Once Upon a Time Season 5 Recap

Once Upon a Time Recap: Baby Talk

This week on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, there was much baby talk as a new battle ensued over Baby Hood, Belle was brought up to speed on things and the Charmings gave Neal a “call.”

Leveraged as he is into doing Hades’ bidding, Rumple is tasked with creating a portal for the Underworld overlord, who can come and go as he pleases but cannot bring anyone back. The destination: Storybrooke, so that Hades can steal Zelena’s baby. After which, he will rip up his contract with Rumple and keep his lip zipped about the Dark One… being the Dark One again.

Rumple works his magic, and the swirling, red portal appears inside the Storybrooke convent, where Belle was paying Neal and Baby Hood a visit when Mother Superior/Blue was revealed to be Zelena. “My sister can’t keep me down,” Z says of her thus-far-unexplained escape from Oz. “I’ve come for my baby, so step aside!” Belle though grabs Baby Hood and tumbles into the portal, and Zelena jumps in after her. They surface outside the Underbrooke convent, where Z quickly realizes she is on Hades’ turf.

Throughout the hour, flashbacks inform us of Zelena and Hades’ past — namely, how he showed up in Oz years ago, having heard of the time travel spell she was working on, requiring symbols of innocence, love, wisdom and courage. (Sound like a famous foursome we know from literature/the movies?) Like Zelena, Hades suffers from sibling rivalry, in that his brother Zeus was awarded Mount Olympus, while he was assigned to the Underworld with a stopped heart. If Hades could turn back time, he could swap those fates.

In showing Zelena how to track the Scarecrow that previously escaped her, Hades begins to fall in love with the Wicked Witch. And after she stares down a slightly older, warrior-mode Dorothy Gale to procure the Scarecrow’s brain (but leaves the Kansas girl alive, as proof to the Munchkins who love her that she can fail), Hades celebrates their win with a dinner date. When he goes in for a True Love’s kiss, to restart his recently fluttered heart, Zelena just says no, worried that he is duping her to get his mitts on her time travel spell. Scored, Hades warns, “You’ll regret this” before poofing away.

Back in present-day Underworld….SEAN MAGUIRE, LANA PARRILLA

Robin and Regina help Zelena search for Baby Hood, whom Belle ran off with to keep safe. (Why they didn’t make a beeline for the library versus some random part of the woods, I do not know.) Because Belle did make a beeline for the library, where she found Rumple emerging from the elevator to Hades’ man cave. Delighted to see his wife, Rumple drops two bombshells in quick succession: 1) He created the portal because years ago he promised his second born child to Hades, and 2) Belle is carrying said child. Belle enjoys a moment of joy, before latching onto the first reveal, that her unborn child has been pre-sold. Rumple promises he will use all his “power” to fix that. Oops! Yep, I’m the Dark One again, he affirms.

What followed was a solid (if semi-familiar) bit of character work. Rumple attests that he loves the Dark One’s dagger and he loves Belle, and that it’s possible to do both. He also explains that while he is a better man because of Belle, he is not a different man — nor does he desire to ever be. Because great power is just that yummy. When Belle busts out the “Not even for me?” card, Rumple contends that she didn’t fall in love with the man behind the beast, “You fell in love with me because I was a man and a beast.” Belle insists on reuniting with her friends, and Rumple undoing his contract with Hades, before she makes any decisions about their future together.

Once Zelena is reunited with her baby, she convinces Robin and Regina to let her feed it. Afterward, Zelena reneges on their deal and poofs away with the baby, only to realize later that the wittle one got scraped during the ordeal. Zelena returns the baby to Robin and Regina, tasking them with protecting her from Hades, who likely wishes to use her as the “innocent” ingredient in a time travel spell. Robin meanwhile decides to hold off on naming his daughter, lest Hades use that info against them.

Hades and Zelena eventually reunite in the town square, where she threatens to “demolish him if he lays a finger on her baby. He says that was never his intent, that his “true love” for her has endured all this time, that he snatched the baby for her. As an even greater gesture, he modeled The Underworld after Storybrooke, knowing that Zelena wanted to cast the Dark Curse that her sister did. This way, she has her own ‘Brooke, albeit an imperfect one prone to decay — “but it’s our decay,” he contends. Zelena says she still can’t trust him, that she’ll get her daughter back on her own. Before Z leaves, Hades informs her of the birth date she never knew — April 15 — and points out that he “took care” of her mother, as well.

