"Sisters" is the 107th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Now that Hades and Zelena are reunited, the Lord of the Underworld tells his wicked girlfriend that he wants a future with her outside of his demented realm - all she needs to do is heal his heart with a kiss of true love so that they can leave together and trap the heroes there for eternity. When Regina overhears this plan, she enlists her mother's help to find a way to separate her sister from Hades; however, Cora reveals a family secret that could change her two daughters' lives forever. Meanwhile, David finally meets James, only to realize that his twin is determined to seek revenge on him for stealing the life he could have had.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
In Oz, Zelena and Hades ride on a bicycle and fall the floor, having fun. ("Our Decay") Hades explains to Zelena that his brother is a god and he stopped his heart, but once they kiss it will start again. ("Our Decay") Belle tells Rumple that Hades can take their baby whenever he wants to, just like Emma did to Zelena. She then explains a sleeping curse will halt everything before pricking her finger, sending herself into a slumber. ("Ruby Slippers") David tells Snow if one of them should go home and see their son, it should be her. ("Ruby Slippers") Hades tells Cora he's surprised at how much she cares for Regina, especially after what she did to her other daughter. He then uses magic to put her in rags. ("Souls of the Departed") Hades realizes Zelena is scared he'll disappoint her, but she tells him it's a chance she's just going to have to take. ("Ruby Slippers")
This is one hell of a wicked date.
A shiny red car speeds down a road in the Underworld as "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Ink Spots plays from the stereo. The driver, Hades, eventually pulls up with his passenger, Zelena, and soon enough they're sat on the grass having a picnic beside a fire, giving them light in the dark of the night. Enjoying their date, Zelena reveals this isn't what she was expecting, wondering what other surprises he's got hidden up his sleeves. As she sips on her wine, he tells her she hasn't asked why he brought her up here, "With men it's usually pretty obvious" she responds. He smiles, saying she's got him, but adds that there's more on his mind. When she asks what it is he stands to his feet and asks her to come with him, "It's easier if I show you". He points to the town of Storybrooke...or at least the Underworld's version of it, which looks tiny in the distance. She notes that it's the hellish Storybrooke he made for her, adding that that gesture was appreciated. He understand that it wasn't enough because he'd just be giving her a decayed version of what her sister had, "You deserve more. You deserve the real thing".
Hades makes a proposal.
Hades explains that once his heart is beating again and he can leave the Underworld for good that's where he wants to take her. Touched, Zelena asks if he wants to come with her to Storybrooke, so he responds, "If you'll have me". She wonders about his plans, but he claims to no longer care about them, not if he can have her. He tells her the only thing he cares about is a future where they might be a family, but Zelena points out that her sister and their friends won't want to share their home with Lord Death and the Wicked Witch. Hades supposes they won't be there to stop them, so she asks what he means. He explains that the Underworld will exist even after he leaves, which means all the heroes will be trapped here, revealing after the Charmings pulled their "switcheroo", he put everyone's names on a tombstone. "You want to keep them down here for eternity?" Zelena asks, with a slight smile, leading Hades to explain there's no other way. He tells the witch he realizes things between her and her sister are complicated, but "it's her or us". He then bends down onto one knee and takes his lover's hands, "So...what do you say, Zelena? Will you make chaos with me?". Zelena looks down at Hades, conflicted by his proposal.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Regina knows all.
Zelena enters the Underworld's version of her farmhouse, only to be met by Regina, who comments that she's home late. The witch sighs and explains that now is not the time, but Regina says she'll be the judge of that. Zelena asks her sister what she wants, but Regina asks if a sister can't show she cares, explaining she thought she'd find her still sulking over her favorite pair of shoes, "Where were you?". Zelena sighs and begins to explain, but stops, realizing that Regina knows where she was. She asks how she's been spying on her, so Regina pulls out a mirror that shows a reflection of Zelena and Hades on their date, "Next time tell your boyfriend to pick you up in something with a little less chrome". Zelena tells her sister he's not her boyfriend and she should show a little respect for privacy, but Regina points out she lost the right to privacy after everything she's done to her, not to mention what Hades wants to do to her and everyone she cares about.
Zelena thinks she can redeem the God of Death.
