Season 5 of Once Upon a Time resumes with the show’s landmark 100th episode in which our characters journey to the Underworld — which looks like a twisted version of their beloved Storybrooke — on a mission to rescue Hook. Upon their arrival, the group meets up with familiar faces from their past, Regina finds closure with a loved one, and we meet the main villain of season 5B. Take a look back at the most notable moments from the mid-season premiere, “Souls of the Departed.”

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Neal Returns!

ouat 512 nealreturns.jpgBefore arriving in the Underworld, Emma gets a visit from her first love. Neal acts as a sort of guardian angel and warns Emma against going to the Underworld. He asks about Henry and tells Emma that he will always love her. Neal also tells Emma that he did not end up in the Underworld but in “someplace where I’m happy.” I have always enjoyed the natural chemistry between Jennifer Morrison and Michael Raymond-James — this scene, in particular, really lets you feel the history between their characters — and I am glad the show found a way to include Neal in the 100th episode.

Snow Runs into Two Faces from the Past

ouat 512 snow.jpgUpon entering the Underworld version of Granny’s, Snow finds the Blind Witch serving up a very specialized menu. As if that was not strange enough, in a disturbing moment, Charming’s brother James poses as Charming in order to kiss Snow. Haven’t we already established that James is evil? Did he really need to kiss his brother’s wife to remind the audience of that? I hope the writers intended for this moment to be as unsettling as it is.

Regina Reunites with Her Mother

After a brief moment of tenderness, Cora gets back to doing what she does best: trying to control Regina’s life. Cora wants Regina to leave the Underworld as soon as possible and even offers to help her get out with both Henry and Robin in tow. When Regina refuses to leave her friends behind, Cora threatens to make Regina’s father suffer for her stubbornness. Cora is a terrible person but a fascinating character so it’s nice to have her back for this arc.

Rumple Gets a Visit from Pan

ouat 512 rumple pan.jpgAfter separating from the group, Rumple heads to his shop and runs into Peter Pan because apparently Pan runs the pawn shop in the Underworld. Pan, selfish as ever, wants Rumple to help him return to the real world even though it means that one of the people Rumple brought with him will have to stay behind. Rumple rejects Pan’s idea of a soul-for-a-soul trade, but it’s clear we have not seen the last of Rumple’s dear old dad.

Cora Takes Snow’s Heart

In a series of flashbacks to Regina’s Evil Queen days, it is Regina’s birthday and she tells her subjects that the only gift she wants is Snow White’s heart. Desperate to save Regina’s soul, Henry Sr. gets the Mirror to summon Cora so he can ask for her help in dealing with their unstable daughter, but Cora’s advice is for Regina to finish what she started by getting her revenge. Since Cora cannot trust Henry Sr. with this task, she makes her way through the portal from Wonderland and takes matters into her own hands. To that end, Cora poses as Regina’s father and meets up with Snow. When the real Henry Sr. shows up, Cora uses the distraction to rip Snow’s heart from her chest and then makes Snow forget about the encounter.

Emma Uses Magic to Find Hook

ouat 512 hook.jpgRumple gives Emma a potion she can pour over Hook’s grave that will allow her to make contact with the deceased pirate so they can cut their search short by simply asking him where he is. Alas, when Emma finally reaches Hook, he is unable to communicate with her and his appearance is so ghastly that Regina and Robin instantly shield Henry from the sight. Whatever is happening to Hook in the Underworld, it’s bad.

Cora Gives Regina the Wrong Heart

In the past, Cora makes a surprise appearance at Regina’s lackluster birthday party and presents Regina with Snow’s heart. Yet, when a delighted Regina goes to crush her enemy’s heart, one of her guards dies instead. It turns out that Henry Sr. swapped out the heart without Cora’s knowledge, essentially saving Snow’s life and one-upping Cora in the process. Though Regina’s father was trying to do a good thing for his daughter and preserve her chance at redemption, Regina sees it as an act of betrayal and does a spell to shrink her father so he will no longer be able to interfere with her plans. Regina comes to regret that decision when, in banishing Cora back to Wonderland, she is unable to stop Cora from taking Henry Sr. through the portal with her. That was one terrible birthday.

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Regina Seeks Forgiveness

Regina uses the potion to contact her father and tearfully apologizes for killing him. Henry Sr. instantly forgives his daughter, reminding her that he loves her no matter what. Regina’s father goes on to tell her to ignore Cora’s threat and stay in the Underworld to help her friends. Regina is terrified that her father will be harmed because of her once again, but Henry Sr. wants to see his daughter act like the hero she’s become so that his death will not have been in vain. Regina’s murder of her father is one of the true defining moments of the series so it seems fitting that the 100th episode sees her forgiven for that act. It’s a lovely full-circle moment sure to resonate with long-time fans.

“You Take Good Care of Her.”

ouat 512 henrysregina.jpgHenry: “Thank you, Grandpa, for believing in her like I do.”
Henry Sr.: “Thank you, Henry, for being there when I couldn’t. You take good care of her.”

— Henry and his grandfather meet for the first time and discuss Regina before Henry Sr. leaves the Underworld

Henry Sr. Moves on to a Better Place

Though Cora follows through on her threat to punish Henry Sr. for Regina’s decision to stay in the Underworld, there is a different fate in store for Regina’s father as he discovers what unfinished business has been keeping him in the Underworld. Henry Sr. tells Regina that the biggest regret of his life is that he spent so many years letting Cora stop Regina from being the person she truly is, but now that Regina has become that person, she is finally free of her mother’s influence. After telling his daughter to “never forget who you really are,” Henry Sr. leaves the Underworld behind for good. Is there anyone who didn’t reach for the tissues during this scene? Lana Parrilla, Jared Gilmore and Tony Perez give beautiful performances in what is easily one of the best moments in Once Upon a Time history. It will be interesting to see how this much-needed closure effects Regina going forward.

Operation Firebird

ouat 512 firebird.jpgThanks to Regina’s father, the heroes realize that the people in the Underworld can be saved if they accomplish their unfinished business. Everyone sans Rumple is on board with the plan to help those stuck in the Underworld and Henry supplies the name for this new mission. It looks like Hook isn’t the only lost soul the Storybrooke gang plans to save.

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Hades Wants Regina Gone

ouat 512 hades intro.jpgIn the episode’s closing scene, Cora pays a visit to Hades and he is none too pleased that she was unable to get Regina out of the Underworld. When Regina helped her father move on, she deprived Hades of a soul under his domain. For her failure, Hades taunts Cora with what he knows of her past and returns her to the role she left behind so long ago: that of the miller’s daughter. This is one heck of an entrance for the show’s newest villain and I’m anxious to see what his plan is for the heroes who have invaded his territory.

Once Upon a Time season 5 airs Sunday nights at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV