"Last Rites" is the 109th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Emma and the others have finally returned to Storybrooke and are able to reunite with Snow, but, unfortunately, they still have to contend with Hades, who continues to deceive Zelena as he lays out his plan to use the all-powerful Olympian Crystal to take over the town. The heroes desperately search for a way to defeat him as Hook does the same from the Underworld, looking for those missing storybook pages. Regina and Robin, meanwhile, take a more direct approach which culminates in an epic showdown that will leave our heroes forever changed and a tragic ending for one of them.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
In Oz of the past, Hades explains to Zelena that his older brother Zeus stopped his heart, leaving him with only anger. ("Our Decay") Belle prepares to put herself under a sleeping curse to halt her pregnancy but Rumple reminds her that there's only one way out of it: true love's kiss. She insists that he's not going to be the one to wake her, but rather her father is. ("Ruby Slippers") Hades tells Liam that he doesn't really care about the Underworld version of the storybook except for a few select pages about him. Liam rips out these pages on Hades' demand and disposes of them. ("The Brothers Jones") Hades is next seen getting down on one knee, proposing that Zelena make chaos with him. ("Sisters") Zelena and Hades go through the portal to Storybrooke with Baby Hood in tow. ("Firebird")
Zelena enjoys the benefits of a living boyfriend.
"The land of the living!" Hades revels as he stands atop the town's woodland bridge, taking it all in, "I never thought I would see this world again! Not with a beating heart." Zelena approaches him with both a smile and her daughter in tow, taking his hand as he declares that he owes it all to her. He asks if she feels his heart beating and she does, to her joy, and he adds that he's finally becoming himself again... but Zelena doesn't seem so glad, despite stating that she is. Hades senses that something is troubling her and she reveals that it's her sister, who's still not there. Her true love tells her not to worry, assuring that Regina made it back safe, but the Wicked Witch would rather not rely on hope, questioning why they're in the woods as opposed to the town, where they'd be able to check. Hades points out that he shouldn't step foot there because Snow White still thinks he's a villain - "People are always looking for villains to blame." Zelena promises to tell them he's changed; that love changed him, and he agrees that it certainly did.
From one Big Bad to another.
However, as she goes to start heading into the heart of Storybrooke, a sudden thought occurs to her and she turns back to the Lord of Death, asking if he wouldn't mind taking the baby in case the townspeople don't believe her. "Just take her to my sister's office, you'll be safe there," she instructs, allowing Baby Hood to pass hands, and Hades is astounded that Zelena would trust him with her daughter. With an even bigger smile than earlier, she proclaims that she'd trust him with anything, before finally leaving. Hades gently rocks the baby in his arms as he watches his true love depart, and then a sudden figure can be seen emerging from behind - a man in handcuffs and heavy armor, apparently in a great hurry. As it becomes clear that this man is an escaped King Arthur, he runs across the Toll Bridge and stops dead upon seeing Hades, sliding along the floor due to his fast pace. "Hello there," Hades greets solemnly, and from down on the ground Arthur begs the stranger not to let the shackles fool him, for he's King Arthur of Camelot and he was unjustly imprisoned.
RIP Camelot arc.
He looks behind himself briefly, as though worried that his captors might be after him, while Hades merely grins as he extends an arm to the man, helping him to his feet as he says that he understands being "unjustly imprisoned". Arthur thanks him, and Hades wonders what happened to land the monarch in such an awful predicament; it's then that Arthur explains that he was destined to rule a kingdom - a broken kingdom - and not everyone is as understanding as Hades seems to be. Hades assures that he indeed does understand, for he too was destined to rule a kingdom, and this unlikely similarity leads to Arthur asking this blond oddity's name. Hades introduces himself, "God of Death", and continues to rock Baby Hood as he adds that he thinks he was destined to rule "this very kingdom, right here". But - he pauses to shush the crying baby - he will need Arthur's help. With that, he flourishes his fingers and Arthur's neck is snapped in less than an instant. The inept King drops dead, his spine more broken than his prophesied kingdom, and Hades decides, "And that will do nicely."
ONCE UPON A TIME
The remnants of Storybrooke's justice department.
Snow, clinging onto baby Neal at her apartment, demands to know how Arthur escaped, for she thought Merida was supposed to be guarding his cell. Merida reveals that "this useless lump", referring to Sleepy, fell asleep on watch, and Snow questions why anyone would put Sleepy on guard duty. Sleepy just stands there, holding an ice pack to his head, as Merida points out that Snow was gone for weeks, and she did the best that she could with who she had. Snow decides that they can blame each other later but, right now, they need a search party; she orders Sleepy to gather the dwarfs and go, and Merida goes with him, addressing him by his Enchanted Forest name and having to hear him complain that he prefers Walter. Neal whines like the baby he is and Snow says that she agrees, then moaning that they need their family back soon. "Soon enough?" David asks as he swings the apartment door open, and Snow is overjoyed to be met by her husband. The married couple reunite by the way of a passionate kiss which lasts for the duration of both Henry and Emma also entering the family home.
Snow reunites with her family.
Neal is then handed to his father, who says that he missed him, and Snow exclaims the names of her daughter and grandson in excitement, embracing the latter as she asks if everyone else made it back safe. David assures her that Regina and Robin are back too, with Henry adding that his grandfather came back with Belle (at least they think he did), all of which begs the question which soon falls from Emma's mother's lips: "And Hook...?" The blonde is mostly stoic, but the tiniest shake of the head tips Snow off that the ultimate endgame of Operation Firebird was unsuccessful, and to compensate she hugs her daughter perhaps tighter than she ever has before. She says how sorry she is while Emma bemoans all the mistakes she made, wishing she'd never gone down to the Underworld. Snow assures her that it's okay, pointing out that they all made it back and, nevertheless, they helped a lot of people move on. "You got to see Hook one last time." David says that there's more to it because they weren't the only ones who came through the portal: Hades and Zelena made it back too, and they have Robin's baby.
