"Souls of the Departed" is the 100th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Emma, teamed with the entirety of her expansive family unit, arrives in the Underworld on a mission to rescue Hook, only to discover that the search will be more difficult than originally anticipated. The inhabitants of the Underworld - a conglomeration of souls with unfinished business, many of whom harbor quite personal vendettas - hound our heroes at every turn. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, a familiar face from the Evil Queen's past returns to present her with the perfect birthday gift.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
The Evil Queen takes great pleasure in attempting to enact the Dark Curse, appearing ever so content as she stares up at the mighty, growing flames. However, the fire soon dies down as her attempt fails due to a lack of proper ingredients. ("The Thing You Love Most") The Queen is seen going to Rumplestiltskin in his cell and asking what she needs to make the curse work, and he responds that she needs to sacrifice the heart of the thing she loves most. ("The Thing You Love Most") Regina rips out her own father's heart and he drops to the floor, dead. She utters that she's sorry. ("The Thing You Love Most") Emma uses Excalibur to run Hook through and is later seen crying over his lifeless body. ("Swan Song") She is next seen making clear to her loved ones that what happened to Hook wasn't fair because Gold tricked him; as such, she's getting him back. Mary Margaret expresses concern that her daughter plans on going to Hell, but Emma distinguishes that she's actually going to the Underworld. ("Swan Song") Emma, Mary Margaret, David, Regina, Henry, Robin and Gold are next seen heading towards the Charon's ferry. The savior vows that she will find Hook - she will always find him. ("Swan Song")
Emma takes a minor detour on her way to the Underworld.
The eyes of Emma Swan gently open as she wakes up inside her famed yellow bug which, as she learns as she sits up and takes a look around, appears to be stationed in the middle of an abandoned amusement park in the daytime. It's somewhat familiar, as though plucked straight from a distant memory. This comes as a great surprise to her, for she still appears to be in the mindset of someone who was just now heading to the Underworld - her attire is exactly the same, red leather jacket and all, and it's when she attempts to grab the steering wheel that she's startled even further by the sudden appearance of Neal Cassidy. "Hey, Emma," he says as he emerges from the backseat, similar to how he first met her, and when the initial shock wears off she is ecstatic that he's there. She utters his name with relief in her voice and he comments that it's great to see her, but the illusory feel of everything leads her to believe that she's dreaming. Neal confirms that she is not, joking that if this were a dream then they would be talking donuts or something equally as weird as he makes his way into the front seat; he tells her to think of this as a long-distance call from an old friend.
Neal catches up with an old friend... and delivers a warning.
Now assured that it's really him, Emma's happiness is further elevated, and he proceeds to ask her how their son is. She informs him that he's great, but he misses his dad; tears are in her eyes, and she lightens the subject by mentioning that Henry's growing up. Neal is glad to hear his, but the mood is once again changed for the worse when Emma wonders if where they are now is the Underworld. She explains that that's where she was going, and Neal knows this, saying that that's kind of why he's there: "Don't go, Emma." She is taken aback by this, but before she can reply he warns her that, once she arrives, it is not an easy place to get out of. He knows she's trying to save Hook, but he also knows that this won't end the way she thinks it will, at which she assures him that she would have come after him too if she knew it was an option. However, he reveals that it's not, because he's not there. Emma takes this to mean that Hook definitely is and that she can get him, and Neal affirms, leading her to ask for his help.
Parting in such sweet sorrow.
She explains how she plans on splitting her heart and giving the pirate half, believing that it could work, but Neal tells her that the Underworld's a place for people with unfinished business and that isn't him. That's why he's not there. "Where are you?" she needs to know, and he smiles as he tells her, "I'm someplace. Someplace where I'm happy." This is a comfort to her, and he adds that he only came to visit her because he cares about her. He begs her to stop what she's doing before it's too late, but she insists that she can't, which he figured, but he had to try. With that, he kisses her softly on the forehead and she takes some time to re-memorize his face. During this brief moment of intimacy, Neal declares that he loves Emma - he always has and he always will - before finally stepping out of the car. "Neal!" Emma yells, reaching over to grab the door as he walks away, not ready to say goodbye to her old love again so soon... but, to use his words, it's too late. A sudden bright flash of light and the fanciful reality comes to an end.
The heroes arrive at their destination.
This time, when Emma's eyes spring open, she's back aboard the ferryboat to the Underworld. She seems to have passed out, to the concern of her parents, and they ask her if she's okay as she continues to breathe heavily following her otherworldly encounter with Neal. Despite how she seems, she assures them both that she's fine, and Snow and Charming each have a hand on their daughter's shoulder as a sign of comfort. "Good," says Rumple in response to the savior's proclamation, "Because we're here." He is at the head of the boat, watching beside Charon as they approach the entrance to the Underworld. Blue mist continues to surround them on the murky waters, and the others who are aboard seem as determined as ever, though also more cautious than usual as they delve into their next great adventure.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Welcome to Underbrooke...
The feet of those who were aboard Charon's vessel are shown as they make their way across the wood decking that leads out of the mystical pond. Gold is leading the others, a team comprised of Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Henry and Robin, as they head further into the thick blue mist. In fact, the mist becomes so thick that it soon covers the entirety of the screen, and then its ominous blue tint becomes a sinister, fiery red as our heroes come out the other side to discover... Storybrooke. Only it's a demented version. Fog surrounds every turn and the skies are burnt orange. The clock tower lays broken in the middle of the street and the no-longer-living pedestrians who are walking around do so with the most eerie of silences. "I don't think we're in Maine anymore," Regina comments as she, along with the rest of the group, grows understandably nonplussed. We are treated to various shots of this hellish town and Emma becomes the first to ask how this is possible - how does the Underworld look like Storybrooke?
...home to all lost souls.
She even notices a charred version of her car nearby as she asks this, but Gold tells her that her questions are pointless; all that matters is that the people down there, in this Underworld, are dead and trapped because they have unfinished business. Emma finds herself in for another shock as she and the others slowly progress down Main Street, for the vintage vehicle of Cruella De Vil soon drives across the intersection. The savior utters the name of the woman she killed and Gold tells her, "That's right. She's here because of you. I imagine there are many here because of all of us. Let's not lollygag." He beckons them forward and they begin to move faster down the street, at which Emma suggests that they split up so as to cover more ground. Regina is in favor of this, her attention elsewhere as she states that the sooner they get out of this place the better. As it turns out, she is staring at one of the Underworld's lost souls; it seems she knows him from somewhere, and he stares back at her when he's done spraypainting the word "CLOSED" in red across a store window. She tries to ignore him as she marches past.
The Evil Queen celebrates her birthday.
