"Firebird" is the 108th episode of Once Upon a Time.
While Zelena finds herself a captive of Rumple and Pan, Hades finds himself going to the heroes in order to ask for their help in getting her back, offering to remove their names from their tombstones in return. However, when Hook is still unable to leave, he and Emma must journey into the depths of the Underworld, but Cruella makes it her mission to make sure they all still remain trapped. Meanwhile, in flashbacks, Emma searches for answers about her family and makes an unexpected friend.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Zelena's been kidnapped by the Stiltskins.
"You told her what?!" Emma exclaims as she and the others stand by the collapsed clock tower on the Underworld version of Main Street at night. Regina, to whom Emma is speaking, admits that she told her sister to give Hades a chance, leading David to ask her why she thought that that was a good idea. The former Evil Queen points out that Zelena is family, and she's trying to trust her; she thinks she can change Hades, but Hook appears doubtful of this, claiming to have missed the part where Zelena herself changed. Regina points out that the ex-pirate with the rum habit should cut her sister some slack, at which he points out in turn that the Evil Queen should be smarter than to send the Wicked Witch to romance the most devious man alive. Emma beckons for them to take it easy, for they aren't going to win the war against Hades if they use all their ammo on each other, and then a familiar voice chimes in: "The savior has a point." It's Hades, converging on the heroes. Hook demands to know what the hell he's doing there, with Emma telling Henry to get behind her, but Hades assures that he didn't find them to hurt them. Rather, he came for their ("...oh, wow, this is... hard...") help. David indignantly wonders what he could possibly want their help with, and Hades says that it's simple; he went to meet Zelena for their date, and found "this". He holds up a scroll, which Regina promptly takes from him, unfurling it and reading what it has to say. Her reaction is less than positive, with Emma being the next to read, announcing to the others that Zelena has been kidnapped by Gold and Pan.
Hades offers Emma a deal.
Hades adds that they're asking for a meeting tomorrow morning, while Emma adds further that Gold would like the Lord of Death to rip up the contract granting him his unborn child. Regina orders that Hades do it, refusing to lose her sister after just having got her back, and Hades refuses to as well, conceding to give them what they want but remaining wary because he knows "the Stiltskins" and their tricks – and they're not going to keep their word unless he has an ace up his sleeve. "Luckily for you, you've got one," says Regina, but Hades reminds her that she's been Zelena's doting sister for all of three hours; ergo, she doesn't get involved. She wonders who is going to be more motivated than her, and Hades states, "Emma." The blonde seems surprised at this, wondering why her, and Hades reveals that if Zelena gets out of this alive then he's prepared to offer her a deal. Hook advises his girlfriend not to trust a word this man says, and finally Regina agrees with the pirate. However, Hades reminds the savior of what the both of them know: that her family wouldn't be there if it weren't for her. "If you help me save her," he professes, "I'll take everyone's names off the headstones." "So we can leave the Underworld..." Emma realizes. At this, Hades asks her what her answer is; if she wants to send her family home or not. He takes the ransom scroll from her as he says this, while she is left staring at him, conflicted.
Emma wishes to learn more about her past.
Emma's yellow bug can be seen pulling over in the parking lot of a middle-of-nowhere diner – the very same one she was taken to as a baby by young Pinocchio (see "The Stranger"). The blonde is next seen emerging from her vehicle, all glasses and denim, and proceeds to show a newspaper clipping about her being found to one of the employees, saying that she just thought she'd ask on the off-chance that there's someone still working there who remembers that baby being brought in. The cashier she's talking to responds negatively to the idea of there being someone there who can recall an event from twenty-six years prior, for they can't even keep a cook for six weeks, and so Emma inquires about any long-time customers. Unfortunately for her, the food isn't good enough for that kind of loyalty; the cashier then apologizes, making clear that she's not going to find anyone there who remembers this, and Emma walks away saddened. She proceeds to throw her cheap meal down on one of the outside tables and sit by it in misery, staring down at the newspaper clipping, only for the woman in the brown leather jacket who was behind her in line to approach and sit down opposite her. "Tough break, kid," she says as she takes a seat, and Emma appears confused at this, with the woman adding that she heard what she was asking and wondering if she's a reporter or something. Still confused, Emma says that she's nothing like that, and then the woman asks, "You're the baby, aren't you? In the article. You're the baby, right?"
The fox catches her prey.
She puts this deduction down to intuition, for hers is usually pretty good, and then she offers her condolences because she knows it's hard not being able to find one's family. Emma assures that it's just a dead end, which she's had a lot of, then unenthusiastically thanking her for her concern and saying that she's got this. As Emma stands up to leave though, the woman requests to say one more thing based on her intuition. "Okay..." Emma replies. "I look at you," the woman says, "Young, pretty." "Okay..." Emma replies again, this time a little creeped out. "And I see someone who, now, stop me if I'm wrong, but," the woman continues, "Someone who stole money from a couple convenience stores in Phoenix, got arrested, and took off her her bail." Realizing that this woman must be a bail bondsperson, Emma decides to run, at which the woman appears mildly annoyed before she stands up. Emma manages to speed her way through the parking lot, narrowly avoiding being hit by a car, before finally making it to her yellow bug. All the while, the woman is coolly and steadily pursuing her, avoiding cars in equal measure, at the same time that Emma comes to realize that her car isn't going anywhere - not with the boot on the back wheel. "Why hello there," the woman, Cleo Fox, greets as she finally catches up to her bounty.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Dawn has come in the Underworld. A sign is hung on the door of Granny's Diner, stating that the establishment is closed until further notice, and Hades – the one to hang the sign – promptly shuts the blinds to avoid any public interference in what's about to happen. "Show yourself," he then demands, and three puffs of red smoke appear behind him. One bears Mr. Gold; another, Pan; and finally, there is Zelena. She is their captive, with Pan retaining one hand on her arm, as well an anti-magic cuff on her wrist. He's happy to see that Hades followed their command and came alone, while Hades utters his true love's name, relieved that she appears to be unharmed. She tells him that she tried to stop them, but then gestures the cuff, and Hades assures her that it's not her fault. "It's theirs." Gold questions this, pointing out that they wouldn't be there if Hades had ripped up that contract when he asked (see "Her Handsome Hero"), and, at this, Hades magically produces said contract within his grip, allowing it to unroll and reveal itself. As he does, he reminds the Dark One that, back then, he had no leverage, and Gold, briefly turning to Zelena, seems content that now he does.
The contract is destroyed.
