Highway to Hell – Once Upon A Time Midseason Premiere Review/Recap

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100 episodes in the bag.  What a magical ride it has been.  From Storybrooke to the Enchanted Forest to Wonderland then Neverland, from Oz to Arendelle to Camelot and now The Underworld (*dun dun dun*).  The 100th episode, aptly titled “Souls of the Departed” brought us way down below to a very hellish Storybrooke where we saw some familiar faces, got a glimpse of our gallant martyr, Killian (who was sadly not resting in peace), and witnessed one truly beautiful farewell.

We all know the classic fairytales, we read the stories from a young age and watched them come to life in Disney’s animations.  These stories are timeless, they sit in the corner of our minds as an unchangeable memory that keeps us young at heart.  But along came a show that set out to change the unchangeable, posing a few interesting questions: Who really are these fairytale characters? What is their life like post-“and they lived happily ever after”? What would it be like if these characters lived in our world? Once Upon A Time answered these questions, bringing Snow White, Prince Charming, The Evil Queen and many more from the page in a storybook to reality.

Storybrooke, Maine became the epicenter of all the realms, breathing life, humanity, and depth into the 2D heroes and villains we grew up fantasizing about.  We got to know these Princes, Princesses, Queens, and Pirates all thanks to the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, the Savior, Emma Swan and her adorable son, the Truest Believer, Henry.  We (I think I speak for most fans) fell in love with them during season 1, and have happily stuck around for the passed 5 years as our heroes fought giants, dragons, pirates, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, and Peter Pan, to name a few.   One of their most admirable foes was/is the Dark One.  Whomever was plagued with the DO curse became the most villainous creature in all the lands.  This season that title went to both Emma and Killian.  Side Note: Next to Neal being Baelfire, Hook becoming the Dark One is one of the most shocking revelations on OUAT.  The first half of season 5 taunted us with the back and forth through time between Camelot and Storybrooke but when we finally pieced together that puzzle, I wished we had never even purchased said puzzle to begin with.  There was a lot of love but also even more hate as Killian Jones fell prey to the darkness in Storybrooke, proving to be quite the evil villain.  Some sad stuff happened that I’d rather not get into right now, head here if you need to relive that literal stab to the heart.

It was a LONG hiatus but we finally made it, fellow Oncers! Lets talk about the midseason premiere because SO MUCH HAPPENED and I NEED to talk about it…

The 100th episode gave me all of 4 seconds before the tears starting rolling out.  I heard Michael Raymond-James would be featured in this episode but I was not expecting him to show up so quickly.  Oh my sweet sweet Neal, how I missed you so.  I am firmly and wholeheartedly Team Captain Swan, but as I watched Neal and Emma together in the yellow bug again I was like Killian, who??? Captain Swan???  More like hashtag SWANFIRE am I right?

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Bae is bae

Goodbye Neal Cassidy, please please PLEASE come back soon.  Emma wakes up in the boat to the Underworld – how long is the trip if there was time for a nap?  The gang arrives to the fiery pit which happens to just be Storybrooke sans bright colors.  Oh and the clock tower has been plunged into the asphalt, no biggie.  It’s not really Hell, more like Halloweentown.  Walking down Main Street, Regina notices a familiar face…

CUE THE FLASHBACKS!

Back in the Enchanted Forest some time between Snow & Charming meeting and them getting married, Regina (looking fierce as hell as per usual) is threatening peasants to tell her where to find Snow.  A man steps forward (that fella from the Underworld) and teases his information about Snow – impatient Regina promptly snaps his neck.  Enter Snowing (looking badass as per- wait they actually have been pretty boring lately- as per flashbacks) who demand the Evil Queen to stop this and end their feud.  Regina lets everyone go on the count that it is her birthday.  Adam and Eddie clearly know if they’re gonna pull off a good 100th episode it ought to be Regina-centric.  She returns to her castle up in arms over Snow totally ruining her bday but her Father (nice to see you again, Papa Henry!!) offers his thoughts…

“I know you loved Daniel. But if anybody is to blame it’s your mother.  She ripped out his heart so you would become the merciless Queen she always wanted.  Don’t let her win. Don’t let her control you.”

After Regina leaves, Papa Henry asks the mirror if he can FaceTime with Cora, he reluctantly obliges.  Cora is still in Wonderland at this moment in the timeline and I am just wondering why they didn’t try to squeeze The Mad Hatter into this milestone episode somehow.  Yeah, yeah, he’s the Winter Soldier and he’s busy, whatever.