A platoon of Black Knights march forward in the fairytale land that was, then parting down the middle to reveal the Evil Queen in all her tyrannical glory. She extends her greetings to her subjects as she approaches the multitude of villagers who have been lined up outside their homes, and one of them responds to her good faith by stepping out and presenting her majesty with a pie, for apparently it is Regina's birthday. The peasant girl bows and Regina approaches impressed, proceeding to dip her finger into the pie and try some of the filling. She deduces that it's blueberry, which isn't bad, but she of course prefers apple. Luckily for them, she announces as she pushes the girl out of the way, she's not there for the pie - the present she wants, none of them have. But they will get it for her, the present being Snow White's heart on a plate. She walks intimidatingly up and down the line as she states that she knows the bandit's been there, and if someone doesn't start talking... She goes to rip out the blueberry pie gal's heart, but another villager soon tells her to stop as he too steps out of line. It is the same man Regina was staring at in the Underworld, back in the present, and here in the past she doesn't seem any more welcoming of him. He claims that he can help her, and she approaches him with interest as he further states that he can tell her where Snow White is.
Snow comes to offer best wishes.
"Then tell me," she insists, but the black-toothed villager informs the Queen that he wants something in return first. She half-laughs at this, proposing a deal: he tells her what she wants to know, and she'll kill him quickly instead of slowly. With that, she outstretches her arm and begins to choke him with her magic, demanding that he reveal the information. "Tell me where Snow White is," is the last thing he hears before Snow herself announces, "Behind you," and the villager's neck is snapped. He drops to the floor, dead, as Regina turns to see Snow aiming her bow and arrow. The Black Knights draw their swords, ready to match those of Prince Charming and the seven dwarfs as the elusive bandit makes clear to her stepmother that she's right there and she won't let the Queen hurt anyone else. Not caring for idle threats, Regina summons a ball of fire into her hand, but Grumpy suggests that she not do that because, as Charming exclaims, they've got her surrounded. She appears slightly wary now. "So what do you say," Snow finishes, "Shall we end this ridiculous conflict?" At this, Regina blows out her fireball, telling the princess, "You're lucky it's my birthday, and I'm feeling benevolent." She then proceeds to vanish in a flurry of purple smoke, to the awe and bewilderment of those around her.
Regina doesn't take too kindly to being compared to her mother.
When we next see Regina she's storming through the private quarters of her palace in a huff, dismayed that the opportunity to kill Snow White slipped through her fingers. Her father, Prince Henry, is following her, and he takes it upon himself to ask if this is really the way she wants to spend her birthday. She doesn't respond, and he adds that perhaps it's time for a change - perhaps it's time to give up on revenge and move on - but she is having none of it, adamant that she will never give up, not until Snow White's heart is in one of the boxes like the one that currently rests on her dressing table. She clutches it, needing a moment to stop and regain her bearings; this gives Henry the opportunity to take a more relaxed approach to reprimanding his daughter, saying that he knows she loved Daniel but if anyone is to blame for his passing then it's her mother. After all, she ripped out his heart so that Regina would become the merciless Queen that she, Cora, always wanted. "Don't let her win!" Henry pleads, "Don't let her control you!" This stirs something within the Evil Queen, who strongly rejects the idea that her mother has any control over her anymore. She reminds her father that she's the one who banished Cora to Wonderland, but he says that until she gives up on this quest for vengeance... Cora will always have a hold on her. Regina doesn't like what she's hearing one bit.
A bowl of shiny black apples rests within the mayoral office of the Underworld. Blacktooth, the villager from earlier, soon enters and adopts a formal posture, greeting whoever sits behind the desk as "your majesty". We can't see who it is because their chair is facing the other way, but we have to assume that they're interested to hear from their loyal subject that "she's here". When the chair finally spins around, we see that Cora is the one sitting in it, and she thanks the murdered peasant for bringing her this information. "Now tell me," the Mayor of Underbrooke implores, "How's my daughter?" If her wide smile is anything to go by, the former Queen of Hearts appears eager to hear more.
The Blind Witch is of little help to Mary Margaret.
The collapsed clock tower continues to lie in the middle of Main Street surrounded by shrapnel, and we're shown the broken top of the library before being taken into the Underworld version of Granny's Diner. Mary Margaret is immediately taken aback upon entry, seeing the ghoulish figures who work there, but eventually wills herself to approach the Blind Witch behind the counter. She, the Witch, sniffs the air as Snow approaches, realizing based off scent alone that she knows who she is - "Are you Snow White?" Again, Mary Margaret is taken aback, and the Blind Witch proceeds to ask what she can serve the princess. She suggests gingerbread or children, to Snow's fear and disgust, but soon assures that she's kidding, although "the gingerbread is actually not bad". Mary Margaret finally cuts to the chase and tells the unseeing sorceress that she's looking for a friend who would've gotten there recently, then divulging that he has dark hair and a hook for a hand. The Blind Witch realizes that she means Captain Hook, which Snow takes to mean that she knows him; however, the Witch says that she doesn't, and she was simply able to name him because Snow's description was pretty complete.
Things get hot and steamy.
It is then that David enters, to his wife's relief, though she is confused as to why he's in a sudden change of clothes. When she asks, he assures her that everything's fine, and she can hardly take a moment to say that that's good and that this place is creeping her out before he grabs her and kisses her passionately. The kiss is deep and long and, when it finally ends, David continues to hold Mary Margaret's face as he tells her, "I see why my brother likes you." It's then that she jerks back in shock, realizing that he is not in fact her husband... but her husband's twin brother James, and she angrily utters his name. He confirms his identity and then concludes that, since Snow White is in town, his brother must be nearby. He grabs his coffee from the counter, having to reach over his sister-in-law to get it, and her discomfort over this grows as he adds that, should she see "old Dave", then he'd like her to relay the message that there's a new sheriff in town. She stares at him as he walks away, further discomforted by the interaction that's just taken place, and then the actual David enters the diner, asking if the man he just saw heading into the backroom was his brother. "Yes," Mary Margaret pouts, and then Emma enters the diner too in search of her parents.
Henry is assured that his father is in a better place.
She asks if they found anything but her mother informs her that there was no sign of Hook at the park or at the town hall, leading the savior to conclude that this is hopeless. She points out that they don't even know if Hook is in the Underworld, for he may have no unfinished business, but Mr. Gold (who entered the establishment along with Emma) reminds her that Hook died a Dark One and that means he's most definitely there. He then announces that he's finished being a team player and that if they want things done then they should let him do them his way, for he may have something down there which can help them. After he heads out of the diner, Henry emerges from the backroom, asking his mother if she's had any luck. She tells him that she hasn't and then notices something in his hand, wanting to know what it is. As it turns out, it's a room key for the B&B, and Emma takes it and realizes that Henry was checking out Room 8: his dad's room. She wonders if he's been looking for him and Henry reveals that he wanted to let his father know he's okay; however, Emma assures him that he already knows, which leads her son to ask how she can be sure. "I just am," she says tearfully, recalling her earlier conversation with Neal, "He's in a better place, I promise." Henry is crying too, comforted to hear his mother say these things.
