Episode Review: Once Upon a Time 5×21

Well, this felt very much like a finale. It’s hard to believe that there’s still two whole episodes left; are we going to need that much story time to set up next season’s conflict? I wouldn’t complain if it meant witnessing some domestic bliss in Storybrooke, but I know our heroes are barely going to get a single night’s rest before having to deal with the next big thing.

So, this episode put the lid on the Hades storyline once and for all (I hope, anyway), but Hades took Robin along with him, for reasons I truly can’t fathom. Is this supposed to set up Regina to backslide next season? Because otherwise I really don’t see why Robin had to die so horribly (to be wiped out of existence!). If they had wanted to prove Hades’ treachery to Zelena, they could have just had her listen in and then witness Hades shoot the bolt at Regina, who Robin could have saved by ducking them both out of the way. Especially since it wasn’t exactly like Hades took them unawares.

But anyway, Robin died, and Hades died, and while we got a nice moment of sisterly solidarity out of it, I can’t see this going over smoothly into next season, especially now that Hook’s come back. I can’t imagine Regina taking that very well. They went to the Underworld because of Hook and Emma. Hook came back, but Robin died. That’s gotta hurt. (Also, excuse me, Hook’s back? Just like that? Because Zeus brought him back? Talk about deus ex machina.)

Speaking of solidarity, this episode built up a very abrupt bromance between Hook and Arthur. It’s not that I disliked it, but it just seemed very out of place. I’m not sure why Hades killed Arthur in the first place. Because he was just in the way? Because the writers needed any random ol’ person to help Hook? Arthur is basically the reason they managed to kill Hades, so Hades engineered his own death sentence due to his own callousness. Classic. Anyway, I continued to be suspicious towards Arthur even when he was about to risk his soul to help Killian – when did Arthur become so altruistic, anyway? Plus the actor always plays him in such a shady way, you can’t help but think the dude’s up to something.

One thing I did like about Arthur descending to the Underworld is that it seems he’s destined to save it now. I always liked how this show played around with mythology to make everything fit with their own mythos, and this is just another example of that. True, it’s a little too clean, a little too convenient, but as always, I’ll let it slide.

Miscellaneous Observations:

→ Does nobody care that Belle is still under a sleeping curse? When they were all holed up in the library looking through those books, I thought someone would at least mention that if only they had Belle the research would go a lot easier. But nope, nothing! I get that they had bigger things to worry about and Belle is technically safe, but c’mon!

→ Also, Belle’s father is a terrible human being. He’s always been terrible, but this just takes the cake. I seriously want to punch him in his smug face. I didn’t expect him to go along with Rumple easily, but I didn’t expect he’d stonewall completely. Why Belle still trusts her father to fulfill any of her wishes is beyond me. I mean, essentially, his view is, “Better my daughter be as good as dead for eternity rather than conscious and making choices that I disapprove of!” Are we not supposed to find this guy gross? Because I don’t know how the writers could pull this and not expect us to think he’s really, really, really gross.

→ Zelena’s reaction to Regina telling her the truth about Hades was utterly predictable. But, I was surprised to see Zelena not only switch sides at the end, but take out Hades herself! That was intense, considering Hades and Zelena were sold as true love. I can’t imagine anyone else on this show killing their One True Love. I mean, hell, Emma literally went to the Underworld to save Hook. I don’t know if that shows Zelena’s fortitude or ruthlessness. Probably the latter, which is an interesting character trait.

→ I like snarky!Killian a hell of a lot more than loveydovey!Killian. I mean: “Can we get to the acceptance already?” Gold.

→ Emma soliciting murder advice from Rumple felt like someone low-key asking for drugs. It was actually kind of hilarious. But um, did I miss something? Did that conversation ever go anywhere? Did Rumple give her any advice?

→ Emma and David are so adorable. I love all their scenes together. Their relationship is fascinating, because it could be so easily read as a friendship, or a brother-sister relationship, when it is in fact neither of those things. But because of the age difference, the ambiguity lets your imagination run wild. The non-traditional boundaries of this relationship makes it so much more appealing. And unlike Emma and Mary Margaret, David and Emma were never close before the curse broke. And how much do I love Emma? This whole episode she was basically suck in the “anger” stage of grief, and her belligerent “How do other people deal with death?” was just a perfect embodiment of that. Jennifer Morrison kills it as usual.

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