It's The End Of The Underworld As We Know It (On Once Upon A Time)
Almost no one is feeling fine, especially viewers who might be trying to make sense out of this hodge-podge of mythology.
Hades wants to take Zelena back to Storybrooke, leaving all the other main characters in the Underworld. Zelena and Regina had the memory of the brief time they were childhood friends without knowing they were sisters, then found out they were sisters and separated, then had their memories erased, and restored. Rumple and Pan kidnapped Zelena.
DialogueYou'd think the ex-pirate with a rum habit would cut my sister some slack.Well, you'd think that the Wicked Queen would be smarter than to send the Wicked Witch to romance the most devious man alive.
Demigods Who Need People Are The Luckiest Demigods In The Underworld
Who called the meeting? Hades.
What's it about? He interrupts Hook and Regina snipping at each other about the best way to handle...him to ask for their help, a word he can barely get out.
How'd it go? Pretty well, considering! Pan and Rumple left a note, demanding that Hades tear up the contract for Rumple's unborn child in exchange for Zelena back. But he doesn't believe any dealings with "the Stiltskins" (hee) will be that simple. Nor does he trust Regina, who's "been the doting sister for all of three hours." He knows Emma is responsible for bringing everyone down here and he offers her a deal: help him save Zelena, and he'll take everyone's names off the headstones, and let them go.
Fox The Bounty Hunter
Name: Cleo Fox. Age: 40s. Occupation: Bail Bondswoman. Goal: To catch people who have skipped out on their bail and not bond with them, and definitely not think about the daughter she gave up for adoption. Sample Dialogue: "I look at you, young, pretty, and I see someone who -- now, stop me if I'm wrong, but -- someone who stole money from a couple convenience stores in Phoenix, got arrested and took off on her bail."
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Release The Smackin'!
Rumple and Pan bring Zelena to the diner, where Hades tears up the contract as promised. There is, in fact, a catch: Pan wants Zelena's heart so that he can return to the living. (He said he'd return her; he didn't say he'd return all of her.) Emma arrives as backup, stopping Pan from removing the heart, and points out that Rumple got what he wanted. He concedes the point and leaves. Pan, abandoned, follows.
Zelena didn't think Hades would tear up the contract for her. Moved, she kisses him, and it's True Love's Kiss! His heart starts beating again, which means his banishment is over. And a portal to Storybrooke will form at the cemetery but it will close at sunset. What does one thing have to do with the other? This makes even less sense than usual.
Here's An Idea
Read A Fucking Book
The broken clocktower is now in the graveyard. The hands are spinning, and when they spin fast enough, it will turn into a portal. What? Why? Why can't it do that on Main Street? Anyway, the gang can't go through said portal because of the gravestones with their names on them. Hades keeps his promise and erases them.
Regina removes Emma's heart and splits it in two, but when she tries to put half into Hook, it doesn't work. Hades explains that when Snow did this trick on David, his soul hadn't left his body yet, because he'd only been dead for a couple of minutes, but it won't work on Hook. Even if he could go back, his body is all really-gnarly-episode-of-Bones by now. Good thing no one did any research on this before taking a trip to hell with an actual child! And why didn't Hades mention this to Pan?
Hades says there's a rumor that once, long ago, someone brought someone back from the Underworld, but no one knows if it's actually true. Emma and Henry, at least, went to middle school in our world so shouldn't they know this story???
Plot Lightning Round
Jail Would Be Preferable To This Story
It's 2009 and Emma is looking for her birth mother. A bail bondswoman named Cleo Fox (note: this is the name of a character not from a fairy tale) nabs her, but she quickly escapes while Cleo is taking a shower, picking her handcuffs with the hotel sewing kit. While stealing money from Cleo's wallet, Emma finds a picture of a little girl.
On her way out the door, Emma notices Cleo's laptop, open to a special Bail Bondsperson search program. She uses it to track herself, and says she'll go quietly to Phoenix if Cleo will help her. Cleo agrees, maybe because she knows something about abandoned children herself?
Emma and Cleo visit a clerk's office and find Emma's file. It only has the same article she had, a note saying that the boy who brought her in ran away, and a sheet of paper that says she was found with a blanket. Emma freaks out. Cleo tells her she should give up and start looking forward, and to find her armor, like the leather jacket Emma mocks Cleo for always wearing.
Later, Emma sneaks out while Cleo sleeps, and breaks into the clerk's office, convinced she wasn't shown her whole file. Cleo follows her and insists that her parents must have had their reasons for giving her up and wouldn't want her to get in more trouble over this. The police arrive, and Cleo smashes a window so that they can escape. I think Cleo might be really bad at her job, you guys.
Place Of Interest
Orpheus was able to get Eurydice out of the Underworld by feeding her ambrosia. Even Hades has never gone to where the ambrosia is kept, so he can't provide details, but he knows there's a test to prove that you're worthy of it, and conjures an elevator so that Emma and Hook can go try to get it. He also rips out Emma's heart so that she can offer it for judgment when they get there.
Plot Lightning Round
True Love's HA-HA!
Rumple kisses Belle, but it doesn't wake her. Womp womp.
Pan comes by to say he still needs that heart. He offers Pandora's Box (which, although we've gone pretty Greek this season, is not that Pandora's Box), in which Rumple can keep Belle safe for the journey home. (Not sure why he can't just carry her, but okay.)
