"Labor of Love" is the 101st episode of Once Upon a Time.
In the Underworld, an escapee from Hades' prison informs the heroes that Hook is being held captive; however, before they can rescue him, they must first face the terrifying beast that guards the prison, prompting Mary Margaret to search for an old childhood friend who knows how to defeat it. Once reunited though, she discovers that he is no longer the hero he once was. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest of the past, a young Snow White struggles to preserve peace in her kingdom and must learn how to be a true hero if she wants to one day become Queen.
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
Emma Swan kills Killian Jones. ("Swan Song") His tombstone ends up in the Underworld graveyard. ("Souls of the Departed") A shocked Snow White asks her daughter if she's going to Hell, but Emma clarifies that it's the Underworld and she will get Killian back. ("Swan Song") Cora tells Regina that her time in the Underworld is done, and hers can be too if she does what she says. ("Souls of the Departed") Prince Henry moves on into a bright light. ("Souls of the Departed") Henry tells the group that his grandfather is in a better place now. ("Souls of the Departed") Snow and David realise that everyone in the Underworld can be saved. ("Souls of the Departed")
Killian awakens in a scary place.
We're introduced to a view of the Underworld's version of the Storybrooke Free Public Library, which has it's broken clock tower crashed down on the ground below. The camera pans over the clock and into a steam vent, going down into a stone prison below. A beaten up Killian is laid unconscious on the hard floor of an open cell, but he awakens to the sound of a distant scream. Disorientated and in pain, he forces himself up and shouts out asking if this is a trick. He slowly moves his foot forward, ready to leave the open cell, but a female voice tells him to stop, claiming that's exactly what this is. A young girl sat in an opposite cell warns him not to move, stating that he wants them to think they can escape, "You can't. No one can" she adds. Hook takes a step forward but the young girl tells him not to move, for he'll hunt him down. The pirate assures her that Hades has already done his worst, but she tells him she wasn't talking about Hades. When he asks who, she becomes too afraid to even answer, "Just don't" she cowers. Hook states that he's not going to just sit around and rot as someone has come down to save him and he needs to make her job easier.
Killian gives instructions to a prisoner he helps escape.
The girl questions how Hook knows she's here, so he explains that he got a message. She then asks how he knows it's not one of Hades' tricks, "Because I know!" he yells, adding "When you love someone, you know" in a much calmer tone. He asks what is keeping them in their prisons, but she tells him it's something he doesn't want to face, "I'll be the judge of that". He steps out of his cell and claims it's time to go. "You're mad" she tells him as he limps towards her, "Perhaps, but I'm the best chance you have" he says as he reaches out his hand to her. She looks at him with hesitance, but finally takes his hand. Once on her feet, he asks if she's ready and she nods. He yells for her to go and the two begin running through the corridors of the stone prison. The roar of a beast is heard, alarming the girl, who claims they'll never make it. "We won't, but you will" he tells her, explaining he'll draw the hell beast while she runs. He instructs her that once she's free she needs to find Emma Swan and tell her to find him. He yells at her to go, and she does. Once alone, he looks down the dark corridor as three sets of glowing red eyes appear. A scared Hook backs up as the beast, Cerberus, approaches him growling.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Mary Margaret worries about how she'll protect her daughter.
In the Underworld's version of Storybrooke's graveyard, Mary Margaret is walking along, looking at the gravestones, when David approaches her, asking what she's doing, for they have a lot of ground to cover. She points out that all the graves are from her father's kingdom, people she was supposed to protect. She worries over how she's going to protect her daughter in the Underworld, so David assures his wife that she's not doing it alone, adding that they'll find a way to protect her as they always do. He explains that Emma is out in the woods looking for Hook in the woods, and although she's good, nobody is better at tracking than Bandit Snow. Snow lets out a faint laugh before they both set off, however, as they walk, she notices something that upsets her deeply. She approaches a gravestone and looks at it with horror, discovering someone from her past is dead.
Snow White is put to the test.
In the fairytale land that was, a young Snow White is sat next to Regina on a throne, holding a wanted poster for a one-eyed thief, as a peasant man begs her to stop him, for he's terrorising their villages and roads. The young princess explains that her father is on a diplomatic mission, so she'll send word to him, but the peasant pleads for help now, claiming they'll be dead by the time he gets the message. Regina tells the man not to fear, for her stepdaughter will take care of all of them, "I will?" the young princess quietly asks, scared. The queen silently gives an assuring nod, but Snow begins to go into panic mode when the peasant asks what they should do, as people are dying. When she doesn't respond, he calls out her name, but she simply apologises before getting up and running away with fear. Everyone watches with shock as she runs out of the throne room, everyone except for Regina, who lets out a wicked smile.
