ABC/Jack Rowand

Storybrooke vs. The Dark Ones

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December 07, 2015 at 05:18 AM EST

In the words of Hades: “It’s a small underworld, after all, huh?”

From Camelot to Neverland, the show has never quite been able to sustain itself when it’s simply Storybrooke, as much as some of the better stories have been rooted there. So it’s not a shock to find out that, after tonight, we’re probably going to be spending some time in the Underworld next month. We already know we’re meeting Hercules and Megara; given tonight’s events, does that also mean we’re meeting Hades?

The bigger (and more interesting) question at stake is the fact that now that we’re in the Underworld, how many previously dead characters are going to get a chance to return? We’ve already had confirmations of past-dead characters like Cruella and Cora, though both of those characters are supposedly strictly for the show’s 100th episode. Regardless, moving to the Underworld opens up a host of options for 5B in terms of characters and plot, and I’m curious to see what those options are.

But enough speculation. You’re here to read about the matter at hand, a.k.a. Once Upon a Time’s winter finale. Unsurprisingly, the man of the hour (Hook) had a backstory that took us back in time to when he was just a wee lad aboard a pirate ship, traveling with his brother and father. During a storm, Hook wakes up scared, and his father Brennan (EastEnders’  Adam Croasdell) comes in and reassures him. “Whenever you feel scared, all you have to do is look inside your heart,” he tells his son, before asking him, “what kind of man are you going to be?” Predictably, Hook wants to be just like his brave dad, but maybe that’s not such a good person to emulate: When Hook wakes up, he finds out his father has abandoned him (he was a fugitive, and, well, he could’ve gotten caught at the next port).

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Back in Storybrooke, Hook and Rumple discuss the outcome of their duel from a few episodes ago, while Hook threatens Rumple with the fact that Belle left him because of the type of man he really is. (See a pattern here?) Meanwhile, all the Storybrooke folk are trying to figure out what to do. Emma advises that they split up to find Hook, and Regina and Robin run into a haughty Zelena, who wants to have a chat about their custody arrangement. Her ideas include wanting to raise the baby by herself, which Regina and Robin are obviously not on board with. Their confrontation is interrupted by the fact that they’re suddenly cornered by Dark Ones, as is everyone in town except Emma, who was inside searching for Hook.

While everyone is confused as to what’s just happened (a usual occurrence in Storybrooke these days), Rumple arrives and lays down the law: They’ve all been marked. Dark marked, even. (I keep trying to stop with the Harry Potter references but I can’t help it if the show keeps giving them. Sorry, guys.) See, the Underworld only provides the Dark Ones with a temporary stay in the land of the living. The only way for them to stay here and not get sent home is to trade places with living souls. Basically? They’re all screwed. Fighting won’t do anything, outsmarting them won’t do anything. The best they can do is enjoy the time they have left together.

NEXT: Daddy Issues 101

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Everything you’ve ever read about fairy tales is true—the residents of Storybrooke are living proof.
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