Who put the glad in gladiator? Well, seemingly not this kid seeing as he died as a young teen and did even complete all of his labors and medal collection, which he does proudly show off to Snow in the enchanted forest flashback. We also discover in these flashbacks that he is the one who taught Snow White how to shoot, in order to save her kingdom from bandits.
He also teaches her the life lesson that some times it’s only in failure that we learn how to succeed. This is something that she later has to remind him of in the underworld.
When we see Hercules again in the underworld, still very young, we find out that his unfinished business is that he never completed his final labor. Defeating Cerberus, Hades’ pet hell hound who now guards the prison in which Hook and Megara are being held at the beginning of the episode.
This episode feels fairly pep talk heavy. Not only do we have Herc and Snow giving each other the same peep talk at different points we also having Regina – who would like to go on record saying that she doesn’t like pep talks – giving one to Snow chiding her for considering giving up.
Motivating her by telling her that they need Snow White, not Mary Margaret, advice that Snow takes to heart and later announces that she wants to be Snow again.
After Hook helps Meg to escape she then leads the Charmings, Herc and Emma to the entrance to the tunnels so that they can battle with Cerberus. Herc tries to go in alone but fails. Hades calls Cerberus off before he can attack, leading to a confrontation with the heroes, in which Hades makes a lot of threats and the relationship between his and Herc is brought to the forefront when they refer to each other by familial names.
Hades’ is Herc’s uncle, Zeus is his father and he mentions earlier that he has a mortal mother, scoring one Greek mythology point over the Disney film version who make Hera his mother.
Cerberus tracks Meg to the Charming’s apartment which in the underworld seems empty and waiting for them. He chases them through the high street, trapping Herc, Mary Margaret and Meg in the library. Mary Margaret realizes that the only way to kill Cerburus is to attack all three heads at once and so convinced Meg to help them. Cerberus is defeated very quickly and easily – almost too quickly in my opinion – and with Hercules’ final labor completed, his unfinished business is finally complete and he is free to move on to a better place, in his case Olympus. Meg also goes with him. And my big question for that is ‘why?’. She isn’t a goddess or a Demi God so does she have any business being on Olympus? And what was her unfinished business? Was it simply to face Cerberus, whom she was killed by? She was a prisoner of Hades so he must have had a reason and a use for her. Yet she is able to escape him fairly easily. I hope we haven’t seen the last of these two.
As a side plot, they also introduce something which I hope will be a much bigger recurring thing. Henry goes into the underworld version of Regina’s office looking for blueprints of the town but instead he finds Cruella DeVil. Cruella has a proposition for Henry; find the Pen again, reclaim his name as the Author and write her out of the underworld. Her reasoning for why he should do this is that if she is returned to life, Emma is no longer a murderer and therefore her slate will be wiped clean in that regard.
Cruella also reveals that the Pen is sentient and so by breaking it, Henry killed it and must have sent it to the underworld as writing the stories of everyone is one hell of a piece of unfinished business. We don’t know how this exchange ended but when he leaves the office, Henry does lie to Robin about what he has found.
Also I know it’s a long shot but is anyone else hoping that the Pen isn’t just a pen in the underworld? I just think a personification of the pen would be cool. Either that or Henry searching every single shop that sells pens and testing them all hoping he’ll come across the right one eventually!
And I have got to say that Hades’ plan is rubbish! Yes it’ll hurt Hook but that is literally all it will do. His plan is to force Emma and Co. to stay in the Underworld by making Hook choose who will stay for every soul that moves on. So instead of making them leave because they’re helping others move on, he’s making them stay. In the Underworld. Where they’re causing trouble. To stop them causing trouble there. This makes NO sense to me! He really needs Persephone around to talk some sense into him.