Snow White meets Hercules.
Snow White is next seen in the woods outside of her palace. She is upset and running away, still afraid. As she wipes away a tear and turns her head, she becomes distracted as to what is in front of her, and she ends up falling into a deep hole. After hitting the ground hard, she picks herself up and looks up in horror, realising that she's trapped, "No..." she moans. She calls out for help, and after a few moments of silence, the hilt of a sword is lowered down in front of her. A man's voice tells her to grab on and he'll pull her up, so she grabs onto the sword and the man pulls her out, using only one hand. Once out the hole, she dusts herself clean and thanks the handsome man, whom she appears to have a crush on. As he puts his sword away, he tells her to watch out for hunter traps. "I'm Snow White" she tells him, and he comments that she "certainly is". He then introduces himself as Hercules, but tells her she can call him "Herc". The young princess smiles.
Mary Margaret mourns for an old friend.
Back in the present, in the Underworld's graveyard, Mary Margaret is knelt down before a grave that reads "Hercvles", "You knew Hercules?" David asks, leading her to sadly explain that they were friends as kids. He tells her to define "friends", so she chuckles, asking if she detects jealousy. He points out that it's not everyday you find out your wife was friends with a god, but Mary Margaret corrects him by saying "demigod". "He also happens to be dead" she adds, causing David to apologise. She stands up and suddenly realises that if he's in the Underworld then he has unfinished business, suggesting they help find a way for him to move on. David asks if this will be at the expense of searching for Hook, but Mary Margaret points out that he is Hercules and he can help them, "We save him and he can save us".
Megara is discovered during a search for Hook.
Meanwhile, Emma and Henry walk through the woods as the latter points out that they've already been down this trail and it was cold. She tells him they'll go over it again until they find a trail that's hot, and with that, Regina arrives with Robin, commenting that you'd think there'd be more of those in the Underworld. She reveals there was no sign of Hook in the north woods, distressing Emma, who suggests they try the Toll Bridge. Regina stops Emma, suggesting a quicker way to search - maps of the town which she had in Storybrooke. Emma asks if she thinks the equivalent to those maps would be in the Underworld, so the former queen points out that it's most likely. Robin tells Regina that he's on it, so she can keep searching the woods while he gets the intel. Before he leaves, Regina asks him to take Henry. The outlaw suggest that it might be dangerous, but Regina assures him that her mother is gone now so the office should be empty, "And no one knows it better than Henry". She claims Henry will be fine as he has Robin there to protect him. After sharing a kiss, Robin leaves with Henry and Regina turns around, ready to get back to work. She notices Emma is missing, but the blonde soon calls out for her. She finds Emma crouched over a leaf with blood on it and the blonde explains that it's fresh. She starts calling out for Killian as she begins looking around the area, but she finds a girl hiding behind a tree stump instead. The girl tells Emma that she knows Killian, so the blonde asks who she is and where Killian is. However, before she can reply, a monstrous beast roars in the distance. The terrified girl tells the two mothers that "it's coming" and they have to go, so, without question, Emma teleports the three of them away to safety.
Megara recalls the terrifying beast guarding her prison.
In a puff of white smoke, Emma, Regina and Megara suddenly appear in the Underworld's version of the former's parents' apartment, something Regina questions. Emma says it was the first thing she thought of before moving a sheet off one of the sofa's and telling Megara to lie down. Regina asks what they'll do if whoever lives there returns, but Emma, noticing a picture of a parents, says they won't need to worry about that. "So this place is just waiting for your parents to die so they can move in?" Regina asks, leading Emma to point out that that seems to be the case, so they're safe, "It's officially a cold day in hell when I move in with the Charmings" Regina jokes. Emma sits beside Megara to check if she's okay, the brunette says she will be, so Emma asks about Hook, but this triggers fear in her, and she shudders that she doesn't know. Emma asks where he is, so Megara explains that he's in an underground prison and she escaped through tunnels that led to a cave in the woods, and the next thing she knew she was found by them. The blonde asks if she's be able to find the cave again, so the brunette says she would, but it's being guarded by something terrible. Emma asks what is guarding the cave, so Megara shudders before explaining "It has three heads, it's...it's teeth can crush your bones with a single bite, and those eyes...they burn right through your soul as it finishes you off. Nothing can defeat this monster". "That's not true" a woman's voice suddenly says from the doorway, everyone turns to see Mary Margaret and David have arrived, "I know exactly what this beast is...and how we can defeat it" she finishes off.
