The characters of 'Once Upon A Time' battle hellish beasts on their mission to save as many souls as they can.
In this week’s episode of Once Upon A Time, “Labor of Love,” the heroes face tougher obstacles on their mission to save Killian (Colin O'Donoghue) which prompts many encouraging — and annoying — speeches along the way.
“Labor of Love” starts off in present time in the Underworld. The camera zooms in on a bloody and beaten Killian in a dungeon with another prisoner, a girl (Kacey Rohl). Killian tells her that he needs to leave because Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is looking for him. They both try to escape, but a beast follows them. Being the brave character he is, Killian sends the girl on her way and stays to fight the beast. A pair of red eyes appear. And then two more show up, too. The beast is Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld.
Cut to David (Josh Dallas) and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) in the Underworld’s cemetery. Mary Margaret looks at the tombstones and realizes that most of the people there were her subjects in the Enchanted Forest. She feels personally responsible for them ending up in the Underworld. When she comes across one stone in particular, the first flashback of the episode begins.
Young Snow White (Bailee Madison) is sitting on a throne. Beside her is Regina (Lana Parrilla), who is her stepmother at this point. Regina married Snow’s father in order to “keep her enemies closer.” They both listen to grievances from the commoners, as the people worry about a bandit that has been stealing their valuables. Snow, unable to handle the responsibilities of being a princess, runs away from her problems instead of facing them. While she runs, she falls into a hole. How cliché. Snow then starts yelling for help. A man, who reveals himself as Hercules (Jonathan Whitesell), pulls her out of the hole with one hand. The flashback ends, and it shows Mary Margaret in present day looking at Hercules’ headstone. Mary Margaret thinks that Hercules can help them find Killian.
It’s really convenient that the strongest demigod in Greek mythology just happens to be around when the crew needs him.
In the forest, Regina, Robin (Sean Maguire), Emma, Henry (Jared Gilmore) are searching for Killian. Regina says there might be schematic maps of the town in Cora’s office and sends Robin and Henry to get them. Her and Emma keep searching and come across the girl who Killian helped out of the dungeon. All of a sudden, they hear a roaring sound and they disappear before they figure out what it is. They reappear in the Underworld version of Mary Margaret and David’s apartment. Emma asks the girl how she was able to escape and says she went through tunnels and came out in a cave. Emma hopes that the cave will lead them to Killian and asks the girl to tell them where the cave is. The girl is frightened because Cerberus stands guard at the entrance to the cave. Mary Margaret and David come in at the right time and say they know a way to defeat the three-headed monster.
In the Enchanted Forest, Hercules tells Snow he’ll help her defeat the bandits. Snow doesn’t seem confident in her abilities so he tells her a story of the 12 labors he has to complete in order to get to Olympus. He only has one more to go: defeating Cerberus. There’s the crossover between past and present! Maybe that is why Hercules is in the Underworld — he probably has to defeat Cerberus in order to get to a better place. Basically, he tells Snow, “You have to try or you’ll regret it.” It’s one of the many pep talks given in the episode. Snow and Hercules have a lot of chemistry between them in these scenes.
In the Underworld, Snow finds Hercules working at the docks. Snow wants Hercules to help, but he seems apprehensive. This time, Snow is the one giving the pep talk. She says, “You can’t let fear of failing keep you from trying.”
In the meantime, Robin and Henry try to get into Cora’s office but, of course, the door has a protection spell on it. Robin finds an air duct that leads into the office. Henry tells Robin that he should be the one to go in the office and find the maps. When Henry ends up on the other side, he is welcomed by Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit). Cruella wants Henry’s help to get back to the real world. Since Henry is the Author, he has the capabilities of changing character’s stories. Henry didn’t want to have that much power, so he broke the quill — or so he thought. Cruella tells him that the quill is a living entity so when Henry broke it, it was sent to the Underworld. In season four, Emma killed Cruella in order to protect Henry. Cruella appeals to Henry’s emotions and says if he helps her, it will make Emma’s soul pure again. When he returns to Robin, he neglects to tell him that he saw Cruella. Thus the plot begins to thicken!
In the past, Snow shows up to a village where the bandits are looting. The thief demands that she leave, but she stands her ground at first. She then reaches for an arrow and all of them fall out. While she picks them up, Hercules superhero punches the ground and scares the bandits away. The camera cuts to Regina in her castle. The bandit approaches her. It turns out Regina has been paying the bandits to steal in order to get a reaction out of Snow.
In the Underworld, Mary Margaret, Emma and Regina accompany Hercules to the cave, but Hercules wants to defeat the beast by himself. When he sees the monster, he runs back to Mary, Emma and Regina like a coward. Hercules confesses that Cerberus killed him and that’s why he is in the Underworld. Cerberus is his unfinished business! The dog starts coming toward them but before it does, they hear a whistle. The dog stops and Hades (Greg Germann) appears. Hades threatens them and delivers Killian’s hook to Emma.
In the Enchanted Forest, Snow is ready to give up. There’s another encouraging speech and then she ventures off to defeat the bandits. This time, Snow is successful. Snow’s mission was accomplished, but Hercules’ is just starting — he is leaving to kill the hellhound. He and Snow part ways, but only after sharing a kiss.
In present day, Mary Margaret goes back to the docks and convinces Hercules to fight Cerberus again. She offers her assistance. Cerberus escapes and attacks the apartment, forcing Regina, Emma, David and the girl to evacuate. They meet up with Mary Margaret and Hercules, only to find out that the girl has run away. Hercules and Mary Margaret find her hiding behind the clock tower just as Cerberus approaches. They lead the dog into the library to kill it. All three of them each attack a head. After the dog disappears in a puff of black smoke, the girl is on the verge of fainting, but Hercules catches her just in time. Finally, she tells us her name: “I’m Megara, but my friends call me Meg.” This is a perfect allusion to the Disney animated film.
In the final empowering speech of the episode — thank goodness — Mary Margaret tells everyone that she doesn’t want to be Mary Margaret anymore. She wants to be the brave and fearless leader Snow White.
Meg and Hercules have finally earned the right to travel on to a better place — Olympus. The clock ticks two more times, signalling two more souls gone and an unhappy god of the Underworld. The camera cuts to Hades, who has Killian tied up. Hades holds a knife, but instead of killing Killian, he hands the knife to him. Hades tells him that for every soul his friends save, one of them will die. The power to choose who dies in Killian’s hands.
The writers have added several different plot lines and a lot of dramatic irony throughout this episode. Cruella is back with intentions of returning to •Storybrooke, and she possibly has an ulterior motive. If Emma, Regina, David, Mary Margaret, Robin and Henry don’t rescue Hook soon, they are all going to die. Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle) was not in this episode, so who knows what he’s up to. Hopefully, with whatever happens next, there aren’t as many pep talks — they’re starting to get annoying.
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.