Zelena supposes she won't get any points for not saying "yes" to Hades, but Regina points out that she also didn't say "no", before ordering her not to see him again. An irritated Zelena asks Regina that after pretending to be a caring sister if she's going to act like her mother, "Don't bother. I already have someone who failed at that job. She abandoned me in the woods. Remember?". Regina insists that she's trying to do what's best for Zelena, but the witch asks how she knows that isn't being with Hades. Regina states that he's a villain, but Zelena says he doesn't always have to be, using the fact that Robin Hood used to be a thief as an example that people can change. Regina points out that Robin stole from the rich to give to the poor, yet she wants to redeem the God of Death. Zelena insists that she can help him, but Regina supposes if she's wrong, "What happens to all of us then?". Zelena tells Regina to stop pretending she cares about her of that she ever wanted a sister, because they both know she doesn't. The Wicked Witch exits the room, leaving a saddened Regina behind.
Mother does not play...that.
In the fairytale land that was, a young Regina is stood in front of a tall mirror happily playing with her doll when Cora enters the room and sternly asks what she's doing in there. The young girl explains that she and Isabella were playing dress-up before asking her mother if she wants to play too. As Cora puts a box into her desk, she apologizes because she can't, for she has too much work to attend to. Regina moans that she never has time to play, so Cora sighs, asking her daughter if she remembers what she told her about her childhood. Regina asks if she means what it was like to be the miller's daughter and Cora confirms this, explaining that she had to work in the mill all day, wearing nothing but rags. She goes on to explain that it taught her something important; the only person she can depend on was herself, and once she learned that lesson, everything changed. Regina smiles and tells her mother she's happy she doesn't have to wear rags anymore, "Maybe you can play with me later?" she adds. Cora points out Regina has her doll until then, adding she'll see her at supper before exiting the room. Once alone, Regina plays with her doll's hair, but she suddenly notices a key accidentally left in the drawer her mother just used.
Regina is reckless with magic.
Curious, Regina places Isabella on the desk and opens the door, discovering a box inside. She runs her fingers along the golden lid of the box, unintentionally causing it to open...revealing a wand inside. The young girl joyfully skips around the room with the wand, flicking it around, pretending it to cast spells. Her attention soon turns to her doll, "You can be my sister" she smiles, flicking the wand at her. However, this time, a burst of magical energy comes flying out and obliterates the doll. Regina is hit by the magic and flies backwards, knocked unconscious. Hearing the explosion, Cora rushes into the room to her daughter's aid. Henry soon enters the room too, asking what happened, so Cora explains it was her wand. He angrily asks how it happened because she keeps it protected by magic. She explains it's protected by blood magic and she locked it away to keep Regina away from it but she forgot the key. As they both panic over their unconscious child, Henry asks if she can heal her, but Cora explains that her magic won't work as it is the cause of her pain; her only hope would be someone close to her who hasn't harmed her. Henry points out that she has no other family with magic while Cora assures her daughter she'll be all right.
Regina needs her mother's help.
Back in the present, in the Underworld's version of the Blanchard Loft, Emma, who has just been informed of Zelena and Hades by Regina, questions that the wicked witch is in love. Regina adds that she's also not thinking rationally, which for her is a big problem. Hook states that they need to stop Zelena and offers to do it himself if Regina is unable to. Regina asks the pirate if he wants to kill and he points out that it's a step in the right direction. The queen explains that taking action against Zelena in any form will get messy so Charming says they'll have to keep the two apart...without killing anyone. Hook, unhappy with this, moans that he's waiting for the better option. Emma asks Regina what their plan is, so she explains that there's only one person capable of destroying the love blooming between Hades and her sister...their mother.
Rumple ignores Belle's wishes.
At the Underworld's version of Mr. Gold's pawnshop, Rumplestiltskin approaches the slumbering Belle, who is hidden away in the back room of the shop. He comfortingly tells his wife that it's him and places his hand on hers. He states that it's time for him to fix this, claiming he knows how she'd want him to do it and use light magic. However, he tells her he can't and goes on to apologize, stating that he doesn't want to let her down. He tells his sleeping wife that there's only one way to save their child...and they must do things his way now.