Hercules tells us his backstory.
In the fairytale land that was, young Snow and Hercules are sat at a makeshift camp as the former asks the latter if he's really a god. He explains that he's a demigod, as his mother was mortal, "I've never met a demi-anything before" Snow comments, leading Herc to explain he can't join his father on Mount Olympus until he's completed his twelve labors. "And then you'll be immortal?" she asks, so he tells her that's the idea. He then goes on to say that as much as he loves discussing his family tree, she cannot avoid hers forever. The princess explains that she cannot face anyone until she figures out what to do with the bandits. Hercules thinks for a while before suddenly getting an idea, he stands up with Snow and explains he's got her answer. Grabbing a bow, he tells the princess that she's going to fight them. "Me?" a shocked Snow asks, "I'm not a hero" she adds, but Herc explains that she will be after he trains her. She refuses, so he grabs a leather satchel, stating that she cannot let the fear of failing stop her from trying.
Hercules offers to make a hero out of Snow White.
Hercules opens the satchel to reveal a collection of golden medals, "This medal is for the first labor I ever completed, defeating the Nemean Lion" he says as he points to the first one. "I was scared...but I didn't back down. I fought the lion and I won, and I wouldn't have this medal if I was too afraid to try" he explains. Snow comments that it's easy for him to say, but Herc insists he's going to teach her how to stand up to the bandits so they never show their faces in her kingdom again. "Why are you doing this for me?" she wonders, so Herc tells her she's going to make a great queen one day. He puts his hand on her arm and then passes her the bow, turning her around, "I'm a good judge of character" he adds as he helps her get into the appropriate position for firing an arrow, "And also, gives me an excuse to spend as much time as I can with you before I complete my final labor. I only have a few fleeting moments down here...I want to enjoy them" he tells her as he now helps her slot an arrow into the bow. Snow goes on to ask what his last labor is, so Herc explains that it's the most difficult one of them all...defeating the three-headed hell hound Cerberus.
The Blind Witch is asked for directions.
Back in the present, in the Underworld, Mary Margaret, Emma and Regina enter the diner as the blonde asks if Regina is sure "she" will know where "he" is. Regina is confident she will, claiming they need someone who can see everyone, "Hey child muncher" she says to the Blind Witch, who is behind the counter, "We're looking for someone". The blind witch asks why she should help her since she burned her alive, but Regina defends that it was Hansel and Gretel. "At your behest" the witch points out, adding "And with your fireball". Regina accepts this, but explains that she stole her apple, "What do you think happens when you steal from a witch, witch?" she asks, causing the blind witch to accept her fault. She asks who they're looking for, so Snow tells her it's Hercules. Emma asks if she knows him from the myths, but the blind witch smiles, stating she knows Hercules because he comes in for his lunch break every day, and no matter how hard she tries to fatten him up, his muscles are always bulging, "It's a shame...he'd make a great Sunday roast". Snow asks where it's a lunch break from, causing the Blind Witch to think.
Mary Margaret convinces her old friend to be a hero again.
A short while later, Mary Margaret has arrived at the docks, where Hercules is seen lifting down a heavy boat. She calls out his name and he turns to her with a blank expression. She asks if he doesn't remember her, but after a moment of thinking, he recognises her as Snow. The two old friends embrace in a hug and then Mary Margaret points out that he still looks so young, awkwardly asking how he died. He becomes uncomfortable and tells her it's not important before asking the same question in return. She explains that she's not dead and she came to the Underworld to help her daughter. "You have a daughter?" he asks, leading her to reveal she has a son too...and a grandson. In disbelief, he tells her she's not a grandmother, but she chuckles and tells him it's a convoluted story, but she is, "It's been quite a life" she adds, "I wish I could say the same" Hercules sadly responds. Mary Margaret wipes a tear away and apologises to her friend before revealing their may be a way for him to leave the Underworld. He points out that he never finished his labors and he can't move on until he does, but she reveals that Cerberus is here. As Hercules becomes visibly afraid, Mary Margaret explains that he's guarding a prison where the man her daughter loves is being held. Noticing his fear, she tells him he's the only one strong enough to defeat the beast, "It's your destiny". He claims "that hero died", by Mary Margaret claims he will only if he lets him. She tells him not to forgot what he told her, that you cannot let fear of failure keep you from trying. Hercules ponders over this.