Elsewhere in the episode: GINNIFER GOODWINUpon realizing that they are now considered “regulars” at the Granny’s in Underbrooke, Snow and David become resolved to reach out to Neal back home somehow. In trade for David’s living breath (that stuff fetches a premium on the black market), the Blind Witch directs the parents to a “phone booth” where they can administer a simple “Level 1 haunting.” Snow and David wait in line, and then step inside to deliver their message to Neal, though the word on the street is there’s no way of knowing if the “call goes through.” But by episode’s end, prone-to-petulance Henry-the-Author comes downstairs at the loft brandishing new, magically written storybook pages, which tell the tale of the little prince’s sweet reaction to hearing his patents voices on the other side.

What did you think of “Our Decay”?

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47 Comments
  1. laurelnev says:

    I never love the Zelena storylines.I guess she’s Persephone now. If we can give her her happily ever after in the Underworld with Hades, I’m all for it. Now who has the pomegranate seeds?

  2. spp138 says:

    Rebecca Mader has given some excellent performances as Zelena before, but in my opinion she outdid herself in this episode. The range of emotions she displayed was incredible.

  3. KateFaulkner27 says:

    I love Wicked Zelena, but I am loving “in love” Zelena right now. Half the time I was watching the ep, I wanted her and Hades to kiss and make up. He’s got some powerful, enduring love, and for everything Zelena has done, I feel like a life with Hades would be her true, happily ever after. You could feel the chemistry between them (kudos to both actors for that!!), and I’m anxious to see if she does become his Persephone or not. (Perhaps “Persephone” will be a nickname? Only time will tell).
    On a side note… any other Greek geek cringing whenever anyone starts eating things in the Underworld? That’s supposed to be taboo, unless you WANT to spend the rest of your afterlife down there…
    Belle and Rumple are a whole ‘nother, complicated mess. Does make me wonder if Belle did, in fact, do as Rumple said: did she see the man in the beast, and loved him; or, did she see them both and loved both sides to the same coin? We’ve seen her drawn to darkness, as evidenced by her false memories as Lacey in Season 2. The curse Regina cast brought out sides to every character, usually the ones each person kept inside of them, not changed them completely. It’s possible that Rumple is exactly right, and Belle fell in love with him exactly as he said she did.
    Time will tell, and things will be interesting.

    • Dina says:

      That’s a good point. Seeing Gaston in next week’s promo reminds of me of one of the first scenes between Belle and Rumple, when Belle complains about wanting a more adventurous life than one as Gaston’s bride. She had fun being the Dark One’s servant. I think maybe she started to love the man once she found out that he’d had a family, but she was at least attracted to the crazy evil beast from the beginning.

    • Frank says:

      The one thing that made me happy, and finally at peace with Rumple as the Dark One, was that Rumple finally came clean – like COMPLETELY clean to Belle. He was honest with her finally about how he loves her, AND loves his dagger and power, how he can and should be allowed to love both, and she can either accept it, or move on. It was the first real mature, adult conversation they had, directly addressing the issue.

      It sucks because all the shenanigans to get Rumple here were really poor writing – like the writers wanted to redeem rumple, but they didn’t want to lose what made the audience drawn to him, and thus waffled for a few seasons, giving the whole thing a bad look, although finally a satisfactory resolution.

      I think even the writers themselves would admit, had they known this is where they would have ended up with Rumple, they could have written his struggle far better, and not have had those half-hearted “redemption” attempts, instead playing on the struggle between love and power in better-written ways than “lets redeem him! oh wait, let’s not! ok now let’s redeem him! Oh wait, numbers might go down, let’s not!”

      I feel finally with this conversation he had with Belle, everyone can FINALLY move forward, come what may, writers included.

    • PoeticNobleLandMermaid says:

      Massive Greek geek here! So yes, the whole chowing down in the Underworld does make me wince, but I guess they’re not including that aspect of the myths since it would have meant Hades would have gotten what he wanted (them being stuck) a thousand times over. Ah well. I’m just thrilled with how much they ARE incorporating, like the five rivers.

      And I’m especially thrilled they’re going with Hades’ angsty backstory. I get miffed when movies etc. pick on Hades as an easy bad guy without bothering to give him any of the built in depth, which is why when he started talking about Zeus and being forced to rule over the Underworld, I might’ve yelled “yes!” happily :) And yes, I’m also thrilled he’s not only getting a Persephone of sorts, but that they work so well.