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this episode was missing a lil’ bit of this
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and a whole lotta that

In true Cora fashion, she out smarts everyone and manages to step right out of the mirror and into the Enchanted Forest.  In the woods, she masquerades as Papa Henry in order to steal Snow’s heart.  The perfect birthday present for her daughter.  She presents it to Regina who gleefully opens it and begins to squeeze.  Watching through the mirror at Snow partying with the Dwarves, she does not die, but rather some random guard does.  Papa Henry pulled the ol’ switcheroo to save Snow’s life but it cost him his daughter’s temporary sanity.  Angry, Regina magically makes her father pint-size and locks him in a box.  That was like way harsh, Reg.

Pause: can we just take a second to appreciate how freaking hot Regina looked in this episode.  These dresses, I mean WOWZA. Slay Evil Queen Slay…

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Play: Regina confronts her mother in hopes of proving her father wrong by taking back any control Cora had over her.  Mirror Mirror on the wall gets Cora in his clutches, pulling her back into Wonderland but not before she swipes the box containing wee little Papa Henry.

Back in Hellbrooke the gang splits up (because separating in sketchy areas is always the smartest choice).  Mary Margaret goes to the diner where she meets The Blind Witch (played by Emma Caulfield doing her best Helena Bonham Carter impression) who tells her that she has heard of Hook.  Charming walks in and pulls Snow in for a very passionate make out sesh.  In a very Telenovela twist, it’s actually his evil twin brother, James. It’s really no surprise because David is always so PG with his PDA. James slips out the back just as Charming enters which is so frustrating because I was really looking forward to a Parent Trap moment at Granny’s.

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Regina meets up with her mother who is the Mayor of the Underworld.  She asks her to help them find Hook but Cora warns her that they are all in serious danger being down here and that should leave without him.  There was such warmth in this scene, it could just be the red hue of Hell, but really I think it was the chemistry that Lana Parrilla and Barbara Hershey have, it very genuine and loving.  Cora says she already has a boat ready for her to leave…

“Take Henry.  Take your Thief.”

-Cora, with the line of the night

But once again in true Cora fashion, as Regina refuses, Cora gives her an ultimatum.  Her father will suffer if she doesn’t get the hell out of Hell.

Meanwhile Rumple visits his shop where he finds the chipped tea cup.  It broke and went to the Underworld? Not sure if I should weep or laugh.  Also in attendance at the pawn shop? The King of Neverland himself, Peter Pan.  Robbie Kay is back where he belongs as a villain not some…Hero.  The father and son have a quick chat with Pan asking to catch a lift back upstairs. LOL NOPE sorry Pan, you’re adorable but you’re honestly the worst.  Remember that potion that allowed Merida to speak with her dearly departed father at his grave? Pan gives his son a vile of it as gesture of good faith.    Rumple takes it back to the gang and informs them that they can easily find Killian if they just ask him where he is.  Apparently everyone who inhabits the Underworld has a tombstone – is that where they sleep? Like vampires?

Everyone gathers around Killian’s grave as Emma anxiously pours some of the potion onto the ground.  An apparition of Killian appears but there’s a bad connection- they need to fix the antennas, he’s coming in fuzzy.  I need to see Colin O’Donoghue in his entirety, I’ve suffered months without him and this is all I get?

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He is battered, bloody and bruised much like my heart felt after seeing him in this condition.  This was actually very surprising to me personally because OUAT has thus far gone the Marvel route and never shown too much blood, as to retain younger viewers.  But he looked rough, like he had just gone 10 rounds with Rocky Balboa.  I mean just look at my poor wittle piwate:

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Oh, Killian

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Killian disappears unable to tell Emma anything.

Emma: He doesn’t know we came for him.  He doesn’t know that we’re here.  He doesn’t know that I care.

Snow: Yes he does. And Emma, we will find him.

It was such a quick throw away line but I just loved how Snow tells Emma without hesitation that he knows she loves him.  Not only was it loving and motherly of her to confidently reassure her but also I feel it speaks to Snow’s feelings toward Killian.  I worried about the status of Emma’s parents trust in her daughter’s boyfriend after the terror he caused.  I wasn’t sure if they could see him as the hero he became and not the villain he was but quickly realized this is Snow White we’re talking about here.   Of course she sees the Hero in him.  Amid the terrors of the Underworld (and Snow’s distinct lack of story arc lately) I love these moment where the fairytale character pushes through Mary Margaret and instills the type of hope you only read about in storybooks.

And like a 1-2 punch we then got Charming being his gallant Hero-self…

“She can arrange a way out and so can we, after we find Hook.  We are not giving up on you.”