Robin demands to know where his daughter is.
Regina, meanwhile, is busy telling Robin not to worry; that they'll find his daughter, she promises. It's then that the Mayor's name is exclaimed by her sister, who comes running towards her, taking her hand as she expresses her joy that she made it back. Robin doesn't have time for pleasantries though, and he demands to know where the hell is child is, at which Regina tells him to wait. She tells a confused Zelena that they need some answers, and Robin repeats his question. Zelena replies that Baby Hood is with Hades, with her having come to explain to everyone that he's changed, but Robin exclaims, "I'd hate to be the one to break this to you but no, he hasn't!" The Wicked Witch grows further confused; she reminds the two heroes that Hades helped them, taking their names off their graves, but Regina insists that it was a trick to ensure that they'd trust him, revealing that he tried to trap them down there. Zelena can't believe what she's hearing, and she doesn't, recalling that she was with him the whole time and that they waited for the others, but Regina insists further that that was a show he was putting on for her benefit.
Zelena throws a witchy fit.
She adds that Zelena can't trust him with her child, but Zelena insists in turn that Hades is different now that his heart is beating. "Love has changed him; I've changed him." Regina knows and understands that her sister wants to believe that, but sometimes the truth really hurts. She suggests that Zelena simply tell them where he is, but the newly-reformed villain wonders what they're planning to do when they find him. Regina says that that depends on him, but they'll do whatever they have to to protect the town. "You mean imprison him?" Zelena worries, and all Regina does is repeat herself: they'll do whatever they have to. She knows this is hard to hear, but Hades is not the man Zelena thinks he is. "Actually, he's not a man at all!" Zelena snaps, "He is a God! And if you try to hurt him, you'll do so at your own peril!" She proceeds to disappear angrily in a flurry of green smoke, and, as the wicked magic clears with no valuable information regarding Baby Hood's whereabouts having come out of this little exchange, both Regina and Robin appear highly disappointed.
Arthur gets acquainted with the Underworld's locals.
Back down in the Underworld, Arthur can be seen opening the door to Granny's Diner before cautiously heading inside, clearly confused as to where exactly he is and what's going on. The clientele appears sketchy at best, all of them staring at him, and he eventually goes to sit at the counter next to a sad-eyed boy who's stirring his porridge. The King asks the little boy if he can tell him where he is, but the Blind Witch soon reveals that the child stopped talking centuries ago, before offering Arthur some coffee. "No, I don't want coffee! I wanna know what this place is!" the dead ruler asserts, and Hook, who's been sitting in the back corner this entire time, comments that he thinks that's quite obvious, then ironically addressing him as "your majesty". In a blind rage, Arthur grabs a knife from behind the counter, grabbing Hook by the front of his shirt and pinning him up against the wall with the small blade to his throat. He insists that the pirate was lucky the last time they met (see "Birth"), ordering him to tell him where he is or else he'll run him through.
The truth sets in, and it hurts.
Hook points out that one can't kill a dead man, to Arthur's horror, and as the King steps back the captain asks, "Are you having a hard time accepting it? Oh, you know where you are." Arthur quivers in dismay, looking at himself and then at the people around him, all of whom look like they lost the spark of life long ago. Over and over, he utters the word "no", before complaining that he had so much left to do, and Hook says that that makes two of them. He explains that he promised someone that he would move on from this place, but he still "bloody" can't, so he needs to know what the hell's going on up in Storybrooke. Arthur looks afraid now as Hook advances, demanding to know who killed him, and this time when the King says "no" repeatedly, he screams it, leading Hook to wonder if they can't just skip the denial, grief and anger stages and get straight to acceptance - "Who killed you?!" "He said his name was Hades," Arthur reveals after a deep breath, and this worries Hook deeply; he needs to know if Arthur saw Emma and the others, or if they have any idea how to stop him, at which the Blind Witch sighs.
Hook goads Arthur into questing with him.
She asks if the pirate hasn't learned anything, pointing out that Hades never reveals his weakness, and Hook replies, "You know what?!" very hotly before quickly cooling down as he realizes, "You're right." He recalls that Hades protected his secrets well, but now he's not there; as such, the pirate asks Arthur if he'd like to go on another quest, but the King shows very little interest in gallivanting about with Hook, throwing away the knife from earlier. Hook asks if Arthur has any idea why he's down there as opposed to a blissful afterlife or fiery hell: "It's because you were a terrible King with loads of unfinished business, and when you leave here you're either going to the better place... or a far, far worse place." Arthur, having teared up slightly, reveals that he thinks he prefers the first option, and Hook says that he's going to need a seriously good deed to make up for all the bad ones. Arthur wonders what exactly they're questing for if he says "yes" and Hook tells him that they're after something that can defeat Hades. "You can call it my Holy Grail." Arthur nods, both defeated and intrigued.
David tells Emma to check herself.
Meanwhile, Arthur's dead body continues to lie lifelessly on the floor of the Toll Bridge, with Merida telling Emma and David that this is whee she found him. She comments that she always thought she'd be the one to put him in his grave but, now that she sees him like this, she can't help but feel sorry for him. Emma surmises that Hades did this, and when Merida asks her how she knows she just says, "I know. And if we don't stop him then this is just the beginning." Merida wonders what she means by "stop him" and Emma reveals that she means killing him, thereby sending him back where he came from. She tries marching onward but a concerned David orders her to wait, saying that she should slow down because this is a God they're dealing with and they still have no idea how to hurt him. Emma points out that that doesn't mean she can't try, trying to leave again, but again her father stops her, telling her that he gets it. "Hook's gone, you're in pain." The savior insists that this isn't about Hook but David thinks otherwise, leading her to exclaim that she's trying to protect Storybrooke and asking if he's telling her that she shouldn't fight Hades. David says that of course they're going to fight him but he needs her seeing clearly before they do that; as such, he suggests that maybe it's time she start dealing with death the way other people do. She asks how other people deal with death, and he tells her, "They grieve." Emma stares back at him with glassy eyes.