My. Name. Is. Lord. Hades. And. I. Have. Something. To. Say.
In Hades' Lair, surrounded by five differently colored rivers, Hook is thrown before the Lord of the Underworld by his two henchman. Hades claims that it's going to be an exciting day, to which the mangled pirate adds that it will be when he kills him. Hades laughs and asks why everyone says that, "You can't kill me. I'm Hades. This...this is death" he adds tauntingly, causing Hook to respond that he'll find whatever is worse and do it to him. Hades crouches down to Hook's level and examines his bloody body, noticing he's met his "pet", "You're about to realize his master is not nearly as friendly". Hook pants in pain as he stares up at Lord Hades, trying to remain strong.
Henry runs into some danger.
Henry and Robin enter the Underworld's version of Storybrooke's Town Hall, but the latter warns the former when he goes to open the door to the mayor's office. He carefully reaches for the handle himself, revealing a protection spell, so Henry notes that "Grandma Cora" left the place locked up. "Not completely" Robin says, noticing a sofa nearby. He moves it away from the wall to reveal a vent which he then opens. After peaking inside, he puts his bow and arrows aside, telling Henry to stay where he is. Henry refuses, explaining that someone needs to stand guard outside, and only one of them knows where to look in the office. After a moment of thinking, Robin agrees, and tells the boy to be very careful. A short while later, after climbing through the vent, Henry emerges on the other side...but he's met by a familiar voice. "Hello, darling" Cruella De Vil smiles. Henry is shocked to see the deceased villain. "Tell me, how is your mother?" she asks, to which Henry doesn't respond. She jokes that with him she needs to be more specific, "How is the one that killed me?" she asks in a much more serious tone.
Hercules sets off to face the beast.
Meanwhile, Emma makes her way through the mines while she's closely followed by her mother, Regina and Hercules. She explains that these are the tunnels Megara claimed to have come out of, so Hook is in there somewhere. Regina asks the "wonder boy" if he's sure he can do this, but Mary Margaret scolds her, assuring Hercules she knows he can. He promises they'll find her friend before taking a few steps forward. With a face filled with fear, he turns his head and tells the girls to wait here for him. Holding his sword, he puts on a brave face and goes deeper into the tunnels, ready to face the beast.
Snow White humiliates herself.
In the fairytale land that was, the peasant who previously visited Regina and Snow for help is seen handing over a bag of coins to the one-eyed thief that's been terrorising his village. As the thief looks through the coins, he angrily asks where the rest of it is. The scared peasant explains that it's all they have, but this frustrates the thief further. However, an arrow suddenly flies between the two men, hitting a tree. Everyone turns to see Snow White, who demands the criminals leave her people alone. Recognising the princess, the peasant begs her to help him, but the criminal mocks her, asking where her daddy's army is. She claims that she doesn't need an army before commanding the criminals to return what they've taken from her people and leave her kingdom; the thief smiles at the girl's threats. Snow threatens that her next arrow will land in his good eye, but he chuckles, claiming he'd like to see her try. She goes to grab an arrow for her bow, but instead clumsily drops them all onto the floor. She bends down to pick them up, but she's already embarrassed herself and the criminal laughs at her. He steps towards her and stands on the arrows, snapping them, telling her to run back to her palace because these are his woods now. Hercules suddenly punches his fist into the ground, shaking it fiercely, knocking people to the ground. He yells at the thief to leave her alone or he'll have to answer to him. The thief picks himself up from the ground and realises the situation is too dangerous now. He warns Snow that her "boyfriend" won't be around to protect her forever before making a hasty exit. Hercules puts his arm around a distressed Snow to comfort her.
Regina's intentions are revealed.
A while later, the one-eyed thief is walking through the halls of King Leopold's palace when he approaches someone, stating he's done exactly as they asked. The person he's speaking to is none other than Queen Regina, who hands him a bag of coins, promising there's more where it came from. The thief asks the queen if he's sure she doesn't want him to kill Snow, but Regina states she won't allow her to turn into a martyr for their people to worship, "No. I have to turn them against her. And these miserable people will finally realize the truth" she explains, adding "I am meant to be their queen" in a determined tone.
