Last week Emma, along with her extended family, took a trip into the underworld in order to rescue Captain Hook. The underworld being a place that looks suspiciously like Storybrooke. The team split up and soon discover that things are not all that they appear to be. Everyone in the underworld has some kind of unfinished business and not all of it is going to be good. Particularly as Rumple and Regina have had previous dealings with a lot of the people down there.
As well as searching for Hook, we see a lot of people that have previously died in the show. On the way to the underworld, Neal visits Emma to say he’s in a better place and try to dissuade her from going along with her plan. Obviously, his visit fails at this but it does allow her to tell Henry later that his father is in a better place when he goes off looking for him. We gets hints that people such as Cruella De Vil may be making a reappearance, and David’s twin brother James turns up, clearly looking like he’s planning on making trouble for David and Snow.
I love all of Regina’s story arc but nothing more than her relationship with her parents and her this episode was fantastic for that. The lengths Cora is willing to go in order to do what she thinks is best for Regina has reached a new low of condemning Henry Sr to the fires in order to try to force Regina to leave her friends behind. But Regina has other ideas. Her friends need her and so she refuses to leave, thus actually saving Henry Sr, whose biggest regret was that he couldn’t help Regina step out from her mother’s looming shadow. By standing up to Cora, Regina not only frees herself from her mother but she also allows Henry Sr to move on to a better place. Cora goes to Hades to try to convince him that she’s upheld her end of some mysterious deal they’ve made but he isn’t impressed and she becomes the miller’s daughter once again.
We also have some input from Peter Pan, who is running the underworld’s version of Gold’s shop. He gives Gold the ale that allows you to talk to the dead if you pour it on their grave. They find Hook’s grave in the underworld and attempt this, only to see him beaten and bloodied and somewhere they can’t properly communicate with him. Regina also uses this ale to speak to her father and try to find out what he thinks she should do before her confrontation with Cora.
Now Hades. This is where it is amazingly helpful to have a best friend who is waaaaay more into the Greek myths than I am (thank you so much @jellyunbrella for your amazing input).
The fire Cora tries to throw Henry Sr into is one of the five rivers of the underworld. The River Phylegethon. The most well known of the five rivers is the Styx, which they travel down to get to the underworld in the first place. We see all five rivers in the final scenes, each one being a different color and hopefully will get more of each of them.
As with a lot of characters in OUAT, Hades seems to be at least based on the Disney film. He has the blue flame hair at any rate (a slightly rubbish special effect. But I love it anyway). So in that case, at some point we are going to be meeting Megara and Hercules, each with their own Once twist no doubt!
And what is Hades’ plan? Does he want to take over Olympus? If so, will we see any more of the Greek Gods? And why is it so important to him that Regina isn’t there? He gets very angry at Cora for letting a soul leave and the clock to begin to tick. And this is true to Hades in the myths, he’s very reluctant to ever let anyone go and if he does, usually it’s because of Persephone’s influence on him. Speaking of, are there going to be mentions of Hades’ wife? The Disney film of Hercules leaves her out entirely and if we’re going on that, it’s less likely that OUAT will include her. Roll on the next episode. I can’t wait to see more of this Lord of the Underworld.