The newest episode of Once Upon A Time picks up the pace after a three week slump.

 

Once Upon A Time has been lacking the past few weeks, but that all changes in the newest episode, “Sisters.” In this episode, we learn a little bit more about Zelena (Rebecca Mader) and Regina’s (Lana Parrilla) relationship.

In the opening scene of “Sisters,” Hades (Greg Germann) takes Zelena out to the middle of nowhere for a romantic night fireside. He tells Zelena that once he and Zelena share true love’s kiss and his heart starts beating, that he wants to go to Storybrooke with her. Hades also wants to trap all of the others in Underbrooke. Hades gets down on one knee, looks into Zelena’s eyes and says, “Will you make chaos with me?” This is  Hades’ unusual way of asking Zelena to marry him. I don’t know about you, but I think this relationship is moving a little too fast.

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Regina goes to Zelena’s house and awaits her return. When she gets back, Regina says she knows where Zelena was because she was watching her in a magic mirror. They act more like sisters than they care to admit. Zelena did not say yes or no to Hades’ offer, but she thinks she can change Hades. Zelena is naive to think she can change him because he was born evil.

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In the first flashback of the episode, a young Regina (Ava Acres) is playing with a doll by herself and her mother, Cora (Barbara Hershey), walks in and refuses to play with her daughter. Cora leaves the room and forgets a key in her drawer. The drawer holds Cora’s wand, which Cora tries to keep hidden from Regina. Regina finds it and tries to turn her doll into a playmate. The spell backfires, and she is left unconscious.

In the Underbrooke apartment, Regina, Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Killian (Colin O’Donoghue) and David (Josh Dallas) are trying to devise a plan to stop the evolving romance between Zelena and Hades. Regina says the only person that can help them is Cora.

In Hades’ lair, Cora is working in a mill as punishment for not fulfilling her duties to Hades at the beginning of the season. She looks down at a bundle and sees Killian’s hook. She is able to get past the guards watching her and finds Killian waiting for her.

In the past, Cora is watching her other young, talented daughter Zelena (Isabella Blake-Thomas). She is picking up wood and when the feat becomes too tiresome, she uses magic to make the chore a little easier. Her dad sees her and lashes out at her. He looks as if he is going to hit her and then he freezes. Cora comes out of the bushes and asks Zelena to come along with her.

In the middle of Underbrooke, David is confronted by his twin brother James (Josh Dallas). In a previous episode, Cruella de Vil (Victoria Smurfit) revealed that James’ unfinished business has to do with their mother favoring David over James. When David brings up the topic of James’ unfinished business in this episode, James says this is false — James was supposed to have all of the glory and David stole it from him. They each spot a piece of wood lying on the ground, but James beats David to it and knocks him out. James says, “Now it’s time for me to play shepard” — which was David’s profession before he became king. James is going to pretend to be David. This is not going to end well. Hopefully Emma will be able to realize that the imposter isn’t her father.

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Pretending to be David, James goes to the apartment to see Emma. They have to go meet up with Robin Hood (Sean Maguire) in the woods where he is keeping his baby safe from Hades. Emma has no idea this isn’t her father. When they get to the woods and Robin meets up with them, James reveals his true identity. More shenanigans ensue when Cruella shows up. Cruella and James explain that they want Robin’s baby as collateral so they can get out of the Underworld. They think that because Hades love Zelena, he will do anything to protect her baby.

When Regina and Cora are reunited, Regina catches her mom up on all of the Underworld drama. Regina tells her about Zelena’s romantic involvement with Hades and Cora comes up with a plan — “We have to make her forget Hades ever existed.” Oh, it’s about to get exciting.

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In the past, young Regina is lying in a bed unconscious when Cora comes in with Zelena. Cora tells Zelena not to touch Regina until she finds the spell to heal her. Zelena doesn’t listen and begins to heal Regina. Finally Regina wakes up to the face of her savior. The two girls have an instant connection — which is not surprising considering they’re sisters.

Cora takes Regina to the River of Forgetfulness. One drop of the water will make Zelena forget Hades. Cora said she has used the river water on someone before but claims it “isn’t important.” Cora probably made Regina drink the water when she was younger after she met Zelena. When it was revealed that Regina is Zelena’s sister, Regina was just as shocked as everyone else. Regina doesn’t think Zelena will let her back in her house, but Cora seems confident because she is finally going to introduce herself as Zelena’s mother. Cora shows up to Zelena’s house and Zelena reluctantly lets her mother in.

Then the scene cuts to a flashback of Regina and Zelena dressing up like princesses. They open the drawer that has the wand in it, and Zelena is able to open the box which is sealed by blood magic, which means that only people related to the person who sealed the box are able to open it. Regina quickly puts two and two together and assumes they’re related. They rush off to ask Cora if this is true, and Cora tells the girls that they’re sisters. Regina says it would make her happy if Zelena were to stay with them. Cora says, “I can’t tell you how disappointed that makes me feel.” Cora orders her guards to carry Zelena away and gives them both a dose of the River of Forgetfulness.

The scene transitions back to Cora and Zelena. Cora believes that Zelena is trying to fill the void in her heart that she left when she abandoned her daughter. Cora says she’s sorry for ever leaving Zelena behind. She goes on to say Zelena is her unfinished business. While Cora and Zelena hug it out, Regina sneaks in the house to pour the water from the River of Forgetfulness into Zelena’s drink. Even though the goal of the operation is to get Zelena to drink the water, I don’t think Cora was lying about Zelena being her unfinished business.

Back in Underbrooke, Cora and Zelena are in the kitchen and Cora retrieves the glass of water from Regina. Zelena is cunning and realizes Cora is tricking her. A fight is about to break out between Regina and Zelena when Cora intervenes and says they should hate her. She shows Regina and Zelena the memories which had been wiped clean. Cora says she was wrong about love being a weakness, and she apologizes to both of her daughters. This is a completely different side of Cora. Normally Cora is deceptive but, for once, she is being genuine. It wouldn’t be surprising if she has completed her unfinished business and will move on to a better place.

Meanwhile, Cruella and James take Robin and Emma to the docks. David and Hook show up in time to save them from being killed. James believes that killing his brother is his unfinished business. The brothers fight and David ends up winning by throwing James into the River of Lost Souls.

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Cora, Regina and Zelena go to the bridge where souls pass on to the next phase. The three of them shed some tears and give heartfelt goodbyes before Cora makes her journey. Cora walks along the bridge and the ground begins to shake. A vortex of fire swirls around her. It looks like she’s going to worse place at first, but when the fire stops, a bright light appears and Cora moves on to a better place. Regina tells her sister to go find her love. Zelena is confused and Regina says she trusts her to change Hades. This is a huge mistake. Hades cannot be trusted. He is a very evil person. I understand that this show is all about finding the good in people, but I don’t think Hades has any good in him. Hades is very comparable to Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) — they both want to be in positions of power, which causes them to evil.

Zelena goes to the diner to have a romantic dinner with Hades. Before she can enter, Rumple corners her because she is the one who gave Belle (Emilie de Ravin) the sleeping potion. Rumple made a deal with Zelena saying her cannot hurt her, but Rumple has found a loophole. He has enlisted the help of his father, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) . The last shot of “Sisters” shows Pan throwing a bag over Zelena’s face. It looks like she won’t be having dinner with Hades any time soon.

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Once Upon A Time finally delivers a strong episode that add a lot to the progression of the storyline. Cruella, Robin and James miraculously reappear, which adds some suspense and dramatic irony to episode. The best part of this episode was seeing Regina and Zelena finally act like sisters. I think there is hope for Zelena to turn into one of the heroes.

Once Upon A Time airs every Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Rating: 4/ 5

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