A stalker gets caught out.
We are again shown the broken clock tower and library as Robin comments how uncanny it is, saying that it's all so similar and yet so... off. Regina, who's strolling down the sidewalk with him, recalls that when she conjured Storybrooke it was with the Dark Curse; she then theorizes that whoever created the curse got their inspiration from the Underworld, though Robin suggests that it might have been the other way around. As this exchange takes place, the two of them walk past Blacktooth, but he goes unnoticed at first. However, after Robin has said his piece, Regina stops suddenly and turns to see the dead villager standing there, looking smug. She finally addresses him, calling him out on following them and demanding to know why, and he reveals that someone wants to see her. This catches the former Queen off-guard.
Prince Henry goes to the Magic Mirror for help.
In flashback, the Evil Queen is tearing a black rose apart, listing off all the things she hates about Snow White every time she throws a petal down onto her dressing table. Just as she's finished complaining about the princess' pale complexion, insufferable sincerity and "puny army of sweaty little child beasts", her father enters the room from behind and tells his daughter that he believes the "beasts" to which she referred are actually called dwarfs. Regina doesn't care what they are, only that they're disgusting, and proceeds to remind her father that she asked to be alone. She drops the rose as she adds that if he's come to talk about her mother again then she's not interested, and then she wishes for this birthday to be over as she heads out of the room. Once she's gone, Henry approaches the Magic Mirror, saying, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, you must do something about my daughter." When the former Genie of Agrabah appears within his frame, he asks the Queen's father how he may be of service, and Henry reveals that he needs him to summon... her. The Mirror refuses, instilling that he does not have a death wish, but Henry demands that if he cares at all about his daughter then he will do what he asks.
The Queen of Hearts exits her domain.
"As you wish," the Mirror eventually concedes, disappearing from behind the glass in a cloud of blue before Cora appears from behind her own mirror in Wonderland. She is dressed in her attire as the Queen of Hearts, disappointed to see that Henry is the one who summoned her, and he asks her if she is aware of what day it is. "Of course, I'm well aware it's our daughter's birthday. Let me guess, she's wasting it tormenting herself over Snow White?" Cora supposes, and Henry tells his wife that she has to talk to Regina because she listens to her; she can tell her to let go of this feud. Cora says that Regina doesn't need to let it go - she needs to finish it; if she won't be happy until she crushes Snow White's heart, then they must help her do just that. Henry realizes that contacting her was a terrible idea and tries to turn away from Cora; however, she reappears within the looking glass, asking her husband where he thinks he's going. "To talk to Snow White," he reveals, "Goodbye, Cora. I don't need your help." And with that, he walks away. Cora replies to his parting words though, saying, "No... but Regina does," before she takes advantage of the fact that Henry was messing with magic that he doesn't understand. The surface of the looking glass becomes tangible and soon enough she's able to step on through, successfully crossing realms from Wonderland to the Enchanted Forest.
Mother and daughter reunite.
Cora is waiting for her daughter in the mayoral office of the Underworld, and when Regina finally does enter, she is shocked to see that her mother is there. She had hoped she was okay, and Cora knows this, saying this aloud before tightly embracing her child. The two of them are happy to be reunited, each of them crying tears of joy, and while Cora is okay as Regina had hoped, she does have unfinished business, and it involves her daughter. Regina assures that her mother doesn't have to worry about her, but Cora says that she always does, wanting her to be happy. This gladdens Regina to hear, but she soon follows it up by requesting that Cora help her find Hook and get out of this place. However, Cora tells her that it's too dangerous, warning her daughter that she has to leave now, which leads Regina to reveal that she promised her friends she would help. "Yours friends... your family, they're what's holding you back," Cora asserts, "Sweetheart, you must do what's best for you." Regina smiles, believing that she is, but Cora tells her otherwise, then saying that if she doesn't do what's best for herself then she, as her mother, will see to it that she does.
Regina's redemptive progress is called into question.
It wasn't easy, but she's arranged for a boat to take Regina home; it departs in one hour, and she can take Henry and her thief and go. Regina insists that she can't, but in spite of this Cora tells her that she must, saying that she knows it must be hard to put away suspicion after the way that she raised her before asking if she remembers the last thing she said to her before she died. Regina nods, "That I would've been enough." "You would've been," Cora affirms, "It just took me too long to realize it. Don't make the same mistake. Go!" Regina wonders what would happen if she stayed, and Cora tells her that sometimes a mother has to do what's best for her child... even if it's reprehensible. "Are you threatening me?" Regina asks, but Cora would never do such a thing; however, there is something she needs to show her. With that, she waves her arm and causes herself, her daughter and Blacktooth to be whisked away via magic.
Cora makes an example out of Blacktooth.
The three of them reappear within in a dark, underground set of caves that overlook a pit of raging fire down below. Blacktooth is on the very end of a long, outstretching ledge, looking down at the flames with fear on his face. Regina is concerned, wanting to know where they are and what's happening, but Cora remains silent as she uses her powers to make the fire reach up and absorb the innocent man. He screams as it consumes him, and Cora finally replies that she's showing Regina her fate if she doesn't return to Storybrooke. The flames continue to whirl around him and he continues to scream until finally he's pulled from the ledge and into the pit of fiery damnation... forever. Regina is shocked that her mother killed someone, but Cora points out that "killed" is a relative term down there, then explaining that people can only leave this Underworld in two ways: they can go to a better place or a worse one. "But you, my sweet daughter, have another option. However, not for long. Go home, or there will be a cost. Someone... will suffer." Regina breaks away from her mother's grip, wanting to know who this someone is, and Cora eventually reveals, "Your father." Regina is absolutely horror struck at the thought of her father in a place worse than this, coupled with the realization that he too has unfinished business.
Chip triggers a memory.
Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer, or at least its Underworld counterpart, has certainly seen better days. Its sign is battered and marked, missing its "P", and the overall look is more rundown. Not that this matters much to Mr. Gold himself who, once he's finished staring up at the disfigured sign, enters to find that things are far different than they are in Storybrooke. A spinning wheel in the middle of the room won't stop turning on its axis, and podiums dotted around the place support significant objects; replicas of those that were. The chipped cup is one such object, resting atop a more extravagant, miniature podium with its plate leaning against it. Seeing the cup gets Rumple thinking about his relationship with Belle, and how things were left between them in the real version of his pawn shop...
