We are ready to dig deep into the episode, Firebird, and are taking the elevator down into the depths of this episode to discuss things and boldly go where no one has gone before, talking about Emma’s armor and Cleo Fox’s possible connection to a Greek mythology creatures. As for whatever happened back at present down in the Underworld, we are having an in-depth discussion about True Love’s Kiss, the test of True Love, Zades’ trustworthiness, and more! Plus! Some new Greek Mythology and Egyptian Mythology lessons from our resident nerd, Jacqueline!
Past (Maine, 2009 and Boston, 2010)
Starting out the past in the Lobster shack in Maine 2009, which was the actual Lobster shack that we’ve seen before when Emma and August went to, so it made sense that this was the place Emma go back to digging around to try and discover her past. It was interesting that this happened in 2009, making it 8 years after Henry was born. Emma must have been out of jail for some time now by this time, probably robbed some convenience stores, and that’s what this bail bonds woman is after Emma for. Probably not the original store that we saw Emma and Neal robbed together back in the episode Tallahassee. Although it doesn’t sound like a major crime, do they send bail bonds person after petty thieves just like that?
The timeline, itself, though was a little confusing. We know Emma went to Tallahassee for a short time. Then apparently she jumped bail in Phoenix which is why Cleo was taking her back there. This flashback takes place about 7-8 years after Emma went to jail. What did she do exactly after getting out? Tracked down Neal and then went back to Phoenix and stole money before going back to jail and then jumping bail?
Henry came in 2011, which was when the show started during Emma’s birthday and by that point, maybe she’d spent these two years freelancing as bail bonds woman, but also trying to dig deeper into her history and discovering nothing at every turn or anywhere. But is it enough time to become a really established bail bonds person to the point where you have a really swanky apartment in Boston, though?
We loved the parallels between this and the Pilot episode. What with the similarities between what Cleo and Emma said, as well as what happens when Emma crossed the street, it was a direct concept parallel with the Pilot episode. What wasn’t used, however, was the music.
When Cleo took Emma into custody and we get to see as Emma very quickly escapes from the cuff that Cleo’s daughter’s name is Tasha. We also checked if Trakr Interstate Record Finder is a real website but unfortunately couldn’t find any more information about it. So then they go the courthouse, we got a screenshot of the file about Emma and although we couldn’t read it much, it showed some bits of information about August.
This is also when we learned about the jacket being the armor. It was nice because the writers have often called Emma’s red jacket her armor. And in promo shoots where she’s mimicking Charming, Emma is carrying his sword and wearing her jacket.
On the other hand, Cleo’s death makes no sense. What did she even die of? Was it the glass from the windows? In Boston 2010, when Emma went to Tasha and handed her Cleo’s file, it showed that Cleo was declared dead on February 12, 2009 at [10:31] A. M. She was then cremated at Ellswoth Crematory in Ellsworth, Maine. That being said, why couldn’t we see Cleo in the Underworld? Is the Underworld only for people in the Enchanted Forest? Do people from the Land Without Magic have their own version of the Underworld? Does Cleo not have any unfinished business? Before Cleo dies, she told Emma that she was holding on too tight, asking her to let go. Should Emma let go?
It was really neat to see the origin of the red jacket, although we could already tell that that was coming. But what does Emma mean when she said that she needs to go to work? Wasn’t she at work already?
The story of Emma and Cleo reminds us of the Greek Mythology story of a creature called the Teumessian fox:
Teumessian fox, a rascally wily sort of creature who was destined to never be caught. It was a nightmare. But luckily, there was another magical creature who was destined to catch everything it sought–Laelaps, a magical dog. These two–the fox and the hound–chased each other for a very long time. It was a paradox. How could a fox who could never be caught be caught by a dog who never failed to catch what he sought? Zeus grew sick of this. Because Zeus in Greek mythology is basically a three yr old. He turned both the fox and Laelaps into stone and then cast them into the stars where they remains today, known to us as Canis Major (Laelaps) and Canis Minor (Fox)
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Back in the Underworld with everyone in town square next to the clock and since they can’t use Granny’s for a briefing, they simply meet in the street. We liked that Hades refer to Rumple and Pan as the ‘Stiltskins, which was what the forum calls them. Have they been reading our forum again? How did Emma or anyone even know about the contract or that Belle is even pregnant?
