Once Upon a Time Recap: “Souls of the Departed”

So far this season, our heroes and villains have been to Camelot and back. Emma is no longer the Dark One, the title having been reclaimed by Rumple. But Killian is lost to the terrors of the Underworld, and our favorite Scooby Gang is out to save him.

Spoilers ahead, dearies.

The Enchanted Forest

Back in the good old days (when the Evil Queen was out for Snow White, and Lana Parilla got to dress like ^this^), Regina celebrates a birthday. That’s right, even villains get birthday cakes. Her one wish is, of course, to have Snow’s heart in an itsy-bitsy box. She tells her father, Henry Sr., and he, in turn, urges her to let go of this obsession for her own sanity. He later uses the magic mirror to ask his wife Cora’s advice. Cora, trapped in Wonderland, uses the mirror to move into the realm of the Enchanted Forest, where she takes Snow’s heart and presents it to her daughter as birthday gift. At first, Regina is delighted, and immediately attempts to crush the heart; but instead of killing Snow, it kills a palace guard (as Henry had switched the hearts without Cora’s knowledge).

Coming to her senses (as much as an Evil Queen can, anyway), Regina tells her mother that this quest to take Snow’s heart is her own odyssey and that no one else can do it for her. She sends her mother back through the portal, having already cast a spell to seal it forever once Cora goes through. Cora snatches Henry at the last moment, leaving Regina without the person she cares for the most in the world.

The Underworld

Moments before arriving in the Underworld, Emma passes out and has a dream in which Neal warns her that Hell is a dangerous place. He explains that he is in “a better place” but that he knows her journey to retrieve Hook will be treacherous, and could easily be fatal. When Emma wakes, she realizes that the Underworld bears a strange resemblance to Storybrooke. It probably looks a bit different for others, but for our Scooby Gang, it resembles a location familiar to them because its inhabitants are all souls with unfinished business thanks to various members of said gang. Among the souls are Peter Pan, Cora, and others from the Enchanted Forest.

The gang splits up to look for Hook, but can’t find him anywhere. Regina runs into Cora, who tells her that she’s arranged for a boat to take her, Henry, and Robin back to the land of the living. When Regina refuses the offer, Cora threatens to send Regina’s father to a deeper, far worse level of the Underworld. Meanwhile, Rumple meets with his father, Peter Pan, who gives him a locator potion as a gesture of good will. Although Rumple wants nothing to do with the Underworld, he gives the vial to Emma; its contents, when poured over Hook’s grave, will allow Hook to tell them where to find him. They complete the ritual, only to realize that Hook is in bad shape; he looks to have been tortured, and can’t communicate through the spell because he’s in such agony.

Regina makes contact with her father, and explains the situation. Ever the steadfast anchor, Henry Sr. tells her that she’s come too far in her personal journey to leave her friends high and dry, no matter what Cora says. In retaliation, Cora attempts to banish her husband, but the magic doesn’t work thanks to Regina’s resolute decision to stay and help the others; and Henry Sr’s unfinished business is revealed. Once he sees that Regina is firmly on the path of the hero, he is able to be at peace, and departs to the same “better place” where Neal is. Realizing that there is hope for each soul in the Underworld,  our heroes contemplate rescuing more people than just Hook.

Unbeknownst to the Scooby Gang, Cora meets with Hades, the ruler of the Underworld, who had pressured her to get the heroes to depart as quickly as possible. Since she failed his orders, he condemns her to the life she had tried to leave behind so many centuries before; that of a poor miller’s daughter.

Wait, what?

Although the sepia filter got a bit old, this was an enjoyable episode. Well, if you count feels as enjoyable. Between Emma’s temporary reunion with her first love and Henry Sr meeting Henry Jr, you can bet I was an emotional mess. I was so wrapped up in the sentiments of the 100th episode that I don’t even have any predictions for you! We do know that Cruella will make an appearance, as will Hercules. At any rate, I’m excited to see where this half of the season will take us.

Until next Sunday, dearies.

-The Collected Mutineer


  1. Andrea

    I’m so glad that they’re done with Emma being (pretending to be?) the dark one. That particular story line was not one I liked. I’m very interested in the new underworld story line, especially because I loved Hercules as a kid and studied classics (mostly Ancient Greece and Rome) during university. I totally agree that the sepia filter was weird. They did that a lot in early seasons of supernatural too and it can get exhausting. But otherwise, I’m so glad that they’ve shifted away from Emma being the Dark one.

    1. The Collective Blog

      I enjoyed Emma as the Dark One, but I agree that it was time to move on. I’m intrigued by Hades, and so far I like this better than the Camelot storyline. I was more disappointed with the use of Arthur than anything else during the first part of the season. It started off promising, and I felt let down by the end. Here’s to hoping the second half is as good as it seems! -CM

  2. Andrea

    Oh yeah Arthur was such a whiny prat. I didn’t like him at all. He wasn’t even a compelling villain, I thought his “reasons” we’re just so weak and were more of a convenient and easy plot line than actual motivation. Pan and rumple are still my favourite villains.

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