Once Upon A Time Returns To A Hell Of A Town
'Another place' is up and some fiery pits are down in the 100th episode, as our heroes explore Puratorybrooke, and characters from the past return.
Regina killed her dad (for whom Henry was later named, which might get confusing) as the final step in casting the original Storybrooke curse. Emma Acathlaed Hook so that he wouldn't be The Dark One anymore, but now she and the whole gang are going to the Underworld to get him back.
Place Of Interest
Threshold Of Revelation
Take the kids to Revelation for your next theme park vacation! Sure, our name may be a little on the nose. but we have our very own Haunted Mansion, just like a certain better known destination that certainly has nothing to do with this show.
Revelation: When you want nothing but the creepiest for your whole family.
The Messenger Has Arrived
Who called the meeting? Neal. (Who, in case you've forgotten, is still dead. Get used to that.)
What's it about? He doesn't want Emma to go to the Underworld because it's too dangerous: "Once you get there, it is not an easy place to get out of. This won't end the way you think it will."
How'd it go? It's actually incredibly sweet, as meetings with the ghost of your ex in your tiny car outside of creepy amusement parks go. Emma doesn't want Neal to feel bad that she didn't come for him too, but she didn't know she could. He tells her it's okay because he's not in the Underworld, he's "someplace else." The Underworld is for people with unfinished business. Neal is fine. But he still doesn't want Emma to do this because he loves her: "I always have and I always will."
But was it real? Emma wakes up in the boat to the Underworld just as they arrive there, and Mary Margaret tells her she passed out. Was her visit from Neal just a dream?
BrainteaserQ "How is this possible? How does the Underworld look like Storybrooke?"A It's Hell, you idiot, it can look like whatever it wants. Why is Emma asking the world's dumbest question five seasons in?
Regina witchsplains that Hell and Storybrooke might look so similar because Regina created Storybrooke using a dark curse, and whomever created that curse may have been inspired by Hell or vice versa. Sure, let's go with that, and not the much more common myth that everyone has his or her own personal hell, or that it was much cheaper to not have to build any new sets.
That Quote"Your questions are pointless."- Gold -
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Charmings vs. Regina
In the Enchanted Forest circa Season 1, Regina visits some peasants on her birthday, looking fierce in every sense of the word. She's giving the full Margaret Hamilton more than ever and I am here for it. She doesn't care about the gifts the villagers have for her (not even pie!); she just wants them to tell her where Snow White is. One dude steps forward, claiming to have information but clearly stalling, and she Force chokes him. Snow and Charming appear with all the dwarves. They have Regina surrounded, and she lamely teleports away.
Winner: Snow and company, and all but that one villager.
Cora-lation Is Not Causation
Who's causing a family crisis? Cora.
How? Regina is her unfinished business, and they're actually both very happy to see each other. But Cora doesn't want her heroing around in the Underworld, and thinks she should tell her friends to fuck off (I'm paraphrasing). She's arranged for a boat to take her, Henry, and Robin home. She takes Regina to a firey cave (the more standard-looking Hell), where she waves her hand and the dead peasant from earlier is engulfed in flames. "'Killed' is a relative term down here," says Cora. "This Underworld, most can only leave it in two ways: to a better place or a worse one. But you, my sweet daughter, have another option." If she doesn't take it, her father will suffer. Damn, Cora, that's cold. Er, hot.
Which relatives have a problem with it? David and Mary Margaret don't want to leave Emma alone...even though no one said anything about them leaving.
Who's an unlikely ally? Emma, who understands how Regina's guilt over killing her father has intensified now that she can no longer convince herself that at least he's in a better place. And Prince Henry, actually, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Spoiler: Cora's motives might not be entirely pure. No!
The Full Bonham Carter
Name: The Blind Witch. Age: Early 40s. Occupation: Proprietor of the Storybrooke Diner...in Hell. Goal: Besides looking fabulous and providing literally everything this humble commentator wants this show to be, she seems pretty content to give decent customer service at her diner, despite her past as cannibal child murderer. Sample Dialogue: "What can I get you? Do you like gingerbread? Or children? Kidding. The gingerbread's actually not bad."
Plot Lightning Round
Let It Go, Again
Prince Henry tries to convince Regina to let her revenge go. He sensibly points out that Cora was responsible for Daniel's death, not Snow. Regina's not having it. After she leaves, Prince Henry uses the Magic Mirror to FaceTime with Cora, looking for a parental united front. But not only is Cora totally Team Revenge, but Henry doesn't hang up the call, and she's able to use the mirror to return from her exile in Wonderland.
Mary Margaret starts asking around about Hook at the diner, but the Blind Witch hasn't seen (or rather, smelled) him. David arrives, acting all weird, and kisses Mary Margaret before she realizes it's actually his twin Brother James. Man, a lot of people have died on this show!
Everyone in the Underworld seems really chill, like just hanging out in the diner. James picks up coffee to go. Is the coffee really bad or something? Will the lid pop off and burn him? Or is Hell just brunch?
Henry (they brought Henry?!) go looking for Neal. Emma tells him she's sure he's in a better place than this.