Days of Rumbelle past.
"The Underworld?!" Belle is heard exclaiming in flashback as she and Rumple stand in the backroom. He assures his wife that he'll only be gone for a day, just long enough to retrieve Hook, but she doesn't understand why he has to go. Taking a few steps forward, he reminds her that he's the only one who's been there, and that his blood and his blood alone can summon Charon's ferry. Finally he takes her hands in his, and then she places them softly on his face so as to give him a kiss goodbye. "Just... come back to me," she ends up saying, and Rumple smiles as he tells her, "I always do." They continue to stare into each other's eyes as we drift out of this romantic little piece of the not-so-distant past.
Rumple can't find what he's looking for.
Rumple has now picked up the chipped cup in the present, staring down at it sadly before carefully placing it back atop its podium. He then proceeds through his shop and notices the straw doll he was given as a little boy; it clearly has an emotional impact on the Dark One, although he doesn't let this show so much, and he goes on to pull back the painting that's attached to the wall behind the counter, revealing his safe. He punches in the combination and opens the door... but it's empty. "Looking for something?" a familiar voice asks from behind, and Gold turns to see his father Peter Pan standing there in a suit. He utters his name in full, then commenting that he's certainly not what he was looking for, but Pan asks his son not to be like that, wondering if he's not glad to see his dear old father. Continuing to look for whatever it is he came in there for, Rumple makes clear that just because Pan "sired" him, that doesn't make him his father; he then tells him to step aside, and Pan does exactly that, saying that his son can keep looking for as long as he likes but, down there, this is his shop and Rumple won't find anything unless he wants him to. Gold warns Pan to be careful with his threats but the latter wonders what would happen if he wasn't, for Rumple can't exactly kill him again, and goes on to suggest that maybe it's time they put the past behind them.
Peter Pan makes an indecent proposal.
"This is what you're looking for, right?" he asks, and we see that he's holding a small flask which he then places down on the same podium as the straw doll. He urges Rumple to take it, and the Dark One comments on the generosity of this before astutely asking how many strings are attached. "No strings," Pan promises, "Rumple, I meant what I said before I died; I do want to start over." "Never gonna happen," his son insists, "I sent you here for a reason." Pan exclaims that he misses the world above - the tastes, the smells - but Rumple doesn't much care, and he is adamant that Pan cannot go back. The former leader of Neverland informs that he in fact can if he trades places with another living soul, then saying that the people Rumple came down with are not his friends, and they are living... for now. "Maybe one of them doesn't make the trip back, but your dear old dad does." Rumple remains uninterested but Pan seems sure that he'll come around, then taking the small golden flask and handing it to Gold as he declares that it's on the house for today as a gesture of goodwill, from a father to a son. The two villains stare each other down intensely.
Family dysfunction at its finest.
"She'll really do that? She'll throw your father, her husband, into the fire?" Mary Margaret asks in shock back at Granny's Diner, where Regina has just finished telling the group about her encounter with her mother. "Of course she will," Regina replies, pointing out that Cora thinks she's giving her her best chance. She says that she can't let her father suffer because of her but Robin tells her that it's alright; however, she doesn't think so, revealing that the only reason her father is there is because she killed him. The only way she's been able to deal with that is by imagining he went to a better place, but he didn't. She then suggests that maybe she should get on that boat, and Emma agrees that she should. David says otherwise, refusing to leave until they find Hook together, but his daughter points out that it's dangerous there. Mary Margaret points out in turn that that's exactly why they're not leaving her alone, at which Gold emerges from the back entrance and says that perhaps he can cut through this little family squabble. He holds up the golden flask and, when Robin asks, explains that it's the way they'll find the savior's deceased pirate.
Gold provides Emma with a means to find Hook.
It's called the Ale of Sinead, from the land of DunBroch, which Regina comments is a mouthful, and the Dark One explains that it allows one to communicate with the dead. If they were to pour it over Hook's grave then they could stop guessing where he is and start asking. David seems surprised at the prospect of Hook having a grave in the Underworld, but Gold reveals that everyone down there has a grave, and they'll find the cemetery right where they remember it. Snow realizes that if this works then they could find Hook before the boat leaves and all get out of there together, and Gold commends the idea, suggesting that they all get moving. Emma sees that he's trying to weasel out of tagging along and insists that he come with them; however, he places the flask of magic ale in Emma's hand and says that she can do this part on her own. There's a boat that's leaving soon, and if she wants to find Hook then fine, but he has no interest in exploring this world further. "You can meet me there, but that's entirely up to you." He exits the diner and Emma is stopped by her mother when she attempts to retort. Snow tells her daughter that there's no time to argue and that if there's even a chance that the ale will work then they have to risk it.
Cora gets her hands on Snow's heart.
Prince Henry appears nervous in the Enchanted Forest of the past, standing in the middle of a woodland clearing as Snow White emerges from behind, wielding a bow and arrow. She says she got the prince's message and asks if he's alone; he is startled by her at first, but soon assures that he is alone and unarmed as promised. Snow assures in turn that she too is alone but she doesn't go anywhere unarmed, for which she apologizes. Henry professes to be there because he cares about his daughter, and he believes that if the war continues then it will destroy the kingdom and, more importantly, Regina's soul. "Snow White," the real Prince Henry then calls out, and the bandit gasps as she turns to face him. The first Henry then plunges his hand into Snow's back and rips out her heart, to her pain and shock. It's then revealed to be Cora in disguise, and she states that the only way to truly achieve peace is through war. As she places the heart into one of Regina's boxes, Henry asks his wife how she's there, and she reveals that she's there because of him; he played with magic he didn't understand, and she never lets a good mistake go to waste. He begs her not to do what she's doing, but her response is to open the lid of the box and tell Snow, via her heart, to forget this ever happened and go enjoy her last few hours. Snow is then compelled by force to walk away and Cora tells Henry to come along, excitedly announcing that Regina needs her birthday present. Her husband is at a loss.
Time is fleeting.
The graveyard in the Underworld goes on for miles and miles, accounting for every single lost soul that's trapped there. The shot pans around the myriad of tombstones, eventually revealing that Emma is standing at the helm of it all, looking out at them and feeling intimidated. As are her travelling companions, Mary Margaret, Regina, David, Robin and Henry, all of whom appear equally as daunted as they stand there in formation. The Ale of Sinead is in Emma's hand, and she clutches it at the same time as her other hand clutches the ring Hook gave her on a chain around her neck. She is preparing herself to embark upon this labyrinth of a final resting place, and finally she's able to say, "Alright. Let's do this."