He then orders that the Lord of the Underworld stand there and not move except to rip up the contract, and then he gets the witch, and Hades, without so much as hesitating, grabs the contract from both ends of its width and sleekly tears it in two. He then drops both halves onto the floor, for they are now but useless strips of parchment, and then he demands that Zelena be given back. Gold says that he can have her back, but, as Pan so joyously interjects, they never said anything about her heart. Zelena, still in Pan's grip, appears perturbed by this, while Pan explains to Hades that his body is ready to walk the earth again, except for one thing: a living heart. "So, if you don't mind," he says as he prepares to rip out Zelena's, only for her to inform him that her heart has got a protection spell on it. Pan informs her in turn that she might be good at magic, "But we're better," and then he plunges his hand into her chest... and gets blasted backwards by the light magic of Emma Swan, who's emerged from the backroom of the diner. Zelena's heart remains in her chest, and Emma goes to join Hades, asking as she does if Pan is entirely sure about what he just said.
Rumple decides to abandon his father.
Hades comments that he was starting to think the savior couldn't get in, but she reveals that locks don't bother her much, then pointing out that he ripped up the contract which means it's time for the kidnappers to leave. Pan asks when she started answering to the King of Death, and Emma snaps that he's the one getting her family home. Gold reminds "Miss Swan" that she picked the wrong team to back, for she won't get what she wants from Hades, but Emma reminds the Dark One in turn that he just did, which is making her wonder why he's still there. Rumple contemplates this, and finally he supposes that she has a point; with an evil grin, he vanishes from the diner in the same flurry of red smoke that he arrived in, only this time he doesn't have his father or their captive in tow. Pan is shocked to see that his son has abandoned him, at which Zelena gloats that it appears his little boy only came for what he wanted. "And I don't think you're gonna be that lucky," Emma adds. Finally, Pan lets the Wicked Witch go and vanishes in the wake of his son, meaning Hades and Zelena are able to reunite. He takes her hand and uses his magic to eradicate the cuff, then asking her if she's alright.
True love's kiss leads to a way home.
She appears touched that he tore up the contract for her, for she didn't think he'd do it, but Hades promises that he'd do anything for her. Smiling, she says that she thinks she's getting that, and then she rewards her rescuer with a kiss. Emma stands by awkwardly, but then grows surprised when, from betwixt the two villains' lips, a burst of true love is unleashed, engulfing the entirety of the Underworld. Hades steps back in shock after this happens, and Zelena, whose hand is resting upon his chest, looks ecstatic. "Is that...?" "My heart," he declares excitedly, "It's beating!" And then they share another kiss, but this one is interrupted by a sudden earthquake. Emma asks what the hell that was and Hades comes to realize that his banishment is over, meaning he can finally leave this place for good. He tells Emma that, very soon, at the cemetery, there will be a fully-formed portal back to Storybrooke, but it will close at sunset. "First thing's first," states Emma, "I held up my end of the deal, now it's your turn. We're going home through that portal too. All of us."
The names are removed; the heroes are free to go.
The hands of the clock tower keep on spinning over at the Underworld cemetery, for that is where the collapsed building top has been relocated to, getting steadily faster as a result of Hades' banishment having come to an end. David, who is amongst the other heroes, marvels at the clock and asks how it got there, only for Emma to say that she doesn't know. She points out that the hands are spinning, wondering if that's a good or bad sign, and Hades assures her that it's a great one if they want to leave because when those hands spin fast enough, in about an hour, the clock face will transform into an open portal back home. "Which we can't go through because of those," Regina points out, gesturing to the headstones which bear all the heroes' names, "So, let's get on with it." Hades gladly obliges, proceeding to wave his hand in the direction of the graves and cause a flow of magic that swiftly erases all the names off of them. "There," he declares once the deed is done, "As promised. You're no longer tied to this realm," and Zelena takes this opportunity to revel in the fact that she told them love could change this man.
The super dumb heart idea doesn't work, thank Zeus.
Hook, however, doesn't buy it, for a man can't change that quickly, but Emma reminds him that they're free to go through the portal when it opens, which means it's time to split her heart so that he can leave with them. The pirate acknowledges this while the blonde turns to Regina, requesting that she do it. The former Queen then plunges her hand into Emma's chest and removes her beating heart, then using her hands to split it in half. She gives one half to Emma, and Emma then turns around and attempts to force it into her boyfriend's chest. However, it doesn't go in, and Emma stumbles in pain; quickly, Regina takes the heart segment away from her and reassembles it with its other half, promptly launching it back into its rightful place in Emma's chest, through her back. Emma stands up, clutching her chest, and demands to know why it didn't work, at which Hook exclaims that he knew they couldn't trust Hades. Hades, however, assures that he did nothing, and is afraid there are laws of nature beyond even his control.
A new way to resurrect Hook is needed...
David argues that it should work since he himself died and his wife's heart brought him back (see "A Curious Thing"), but Hades asks him how long he was dead. Regina replies that it was a minute or so, maybe less, and Hades seems to think that this makes sense, for he didn't think he recalled the prince's soul entering this realm – his soul never left his body, that's why it worked for him. Emma seems distraught at the idea that Hook's been down there too long, with Hades pointing out that his body is rotting away back up there, meaning that even if his soul could return to it it's doubtful that either of them could stomach the smell. Sadly, Hook takes this to mean that Emma and the others will have to return without him, but Emma insists that there must be another way. He begs her to stop, but she demands to know from Hades if anyone has ever come to the Underworld and brought someone back. When he doesn't reply, she realizes that someone has, and demands to know who. Hades says that it was a long time ago and it was a rumor; there's no proof it actually worked. However, she wants him to tell her everything.
Distracted by an off-brand Google.
Emma, in the past, is having her wrist cuffed to a bed by Cleo Fox, who apologizes for what she's doing before mentioning that she's going to go take a shower now. The blonde wonders if she'll be showering in her jacket, which she suspects she also sleeps in, and Cleo sarcastically comments that that's is funny, then handing Emma the TV remote and prompting her to watch some cartoons, for she'll be right back. Emma appears less than impressed while Cleo heads into the bathroom and she proceeds to turn on the TV while grabbing some materials from the bedside table, including a wire which shes able to use to pick the lock on her handcuffs. Soon, she is free, and then she heads into the other room where she discovers her captive's purse; she takes out her wallet and opens it up, stealing all the money and discovering a photograph of a little girl at the same time. The back of the photograph reveals the girl's name to be Tasha, with this having been taken in the Winter of 1999; Emma whispers an apology to Tasha, assuming Cleo to be her mother, and places the photo back into the wallet and the wallet back into the purse, retaining the fifty dollar bills for herself. However, as she goes to make her escape, she grows distracted by Cleo's laptop, which is open on a search engine by the name of "Trackr". It is an Interstate Record Finder, according to the logo, and Emma grows overly-curious.
