It’s time for the second half of Once Upon A Time Season 5. When we last left the main crew, Hook had been killed in order for the Dark Ones to end. But, Rumple secretly got all the power for himself and Hook died in vain. Emma rallies the troops to head to the underworld to rescue Hook.
As the episode begins, Neal visits Emma in a vision to warn her to not travel to the Underworld. When asked where he’s at, Neal responds he’s somewhere that he’s happy.
The group gets to the Underworld to find that it’s a twisted version of Storybrooke. The people in the town are those that have unfinished business. One townsperson that Regina has encountered in the Enchanted Forest is really a spy for Quorra, who seeks her daughter. Meanwhile, James surprises Snow in the twisted diner and everyone realizes there’s sinister dealings down below.
The townsperson gets Regina and Robin Hood to visit Quorra, who lovingly warns Regina to leave the Underworld, similar to Neal warning Emma. It’s found out that everyone in the Underworld either makes it to a better place or a worse one, and the group has a limited time to make it back to the real Storybrooke. Henry, Regina’s father, will suffer if they group does not return in time.
In a flashback, Henry asks Quorra, through the Magic Mirror, to tell their daughter to stop being obsessed with killing Snow White. As Henry leaves, Quorra is able to get through the mirror from Wonderland. She tricks Snow posing as Henry and takes her heart.
Back in the Underworld, Rumple goes to the twisted version of his shop to retrieve a spell and finds Peter Pan. Pan threatens him and the group saying that he wishes to trade souls with one of the living to return. Pan gives Rumple the spell that will let them find Hook quicker. The group takes it while Rumple returns to the ferry boat, and they pour it over Hook’s Underworld grave only to find an image of him, but no indication of where he’s at. One thing is for certain, he appears to be suffering.
Back in the flashback, Henry switches Snow’s heart and Regina ends up shrinking him and putting him in the heart box. Back in the Underworld, Regina visits Henry’s grave where he is able to tell her that he wants her to stay and help.
Regina and Henry make it to try to save elder Henry before Quorra pushes him into the fire. They seem to not save him in time, but Quorra disappears before it’s revealed that Henry’s one regret was not letting Regina become who she is supposed to be. A white light and bridge appears to take Henry to his happy ending, but not before he’s introduced to his grandson.
The group reunites by the fallen clock tower where everyone realizes they can help save the lost souls in the place. Rumple doesn’t want to help, but is stuck until he rescues Hook. Regina notices the clock tower tick.
Quorra appears before Hades and it’s revealed that he asked Quorra to stop her daughter and have her get out of the Underworld. Quorra has failed and Hades turns her into a poor peasant woman delivering flour for all eternity. One of the reasons for the sudden punishment is that Hades wants to keep souls in his domain, and the clock ticking indicates when a soul has left.
So, we have a villain, a story, and a huge second half of the season. There are now many main players to be had in this Underworld story.
How does this episode fair with the rest of the season and the show?
First, I have to admit I wasn’t entirely looking forward to the episode with the way the last one went. With Hook’s demise came many quick turnarounds in the show. And it was way too sudden and uncharacteristically unexpected, especially Rumplestiltskin’s return to being the only Dark One. A lackluster mid-season finale dashed some hopes of mine for this second half being exciting. It just seems like a run of the mill rescue operation that we’ve seen in seasons past.
But, this is quickly becoming not about a rescue, but dealing with the villains of the past once and for all. Yes, there’s still the need to find Hook and get him out, but where past rescues have been about just finding the one character and returning, this has higher stakes as we know there’s some time issues and many enemies that can send the group to their demise.
With Hades being a main villain, we know there’s something about his having dominion of the Underworld that he’s concerned with the good guys being down in it. We don’t know what that is. Again, it’s a bit of a repeated motive like other seasons. Certainly there is greater power that Hades has that even Rumple does not. The Dark One has been the most powerful villain we’ve seen in any season, and now we have someone darker and more powerful.
As far as story goes, though it seems really repeated the higher stakes makes it exciting. There’s a hint at a demise for one of our main characters, and they don’t seem to have their magic available to them in this place. It is making for a good mystery and powerful story.
The other great thing about how this is all going to play out is that we get to see favorite villains return. And there’s even some past sidekicks, like the Magic Mirror that we see again. Pan will certainly play some part in the Underworld, but we have seen that Cruella will make an appearance. Will there be more? Most likely. Hey, we got to see Neal one more time, so why not many more we thought we’d never see again! My bet is on Daniel, Regina’s first love. With Robin being down with everyone, it would make for a hard situation for our villain turned hero.
Speaking of decisions and how their expressed, the acting seemed fine in this episode. Having so much going on, there wasn’t much screen time for any one character. One of the best moments between two characters was with the two Henry’s. It was actually touching for the long dead grandfather to finally meet his grandson, and vice versa. Each did a great job at making this the heartfelt moment of the episode.
Greg Germann making his Once debut did a fine job at being the king of the Underworld. He’s not the Hades we think of with the Disney version of Hercules, but that’s actually good. He’s a boss, but this slimy and sneaky boss instead of a wheeling and dealing type that the animated one is. Good introduction, and good character so far. Or is it bad character…
In all, it’s not the most exciting of starts of a story, but was still rekindling that excitement I have with the show. I’m looking forward to many returning characters and some new ones. I’m curious at some of the plots intertwining, and what will happen to get Hook back to the land of the living. And the next episode looks to be one not to miss as it introduces a possibly pivotal character for this plot.
Some questions raised:
- Is Regina the most pivotal of the group? Like is she the savior in the Underworld?
- What is happening to Hook?
- Who are we going to see in the Underworld?
- Why did Snow not know it was James in the diner at first?
- Why is Rumple the Dark One again? I mean, seriously. At what point did this need to happen again?