The captain has seen better days.
After a while of the heroes searching, the shot pans round on a grave we see belongs to Killian Jones. Emma stands before it, ale at the ready, and Mary Margaret asks if she's okay. The blonde nods, adding that she just hopes that Hook is too, and eventually pops open the top of the flask and pours the contents over the ground beneath her lover's grave. There is a flickering sound accompanied by nothing, to their confusion, and then it returns even stronger along with what appears to be a holographic version of Hook. Although... it's not quite the Hook we remember. He is swollen all over and dripping blood; all burnt and bruised and beaten. His left eye can't even open it's so damaged. It appears he's endured some severe torture, so much so that Regina feels the need to shield Henry's eyes from the very sight. Emma utters his name as the vision flickers in and out of existence, and she begs to know his whereabouts. However, he doesn't respond, and Regina realizes that the spell's not setting, meaning he can't hear her. "Just tell us where you are," the savior continues, but when she receives no reply Robin says that something's happened. Regina comments that the ale isn't holding while Emma keeps begging Killian to talk to them. To talk to her. He can't though. He doesn't even seem aware that they're contacting him. The vision grows rapidly weaker until, finally, it's gone altogether, and Emma shouts, "Killian!" as she drops to the ground, distraught.
At a loss.
Emma remains crouched at Hook's grave as her friends and family stand behind her; she is muttering that the pirate doesn't know that they've come for him, that they're there or that she cares enough about him to embark on such a dangerous mission. Mary Margaret, stepping forward, assures her daughter that he does, promising that they will find him, but the savior questions this, asking if her mother didn't just see what occurred. She stands up as she comments that Killian is in pain and suffering, and they only have half an hour; she turns to the others, reminding them that Cora has a boat coming and telling them that they have to take it, lest they'll all be stuck in the Underworld. David points out that if Cora could arrange a way out then they can too, and they will, after they find Hook. He refuses to give up on his daughter, standing with Mary Margaret, who agrees, and so Emma approaches Regina and takes her aside from the others. She knows her parents are staying, but tells the former Evil Queen that she should go. Regina is reluctant about this but Emma reinforces that she should take Robin and Henry because if she doesn't then whatever her father is going to face... "Probably looks a lot like what Hook is facing," Regina realizes, deeply worried. "So it's settled," the blonde decides, "Get them out of here. Get yourself out of here." The Queen looks so sorrowful to have to do what she has to do.
The Queen is not amused.
The shot moves up a large, extravagant, black-frosted birthday cake with a single lit candle sticking out of its top tier that Regina, as the Evil Queen, stares at intensely. However, a jester's rattle soon enters her line of sight, jingling before the royal jester himself leans over and invites the Queen to make a wish. Annoyed by his overenthusiastic presence, Regina blows the candle out with gusto and allows the smoke to drift into his face. He continues to smile though as he asks what it is she wished for, and she replies, "That you were amusing, Jester. And it didn't come true." With that, she waves her hand and her magic compels him to fall down dead; his jingling rattle finally ceases making noise as it hits the palace floor, and all those in attendance of the Evil Queen's birthday party suddenly become very unnerved. The music stops playing and Regina orders her guests and staff to wind this up, picking up a gift and slamming it back down again as she declares that she's had enough reveling. "Oh, don't go yet," says someone from by the doors.
Cora presents the perfect birthday gift.
The guests part to reveal Cora standing there, and Regina spits, "Mother," with venom in her voice as she deals with the shock of seeing the notorious Queen of Hearts gatecrashing her ball. She asks how she got out of Wonderland but receives no answer; as Cora simply continues to approach, Regina grows worried and asks where her father is, thinking that maybe her mother has done something to him. Cora is now standing face-to-face with her daughter and she reveals that she lost track of Henry hours ago, when she had him wrap the box she's carrying. "Happy birthday, darling," she says as she presents her daughter with the perfect gift, but Regina makes clear that she doesn't want anything from her. Cora is certain that she'll want this, for she's done what no one else could do: she's brought her her revenge. She pulls back the wrapping to reveal that what she's carrying is a heart box, and she pops open the lid to further reveal the glowing, beating heart of Snow White. "Crush it, and she dies at last." Regina smiles, staring at it intently, but soon grows sad, and Cora realizes that it's because she doesn't believe her.
Revenge is near...
As such, she decides to show her, ordering some nearby Black Knights to bring forth the Magic Mirror. They do as she wishes, moving it from the sidelines to the middle of the ballroom, and Regina starts to giggle as she finally takes the heart of the one she hates most into her hands. She looks at herself in the mirror, holding the heart with a smile on her face, and Cora orders it to show them Snow White. Once she does, we are shown a spy's view of her through the mirror's glass, before being taken into the scene to see that she's drinking at a tavern with Prince Charming and the seven dwarfs. She raises a toast to her stepmother, "may she spend the rest of her birthdays searching for me", and Grumpy too toasts to the Queen. The others clink their tankards together before drinking, and Regina despises this. Her lip snarls in anger as she stares from the heart in her hand to the girl currently occupying her mirror, and then... she squeezes. Snow stands up from her seat in pain, gasping as she feels an intense sensation in her chest.
...except, no it isn't.
Those around her appear concerned, with Charming wondering what's wrong, and she quickly begins attacking her clothes in an attempt to get to the source. She doesn't know what's going on, not remembering the earlier encounter she had with Cora, and Regina takes great joy in all this as she squeezes harder. She knows the end is near, that her revenge is seconds away from completion, and she gives the heart one last, big, earth-shattering squeeze before... Jiminy Cricket pops out from betwixt Snow's bosom, having somehow found himself down her top. He is holding a match and lands on the lid of the princess' tankard, and the dwarfs laugh as they realize that this was the reason for their friend's sudden discomfort. Snow herself finds it funny while Jiminy readjusts himself, but Regina is just confused. Obviously, her squeezing the heart was doing nothing to add to Snow's pain, and when she crushes the organ to dust all that happens is one of her Black Knights falls dead to the floor. The heart was his all along. Cora deduces that someone must have switched them and Regina demands to know who it was, exuding more venom than before as blind rage overwhelms her.
Henry defends his actions.
Later, once the guests have fled Regina's party, she continues to sit at the table playing with the apples in her bowl so as to distract herself from the anger she still feels over the heart-switching incident. Prince Henry, the perpetrator of the switch, enters the room with the heart box in tow, and Regina is furious at him for giving Snow White her heart back. He maintains that he had to do it for his daughter's own good, but she wonders how he could say that, exclaiming that if he didn't do what he did then Snow could be dead right now and all of this would be over. "Don't you want me to be happy?!" "Of course," he responds, "But not like this. If you crush her heart, you could be dark forever, Regina! You'd be just like her, your mother! That's what she wants!" The Queen is still just fuming as her father begs her to listen to him, saying that she can be happy. She exclaims that killing Snow White is the only way she will ever "be happy", and he is sorry to hear this. "You betrayed me, daddy. And you know what that means," she tells him.
