“Labor of Love” was jam packed with Heroism, giving this episode an early OUAT vibe, in other words, it was a whole lot of fairytale fun. But this wouldn’t be Once Upon a Time if there wasn’t also a little dash of heartache (*sigh*) (*wipes single tear*). We got to know the Gods and demi-Gods of myth and Disney movie – Hades, Hercules and Megara, with a classic Once-twist. Would you believe Hercules was Snow’s first love? Excuse me while I swoon over this perfect fairytale crossover. Sadly though, he died years later and along with Meg, is trapped in the Underworld. On the bright side, Snow White made her triumphant return (bye Mary Margaret, ya bore) bringing back her hope speeches and badassery with a bow! I just gotta say WOW this was one seriously good episode! Gather round’ the hellfire because we need to have a serious chat about Hunkules…I mean Hercules…
But before we talk about that strong, handsome, chiseled, adorable, sweet, romantic…I lost my train of thought, sorry I got lost in a Hercules fantasy. Let’s start at the beginning. Killian is imprisoned way down below looking like he just went 10 rounds with a brick wall. Leave it to Colin O’Donoghue to look even hotter bloody and bruised. Alongside him sat a very fearful Megara (though she never said her name until the very end) who was clearly not the Meg we know from the movie, because she definitely could not handle this…
Killian, who is no stranger to a jail cell wasn’t ready to just give up and rot in there – he flipped the Hero switch and I was ready to save the day. When asked how he knew Emma’s message to him was real and not one of Hades tricks he replied with one of the most beautiful lines this show has ever delivered…
He took Meg’s hand and led her out through the spooky tunnels but alas the two could not both make it out in time. Killian commanded her to run, find Emma Swan, and tell her he’s alive.
I need to stop and point out that Killian said to Meg, “I’m Captain Killian Jones. Captain Hook.” He has never referred to himself as Captain Killian Jones before. He is becoming a true Hero but not only that he is starting to believe in himself that he is one. “Hook” was a nickname given to him as a result of his villainous actions. The name tethers him to his dark past and by saying Killian first it was undoubtedly a Freudian Slip. He wants to be Captain Jones the Hero, not Captain Hook the swashbuckling pirate.
Upstairs in Hellbrooke, Mary Margaret (she’s not Snow quite yet) and David are perusing the cemetery. They decided that they need to make the most of there time in the world down unda’ and save some souls and not just their son-in-law. MM comes across the tombstone of Hercules and reacts heartbroken, to Charming’s confusion. CUE THE FLASHBACK!
We seem to be around the exact time in Enchanted Forest history as we were in last week’s flashback. This time however we followed young Princess Snow as she dealt with a group of bandits terrorizing her people and how she became the Hero we know today. I’m always so impressed by Bailee Madison, who plays young Snow. Her portrayal of the character is so consistent and nuanced; she succeeds in making viewers believe she’s a young Ginnifer Goodwin (not to mention the actresses look like sisters).
Lil’ Snow finds herself at the bottom of a hole after running through the forest in tears. A sword comes down held by a beautifully muscular arm and lifts her out, no problem. Meet Hercules. Jonathan Whitesell may not look exactly like the cartoon version but he sure as hell nails the demi-God’s smoldering presence.
Meanwhile Mary Margaret questions the Blind Witch and learns Herc works down at the shipyard. There she finds him, looking like one seriously hot fisherman (I mean his muscles were just poppin’ out of that jacket!). He doesn’t recognize her at first but when he does realize its his old friend Snow all grown up, happiness and relief washed over his face. My heart sunk in this moment, Whitesell is phenomenal (everyone should keep an eye out for this kid HE’S GOING PLACES). The two embrace – it was kind of sexually charged, right? No? Am I reading too much into a hug? Yes? Ok moving on. Wait I can’t move on. These two had immediate chemistry. He’s probably 15 years younger than her and yet I felt the connection there. AGE IS BUT A NUMBER, Y’ALL. Sorry David, but I’m jumping the Snowing ship and hopping on the Snowules Pegasus!
When Snow said she had a daughter, his reaction was so sweet. He looked genuinely happy for her. I’m really resisting the urge to compliment Jonathan Whitesell again but he’s just so perfect, dammit. Ok (*deep breath*) I need to stay on track here – recapping and reviewing. Snow tells him there is a way to free him from the Underworld, if he defeats Cerberus. He fearfully declines but Snow uses his words he told her years ago…
“You can let fear of failure keep you from trying.”