Hercules chickens out.
Back in the present, in the mines of the Underworld, Hercules carefully makes his way further down the tunnels, accompanied with nothing but his sword and the quiet dripping of water nearby. Suddenly, as he approaches a darkened tunnel, a large creature growls, sending howling wind down the tunnels. It begins to roar and growl, stepping out of the shadows and revealing three heads, each with glowing red eyes. Overcome with fear, Hercules drops his sword and runs away. Hearing the growling of the beast, Mary Margaret yells out for Herc with concern. The demigod finally reaches the three women and takes cover behind them. The snarling of the beast continues and its footsteps are heard approaching them...but someone suddenly whistles, and the beast turns silent, seemingly obeying orders. "What the hell was that?" Regina wonders, only to be answered by Hades, who comes walking down the tunnel, explaining that he called the beast off. Emma asks who he is, so Hercules reveals that it's his uncle. Regina realizes that it's Hades, so he tells her not to look so surprised, "Who'd you think was in charge of this place...your mommy?". Since this is his realm, Regina questions why the Underworld looks like Storybrooke, but he simply tells her he doesn't have to share his reasons.
Hades comes to taunt the heroes.
Hercules steps forward and warns his uncle to leave them alone, but the Lord of the Underworld mocks his nephew, commenting "There's that famous courage people love to talk about. Oh, Hercules, did you really think you could face Cerberus again?". Mary Margaret asks what he means by "again", causing Hades to feign a gasp, "You mean he didn't tell you?". Mary Margaret realizes that Cerberus killed Hercules, so the demigod claims he didn't want her to know as he couldn't let her down. Hades tells his nephew it's nothing to be ashamed of, as losing his life to his pet is what finally brought them together as family. Mary Margaret steps forward and tells the rule of the Underworld that they're not afraid of him. "Snow White...or is it Mary Margaret" he smiles, explaining his nephew told him she's a spitfire, "But trust me, you should be quite afraid of me because the next time you interfere with my family, I will come after yours". Emma tells him to "bring it" because they won't rest until they've found Hook. Hades realizes who Emma is, so explains since Hook likes sending message, he decided to send one personally. He holds up Hook's hook, covered in blood, shocking Emma, "What did you do to him...?" she asks. Lord Hades claims she shouldn't be worried about what he's already done to him...but about what he's about to do". He then drops the hook onto the floor before teleporting away in a poof of blue fire.
Cruella asks for Henry's help.
"So, darling, this is actually quite fortuitous" Cruella De Vil states, standing opposite Henry Mills. He asks what she wants, so she claims to want him because she needs his help, "You see, Hades, the being that runs this place, has set up the most awful conundrum. For those of us in this ghastly Underworld, we have two choices - leaving for a better place or a worse one". Henry bravely tells the villain he knows where she'll end up, so she sighs, because he's "probably quite correct". She walks towards a white dog statue and begins stroking it as she explains she needs a third choice - to go back to the real world. "Oh, how I miss it...the music, the gin, the glamour...the gin" she reminisces. Henry points out that she's already dead and no one can change that, but she explains that the Author can, "Oh, yes, that you now". Henry refuses, explaining the Apprentice told him it's impossible, but Cruella reveals that's because he didn't want him to, "But, Henry, you can. The Author's power is far greater than that bearded old man wanted you to believe". Henry points out that he destroyed the quill, but Cruella reveals she knows. She guesses he doesn't know much about the quill and goes on to explain it is more than just a pen, but it is a magical energy, a living, breathing entity. "It's alive?" Henry asks, shocked, "Oh, yes. And when you broke it, Henry, you sent it right down here to the Underworld, its purpose unfulfilled. It epitomized unfinished business" she explains. She tells him he's going to find it with her help and then send her back to their world. Henry wonders why he'd help her, so she explains that if she came back to life, then the woman who killed her, his mother, is no longer a murderer, "You see? You see, by helping me, Henry, you can restore mommy dearest to the pure soul she once was. You can save her" she tells the young boy, wrapping her arm around him.
Regina finds Mary Margaret sulking.
