Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 13 recap

Once Upon a Time Recap: #ImWithHerc

This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, a demigod helped the heroes with a triple threat, leading Hades to hand Hook a most grave assignment.

Guys, this was a very good episode. From the flashbacks, which like last week connected some meaningful dots, to the current-day tale, it had — as had been promised — a Seasons 1/2 feel.

We finally lay eyes on a physical Hook, and he is battered and bruised — but not bested. Rather, he aims to make a run for it from his subterranean prison, but instead urges a fellow captive, whom we ultimately learn is Megara, to make her escape while he fends off the three-headed hellbeast. After Emma stumbles across Meg in the outside woods, she, Regina and the Charmings learn that to get anywhere close to Hook, they will need to conquer Cerberus.

To that end, Mary Margaret seeks out Hercules, whom she met (in flashbacks) when she was a princess, not yet a bandit. Herc leads the heroes to the tunnels and makes a demi-assed run at the beast, but quickly turns heel. Turns out, he was killed by Cerberus, and thus never finished the 12 Labors needed to join dad on Mount Olympus. Worse, Hades is thus his uncle, so the Underworld overlord warns his unwanted guests that if they mess with his kin, he will mess with theirs. In the meantime, Hades shows off to Emma a trophy to serve as a warning — Hook’s hook.

Mary Margaret is ready to quit after that encounter, but in a simply terrific scene, Regina urges her not to do so. “You defeated me in a way no one thought possible — you made me your friend, by never giving up on me,” notes the formerly Evil Queen. Mary Margaret may not be able to hep them now, but Snow White sure as hell heck can!

Mary Margaret finds Herc again and lobs his sword at him, challenging him to finish the job he started. And with plucky Meg’s help, when Cerberus comes crashing through the doors of the library where they have holed up, they attack all three heads at once, vanquishing the beast. Afterward, Mary Margaret schools Emma on her Enchanted Forest existence, how she took risks even when she was afraid. And on that note, she officially gives up her Storybrooke name, to be Snow White once again.

Emma, Regina and the Charmings bid Herc and Meg adieu, but before the nascent lovebirds ascend up the glowy path, toward Mount Olympus, Herc gives his old friend Snow a warm hug, marveling, “You became an amazing hero.”

Elsewhere in the episode, Robin and Henry went looking for a big ol’ MacGuffin — namely, a “map” of the Underworld — in the mayor’s office, but what Henry found there instead, after crawling through the heating duct past a(n apparently wispy) protection spell), was Cruella de Vil. She tells Henry that she needs his help as the Author, that she right now has only two places to move onto from the Underworld, and she wants a third. She wants to return to the real world and… all that gin. When Henry notes the Author’s quill is broken, she explains that it too was a “living” entity, and thus is somewhere in the Underworld as well, the paragon of “unfinished business.” And if found, Henry can return Cruella to the living, and thus clear his mom’s name as a murderer.

The episode ended with a grave twist, as Hades held Hook accountable for the one, two, three souls who have now left his realm, Regina’s dad included. As punishment, Hades explains, one of Hook’s friends must stay behind in the Underworld for each soul they liberate — and it is up to Hook to decide who be damned!

What did you think of “Labor of Love,” the adorable flashback romance ‘tween Snow and Herc, Hook’s dilemma and the rest?


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kelli Carr says:

    Where can I watch online now? For cheap or free?? Tornados have taken over my tv… I need my ouaT!!!!

    • Mollymoo says:

      You should be able to watch on abc online. You’d have to login with the Info from your tv provider

      • Gail says:

        Loved the episode. Loved Regina’s talk to Snow White. Love the present and past Regina. Would like them to confront one another. Perhaps Hades can make that happen. Here’s a thought, what if the Evil Queen kills Robin Hood before Regina can stop her.

        Have a question about Emma’s plan to split her heart and share it with Hook. Wasn’t it established in Season 2 when Cora tried to take Emma’s heart that it couldn’t be done because she was the Savior ?

        • Nicky Aiuto says:

          Yes, Cora couldn’t rip Emma’s heart out. But remember, Neal already informed Emma that her plan to share Hook her heart will not end the way she thinks it will. So right now it seems clear that that heart sharing thing won’t work.

  2. Melissa Jayne says:

    I thought it was a wonderful episode. It was great seeing Bandit Snow White again! How I have missed her! It was great seeing all characters work together. We were promised Season 1/2 feels and so far that’s what been delivered. Really enjoying Season 5b so far.