Hades unveils the Olympian Crystal.
Zelena cradles her daughter in her arms as she weeps over the fact that she thought Regina trusted her, and then she threatened Hades to her face; she's worried that the heroes are going to try to hurt her love. Hades says that if anything happened to her or the baby then he couldn't live with it, deciding that he has to turn himself in, and Zelena is astounded that he'd really give up his freedom for her. "For you," he makes clear, "I would give up anything." She is happy to hear this, but as he begins to leave she stands in protest, begging him to wait because she can't let him do this - she won't risk losing him again. Hades turns to her, pointing out that they have only one other option: they have to defend themselves. Zelena agrees, offering to put up a protection spell, but Hades asks what happens if they break through. "Then we'll make them see the truth!" the Wicked Witch insists, thinking hard to herself before adding, "Or we'll fight back." Hades tells her that he hopes it doesn't come to a fight but, if they force them to it, he does have something. Zelena wonders what it is and he proceeds to take something out from his inside pocket, unwrapping what he introduces as "a family heirloom: the Olympian Crystal". It's a long white and jagged shard split into two halves. He explains that it belonged to his brother Zeus; it's very powerful and very dangerous, and he's waited a long time to use it.
Everyone rudes Emma.
The town hall glows green as Regina comes to the realization that her sister cast a protection spell on the building. Robin exclaims that they can't just stand there and do nothing, at which Regina snaps that she wasn't planning on it; as a matter of fact, she knows exactly what to do. She goes on to reveal that there's a secret tunnel that goes right under the town hall, and, while they don't know how to defeat Hades, maybe they stand a chance of getting Baby Hood back... and talking some sense into Zelena. "If you're with me?" she asks, and Robin states that of course he is, leading Emma - who's also there along with David and Merida - to announce that she's going too. Regina doesn't think this is such a good idea because Emma's too emotional, which the savior takes offense at. The Mayor adds that she understands Emma suffered a loss and isn't thinking straight, and Emma angrily demands to know if that's what they all think. David tries rationally pointing out that they still don't know how to stop Hades, implying that until they do she's a liability, and she exclaims that they should figure it out. Regina makes clear that they need to do it quickly, because once they get that baby back Hades will be coming for them. Emma deals with what's been said to her as Regina and Robin head off to find the secret tunnel's entrance.
Robin sasses Regina some.
A hole in the earth is unveiled as Robin, followed by Regina, descends a ladder into the underground set of tunnels leading to the mayoral office. He clicks on a flashlight to guide their path, while Regina is the one leading the way, telling him as she does so that she's sorry for trusting Zelena with his daughter. He says that he's glad to finally hear it and she explains that for once she was trying to be optimistic and give her sister a second chance, like he gave her. Robin points out that Regina deserved it, while Zelena does not. "All she wants is what I have," the former Evil Queen tries arguing, "I made her think love was possible." She's cut off when Robin, angry, stops in his tracks and points out that she's not actually apologizing; what she's really doing is defending the Wicked Witch, again. "Robin, no," she attempts, but again she is cut off. He tells her to forgive him if he doesn't care to listen, but he has a daughter to save. With that, he continues headstrong through the tunnel, and Regina is shocked by his uncharacteristic insolence.
Rumple negotiates with an even worse father than himself.
Over at Game of Thorns, the local flower shop, Moe French can be seen exiting a storage room with a pot of pink roses in tow, only to stop suddenly when he realizes that Mr. Gold is waiting for him. Without so much as turning to face the Dark One, Maurice asks him what the hell he wants as he continues into the main room of the shop; Rumple tells him that there's no need to be testy since he's there on Belle's behalf and Maurice, putting the flowers down on a counter, says that she can come and talk to him herself. Gold then reveals that she actually can't because she's trapped under a sleeping curse - there's only one way to wake her, and that's through true love's kiss. Maurice seems to take satisfaction in the fact that Rumple's apparently didn't work, glad to hear that his daughter has finally gained some good sense. Rumple states that she needs her father and Maurice agrees, then saying "that's why I'm not gonna do it. Not for you." Gold is taken aback by the fact that Maurice hates him so much that he'd leave his own daughter trapped under a sleeping spell, and Maurice replies that it's better that than the spell the Dark One put on her: convincing that beautiful girl to love him. So, until Rumple is gone for good, she stays asleep.
Emma breaks up a familiar feud.
Rumple admits that he was afraid Moe was going to react in such a manner, which is why he brought along an "old friend". The fact is then made prominent that he's holding his cane, which he lifts into the air threateningly, banging it against the counter so as to remind Moe of the severe beating he once received from it (see "Skin Deep"). "Remember the taste of this?" he asks a flinching Maurice, but the latter proclaims that he doesn't care what's done to him because he'd die before he'd give in. Rumple says he's more than happy to test that theory, again banging his cane against the counter, but suddenly a certain someone's voice is heard yelling, "Enough!" It's Emma, who's just entered the shop and orders the proprietor to leave. Moe does as he's told and Emma proceeds to ask Gold what he's doing there, revealing that she needs his help. "Miss Swan," he greets, "Nice to see you made it back from the Underworld." Emma tells him that she's not the only one who made it back: Hades is in Storybrooke, and she has to stop him. As such, she was hoping that Gold could tell her how to kill him. The Dark One smirks, wondering why he would tell her even if he knew; "You're the one who got us into this mess." He then leaves, and she looks incredibly guilt-ridden.