So Emma agrees to help and Hades goes to meet the Stiltskins at Granny’s and we wondered how many times did Greg Germann have to rip the contract in half for it to rip all the way down the middle? However, Pan said that his body is ready to walk the earth again. If you jump forward to what we know about Hook not being able to leave is because his body is already rotting in Storybrooke and has been dead for a while, Pan has been dead for even longer. Plus, when he died, there was no body.
We also got to see the True Love’s Kiss between Hades and Zelena, which started a series of earthquake in the Underworld. Will it start to crumble now that Hades’ curse has been lifted? Hades can now leave the Underworld and knows that he shares true love with Zelena, so why why did it matter if he kept souls in the Underworld? Back up plan? But doesn’t that mean it’s not True Love if he doesn’t really believe it? Does this kiss actually change him? Physically, it did because his heart restarted but is he still a straight up villain?
When I first watched this episode, my feelings towards Hades were mixed. On the one hand we do find out that his love for Zelena is true. The kiss works and instantly changes begin taking place in the underworld. However, it is not easy to trust the God of the Underworld. (At least in this show. In Greek mythology he isn’t evil like this.)
After watching it through a second time, i had even more questions of whether Hades had orchestrated trying to keep our heroes trapped. In many ways it seems like true love has taken hold in Hades and he truly has changed, as had Zelena in the previous episode. This show is all about hope and new begins.
The evidence of Hades transformation is the following:
1) He rips up the contract, giving away power over rumple in order to save Zelena.
2) True loves kiss does work. We are very clearly shown it does. So this means Hades does love Zelena as he claims to.
3)He did remove the names on the head stones as he promised to Emma. Allowing the possibility for all the heroes to return home. He even shares the information about the portal
4) He is not the one to suggest leaving right away with the baby, Zelena does. Hades seemed fully prepared to stay and wait for emma and hook.
5) finally, when Hades looks back before entering the portal, he has a look of concern and it seems to be for the heroes not concern of them.
Further on in the episode when things began to go wrong the heroes are very quick to blame Hades. Hook blames Hades for the Ambrose tree being cut down. However how can this be if Hades could not enter the chamber without passing that test? This would seem impossible to me for Hades to do. And then Regina blames Hades for the Blind Witch’s spell being too strong to break. Hades did not cast this spell and for all Regina knows, the Blind witch and Cruella were able to pull this off because they have now “claimed” the throne of the underworld.
I truly believe that Hades has changed. We have seen True love do amazing things. Going back to the Episode “Skin Deep” we could see that Belle’s kiss was changing Rumple. This half of the season has really set up these parallels for Rumbelle and “Zades”. Even with his true love for Belle, Rumple still choses that dark power. However he has his own heart. It was never taken from him or removed as with Cora or with Hades (where his heart was literally stopped) so if we look at Hades in the same category as Cora, and not Rumple, it seems like his heart starting again should change him as Cora changed when she got her heart back.
I think that in the next few Episodes we will see that Hades has truly changed and he will prove that by helping Emma find a way to save Hook and bring him home.
Did Hades really give the Blind Witch a spell to trap them inside the library?
Turns out, Emma’s heart can be taken and, perhaps, it was as much of a problem as we might think it is because back in season 2 when Cora tried to rip Emma’s heart out, it couldn’t be taken. Emma was probably not thinking thoughts of willingness for her heart to be taken out. What could make a difference here, however, was that Emma chose to let her heart be taken. However, the second time her heart was taken out, it seemed like it was taken unwillingly. Hades shouldn’t really been able to take it. It bothers us that he was able to take it. It was also a bit disappointing that Emma’s heart didn’t even remotely look special. Even Henry’s heart, who bears the heart of the truest believer, looked kind of different.
Do souls have a time limit? Like they are on a time table and it knows when to depart a body? That being said, it’s not entirely accurate that Charming was dead for only a minute or less, because it took some time for Snow White to crush his heart, cry, decide to have Regina split her heart into two and actually do it.
Has Hades really changed just after sharing a True Love’s Kiss with Zelena?