Meanwhile, at the Underworld's version of the Blanchard Loft, Mary Margaret is sat sulking on a bed when Regina comes up the stairs and notices this, "What're you doing?" she sighs, explaining they have to find Hook. She claims she can't help them, but Regina states they can't have her quitting. Mary Margaret explains that she isn't quitting, but being practical, "Since when are you practical?" Regina asks. Mary Margaret explains that all of this is her fault as she thought she was doing the right thing because Hercules was destined to kill Cerberus and she thought it'd help them get to Hook. Regina states that now is not the time to give up, "Need I remind you I dedicated years to knocking you down? But nothing could stop you" Regina points out. Mary Margaret angrily tells her that she took her kingdom, cast her curse and she lost her daughter for twenty eight years, "And then you found her. You defeated me in a way no one thought was possible. You made me your friend by never giving up on me. So what's the difference this time?" she wonders. Mary Margaret wonders how she's going to help anyone stand up to Hades when all she has is speeches about hope, but Regina says she's right, "Mary Margaret can't help. In fact, we don't need her anymore. We need Snow White".
Hercules tells Snow a secret.
In the fairytale land that was, Hercules wanders through the woods and comes across Snow attempting to break her bow, so he rushes towards her and asks what she's doing. Seeming defeated, she tells him she's done, explaining that she tried to be a leader, but she's not cut out to be one and Regina will make a better queen than she ever could be. Herc asks if she's just going to abandon her kingdom, but she claims to no longer want to be Snow White, so he tells her that's a shame because he was really starting to like her. She explains that she was crazy to think she could stand up to those bandits, but Herc reminds her that nobody wins every battle, especially their first. Snow points out that he did, but he becomes uncomfortable and nervously asks if she can keep a secret. After nodding that she can, Herc explains that his first labor nearly killed him; the Nemean Lion. "Do you know why no one could kill it? Cause his fur was impenetrable, like steel. With every blow I struck all I did was blunt my sword" he explains. Snow wonders how he defeated it, so he explains that when he'd exhausted himself and thought the beast was going to kill him, he accidentally dropped his torch setting the brush surrounding them on fire. He explains that the flames singed the lion's fur from his body and Snow realises he wasn't invincible anymore, "And I slayed him" Herc concludes, proudly. "Don't you see? If I hadn't failed I never would have figured out how to succeed" he tells the princess, who contemplates this for a moment, "Okay" she says, "So how do I stop these bandits?" she asks, ready to fight once more.
Mary Margaret promises to help defeat Cerberus with Hercules.
Back in the present, at the Underworld's Docks, Hercules is carrying to heavy anchors when Mary Margaret drops his sword in front of him, telling him to pick it up. He walks past the sword, claiming it's pointless as he cannot defeat Cerberus and they'll just antagonise his uncle. She tells him it's a chance they're going to have to take, but he ignores her and walks past her. She asks how Cerberus killed him, but he asks why it matters before picking up two concrete blocks to move them. She explains it's the only way they'll be able to figure out how to kill him next time, so he sighs, pointing out the beast has three heads, and whenever he'd face one the other two would attack. He claims he never should have fought that beast alone and this makes Mary Margaret realise how they're going to defeat it this time, "You're not going to fight him alone". Herc asks if she wants to face Cerberus with him, so she tells him she became the hero he always believed she could be and now they're going to fight the three headed beast and they're going to win. Hercules nods and smiles, ready to be a hero once more.
Meanwhile, over at the Underworld's version of the Blanchard Loft, Megara sits down on a sofa next to Emma, who comforts the young deceased girl by patting her back. David, who is keeping watch outside the window, calls for Regina when he sees something terrifying. Regina wonders what it is, asking if Mary Margaret talked "Muscles" into giving it another go, but David says he doesn't think so as he backs away from the window. Suddenly, the apartment shakes and a bed from upstairs comes smashing down, almost hitting the gang. Emma tells everyone to run. The four of them run out the front door, heading down the stairs. Emma asks if its Cerberus as they escape, but no one responds. They sprint down the stairs, narrowly avoiding being crushed as the beast bursts through the door, roaring ferociously.
Hercules and Snow White share a kiss after a victory.