Regina decides to put her father someplace safe.
He tells her in turn to do what she will, but it matters not because Snow White lives, and now so does Regina's chance at redemption. He believes that whatever happens to him is worth it, then saying that the heart box in his hand is more empty than her pursuit; he hands it over to her as he prays it stays that way. However, she proclaims that it won't, because she will never be what he wants until Snow White dies, let alone what she wants. She snatches the box away from him, explaining that it was made to hold something precious... "And that's exactly what it's going to do," she finishes as her magic causes Henry to be consumed by purple smoke which is then redirected through the box's open lid. He stands within it, a shrunken version of himself, but Regina tells him not to worry; "You're safe in here, I just can't let you stop me. But I would never do anything to hurt you." He begs her not to do this as he stares up at her, afraid, but she soon shuts the lid and muffles his cries, holding her entrapped father close to her heart. Her face makes it clear that she's already starting to regret what she's just done... and yet she does not attempt to take it back.
The grave of the one she loved most.
"Henry Mills, Beloved Husband and Father" is etched upon Prince Henry's gravestone in the Underworld, and Regina pours the last of the Ale of Sinead over his resting place as she stands before it, wanting to speak with her father. She remains looking as sorrowful as she last did when we saw her in the present, staring down at her feet in apprehension. It is then that her father's voice is heard saying her name, and she finally looks up to see him standing there. She apologizes, tearing up heavily as she declares how sorry she is, but he assures her that it's okay. He steps forward to hug his daughter, wanting to comfort her, and she has to question him when he repeats that it's okay; "Am I really forgiven?" "Of course," he tells her, "I love you no matter what. It's what fathers do." She isn't so sure, believing him to be a very special case, and she tells him that she doesn't understand how he could be so good. However, he has many regrets, and isn't even sure which one is keeping him in this place.
All is forgiven.
She decides that it doesn't matter because she's going to see to it that his suffering does not get any worse. Henry doesn't want this, for he knows her mother is using him to get her to leave, but he wants her to stay. She's got a job to do, helping Snow White and her friends. They need her. They need her strength. She finally put vengeance aside to be a hero, and he's not going to stand in the way of that. Regina points out that Cora's going to send him someplace worse and she can't deal with causing him pain again, plus they both know that there's no changing Cora's mind once it's been made up. But, she's given them both a way out, and they could take it. Henry says that when Regina tore his heart out, it was driven by her worst moments, but if she stays then she spreads hope, and that's the best thing anyone could do. "Let your old man see you doing the right thing. Then I truly will not have died in vain." He shoots her one last comforting smile before the ale's magic wears off and a silver mist comes to take the vision away, leaving Regina with nothing but her father's grave and the profound impact of his advisement.
Say hello to daddy.
The Evil Queen is sitting sullenly in her private quarters when Cora comes along and asks her daughter where her father is, for she still owes him a "thank you" for spoiling the birthday surprise. Regina then stands up, picking up the heart box as she does so, and assures that she's already dealt with him. She then approaches her mother and partially opens the lid, telling her to "say hello to daddy" as his shrunken self is revealed to be trapped inside. Cora is deeply impressed, which she allows to be acknowledged out loud, but Regina soon snaps the box shut and withdraws herself, her smile fading. She says that while her father may have been wrong to ruin her revenge, he was right about Cora, but the Queen of Hearts asks when her daughter is going to get it through her thick head that she does everything for her - especially the things she can't do, like Snow's heart. "How long have you been trying to get it? Because it only took me a day." "And it only took you an hour to lose it," Regina retorts, then stating that when she gets her revenge she wants it to be her own victory, and her mother won't be around to steal it away. Cora is certain that Regina doesn't have the power to push her back to Wonderland, but the latter is equally certain that she doesn't need it because there's someone who'd be happy to lend a hand.
Cora brings a souvenir with her back to Wonderland.
"Hello again, Cora," the Magic Mirror greets from within his frame, "Ready for your trip?" And with that, an arm bursts forth from the surface of the looking glass, wrapping itself around Cora's waist. She tries to break free but a second hand soon attacks her from the other side, and she begs her daughter not to do this. Regina assures that it's already done, explaining how she's already cast a spell to seal this portal once she's through, meaning neither of them can reopen it and Cora will be out of the Evil Queen's life forever. Her mother warns her that, without her, she'll fail and, even worse, she'll be alone, but Regina would rather be alone than with Cora. "You think you're better alone?" Cora asks she continues to struggle against the mirror's hands, pulling her steadily closer back to Wonderland, "Let's see how you really feel!" She then magics the box containing Prince Henry into her hands, and the Magic Mirror gives one last nod as the Queen of Hearts is finally yanked back into the land she belongs. Regina attempts to stop this from happening, needing her daddy, but it's too late. The portal is forever sealed, meaning she has to find another way to get him back. She starts to strop through the palace when the Magic Mirror comments, "Well, you always have me." The Queen is less than pleased.
The ultimatum reaches its boiling point.
The hellfires of the Underworld rage within the pit as Prince Henry stands scared at the very edge of the long, outstretching ledge. Cora is standing behind him, obscured by the heat, but Regina and her adoptive son soon come bursting into chthonic caves. The former Evil Queen orders her mother to let the old prince go, yet all Cora has to say is that Regina should be on that boat. She replies that she can't turn her back on those she loves, and her mother is aware that that seems like the right choice, but life doesn't work that way; she implores her to leave this place. However, her father tells her to stay and help her friends, seeing that his wife is attempting to bait her. Regina explains that she didn't come back just to help her friends... she came back to help everyone, leading Cora to tell her that that's not possible. She says that Regina has to trust her, but she just begs her mother to let the older Henry go. "Oh please listen to reason, listen to me! Either way, my time in the Underworld is done. Yours can be too, just do what I say!" Cora begs in turn. Regina instructs the younger Henry to stand back as she herself steps forward, and the Mayor of Underbrooke requests that she doesn't force her hand because she doesn't want to do this.
Mount Olympus awaits.