Down in Hades' Underworld lair, Hook can be seen telling Arthur that if there's a way to defeat the God of Death then the answer can be found there. Arthur wonders what this place is and Hook reveals that it's Hades' throne room, or dungeon, depending on his mood; he adds that the last time he was there he spent most of his time at the end of a lash. It's then that Arthur discovers a leather whip strewn across the throne's armrest, commenting that it sounds as though this Hades was an even worse King than he was. Hook is busy searching through all the books and artifacts while Arthur asks what exactly this "holy grail" is that they're looking for. The pirate tells him that they're in search of pages from a storybook, which he knows doesn't sound like much but Hades went to great lengths to keep them from the heroes. He thinks these pages can tell them his weakness, all they have to do is find them, and Arthur begins searching through Hades' things as well. The monarch soon declaims that there's nothing there, suggesting that maybe Hook's wrong about this, but Hook exclaims that he can't be wrong - "Hades is up there right now threatening Emma, and I bloody well need to find a way to save her!"
Arthur finds Hook's "holy grail".
Arthur understands now, decoding that this is about a woman, and Hook confirms it, naming Emma as a woman who risked everything for him and saying that the last promise he made was that he would move on from this place but he can't do that while she's still in danger. Now desperate, Hook asks Arthur where he hid his treasure when he was King, and Arthur suddenly begins inspecting Hades' throne. He reveals that he hid his most important stuff in his own because it was a place no one would ever dare touch, proceeding to find a switch beneath the seat that opens up a secret compartment on the side. The pages have been stashed inside, and Arthur comments as he picks them up and hands them over to Hook, "Well, look at that. Your holy grail." Hook takes the pages and begins to flick through them, wanting desperately to learn Hades' weakness, and he soon announces that he has to get this to Emma. Arthur wonders what it is he's found and the pirate replies, "The one answer she's been looking for most of all: the way to destroy a God."
Cruella enjoys a stubble sandwich, with a side of gin.
Hook and Arthur are next seen re-entering Granny's Diner where the Blind Witch comments that she thought the two of them would come back soon; "I smelled a bromance. Table for two?" Hook soon states that they're not there for a meal, they're there for "her" - he nods toward Cruella De Vil, who's quietly sitting at a table with a martini. She orders the pirate to back up, then spotting Arthur and adding, "Seriously, back up. Let me take a gander at this handsome new addition to the Underworld." Impatient, Hook says that they need to get a message to their friend in the world above, and Cruella ripped out the phone booth that would allow them to do that; he demands to know where it is. Cruella replies that, as appealing as this "stubble sandwich" is, she's pretty certain lying to them won't get her what she wants because they would eventually work out the truth anyway. As such, she decides to give it to them, revealing that she destroyed the phone booth. "Sorry." Arthur wonders why she would do that and the flapper exclaims that she can't have anyone resolving their unfinished business because that would be no fun. And if she's going to be trapped there, so is everyone else. Hook then has another thought, asking where the book is, and Cruella cryptically tells him that it's in sight but out of reach: she put it in the River of Lost Souls. The pirate doesn't seem defeated yet though, turning to Arthur and whispering that if they can get their hands on that book then he might have a way to get those pages to Emma.
Emma bursts into the library in the world above, startled to discover that her family is already there, going through books. Snow wonders where her daughter has been but the blonde says that it doesn't matter because it was a dead-end, then asking if they found anything. Merida, who emerges from the back shelves with a fresh pile of books in tow, asks if Emma is kidding since they're literally drowning in books, and David adds that there's got to be something in one of them about Hades but they just started looking. Snow adds further that they could really use Emma's help, at which Emma apologizes, but really doesn't have time to go through a bunch of books - she should have gone after Hades when she had the chance. She tries to leave but David tells her to wait, saying that they know she's hurting but getting revenge on Hades is not going to bring Hook back. "This is not about revenge!" the savior insists, at which her mother asks what it is about. She tearfully explains that she cannot grieve Hook's death because she knows he's still trapped in the Underworld; she knows he's still in pain, and the last thing she told him was that he needed to move on. David tells her that she's right, they have to help Hook, and Snow suggests that her daughter sit down and help them find a way to defeat Hades, for Hook. Fighting her tears, Emma complies.
Hellena's future is discussed.
The two halves of the Olympian Crystal rest upon Regina's desk as a blue light emanating from Hades' hand works tirelessly to fuse them together, making the most powerful weapon in existence whole again. Zelena sits on the edge of the desk and watches as this process takes place, and Hades explains to her that his brother didn't want him to have this, so he stopped his heart and broke the crystal. Without a beating heart, he didn't have the power to put it back together, but now, thanks to Zelena, it's a different story. She smiles at the positive influence she thinks she's had and Hades appears excited as his magic comes closer to repairing the crystal. As he continues firing out the blue light, Zelena places her hand on his arm as she apologizes for his brother not believing in him. "Don't be," Hades tells her, "I've only had a few thousand years to dwell on it. And once I... make this whole, we can show everyone they were wrong about us. We can live any life we want." Zelena likes the sound of that, and Hades adds that they could even rule this place together. Zelena grows confused at the idea of ruling Storybrooke, having thought that they were just planning to live there; she imagined a nice little house where her daughter, who's sleeping in her basket just a few feet away, would be able to play in the garden.
Rumple's deal goes rejected.
Hades, having ceased his flow of magic, says that he wants that more than anything... but these people are leaving them no choice, and they might have to make a show of strength to survive. As she contemplates his words, the office phone begins to ring, and Hades is the one to answer it. Mr. Gold is on the other line, welcoming the God of Death to Storybrooke, and when Zelena hears that it's Rumplestiltskin she can't help but look annoyed. Gold adds that he heard Hades was in town and requests that the two of them put their sordid past behind them and make a deal. Hades assures that he doesn't need the Dark One's deals, but Rumple, who's pacing through his shop, asks if he's certain about that. He points out that Hades is a stranger in a strange land, full of enemies, and offers to protect him in exchange for a piece of that Olympian Crystal. Hades wonders how he knows about that and Gold makes clear that one doesn't smuggle magic like that into Storybrooke without getting his attention; "We're not in your kingdom anymore, we're in mine." "Not for long," Hades promises, and Gold tells him that he can't say he didn't warn him, before hanging up the phone.