We see a shot of the broken Clock Tower on the streets of Underbrooke and then we're taken down one of the steam vents into the caverns below. Above the River Lethe sits an old mill, which Cora, dressed in rags, collects bags from. She puts them onto a wheelbarrow and carts them away, but comes to a stop so she can have a moment of rest. One of the guards standing at a cave entrance tells Cora that there's no time to rest as there's more flour to mill, "There's always more. Now get back to work" he hisses. Cora complies and begins to collect some wheat, however, she immediately noticed a metal object inside one of the bundles...Killian's hook. She uses it to remove the cuff blocking her magic and then turns back to the guards. Confused, the guard from before asks where she got it, so she tells him she has her suspicions, "Shall we see if I'm correct?" she asks, knocking the men out with a single blast of magic. Cora rushes down the no longer guarded cave entrance and is soon met by her old companion, Captain Hook, who greets her "Hello, love". She grins, happy to know she was right, "You are my fairy godmother" she claims, handing him back his hook. He notes that nobody has ever called him that before, but he supposes he is, "Let's get you out of here. Your daughter needs you" he quickly explains, proceeding to exit with the witch.
Land of Oz
Many Years Ago
Cora pays a visit to her abandoned child.
In the fairytale land that was, Cora stands behind a tree watching from afar as a a young peasant Zelena collects firewood. The redhead drops her pile onto the floor, and after a moment of contemplation, decides to use her magical powers to stack them all away. She smiles at her powers, but her father comes rushing out their house, asking what she thinks she's doing. Zelena apologizes, but he explains that he'd warned her about giving into her wickedness, asking what'd happen if someone saw her. The young girl promises it won't happen again and her father agrees, pulling out a long stick, stating he'll give her the lesson she's always deserved. "Your mother's not here to protect you anymore" he snarls, preparing to strike his daughter...but something magical freezes him. Assuming it was herself, Zelena apologizes, but Cora reveals herself and explains that it was her. Shocked, Zelena asks the stranger if she has magic, and when Cora reveals she does, asks if she's a good witch or a bad witch. Cora chuckles and assures that girl that she's a good witch, going on to explain that her father is wrong to make her feel badly for being who she is, "What you have is a gift". She goes on to ask if Zelena would like the chance to show him that her magic isn't wicked. The girl asks how, so Cora explains that she'd need to help someone very dear to her. Zelena thinks for a moment, but eventually nods in agreement, pleasing Cora, who tells her to come with her. Zelena seems hesitant, but when Cora holds out her hand, the young girl takes it.
Back in the present, David is walking through the streets of the Underworld carrying groceries when he's stopped by the wailing sirens of a police car that pulls up near him. His twin brother, James, exits the car, greeting his brother by calling him "the shepherd". He continues to mock David, stating it looks like he's lost his flock, but all David can say is "James...". This angers the twin, who slams the car door, demanding he be called Prince James. David holds out his hand to calm his brother down, agreeing to call him Prince James. He slowly drops his grocery bag and explains that he's glad to finally see him so they can talk. He explains that Cruella told him why he's angry at him, but James explains that it's not because their mother gave him away, adding that Cruella isn't good at reading people, "Better with dogs". David asks what the real problem is then, so James tells him it's simple, "You stole my glory. You were never half the man I was and yet you got everything...everything that was mine. Well, now you're gonna pay" he warns. David claims that it's not his fault his brother got himself killed, but James simply lift his jacket a little, revealing a gun, stating they'll see what happens now. A worried David tells James that if he wants to prove he's so much better than him then he should fight fair, but the twin asks why he should bother, "What could you ever do to me? I'm already dead". David glances down at a broken piece of wood laying on the ground and James notices this, so lets out a laugh. David jumps for the wood and grabs it, swinging at his deceased brother. James dodges the attack and counters it by tasering his brother in the stomach, knocking him to the ground, unconscious. The evil twin looks down at his vulnerable brother and comments that he's had his fun playing prince, "Now let's see what happens when I play shepherd".
James poses as his twin brother.
Emma is sat alone in the Underworld's version of the Blanchard Apartment solemnly looking at a picture of her parents as James, posing and now dressed as his brother, walks in. He greets his "daughter" and asks if everything's okay when he notices her sad look. She assures him she's fine, explaining that she's just wondering about her mom, and if she's okay without them; James assures the blonde that she'll be fine. She brings the picture over to her "father" and asks if he recalls the event, so James makes an educated guess that it was at a birthday. A puzzled Emma corrects him, explaining it was an anniversary, leading James to laugh his mistake off as him not thinking straight. He lets out a sigh, lying that being away from Snow is hard on him, so Emma comforts him. He moves on and asks Emma if she's ready, so the blonde explains that Regina said the rendezvous point with Robin is half a day's walk into the woods. When she asks if he was able to get all the supplies off their list, James looks inside the grocery bag his brother was carrying and begins listing all the items - which include a lot of baby wipes "Father of the year" Emma jokes. Before setting off, James asks Emma not to tell Snow he forgot "their" anniversary, however, she says she cannot blame him due to all the curses and time jumps. Emma then sets off, instructing her "father" to follow. James complies...but with a dangerous look on his face. His plan is going perfectly.
