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?