One last kiss for Outlaw Queen.
Down in the tunnels, Regina welcomes Robin to the town hall as the two of them finally arrive at where they need to be, with Robin commenting that it's a secret passage indeed. He then stops to thank Regina, and she tells him that he's welcome, adding that she knows he can't accept this right now, but, she does feel horrible for what she did. She apologizes for Zelena having his daughter, and she's really trying to make up for it, but Robin concedes that she was right - they do owe Zelena another chance. Regina tells him not to say that just to appease her but he assures that he's not, for if being with her has taught him anything then it's that they all have the capability to change, and their futures are not written by their pasts. "Regina," he adds, staring deep into her eyes, "You are my future." She is touched by this, and the two of them share a kiss. It's long and romantic, and when they finally pull apart Regina says, "Okay, thief. Tell me what the plan is." Robin proceeds to state that he always follows one rule, and that's not to go into a job without a good plan to get out; unfortunately, with his daughter on the line, he's broken his own rule. He has no plan. "So, if you wanna turn back..." "I'm with you," she insists, "Always." He is glad to hear this, saying that they should now go save his daughter, and another brief kiss is exchanged between the two before they head off to do this.
The book is found, in sight but out of reach.
A boat containing Hook and Arthur drifts steadily atop the River of Lost Souls, with the former telling his companion that they've almost reached their intended destination for the book should be just up ahead. Arthur grows distracted by the beings flowing through the green water, asking what they are, and Hook tells him that they're lost souls. When Arthur goes to touch it, the pirate tells him to be careful, explaining that if he touches the water then he'll become one of them. The King retracts his hand, continuing on the boat journey, and the two quest-goers are soon seen arriving at the stone dock-like structure on the far end of the river. There, a statue of a winged beast stands upon a sign where lie the words, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here". This doesn't discourage Hook and Arthur, who exit the boat and spot the Underworld version of the storybook in the statue's grip; Arthur expresses his surprise that Cruella was actually telling the truth. "You just make sure the boat's here when I return," Hook says, handing Arthur a bundle of rope which is attached to the vehicle, and as Arthur watches Hook ascend the stairs leading to the statue, a soul rises from the river and grabs him by the ankle.
The souls attack.
The King is yanked down to the floor as the ghostly skeletal figure tries dragging him into its ghastly home; Hook is shocked, descending the stairs a little and feeling the need to save his new comrade, but Arthur forbids it, ordering the pirate to go for the book instead. Hook looks at the book, sitting in the clutches of the stone demon, and then to Arthur, who's struggling to escape a different set of clutches which could very well spell certain - and eternal - doom for him. Eventually, he makes the heroic choice, running down the stairs and lifting a flaming torch from its bracket as he does so. With great valiance, he sweeps the fire across the soul's face, forcing it to lose its grip, before plunging the torch into it and causing it to evaporate in the fire. Arthur lies there, then using Hook's hook to help himself back to his feet, and thanks the pirate for his help. "Get the book," he proceeds to advise, and Hook has another go at climbing the stairs. However, another soul rises from the river, floating right past Arthur and heading for the book. Arthur warns Hook, beckoning the torch, and Hook throws it to him; the King then wields it against the creature, which has the book in its bony, ghostly hands, and manages to destroy it before it can return to the river. This causes the book to go sliding across the stone floor, and a fast-moving Hook dives toward the river in order to catch it.
Hook relies on hope.
Thankfully, he is successful, able to retrieve the book before it's lost to the waters forever, and he expresses great relief. Arthur scolds the pirate for not telling him those things could attack them, but Hook didn't know that they could; as he stands up, he ponders that perhaps things are changing now that Hades is gone, and Arthur, who's thrown the torch to the ground, asks if Hook is sure that the book can still work. Hook replies that he's not sure of anything down in the Underworld, but this book is special. Arthur holds it as Hook flicks through the pages saying that they've crossed realms when people have needed them the most, and then the King asks, out of professional curiosity, how exactly one kills the God of Death. "Something called an Olympian Crystal," Hook reveals, finally finding the point at which the pages were torn out by his brother and taking them, the pages, from out of his pocket; he places the page with the illustration of the Olympian Crystal in its rightful place as he explains that, once activated, the raw power inside can obliterate anything - even a God. Arthur asks further if Hook really thinks Emma can find this crystal and use it, commenting that he has a healthy dose of faith, but Hook says that it's more like hope. He then shuts the book with the pages inside, saying, "Alright, Swan. Now it's your turn."
Emma gets Hook's message.
Emma is sitting alone in a quiet section of the library, going through books just like the rest of her family in the hopes that she'll discover an answer as to how to defeat Hades. She doesn't seem to be having much luck, and soon her attention is drawn to Henry's storybook, which is sitting nearby on the table. Unable to resist the urge, she takes it and lays it atop the book she's currently meant to be scouring; she then opens up the collection of fairytales and lands on a page which depicts she and Hook dancing together at King Midas' ball (see "Snow Drifts"). She looks at it and smiles at the memory, reaching out and touching the paper as she continues to commiserate her loss. Tears begin to well up in her eyes, at which point she snaps the book shut and puts it quite literally behind her, wanting to forget about her woes and get on with the much-needed research. She continues going through the book from before, only for the storybook to open all by itself behind her. It turns itself to a very particular page and Emma turns, shocked, to discover new information has surfaced - the pages sent to her by Hook from the Underworld, which tell her all about the Olympian Crystal. She takes the book and she revels in the fact that she now knows the way to kill a God.
Regina and Robin do some eavesdropping.