  3. Ian says:

    Lana can always destroy my heart with her emoting, but the MVPs were Hercules, Cruella, and Emma Caulfield’s Witch. The second this Hercules, the actor first appeared tonight and smiled, I was in love! Make him a regular!

  4. Emily says:

    Hook’s dilemma is one of the best storylines we’ve had in 5 seasons on Once. I love everything about it.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I hope Hades at least also gives him a mallet to help chisel the headstones. Otherwise that’s just cruel.

  5. Amy says:

    This is probably my favorite episode of the season. It was fantastic to see Bandit Snow back and even that little moment with Emma in the diner was amazing. Love Hades, young Herc and Snow were adorable and I’m excited to see Emma get to Hook next week…*cheers loudly from my chair*

  6. laurelnev says:

    Well it’s good to see Snow is rediscovering her brain this arc. :)

  7. Cj says:

    I was a little disappointed with the they wrote Meg’s character. She is probably one of my favorite Disney “princesses”. I wish she was smarter and sassier. I know these aren’t the exact same stories as the movies but it was a completely different character

    • Ian says:

      I have to agree. I wanted to love Meg because I love Kacey Rohl, and she’s a firecracker, believe me, but everything about this character tonight just wasn’t enough like the Meg from the animated film. She got outshone.

    • I was wondering that myself. Which then made me wonder if there’s more to this version of Meg that caused her to be more scared and cautious. I saw a comment elsewhere online that said that Meg is part of the original Greek mythology with Hercules. Anyone know if this is true? I’m very unfamiliar with mythology and I’m wondering if this Meg was based more on her than the Disney version. And also if that’s why she was also headed to Mount Olympus with Herc.

      • Ilaria says:

        Yup, it’s true! In the original Greek mythology, Megara was Creonte’s daughter. She was a princess of Thebes, and she married Hercules after he defeated Cerberus and saved Thebes. According to some versions, she was also killed later by Hercules himself, after he got mad because of Hera. So I’d say that this Meg was based on the Greek mythology, instead of the Disney movie.
        No idea on why she’s heading to Olympus, since only Gods are allowed there (human souls should head to Elysium). It might be interesting to know, I hope we see them again this season.
        Also, apologies for my english, I’m italian :/

  8. abz says:

    Although, I initially had my reservations about the casting for Hercules, I thought he turned out to be very good especially opposite Young Snow. Megara, however, was a complete disappointment. And was it just me or did she resemble Sarah Bolger who played Aurora?
    Can Emma Caulfield stay on forever?? I love the Blind Witch and that scene with Regina was just so much fun to watch. Oh and how I’ve missed Cruella. I want her plan to work so that we continue to see more of her. Overall pretty good episode and still WAYYYYY better than anything in 5A.

  9. Oy says:

    5B bringing the goods! So pleased the show is seemingly back on track. I never gave up on it but was kinda getting worried.

    • Melissa Jayne says:

      I’m with you on that!! I never gave up watch it every week but I was getting worried with the direction it was heading it. So glad 5b is bringing the good stuff!!! I’m loving having Snow White back!

  10. Guy says:

    Was pleasantly surprised with Hercules and Meg. And I’m especially glad that their story seems to be over and they won’t be taking over the entirety of the half season like this show has tended to do in the past (Anna and Elsa, anyone?).
    Nice to see Cruella back too. Was always skeptical of her inclusion in this show but the actress nails it.
    Low point of the episode was the girl who plays young Snow White. Simply not a very good actress and hasn’t gotten any better.

    • abz says:

      While I do agree with you on Young Snow’s acting at times, however, she is a really great casting choice in terms of looks. She definitely looks like she could be a young Ginnifer Goodwin.

      • Guy says:

        Oh for sure. She definitely looks perfect for the role. I just have always found her performance very distracting.

  11. Baelfire says:

    I’m confused, in this episode king Leopold was already dead when snow was young, yet in previous episodes he was still alive when snow was an adult 😑

  12. Cris says:

    Pretty good episode! Just like the last one. 5B is doing excellent so far.