Plans are made against Zelena.
Now reunited, Regina and Cora walk through the Underworld's version of the former queen's vault. Regina apologizes to her mother for not coming sooner, but Cora assures her she can take care of herself; she just wishes she weren't still here. Regina reminds her she said she couldn't leave without helping her friends, adding that even if she wanted to leave she can't. Cora angrily asks what Hades has done, knowing him to be the source, so the mayor explains that he put her name on a tombstone, trapping her here so he can go to Storybrooke without anybody following him. Cora tells her daughter this is impossible, stating the Lord of the Underworld can't leave this world for good. Regina explains that he can if he restarts his heart with true love's kiss. Shocked, Cora wonders who could possible love him, so Regina reveals that Zelena does. Cora is frozen with shock and fear, asking if she's here. Regina explains that Zelena seems to have a past with Hades, leading Cora to realize that's how he knew about her. The mother tells her daughter they must change Zelena's mind, but Regina says she's already tried, but Zelena thinks she can make Hades be a better man. Cora tells Regina that she was right to come to her, explaining Zelena is in more danger than she realizes. She says that Hades has been down here far too long to be changed by something as simple as love. Regina wonders what they can do to stop him from hurting their daughter/sibling, so Cora explains that there's only one option...they have to make her forget Hades ever existed.
Zelena unknowingly saves her sister's life.
Back in the fairytale land that was, the young Regina lies in bed, still unconscious from her magic related injury, as her father tends over her, promising that her mother will be back soon. "She already is" Cora states, entering the room with Zelena, "And I have exactly what we need." she reveals. Unaware of her origin, Henry asks who the girl is, but Cora tells him she's the cure. He nervously asks what dark magic this is, again questioning who she is. Cora pleads for her husband to stop, simply stating that she's found a way to save their daughter. She then points to the bedroom door, signalling for him to leave. He submits and kisses Regina on the forehead before leaving. Zelena asks Cora if the girl is her daughter, so she confirms she is before stepping away to prepare for a spell. As she explains that the spell is very complicated, "not nearly as easy as stacking firewood" she compares it to, Zelena puts her hands over Regina and begins doing a spell anyway. A shocked Cora turns around and witnesses green magic coming from the redheads hands. Cora asks her secret daughter how she knows how to do that, so she explains that she's wanted to use her magic to help someone for so long that it just came to her. As Zelena performs her magic, Cora watches over Regina. She becomes delighted to see Regina's eyes and she begins to stroke her hair. Noticing the stranger, Regina wonders who she is. Cora explains that it's the girl who's magic saved her from herself. The two girls go on to introduce themselves by stating their names.
Cora thinks it's time to meet her wicked child.
Back in the present, in the woods of the Underworld, Regina and Cora stand by a small stream of water as the latter explains it flows from the River Lethe, "The River of Forgetfulness" Regina points out that it is also called. Cora explains that one drop of water will make it as though Zelena never even met Hades, but Regina scoffs that she knows how it works as she's dabbled with forgetting potions before. "As have I" Cora says, revealing that there was a spring from this very river near their estate in the Enchanted Forest. As Cora collects some of the water, Regina questions who she used it on. Cora tells her daughter it's not important, "What is important is that you find a way to get Zelena to drink this" she says, handing the bottle of water over. Regina wishes herself luck because after crashing her date she doesn't think Zelena will let her within a mile of the farmhouse. Cora states that she will, so realizing this means she has an idea, Regina asks what she has in mind. Cora says that after all these years she thinks it's time Zelena finally gets to meet her mother.
Deep in the woods of the Underworld James, still posing as David asks his Emma how much further they need to go. She explains that there's no further as they've reached the place where Regina said Robin would meet them. He impatiently asks if they need to rob from the rich and hope he shows up, but a confused Emma says he'll just find them, "In the middle of the woods?" James doubts. With that, Robin steps out from the trees carrying his newborn daughter, "Not everyone needs magic to be stealthy" he comments before thanking "David" for getting the items for the baby. He asks where Regina is so Emma jokingly explains that Zelena and Hades are "on the verge of being the world's worst power couple", so she's taking care of it. A worried Robin says he should go as she'll need his help but Emma assures him she's fine and he should make sure his daughter is safe, "Regina can handle her sister". James, having had enough, suddenly pounces and places an enchanted cuff on Emma's arm, "Siblings, they can be a real pain, can't they?" he moans as he draws a gun on them. A bewildered Emma, still believing him to be her father, asks what he's doing. James explains that Cruella gave him some advice, never face the savior without one of those cuffs. Now realizing who he is, a scared Emma asks where her father is.