In the fairytale land of the past, Dead-Eye, the thief terrorising the people of Snow's kingdom, has returned to a village and lined up all its residents. He approaches an elderly woman and inspects her necklace before snatching it off of her. From the distance, Snow White is heard yelling, "Give it back!". The thief turns to the princess, who demands he return the necklace and never come back. He recalls that she gave a similar warning yesterday, but a serious Snow grabs an arrow and aims it at him with her bow, ready to shoot. She demands he give the necklace back before releasing the arrow, sending it into a tree nearby. He laughs, assuming she failed once again, but then she shoots another arrow at his weapon, knocking it from his hand. "What the..." he gasps, his smile knocked from his face. The princess draws another arrow and aims it at the rest of the thieves, warning them to all lower their weapons. They don't comply, so the villagers join in, grabbing sticks and pitchforks, keeping them at bay. Dead-Eye asks Snow if she thinks she's tough and warns her that this isn't over, "Yeah it is" she tells him, causing him to finally give in and drops the old woman's necklace. The rest of the thieves drop the stolen belongings and then they all make their way out of the village. Once they're gone, Snow sighs with relief and the villagers cheer for their savior. Snow rushes to hug Hercules and he tells her he knew she could do it; she tells him it's thanks to him. He supposes she doesn't need him to train her anymore, so Snow asks if this means he's going to leave to defeat Cerberus. He nods and asks if she wants to come and she tells him she'd love to, but her people need her more right now. He tells his new friend she'll make an amazing queen, and she tells him that Olympus will be lucky to have a hero like him. After a tense moment of staring into each other's eyes, the two lean in and gently kiss on the lips.
Cerberus finds his prey.
Back in the present, in the streets of the Underworld, David, Regina and Emma run to meet Mary Margaret and Hercules. Mary Margaret checks if they're okay and asks what happened, so her husband explains that Cerberus found them. Noticing Megara is missing, Mary Margaret asks where she is, so Emma explains that she ran when the beast attacked. Mary Margaret suggest splitting up because they have to find her before the monster does, so they do just that and split into small groups. Mary Margaret and Hercules make their way towards the broken clock tower and they immediately find a cowering Meg, who tells them they shouldn't be here. She assures the prisoner they're here to help, but before she actually can, Megara points out that Cerberus has found them. They turn to see the three-headed beast pounce towards them and roar. "What now...?" a scared Hercules asks Mary Margaret, who says they need to get Meg inside the library. The trio rush inside and take cover, hiding against the walls. "Any bright ideas?" Herc asks, leading Mary Margaret to explain they need to hit all three heads at once.
Cerberus is defeated.
Cerberus smashes a window, startling the trio, and Herc questions how they'll hit all three at once. "With her help" Mary Margaret explains, turning to Megara. She instructs Herc to give her his dagger, so he does, but Meg states she cannot help. Mary Margaret tells her she can right before Cerberus starts banging against the door. They back away and Mary Margaret tells Meg she needs to try. The deceased girl begins to pant heavily, but she agrees to help and takes the dagger. Now without a weapon, Herc rips a pipe off the wall and readies himself to use it against the beast. The three stand with their weapons aimed, waiting for the beast to enter. Soon enough, Cerberus bursts through the door and Mary Margaret screams for them to attack. She shoots her arrow at a head and Hercules and Megara stab the last two heads with their weapons. Cerberus evaporates into a puff of black smoke, allowing everyone to sigh with relief. Megara almost faints from the excitement, but Hercules catches her in time. She giggles that she's not used to all that excitement and then the two introduce themselves to each other He thanks her for her assistance and she smiles at him.
Hercules and Megara met once before.
In the Underworld's version of Granny's Diner, Hercules wraps a blanket around Megara before sitting at a table opposite her, "I...I think we've met before" he says as he looks at her face. Megara looks at him in return, recalling if they have met.
In the fairytale land of the past Megara runs from a roaring beast, begging for help. She comes across Hercules, who is holding a large spear, and runs into his arms, so he asks the stranger what's wrong. She warns him that there's a monster and points in it's direction.
In the present, Megara realises that Hercules is the boy who tried to save her. Herc scoffs and asks what she means by "tried", so she explains that Cerberus got her right after killing him. Hercules appears saddened to hear of his failure to protect the girl.
Back in the past, Hercules tells Megara to run, but she warns him that the beast will kill him. He tells her he doesn't care before telling her to go again. This time she listens, and once she's gone, Herc turns towards the sound of the beast. Cerberus jumps out from behind a tree, snarling at Herc. The hero readies his spears and sprints towards the beast, ready to fight his last battle...
Snow White is reborn.
