Our heroes finally leave the Underworld behind... but not every ending is happy
Credit: Jack Rowand/ABC

It’s deals and betrayal on Once Upon a Time as we approach the final two weeks of season 5. So it’s fitting, naturally, that we pick up with Emma (and everyone else) asking WHAT? when they learn Regina has told her sister to pursue her love with Hades. Hey, Regina’s just trying to make nice with her family and keep those sisterly bonds tight after last week’s mother-daughter trip down memory lane.

Anyway, Hades shows up and asks for help. No, really. He genuinely asks the group for help, despite the fact it looks like it’s killing him to do so. But he’s got a reason to appeal to the people he hates: When he went to meet Zelena for their date, she wasn’t there because she had been kidnapped by Pan and Rumple. See, Rumple is still upset about Hades and that contract regarding his unborn child, and now he feels even worse because of Belle’s situation. So if they can help save Zelena, Hades will do the ultimate good guy deed: He’ll take their names off the tombstones, which will allow them to leave Underbrooke.

Hades goes to Granny’s, where Rumple shows up with Pan and Zelena (who has been rendered magic-less due to the cuff). For all intents and purposes, the issue is resolved pretty easily: Hades is true to his word and tears up his contract, and when Pan tries to take Zelena’s heart, Emma saves him. Zelena’s touched Hades tore up the contract just for her, and like beauty falling in love with a beast, Hades heart starts beating again for the first time in forever. He’s found true love again and his punishment is over, which means he can now return to the land of living. No, really. He says there’s a portal in the cemetery that will open and bring them back to Storybrooke.

And, in the continuing theme of Hades being truthful, there is. Well, there’s a clocktower that’s migrated there that will serve as a portal. Hades does take their names off the tombstones, though, despite Hook’s suspicion. There’s just one more order of business: Being actually dead, Hook needs a beating heart to survive out of Underbrooke. Regina tells Emma to split her own heart in half, but it doesn’t work because unfortunately for Hook, he’s been dead too long. His soul has left his body, which means he’s kind of screwed. Emma can’t believe no one has ever gone to the Underworld and NOT brought someone back, and Hades reluctantly tells the story about Morpheus and Eurydice, the only two people who escaped the realm via the aid of ambrosia. But in order to get the ambrosia, you need to take a special elevator to the depths of hell that even Hades doesn’t go through, and there’s a test that you have to take to get it. Only those who are worthy of the ambrosia can take it… and you have to offer up your heart.

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Henry doesn’t want to leave the Underworld because they haven’t saved enough people. As the author, he thinks he can do some good and help people move on with their unfinished business, since a lot of them don’t know why they’re here. Regina is at first wary, but her good soul wins out, and she agrees to help him. Robin shows up with his daughter, and Regina fills him in on the situation and convinces him to give Zelena the baby to take back through the portal because they’re sisters and they can trust each other now. Robin complies, but he’s definitely not happy about it, and I’m sensing that Regina and Robin are going to have some tension between them that not even magic can fix. Rumple, meanwhile, is dealing with a pissy father, as Pan wants the heart he was promised. Pan offers Rumple Pandora’s box, telling his father to bring him the heart before the portal closes at sunset. Rumple shows up and takes Robin’s heart, because poor Robin just hasn’t been through enough lately.

NEXT: Pick me. Choose me.

In Maine, a 2009-era Emma with adorable black-framed glasses is looking for answers about her family. She meets a woman named Cleo Fox (Rya Kihlstedt), who has a super awesome maroon jacket (this is important, guys). She’s also a bounty hunter wanting to take her in for a warrant in Phoenix. Emma tries to get away, but Cleo is good — she stops Emma from driving away and then takes her to a motel where she handcuffs her (and, uh, immediately disappears…). Emma is even better, though. She easily gets out of the handcuffs and pilfers money from Cleo’s wallet, noticing a picture of a young girl named Tasha Winters. Before she can make a run for it, she notices a website with an interstate record finder, and realizes that this might be the answer to finding out where she came from. Emma promises if Cleo takes her to the courthouse so she can find out where she came from, she’ll go willingly to Arizona.