I think the entire notion of a woman being able to change a man is very problematic, both in the case of Rumple/Belle and Hades/Zelena. Just look at Zelena and Hades. They’re now being lauded as “true love” even though Hades just tried to trap Zelena’s sister and baby daddy in the UW. Zelena thinks Hades has changed for her, but all he has done is get what he always wanted: for Zelena to break his curse so that he could leave. He also entrapped the “heroes” in the process. Sure, he said he’d do anything for her (e.g. breaking up the contract), but it wasn’t all that sacrificial for him. He got something out of it: his passport to freedom in the form of his defrosted heart. Zelena being in love with Hades is probably the cherry on top, but I don’t think it’s a sacrifice on his part by any stretch of the imagination.
The show, as a whole, has dealt with various issues and shown that someone’s happy ending isn’t merely a person and, at the same time, Once Upon a Time is also about hope and true love. Two kind of conflicting things going on but perhaps true love could change Hades. Not simply because of Zelena, because he needs to want to change himself, but we will not probably see that. Instead, Hades will continue being the villain in Storybrooke.
Orpheus and Eurydice were a married couple until Eurydice died by a snake (viper) bite. Orpheus, known the world over for his lyre playing, played an incredibly sad song that made all the nymphs of the world cry for his grief. They advised him to travel to the Underworld to get Eurydice back. Orpheus approached Hades and Persephone and played them his music, which moved the Lord and Lady of the Underworld. Hades agreed to let Eurydice go under one condition, she had to follow behind Orpheus the entire time and Orpheus could not once look back at her until both reached topside or Eurydice would be doomed to spend forever in the Underworld without hope of return. Orpheus managed to reach the top, but looked behind him forgetting that they BOTH needed to reach topside before he was allowed to look at Eurydice. He turned and looked and she vanished forever.
We also got some more information about Ambrosia:
I have no idea why Ambrosia is a part of this myth? It’s not in the Greek and even in a different Latin version by Virgil there is no mention of Ambrosia. But ἀμβροσία literally means “immortality.” It usually goes hand in hand with nectar as the two main foods of the gods (they also take animal sacrifices but ambrosia and nectar are the divine foods)
Meanwhile, Rumple attempts what he thinks could be True Love’s Kiss with Belle and during our Firebird initial reaction, we said that it could be because of what Rumple has chosen.
However, Belle doesn’t accept Rumple for who he is. There’s a difference for accepting people for who they are, and accepting their choices. Rumple chose to become the Dark One. He regularly chooses to feed his “nasty habits.” And he has chosen to continue using dark magic. Even if he was born that way, he would still have a choice to confront and overcome his weaknesses.
Whose fault is it that the True Love’s Kiss between Belle and Rumple doesn’t work? Even if they have true love, Rumple’s heart is darkening again, which perhaps what was hindering the True Love’s Kiss to work. But back in the episode Skin Deep, Rumple has been a Dark One for at least a 100-150 years, post everything he did with Cora, all the manipulations and deceptions, his heart was probably pretty dark at that point.
At this point, for me, the only way I’ll be happy with the resolution to this plot is if Rumple gets rid of the darkness for good somehow (maybe Zeus knows how) and then that sacrifice leads to him waking her up. To me, it makes sense that their relationship has changed so TLK is no longer there at the moment. And they have been setting this up for this whole half season. Rumple has to change for her. And I think he will and wake her by the end. And yes, this would mean that she doesn’t really love both the beast and the man and it would prove Rumple wrong. I think at this point, it’s the only way the story can go for me to be ok with it.
Back at the library, Hades pointed out that the Underworld will function as usual, allowing people to finish their unfinished business without hindrance. Are we going to see a flashback episode showing Hades arriving in the Underworld, taking control and turning it into Underbrooke?
Was anyone confused about Henry’s powers as the author? It’s cool that he wants to help everyone, but how is this a function of Henry’s powers? The pen is supposed to write what is happening, but Henry is using his powers and the pen to give people their unfinished business because they don’t know what they’re unfinished business is. Was he supposed to illuminate to help the people remember what their unfinished business is? Did Henry take the pen back in Storybrooke?
Should we trust Zelena? Is she trustworthy? Judging how they sees her, she looks trustworthy, however, given what Zelena had done with Robin Hood in the past, it seems that Regina is trusting her sister too much. Plus, can we trust Zelena when she’s with Hades? Does Hades still want Zelena’s baby?
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I do have to say, there’s something very fitting about the Underworld now being ruled by someone who literally has the surname De Vil.
Does this mean that anyone with a magical powers can simply take over the Underworld now that Hades left?
