It’s time for more reunions in the Underworld in this episode of Once Upon a Time, “Labor of Love.” The quest to find Hook continues, but that’s not going to be easy, not with Hades in charge and his pet (a three-headed hellhound).
Also, Mary Margaret reunites with a childhood friend, Hercules, and in doing so, she remembers what she was like in the Enchanted Forest when she was Snow White.
Once Upon a Time Recap: Does Emma Find Hook in the Underworld? >>>
When Snow White Met Hercules
Back in the Enchanted Forest, a young Snow White sits on the throne next to Regina, but when confronted with a bandit problem her subjects are facing, she chooses to run. She ends up falling into a hunter trap in the woods, and Hercules is the one who helps her out of it.
Hercules tells her about the 12 labors he must complete before he can join his father on Mount Olympus. When she protests that she can’t fight the bandits, he advises her not to let her fear of failing stop her from trying. He was scared when he completed his first labor, he shares, but he still won. (His last labor? Defeating the three-headed hellhound known as Cerberus.) He thinks she’ll make a great queen one day, so he’s going to teach her to stand up to the bandits.
Unfortunately, Snow White may be able to fake the confidence to first stand up to the bandits when they’re taking from her subjects, but she can’t fake the ability to handle a bow and arrow. Hercules intervenes, slamming his fist to the ground and making it shake, but that just scares the bandits off for the time being — and their leader goes right to Regina, who had tasked them into turning the people against Snow White so that they would see Regina as the one who should be their queen.
At this point, Snow’s ready to give up, so Hercules reveals that he almost died completing his first labor. The fur of the lion he eventually defeated was impenetrable, but just as he’d exhausted himself, he’d dropped his torch and the flames singed the fur from its body, allowing him to deliver the fatal blow. If he hadn’t failed, he never would have figured out how to succeed.
The next time Snow White stands up to the bandits, she succeeds in knocking the leader’s weapon from his hand and sending them running. That’s enough for Hercules to deem her ready to fight on her own, and he’s off to face Cerberus (but not before kissing her).
Escape from Hell’s Prison
Somewhere in the Underworld, a bruised and bloody Hook is imprisoned with a girl and an unknown “he” that will hunt him down if he tries to escape. But Hook’s not the kind of person to just sit around and wait, especially since he knows Emma’s there, and he’s ready to escape — or, at least, help the girl escape, with a message to find Emma for him, while he stands his ground to face off against Cerberus, the three-headed dog.
Elsewhere, Mary Margaret recognizes graves in the cemetery as those for her subjects, and she can’t help but wonder how she’s supposed to protect her daughter if she couldn’t protect them. Fortunately, she also comes across Hercules’ grave and realizes that not only can they help him, but he can help them as well.
Emma comes across a blood trail in the woods and automatically thinks it’s from Killian, only to find the girl he helped escape. She and Regina take her back to the Charmings’ apartment, which is just waiting for them to die apparently (creepy and useful since they don’t have to worry about anyone interrupting them). The girl tells them about the beast guarding the prison, and Mary Margaret joins them in time to hear the description and reveal that she knows what they’re facing — and how to stop it.
That’s where Hercules comes in, and after a quick stop at Granny’s to ask the Blind Witch where he is, Mary Margaret finds him. This time, she’s the one who needs to give him a pep talk (after catching him up on the fact that she’s a mother and a grandmother). Cerberus is here so he can complete his labors and move on, she says, but he tells her that the hero she knew died. Only if he lets him, Mary Margaret argues, reminding him of what he taught her: don’t let fear of failure keep him from trying.
Once Upon a Time: Will Peter Pan Be Freed from the Underworld? >>>
Here Doggie Doggie Doggie
Unfortunately, when it comes time for Hercules to face Cerberus, he can’t do it and instead retreats, at which point Hades joins them. It turns out that Hercules died trying to defeat Cerberus. (Oh, and Hades has his reasons for the Underworld looking like Storybrooke, he reveals, but doesn’t share them.) When Emma refuses to stop until she finds Hook, Hades delivers a message: Killian’s hook. She should be more worried about what he’s going to do, he warns her before leaving.
After that, Mary Margaret’s feeling pretty defeated and needs a pep talk of her own, from Regina. Her former enemy reminds her that she defeated her and made her her friend. Nothing stopped her then, so what’s different now? Mary Margaret doesn’t see how she can help anyone stand up to Hades when all she has are speeches about hope. But that’s why they need Snow White, not Mary Margaret.
That gives Mary Margaret the motivation she needs to go back to Hercules and use the lesson he once taught her. How did Cerberus kill him? The hellhound has three heads, so even when he faced one, the other two attacked. That’s why he’s not going to fight him alone this time. She’s going to fight with him.
When Cerberus attacks, Mary Margaret and Hercules find the imprisoned girl moments before holing up in the library. And since they’re facing three heads, she has no choice but to join the fight. It works, and it’s not until Cerberus has disappeared in a puff of smoke that Hercules officially meets Megara.
But as it turns out, that’s not the first time they’ve met — or the first time they’ve met because of Cerberus. When he faced the hellhound the first time, he had tried to save her from it. It got her after killing him, but he has made up for not saving her then. Mary Margaret wonders if that was his unfinished business. It seems to be the case, as Hercules and Megara move on to a “better place”: Olympus.
Meanwhile, Mary Margaret has decided that she doesn’t want to risk forgetting who she was anymore. She used to be someone who took risks even when she was afraid, someone who inspired people. She wants to be Snow White again.
Does Henry Make a Deal with (the) De Vil?
Robin Hood and Henry head to the mayor’s office in hopes of finding maps of the town there, but upon finding it spelled shut, Henry crawls through the vent to get inside. That’s where he finds Cruella waiting, wondering how his mother (the one who killed her) is.
She wants Henry’s help, she claims, in finding option C to escaping the Underworld: returning to the real world. As the Author, he can make that so, she argues. All he has to do is find the quill there. See, the quill is alive, and when he broke it, he sent it to the Underworld, its purpose unfulfilled, epitomizing unfinished business. If she comes back to life, Cruella explains, his mother is no longer a murderer.
And since Henry tells Robin that he didn’t find anything inside the office, it seems that he agrees to help Cruella.
What is Hades Planning to Make Hook Do?
Following his encounter with Hades’ pet, Hook is brought to the man himself. They may be in the Underworld, but that doesn’t stop Hook from threatening to do whatever’s worse than death to him.
Unfortunately, Hades has a fate worse than death in mind for Hook. After all the damage that Hook’s friends have caused, Hades wants them punished. For every soul that they free, one of them has to stay — and Hook has to choose.
Once Upon a Time season 5 airs Sundays at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)