In the pawn shop, Gold is about to open the safe when Peter Pan, who owns the shop here, walks in. (You'll recall Peter is Rumple's dad...just go with it.) He offers him the small bottle Gold was looking for, but gives him the same "your friends aren't your friends" stuff Cora gave Regina. Pretty sure Gold's already on that page, dude.
The vial contains a wee bit of ale from Dunbroch, so it seems the Brave arc last fall had some larger purpose after all. It also seems everyone in the Underworld has a grave in the Underworld. Sure?
Quit Playing Games With My Heart
Who called the meeting? Prince Henry.
What's it about? He wants to broker a peace between Snow and Regina, to save not only the kingdom but Regina's soul.
How'd it go? Not great, bibbity bobbity boo! Regina beats Prince Henry to the meeting, disguised as him, and when the real Henry arrives and Snow turns her back, Cora rips out Snow's heart.
What's the occasion? Regina's birthday.
What are the refreshments? An absolutely gorgeous cake -- which Regina shows no interest in. That's how you know she's evil.
What's the dress code? Evil Glam Realness.
Whose embarrassing public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Oh, how will they decide? Will it be Regina killing the jester (who, to be fair, wasn't funny)? Cora's reappearance in the castle? The Enchanted Forest style blogs will surely be interested in Cora's one-of-a-kind gift to Regina: Snow White's heart in a box. Only it turns out it's not Snow's heart; it's from some random guard, who falls down dead when Regina crushes it. The biggest scene of all happens after the party ends, but I bet a servant or two will talk: when Regina finds out that Prince Henry switched the hearts and returned Snow's (let's all just ignore the fact that he doesn't have magic), she shrinks him down and puts him in the box instead.
Plot Lightning Round
The Talking Dead
Emma uses the ale, but it conjures a badly beat-up Killian, who flashes in and out of existence and can't hear them. With Killian unable to provide his location, Emma's worried about finding him within the half-hour they have left for Cora's boat. David reasons that if Cora could arrange a boat once, she can do it again, but Emma thinks Regina should leave with Henry and Robin like Cora said in the first place.
Regina takes the last of the ale to her dad's grave. He forgives her, and tells her to stay and finish her task rather than leave on his account. "When you tore my heart out, it was driven by the worst motives, but if you stay, you spread hope."
In the flashback, Regina recognizes that Cora is bad news, and anyway, she wants her revenge to be her own. She and the Mirror send Cora back to Wonderland. But Cora grabs the box and takes Mini Prince Henry with her. (And I am really regretting not doing a rewatch over the break if this is how far back we're referencing things. Thank you, internet!)
Ooh, Baby, Do You Know What It's Worth?
Regina shows up at the fire pit to stop Cora from torching Prince Henry. Cora insists that it doesn't matter what Regina does, and either way Cora's time in the Underworld is done. (Because her issues are resolved, or...?) It looks like Daddy's done for, but once Cora teleports away, the flames subside, the bridge across the pit fills in, and a bright light appears on the other side. It seems Prince Henry's unfinished business was Regina, and now that they've made peace and he's seen she's turned back to good, he can move on. Henry (who brings a child to a hellfire fight?!) meets his grandfather, and thanks him "for believing in her like I do." Old Henry thanks young Henry for being there for her when he couldn't, and then turns to his daughter to declare, "I love you, Regina. Never forget who you really are." There's something in my eye, okay?
Once Upon My Name Is Earl?
The gang realizes that if Prince Henry can move on to "a better place," then everyone else here can, too -- if they complete their unfinished business. Regina, self-centeredly but not incorrectly, notes, "For a lot of them, we're that business."
Gold wants no part of it. He'll help find Hook, per their agreement, but that's it.
BrainteaserQ What's going to drive me crazier: that they will never say "Heaven" even though they say "Hell," or that they say "Hell" when it's very clear they mean "Purgatory"?A This is a show that once featured Jiminy Cricket as a prominent character, so maybe getting their myths straight isn't a top priority.
Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself
Name: He goes by many, but in keeping with the source material we'll go with Hades. Age: Eternal. Occupation: Ruler of the Underworld. Goal: To keep all "his" souls in line, present, and accounted for, while doling out the occasional ironic punishment. Sample Dialogue: "Do I look like I like to lose anything?"
Wrap It Up
Cora takes the elevator in the library down to the caves, where she meets Hades himself. He explains that he isn't at all happy about Prince Henry -- or any soul -- leaving the Underworld. (It's unclear whether he feels the same way when they go to Hell or whatever.) Cora says she tried to do what he asked, but that Regina wouldn't go for it. When he gets excited, by the way, Hades's hair does that thing it did in Hercules, only since it's not always on here, and Greg Germann is playing this part exactly as if his character from Ally McBeal were the devil (not a complaint), the effect is like some sort of animation orgasm. I'm not against it. Anyway, Cora still wants what she was promised, since she did her part. But she didn't, by Hades's logic, since she said she'd succeed. Hades punishes her by turning her back into a miller's daughter, which is how she'll spend eternity. ...Delivering flour in Storybooke?