Back at the mayoral office, Hades continues to use his magic to fuse together the two halves of the Olympian Crystal. Zelena watches as the process finally completes; the blue light emanates at maximum capacity and a silver handle forms between the sharp white rocks, connecting them. Hades is overjoyed by the fact that he now has access to ultimate power, but, as he goes to pick up the almighty weapon, Zelena gently restrains his wrist, suggesting that they could just take the crystal and leave Storybrooke to somewhere else where they don't have to fight anyone. Hades assures that the heroes will haunt them wherever they go, finally taking the crystal into his grip as he proclaims that the only way to be safe is to be strong. Outside the office doors, Robin and Regina are hiding; the former is to the left of the entrance while the latter is to the right, bemoaning as the eavesdrops on the God of Death that she really hates him. Robin peers into the office and says that he can see his daughter, who's sleeping in her basket, before telling his true love that they need a distraction. Suddenly, the lights in the office begin to flicker as the noise of a great disturbance is heard, and Zelena recognizes the interference as someone trying to break past her protection spell.
Luck favors them... but not for long.
She looks out the window and sees Emma blasting her magic at the building, wanting to come inside, as Hades comments that he was right - the heroes are coming for them. Knowing from the fact that she's applying her coat that Zelena's about the leave, Robin and Regina stick tightly to their hiding spots, clinging to the walls either side of the office doors. The Wicked Witch tells her daughter that she'll be right back, just as soon as she's made sure she's safe, and Hades grabs the crystal as he adds that he'll check to see who else is creeping in, for if there's one thing he knows about these people it's that they never work alone. They both tell each other to be careful while Regina quickly runs to the other side of the entrance, sticking close to Robin so has to lower the chances of one of them being spotted. Zelena poofs out of the room while Hades exits via the open doorway, walking straight past the outlaw and the former Evil Queen as he continues to tote around his oh-so-powerful crystal. Robin exhales heavily in relief, asking, "Who needs a plan when you've got blind luck on your side?" He and Regina then proceed into the office.
The Wicked Witch gets all up in the savior's grill.
The savior's light magic continues to flow from her palm to the entrance of the town hall, attempting to destroy the glowing-green protective shield Zelena has placed around the building. She appears to be exhausting herself quite a bit, and soon Zelena herself is heard saying, "Good luck with that," as she appears nearby. Emma ceases her flow of magic, surprised to be faced by the Wicked Witch, and still she clutches onto the pages sent to her by Hook as she says that she doesn't want to hurt her. Zelena points out that Emma wants to hurt Hades and that's the same thing; "But guess what? There's no way to defeat a God," she gloats. Emma assures that even Gods have weaknesses, gesturing the pages in her hand as she says that she knows Hades has the crystal and she knows what he can do with it. Annoyed, Zelena flails her arm and causes Emma to go flying backwards off of her feet. The Wicked Witch then storms at the savior angrily, snatching the pages from her hand and unfurling them so as to find out exactly what she knows. She reads what's written there and her eyes widen as she realizes what Emma plans on doing - killing the man she loves. Crouching down to get up in the blonde's face, Zelena exclaims that she needs to know one thing: "Did my sister agree to this?!"
Hades decides to test out his new toy.
Regina approaches Robin as he lifts a crying Baby Hood from her basket, telling her that her father's there and that everything's going to be alright. "I wouldn't be so sure," says a familiar voice, and the destined lovers turn to see Hades standing by the fireplace, raising the Olympian Crystal. Worried for his daughter's safety, Robin quickly places her back in her basket, ordering the God of Death to stay away from her, but Hades assures as he approaches with the weapon that she's not the one in danger. Regina tells him to stop because this isn't worth it; she is sure that if he kills her then he will lose Zelena forever, at which he shushes her, pointing out that that would only happen if Zelena were to find out about it. "And this," he lifts up the crystal, "Isn't going to kill you. It's going to end you. No Underworld, no moving on," he aims it at them, "One minute you exist and the next... you don't. That's what you get for trying to turn Zelena against me." It is clear that his main target is Regina, which is why Robin steps forward and guarantees that it was his idea to break in, hence the crystal should be used on him and Regina should be let go. Hades sighs, finding this almost sweet, before apologizing; after all, "Ladies first."
Robin sacrifices himself as an act of love to save Regina
With that, the crystal begins to glow as he prepares to fire, but Robin can't stand to see his true love annihilated. As such, he leaps into the path of the lightning bolt headed her way, absorbing all the deadly energy for himself and making it so that Regina is safe and shielded. Hades laughs as Robin stands there, the shot from the crystal taking its toll on him, and Regina appears shocked as she struggles to process what's just taken place. Robin turns to her in his final moments, and the two of them stare longingly into one another's eyes as tears well up in them. Soon enough, Robin's dead body falls to the ground, leaving his spirit in his wake. The ghost of Robin Hood stands where, just a second ago, he once stood, continuing to stare at his love. He reaches out an arm, unable to actually touch her but wanting to bid farewell. He manages a smile but continues to cry, as does she as she steals these last fleeting glimpses of her soulmate's essence. She too begins to reach out, but it's too late. His spirit evaporates into nothing, and then he's well and truly gone. Hades is still loving this, enjoying all the power he has as the crystal stops glowing, while Regina whimpers due to the absence of Robin standing in front of her. She cannot comprehend what's just happened... and then she turns her attention to his dead body lying on the floor.
An awkward moment is walked in on.
She crouches down as she begins checking for any signs of life, but there are none. Robin Hood - all that he is, was, or ever could be - has been obliterated, and Regina's sad and tearful expression becomes one of anger as she turns her head to the God of Death. He is twirling the Olympian Crystal in his hand before he aims it at her again, telling her not to worry because she and Robin won't be apart long. "Regina?" Zelena questions as she re-enters the office, quickly spotting Robin's corpse and wondering what happened. "Hades did this," the former Evil Queen hisses in response, but Hades maintains that he did it for a good cause - to protect Zelena. Regina insists that that's a lie, but Zelena can't know this for sure, revealing that she just found Emma and the pages which explain how one goes about killing a God. She holds them up for her sister to see, accusing her of wanting to kill her true love, but Regina assures that she was only trying to protect her, for Hades has been lying to her since the moment his heart started beating. Needing to know, Zelena asks her boyfriend if it's true what Regina said - that he trapped them in the Underworld - and Hades replies that he did it for her, so they didn't have to hurt anybody, but now they're there and the only way to be safe is to use his newfound power to create a new kingdom; "Our kingdom!"
