The gang is heading to the Underworld – though Neal makes a brief appearance from a happier place to tell Emma that a) he’s not there and b) she really really shouldn’t go there. Of course she must to save Killian (who is way sexier than Neal)
But when they get to the Underworld they find it looks a lot like Storybrooke due to the mystical power of it being cheaper to recycle sets than create a new one – and it’s filled with people who had unfinished business. Most of which have unfinished business because, well, of the gang who just went down to the Underworld (that would be Emma, Henry, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Robin Hood and Gold). That could be tricksy.
We meet a few old faces – Mary Margaret runs into James, David’s evil (and sexier) twin brother (why is evil so sexy? Whyyyy?)
Rumple runs into his dad – Peter Pan (at this point it occurs to me that I should like to some of these past episodes which make all these relationships make sense – but some of these are going to take dozens of reminders so just run with it if you don’t remember). Peter Pan is, of course, still evil and would quite like Rumple to betray one of his friends because if one of them stays behind he gets to go home. I think it’s unlikely unless Peter sweetens the pot – not because Rumple is in one of his good arcs (he isn’t – he’s definitely edgy-not-all-that-nice Gold at the moment since he recently got all his dark magic back and Emma is flat blackmailing him to make him co-operate) but because Rumple really really really hates his daddy.
Even with Rumple’s magic finding Killian looks like it’s going to be a difficult path especially since he’s apparently suffering some terrible torment for extra angsty
But before we hit more of the meat we’ve got to touch on the flashback of this episode – back when Regina was technically evil and wanting to squish Snow White’s heart (I say technically because I kind of want to squish Mary Margaret’s heart on a regular basis and I’m sure I’m only a little evil around the edges. She is very very annoying. Just a little heart squishing?). Meanwhile her dad, Henry (this is pre-curse sacrifice days) continues to be the man who loves her so very dearly and wishes she would give up this whole terrible vengeance quest and stop being like evil mother Cora. He tries pleading, begging constantly showing her eternal love and devotion (and, while she doesn’t listen to him, she does clearly love him) an even tries to sabotage her plot for revenge in the hope of keeping her redeemable (apparently squishing Snow White’s heart would make her irredeemable. Squishing a random guard’s? Not so much). All the while Cora is there waving the flag for murderous revenge as the only path to true happiness
I’m torn. On the one hand, Henry is a wonderful, sweet character. On the other, Cora’s plan has murderous revenge against Snow White in it. Oh decisions decisions. Because of Cora’s machinations, Regina ends up even separated from her father
And through all this Sidney is being the servant looking glass – and while I’m glad to see the actor back, this character needs a WHOOOOLE lot of work.
Which brings us to the present day with us reminded of Cora’s constant push towards Regina embracing the dark evil while her father, Henry, tried to redeem her as much as possible.
Cora is in the Underworld – and Regina greets her with a hug because when Cora died things were… complicated between them. Cora wants one thing for Regina – her to get out of the Underworld (yes, take Henry and Robin as well – but get out); escape is way way way way way more important than her friends right now. Obviously Regina has grown a lot since the old days and definitely isn’t on board with abandoning her friends/extended family/the Charmings (though we all wish she would).
So Cora ups the ante and threatens Henry, who is also in the underworld, while trying to pass it off as something that will happen and totally not a threat. Honest. It’s totally a threat. This causes extra heartbreaking angst for Regina because the whole reason her dad is in the Underworld is that she killed him
Speaking to daddy, though, he makes it very clear he loves the person Regina has become, he’s very proud of her and doesn’t in any way want her to abandon her friends (even the Charmings), even though Emma urges her to return because even though she wants Killian back, she’s not willing to risk Regina and make the world that much less awesome. Did I mention how much I like Emma and Regina together?
Regina continues to help and Cora makes good on her threat – because she’s Cora. But Henry (senior) doesn’t burn – seeing Regina willing to risk so much for her friends means he has never been prouder – and his unfinished business is officially finished. Not only is he saved but gets to rise up to a much happier realm: but only after a beautiful scene with Regina and introducing him to his grandson, Henry junior. D’awwwwwwww…… Yes it’s beautiful.
With that, the broken clock in town ticks
Now, I thought it ticked because a Saviour was in town, same way the real Storybrooke clock ticked once Emma came to town. But as we follow Cora further into the underworld we see the man pulling her strings – Hades. (Yes with the blue flamey hair too). The clock ticked because one of the souls left his realm… and this makes him very unhappy. He attacks Cora at her most vulnerable – her origin as a Miller’s daughter
Hades is about to get a whole lot angrier – because with Henry’s ascension the gang has realised that everyone stuck in the Underworld has a chance of being redeemed and saved. And since they may be responsible for some of them, they feel compelled to help. Well, except Gold, of course.
I actually, kind of love this idea, and it means we have a great chance of lots of old stars popping back up.