James and Cruella take Emma and Robin hostage.
James reveals that David is locked up in the sheriff's station and that he's been trailing him for some time. With that, Cruella arrives speeding in her car and James explains that when Snow left he figured that was his chance to make a move. Cruella angrily exits the car and asks, "Why is everything in the woods with you people?". She approaches James and greets him seductively, complimenting him on capturing Emma and Robin, "Mommy's very proud of you. And I will show you how much later on." Emma gives a sickened look at this. Cruella then turns to the blonde and says there's something she needs to do first. PUNCH. "That's for killing me darling". Angry, Emma asks what Cruella wants, so the villain explains that she wants out of this dreadful place, and if the author won't do it for them then they'll have to do it another way...and there's only one man who can do that for them. Emma asks why Hades would help them, but Cruella confesses that he wouldn't, unless she had the right leverage...like the child of the woman he loves, "Though God knows why, they're terrible things". James tells Robin to hand over the child over, but he refuses, instantly firing an arrow into his chest. James painlessly pulls it out of his chest, explaining they can't hurt him. He then aims the gun at the father's head, stating one pull of the trigger will make sure he's no longer just a visitor of the Underworld.
A little underwhelming for a reunion, right?
Over at the Underworld's version of the farmhouse, Zelena is sat looking at the dead flower Hades gifted her when all of a sudden there's a knock at the door. She answers it and is surprised to see Cora standing on the other side, "Hello, Zelena" she greets her daughter. "Mother..." Zelena says, speechless, to which Cora responds that she wasn't sure she'd know who she was. Zelena says that she's not sure why her mother is here but she doesn't need anything from her. She goes to slam the door but Cora stops it with her magic, stating they both know she's been waiting for this moment her entire life so they shouldn't pretend otherwise. Knowing her mother is right, Zelena steps aside to allow Cora to walk in. Once she's inside, a look of fear comes over the redhead's face.
A shocking discovery is made.
"No one gets in my way and lives to tell of it! You'll be sorry for this Regina" a young Zelena, dressed in fancy clothes. playfully says in a menacing tone in the fairytale land of the past. Regina steps out from behind a mirror and plays along, telling her new friend she won't be as sorry as she is when he face is on fire. She pretends to throw a fireball with her "magic" and Zelena dodges it. The two girls begin giggling, having fun, but Regina shushes for them to be quiet as she's not supposed to be out of bed yet. Zelena asks if they have to stop playing because Cora will probably take her home soon. Regina assures her they don't have to stop, suggesting they "play princesses". She opens the drawer to her mother's desk and pulls out some jewellery, but Zelena notices the wand box, so asks what it is. Regina explains that Cora kept her wand in it and Zelena comments that it is beautiful. She runs her hand along it, admiring it, but this causes it to open. A shocked Regina asks how she did that, so a confused Zelena explains she simply touched it and it opened. Regina claims the box was sealed with blood magic so there is no way she should've been able to open it...unless they're related. A huge grin appears on Regina's face upon this realization, but Zelena wonders why Cora wouldn't have told them. Unsure, Regina suggests asking her, so the two girls run out of the room with the wand box to find Cora. However, as they turn one direction down the corridor, they don't realize they run past her, as she was hiding just outside the doorway...having just overheard everything.
Cora and Zelena talk things out.