Elsewhere, Operation Firebird is in its beginning stages as Emma & Regina and Henry & Robin pair off to get work done. Emma & Regina find Meg who tells them about Killian and that she can lead them back to the underground prison. She reveals that Cerberus, the three headed dog, is on Hook-watch and will straight eat you if you dare try to save him. Mary Margaret and Herc (looking scared as ever) meet up with them in the tunnels to face the beast. Before the dog can find them, Hades appears. I’m not sure how I feel about Hades quite yet. He’s not very scary nor is he as interesting as past foes but then again we’ve only just met him. Hades waves Killian’s bloody Hook in Emma’s face. Confession Time: I can’t stand Gregg German, sorry. I did love however his interaction with Herc, referring to each other as “uncle” and “nephew.” It reminded me that there is an entire mythology to these characters in reality which really tickles my folklore-loving fancy. Anyways, Hades poofs away in bright blue smoke (new smoke color! anybody else get oddly excited over the color of everyone’s smoke?) before anything exciting happens.
Back in the Enchanted Forest, my new favorite ship Snowules is falling in love as Herc teaches young Snow some archery. I am convinced Whitesell could have chemistry with a friggin’ can of beans at this point. Those eyes are so caring and innocent! (*swoons for eternity*). Snow faces the bandits but fails hilariously. Her new boyfriend though was not gonna let these felons get away with it and punches the ground brining everyone to their knees. The chivalry is killing me!
Later (time gets really confusing when we’re in the Enchanted Forest! Could be weeks later, maybe months. Who knows.) Snow perfects her archery skills and stands up to the scruffy bandits making her demi-God boy-toy very proud. Then the cutest thing happens, officially
interbreeding crossing over two stories and surely bringing Walt Disney back to life – HERCULES AND SNOW WHITE KISS!
With our flashbacks come to an end, the rest of the hour was devoted to our Heroes kicking ass and saving souls. With Cerberus still unleashed on Hellbrooke, Snow put all her hope and belief in Hercules convincing him that he an go the distance and face the beast who killed him once more, but this time he’ll have a little help. In the center of town, they find a scared Meg (my heart skipped a beat when Herc and Meg finally came face to face) who reluctantly agrees to help them defeat Cerberus. The final battle happens in the library – and it was a quick one. I was hoping for a longer action scene full of arrows and swords and Hercules’ bulging muscles. But alas the beast was slain with a single arrow, a dagger and a sword. Still badass but definitely could have used a little more muscle.
Back at Granny’s the gang convenes to take a breather after their long day in Hell. Regina and Snow share a sweet moment as Snow declares she is consciously uncoupling with Mary Margaret…
I’d rather just talk more about Hercules and Meg though who are finally talking because my heart is just full of so much Disney love I’m going to turn into Mickey Mouse. Hercules realizes they had met before – she was running from Cerberus whilst he was trying to kill it. The two bumped into one another moments before they each met their demise. There was such shame in Herc’s eye but also relief and hope as he looked into Meg’s.
Down below on at the bridge to a better place, where we watched as Papa Henry passed on (I suppose it’s the entrance to heaven, the Pearly Gates if you will), the gang gathered with Hercules and Meg. Hercules said his goodbye to his first love, and left her with words she will surely hold onto as we move forward with her character…
Much like last week’s sob-inducing farewell to a free soul, this one really pulled at the heart strings. For me however, it pulled HARD. I think I have already made it clear how much I love Hercules (and now also OUAT’s version of him) so I’m sure you’ll believe me when I say THE TEARS WERE REAL. Papa Henry’s decent from the Underworld to a better place had me sobbing now again this week?! My heart can only take so much, Once Writers. Henry’s was touching and sweet, however the happiness I felt for Hercules and Meg’s came from a sacred place in my heart where childhood memories lay. I grew up singing Zero to Hero and having a crush on this totally hot cartoon character so to not only see them come to life but also have such a beautiful happy ending and finally go to Mount Olympus made my heart melt and the Happy Disney tears flow endlessly from my eyes. It was one of those cries that when its over you just feel better. So thank you Once Upon A Time, I honestly needed it.
And thank you for one of truly great episode.
Love, Jonathan Whitesell’s newest
stalker #1 Fan
Some Extra Thoughts…
-I know I didn’t talk about Robin & Henry, or really much about Hook, but it’s my blog and I just needed to use it to get my feelings out about Hercules/Jonathan Whitesell, okay?
-Major props to Ginnifer Goodwin & Whitesell for somehow making their chemistry feel like puppy love and not some weird mother-son age gap romance
-Laughing FOR DAYS because this looks like Hercules is trying to sneak a peek of the goods beneath the cape/poncho:
-This gif is mesmerizing:
-same Snow SAME
-STARTING A PETITION TO BRING BACK HERCULES ASAP
-I mean why didn’t they give him the half season arc treatment like EVERY OTHER major character to show up on OUAT. We had to sit through Anna & Elsa’s bore of a half season, giving us more Jonathan Whitesell & Kacey Rohl is the least you could do, writers!
-Gotta listen to the whole soundtrack because why not?