Back in the present, an upset Herc apologises to Meg, but she asks what for, "You may not have saved me back then, but you made up for it now" she assures him. She puts her hand on his and thanks him, causing him to smile. Meanwhile, at the other side of the diner, David, who is talking to Mary Margaret, Regina and Emma, notices the hand touching and points out that Herc has made a new friend. Mary Margaret supposes that defeating Cerberus may not have been Herc's only piece of unfinished business, "Maybe he needed to save her, too" she supposes. Noticing her mother is off, Emma asks if she's okay. Clearly troubled, Mary Margaret sighs and tells Emma that she didn't know her in the Enchanted Forest, but she was someone who took risks even when she was afraid and she was someone who inspired people, "An old enemy reminded me of that". She explains that she doesn't want to risk forgetting who she was again, so David asks his wife what she's saying. "I'm saying I don't want to be Mary Margaret anymore. I want to be Snow White again". Regina gasps that it's about time and everyone else smiles. David assures his wife they can make it happen, referring to his wife once again as "Snow".
Meanwhile, Robin, who has been waiting for Henry for a while, begins to call out for him through the vent, asking if he's all right. The young boy, who is returning from the office, assures him that he is before emerging. Once out the vent, Robin asks if he found anything. Henry pauses for a moment, but lies and tells him there was nothing, stating it's a dead end. "Okay" Robin says, collecting his things so they can leave. Henry gives a troubled look, contemplating his confrontation with Cruella De Vil which he just decided to keep a secret from Robin.
Hercules and Megara move on to Mount Olympus.
Over at the underground Fiery Cave, Hercules and Megara stand together near the bridge, facing their new friends. Megara asks if they think they'll be able to get to the prison through the tunnels so Emma assures her they will thanks to her map. The deceased girl says if it wasn't for Hook she'd still be rotting in her cell and asks if she'll tell him she did the right thing and that he was right to trust her. Emma promises she will, thanking the girl. Herc turns to Snow and asks if she's sure she doesn't want them to stay and help, but she tells her old friend he's been down here long enough and if he doesn't cross before Hades finds him who knows what he'll do. "I was right. You became an amazing hero" Hercules smiles, proud of his friend. She tears up and gives Herc one last hug. Once they let go, he and Meg turn around and take each other's hands. They walk across the bridge into the bright light that appears before them. They stop halfway and an amazed Meg asks what it is. As the bright light fades, a royal castle on the top of a beautiful mountain appears in the distance, "Olympus" Hercules smiles before continuing to walk with Meg. Snow tears up as she watches her old friend finally move on.
Hades gives Hook a choice.
On the streets of the Underworld the clock on the broken clock tower ticks. Meanwhile, down in Hades' Lair, his grandfather clock ticks another time, signifying that two souls have moved on. The bloody Hook sits beneath the clock as Hades explains to him that the prisoner he helped escape moved on from this realm, "Good for her" Hook gloats. The Lord of the Dead pulls out a sharp chisel and Hook, mistaking it for a weapon, tells him to "get on with it". Hades chuckles that it isn't for him, but for his friends. He places it in Hook's hand, so the pirate asks what he's supposed to do with it. "Simple accounting, really. At first, I wanted your friends to leave. I really had such a smooth-running operation going here before they arrived, but now I've decided they've caused too much damage. So, my vindictive side - did you know I have one? It wants to punish them" Hades explains with a very annoyed tone in his voice. He explains that from now on, for every soul his friends free, one of them is going to have to stay. As he says this, he summons three blank gravestones. He then reveals to the pirate that he gets to decide who. Hook's mangled face is filled with horror.
- The title card of this episode features the many gravestones of the Underworld cemetery amid the land's red skies.
- Although credited, Emilie de Ravin (Belle Gold/Belle), Rebecca Mader (Zelena/Wicked Witch) and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin) are absent from this episode.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on November 10, 2015.
This episode garnered 4.31 million viewers, showing a slight increase from the previous week.
The episode received good reviews in how they re-imaged the Hercules angle and the structured storylines.
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly notes in her assessment of the review: "Once isn’t exactly a novice when it comes to turning fairytales on their heads, and rarely do they follow stories to the letter. But for those of you who tuned in looking for the classic Disney tale of Hercules, well…you got something slightly different.
- In a review from Rickey.org, Nick Roman said, "This just might have been the best Once Upon a Time so far this season, despite “Labor of Love” largely focusing on two people we’ve only just met. This episode had the perfect balance of well-paced drama, strong character arcs, and a solid twist or two to compel us to come back next week. This essentially recaptured that adventurous, yet emotionally grounded feeling of the first two seasons. To say I loved this would be one of the big understatements of the TV season so far."
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.