Zelena has a choice...
Throwing the pages to one side, Zelena questions why they can't just be happy together, wondering why they need a kingdom, and Hades reminds her that this is about getting back at the families who never believed in them. "Remember what I told you! There's no better revenge..." "Than having it all," the Wicked Witch recalls, at which point Regina takes advantage of the mild distraction and abandons Robin's body only so that she can run at Hades, knocking the crystal right out of his hand. He falls to the floor, but before Regina can grab his almighty weapon, Zelena picks it up first, with Hades getting to his feet and whispering that it's okay and that she should use it. "End her," he orders. Zelena appears more conflicted than ever, especially when her grief-stricken sister espouses that she does believe in her, reminding her that she defended her when no one else did and saying that she wanted so badly for her to find love... but sometimes love blinds us. She reveals that Hades tried to kill her already, though Hades insists that she's lying, and she gestures the lifeless Robin as she adds, "Robin died to protect me. That's what true love is. Sacrifice. It's giving up everything for the person you love! But Hades won't give up a single thing for you. Like he said... he wants it all."
...and she makes the right one.
Hades frantically exclaims that Zelena shouldn't listen to Regina, for she doesn't want her to be happy. He tells her to look at this office and the town it's in; it all belonged to her while Zelena had nothing. "Remember?" He's close to her now, as she screams that of course she does, and he says that all she has to do is kill her sister and she can have everything she's ever wanted. To Regina's fear, Zelena actually raises the Olympian Crystal into the air, crying profusely but looking as though she well intends to use it. Hades encourages this, saying that if she doesn't do it then he will, and Zelena weeps through her words, stating, "All I ever wanted was love. You told me that was enough for you, but... now I realize..." The crystal begins to glow as it's prepared to be used once again, and Zelena finishes her thought by screaming, "NOTHING EVER WILL BE!" And then she does the unthinkable. She takes the fully-charged Olympian Crystal, causing Regina to cower in the fear that she might use it on her, and she plunges it directly through Hades' heart. He appears taken aback, to say the least, as the worlds' most powerful weapon pierces through him, its power spreading through his body and annihilating both his physical and spiritual being.
Sisters comfort each other in a time of heartbreak.
His heart stops beating, this time forever. He calls out for his love, who appears shocked at her own actions, and she watches in horror as the only man who ever loved her is consumed by blue flames which proceed to reduce him to nothing more than a pile of dust. Zelena breathes heavily, her crying uncontrollable, as she tries to come to grips with what she's just done. With the threat vanquished, Regina returns to her lover's body, propping up his head and holding him close to her as Zelena's whimpers are heard from across the room. And then the Wicked Witch - though she isn't so wicked anymore - reaches out and places a hand on her sister's shoulder, which Regina grasps onto with pained eagerness. The sisters then embrace over Robin's body, lamenting the fact that the both of them have just lost their true loves.
Arthur decides to rule the Underworld.
In the Underworld, Arthur has successfully tied the boat up at the shore as he and Hook remain standing on the stone docks of the River of Lost Souls, and the latter tells the King that he owes him thanks for his help. Arthur says that he's embarked on many a wrong-headed quest in his time and now he's just glad to have finished one that was righteous, though he wishes he knew what happened to Emma. Hook tells him that Emma did exactly what she needed to, and when Arthur asks him how he knows, he reveals that he doesn't, he just... does. And then a bright light distracts them, and they turn to the archway whereupon the winged statue sits. Whiteness is emanating from it, with it having become a portal to Mount Olympus; Arthur asks what it is, and Hook tells him that it's the way to move on. He walks toward it and Arthur deduces that the defeat of Hades was Hook's unfinished business. Hook then turns to the King, suggesting that perhaps it was his as well, but when he's asked to go with the pirate, Arthur tells him not to worry about him - he'll be all right. "I was once prophesied to repair a broken kingdom," he reveals, "My mistake was thinking that kingdom was Camelot, but now I think I understand the kingdom I have to repair... is here. The Underworld." Hook finds this noble and wishes him the best, then outstretching his arm and bidding "your majesty" goodbye. Arthur meets the pirate's hand as he too bids farewell, addressing him as "captain". Hook gives a gentle nod before turning his attention back to the white light. The Underworld's new ruler watches as the one-handed pirate approaches, and then, finally, goes on through...
Zeus takes Hook to where he belongs.
"Hello, Killian," says the voice on the other side of the white light. Killian Jones has entered Mount Olympus and, as he turns around within the precipice of this glorious realm, lined with pillars of white and gold, he is met by a man in a toga who greets him with a warm smile. Hook asks who he is and what he wants and the man reveals that he wishes to thank him, for because of him something very important has been done: "Those above have finally destroyed the misguided God of Death. My brother, Hades." It is now that Hook realizes he's talking to Zeus, ruler of the better place, and Zeus confirms it, adding that he's there to escort the pirate onward. He approaches him and places a hand on his shoulder, asking him if he's ready, and Hook takes a moment before deciding, "I am." "Then it's time to take you where you belong," Zeus tells him, guiding him towards yet another white light. Hook takes one last look behind himself before proceeding through it, consumed utterly by brightness.
Emma finally grieves.