Cleo agrees to take Emma to where she wants to go.
Cleo soon emerges from the shower and immediately sees that Emma is missing; panicking, she throws her towel back into the bathroom and grabs her brown leather jacket, rushing into the other room where... Emma is sitting at the desk, using Cleo's laptop to browse Trackr for information about herself. Amazed by it, she turns to Cleo and asks in awe if all bail bondspersons get these special search things, then explaining her escape by informing her that she dated a guy once who was good at picking locks. Cleo points out that she could have left, while Emma exclaims that the Hancock County Courthouse has a file on her that she didn't now about. She wonders if they could know something, such as the name of the boy who brought her in, or there could have been a note with her that got dropped into the file. Something; anything. She suggests that Cleo take her there, but Cleo wonders why she would do that. Emma points out that she can get out of handcuffs and that Cleo would have to track her down in every city and every hotel all the way across the country. She adds that if Cleo is willing to help her with this then she'll go quietly to Phoenix. She just wants some answers. Cleo nods, understanding the idea of wanting to know where one comes from, and Emma nods in kind. Eventually, the bail bondsperson states that the courthouse opens at nine tomorrow, signifying that she will take her, and then she heads back into the bedroom while Emma smiles.
Orpheus and Eurydice.
An open book depicts a story down in Hades' lair, where Emma and the others have hightailed over to, and Hades passes it to Henry as he explains that the story is that of Orpheus and Eurydice. Henry claims to know this myth, saying that Eurydice died and Orpheus followed her to the Underworld to get her back, and Hades informs them that those are the only two souls to ever escape his realm. As the book gets passed around, reaching him, David asks how, for he thought the Lord of Death stated that resurrection broke the laws of nature. Hades reveals that Orpheus helped Eurydice escape by feeding her ambrosia, which is the food of the gods. Regina, taking a peek at the story herself, wonders where exactly one would get some of that, because she doesn't recall seeing it on the menu at the Blind Witch's.
Hades gives Emma the rundown.
Hades uses his magic to make the block inside the library elevator disappear in one big flurry of blue smoke, allowing access for the heroes. Emma questions why they'll be needing this elevator, for she is the savior and thusly has magic, but Hades reminds her that he's the Lord of the Underworld, which he thinks should tell her something. He explains that the ambrosia is powerful and, like a petty spoiled child, it wants all the power for itself; everything else is shut down down below, so there's no hopping in and out in a puff of smoke, the elevator is the only way and, once they're down there, they're on their own. "And, what, we're knee-deep in a field of ambrosia? It can't be that easy," Emma surmises, but Hades isn't really sure, claiming that even he has never journeyed that far down. Hook seems perturbed by the idea that they're going to the one place in hell where even the devil fears to tread, at which Zelena swoops in to defend her man, pointing out that it's not hell and that Hades is not the devil. Hades also adds that his reason for not going down there has nothing to do with fear, but rather, there is a test to ensure that only those who are worthy of eating ambrosia can reach it – and it will require offering up your heart for judgment.
Emma begins to wonder how she's going to take out her own heart without magic, only to be cut off mid-sentence by having another hand plunged into her chest: this time Hades'. He removes her heart for her and places it in a drawstring pouch, calling it his gift to her as he hands it over, advising her to take care of it. Emma begs for this to be the last time her heart is removed for the day, with Hades defending that he's just trying to help, and the blonde asks if failing this test has fatal consequences. "One would think," Hades replies, at which Hook tells his girlfriend that she doesn't have to do this. She then tells him that he didn't have to sacrifice his life to save all of them from the Dark Ones (see "Swan Song"), "We're going." David promises that they'll be right there waiting for them, and then Emma addresses Regina. The former Queen claims to know the drill, that if she's not back by sunset then everybody leaves anyway. Emma wants her to promise to ensure this, only for Regina to assure her that she will be back, and then Henry tells his birth mother that he loves her. They share a hug as she says that she loves him too, then turning to Hook before the both of them proceed into the elevator. The pirate uses his one hand to pull down the gate, and the mechanism then begins pulling them downward.
Rumple's kiss fails to wake Belle.
Over at the rundown Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer, Rumplestiltskin can be seen heading on into the backroom where Belle remains unconscious thanks to the sleeping curse she had dosed herself with. She appears rather peaceful as her villainous husband approaches, and he proceeds to lean down and gently plant a kiss on her lips, hoping to ignite a spark of true love that might wake her up. However, nothing happens, and the Dark One sits at his wife's bedside as he struggles to accept the idea that she no longer loves him. He grows distracted, though, when he hears a noise in the main body of his shop, and so he abruptly emerges from the backroom and discovers his father Peter Pan standing by the entrance. Pan claims that, while Belle may not be able to accept him for who he is, he will, despite his rude abandonment of him earlier. Rumple smiles at this, calling it touching as he addresses the boy before him as "papa", then he points out that abandonment hurts – "Doesn't it?" Pan appears sour at this, realizing that he has now experienced a taste of his own medicine, and his son tells him that, with the contract gone, he only cares about one thing: getting Belle home so her father can wake her.
The de-aged man says he'd like to help Rumple make the journey, but then he rages that it's going to be quite difficult since he didn't get the heart his son promised him. "Oh, there's the man I remember." Rumple exclaims as his father approaches, "Always thinking about what's in it for himself." However, Pan assures Rumple that there's something in it for him too, then raises his hand to reveal the Underworld's own version of Pandora's Box. He points out that Rumple could keep Belle safe inside of it in exchange for a heart, otherwise, they both might lose out and miss that portal home. Gold considers this, and Pan adds that the portal is opening soon, but shall only remain open until sunset, meaning that by then it will be too late. "So," he proposes to the highly contemplative Dark One, "Do we have a deal?" As one of his own catchphrases is used against him, Rumple remains silent, and then Pan decides to enhance the feeling of time closing in by echoing his son's crocodile nature: "Tick, tock." The contemplation goes on.
Henry wants to continue Operation Firebird.