      I hope you’re right about Belle; I really want her to get more agency in her own story, so I would count her admitting Rumple is right about falling in love with the beast as much as the man as a solid step forward. I hope they do something to change the relationship’s course from something other than a constant circle. Now would be an ideal time from my perspective since the Beauty and the Beast story shares similar narrative origin threads with the Persephone and Hades story. But that just might be the over(wishful)thinking of a fairytale-folklore-myth geek :P

  4. Shouldn’t Neal be bigger by now? The shot of him in the crib next to Robin and Zelena’s daughter makes them look like the same size, but they should be at least a year apart.

    • Amy says:

      My math is probably a little off but Baby Charming is only about 15 weeks old. There were two small time jumps in between arcs and about 3 to 4 weeks time passage. It’s why Goodwin said when she got pregnant them writing it in would be tricky

      • Meg says:

        Neal was born prior to Marian being brought back from the Enchanted Forest. Then the Snow Queen arc happened and Robin and Marian/Zelena left Storybrooke, got pregnant, came back, and gave birth. I don’t remember if Zelena’s pregnancy was accelerated at all but there was no overlap between the two.

        • jj says:

          Her pregnancy was indeed accelerated by Emma.

        • DD says:

          Zelena’s pregnancy was very much accelerated by Dark Swan, who wanted the baby out and safe so she could put all the darkness from herself and Hook into Zelena and kill her, ending the Dark Ones.

    • Time does not work the same way in this show as it does in real life. The entire Pan saga, which took place from 9/29 to 12/15 was supposedly only 3 weeks. I think I read somewhere that only 3 years have gone by in the last 5 and one of which was the year jump in season 3.

  5. Dina says:

    I loved the Zelena/Hades storyline, and I love how once again OUAT makes us feel for the villains. Zelena is convinced that she’s unlovable, while Hades is desperate for love (and the two actors are amazing). On the other hand, that was one of the only parts of the episode I really enjoyed. I know everyone needs to share screentime, but Emma and Hook deserve to do more than sit around the apartment chatting with everyone about their broken families. Also, Henry being frustrated that every adult in his life is giving him a hard time about being the author doesn’t make him a moody teen. But my two main problems with the episode: 1) It felt very rushed. Maybe we could have taken two seconds from Zelena laughing on a bike and given Rumple some more time to draw out the big reveals to Belle? 2) I know Zelena is the Wicked Witch, but I don’t know why that means they have to keep the baby from her. Regina raised Henry for ten years while being the cold, not very loving Evil Queen, so why can’t her sister, who loves her baby very much, do some parenting?

    • jj says:

      I think it’s more as a punishment for how the baby was conceived. It’s not unreasonable for Robin to not want his baby anywhere near his rapist.

      • Dina says:

        I absolutely agree, except that it’s not just his baby. Plus, I think we learned from Regina’s treatment of Emma and Henry in season 1 that it’s never a great idea to punish a birth mother by withholding her child.

      • Boiler says:

        JJ please take this opinion somewhere trashier!

        • jj says:

          What are you talking about? My comment isn’t trashy. What I stated is the reason behind Robin’s anger towards Zelena. Your comment doesn’t make sense.

      • Mila says:

        Thank you for addressing that! It’s like, because he is a man we forget that this was a rape.

  6. ninergrl6 says:

    Solid backstory for Hades and Zelena, and not totally tragic, which is refreshing. There’s some hope for them! I adore Rebecca Mader. It was fun to see her play some lighter scenes, like giggling on the bike.

    I don’t understand why the heroes are dragging their feet finding a way back home. Snow and Charming were so sad about being away from Neal (whom they never should have left in the first place IMO) but they spent the episode “ghosting” him instead of actually trying to get home. Priorities!

    I have no sympathy for Rumple and it irks me that Belle didn’t reject him outright. After all of the lies and betrayal, she shouldn’t even have to think about it.

    • To be fair, Rumpel kind of has a point. Belle did fall in love with the Beast-not the man. I’m fairly certain that if he actually did give up being the Dark One she wouldn’t be attracted to him. After all look how she treated him in 5a when he actually was a hero. Belle’s attracted to the darkness in him, far more than she likes to admit.
      Plus, as he seems to keep having to remind people, he IS a villain, (actually he’s like 5 villains-so far-and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, and of course the Beast) and by the rules of OUAT, villains don’t get happy endings. Which I’m pretty sure Henry never rewrote even though that was the whole point of the back half of last season.

    • Mara says:

      I completely agree…as much as I like seeing some of the back story (Zelena/Hades Milah/Rumple Hook/Liam) I feel like they’ve been adding all these characters (Herc, Liam) that don’t even last the episode and all they seem to do is distract from defeating Hades..like they seriously haven’t made any progress on defeating the guy or getting Info on how to defeat him…as much as I love Hades…some progress needs to be made!