Back in the present, outside the farmhouse, Regina is stood patiently as Zelena and Cora talk inside. Zelena sarcastically asks her mother if she just happened to be in the neighborhood and was taking a little stroll through Hell and decided to stop by. Cora explains that she's been in a prison, or Hades' version of one, and when she heard she was here then she knew she had to come. Zelena realizes that Regina sent her to try and talk her out of it, but Cora lies, asking if she thinks Regina would ever forget what she did to her father. She then says she'd be the last person to stop her since it was her doing that put her in this position, "And what's that supposed to mean? the redhead asks. Cora states that she's sure Zelena's feelings for Hades are real but asks if it isn't obvious she's trying to fill the hole in her heart that she created when she abandoned her. Zelena shrugs that she's not interested in talking about this as she's "over it" and she has been for years. Cora states that she isn't, "What I did left a wound that's been festering for...decades. You want to know if I regret my decision, if after all these years, I'm sorry I gave you away." Zelena begins to get upset and hold back her tears, simply asking, "Well, are you?". Cora says that she is sorry, she's so sorry. Zelena asks "why", "I thought it would be the best for you" she says, scoffing and correcting herself, "For me. And I was wrong." she admits. Cora goes on to say that she thought the reason she couldn't leave the Underworld was Regina, but now she knows it's both of them. Mother and daughter embrace in a hug. While hugging, Cora looks over Zelena's shoulder and sees that Regina is now inside. They make eye contact, knowing they must make the next move in their plan.
Zelena calls Cora's bluff.
In the farmhouse, Zelena is now sat down at a table, processing everything that was just said. She apologizes to her mother, who is leaning on the table, claiming it's all a bit much. As Cora assures Zelena it's all right, Regina, who is hiding in the next room, uses her magic to create a glass of water. Cora offers to get some water for her daughter, and after Regina places the forgetting potion in the glass, Cora takes it off her. She and Regina share a sad glance, unhappy that they're deceiving their relative...but they go along with it anyway. Cora returns to Zelena with the water, stating it should help. "You know, it's funny" Zelena says, taking the glass, "I've imagined this day a thousand times - finding you, hearing that you're sorry, that you really did love me. I mean it almost feels like a dream." she finishes. Cora strokes her daughters hair and says its the same for her too. Zelena continues, saying that there's just one thing that's different, "See, in my dreams, your apology was genuine. I never thought you'd try to poison me" she snarls, throwing the water containing the forgetting potion into the fireplace, "You can come out now, Regina" she yells into the other room. Regina sighs, banging her head against the wall, frustrated to have been caught. The redhead asks her mother if she really thought she'd believe "all that drivel", but Cora assures her it was genuine, "I know you're upset, sweetheart..." Cora tries, being interrupted by Zelena who stands up and screams that she's more than upset, kicking her chair into the wall in the process. Regina begs her sister to let them explain but Zelena angrily asks if she'll explain trying to ruin her life again and doing it with their mother's help. Regina shouts that she wasn't trying to ruin anything, but Zelena doesn't believe her, "You were just doing what's best for me" she scoffs, "You two are cut from the same dark cloth. You've never cared about what happened to me. Either of you!".
The girls confront Cora...
Back in the fairytale land of the past, the young Regina and Zelena enter a room to find Cora waiting by a fireplace, "Mother? we've been looking for you." Regina announces. Cora turns, and noticing Zelena holding her wand's box, says she sees this. As the box is taken away, Regina explains they were just playing and Zelena confesses to opening it by accident, promising she wasn't trying to. Regina then begins to ask if that means they're related, but before she can finish, Cora reveals they're both sisters. The two girls are overcome with joy, "Why didn't you tell us?" Regina asks, so Cora admits she wasn't sure if they'd understand. Regina approaches her mother and asks, "If she's my sister, shouldn't we be a family?". Cora asks if that would make her happy, so Regina grins that it would, more than anything, "I can't tell you how disappointed that makes me" Cora coldly states, puzzling the two girls. "Didn't you hear anything I said earlier, or did the magic just knock it right out of your head? You can only depend on yourself, and sometimes that means you have to make the hard decisions" Cora snaps.
...but it ends in tragedy.
Regina states that Zelena saved her life, but Cora asks if she knows what will happen when people find out about her - everything she's been trying to do for her; a good marriage, a chance to be queen - will all be over. Regina says she doesn't care about any of that, but Cora states that she does. The mother witch signals over to some guards as she explains to Regina she hopes one day she'll be strong enough to make decision like this on her own, but until she is, she'll have to make them for her. As the two guards grab Zelena, Regina begs her mother not to do this. Zelena promises that she'll be good, but Cora simply orders the men to take her away. The two sisters cling onto each other, screaming and crying not to be separated, but the men are too strong. As Zelena is dragged away and Cora retrieves a forgetting potion, Regina promises that no matter what her mother does, they're sisters, and nothing can change that, "I will find you! I promise!". Cora smugly tells her daughter she won't because she won't remember any of it happened, "And she won't remember you, either".