Outside the library elevator, Henry complains that they can't just sit around waiting for Emma and Hook to get back, but Regina tells him that they don't have a choice. She then makes clear that they'll be going straight through that portal the minute the two of them come back up, at which Henry reminds her of Operation Firebird (see "Souls of the Departed"), not wanting to leave the Underworld without helping the people trapped there. Regina points out that they're only trapped there because of Hades who, fortunately for them, will no longer be a resident. Hades tells Henry that his mother is right, and that the Underworld will function as it was meant to: a place for people to deal with their unfinished business without anyone getting in their way. While Henry accepts this, he argues that a lot of the people down there don't even know what their unfinished business is, then suggesting that maybe, as the Author, he can tell them. Regina goes to reply only to grow distracted when Robin enters the library with Baby Hood in tow. He wonders what's going on and David expresses relief that he got their message. Robin, however, goes into a state of confusion regarding the presence of Hades and Zelena, to which the latter dryly responds, "Hello to you too."
Robin is reluctant to hand over his daughter.
She then asks if he's just going to stand there or if he's going to let their darling daughter see her mummy, leading Robin to turn to Regina for guidance. The former Queen assures the thief that it's okay for, as hard as it may be to believe, the villains are actually helping them. Baby Hood lets out a whine, and Hades assures Robin that they both want the same thing, which is to leave this place. David backs this up, explaining that Hades removed their names from the tombstones so that they may leave, and Robin proceeds to wonder what they're still doing there. "Boy scout's got a point," says Zelena, "We could take the baby to the cemetery now and then all walk through as soon as it opens." David refuses to leave without Emma and Hook though, while Regina points out that Henry's right: they can still help people. She then tells Robin to take the baby to the portal, but he won't leave her in this place alone; yes, Hades may be playing nice, but there are still plenty of people down there who have a grudge against her. Accepting this, Regina suggests that he give the baby to Zelena, to which Robin exclaims, "Are you mad?!" Zelena appears hurt by this, and Regina turns to her.
And then his heart gets ripped out. Lol.
The sisters exchange loving smiles, and then the former Queen assures that they can trust her. "Maybe you can," Robin says, but his true love orders him to trust her, promising that she wouldn't be doing this if she didn't think it's what's best for his daughter. Still unsure, Robin looks down at the baby girl in his arms, and then back to Regina, finally nodding and approaching the child's mother as he gives her a kiss on the forehead. Zelena is happy to be reunited with her offspring, and she tells Regina, "Thank you," before embracing her. The two sisters then part ways as Zelena leaves with both the baby and Hades, and Regina asks a despondent Robin if he's okay. He tells her that he needs a moment, to Regina's guilt, and proceeds into an adjacent aisle, so as to be alone with his many mixed and melancholy feelings. He takes a deep breath... and then he hears something behind him, demanding to know who's there before turning around to be faced with none other than Rumplestiltskin. "It's just me, dearie," the Dark One utters, then telling the frightened thief not to worry because he'll remember none of this. And with that, he rips out his heart.
4.13's main pic.
The elevator from the library finally makes it to the very bottom of its long shaft, and it's a very bumpy end indeed as Emma and Hook finally finish their long descent into the mine tunnels of the Underworld. Dust rises as the journey downward comes to a close, and the pirate asks his girlfriend if she's alright. She seems to be, then saying that it looks as though this is their stop, and as such Hook once again uses his one good hand, this time to lift the elevator's gate up so that the two of them may exit and start looking for this ambrosia. Both cautious, they step out and proceed slowly down the tunnel, with Sheriff Swan clicking on a flashlight so as to light their way through this dark and apparently uncharted territory. The search for the gods' food begins, and the quest goes on...
Emma's file is fruitless.
In flashback, we are shown the exterior of the Hancock County Courthouse before being taken inside where Emma is complaining about how long it could take to grab a file. She is sitting, waiting, beside Cleo, then wanting to see what she can do to make the courthouse workers speed up. She approaches the desk in the hopes of finding someone to talk to, but she grows distracted when Cleo suddenly says, "Armor." She asks the bail bondsperson what she's talking about and she explains that her jacket – the one Emma likes to ridicule – is her armor. Emma still doesn't understand what she's talking about, at which Cleo stands up and tells the blonde that she's not thinking clearly; she's emotional, and it's what keeps getting her in trouble. She then offers to give her a piece of advice, telling her that she's got to learn how to protect herself because whatever gets found in her file in this courthouse isn't going to be the "be all end all" for her. "Find your armor." Finally, a clerk emerges and hands Emma her file, and she looks rather perturbed by how thin it is as she takes it and starts to rummage through... only to discover that it only contains the same article that she herself already possesses. Cleo points out that it also contains something on the boy who brought her in, with it seeming as though he ran away and fell out of the system (see "The Stranger"), and then there's just an inventory of what she came in with. Ultimately: all things that she already knew.
Time to go.
She closes the file and hands it back to the clerk, insisting that something's missing and begging for him to take another look. He assures that that's all there is but she requests that he check again. When he refuses, she wants to look herself, trying to make her way around the counter; however, Cleo stops her, with the clerk stating that she has to step back if she wants to avoid him calling security. The blonde is obsessed though, thinking maybe something fell out of the folder or something, but Cleo tells her that it's a dead end and that she's grasping at straws. Emma is hysterical and Cleo tries getting her to calm down, reminding her that she said she'd go quietly if they did this; they gave a day, they did it, and now it's time to go. Emma isn't giving up so easily, but Cleo thinks it's time that she did, suggesting that she not do it because they had a deal but for herself. She can go back to Phoenix and start looking again, front-ways this time, and once she's paid the price for everything she's done she can start building a new life. However, Emma knows that Cleo simply wants to drag her ass back to Arizona so that she can get the money for bringing her in. "I didn't have to give up a whole damn day to do this for you, did I?!" Cleo exclaims, then saying that she kept her word and insisting that Emma, who remains silent, is going to keep hers as well. "Hate me all you want but tomorrow we are going back to Phoenix, do you understand?" "I understand," Emma replies eventually, and as Cleo heads out of the courthouse she reminds the young woman that where she's going is Arizona – not hell.
Stealthy realizes his unfinished business.
Meanwhile, in "hell", the residents are lining up in front of Henry, who is sitting at a desk outside the library, backed by Regina and Robin, and using his Author's quill to write down the unfinished business of those who come to him. His current client is Stealthy, the eighth dwarf, whom Henry finally finishes writing for and proceeds to pass him the page telling him what it is he needs to resolve if he hopes to move on from this place. Upon reading it, Stealthy says that he hadn't realized how much resentment he held against Bashful, then thanking Henry and requesting that, when he gets back to Storybrooke, he tell his brothers that he misses them. David emerges from the library at this point, watching as his grandson assures the dwarf that he will carry out his request. Henry then informs him that Leroy – or as Stealthy knows him, Grumpy – talks of him often, and this makes Stealthy very happy to hear. The dwarf then leaves to go resolve his unfinished business, and Henry asks his grandpa if there's been any sign of his mother and Hook. David answers negatively, but points out that they still have some time before the portal even opens, only for a familiar someone to then exclaim, "Don't count on it!" It's Cruella De Vil, angrily barging her way through the crowd.
