Monday, May 9, 2016

Once Upon A Time 5x21 Review: “Last Rites” (Sacrifice) [Guest Poster: Julia Siegel]

“Last Rites” 
Original Airdate: May 8, 2016

The penultimate episode before the Once Upon A Time season finale went further than expected. As our heroes, and villains, have made their way back to Storybrooke, chaos was bound to ensue. It’s a race to find Hades’ weakness before he starts his plan of total takeover. With old friends reuniting and rivalries burning, who will make it to finale night?


Last week’s episode was very eventful, as everyone made it home to Storybrooke, except Hook. With Hades turning on the heroes and tricking Zelena, it was obvious that a major showdown was bound to happen. Upon arriving in Storybrooke, Zelena gives her daughter to Hades so she can go search for Regina. Out of nowhere, King Arthur comes out of the woods in handcuffs and begs Hades to help him escape. Not knowing who he was conversing with, Arthur makes the mistake of staying in Hades’ presence for too long and is quickly sent to the Underworld.

Meanwhile, Robin and Regina return and find Zelena. In a pretty useless attempt, they try to explain to Zelena that Hades hasn’t changed. Zelena, as stubborn as usual, wants to hear none of what they are saying and is beyond upset at their apparent betrayal. Regina warns Zelena that she isn’t safe with Hades and that they will all do whatever they have to in order to save Storybrooke from Hades.

On the other side of town, David, Emma, and Henry make it back home to Snow and baby Neal. Snow tries (unsuccessfully) to comfort her daughter, and tries to get her to realize that defeating Hades is the revenge she is looking for. The crew hooks up with Merida to try and figure out a way to destroy Hades, which doesn’t go quite as originally planned.


Upon his arrival to the Underworld, Arthur is greeted by none other than our favorite pirate. Hook learns that Arthur was killed by Hades, which he had feared, and the two team up in an effort to find Hades’ weakness in the missing pages from the storybook. Both men know that Storybrooke will perish if they don’t do anything, so they go to Hades’ lair to search. Arthur finds the missing pages in a secret compartment in Hades’ throne. As he looks over the pages, Hook sees that the only thing that can kill Hades is the Olympian Crystal, which — unbeknownst to him — is in Hades’ possession in Storybrooke.

The next part of Hook’s plan involves trying to get the new information to Emma. Since the magic phone booth was destroyed by Cruella de Vil, Hook and Arthur shake the location of the storybook out of her. Located deep in the Underworld and down the River of Lost Souls, the storybook seems impossible to get, but that won’t stop them from trying. Hook and Arthur take a boat down the river until they see the book at the end of the way. A small fight breaks out when lost souls try to drag Arthur away with them and attempt to take the book. Luckily, Hook catches the book right before it hits the water. He puts the pages back in the book, hoping that they will cross dimensions and appear in the version that exists in Storybrooke.


After spending hours looking through books in the library, Emma gets a nice surprise when the storybook flies open and flips to the new pages that Hook inserted. Not believing what she is seeing, Emma tears out the pages and runs to the town hall building, where Zelena and Hades are cooped up.

At the same time, Regina and Robin are already at the building and trying to find a way in, since a protection spell has been placed around it. Regina takes Robin through the underground tunnels to get inside to carry out their plan of rescuing his daughter. As they try to figure out a way to distract Hades and Zelena to grab the baby, Emma arrives and starts to strike the barrier with her magic. They both go to deal with Emma and see who else is coming for them. Zelena goes for Emma first and sees the pages from the storybook. Still not believing that Hades is planning on taking over Storybrooke, Zelena lashes out at Emma and goes back to find Hades, who has circled back to find Regina and Robin with the baby.

In typical villain fashion, Hades unveils his whole plan to Regina and Robin, while they plead with him to not go through with the destruction. Hades is unfazed by their plea and decides that his first strike of power will be to use the newly fixed Olympian Crystal to kill both of them. Not only does the Olympian Crystal have the power to kill anyone, but it takes the person out of existence altogether. Regina tells Hades that if he kills her, then he will lose Zelena forever. To no one’s surprise, Hades isn’t too affected by this news and decides to kill Regina first. As he strikes up the magic and throws a bolt at Regina, Robin makes the ultimate sacrifice and jumps in front of her to take the blow.

Robin’s death isn’t too surprising. I thought he was an expendable character from day one, especially because he had a part in fixing Regina. The ongoing storyline of Regina’s internal struggle of good or evil will last the entirety of the series’ run. It seemed like an easy choice to revisit Regina’s morals by putting her on the edge once again. After having a full season of being good, Regina will now face the toughest test in the season finale. What will Robin's death do to her and the progress she's made? I personally think that Regina is destined to return to the darkness and turn back into the Evil Queen.

Right after Robin is murdered, Zelena comes in to see Robin dead, Regina crying, and Hades ready to strike again. Regina and Hades give Zelena two different sides of the story, leaving her to decide the truth. Regina goes off on a long monologue to tell her sister that she is being blinded by love and that true love means making sacrifices, like Robin did. Zelena finally sees what has been going on and shoves the Olympian Crystal through Hades’ chest, turning him into a pile of dust. The two sisters are devastated by their unthinkable losses, as both have lost their true loves due to the ultimate sacrifice.


The two deaths actually occur pretty quickly in a very predictable scene, which was surprising. To the tune of predictability, we go back to see Hook and Arthur in the Underworld. By some weird magic, Hook feels that Emma and crew have succeeded in defeating Hades and realizes that his unfinished business has been completed. Through Hades’ defeat, Hook is free to move on from the Underworld. He asks Arthur to come with him, but the King declines and decides to stay in the Underworld to fix it from its current shambled state. Arthur feels that his unfinished business is to rule a kingdom, and realizes that Camelot was never meant to be ruled by him.

Hook walks into the ominous light and is greeted by Zeus, who is extremely happy that his brother has been defeated. Zeus is so delighted by Hook’s work in helping to defeat Hades, and his apparent character redemption, that he wants to thank him by guiding him to where he belongs. When Hook meets Zeus, it’s very clear what would happen next, and it all goes down in a very cheesy manner.

Back in Storybrooke, the town comes together for Robin’s funeral. Regina tells Zelena that she wishes that Robin could have named his child. Unsurprisingly, Zelena feels the most appropriate name for her daughter is Robin, which Regina extremely appreciates. Everyone gives Robin Hood a hero’s goodbye, and Emma stays behind to say her own goodbyes. She is still very emotional over leaving her true love behind in the Underworld, and wishes that she was able to have the chance for a proper goodbye. Her wish comes true when out of nowhere, Hook is sent back home and appears right behind her. The two embrace lovingly, with Emma not being able to hold back tears of pure joy. It seems like happily ever after might come true for Emma. At least for now.

Once again, this episode wasn’t surprising on any level. Hook was destined to come back to the world of the living at some point, or else why wasn’t he killed for good in the midseason finale? He is too central to the show at this point for him to be written off. I’m extremely happy to see Hook back, even though the scene could have been written much better. But Hook complements Emma so well and is her equal in every way. I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for the couple next season.

The two-hour season finale looks like it won’t be disappointing. There is also a chance that someone won’t survive the finale, as Rumple finds a tiny piece of the Olympian Crystal in Hades’ ashes. The big question is: how will the season conclude? Will another hero make the ultimate sacrifice? Will Zelena have to save Regina from herself? What’s Rumple’s big plan, and is he going to be able to wake Belle from her sleeping curse? Hopefully, all this and more is answered next week.


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