Henry wants to continue helping people while they wait for the portal. Hades explains that, once he leaves, "the Underworld will function as it was meant to: a place for people to deal with their unfinished business without anyone getting in their way." O...kay? And Zeus was fine with this? And last season involved the Holy Grail, so this is a world with Zeus and Jesus? Sorry, this is...there's a lot in this episode. Henry pouts that a lot of people don't even know what their unfinished business is, and that maybe he can help them as the Author.
Robin shows up with the baby, very confused. Everyone fills him in, and Zelena suggests that they all go to the cemetery and wait for the portal to open. David doesn't want to leave without Emma and Hook, and Regina agrees with Henry that as long as they're waiting, they might as well do some good. Robin neither wants to leave Regina (like he's done for several episodes?) or give the baby to Zelena. He may be the only sensible person here. But Regina prevails, saying that they can trust Zelena, and he hands over their daughter. She and Hades leave.
Robin needs a moment alone to process all that, so he steps out, whereupon Rumple steals his heart.
I'm In The Unfinished Business Business
Henry has set up a table in town, and he's writing little stories for people explaining their unfinished business to them. I'm no therapist -- or St. Peter -- but doesn't this seem like cheating? We see Stealthy, a dwarf from way back in Season 1 (god bless you, Once Upon A Time fans and your wiki), who didn't realize how much resentment he harbored against Bashful. Which...how is he supposed to resolve that business anyway until Bashful gets here? You guys, this show has never made less sense and that is saying so, so much!
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Cruella vs. Scoobies
Cruella storms in and announces that she's going to take over the Underworld. She intends to keep everyone -- including our heroes -- around to rule over. She's enlisted the help of the Blind Witch, who locks them all in the Library until the portal closes. Despite the poor track record of OUAT spinoffs, I would watch one with these two every damn week.
Winner: Cruella and the Blind Witch.
That Quote"And you! You dissolved my James! The best toy in the whole playpen."- Cruella -
A Heart Full Of Love
Alert Type: Mythological Test Alert.
Issue: Emma and Hook find a scale outside the doors to the ambrosia. It's inscribed, "Only a heart filled with true love can pass."
Complicating Factors: Hook knows Emma loves him, but he's still nervous: "True love is the rarest magic of all. Are you certain?" Plus the fact that Emma only ever admits how she really feels "when one of us is facing certain death."
Resolution: Emma places her heart on the scale. Nothing happens for a moment, and then she collapses, clutching her chest. Hook tries to grab her heart but he's engulfed in flames. He yells for her to get it, but instead, she pushes him out of the fire. The doors open. It seems she passed the test by choosing to save him instead of herself.
Spoiler: That was the easy part.
If You Can't Trust Hades, Who Can You Trust?
Situation: Emma and Hook find that the ambrosia tree has been cut, and all the fruit is dead. Simultaneously, Regina doesn't believe the Blind Witch could cast a spell so powerful that she couldn't break it.
What makes it awkward? They come to the same conclusion that Hades must have double-crossed them. Hook reasons that Hades cut down the tree himself when Eurydice escaped, and lied from the get-go about never having been there, and Regina figures he helped the Blind Witch with her magic.
How is order restored? For these guys it's not, yet, but Hades convinces Zelena that the others will catch up and that they shouldn't wait for them before heading through the portal.
That's Not How Glass Works
R.I.P. The Only Bail Bondswoman Worse At It Than Emma
Emma and Cleo run through that one alley in Vancouver that eventually shows up on every TV show, until Cleo collapses. Cleo has an enormous shard of glass sticking out of her gut, which we're meant to believe happened when she jumped out of the window, as if the glass could just stick straight up from the pavement. This makes less sense than anything that's ever happened in the fairy tale plot.
Emma says she'll get word to her family, and Cleo says she doesn't have one; the photo in her wallet is of the daughter she placed for adoption herself. She tells Emma to let go, both literally and metaphorically, before she finishes bleeding out.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
'Til Death Do Us Part...And A Little Bit After
Emma and Killian run to the elevator, but Killian isn't coming with. Without the ambrosia, he can't leave, and he knows there's no other way. He wants to say goodbye down here, not in front of everyone. He makes Emma promise not to put her "armor" back on just because she's lost him. She makes him promise not to let her be his unfinished business. It's actually super-sad! (Or it would be if it didn't negate this entire half-season because no one could be bothered to pick up a magical book or, like, watch Moulin Rouge!)
Wrap It Up
A year later in the flashbacks, Emma -- now working as a bail bondswoman (as we know) -- tracks down the daughter Cleo placed for adoption, who works in a clothing shop. Emma's collected everything she could find about Cleo and gives it to this girl who may not even know she's adopted, Captain Tactful! Okay, but she does and she asks if Cleo is looking for her, so instead Emma tactlessly tells her that Cleo is dead. Emma spots a leather jacket much like Cleo's and buys it, putting on her own armor for the first time.
Emma returns to the surface (well, the "surface"), and Regina tells Emma they should make sure Hook gets what he wanted and they all get out. Together, Emma and Regina are able to blast the door open.
Henry leaves his book, with the new pages he's written about unfinished business, in the library for people to find.
Rumple jams a heart into Pan's chest, but at some point he returned Robin's heart to him off-screen and glamoured a wine skin filled with water from the River of Souls to look like it, to get his final revenge.
Rumple puts Belle into Pandora's Box, before going through the portal.
The others make it through the portal just in time. Emma pauses to monologue about how her jacket used to be her armor to protect her from getting hurt by those she loves, but now it's a reminder that she has to protect the people she loves. She wonders if she did enough for Hook. She can't lose anyone else. She and David go through the portal just in time.