The sisters fight it out.
"I can't believe that I thought that things could be different between us" Zelena rages in the present day, "All you ever care about is yourself" she hisses at Regina. She conjures a green fireball in her hand and screams that no matter what she does, they'll never be on the same side. Regina conjures her own fireball and agrees, "You want to fireball this place? Then let's do it" she taunts. Cora interferes and removes the fireballs with her own magic, confessing that if the two should hate anyone it is her. Regina says it's not about her, but Cora admits it should be, "There was a time when you both cared about each other" she reveals, shocking the sisters. Zelena asks what she's talking about, so Cora tells her there's a chapter in their family history they've both forgotten. Taking both their hands, she explains it was a long time ago, but now it's time that they remembered. The three women all linking hands close their hands as Cora works her magic.
Amends are made.
Suddenly, all the memories of Regina and Zelena's short time spent together as children come rushing back to them, leaving them both in tears. "You see? You were sisters once, who loved and needed each other. I thought that love, any kind of love...was weakness. I was a fool" Cora admits. She turns to Regina with a smile, "Look at you Regina. You stayed here to help your father and your friends. You're stronger than I ever was. And that's the strength you got from the people who you love, not from me" she tells her, "Thank you, mother" Regina cries. Cora then turns to Zelena, who find it hard to make eye contact with her, "My Zelena... I meant what I said earlier. I am so sorry. Sorry I never gave you the family you deserved or the love. I should have been there for you, instead of wasting my life destroying people. Maybe now you won't have to make the same mistakes I did". Zelena gently asks what if it's too late for her, but Cora assures her if being here has taught her anything, it's that it's never too late, especially for family. She takes both of their hands and tell them you never stop being connected, right up to the end, and sometimes, even after. The three girls all stand silently, embracing with their newfound love.
Will the series' lead die???.
Over at the Underworld's version of the Storybrooke Docks, Baby Hood is rested in her carrier on the hood of Cruella's car as Cruella and James hold Emma and Robin at gunpoint near the water, which is also the River of Lost Souls. Emma warns Cruella that killing them won't help her escape the Underworld, but the villain responds that sending her to eternal torment is a "juicy bonus". "I really wish I could say this was gonna be quick and painless, but..." James says. He grabs his niece and prepares to throw her into the waters, but he's grabbed and punched to the ground by his twin brother, who's managed to escape, "How's that for quick?" David taunts. Emma and Robin run to safety and Cruella runs to grab the gun James dropped, but Hook, who has also arrived, puts his foot on it, "I'll take that, love. It's not like you can use it, anyway". Frustrated, Cruella runs and hides behind a bin as Emma reunites with her love.
However, their reunion is cut short by James who starts laughing as he gets back on his feet, "That was quite an escape, David. Quite frankly, I didn't think you had it in you" he says, circling his brother. David states the cell at the station is the last place he should have left him, "You don't think I know how to break out of my own jail?". James asks his brother if he'll swoop in and "play hero" now, but David tells him that's up to him, "Neither one of us wanted to go through what we did. I was angry about it, too. But it doesn't mean it has to end this way. We're family" David pleads, only causing his brother to laugh. David offers to help his twin move on and find peace, "Yes. Yes you can" James agrees, "Because killing you is my unfinished business". The deceased twin charges at his brother and punches him to the ground. Emma screams for her father and steps forward to help with her magic, but David assures her that he's got it under control.
The two brother begin fighting once more, kicking and punching each other, until eventually, David is victorious and he knocks his brother to the ground once more. From behind a dumpster, Cruella whispers out for James to give up and leave with her, but he ignores this and pulls a knife that was hidden under his trousers. David pleads for him to stop, but the evil twin charges at his brother. However, David manages to counter this by grabbing him and throwing him in the opposite direction, condemning him to the River of Lost Souls. Cruella escapes while David watches in horror as the souls surround his brother. Emma, Hook and Robin, who is holding his child, rush to David's side. Hook asks if the baby is okay, and Robin says she is. Emma asks if her father is okay. Filled with guilt, he lies that he is, so Emma assures him he did what he had to. "No, there had...there had to be another way" he states, but Emma tells him there wasn't because sometimes people just cannot ever move on. David understands this, but points out that despite everything James was still his brother.
Cora says her farewells.