Cruella wants to rule the Underworld.
Henry hastily hides the people's unfinished business pages in the Underworld's version of the storybook, right as Mayor De Vil decrees that the "vermin" around her should scatter. Regina apologizes insincerely, telling the villainous diva that she doesn't think her unfinished business is going to take her to anyplace she'd like, but Cruella claims not to be there to collect her story; in fact, she'd rather stay in this "marvelous" realm. She explains that, with Hades departing, the Underworld is going to need a new ruler, and David questions if she seriously means herself. "Well, it's the only upside to your daughter sentencing me to this fate," she says, "But, the job would be meaningless without a citizenry to torment." David makes clear that they're not going to let her harm these people, at which she questions if he thinks she's just going to keep "them" – the assembled residents – down there; "Oh, no! I'm going to keep all of you here." In her view it's only fair, considering it was Regina's son who refused to write her back to life and David who dissolved her James, whom she describes as "the best toy in the whole playpen". Regina, though, is still waiting to hear how she's going to stop them from leaving, referring to her as "fuzzy" before reminding the magically-inept flapper girl that all her powers can do is make a dog roll over and beg.
The Blind Witch finally claims her revenge against Regina.
Cruella confirms this, stating that she doesn't have the magic to keep them all penned down there. "But I do!" the Blind Witch joyously cries out, having converged on the scene and now standing beside Cruella, whom she appears to have teamed up with. She then waves her hands and causes the library doors to swing open, then making it so that Regina, David, Henry and Robin are all forced off of their feet and dragged backwards inside. The doors slam shut, presumably locking, as the heroes stand up, desperate to escape. David goes to open the doors only for Regina to tell him to get out of the way, before exclaiming that the "kid-eater" forced her hand and summoning a ball of fire into it. However, when she throws it at the doors, it simply evaporates, and Regina finds herself wondering what the hell is going on. Cruella says that that's right: no one's getting out before sunset when the portal closes and then... no one's getting out. The Blind Witch tells Regina that she can consider it payback for tricking those children into burning her in her own oven (see "True North"). "Ta ta!" Cruella bids, and then, "Oh, it's going to be a nice eternity after all. At least for us." The two women then stroll off, arm in arm, leaving the heroes trapped.
Captain Swan encounters the test.
Emma's flashlight shines over a podium which is stood before a closed-off gateway. Two small, elevated fires either side of it keep this chamber of the mine tunnel well-lit, meaning the savior can click off her flashlight as she and Hook approach. On the podium is a set of weighing scales with Ancient Greek runes carved around the edges, and Emma expresses annoyance that the instructions couldn't be in English. However, to her surprise, Hook proceeds to read aloud, "Only a heart filled with true love can pass." He then explains that she'd be surprised what one gets taught in the Royal Navy, though he does question what the bloody hell it means, and Emma says that she thinks she knows. She thinks she has to weigh her heart to see if her love for Killian is true, at which he raises an eyebrow. "What?" she asks, to which he starts to reply, "You're saying that what we share is...?" Emma points out that they're about to find out, but he says that, while he knows she loves him, true love is the rarest magic of all, and so he asks if she's certain.
Emma's heart is weighed.
Emma tells him that, honestly, she's not sure, but she wonders who could be, stating that they have to try. Hook proceeds to question why she can only admit how she feels when one of them is facing certain death, but she doesn't know. "I guess my armor's been on for such a long time that I... Sometimes I forget I don't need it with you." Hook is touched by this, watching as she then removes her heart from the drawstring pouch and nervously places it onto one side of the scales. The pirate takes a step back, equally nervous, and all seems the same once the heart has been set down. The scales don't move, and Emma retracts her hand in confusion, waiting for the gateway to perhaps open. She too takes a step back when, still, nothing happens. The heart just sits there, and Hook begins to lament that it didn't bloody work. However, suddenly Emma stumbles forward, without breath; it seems as though her body is starting to malfunction due to the absence of her heart, and Hook wonders what's wrong as the savior sinks to the ground in pain, clutching her chest. Struggling to speak, she asks him to get her heart off the pedestal, but when he moves to go and collect it, he suddenly finds himself engulfed by flames.
Emma saves Hook
They swirl around his body, hurting him a great deal, and Emma yells out his name as she struggles to stand. He begs that she get her heart and save herself, and in that moment Emma is faced with a choice. She sees her heart sitting there, knowing that not going after it could result in her death, and at the same time she sees the man she loves burning, which for all she knows could very well result in his total annihilation. With all the strength she can muster, she begins getting to her feet, looking as though she's about to lunge for the heart... but instead she runs at Hook and tackles him to the ground, so as to douse the flames. The fire disappears, and the both of them are fine – and then the doors of the gateway open up, beckoning them to come collect the ambrosia on the other side. Emma, still lying on top of Hook, realizes that that was it; that saving him was the test to prove that her love is true. Hook too realizes this, and the two of them stare into one another's eyes lovingly as they bask in this great new confirmatory stage of their romance.
Cleo rudes Emma for being moronic.
Cleo sleeps back in time while Emma watches from the adjacent bed, making sure that her captor is definitely not awake before applying her glasses and sneaking out.
We are then taken back to the Hancock County Courthouse, this time at night when there are no employees left to speak of, and Emma, having broken in with a flashlight, can be seen opening up a drawer of a filing cabinet and searching for the folder about her. Finally she locates Swan, Emma and prepares to read it, but then she hears a noise and so promptly clicks off her flashlight. She then attempts to arm herself with the nearest thing available, waiting by a corner for someone to emerge; however, when she jumps out, she is both startled and relieved to be met by Cleo, who she claims scared the hell out of her. Cleo snatches Emma's weapon and quickly puts it back as she frantically asks her what she's doing, and Emma acknowledges their deal but says that she can't... "You can and you will!" Cleo exclaims, and Emma asks if this is how badly she wants her bail money, asking if she called security. With that, Cleo slaps her across the face, asking if she thinks a security guard is going to show up and ask to see her license and give her her money. No; all they're going to see is two moron criminals trespassing on government property asking to get shot.
Time to go again.
As such, Emma asks her why she's there, and Cleo tells her that she is sure her parents had reasons that they gave her up, but her finding out isn't going to do her any good; they would want her to focus on what she's got now. Emma asks her how she would know what her parents would want and Cleo responds that she knows things and that sometimes Emma could do herself some good by listening to her. The blonde is silent at this, and so the bail bondsperson asks that she look at what she's risking by being there; "Come on, let's go." She then begins to lead Emma out of the office, only to be shocked by the sound of police sirens suddenly blaring outside. The police announce themselves and request that the two criminals come out with their hands over their heads, and so Cleo runs in the opposite direction and leads Emma to a window on the other side of the building. When she can't get it open, she has the blonde stand back so that she can use her foot to smash it, then elbowing the leftover pieces of glass so that the two of them can make their escape through it. At the same time, a pair of officers with guns enter the building in pursuit of them, and so Cleo hightails it over the window ledge and jumps out. Her landing is less than pleasant, and then Emma follows, rushing to get up and running after the bail bondsperson as they try their best to make a speedy getaway.
The ambrosia have already been killed.
Emma is seen running yet again as she and Hook hastily enter into what is supposed to be a field of ambrosia, running down a small set of steps only to then be confronted by a tree stump at the center of a large green and gold emblem. It appears as though somebody has been down there and chopped down the source of the fruit, with Emma picking up a leftover piece off the ground and realizing that it's gone rotten when it turns to dust in her hands at the slightest amount of pressure. "The ambrosia are dead," she laments as she lets the dust go, and Hook, rather angry by the situation they've found themselves in, surmises that they have been for some time. He walks around the dead tree, placing his one hand atop the stump, and Emma comes to realize that someone cut it. However, Hook concludes that it wasn't just a someone: it was Hades. He knew they couldn't trust him. "Of course we couldn't," Emma agrees, with the pirate figuring that the Lord of Death probably did this ages ago when Orpheus and Eurydice used the ambrosia to escape. The savior wonders why he would lie to them and send them after dead fruit, and Hook points out that he doesn't want them coming with him to Storybrooke. This worries Emma greatly.
Hades shadily beckons Zelena through the portal.
Meanwhile, back up in the library, Regina says that she doesn't get it, explaining that the Blind Witch's spells are always half-baked. Robin points out that this could not be her spell, and then the former Queen realizes, "Hades..." He's the one truly keeping them trapped there. She is less than pleased by the revelation.
Over at the cemetery, the hands of the clock tower are spinning rapidly as Hades stands by with Zelena and her baby, and finally the entire clock face disappears as a swirling red portal is formed in its place – one which leads right back to Storybrooke. Hades tells his true love that it's open now but that it won't stay open much longer, stating that they have fifteen minutes tops. Zelena appears worried, looking behind herself as she says that Regina and the others should have been there by now, but Hades tells her that, while he doesn't know what's keeping them, they can't wait. The baby gets fussy and then there's a minor earthquake, with Hades assuring the witch that they don't have time. "I can't leave my sister here," Zelena frets, but Hades reminds her that they've done everything they can for her friends and that they're heroes, meaning they'll most likely get there in time. Zelena asks if he really thinks so, and he asks in turn what could possibly stop them without him in their way. This is an ironic statement of course, and Zelena takes one last fleeting glance at the Underworld before deciding that it's time to go. She then carries her baby through the portal, and Hades looks shifty as all hell as he follows her through it.
Pan grows impatient with his son.
Mr. Gold reenters his shop where his father Peter Pan is waiting, asking his son where he has been since they're running out of time. The Dark One asks his papa if he still can't bring himself to trust little Rumple, and Pan, excited by the heart-sized pouch Rumple has with him, comments that he always was a touchy boy. There is an earth tremor from the portal at the cemetery, which Pan takes to mean that it's not going to be open much longer. "Shall we?" Pan asks as Rumple opens up the pouch to reveal a red glow, Rumple tells his father that they can't be doing it quite yet. He claims that timing is everything, and advises his papa to have patience. Pan is perturbed by this, wanting now to be brought back to life, and yet another minor earthquake fills him with fear because he knows that his chance to return to the land of the living is wearing thin.
Hook convinces Emma to flee.
Emma is down on the ground beside the deceased ambrosia tree, searching through the grass for seeds or clippings or something else that can be used to help save Hook, but Hook points out that Hades tricked them into coming down there and that there's no telling what he may have done to her family – and there's also no telling what he might do if he reaches Storybrooke. Basically, they need to leave, now, and the earthquake that ripples down to this low level of the Underworld, all the way from the portal above, enhances this message. Hook insists that they need to get out of there, but Emma doesn't want to go without the ambrosia, for it's the only way to resurrect him. The pirate promises that they'll find another way, but right now they have to go. There is another earth tremor as the ruins surrounding them start to collapse, and finally Hook is able to convince his true love to come with him and, together, they begin rushing back to the tunnels.
Cleo dies in Emma's arms.
In the past, Emma is running still, following Cleo as the cops remain on their tail. They make it halfway down an alley when Cleo stumbles suddenly, falling to the ground in pain. She clutches her stomach and then we see that her hand is now covered in blood. This confuses Emma, who didn't hear a shot, but Cleo, unable to get back up, tells her that it's not a shot. It's then that Emma sees the piece of glass lodged into her gut, surmising that it's from the window they jumped out of, and she kneels down at her side in shock, apologizing profusely for having gotten her into this situation. The sounds of sirens draw closer, and Emma thinks that it's an ambulance, meaning Cleo is going to be okay; however, Cleo assures that it's not an ambulance. It's the cops, and she begs that Emma not get caught there. Emma believes that they'll be able to help her though, offering to contact Cleo's family, but Cleo reveals that she has no family. "Your little girl," Emma says, "I saw the picture." However, Cleo claims that said little girl has no idea who she is. This confuses Emma, and Cleo explains that she took that picture ten years ago from across the street. Emma then realizes that Cleo gave her up, just like how she was given up, and the bail bondsperson grows fainter and fainter, telling the blonde that she's holding on too tight. "Emma, let go," she begs with her dying breath, "Let go." And then she goes still; her head droops down and her body turns slack, and the police sirens continue to converge in the alley where Cleo Fox has just passed away. Emma is tearful, but soon makes the decision to stand up and continue running away. Thus, Cleo's corpse is left for the police to find as the blonde makes a hurried escape from the flashing lights of the sirens.
Promises are made.
Hook and Emma continue to dash towards the elevator, with the latter exclaiming that they must hurry because they don't have much time before the portal closes. However, while she enters the elevator, Hook stops just outside of it, and she wonders what's wrong. Hesitating, he soon says that he's not going up with her, and he was never going to, because they're not going to find anything up there to save him. Emma reminds him of his promise, only for him to admit that it was the only way he could get her to leave that chamber; she states that she came to the Underworld to save him and refuses to go back without him, but he's afraid that she doesn't have that choice. "Look... I just wanna say my goodbyes down here, without everyone watching," he confesses, but the savior is defiant. Hook points out that the two of them have now had more time together than they were ever meant to, but she insists that that's not true. He insists in turn that they both know it is, saying that she should have let him go in Camelot (see "Birth"), and he begs that she not make the same mistake again. Both are tearful, and Emma weeps that she doesn't know how to say goodbye. Hook smiles through his tears, suggesting that she simply not, and then he leans in and requests that she simply promise him one thing: if he helped her take off that armor then she should not put it back on just because she's going to lose him.
And goodbyes are had.
They then share a slow, mournful hug, with Emma telling him that she indeed promises this, and the pirate closes his eyes in an effort to savor his final moments with the woman he loves. When the hug ends, Emma wants him to promise her something as well: to not let her be his unfinished business; to move on from this place and not wait for her to show up. "Aye, love," he responds softly, "I think I can manage that." Emma tries to smile, but can't, and then Hook makes sure she gets herself firmly inside the elevator, proceeding to pull down the gate for her. It stops halfway, and they stare at one another through the bars, with him confessing his love for her and her returning the sentiment – and then they kiss. A long and sullen kiss through the barrier which now represents their permanent separation. Hook then pulls the gate all the way down, holding Emma's hand over the railing, and he continues to hold her hand even as the elevator begins to ascend. They stare into each other's eyes, still tear-filled, and he kisses her hand in a desperate manner, hoping to cling on to some semblance of her. But soon enough she ascends too far, and their hands are forced to part. The elevator disappears into its shaft, taking the crying and distraught savior with it. She manages to snatch a fleeting glance of her pirate lover right before he becomes invisible to her, while he stares up longingly, still crying, at where she used to be.
Emma, the bail bondsperson, tracks down Cleo's daughter.
We are taken down to Emma's car where she is currently on the phone with someone, going through folders; she tells whoever's on the other end that she's "on the trail", and that they'll have whoever they're looking for by tonight. And the next one. She begins going through another folder, then telling the person, who is apparently a new employer, that she knows that this is just a trial period but she's got this. It appears she has followed in Cleo's footsteps and become a bail bondsperson, which she seems to think she's proficient at. Someone then strolls by her car and Emma, upon seeing them, tells the person on the phone that she's got to go and bids them goodbye. She then takes a folder with her as she steps out of the car and is next seen heading into a nearby department store with it. The someone who strolled by appears to be an employee; a young woman who is getting ready to work the till. Emma approaches her with a greeting and the young woman greets her in turn, wondering if she can help, to which the blonde simply states, "Maybe." She then holds out a small photograph for the girl to take – it's the same one from Cleo's wallet, taken of her daughter Tasha in the Winter of 1999. It appears the person with whom Emma is speaking right now is Tasha, all grown up. She grows confused, wondering where Emma got this image, and Emma is pleased with the confirmation that this woman is indeed Tasha Morris.
And then she discovers her very own armor.
Tasha replies that she's never seen this picture before but, yes, it looks like her, and then she asks if she's in some kind of trouble. Emma proceeds to explain that she knew the girl's birth mother, Cleo Fox, and Tasha is shocked by this. The blonde then presents Tasha with the file she brought in with her, explaining that it contains everything she could find out about Cleo; pictures and records from work and such, for she figured Tasha might want to know where she came from. Indeed, Tasha is highly intrigued by the images of the woman who gave birth to her, and she asks excitedly if she's looking for her. However, a suddenly saddened Emma is forced to reveal that she passed away. "Oh..." Tasha utters, now turning melancholy as she stares down at the pictures, and Emma offers her condolences. Tasha thanks her, and then Emma goes to leave, but Tasha stops her by adding extra emphasis on, "Thank you... so much." Emma nods, smiling, and begins to head out of the store. Before she leaves, though, something catches her eye, and she approaches a rack which bears a particular item of clothing. "Hey," she beckons, causing Tasha to turn to her, "Could you ring this up for me?" Tasha, putting the file away, is only too happy to oblige, and then we watch as Emma Swan tries on her iconic red leather jacket for the very first time. It's a perfect fit. And, now kitted out in her "armor", the blonde proclaims that she's got to get to work.
But years later, it fails to protect her from her emotions.
Emma, in the very same jacket, continues to ascend in the elevator, still reeling from her goodbye to Hook. Her emotions are flooding her right now, in spite of her metaphorical armor; her face is blank and tear-stained as she's shot upward for what seems like an eternity.
The elevator finally stops and Emma makes it back to the library, where the door opens up and she's able to lift the gate to exit. Her friends and family are still trapped there, with Henry being the first to greet her back; they share a quick hug before David inquires into the whereabouts of Hook, and his daughter replies with simply a tearful glance. David and Regina appear deeply sorry, with Emma promising to explain later, for right now they need to get to the portal. However, she learns from Regina that they can't because the Blind Witch cast a spell trapping them there. Emma guesses that she got it from Hades, which Regina nods to confirm, and then the savior explains that this whole thing has been a set-up to keep them trapped in the Underworld.
Swan Queen blasts everyone to freedom.
David takes this to mean that the ambrosia wasn't there, which Emma states outright, and Henry sadly comes to realize that Hook can't leave. Taking a deep breath, Emma says that the pirate can't move on, but he wanted to make sure that they could get out even if he couldn't. The heroes are silent for a moment, reflecting on this, and Regina decides to give him his wish; with that, she and Emma team up and approach the spellbound doors, then combining their powerful magic in order to break the spell which keeps them closed. Eventually, the dual force of the Queen's red beam and the savior's white beam force the doors to blast open, meaning they're able to escape. Henry expresses pride in his mothers having done it, while the both of them, along with David and Robin, are dead set on getting out of there. Henry quickly slips the pages containing the citizens' unfinished business into the storybook and leaves it for them to find, resting it on a bookshelf as he follows his family out the door.
Rumplestiltskin gives his father exactly what he deserves.
