ONCE UPON A TIME Recap: Of Tragedies and Happy Endings

once upon a time

Why, TV Gods? Why must this show be tragic? Why won’t you let these poor characters be happy for once?

Last night’s ONCE UPON A TIME concluded the Hades arc in a completely tragic and unexpected way. After returning to the land of the living in Storybrooke, Zelena is worried when she doesn’t see her sister and the team right away. Little did she know that Hades had been playing everyone all along and had tried to trap them in the Underworld. But the Wicked Witch is in love and completely blind to see what is right in front of her. After all, they’re true love, so Hades would never do anything to hurt her or her child, right?

Wrong. Well, kind of. Because, even though I believe he really did love her, he loved power more. He even shows her the Olympian Crystal he has and says that it’s a very powerful, very dangerous weapon, and that he is not afraid to use it to defend her and the baby. The parallels here with Rumple and Belle’s tragic love story were uncanny. Zelena wants to believe that he can change, that he would do anything for love, but the dude is just a power-hungry god, and now that he is back among the living, he wants to be the king of everything and have everyone under his command.

Except Zelena can’t see that, even when Regina spells it out to her. She closes herself off with Hades in Regina’s office and casts a protective spell around the house, so no one can get in. But Regina knows the place inside and out, so she obviously knows a secret passage to get into her office without being noticed. Robin goes with her, eager to get his baby daughter away from Zelena and Hades, and that’s where everything goes wrong. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Meanwhile, in the Underworld, Hook joins forces with Crazy!Arthur, who has just been killed by Hades. This was, by far, one of my favorite parts of the episode. This unexpectedly awesome partnership brought some comedy and levity to an otherwise heavy episode. So Killian convinces Arthur to go on a quest to find the missing pages about Hades and their first order of business is to visit the villain’s throne room. Arthur quickly figures out where the pages are hidden – being a crazy ruler himself – but their quest is just getting started. Because now they need to put the pages back in the book, so Emma can get them and find out how to defeat Hades.

They go to Cruella, who is now the temporary ruler of the Underworld, and ask where she hid the story book. She helpfully says that she put it in the River of Souls, so no one can get to it. Hook grabs a boat and takes Arthur with him to the depths of the river, quickly finding the book. But this time, the souls start to attack them to prevent them from getting it. But these two are super partners now and manage to get the book and ward off the souls. Once Killian puts the pages back in their rightful place, a portal opens, so they can move on. Arthur tells him he’s sticking around to help fix the Underworld, so Hook goes through the portal alone, finding none other than Zeus himself on the other side. The God tells him that he can now go to a place where he belongs and Killian totally thinks it’s the Afterlife, but nope. It turns out Zeus is a shipper and, apparently, the place where he belongs is with Emma, because he sends him back to the land of the living.

Back in Storybrooke, Emma is having a hard time dealing with her grief. She wants to go full throttle at Hades, without a plan, and it’s all her parents can do to stop her. When she gets the pages from Hook,  she knows what she has to do to destroy the villain, so she goes by herself to attack Regina’s house. Except Regina and Robin are already inside and, while Zelena goes outside to confront Emma, Hades confronts Regina and Robin when they try to take the baby. He uses the Olympian Crystal to attack Regina, but Robin jumps in front of her and gets hit by its power, dying instantly.

Zelena gets back in the middle of the commotion, but Robin is already dead. Hades tries to convince her that they had attacked first, but Zelena finally sees him for who he is, and uses the crystal to kill him. Now, this was such an unnecessary death. I do think Robin was entirely underused this season, but there was no need to kill him off. For what? So Regina can revert back to her Evil Queen self? All these seasons of character development will be erased because of this. We all know how Regina deals with grief, so the chances of everything going south is extremely high. And poor little Roland! The kid now has lost both his parents, so who is going to look after him? It was just all around tragic. I feel bad for Zelena too but I do admit that part of me hopes she will go back to her awesome Wicked Witch self.

The funeral scene was just so beyond heartbreaking. Actually the entire cemetery sequence was incredibly sad, from Emma visiting Hook’s grave and finally allowing herself to completely break down; to everyone putting an arrow on top of Robin’s coffin; Zelena naming her baby girl Robin… Sweet Jesus, it really messed with my emotions.

But the very best part that made my heart leap with joy was when Emma was finally alone by Robin’s coffin, blaming herself, and Killian shows up. The unbridled joy and shock and relief in that scene was so exhilarating and heartwarming. As always, Colin O’Donoghue and Jennifer Morrison were absolutely fantastic. I can’t get over how amazing their chemistry is.

And last, but definitely not least, Hades was destroyed, Robin died and everyone forgot about the piece of Olympian Crystal he left behind. Except the Dark One. Obviously.

The two-hour season finale of ONCE UPON A TIME will air on May 15 at 7/6c on ABC.

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