  7. Claire says:

    I like Rebecca Mader but I never enjoy Zelena. She wasn’t integrated into the cast properly and I don’t care for her redemption arc. Having a baby with someone who wasn’t willing and killing Neal completely turned me off to her. I also don’t buy the love story between her and Hades.

    Between the Hades backstory and Snowing suddenly remembering they have two kids, this was one of the strangest eps all year.

  8. Jennifer says:

    So nice having Rebecca Mader back to inject some life *heh* into this arc. I hope she never gives up her wicked ways completely but man can she pull at the heartstrings too. Can’t wait for more Zelena/Regina scenes and a reunion with Cora.

  9. Abubbs says:

    I enjoyed Zelena’s character this episode (for once), but Hades being in love with her? Not even remotely believable. Too quick, too out of character. I was waiting for some kind of reveal the whole episode. Still not convinced there isn’t one still coming. Come on, he built an underworld Storybrook for her? Lame.

  10. Jennifer says:

    So nice to have Rebecca Mader back to inject some life (ha!) into this arc. I hope she never gives up her wicked ways completely but boy can she pull at the heartstrings too. I can’t wait for more Zelena/Regina scenes and a reunion with Cora.

  11. Katie says:

    This epsiode was amazing for the most part, I thought. I *loved* the focus on Rumple and Belle (even though there’s no one I hugely ship on this show), and I agree with Rumple when it comes to the “falling in love with the Beast” thing. She either needs to accept the person he is or they need to call it quits, because he’s never going to be the most pure of heart. And that’s okay. And Dorothy, oh wow, what a badass. The only thing I didn’t like was Zelena. It was sweet to see her and Hades together, but when all it set and done, she killed Neal. He gave up his life so that they could take her down, and now she’s practically a regular.

    • DD says:

      Dorothy, a badass??? She didn’t do a single thing except talk back to Zelena, twice. Toto did more than her… I kept waiting for the “love of the people” to lead somewhere, like Zelena taking Dorothy’s heart for her spell, but it didn’t.

  12. Sheila says:

    I can’t tell if I truly hate the character of Zelena just because she’s annoying or if I’m so distracted by the world’s worst makeup job! Jeez, she looks like a child fingerpainted her skin!

    • Boiler says:

      Really?? Make up is all you care about. I don’t suppose you have seen any race where skin tones vary throughout a person’s body?? C’mon

      • Sheila says:

        It’s not all I care about, but having it so consistently awful is really distracting for me. And I can’t relate it to normal skin colors because she’s random shades of green. Good on you for being so much more laser focused than I.

  13. NB says:

    This was very possibly my least favorite Once episode, which is saying a lot considering how little I enjoyed S2. The Zelina character holds zero interest for me.

    I feel sorry that nameless baby girl. If her grandma, mother and aunt are any indication, she’s doomed to have a senseless feud with a young girl (Ava, Snow or Dorothy style), have a crap relationship with any of her parents, and end up with a long hard road to travel.

    When we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.

  14. jakis says:

    That scarecrow was hideous. Couldn’t they have spent a couple of bucks and made a decent scarecrow?

  15. GregN says:

    Hades, when he shows up in Oz: “Please, allow me to introduce myself.” Nice Stones reference. Of course, then he explains that he is not, in fact, the devil.

  16. arya says:

    I don’t know why but i think zelena’s daughter might actually be dorothy herself, brought back by the time portal by mistake.

  17. Vicki Beymer says:

    Not bad… Not bad at all. I, personally liked a lot about the Underbrook story line and I simply ADORE the interplay between Hades and Zelena… The only thing is….excuse me… Isn’t the reason that they are there in the first place to rescue Hook??? I don’t understand… What happened to THAT plan???

  18. Peggyc says:

    I’m glad Rumple finally came clean with Belle. Now it’s up to her to decide if she loves the real him. Seeing as she didn’t seem that into mortal man Rumple in 5A I’d say he’s onto something, she likes him powerful and dangerous. Just a shame they didn’t have this conversation about two seasons ago.

    • skyebright8 says:

      Agree, and her being Lacey when she lost her memories does suggest an interest in exploring darkness. I hope the writers do go in a deeper direction with Belle, the actress deserves more to do than play the sad bookworm.

  19. onceuponatime says:

    what i love about once upon a time is how every bad character has it’s reasons. like in storybooks hades is bad the wicked witch is bad hook is bad etc… but here everyone has a tragic backstory which is very touching.

  20. Preferred it more than most of the other episodes so far this season. I’ve never been a Zelena fan but I actually felt for her this episode.