"Then don't," Regina utters, to which Cora says that she's sorry, then waving her arm and using her magic to draw the hellfire upwards. It consumes Prince Henry, to Regina's dismay, and she soon goes running towards her father. However, Cora makes it so that a separate barrier of flame blocks her path, and all Regina can do is watch as the one she loved most is dragged into a worse place. As the fire swirls around him, Cora seems sure that, "One day you'll understand," before she disappears in a flurry of purple smoke... and all Regina has left to do is commiserate her loss. She tells her father how sorry she is, but there's no need. The fire soon stops, getting sucked back down into the pit, and Regina grows confused. She goes to take a step forward but he tells her to stop, to stay there, for he's okay. A bridge then starts to form from magic, meeting the outstretched ledge at the center of the pit and creating a path all the way across. Regina wants to know what's happening but her father does not know, though he does realize that there's something down there. It is then that a heavenly portal opens an the other side of the bridge, exuding the purest of white light. Birds are heard tweeting as paradise awaits, and Prince Henry comments on the beauty of it, saying that it's where he belongs.
The two Henrys have a chance to meet at the last minute.
However, before he ascends Mount Olympus, he turns around and approaches his beloved daughter, saying that he knows what is unfinished business was now: "It was you." "Me?" "For too long, I let your mother get in the way of who you really are. That's the biggest regret of my life. But now, you're free of her, and I've never been more proud." Both of them are tearing up, and Regina smiles at her father's words, then having her son walk into the conversation. He says "hi" to his namesake relative, and Regina is happy to introduce her father to his grandson, who's also called Henry. The prince is touched by this, and the younger Henry thanks his grandpa for believing in her like he does. The older Henry thanks him in turn for being there when he couldn't, requesting that he continue to take good care of his mother. He then turns toward the heavenly light and says that it's time for him to go, but a crying Regina can't bear it, still feeling as though she needs him. He assures his daughter that he loves her, telling her to never forget who she really is, and she nods as he finally begins approaching the better place. He slowly walks the length of the bridge and the idyllic afterlife takes him in. The white light intensifies as his soul is greeted into eternal bliss, and Regina is finally able to come to terms with what she did as she accepts this happy fate for her father.
The light and the dark have a falling out.
It's nighttime in the Underworld and Regina and Henry are making their way down Main Street where the rest of the heroes are waiting by the fallen clock tower. Mary Margaret wants to know if Regina's father is okay, but Regina tells her that he's better than okay, at which Henry states that he's in a better place now. Robin places a comforting hand on the lad's back while Snow and Charming realize that that means everyone down there can be saved. Regina confirms that every soul in this town has unfinished business and, chances are, for a lot of them, they're that business. Gold doesn't appear too happy to be hearing these things and soon interjects that they've all deluded themselves if they think these people are worth their time. He assures that they're not the dearly departed, but rather dead wretched souls, and he squares up to Emma as he says that he wants no part in it. The savior tells the Dark One that what he wants doesn't matter, guaranteeing him that she was not bluffing and would be more than happy to tell Belle about his return to darkness.
The clock ticks.
Rumple recounts that their agreement was to find her pirate and leave as fast as possible; if they want to distract themselves with this other asinine pursuit then they're free to do, but he's out. He proceeds to walk away, but the others don't much care, and Henry soon approaches his birth mother and asks her if she's ready for Operation Firebird. Regina laughs, wondering if that's what they're calling it, and Emma jokingly inquires if he's referencing the mythological bird or the muscle car. She then pulls him into an embrace before beginning to walk away. Mary Margaret and David look happily upon their descendants before doing the same, and then Robin leads Regina into following on. However, the former Evil Queen takes a moment to stop and look at the clock on the tower that's lying in the street. Naturally, its hands are positioned at 8:15, but then the big hand gives a magnificent tick, and 8:16 becomes the new norm. Knowing what this means, Regina can't help but smile, and she is comforted by the knowledge that Prince Henry has successfully passed over as she goes to join her friends.
Turns out there's more to the Underworld than we thought.
But when she walks away, someone emerges from behind the broken tower - it's Cora, and she heads on into the library. It looks pretty much the same as it does in Storybrooke... except for the fact that there are no books and a giant steam vent is sticking out of the floor. Cora uses her magic to open the elevator doors, then stepping inside and closing them behind her. The gears and cogs starts to turn as it begins its descent to the town mines, although it moves quite a bit faster than it does in the land of the living. Cora has to grab on the walls just to keep herself stabilized, and the mechanical transporter only gets faster as it nears the bottom of the shaft. Finally though, it comes to a stop, and the doors open once again. Cora takes a few cautious steps through the underground caves, nearing the large cavern where... music can be heard playing. Five rivers, all consisting of different, vibrant colors, can be seen emanating from the center point as Cora approaches. One blue, one yellow, one green, one lava and one black. The circle in the middle includes a polished floor and all manner of luxuriant artifacts, not to mention a distinguished gentleman in an extravagant chair getting his feet tended to by a pretty blonde serving girl.
Cora has a dispute with a distinguished gentleman.
He is dressed in a suit and holding a glass of wine, and as Cora draws nearer he asks if she heard that. Thinking he means the music, she comments that she's never been very fond of the violin, and the gentleman comments in turn that he wouldn't expect a miller's daughter to be able to appreciate a virtuoso like Paganini; however, that wasn't what he was talking about. He was in fact referring to the clock. He asks if she heard that little tick up there, then declaring that it was the sound of her incompetence. Cora wonders why he wants her daughter gone, not knowing what threat she poses, but the blond man simply replies with, "Tick, tick, tick. You see, each clock tick means a soul has left my domain. Do I look like I like to lose anything?" Cora assures that she did what he asked - she didn't want to, and she jeopardized her relationship with Regina, but she did it. The gentleman recalls that she thought she could get her daughter to do what he wanted, but she couldn't. He adds that, if it makes her feel any better, she's going to regret her decision. Cora orders him not to threaten her child, or her, and proceeds to ask for what she was promised. He gasps sarcastically, saying that he's surprised she cares so much about Regina, especially after what she did to her other daughter.
Hades revels in the eternal punishment of the miller's daughter.
She wonders how he knows about Zelena, and he makes clear that he knows about everything, including why Cora gave her up; all so she could claw her way out of a miserable peasant life. "Which suggests the perfect punishment," he continues, flicking his wine glass and using his magic to make it so that Cora's mayoral suit in transformed into the rags she grew up wearing, complete with a cart full of flour. "Look at that! A miller's daughter once again. Hurry now, Cora, you have flour to deliver. That's what they do at mills, isn't it? I never paid much attention, it seems like such dull work." He is taking such great joy in this while she is overly horrified, begging for mercy and reminding this devil of a man that he promised he'd save her. He turns serious now, reminding her in turn that she promised not to fail. Finally he stands up, saying that that's something to think about... for eternity. He then waves her goodbye and watches, satisfied, as she picks up her cart and begins toting it out of his lair. And then his identity is made clear. As he revels in Cora's punishment, his blond hair is replaced entirely by blue flame. Cora continues to deliver flour, and Hades continues to love it.