Back at Mr. Gold's shop, Peter Pan declares that it's nearly time as he stares out the window, then turns to his son Rumplestiltskin and saying that they should go if they don't want to miss their ticket home. Rumple smiles at this, removing the heart from the pouch, and asks his father if he's ready. The latter affirms that he is, then places a hand on his son's arm and thanks him for what he's about to do; however, the Dark One shakes his head and assures his father that the pleasure's all his, and then he forces the glowing heart right into his papa's chest. Pan breathes heavily, expecting to be brought fully back to life, but then he starts to notice that something's wrong, and Rumple, feigning concern, asks if it feels different than he remembers. The boy who never grew up, now growing weak from whatever has been put inside of him, coughs and demands to know what's happening, asking his son what he did, and Rumple explains that that wasn't really Robin Hood's heart he put in his chest. He shocks Pan by telling him that he knew his father or his shadow could be watching; as such, whilst Pan was otherwise distracted, the Dark One returned Robin's heart to him.
A fate worse than death.
Pan wants to know what his son has put in him, and Rumple gleefully admits that it was a wine-skin he glamoured – filled with water from the River of Souls. "No." Pan utters, horrified, grabbing onto Rumple; and then, "Why?" "Villains don't get happy endings, papa," his son reminds him, "And I'm here to make sure you never get yours." With that, Rumple gives him a push, and Pan is sent collapsing to the floor. The water takes its toll on him, and then he writhes in pain as he starts to be reduced to nothing but green vapor. Rumple watches, standing by coldly, as his father is eradicated from existence – sentenced to a fate far worse than death – and soon even the vapor is gone. All that Peter Pan is, was, or could ever have hoped to become just– boils off into the air. destined for an eternity of torment. And when he's finally gone, a satisfied Rumple bids his papa goodbye; "For good this time." He then lifts up the Underworld's version of Pandora's Box that his father had left behind.
Belle is stored safely within Pandora's Box.
While all this has gone on, Belle has continued to sleep soundly in the backroom, and Rumple approaches his unconscious wife with the box in tow, looking very serious as he holds it out in front of himself and proceeds to wave his hand over the top. His magic causes the encrusted gem to glow as it rises up, and the box's mechanisms spin and whir while releasing a red mist that travels outward in the direction of the Dark One's wife. Soon enough, Belle is consumed, and the red mist contracts quickly as the infamous beauty is sucked into the box. Still sleeping, still pregnant, but safe and sound. Not to mention portable. Rumple's magic then shuts the box, and thus his true love is reduced to what essentially constitutes a carrion on the Dark One's way out of this wretched realm. About to carry his wife with him out the door, Rumple decides that it's time to go. Next stop, home.
Mr. Gold carries his wife home.
Belle remains safely encased within the confines of Pandora's Box as Rumple continues to carry her and strolls, rather brazenly, toward the portal in the cemetery. Steadfast in his need to return to Storybrooke, he makes his way past the now blank tombstones that cover the distance between them and the collapsed clock tower. Finally, he goes right on through the clock face-turned-swirling red mass, and it lets out a fiery glow as it grants him passage back to where he wants he and his wife to be. Behind him, meanwhile, Emma's feet can be seen dashing across the grass as she leads the heroes for the portal. As can be told by the racket it's making, it's about to close, and quickly she makes sure that Henry is the first one through. Regina then follows, with Robin not far behind, but David stops short of returning home when he notices that his daughter has taken a step back, now looking out at the Underworld she's about to leave behind. Her father grabs her by the wrist to prevent her from wandering off any further, and then he offers his condolences for there having been no other way.
Before leaving, Emma's armor becomes a reminder.
She tears up as she clutches the zip of her jacket – her "armor" – and she explains that that's what it was supposed to be when she bought it. Armor to protect her from getting hurt from those she loves. Now, however, it's just a reminder... that she has to protect those she loves. And nothing's more important. David assures her that she did her best for Hook, but she finds herself questioning if this is true. One last earth tremor is what it takes to remind her that all she knows for sure is that she can't lose anyone else. "Let's go." And with that, David leads her through the portal. She takes a final look at the cemetery before following him, as though waiting for her true love to emerge from the fog and join her, but of course he doesn't, and then she finally leaves. With all the people gone, the portal regresses back into a clock face, with the hands still spinning rapidly but starting to slow down now. Eventually, they settle where they always do: with the small hand on the eight and the big hand signifying fifteen. With the heroes and villains gone, the status quo seems somewhat restored, but there's still a whole host of dangers yet to come.
- The title card of this episode features Emma's iconic yellow car amid the red skies of the Underworld.
- Although credited, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White) is absent from this episode.
- While the title of this episode refers to "Operation Firebird", a mission established by Henry in "Souls of the Departed" to help the lost souls of the Underworld move on, its flashback story features Cleo trying to bring Emma back to Phoenix, Arizona for bail. "Phoenix" is synonymous with "Firebird", which Emma noted in the aforementioned episode is a famed creature of Slavic and, more pertinently, Greek mythology.
- The scenes shot in the Hancock County Courthouse share a set with Storybrooke General Hospital.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on February 17, 2016.
- This episode marks the twenty-second writing credit for Jane Espenson, as well as the tenth directing credit for Ron Underwood.
This episode garnered 3.77 million viewers, showing a slight decrease from the previous week.
The episode received generally positive reviews from critics.
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly gave it a positive review: "It's deals and betrayal on Once Upon a Time as we approach the final two weeks of Season 5. So it's fitting, naturally, that we pick up with Emma (and everyone else) asking WHAT?"
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman said, "So...did that really just happen? Once Upon a Time has taken it easy on the character deaths (well, at least the major ones) in recent times, but “Firebird” suggests this might really be the last we see of the man who, for the most part, is the show's de facto romantic lead. And if that's the case, then this episode could be a real turning point for the series."
- Christine Orlando of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.6 out of 5.
- Gwen Inhat of The AV Club gave the episode a B+. In her review she stated "Once Upon a Time likes to throw out a lot of platitudinal concepts like “trust,” and who can be trusted. It's a veritable trust smorgasbord this episode, as allies form that shouldn't, while villains turn on everyone because if we know anything from these five seasons of OUAT, we know that's what they do."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: 'Firebird'", by Andrea Towers, Entertainment Weekly (May 1, 2016)
- ↑ "‘Once Upon A Time’ Season 5 Episode 20 Review: Did That Really Just Happen?!", by Nick Roman, Rickey.org (May 1, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 19 Review: "Firebird", by Christine Orlando, TV Fanatic (May 1, 2016)
- ↑ "Once Upon A Time reveals what's in its heart in “Firebird”", by Gwen Inhat, The AV Club (May 2, 2016)