Once Upon a Time season 5 continues with an episode that focuses on the dynamic between the Mills sisters and how their mother’s decisions have shaped their relationship. Flashbacks to the distant past show us that Regina and Zelena have a bond that stretches back to their childhoods, while present-day circumstances have the women sharing some emotional moments with Cora (guest star Barbara Hershey.)
Meanwhile, Charming deals with his evil twin brother, Hades makes Zelena an offer, and Rumple turns to an enemy for help in saving Belle’s life. Take a look back at the most notable moments from episode 19, “Sisters.”
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Will Zelena Accept Hades’ Proposal?
Hades takes Zelena out on a date and makes her a promise about their future together — once his heart is beating and he can leave the Underworld, he will take her to Storybrooke. Zelena points out that the heroes would never go for them living in their town, so Hades says he will keep the heroes trapped in the Underworld. Hades tells Zelena that after Charming switched his name for Snow’s, he made sure all of their names were put on tombstones, thus ensuring that none of the heroes can leave the Underworld. Hades then gets down on one knee and asks Zelena if she will “make chaos” with him, which I guess is Hades’ version of a proposal. We don’t get to hear Zelena’s answer, but we later learn that she hasn’t given him one yet..
Zelena Rejects Regina’s Sisterly Concern
Zelena returns from her date with Hades to find Regina waiting for her. Regina knows about Hades’ “proposal” and she confronts Zelena about potentially siding with the man who wants to trap her in the Underworld. They argue about whether or not it’s possible for Zelena to make Hades a better person and Regina points out that if she can’t, it will mean very bad things for everyone involved. Unfortunately, Zelena doesn’t want Regina’s sisterly advice because she does not believe Regina cares about her or that she ever really wanted a sister at all. Zelena is wrong on both counts, as we learn throughout the episode.
Charming Comes Face-to-Face with His Evil Twin
James is furious with Charming for stealing his glory, so he decides to return the favor by stealing Charming’s life. James knocks Charming out and poses as him in order to get close to the heroes. This whole situation could have been avoided if the heroes had come up with a code word to distinguish between Charming and his villainous brother. James already posed as Charming once since they arrived in the Underworld. Did they really never consider that he might try it again?
Regina Goes to Cora for Help
To keep Zelena away from Hades, Regina decides to call upon Cora. After Hook helps Cora escape from the “life” Hades forced upon her, Regina tells her mother that Hades plans to trap the heroes in the Underworld so he can go to Storybrooke without interference. She explains that he intends to get Zelena to restart his heart with True Love’s kiss so he can finally leave the Underworld. Cora thinks Hades has spent too long in the Underworld to be redeemed by Zelena’s love, so her solution is to make Zelena forget that Hades ever existed. Cora takes Regina to the River of Forgetfulness because one drop of its water will be enough to erase Zelena’s memory. They merely need to find a way to get Zelena to drink said water. I wish the show would do away with all these memory spells. How many times have the characters’ memories been erased or altered this season alone? It’s becoming way too repetitive.
Past-Cora Betrays Her Daughters
In flashbacks to Regina’s childhood, young Regina is lonely and desperate for a playmate. Luckily for her, she discovers Cora’s wand and uses it to try to summon a “sister” to play with. The magic in Cora’s wand blasts Regina and Cora is unable to heal her because her magic is what injured Regina in the first place. Cora tells Henry that the only way to save Regina is to find someone she has a close tie to who has never harmed her. Unbeknownst to Henry, Regina has a magical family member who fits the bill. Cora travels to Oz to find young Zelena and the two quickly bond over magic. Cora then convinces Zelena to help Regina, and Zelena is able to heal her right away. The girls develop an instant, easy connection and quickly figure out that they might be related. They ask Cora if they share a blood connection and Cora actually tells them the truth — that they are sisters. Alas, since Cora’s lesson to Regina is that she cannot trust anyone but herself, she wipes their memories and has Zelena taken away.
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Cora Brings Zelena and Regina Back Together
Cora pays a visit to Zelena’s Underworld home to get her to drink the water. Cora tells Zelena what she wants to hear — that she is sorry for giving Zelena away and she was wrong for doing it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take Zelena long to figure out that Cora is trying to manipulate her, and she calls out Regina and Cora for their deception. Regina and Zelena are about to get into a fireball fight when Cora stops them. She tells them the truth about the connection they shared as children and how she took it away from them. Cora finally returns their memories and apologizes for separating them. She then encourages her daughters to restore their sisterly bond. This is an incredibly touching scene and all three actresses bring their A game.
James Tries to Kill Robin and Emma
Apparently, it was all Cruella’s plan. She wants to kidnap Robin and Zelena’s daughter in order to use the baby as leverage to get Hades to release her from the Underworld. Robin tries to defend his daughter, but his arrows are useless against people who are already dead. Luckily, Charming and Hook arrive before Cruella and James can follow through with their plan. Charming and James get into a fight that results in James being thrown into the River of Lost Souls. Cruella escapes, and Charming laments not being able to save his brother.
Cora Says Goodbye
After uniting her daughters, Cora prepares to move on to whatever fate awaits her. I’ve never been a fan of Cora’s, but her goodbyes to both of her children are quite emotional. Despite the many horrific things Cora has done, it is apparently never too late for redemption. As Regina and Zelena look on, Cora leaves the Underworld for someplace better. Once Cora is gone, Regina tells her sister to go to Hades, trusting her for the first time since they were children. Zelena thanks Regina for believing in her and they share a hug. I have mentioned before that I’m in favor of a relationship between the Mills sisters — and I think Lana Parrilla and Rebecca Mader are magic together — so I was very pleased with the developments in this episode.
Rumple Goes After Zelena
Earlier in the episode, Rumple vows to save Belle from the sleeping curse, but he plans to do it his way — through dark means — rather than the way Belle would want him to — with light magic. To that end, Rumple teams up with Pan and they kidnap Zelena. I assume they intend to use her as leverage against Hades, but I suppose they could have something else in store for her. What do you think their plan is?
Once Upon a Time season 5 airs Sunday nights at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)