At the courthouse, Emma is disappointed to find nothing about her life — and as such, she refuses to go back to Phoenix. In the middle of the night, she sneaks out and goes back to the courthouse to try to find more information, but Cleo finds her and stops her. She’s futilely trying to stop Emma from being so hell-bent on finding out where she came from, for reasons Emma doesn’t understand, but before they can have a moment, the police show up. Cleo helps Emma run, but as they flee, Emma realizes she’s been fatally cut from glass from the window they escaped from. A distraught Emma, who now feels guilty for her actions, tries to tell her about her daughter, and Cleo reveals she gave her daughter up years ago… just like someone gave Emma up. A year later, Emma — now working as a bail bondsman because she was set straight by Cleo and is using her powers for good — finds Tasha, who is working at a clothing store. She tries to pay it forward by telling Tasha about her birth mom and giving her all the information she has on her… in addition to the fact that she is dead. Before Emma leaves, she makes a purchase: her own armor, a.k.a. the red leather jacket that’s become a staple.

Back in Underbrooke, Henry is attempting to help people but is interrupted by Cruella, who is upset about James being killed. So she teamed up with the Blind Witch, who used magic to lock them all in the library so they can’t leave. When Regina’s power doesn’t work to free them, they realize they’ve been duped and stopped from leaving. Meanwhile, Emma and Hook take their elevator ride and find a scale waiting for them. According to the rules, only a heart with true love can pass into the room where the ambrosia is, and Emma has to weigh it. She does, and ends up falling to the ground in pain while Hook catches fire. Emma manages to save him, ultimately choosing him, hence proving her true love, and the door opens. But all the ambrosia is dead — someone cut it, and Hook realizes Hades doesn’t want them coming with him to Storybrooke.

But Hades is all ready to go through that portal, and he does so with Zelena — who, to her credit, is hesitant to leave without her sister. But Hades promises that they’re going to follow, and, well, Hades has proven he keeps his promises, right? Right. Through the portal they go! Baby included. Thankfully. I’m still not over the fact they brought a baby to the Underworld. Emma is determined to find a way to help Hook, but he tells her it’s a lost cause and forces her to leave. For real. He sends her up in the elevator and says he’s not following because he can’t, anyway. But he knows Emma’s love for him is real, and that’s what matters. And man, Emma is upset. Even more upset than when Hook died the first time. Heartfelt moments in the Underworld, you guys. So many of them tonight. If there were a brochure for this place, it would definitely have a picture of Hook and Emma in this moment promising “All your hearts will get broken here!”

Pan wants to go as well, and he wants his heart, which Rumple gives him. But Rumple is more clever than his father: The heart he gave his father wasn’t Robin’s (which he thankfully returned) but one from the River of Souls. Pan doesn’t deserve happy endings. He puts Belle in Pandora’s box and goes through the portal, where he’s determined to find Belle’s father and wake her up. Emma reunites with her friends and helps Regina magic the doors open while Henry leaves the storybook for people who might want to find their own happy endings. The rest of the Storybrooke group make it through the portal in the nick of time, but Emma hesitates, unable to leave Hook, still upset about abandoning him. David uses his good father skills to convince Emma to go through the portal at literally the last second… and the clock goes back to 8:15.

And now everyone is back in Storybrooke — well, almost everyone. But I refuse to believe that this is the end of Hook, and I refuse to believe that things will just level out with Hades in town (especially if those previews are any indication).

Stray Odds & Ends:

  • “It’s Arizona, it’s not hell!” I beg to differ (I actually like Arizona, but parts of it ARE hellish.)
  • “You forced my hand, kid eater!” Regina FTW.
  • Speaking of Regina, I am here for ALL the sister bonding. Like, completely here for it. Give me Zelena and Regina reconnecting. (This means Zelena is so going to die, right? We can’t have nice things on this show.)
  • We now know the story of the yellow bug, the jacket, how Emma got into the bail bondsman profession, Emma’s childhood, her first true love… anything else we need to know?

Episode Recaps

Once Upon a Time

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

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