The newest episode begins with Hook in an alcove in what may be Hades’ deepest dungeon. A woman tells him to try to not escape, but he does anyway, beckons her to come out too, and distracts a Cerberus beast while the woman goes. Hook tells the woman to get a message to Emma.
We get to the group that has traveled to this Underworld and find Mary Margaret and David looking at gravestones in the cemetery. They come across Hercules and a flashback hits. Snow and Hercules met as kids, and when we return to the present she tells David about their past. They both realize Herc could help all of them.
Meanwhile, Regina sends Robin and Henry to look in the equivalent of her office for schematics of the town. Emma and Regina find the woman sent by Hook, and they all disappear to the equivalent of Snow and David’s apartment to escape the Cerberus. Snow and David appear and realize what this beast is, and know Hercules can stop it.
In another flashback we find Hercules wants to help young Snow defeat some bandits. It seems there was a little bit of romance as well. Back in Underworld Storybrooke, Mary Margaret locates Hercules only to find that he’s still young. Herc never defeated Cerberus, his last task, but has a chance in the Underworld. He seems scared to do so, though.
Emma, Snow, Regina and Hercules travel to the mines to face Cerberus. Herc runs from the three-headed dog and Hades appears before the group. He divulges the secret that his demi-god nephew was killed by Cerberus. He threatens Snow and her family if they interfere with his. Then, he delivers Hook’s hook to Emma and says he plans on doing something more to him, then disappears.
Meanwhile in the facsimile of Regina’s mayor office, Cruella confronts Henry because Robin sent him through a vent to get around a barrier spell. We find out, from Cruella, that one way to return people to the living is by the Author’s power. The quill that Henry broke was actually an entity that is now down in the Underworld. She tries to coax Henry into finding the quill/Author power and have her become living again so that Emma would not be a murderer.
Snow convinces Herc to face Cerberus, and just in time as it attacks the rest of the group. It seems the only way to defeat Cerberus is not to do it alone, so Snow is helping Herc. The two also employ the help of the formerly imprisoned woman to defeat the beast by attacking each head at once. The woman turns out to be Megara. It seems Meg and Herc met while he was trying to defeat Cerberus.
Herc and Meg cross over into the better place, and we see that Henry doesn’t tell Robin about his encounter with Cruella. Also, we see the better place is actually Olympus. Mary Margaret has also declared she wants to be Snow White again.
The episode ends with Hades making Hook choose who of the rescue group will stay because of the souls that the Underworld king is losing.
So, how does this episode square up?
First, it’s nice to see some of young Snow White again. It’s a rather interesting past she had where she did get a kiss from Hercules. How Hercules is in the Enchanted Forest is interesting to me, as Regina does point out that the Underworld is a realm. Anyway, though, it’s great to see the two cross paths.
As far as performance goes, I feel like there is so much going on with so many, it’s hard to assess a steady performance out of everyone. The main gal of the pack, Snow, played by Ginnifer Goodwin, did a good job. But, the really great performances were Cruella and Hades, played by Victoria Smurfit and Greg Germann. Cruella has a vendetta, but delivers a great characterization of being someone to reckon with, even in the Underworld. Hades is still a slimy, vindictive Underworld boss. He just seems so conniving that you want to hate him and have him defeated. Yet, he has charm, and it makes his appearances appealing.
“Labor of Love” is an interesting episode overall. There are many things developing for the group being in the Underworld, although the ending was a little bland. I think we all know that Hook isn’t really going to choose who stays in the terrible anti-Storybrooke. It seems like a twist, but it doesn’t fully feel like one.
The real developments are with the reappearance of villains. First we saw Peter Pan in the last episode, and this one brings Cruella. She drops a bombshell about the Author and the power behind this role. She also poses a threat as she wants to get back to the land of the living. Hades does pose a threat as now he wants to keep the group around instead of sending them home. There is something intriguing about who he is and what this realm is really about. He is also the one that has chosen Storybrooke as a setting for the terrible limbo place.
Right now, the Underworld is a bit of a fun place to be for the series as we get to revisit some favorites, and venture to the past of main characters. I know it’s not supposed to be a fun place, but this is catering to fans as we get to have all these collisions of faves. Is it enough for things to keep moving? Not quite. I don’t find this arc as intriguing and suspenseful as the first half of the season. There’s not a lot of mystery, it’s too straight forward. As much as I hated the amnesia state repeating in the first half, it made for a good way to keep guessing what was happening. Now, we are just trying to get the group to find Hook and get home. They have these side missions of getting people to the happy place, but we as an audience may not care as much.
Still, this episode was good. We have more setup for the rest of the season as more pieces appeared on the board, but brought some threats with them. Having more threats stack up does help the arc become suspenseful and interesting. I’ll keep watching and do want to see more develop, but it hasn’t necessarily disappointed in that way yet.
Questions brought up this week:
- If this is a recreation of Storybrooke that seems very similar to the real one, does that mean the real Storybrooke is more like hell?
- Why is the happy place Olympus? Shouldn’t it be Disneyland?
- Did we have to see Herc kiss young Snow? Is that going to pay off later in the season?
- The Author power is an entity?? That seems weird and gross.
- Is Henry going to trick Cruella? Or is he really going to help her?
- What was Rumple doing this whole time?
What questions do you have about the episode? And what do you think? Be sure to comment and let us know!