Meanwhile, in the Fiery Cave, Cora, Regina and Zelena stand facing the bridge that takes one to a better place...or worse place. Cora asks Regina how it worked with her father, so she explains that he just crossed the bridge and it took him to where he belonged - into the light. A worried Zelena asks if it'll work for their mother, but Cora explains that whatever her fate is she'll deserve it. Regina points out that she doesn't have to do this, but Cora assures her she can face it, "Knowing I brought the two of you together, that's...that's all the peace I need" she says, tearing up. Regina and Zelena begin tearing up too as Cora asks them to promise they'll hold onto each other; they both give her a look, promising they will. Cora then steps towards Regina and tells her when she died in the real Storybrooke, they never got the chance to say goodbye. Mother and daughter both embrace in a hug as they cry, "And we never even got the chance to say 'hello'" she sobs, turning to Zelena. After hugging her too, she takes both her daughter's hands and tells them she loves them.
The sisters watch as their mother moves on.
Cora lets go of their hands and turns to the bridge, wiping her tears away before she steps forward. As she walks across the bridge, she looks down at the fiery pit beneath, awaiting her judgment. Regina and Zelena both nervously watch on. Suddenly, a fiery crackling sound is heard and the cave begins to rumble. Regina takes Zelena's hand as they witness a roaring wall of fire surround their mother. They all assume the worst, but within moments, the fire fades away and a bright light shines from ahead. She turns to look at her daughters one last time before walking into the light, finally moving on and being at peace. Once she vanishes, a sobbing Zelena tells Regina she's been waiting her whole life to have a mother, and now she's gone. Regina assures her sister that it's okay and she takes her hand, "I think...I think you have another love to find" she states. Zelena asks what she's saying, so the formerly evil queen tells the formerly wicked witch to go to Hades. Zelena asks her sister if she trusts her, so Regina supposes that she'll be able to change him too. "Thank you, Regina" Zelena smiles, before embracing in a hug.
Baby, I swear it's déjà vu...
Later that night, Hades is inside the Underworld's version of Granny's Diner setting up a romantic table for two for a date with Zelena. He blows onto a candle, lighting it, and then places a bottle of champagne into an ice bucket. Once everything is set, he points his hand at the jukebox, using his magic to make it play "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by The Ink Spots. As he dances to himself, the redhead herself approaches the diner. When she sees the Lord of the Underworld dancing, she stops and smiles, but before she can step inside, she's interrupted by Rumplestiltskin, who comments that it appears love is blooming, "And here was me thinking nothing bloomed in the Underworld. Tired of the pointlessness of this conversation, Zelena asks what he wants, so he explains he's come to see a woman about a curse - a sleeping curse which she gave to his wife. "If Belle preferred eternal slumber to one more moment with you, that's hardly my fault. I'd say her judgment's improving" Zelena scoffs. Rumple claims he doesn't think she'd have come to that decision on her own and he thinks Zelena saw an opportunity so took advantage, "Much like I'm doing now". Zelena tells Rumple he can't help her, reminding him of their deal. He says he remembers, but tells her he's got another deal on the table, one he hadn't considered taking until she did what she did to Belle. Peter Pan suddenly approaches the duo, standing beside Rumple. Worried, Zelena asks who he is, so Rumple explains he's a loophole, "Zelena, meet my father - Peter Pan". Zelena now knows she's in danger. "I hear you're wicked" Pan tells her, "Well I'm much worse" he snarls, throwing a bag over her head.
- The title card of this episode features the flour mill where Cora worked in the Underworld, amid the land's red skies.
- Although credited, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) is absent from this episode.
- This episode was dedicated to the memory of writer Scott Nimerfro, who passed away on April 18, 2016.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on February 5, 2016.
This episode garnered 3.85 million viewers, showing a slight increase from the previous week.
The episode received mainly positive reviews.
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly gave it a positive review: "Ah, siblinghood. It's a complicated thing under the best of circumstances, but when motherly abandonment is at hand, well, the emotional impact is everlasting. Such is the case for sisters Regina and Zelena and twin brothers David and James, each of whom grew up in highly unequal circumstances and have been at odds with one another ever since," then later adds "While the sisters are ready to start over on newly feel-good footing, not every sibling reunion is a happy one tonight."
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman said, "Ultimately, I think Once Upon a Time has been doing a great job of telling character-driven stories this season, more so since the return from hiatus. “Sisters” is a surprisingly emotional episode that manages to bring character journeys full circle in poignant fashion. And I think these sorts of stories will make the final stretch of episodes towards the end of the season all the more resonant."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.