- The title card of this episode features the broken clock tower amid the red skies of the Underworld.
- Although credited, Rebecca Mader (Zelena/Wicked Witch) is absent from this episode.
- The title of this episode is partially derived from the song of the same name by Bruce Springsteen, featured on his 1992 album Lucky Town. Adam Horowitz is known to be a Springsteen fan.
- The opening scene with Neal Cassidy was filmed two months after the rest of the episode, in January 2016, and the actor went to great lengths to keep his return a secret.
- According to actress Lana Parrilla, her character Regina's birthday is February 1st, meaning that that's the day on which the flashback story is set.
- Neal's room at Granny's Bed & Breakfast was previously established as being room 8 in Season 2's "The Evil Queen". The number 8 was also one of "the numbers" in Lost, a series for which Once Upon a Time co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz were previously writers.
- The scenes in the Underworld graveyard were filmed in Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery. The city itself can be seen in the background of some of the episode's behind-the-scenes stills.
- The sign on the tavern where Snow, Charming and the seven dwarfs are seen celebrating (a face made of leaves) is the same one seen on the tavern featured in "Quite a Common Fairy" and "Operation Mongoose, Part 1" where Regina first saw Robin Hood.
- Strangely, Prince Henry's grave in the Underworld reads "Henry Mills", despite his grave seen in "The Thing You Love Most" simply reading "Henry". It is unlikely that Mills would have been Henry's surname, for Regina probably got it from her mother's side if from either parent at all.
- The Season 1 episode "Hat Trick" featured a flashback story wherein Regina rescued her father from the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland; after four years, this episode finally reveals the circumstances surrounding his kidnapping.
- When Henry designates the heroes' newest mission "Operation Firebird", Emma asks if he's referring to the mythological bird - a reference to the phoenix, present in a numerous folklore - or the "muscle car" - a reference to the Pontiac Firebird automobile.
- The violin music playing in Hades' lair was a composition by Niccolò Paganini, "Violin Concerto No. 2".
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on October 29, 2015.
- This episode marks the twenty-eighth writing credit for series co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, as well as the twenty-second directing credit for Ralph Hemecker.
The one-hundredth episode garnered 4.01 million views, showing a decrease from the mid-season finale. This was the lowest amount of viewers received by any episode in the entire series' history up to this point.
The episode received positive reviews, but noted that there are areas the producers could make improvements on.
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman said, "“Souls of the Departed” is a story of redemption, and perhaps Season 5B could be similarly redemptive to any OUaT fans who weren't thrilled with the direction Season 5A took. I suppose we'll see. Either way, I'm in for the ride."
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly notes in her assessment of the review: "Once Upon a Time has taken us pretty much everywhere in and out of fairy tale lore over the past five years: Storybrooke, the Enchanted Forest, Arendelle, Neverland. Tonight, with a return marking the show's midseason premiere, as well as its landmark 100th episode, Once gave us something old (daddy issues), something new (the Underworld), something borrowed (a potion) and something blue (that classic Hades hair)," but later sums up the entire episode: "I know we're going to be dealing with a lot of returning cast in the coming weeks, but admittedly, I was a wee bit let down by the fact this was touted as Once's big reunion episode, and the only significant people we saw from the past were Neal, Cora, and Pan. What I am happy about, though, is the prospect that Regina may end up being wholly important to this Underworld story line. Maybe she'll finally get an arc that's more than just waffling between good and evil. More importantly, it seems like everyone in the Underworld is either in cahoots with Hades or being manipulated by him in some way. Both Pan and Cora were keen on persuading their still-living significant family members, with Cora asking Regina to leave and Pan asking Rumple to save him. I'm interested in seeing exactly what's going on in this little corner of hell and exactly how Once is going to wade through this new road of storytelling."
- Amy Ratcliffe of IGN said of the episode, "The return of Once Upon a Time served as set up for the final half of Season 5. They used the Underworld to bring back a ton of characters for quick check-ins, but Neal and Henry were the only ones who really strongly impacted the story and the Storybrooke team. Emotions fell flat across the board otherwise, except for the moment where Emma briefly saw Hook. They do have a compelling enough reason to stay in the Underworld -- though why Snow and Charming would spend so much time away from their newborn confuses me -- but overall, the episode was all about getting the board ready." She gave the episode a 7.0 rating out of 10.
- Gwen Ihnat of The A.V. Club gave the episode a excellent review, giving it a B. In her recap, she points out: "With “Souls Of The Departed” Once Upon a Time, believe it or not, has just crossed a key threshold: 100 episodes. For all this show's inanities and love of catchphrases and gaping plot holes where logic should exist, there's clearly something very compelling about Storybrooke and its residents that resonates with viewers. In my own home, it's a decent family watch, that the kids find intriguing and even occasionally scary enough not to be lame, and the adults in the house can still take an interest. And the show still finds surprising mileage out of turning fairy tale tropes on their ear, or offering different sides of characters we think we know well."
- Christine Orlando of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.2 out of 5.
- The overall appreciation of this episode by members of this wiki's community was generally positive, with one user review stating, "So, 5x12 wasn't the absolute garbage fire that we all really expected it to be, and I'm glad. I think we're all content with the 100th ep, to a degree, and accept it as special enough to be considered a special. It had some cute moments, and of course drawbacks, but I tried my best to power past any and all inhuman dialogue and enjoy "Souls of the Departed" for what it was – a Regina-centric, lol." The review ended saying that "it was, uh, pretty good I guess."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Season 5B Brings Back Michael Raymond-James as Neal, by Matt Webb Mitovich, TVLine (February 22, 2016)
- ↑ Lana Parrilla tweet.
- ↑ SHOOT: ONCE UPON A TIME Films Spring Premiere/100th Episode in Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery (November 2, 2015)
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 50 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 3.6.2016
- ↑ ‘Once Upon A Time’ Midseason Premiere Review: Regina Comes Full Circle In ‘Souls of the Departed’", by Nick Roman, Rickey.org (March 6, 2016)
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: Souls of the Departed", by Andrea Towers, Entertainment Weekly (March 6, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: "Souls of the Departed" Review, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN (March 6, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon A Time visits bizarro world, by Gwen Ihnat, The A.V. Club (March 6, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 11 Review: "Souls of the Departed", by Christine Orlando, TV Fanatic (March 6, 2016)
- ↑ 5.12 - "Souls of the Departed" Review, by Jdg98, Once Upon a Time Wiki (March 8, 2016)