It’s time for the heroes to leave the Underworld in Once Upon a Time‘s “Firebird,” and because Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan have kidnapped Zelena, they should definitely suddenly trust everything Hades tells them. (No, they really shouldn’t.)

Meanwhile, in flashbacks to before Emma knew about magic and Storybrooke and who her parents really are, she meets someone who offers her some life (and fashion) advice.

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Emma Gets Her Armor

In Maine in 2009, Emma’s in search of anyone who can tell her more than what’s written in the article about her being found, but instead of getting answers, she gets caught by Cleo, for stealing money from a couple convenience stores in Phoenix and then taking off on bail. But when Emma has the chance to run (she easily picks her cuffs) she chooses not to. She figures that she can use Cleo to get access to her records at the courthouse and agrees to go quietly if she helps her.

While waiting for the records, Cleo offers Emma some advice. She wears the leather jacket the other woman criticized as her armor. She thinks Emma is too emotional, which is why she keeps getting in trouble. She needs to learn to protect herself. But Emma’s file turns out being very thin, as in barely anything more than the article she already has. Emma is convinced that there has to be something more, but Cleo just drags her away, reminding her of their deal.

That doesn’t stop Emma from breaking into the courthouse that night, hoping to find something more, but after Cleo finds her, the police show up and they escape out a window. But when Cleo collapses in an alley, Emma realizes that Cleo has a large piece of glass in her side. And this is when Cleo reveals that she gave up her daughter and the photo she has of her she took from across the street. So all her talk about her parents having their reasons for giving her up now makes sense. “Let go,” she tells Emma. With the police closing in, Emma runs.

Then in 2010 in Boston, Emma, now in a trial period as a bail bondsman, tracks down Cleo’s daughter and gives her everything she could find on her mother because she thought she might want to know where she came from. After the girl realizes that her mother is dead and Emma offers her sympathies, she sees a certain jacket and buys her armor.

Hades is Totally Trustworthy Now?

Upon learning that Rumple and Pan have Zelena, Hades is more than willing to rip up that contract for Belle’s baby, but he doesn’t trust the father/son duo, so he wants to have an ace up his sleeve: Emma. In exchange for her help, he’ll take everyone’s names off the headstones and they can leave the Underworld. (There isn’t nearly as much protest or suspicion as there should be, now or at any point with anything that Hades tells them. But let’s go with it.)

The meet goes down as planned. Hades rips up the contract, Rumple saves his own skin and gets out of there ASAP, Emma steps in and Pan leaves. Zelena expresses her surprise in Hades ripping up the contract and Hades tells her he’d do anything for her and they share true love’s kiss. His heart starts beating again, and with his banishment over, he can finally leave the Underworld.

The portal will open in the clock tower (now in the cemetery) in about an hour and will close at sunset. Hades wipes their names off the headstones “gladly,” he says. (He’s being too helpful. Why is no one suspicious?) But there’s a problem: Hook. When Regina splits Emma’s heart and tries to put half in Hook, it hurts Emma. That’s because Hook has been dead too long, and their only hope is a “rumor” according to Hades.

Long ago, Orpheus and Eurydice supposedly escaped Hades’ realm when he fed her ambrosia, the food of the gods. The only way to get it is to take the elevator down further than even Hades has gone and pass a test to ensure that only those worthy of eating it can reach it. That test requires them to carry Emma’s heart in a bag with them, to offer for judgement. Though Hook tells her she doesn’t have to do this, Emma argues that he didn’t have to sacrifice himself to save all of them, and off they go.

As the others wait for them to return, Robin Hood joins them with his and Zelena’s baby. He’s missed out on quite a bit, hanging out in the woods, and so Regina has to fill him in on everything, including how she and Zelena are sisters who now like each other and how Zelena and Hades can definitely be trusted to take the baby with them to the portal and watch over her and not run off the first chance they get. And off Zelena and Hades go to the portal.

Does Rumple Save His Father?

Meanwhile, Rumple returns to the sleeping Belle in his shop and kisses her, but nothing happens. (Did he really think anything would?) Pan shows up to offer another deal: Pandora’s Box for his son to keep Belle safe inside in exchange for a heart so he can return to the living.

Rumple goes and finds Robin as he’s taking a moment for himself to accept that they don’t hate Hades and Zelena anymore. He takes Robin’s heart.