-Charming, being perfect as always (*dreams about Josh Dallas* *swoons*)

Emma and Regina have a little side bar, Mama to Mama.  They agree on keeping Henry safe, by leaving with him and Robin as soon as possible. These two have such a beautiful relationship not just because of its current state but for its vast history.  Regina loathed Emma back in season 1, she was jealous and scared of her untapped power as the Savior.  Emma began reciprocating the hostility but as soon as they realized that their common love for their son was more important than any pointless animosity their relationship began to form into an honest and respectful one.  They’re basically sister wives.  Or just wives, depending on how you look at it.

Regina uses the last drop of the potion and spills it over her father’s grave.  I was SO not prepared for this scene.  As soon as Papa Henry said “Regina” as she kept her head down in guilt, I was a goner.  Lana Parrilla’s work in this episode was raw, heartbreaking, and just truly flawless.  Not to mention Tony Perez who portrayed Henry’s unconditional love for his daughter so beautifully. Regina, unable to make eye contact with him cries telling him how sorry she is.  My heart was breaking seeing Killian hurt but this- THIS has shattered it.  Papa Henry comforts her, hugging her…

“I love you no matter what.  That’s what fathers do.”

-Papa Henry, causing me to cry waterfalls

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Director Props: the sun sprayed so perfectly over Regina and Henry it made the moment infinitely more beautiful and touching. 

Regina and Henry Jr. rush down to the fiery pit to find Henry Sr. on the edge of the cliff and Cora standing idly by.  Regina pleads to her mother to let her father go.  Cora swipes her hand as a flame tornado builds around Papa Henry.  Regina tearfully watches as father is swept up…until he isn’t.  The flames settle and bridge magically appears behind him.  A bright white light illuminates the room.  I was in a state of awe during this entire scene, it was so beautiful.  I keep using the word beautiful but I’m just not sure how else to describe these moments between Regina and her father.  This part was divine, in the true sense of he word.  Regina looked up at the light in shock but also with the purest look of happiness that her father had found peace…

Papa Henry: I know what my unfinished business was. It was you.

Regina: Me?

Papa Henry: For so long I let your Mother get in the way of who you really are.  It was the biggest regret of my life.  But now you’re free of her.  I’ve never been more proud.

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The violins in the background were the icing on the heartbreaking cake.  At this point I was drowning in tears, I could barely see the TV screen.  I am still just a mess over this scene and I haven’t even gotten to the most touching part that is the reason why I’m writing this from 6 feet under.

Little Henry approaches so innocently.  Henry, meet Henry! I just have to applaud Lana Parrilla AGAIN because lord almighty the pride in her eyes as she introduced her son to her father was breathtaking.  tumblr_o3ngywqnaf1qc1f3to3_500

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Then Henry reminded us why we love this show.  This show is about hope, second chances and that “believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing”…

“Thank you , Grandpa, for believing in her like I do.”

Papa Henry leaves with his final words to the daughter he loves more than anything…

“I love you, Regina.  Never forget who you really are.”

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Regina never looked so happy and I never looked so insane as I sat covered in tears clutching a throw pillow, sobbing.

The gang convenes on Main Street where Henry declares that Operation Firebird is a-go.  The Heroes happily stroll through Hellbrooke ready to resurrect a Pirate and save some lost souls along the way.  Regina turns around to the broken clock tower just as it strikes 8:16.

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THROWBACK TO THE PILOT!!!! Sorry, I’m a sucker for a good parallel.

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In the last moments of the emotional 100th episode, we meet the God of the Underworld himself, Hades (*dun dun dun*).  I’m very excited about this storyline, to say the least.  Hercules and Aladdin are my two favorite Disney movies so at this rate, we should be taking a trip to Agrabah in 6B.  Until then I’ll be singing Zero To Hero and praying for a musical episode…

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when he smiled the girls went wild with OOOOOs and AHHHs

Some Extra Thoughts:

-Why didn’t Emma tell Henry exactly what happened? Would he not be confronted knowing that his father told her directly that he had moved on and was happy?

-Robbie Kay in that suit. Hot damn.

-Robin had one line in the episode. ONE LINE.  Are you kidding me??? (*stomps feet until Robin gets more lines*)

-Mommy and Step Daddy(#2) shielding Henry from his beaten Step Daddy(#1) CAN YOU HEAR MY HEART BREAKING??

-Where are they gonna sleep in the Underworld???

-ATTENTION!!! THIS IS HERCULES God help us.  I’m gonna need a drool bucket next episode

-gif credits:

http://faithandfearcollide.tumblr.com/

http://senselessverses.tumblr.com/

 

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