“Last Rites” may not be the season finale, but with a lot of the problems resolved, fans should start questioning what the season finale has in store.
Once Upon A Time has delivered the best episode of the season. For those who ship Regina and Robin, Emma and Killian and Zelena and Hades, get ready for an episode that is going to send you on an emotional roller coaster.
“Last Rites” kicks off in present day Storybrooke with Hades (Greg Germann) and Zelena (Rebecca Mader). Zelena has put her full trust in Hades and even trusts him with her baby. She hands off her daughter to Hades and goes into town to tell everyone that Hades is a changed man. When she leaves, a person comes running out of the woods. It’s King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and he is running because he feels he was wrongly imprisoned. For those who don’t remember, King Arthur manipulated the town of Storybrooke when they lost their memories in the first half of this season. King Arthur tells Hades this and Hades reveals that he wants to rule Storybrooke. Hades says he needs Arthur’s help, but he has an awful way of showing it because he kills him.
The scene then shifts to Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) in her apartment talking to Merida (Amy Manson). Merida is informing Snow, who is the mayor of Storybrooke, that King Arthur escaped from jail. Evidently Merida put Sleepy (Faustino Di Bauda) on guard watch and, what do you know, he fell asleep. Merida and Sleepy leave to find Arthur and, as soon as they leave, David (Josh Dallas) comes in along with Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Henry (Jared Gilmore). David tells her Zelena and Hades also made it through the portal, which causes Snow to look uneasy.
Robin (Sean Maguire) and Regina (Lana Parrilla) are talking by the lake when Zelena shows up. Robin and Regina tell her Hades tried to trap them in the Underworld. Zelena doesn’t believe them — she says she has changed him. Regina and Robin still don’t trust Hades and Zelena defends him: “If you try to hurt him, you do so at your own peril.”
In the Underworld, Arthur walks into the diner. He talks to Killian who still hasn’t moved on like he promised Emma he would do. Killian wants Arthur to go on a quest to find Hades’ weakness.
Back in Storybrooke, Hades is tricking Zelena into thinking he’s a good man. Hades says he’s willing to give up his freedom, but this is just part of his ploy. Zelena won’t let Hades turn himself in so she proposes that they fight. Hades is already prepared and shows Zelena a godly treasure — Olympian Crystals that once belonged to his brother Zeus. Hades is obviously planning something bigger. Hades craves power and he isn’t going to stop until he controls everyone in Storybrooke.
Regina, Robin, Emma, David and Merida all go to Town Hall where Zelena and Hades are hiding out. Hades and Zelena put a protective spell on the building and they can’t get in. Regina says there is a tunnel that runs beneath Town Hall they can use to get inside. Emma wants to go with them, but Regina says she’s “too emotional” because she couldn’t bring Killian back. So Robin and Regina venture into the tunnel alone.
We finally get to see what Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) is up to: he has gone to the flower shop owned by Belle’s father Moe (Eric Keenleyside) to see if he will kiss Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and wake her up from the sleeping curse. Moe doesn’t want to wake Belle until Rumple is out of his daughter’s life. Rumple threatens him but doesn’t get to carry out his threat because Emma shows up. She wants the Dark One’s help defeating Hades. Rumple says even if he knew how to defeat Hades, he wouldn’t tell her.
In the Underworld, Killian and Arthur have gone to Hades’ lair. They are trying to find the storybook pages Hades ripped out to prevent anyone from finding his weakness. Killian asks Arthur where he would hide his secret treasures. Arthur walks over to Hades’ throne, finds a lever and the side panel of the throne flips open. Inside it are the pages they were looking for. Now they just have to find a way to get the pages to Emma. This is going to be difficult because they’re dead and it’s not like they can snap their fingers and transport themselves to Storybrooke.
Killian and Arthur go to the Underbrooke Diner to talk to Cruella De Vil (Victoria Smurfit). Killian wants to know what she did with the telephone booth that allowed people to talk to loved ones in Storybrooke. Cruella says she destroyed it and threw the storybook in the River of Lost Souls. Killian thinks if they get the storybook back, there might be a way to get the pages to Emma.
