Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Once Upon A Time 5x20 Review: “Firebird” (Armor) [Guest Poster: Julia]

Original Airdate: May 1, 2016

As the season is starting to wrap up, it’s getting extra hot in the Underworld. The storylines get more tangled, as usual, as the fight to get back to Storybrooke hits its peak. This week’s adventure is full of true love, hope, lies, and betrayal – leaving me to wonder who will survive the season finale.


In typical OUAT fashion, “Firebird” gives us an inside look at stories from the past, which deal with Emma this time. Speaking of fashion, these wonderful flashbacks finally answer the question that everyone’s been thinking for the past five years: where did Emma’s red leather jacket come from? It’s quite the unusual tale, but winds up making some sort of sense by the end of the episode.

We are first flashed back to find Emma meeting her bounty hunter mentor, Cleo Fox, who hunted her down to collect bounty for bringing Emma to jail. “Delinquent Emma” doesn’t appear to be any different than the Emma we are used to watching, so don’t worry about that. Cleo helps Emma try to track down where she came from after Emma realizes that they both have a lot in common.

The two quickly become best buds, and Cleo decides she can’t turn Emma in. She basically mentors her on bounty hunting and how to not show any emotion, which is how we find Emma at the beginning of the series. The trick is Cleo’s armor, aka her brown leather jacket. Shortly thereafter, the police are on to Cleo and Emma’s whereabouts and try to capture them. Upon trying to escape from a run-down hotel, Cleo is magically impaled by a piece of glass from the window they escape through and is killed off.

A few years down the road in 2010, Emma is a newly appointed bounty hunter and has tracked down Cleo’s daughter, who works in a clothing store. Emma gives her all the files on Cleo she tracked down over the years, to help Cleo’s daughter understand where she came from. As she’s about to leave, Emma decides to make a purchase that lets her emulate her mentor even further. And voila, there’s that red leather jacket that she practically never takes off, more than likely due to its ability to be armor.


Back in the Underworld, there are multiple storylines that need a hero! First, and most importantly, “Firebird” starts with Hades wielding a deal with our band of heroes. Out of options, Hades reluctantly asks for their help to get Zelena back, who was previously kidnapped by Rumple and Peter Pan. Rumple has demanded that Hades tear up their contract if he wants to see Zelena again. In a lackluster way to end the whole contract negotiation storyline, the showdown happens at the diner, where Hades bids adieu to his hopes of owning Rumple and Belle’s child. Emma sneaks in to give Hades a hand, and Rumple and Pan poof off, leaving Zelena behind.

The moment we have all been waiting for finally arrives as Zelena and Hades reunite and share their first kiss. As if tonight’s episode wasn’t getting any more obvious at this point, they share true love’s kiss, which restarts Hades’ heart. With Hades no longer tied to the Underworld, a portal that will lead to Storybrooke begins to open, leaving everyone ready to run back home. Hades wipes the names of the heroes off the tombstones as a thank you for their help, so it appears everyone is set to go. But – not so fast, as I’m sure the writers evilly thought when writing this script – Regina splits Emma’s heart to bring Hook back to life, but he has been dead for too long for the trick to work. Hades offers up a last ditch effort, as he is now a “changed man,” but more on this later.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, Rumple decides to play hero for an episode. After returning to his shop, Rumple decides to test out true love’s kiss on sleeping Belle. To no one’s surprise, it doesn’t work. Conveniently, Pan shows up and tells Rumple that he can transport Belle to Storybrooke in Pandora’s Box if Rumple holds up his end of the deal and gets a living heart into Pan. Rumple steals Robin Hood’s heart, which appears to be going to Pan.

Rumple did a good job of hiding his plan until the very end. Pan is eager to get his new heart and is proud of his son for following through. Rumple shoves the heart into Pan, but it turns out it wasn’t Robin’s heart. Knowing that Pan would be watching him, Rumple stole Robin’s heart, then gave it back when Pan was distracted. Rumple essentially makes a water balloon filled with some River of Lost Souls water and shoves it into his father’s chest. Rumple tells his father that villains never get happy endings and maliciously wanted to be sure Pan never got his. As Pan melts down to a soul, Rumple has become a hero for the day. He sucks Belle up in Pandora’s Box and takes her home.


Emma and Hook depart down the elevator in the library to find a magical room that contains the food of the gods, ambrosia, which Hades says can bring Hook back to life. For anyone who saw this episode, wasn’t Hades a little too nice and helpful throughout the whole thing? True love comes into question again as Emma’s heart is put to the test to gain entrance into the room. She is faced with a tough choice of saving her dying heart or Hook, who was set on fire. Emma jumps to save Hook, proving that they are each other’s true love, which once again, it’s about time.

As they enter the room full of hope, they quickly realize that they have been set up. The ambrosia tree has been chopped down and turned to ash, leaving no escape for Hook. Accepting his reality, Hook wants Emma to go back home and say goodbye to him. She urges him to find another way or to let her stay with him, as she finally admits her own feelings in a tear-filled scene. This was one of the best parts of the episode because we finally got to see some raw emotion from Jennifer Morrison. She has been lacking a bit lately in the emotion department, so I was glad that she finally made up for it.

Emma knows she has no other choice and leaves Hook behind. She asks him to move on to a better place instead of waiting around for her. We don’t get to see what happens to Hook, so I doubt this will be the last we see of him. Honestly, if they were going to kill him off, it would have happened back in Camelot. There wouldn’t have been a reason to reunite them and declare their true love just to kill him off for real. If this was Hook’s write-off, then it was not what he deserved. Hook is too essential to the story and the survival of the show at this point to kill him off.


As Emma and Hook face their tribulation, the rest of the gang decides to try to accomplish as much of Operation Firebird as they can. Henry decides to write down as many of the unfinished businesses as he can for the people waiting to move on from the Underworld. Hades’ master plan unfurls more during this time as he traps the heroes in the library and seals them in with a spell. This, of course, is after the heroes have given Zelena her baby back. As we all thought, Hades never wanted any of them to leave the Underworld. When the portal opens, Hades, Zelena, and the baby go through to Storybrooke without waiting for the others.

When Emma goes back up the elevator, she is told by everyone that they are trapped. Of course, they aren’t trapped for long – Regina and Emma combine their magic to blast the doors off the library. Everyone makes it through the portal right before it closes. David practically drags Emma through because she tries to escape to go back to Hook.

With everyone, besides Hook, back in Storybrooke, the last two episodes of the season are going to be awesome. The teaser for next week promises some chaos with Hades in town. We will also get the reunion with Snow, and maybe even Belle’s curse will be broken. However, the not-so-shocking news is that one of the main characters will die before the end of the season. Whether it’s next week or the finale, it will be tough to say goodbye to someone. Since OUAT has been doing split seasons, it’s extremely likely that the Hades storyline will wrap up with him being defeated in some form.

As for who else won’t be back for next season, there are a few easy options. My best guess is that Zelena, Robin, or Henry will perish. They seem to be the most dispensable characters at this point, even though it wouldn’t be too hard to kill off Belle. It will have to be someone that will impact Regina greatly, as she continues her battle to be good. I don’t see the writers getting rid of any of the big characters, though it would be a huge shock if they did. A short clip of the teaser appears to show Emma crying at what looks like a funeral, so is someone in her family in danger? It’s too hard to say at this point, but don’t expect it to be obvious during the episode. The writers love to throw a curveball right at the end. Also, will Hook be back at all in this season or the next? With a lot of unanswered questions, we are in for a rough final two weeks.


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