Once Upon a Time Recap: “Labor of Love”

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 fairy tale gang is out to save him.

Spoilers ahead, dearies.

The Enchanted Forest


The young Princess Snow White hears the pleas of a group of villagers while her father is away on a diplomatic mission. The people have been plagued by a group of bandits, and beg for the protection of the crown. Queen Regina assures them that the Princess will do all in her power to help. Unbeknownst to Snow, Regina is in cahoots with the bandits, commanding them to wreak havoc for the young girl.

Feeling overwhelmed by responsibility, Snow runs away to the forest where she meets a young man named Hercules. He tells her of his many labors, and his status as a demigod. When she tells him of her troubles, he teaches her how to shoot a bow and arrow, and gives her the courage to stand up to the bandits and drive them out of the village. The two are drawn to each other, and share a kiss before Hercules goes to finish his final labor—defeating Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld.

The Underworld


We get our first real glimpse of Captain Hook since he ended up in the Underworld, and he’s definitely worse for the wear. Deep under fake Storybrooke, Hook realizes that the door to his cell has been left open. A nearby female prisoner, whose door is also open, tells him not to set foot outside as it is simply a trap to entice Cerberus. Hook encourages her to attempt an escape with him regardless, and when Cerberus begins to give chase, he urges her to go on ahead and find Emma Swan.

During a sweep of the forest looking for clues as to Hook’s whereabouts, Emma stumbles across the prisoner who tells her that Hook is alive. The girl is still being pursued by the Cerberus, so Emma takes her and Regina to the Underworld equivalent of the Charming’s apartment. Meanwhile, in the cemetery, Mary Margaret learns that her old friend Hercules is in the Underworld, having some kind of unfinished business. She finds Herc working in the harbor stockyard and persuades him to finish his final labor, as it will benefit them both to have Cerberus out of the way. The demigod is pleased to see his first love, but it’s obvious that his confidence in himself is completely lost. After a reminder from Regina that she used to be Snow White, a woman who took risks and defeated all odds, Mary Margaret helps Hercules restore his faith in himself, and together with the prisoner, they defeat Cerberus. The prisoner is revealed to be Megara, who Hercules had attempted to save from the creature before he was killed. Hercules and Megara move on to their better place, which is Mount Olympus.

ABC/Eike Schroter
ABC/Eike Schroter

In the aftermath, Hades is furious that two more souls have escaped his realm. He decides that for each redeemed soul, a living soul belonging to one of the outsiders will have to stay behind in the Underworld as payment. And to make things that much more heartwrenching, it will be Hook who must decide which of his friends will be doomed to hell.

Meanwhile, Henry and Robin have been attempting to retrieve maps of fake Storybrooke from the fake mayor’s office, but find the door warded by Cora’s magic. Henry crawls through the vent, only to encounter Cruella. The vindictive fashionista tells him that she wants her soul to be restored to the world of the living, and that as the Author he has the power to help her. Henry explains that he broke the quill, but Cruella has already accounted for that and explains that the quill was essentially a magical living entity and is also in the Underworld. Henry isn’t swayed until Cruella reminds him that she is dead because of his mother Emma; if Cruella’s soul is restored to the living, then the mark of a killer that is on Emma’s own soul will be removed.

Wait, what?

1.) Oh, the mythology! If you are a fan of Greek myths, then I’m sure you are enjoying this arc as much as I am.

2.) If Henry locates the quill, will he keep it? What good or bad can be done with the power of the Author in his hands again?

3.) Aside from the complication that Hades plans to have the souls of the living in exchange for the souls that have moved on, we are now presented with an opportunity for our heroes to face a plethora of dead characters. Who else do you think we’ll encounter?

Until next Sunday, dearies.

-The Collected Mutineer