Emma stands before Killian's tombstone back in Storybrooke; flowers have already been laid down upon his final resting place, while Emma has brought a flask with her. She is dressed entirely in black, holding an umbrella in her spare hand to counteract the rain, and she says as she places the rum on the grave that she thought her true love would prefer it to roses. She is teary-eyed, clearly finding it difficult to be there, but still she manages to thank him for the pages, telling him that Hades is gone now and that it's done, so she hopes he's in a better place. "I know I should be happy about that, but it just feels like now you're really gone," Emma weeps, now finally breaking down and grieving like a normal person. She concedes that there's nothing left to do but this, and after shedding some much-needed tears she declares, "I miss you." She takes a deep breath as the weight of the loss finally settles in.
Robin's funeral takes place.
A mass of black umbrellas is seen gathered elsewhere in the Storybrooke cemetery as the whole town comes together for the funeral of Robin Hood. A Merry Man comes forward and places an arrow on his old leader's coffin, decorated with a rose. Five arrows like this have already been added to commemorate the acclaimed archer, and Regina watches, so sad, as they're placed down one-by-one, all by people who were significant to the deceased. Snow and David are next, sharing an umbrella as they approach the closed casket and place down their respective arrows. Robin's young son Roland then comes up, accompanied by Little John; his arrow is placed in center position while John keeps him comforted during this difficult time. Henry and Emma approach next, with the former carrying two arrows instead of one. Once his and his birth mother's have been set down, he passes his other one to Regina, who is the final person to walk up to the coffin. Her arrow goes beside Roland's, and she proceeds to turn to the people of Storybrooke, tears in her eyes, before retaking her front-and-center position.
Baby Hood is named after her deceased father.
From within the crowd, a baby can be heard crying, and Zelena soon emerges to join her sister with her and Robin's baby girl in tow. She shushes her, wanting to be there for Regina, but all Regina can focus on now is the fact that Robin never even got to name his daughter. "There's only one name I can think of that's fitting," Zelena says in response: "Robin." "Robin..." Regina utters, staring down at the child with a bittersweet smile on her face. "Of course," she nods as she turns her attention back to the grave of the man she loved, and Zelena places a comforting hand on her sister's back as the rest of the attendees begin to leave for the wake. The Charmings remain, even when Regina and Zelena do not, and soon it's just Emma and Snow. The latter expresses her hope that they never again have a day like this, and her daughter agrees. Snow then says that she knows what Emma is thinking, and assures her that this is not her fault, at which Emma states that she'd just like to say goodbye alone. Her mother grants her this, giving her a hug before agreeing to meet her at Granny's Diner, and Emma looks terribly both sad and guilty as she stares at Robin's final resting place.
Hook returns to the land of the living.
Suddenly though, she is hit by a shock wave of magic. She doesn't quite know what's just occurred, and then... "Swan?" She turns around to see the only thing that could cheer her up at this moment in time, and that's, "Killian?" She runs to her resurrected love, kissing him passionately, talking through what are now joyous tears as she asks him how he's there. Hook explains that Zeus must have sent him back as a reward for helping defeat Hades, and Emma can barely listen because she's too busy kissing him all over. She asks him "what", finding it crazy yet incredible, and he, almost as overjoyed as she is, reminds her that Zeus is the ruler of the Olympians and the most powerful God of all, not that he can get it all out. Finally, he gives up trying to explain and just says how great it is to see that she's okay... only for her to point out that not all of them are. She turns to Robin's grave, hugging Hook as the realization of what's happened dawns on him.
Gold plans something shady.
Mr. Gold, meanwhile, can be seen making his way through the town hall and into Regina's office, where the pile of ashes that once was Hades remains. He stands over it, his shoe crunching against the God's dust, and soon finds himself saying, "You should have taken my deal." He then takes a step forward and crouches down beside the remains, detracting from the pile with his finger, clearly after something that's buried in the ashes. Finally, he takes out a small yet clearly significant piece of the Olympian Crystal, leftover from when Zelena used it to stab her lover dead. Gold stares down at this powerful artifact, apparently needing it for something less than wholesome, and adds, "I told you... this is my kingdom." The Dark One inspects the fragment he's collected of the most powerful weapon in existence, his plans for it remaining a mystery.
- The title card of this episode features the Storybrooke Town Hall.
- Although credited, Emilie de Ravin (Belle Gold/Belle) is absent from this episode.
- A scene featuring Robin Hood reuniting with Little John and Roland was filmed, but deleted from the final cut of the episode. The scene would feature Robin embracing his son with a hug and a kiss, and the latter would then ask about his sister.
- This episode features Regina and Robin's final adventure together and has them circumventing Zelena's protection spell by using secret tunnels to get to Regina's office. The couple's first adventure, in "Witch Hunt", had them circumventing another of Zelena's protection spells by using another set of secret tunnels to get to Regina's palace in the Enchanted Forest.
- The archway in the Underworld bears the inscription "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here", which is a reference to Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri's epic poem Divine Comedy. In the poem, this same inscription is found on the gates of Hell.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on February 25, 2016.
- This episode marks the ninth writing credit for Jerome Schwartz, as well as the very first directing credit for Craig Powell, who has been a camera operator for Once Upon a Time since its very first episode.
This episode garnered 3.75 million viewers, showing a slight decrease from the previous week.
This episode received mixed to good reviews.
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly gave it a good review: "Once Upon a Time promised death...and as Hades came to Storybrooke, death was delivered. (As was Regina’s unhappiness, yet again. This girl cannot catch a break.)"
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman said, "“Last Rites” indulges in the grand Once Upon a Time tradition of presenting good outcomes and terrible outcomes in equal measure."
- Christine Orlando of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.6 out of 5.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Once Upon a Time's Sean Maguire 'Shocked' by Robin Hood Twist, Shares Secrets Behind 'Missing' Scenes, by Matt Webb Mitovich, TVLine (May 9, 2016)
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: 'Last Rites'", by Andrea Towers, Entertainment Weekly (May 8, 2016)
- ↑ "‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 5 Episode 21 Review: Will Regina Ever Get A Break?", by Nick Roman, Rickey.org (May 8, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 19 Review: "Last Rites", by Christine Orlando, TV Fanatic (May 8, 2016)