In the Town Hall, Hades is mending the crystal sword. Hades tells Zelena he wants to rule Storybrooke. Zelena doesn’t want this though. She just wants to live a simple life. She is starting to question Hades. All of a sudden the phone rings. It’s Rumple and he wants to make a deal: he will protect Hades in exchange for a piece of the Olympian Crystal. Hades doesn’t accept the offer.
Hades has gained another enemy.
In the Underworld, Killian and Arthur are in a boat traveling along the River of Lost Souls. They find the book being guarded by a gargoyle. Killian leaves Arthur to watch the boat while he retrieves the book. As Killian is walking up the stone steps, a soul flies out of the river and attacks Arthur. Instead of leaving him to die in the river, Killian saves Arthur. Another soul rises out of the murky green water and steals the book. Killian throws the torch he used to get rid of the other soul to Arthur. Arthur destroys it and the book goes flying out of its hands and over the edge toward the River of Lost Souls. Killian runs and lunges for the book and he catches it at the last moment. That was a close one! Killian puts the pages in the book.
In the library, Emma has the storybook laying right beside her. She opens it to a page of her and Killian dancing. She gets emotional and sets the book aside. Suddenly, the book opens to the page showing Emma that she needs to get the Olympian Crystal in order to kill Hades.
Meanwhile, in the Town Hall, Hades has finished mending the crystal and Robin and Regina have made it to the office where the villains are hiding. Robin just wants to save his daughter and get out. The lights inside the office go crazy because Emma is trying to break in. Zelena leaves to stop Emma while Hades searches the building for intruders. This leaves the office vacant and provides a perfect opportunity for Robin and Regina to save his daughter. They think they’re alone but Hades is hiding out in the shadows. He is going to use the Olympian Crystal on Regina. Lightning shoots out of the crystal and Robin steps in front of Regina. The lightning hits Robin’s heart, he drops to the floor and his ghost says one last goodbye to Regina. How could they kill off Robin?! This can’t be happening. Regina has worked so hard to get her happy ending and it disappears in the blink of an eye.
Zelena walks back into the office and sees Robin laying on the floor. At first, Zelena is mad at Regina, but quickly turns on Hades. Zelena is distracting Hades so Regina knocks the crystal out of his hands. Zelena picks it up and she is faced with a decision: kill the man who claims to love her or the sister that has stood by her side. After two emotional speeches — one from Hades and the other from Regina — Zelena points the crystal at Regina. When the lightning is ejected from the crystal, Zelena turns and stabs Hades in the heart. Hades turns into a pile of dust at Zelena’s feet. The most evil villain has been slain. They have finally achieved what they set out to do.
In the Underworld, Arthur and Killian have earned the right to move on. A bright light appears behind them. Arthur doesn’t want to go because he thinks it is his duty to repair the Underworld. So Killian walks into the light alone and finds himself in a big hall made of marble and with Greek columns on either side of him. The god Zeus stands behind him and thanks him for defeating Hades. Zeus says it’s time to take him where he belongs. Is he going back to Storybrooke? He must be going back to Storybrooke because he belongs with Emma.
The scene changes to Emma standing in front of Killian’s grave in Storybrooke. It changes one more time to everyone at Robin’s funeral. They are all placing arrows on his coffin. Once some people leave, Zelena and Regina go up together. Regina says Robin never got to name his daughter, but Zelena comes up with the idea to name her Robin. Emma is last to leave and while she is standing at Robins coffin, a white light radiates around her. Killian shows up behind her and says, “Swan?” referring to Emma’s last name. The two are reunited and true love wins!
But the episode isn’t over. The last scene shows Rumple going to Town Hall, specifically to the heap of dust that was once Hades. Rumple digs into the pile and in his hand emerges with a piece of the Olympian Crystal: “Like I told you, this is my kingdom.”
A lot of important events took place in this episode — a hero and villain died and another hero was brought back to life. This episode has all of the components of a season finale but it is not — next weekend will bring about the end of season five. But how will the season finale be able to top this dramatic episode? I guess we'll just have to find out next week.
The two-part season finale of Once Upon A Time will air at a special time, Sunday at 7 p.m., on ABC.