  13. ninergrl6 says:

    This was the best Snow flashback episode in YEARS. Frankly, I didn’t want to see another Snow flashback like EVER (and I *really* don’t think we need any more Regina-hates-Snow backstory) but this one advanced the “present day” plot as well as developing the characters. The actress who plays young Snow has picked up so many of Ginny’s mannerisms & even sounded like her at times. I wish Herc & Meg could’ve stuck around longer, especially since Meg’s storyline got almost no development, but overall I loved it. Much more well-rounded and interesting than last week episode.

  14. Megan says:

    I’m with you , Matt, this was a really good episode. In fact, 5B has had two excellent episodes and both have been the best of the season thus far. It’s nice to watch this show when they have all the characters working together and being front and center like this. I think one of the best things was Snow dropping Mary Margeret- I’ve never understood why they didn’t drop it a long time ago, honestly. I guess it was just a sign that she wasn’t going to sit back anymore??? Loved Regina in this one too. Really , she seems to be the team coach right now- perhaps that’s why Hades didn’t want her there? Another highlight- Cruela. I love her and it’s also nice to see Henry have a story of his own since he’s the author. Glad OUAT is back!

  15. Becky Bostwick says:

    I have to comment. I have watched this from the very beginning and loved it. But putting thr Devil in it is making me turn it off. I am so disappointed

    • abz says:

      LOL but all the murder, violence, lying, thieving, witchcraft, curses, etc., was okay with you? And I’m no expert on Greek mythology but aren’t Hades and the Devil two different things? Hades is the God of the Underworld who ruled over the afterlife unlike Satan who is a fallen angel.

    • Jackie says:

      Hades isn’t really the Devil, though. He’s a Greek god of mythology, not from the Bible.

    • ? says:

      Hades isn’t the devil. He’s the god who got stuck with the underworld when him, Zeus, and Poseidon drew lots for realms to reign over. He didn’t choose it, and he’s not evil (well, he is on this show, but so is Peter Pan). Ancient Greeks didn’t see him as a tempter or inciter to sin, or blame misfortunes on him. They feared him because they feared death. His realm was an unhappy place to end up, except for the Elysian fields.

  16. Jackie says:

    I liked this a LOT better than last week for sure! This would have been better as a focus for the 100th ep. So good to see Snow getting back to her strong self. I do wish we had gotten more of a talk with her and Emma instead of her and Regina, though — we need more Snow/Emma scenes. They were such great friends in Season 1. Seeing Hook all beaten up and bloody was really upsetting, though, and what Hades is going to make him do is even worse. I wonder if Hook can refuse to do it? He’s already sacrificed himself for them all once, I could see him doing it again. Maybe that’s why he’s chained up in the previews.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      What’s the harm if Hook refuses? He’s already dead. Hades can’t kill him again. He could beat and torrure Hook more, but Hook seems okay with that if it protects others. Hades could threaten to hurt Emma, but he’s kind of already doing that. It doesn’t feel like dire consequences to me.

  17. kitsunesaru says:

    A few points:
    1. Yay for finally ditching Mary Margarett!
    2. Wish Meg was a bit sassier. I spent most of the episode thinking “I though this was suppose to be Meg? Does she show up somewhere else?”. I didn’t mind the character, just seems silly to base her off the animated Meg but deliver a whole different character.
    3. Give Cerberus honey cakes and then he’ll just be a playful three-headed monster puppy who’ll let you waltz on in!

    • Grace says:

      that’s the thing, though, they weren’t based at all off of the disney hercules and meg, but the mythological ones.

      • kitsunesaru says:

        Ah well 9 times out of 10 they base it off the Disney stories. From what I remember about mythological Megara, well actually I really don’t remember much about her other than she married Heracles, gave him sons, may or may not have been killed by him, which may or may not be the reason he had to do the 12 labours. Maybe. Or not.
        Plus they’ve got Hades’ flammy blue hair like the Disney movie so I thought it was a logical assumption.

  18. Di* says:

    I loved this episode! I really enjoyed all the interations between Regina and Snow. They have came so far! I kinda wish that hercules can become one of the regulars but I don’t he will be back

  19. Di says:

    I loved this episode! I really enjoyed all the interations between Regina and Snow. They have come so far! I kinda wish that hercules can become one of the regulars but I don’t he will be back

  20. Pat says:

    It was a very good episode. Now my head is spinning with a few questions. It was revealed a couple of weeks ago, that someone would not make it back from the underworld. I assumed that it would probably be Robin and if it is him will that drive Regina to really hold a grudge against Emma because of the quest that they are all on to save Hook, even though Emma wanted to do this alone but they all decided to go with her. Now I am wondering if it will be Henry. After being alone with Cruella and she telling him about the magic quill, I am just wondering if she pulled something like a switheroo and she is now Henry. He was acting really strange when he crawled out of that room and Robin was there waiting for him. I know that this is probably far fetched but after watching this show from the very beginning, I am starting to think my brain is becoming a once upon a time.