Emma and Hook then go down to take the True Love’s test and we were unsure if it’s the Tartarus because it’s too pretty for that. Plus, there are no Titans chained anywhere. However, this was a nice test of true love, which reminded us of a bible verse from John [15:13], “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends”, which is what Emma was willing to do—sacrifice her life. Is the test still going after the door opened because Hook gave Emma up so that she could go on and live and escape the Underworld. That was an act of true love, making the circle complete, and they have proven their love for each other. Furthermore, this also reminded us of an Egyptian mythology, Ma’at and the Scales:
In Egyptian Mythology Ma’at was the personification of truth, justice, and harmony. Every soul who died had to have their heart judged on her scales in a ritual known as the “Weighing of the Heart.” Your heart was placed on a scale alongside the Feather of Ma’at and if your heart weighed less than the feather, then you had led a good life and could move on to the Underworld. However, if your heart was heavier than the feather, it meant you had lived a bad life and your heart was given to Ammit—the Devourer of the Dead (a hippo, lion, crocodile creature) who would eat your heart and deny you entrance.
Did they intentionally pulled it in from the Egyptian mythology was it just a random coincidence?
On the other hand, it was still a weird test of true love. Emma is the Savior. She’s going to be willing to give up her life for anyone. It’s not saying that she doesn’t love Hook and they don’t share true love, but in terms of confirming it, this is weird because 1) Emma’s very essence as True Love incarnate should be enough, and 2) if you substitute Hook out for anyone that Emma feels a personal or cosmic sense of obligation to—Snow, Charming, Regina, Henry or even someone like Elsa, Ruby or Granny—Emma would do the same thing.
How did Hook learn Ancient Greek in the royal navy? But no matter what, Emma’s heart should’ve been able to open the door because she was true love incarnate.
Will stuff continue to grow now that Hades has left the Underworld? Will the tree start to grow again?
I could be wrong but when I watched the episode with the ambrosia tree and everyone was all “Hades tricked us” I just didn’t believe it.
1. To get to the ambrosia tree, you had to have true love. Hades didn’t, his heart was frozen so there was no way he could pass the test to cut down the tree.
2. What would Hades gain from it? Since Zelena is now on good terms with Regina, it would only put Hades out of favour with her to deliberately trap Regina and the others.
3. Hades has talked about his brother in previous episodes. Whilst Hades was the villain, it made it sound like he was the bad guy and his brother the hero. But if you view it as Hades wasn’t such a bad guy but was cursed by his brother then you could see why he was a bit bitter about it.
Plus Rumple’s line “dark and light all depends on your point of view” seems like it could hint at something. At the moment we’re viewing Hades as the villain as “dark” and that his brother is “light” but what if it’s the other way around. The “heroes” are very narrow minded and tunnel visioned so of course they would assume Hades is the villain.
Did Hades lie about not being there? But why would it be a concern to him not being able to pass it since he doesn’t have true love until Zelena. Hades’ heart was frozen, he shouldn’t be able to go down there to pass through the test and cut the tree himself.
Will this be the final goodbye between Hook and Emma? Emma told Hook to move on, and he promised to do so when they make such a beautiful goodbye like that, they would destroy it by making him come back.
Although I think it would be better in some ways if Hook remains dead, I don’t think that will happen. Although Henry is now out of the Underworld and he has been told that he cannot write people back to life from the Overworld (and should not try), I think he might yet try. Seeing his mother heart broken might be his motivation. I think too much has been set up and foreshadowed in this area for nothing to come of it. I think Henry will try and it will have disastrous consequences (possibly season finale). If not that then the ambrosia regrowing now that Hades is gone is about as good a loophole as any.
— Gareth Gray
Will the Ambrosia regrowing help Hook to get back to Storybrooke? Besides, if the ambrosia does work and he eat it, he wouldn’t need a portal.
It was neat to see Emma and Regina use their magic together again to escape the library, but how could Henry simply leave the storybook in the Underworld? What about finding Hades’ story? Is there no way to defeat Hades at all?
Meanwhile, Rumple and Pan have their final face off and after re-watching both Firebird and 3×11 “Going Home,” the difference between the two was evident; there were no tenderness, no remorse, and no heroism. Is there a way to release souls from the River of Lost Souls?