However, after Rumple puts the heart in Pan, his father realizes something’s wrong. It turns out it wasn’t really his heart. Knowing that Pan or his shadow could be watching, Rumple returned Robin’s heart to him when he/it was distracted and instead, he’s put water from the River of Souls inside his father. “Villains don’t get happy endings,” he tells his father. “And I need to make sure you never get yours.” Goodbye, Pan. With Belle inside Pandora’s box for the trip, Rumple goes through the portal.

No, They Really Shouldn’t Trust Hades

With nothing but time on their hands while they wait for Emma and Hook, Henry decides to continue with Operation Firebird and sets up a “Here’s Your Unfinished Business” stand in the middle of the street to help people move on. However, Cruella is opposed to the service since she has decided that with Hades leaving, the Underworld needs a new ruler and it will be her. And in order to be a ruler, she needs people to torment. Because Henry refused to write her back to life and they got rid of James, “the best toy in the playpen,” she needs something to keep her entertained.

With the Blind Witch on her side, they toss the heroes into the library and lock them in. They plan to keep them there until after the portal closes. But since the Blind Witch’s spells are always half-baked, how could she have one so strong? Regina realizes it’s Hades’ doing; he wants them trapped there. So they realize too late that trusting the Lord of the Underworld, just because he got true love’s kiss, was a really bad idea.

At the cemetery, with the clock ticking down, Zelena doesn’t want to go through the portal without her sister. All it takes is Hades telling her that they’re now heroes, so they’ll get there in time to get her to agree to step through, and to Storybrooke they go.

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True Love is Tested

Once Emma and Hook are off the elevator, it’s time for the test. Only a heart filled with true love can pass, meaning Emma has to weigh her heart to see if her love for Hook is true. True love is the rarest magic of all, Hook reminds her. Is she certain what they share is true love? She admits she’s not sure, but they have to try. Why can she only admit how she feels when one of them is facing certain death, he wonders, and she explains that she sometimes forgets that she doesn’t need her armor with him. But when she places her heart on the scale, nothing happens.

Then Emma collapses in pain and when Hook tries to get her heart back, he’s surrounded by blames. Rather than go for her heart, however, Emma tackles him to the ground. That’s when the door opened. That was the test. Emma chose Hook. It’s true love.

So, that’s the good news. The bad news is that the ambrosia is dead and has been for some time. It was most likely Hades’ doing. They realize that Hades sent them on this quest because he doesn’t want them coming with him to Storybrooke. Though Emma is desperate to find a seed or something that will save Hook, he gets her to leave by pointing out that they have no idea what Hades has done to her family or will do in Storybrooke.

Upon reaching the elevator, however, Hook reveals he’s not going with Emma. He never was because he knows they can’t find something to save him. She doesn’t want to go back without him, but he knows they’ve run out of options and time. All they can do is say goodbye down there instead of where everyone will be watching. She should’ve let him go in Camelot, he reminds her, but instead, they had more time than they were meant to. He doesn’t want her to make that mistake again.

Saying goodbye is too painful, but they do make promises to one another instead. Hook has her promise to not put her armor back on because she’s losing him, and she makes him promise to not let her be his unfinished business, to move on and not wait for her to show up. With one last exchange of “I love yous” and one last kiss, Emma holds onto Hook’s hand as the elevator begins ascending until she has no choice but to let go.

Once Emma joins the others, she and Regina use their magic to blast through the spell and hurry to the cemetery as the portal is beginning to close. Henry, Regina and Robin hurry through, and when Emma takes a step back towards the town, David stops her. When she bought the jacket, it was meant to be her armor, she tells him, to protect her from getting hurt, but now it’s a reminder she has to protect those she loves. She can’t lose anyone else, and with that, she and David go through the portal, which closes after them.

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

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meredith Jacobs

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

If it’s on TV — especially if it’s a procedural or superhero show — chances are Meredith watches it. She has a love for all things fiction, starting from a young age with ER and The X-Files on the small screen and the Nancy Drew books. Arrow kicked off the Arrowverse and her true passion for all things heroes. She’s enjoyed getting into the minds of serial killers since Criminal Minds, so it should be no surprise that her latest obsession is Prodigal Son.