    • Nicky Aiuto says:

      Well it was somehow informed that a major character dies this arc. But I am not sure if it was Robin, because there was a photo of him reuniting with Roland. And it seems to take place after the underworld.

    • Leo says:

      I had a feeling it’s either Snow or David. I don’t ever want to see them separated but just imagining it made me all teared up *sob* it will make good TV.

    • Vari says:

      If if the pinpoint was saving Hook and get that done and out but it isnt, they all also decided to stay and help other souls. So its not just on Emma and Hook.

    • MAD says:

      That’s a great theory!. I’m also wondering Henry will be tricked by Cruela.
      He would probably want Emma to save Emma, by having Cruela live.
      But, he doesn’t know that Cruela is the most Evil of all. She is worst than Regina.
      Remember the prior Author, took away the ability of her killing anyone ever again.
      If Cruela was to be brought back to Storybrook, she would have the ability to kill, again. Maybe they are setting her up as the next BIG BAD Villain, As for someone not making it back. My bets are David, Rumple or Robin.

  21. Yolanda says:

    I loved 5A, and that’s probably the main reason i want to see a more firey (sort of post dark swan) Emma (and dair i say darker Hook?). They shouldn’t have been forgiven that easy and i just hope that there is some of 5A left in both of them (even though i am pro captainswan). As for 5B so far, i am pleasantly surprised and really happy with the storyline so far. Hercules was awesome, but it’s good that he’s out of the picture so we can focus more on the core characters. Snow finally came to her senses, which i liked, and the deal between Henry and Cruella seems interesting. Hades is absolutely terrific! Greg Germann portrays him really well, it’s just reallt fun to see. I just missed Rumple this episode, but it seems like we wont be missing him for long (hints to episode 14 promo).

  22. Mary says:

    Definitely not the best of the whole season but better than the 100th episode BY FAR. I’m accepting this one as the 100th. The only thing that would have made it better is if the annoying Snow and Regina scene was replaced with Snow and Emma. It’s like they have no relationship at all anymore and Snow is constantly all about Regina rather than her daughter.

  23. Leo says:

    Whoa. Young Snow and Herc really had strong chemistry. And I’m glad they shared a kiss. But that awkward moment when you saw your crush all grown up and has a grandson. Yikes!
    This was an amazing episode. I love Snow episodes. Bailee still is an amazing young actrees who succeeded in picking up so many GInnifer’s traits. I was smiling through the episode.
    What I don’t get is why is the loft being prepared for the Charmings? I mean is it because they’re here in Underworld or are they guaranteed to be here when they died? What if they don’t have unfinished business when they die? Can someone else rent that loft?

  24. DD says:

    Even until the last second, I kept waiting for there to be a twist with Meg so she and Herc would be around for more episodes, for example that she was working with Hades, like in the Disney movie, especially once they showed in the brief flashback that she had been around Cerberus the first time Herc faced it… I guess I’d just forgotten how enjoyable the one-episode characters were in the first seasons…
    Also, I thought we had gotten rid of the Author sillyness :(
    As an Arrow fan, I find it hard to believe Snow could have learnt to shoot that bow and arrow over night, Oliver had to spend days and days hitting the bowl of water first… But Herc and Princess Snow were adorable together!

  25. Vari says:

    Good episode. Snow centric. Emma & co looking for Hook. Hook helping Megara. Heartbreaking to see Hook being tortured.

    Birth episode from season 5a was excellent.

  26. Sdebiagio says:

    Great article Matt. Terrific episode. The type of story that made fans fall In love with Once and it’s characters. Loved seeing the Snow we remembered, the resilience and strong beliefs of Hook, the unraveling of Hercules and the mysterious Greek mythology. What a wonderful inclusion of Hades as a villain and the beginnings of Henry’s role as the author. Can’t say enough about the rich part of the stories unravel (ing) in this episode.