As they’re leaving the Underworld, the pain continues with seeing Emma expecting for Hook to show up. Will we see Hook running towards the portal saying that the ambrosia works by the next episode, only to realized that Emma has gone back to Storybrooke?
Was Pandora’s box necessary? Can people who are under the sleeping cross through portals? On the other hand, Belle being in the Pandora’s Box makes sense because the only thing left inside Pandora’s box after all the evils are released in the world is hope. Symbolically, Belle is Rumple’s hope, so the fact he put his hope into Pandora’s box kind of works.
Going back to Emma, we thought, for a brief second, might get left behind, because she looked back, just like Orpheus did, and if their tale parallels Orpheus and Eurydice, looking back is a bad thing. And, of course, after the portal closed, the clock ticked from [8:15] to [8:16]. Will the two-hour finale have anything to the story arc that we have just witnessed?
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- In the episode 5×21 “Last Rites”, Emma, David, Regina, Robin and Henry are finally back home in Storybrooke but still have to contend with Hades
- Hades continues to deceive Zelena as he lays out his plan to use the all-powerful Olympian Crystal to take over the town
- Meanwhile, the heroes desperately search for a way to defeat Hades while Hook does the same in the Underworld
- Regina and Robin take a more direct approach, which culminates in an epic showdown that will leave our heroes forever changed.
- “Last Rites” was written by Jerome Schwartz and directed by Craig Powell
- Guest stars include Lee Arenberg as Leroy/Grumpy, Beverley Elliott as Granny, Emma Caulfield as the Blind Witch, Amy Manson as Merida, Victoria Smurfit as Cruella De Vil, Liam Garrigan as King Arthur, David-Paul Grove as Doc, Gabe Khouth as Sneezy, Faustino Di Bauda as Sleepy, Michael Coleman as Happy, Mig Marcario as Bashful, Eric Keenleyside as Moe French, Raphael Alejandro as Roland, Michael P. Northey as Friar Tuck, Jason Burkart as Little John, David Hoflin as Zeus, Kiefer Bahrich as Sad-eyed Boy and Greg Germann as Hades.
- Promo for Last Rites shows Emma telling Gold that Hades is in Storybrooke and she has to stop him
- The promo also showed Regina telling Zelena that they will do whatever they need to do to protect the town, with Zelena leaving in a puff of smoke
- It also showed Robin telling Regina that she is his future
- We also get to see a little nice welcome home moment between Snow and David with Prince Neal
- Plus, a Emma-Zelena face off and Hades saying, “this will not kill you, it will end you.”
- Promo for Last Rites ends in the graveyard focusing on Regina looking very upset and Emma crying. Could there be two funeral happening, one with Hook’s funeral and a final one with Robin’s?
- Promotional photos shows a lot of the present day photos, taking place in Regina’s office
- It looks like there will be a showdown between Regina and Robin, and Zelena and Hades, with Hades holding the Olympian crystal, which is Zeus’ weapon of choice
- There was also a picture of Zelena holding a page from the storybook, and it looks like the picture of her and Hades from Oz
- There was also a photo of Regina and Robin trying to protect baby Pistachio
- There is also a picture of Emma at the graveyard standing on a very fresh grave and holding a flask in one hand. Is it filled with an Ale of Seonaidh?
- This is the week that Robin is probably going to die, but who will kill him? Hades?
- Another promotional photo also showed Emma and Zelena on a battle
- This could also be the episode where we will see Hades’ end. Can Emma take him down?
- Adam Horowitz shared a script tease for Last Rites between Snow and Emma
- For 5×22, Only You, Mark Isham tweeted a picture of what he was working at the moment and on the back cover, “Mixtape and the Greater Good” can be read. Is Henry going to make a mix tape for Violet?
- TV Guide dropped a little article this week about the two-hour finale is going to be about, giving a pretty good indication of what season 6 is going to be about as well, saying that Regina is going back to the dark side, taking her and Emma on a road trip to the Big Apple.
- TV Guide also added, “The two mums are trying to stop Henry from destroying magic and trying to stop Gold, who is the Darkest of the Dark Ones, from getting to Henry,”
- One of the theories going around right now is that Regina is going to take Jeckyll’s potion, which is how she’s going to be the Evil Queen again, much like the Spell of Shattered Sight, but she will be transitioning back and forth in season 6.