and the manipulation of Regina by her mother and Rumpel). The point is though, you can’t judge Hook only against the worst villains in the show, then say well he’s not evil because he’s not THAT evil! Compare him to the others I mentioned, and, while I’m not sure where I’d rank him, I’d put him on the list.
And maybe in this show we should not talk of evil, but of whether someone is capable of redemption or not. Hook having a romantic story arc and redemption could be exactly the direction the writers have in mind, because they do give hints that he is more than a one note vengeance machine. Not that I find a character bent on revenge to be unappealing or distasteful–Inigyo in the Princess Bride was always a favorite of mine. 😉
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” -- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass