TV Recaps

‘Once Upon A Time’: Labor Of Love Indeed

Last night was Once night, and was it ever a good one! Between being introduced to (and saying goodbye to?) new characters, seeing new backgrounds for one of our heroes, and learning the current predicament of our favourite pirate, to say this episode was a busy one would be an understatement.

Let’s start with our new heroes, Hercules and Megara. I had never seen Jonathan Whitesell in anything before last night, but after his performance as Herc, I’ll definitely be looking into more of his stuff. He fit right into the show and played the demi-god perfectly. And I don’t even think I need to, but I’m just going to mention his physical attractiveness. WOW.


As far as Meg goes, I have seen this actress, Kacey Rohl before and I absolutely adore her. Any Hannibal fans out there will recognize her as Abigail Hobbs, but by no means is that all she’s been in. She is a fantastic actress, and they simply could not have cast this character better. She plays terrified so well, which is exactly what this character was this episode. Such a good casting choice.

Hercules and Meg met once before, in the world above, right before their deaths. Hercules died fighting Cerberus, and Meg died shortly after, despite Hercules trying to save her. But together, with the help of Snow, they work together and defeat Cerberus as one.

I have to admit, I was very surprised at how the episode ended. Having completed their unfinished business, both Herc and Meg are able to move on, into Olympus. The writers had hyped these two characters to be mains and very important in the upcoming episodes, so I can only assume they’ll somehow be making a return. I can’t understand why they would hype them up so much if they weren’t coming back, and I was really hoping that they might even become series regulars. And who else can defeat Hades but Hercules himself? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

But what we did see of these two was fantastic! I loved how they tied Herc and Snow together. Bailee Madison returned as Young Snow this episode, and can I just say that every time she comes back, she’s better and better? The way she carries herself, her voice, her mannerisms, she’s clearly been studying Ginny Goodwin. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t multiple times in this episode where I mistook Bailee for Ginny.

We learned that Snow still feels guilty for not being able to protect her subjects, and feels a lot of responsibility for their deaths and/or misfortunes. Even as a child, she heavily felt this responsibility. But as she realizes, she had much more confidence and felt much stronger as Snow White, and that Snow White is really her true identity, not Mary Margaret. And she discovers and accepts what the others already knew, she’s always been Snow White at heart.

In the flashbacks, we also learn that it was in fact Hercules that taught her how to shoot! And while Snow has always been a sharp shooter with her words, her skill with the bow was certainly one she had to practice and hone (which, with a little help, she quickly does). And this isn’t the only role that Hercules plays in Snow’s childhood. Not only did he teach her lessons that she carries with her to this day, but he was also her first love.

Let me say, for the record, that Snowing is the ultimate ship. Not only in the show, but Ginny and Josh are actually the cutest and pretty much everyone’s OTP. But Snowcules? Unexpected though it may have been, I think we can all agree that it was ridiculously cute. Add in the fact that that was Bailee’s first on screen kiss? Cue every fangirl crying. Needless to say that the flashbacks in this episode were everything we ever wanted, needed, and more.

Our main girls, Snow, Regina, and Emma have now come face to face with Hades. And the ruler of the underworld certainly has some secrets. He says he has his reasons for the underworld taking place as Storybrooke, but is more than hesitant to revealing them. It’ll be interesting to see his background, and why he’s done what he has. He warns our heroines that if they mess with his family (Hercules) again, he will mess with theirs. Could Hades actually care about family? Or did he simply like having Hercules in the underworld? The latter is more likely, but having only met Hades an episode ago, we really can’t know for sure.


And then there’s Hook. I would like to start by giving a shout out to the costume and makeup departments, as well as to the pirate himself, Colin O’Donoghue. It’s hard to look at him for long right now. Seeing him so bloody, so tortured, it’s actually cringe-worthy. And when Hades throws his hook down at Emma’s feet, I can’t decide if she looks more devastated and heartbroken, or ready to kick Hades’ ass and raise some serious hell. And Emma isn’t the only one. As much as Hook has been tortured, he’s not given up. He sacrifices his own safety to help Meg, a girl he met not even two minutes ago, escape. He’s fighting like hell to stay strong and hopeful, promising Hades that he will find whatever is worse than death, and ensure that Hades suffers through it. But given the way the episode leaves off, I’m more than a little worried for him. Hades clearly likes to play mind games and have his fun, and now, for every soul that our Storybrooke heroes free, one of them must stay. And Hook must choose who. Knowing Hook, he won’t do it willingly, but knowing Hades, he’ll threaten Emma and his loved ones to a point where he won’t have a choice. I’m terrified, but also a little excited, to see what comes next.

The other big moment would be Henry seeing Cruella again. Of course, like everyone else down here, she wants out of the underworld and back into the world above. She misses, as she says, “The music, the gin, the glamour…the gin”. We learn that Henry is much more powerful than he was led to believe. The quill itself is far more than we ever knew. It wasn’t just a quill, but a living entity, something that was alive. And when Henry broke it, it was sent down to the underworld. And with Cruella’s help, he could find and use it. Though bringing her back could seem an awful thing, by doing it Henry would be clearing his mother’s soul. She would no longer be a murderer. We don’t see what Henry decides yet, but I think its safe to say that its a tough decision.

We learned a lot this episode, and our heroes are left with even more to deal with, to consider, and to fight against. And will Hercules be there to fight alongside them? Or is he gone for good? Let me know what you think in the comments!

‘Once Upon A Time’ Episode 12 Recap: A Look Into The Underworld
‘Once Upon A Time’: Is This The End Of Captain Swan?
‘Once Upon A Time’: The Biggest Storybrooke Moments From The Other   Shoe

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