"Our Decay" is the 104th episode of Once Upon a Time.
Emma and the others continue to search for a way to free everyone from the Underworld while, at the same time, Gold creates a portal to Storybrooke at Hades' behest, bringing over Belle, Zelena and Baby Hood. It isn't long before the Evil Queen and the Wicked Witch get into a sibling squabble, and Rumple has to deliver some shocking news to his wife that will change her life forever. Meanwhile, Snow and David hopelessly attempt to send a message to their son Neal and, in flashbacks to the land of Oz, Hades learns about a very special spell of Zelena's and decides to pay her a visit with the intention of striking an alliance. However, he finds himself with more than just a partner in crime...
Previously on Once Upon a Time...
"Our secret remains safe," Hades exclaims, whilst looking over the storybook pages containing his origins, one of which includes an illustration of him and Zelena. ("The Brothers Jones") In the Underworld's version of the Blanchard Loft, said realm's version of the magic quill rests on a table as it's examined by those from Storybrooke. Henry reveals that he is going to write the stories as they are and that he will start with Hades. ("The Brothers Jones") In the lair of the God of Death himself a crystal ball displaying an image of a sleeping Belle is show; Hades reveals to Rumplestiltskin that she is pregnant. In a puff of blue smoke, a deceased Fendrake the Healer then appears, and it's revealed that the contract the Dark One signed between the two of them has now been turned over to Hades, thus meaning Hades has the right to Rumple's second born child. Since he is allowed to cash in the contract at any time, the Lord of the Underworld now has leverage over the Dark One; Rumple now works for him. ("Devil's Due")
Land of Oz
Many Years Ago
Happy Abandonment Day!
Through the corridors of the royal palace, set in the center of the Emerald City of Oz, a platter is shown. Placed on it is a green-frosted cupcake, lit with a single candle. Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West, is revealed to be the one handling this cupcake, and from there she proceeds to take a seat and look into a mirror. With the wave of her hand she is able to make the mirror display a key moment from her past, that being the day her mother abandoned her. "Poor baby," a young Cora is seen telling a newborn Zelena, "now I must give you away... to give me my best chance." The miller's daughter appears a bit choked up about this, as the infant appears fearful; this, however, does not stop Cora from leaving the crying child. (See "Bleeding Through") Zelena has had enough though, and so she waves her hand to make the scene disappear once more. "You gave away the wrong child, mother," she says aloud, "Soon you'll see... Soon," and with that she blows out the candle on her cupcake. The doors then swing open, however, and Zelena's alone time is promptly interrupted by a flying monkey with a particular delivery. The Wicked Witch stands to her feet with quite a wicked grin on her face, watching as the monkey drops a struggling creature to her feet. It's none other than the Scarecrow. "Well isn't this nice," she exclaims, circling the poor being, who cowardly questions what it is she wants.
Zelena is after a certain someone's brain.
Zelena doesn't hold back on any explanation; she gets down to business, stating that the Scarecrow is going to help her create a very special spell, one no sorcerer has yet to achieve: a time traveling spell. The Scarecrow takes a step back, nervous as the Witch explains she needs the symbols of innocence, love, courage and wisdom, giving the example of a baby being used for innocence... and a symbol of wisdom could be a brain. Zelena then sticks her hand out as she wickedly laughs; the Scarecrow has quickly become aware of whose brain before the Wicked Witch even has to spell it out for him. She goes to take what it is she needs as the Scarecrow trembles, begging that she doesn't; however, they're interrupted when the doors swing open once more. "Stop!" demands a young woman marching through the entrance. Zelena immediately recognizes this to be Dorothy Gale, who she thought was sent back to Kansas years before. (See "Kansas") "Well Witch, I'm back," she says, making it to Zelena, dropping her back on the ground as she does so. The Wicked Witch immediately recognizes the silver slippers on her feet, which she exclaims were meant to be a one-way ticket home. "You left me no choice," Dorothy claims, "I had to return. When I got word you were alive and had taken over Oz, I had to stop you."
Oh, re Dorothy.
"You got word?!" the Witch questions, but quickly realizes it to have been the munchkins; she then curses them, stating that she hates those "mouthy, little vermin". Dorothy demands that Zelena let the Scarecrow go, but she sarcastically apologizes, stating that she thinks she'll hold on to him. This doesn't make Dorothy let her guard down though, for she tells Zelena that she'll never defeat her because she has the most powerful weapon of all: the love of the people. As the two women banter, Dorothy's bag, still on the ground, pokes open as her the farmgirl's dog, Toto, sticks his head out. The Scarecrow, meanwhile, watches the two women as Zelena laughs at Dorothy's latest comment; "Well then," she says, making a green fireball appear in her hand. At this moment, Toto leaps from Dorothy's bag and goes back to the drawstrings of the curtains that hang behind the Witch. Meanwhile, the fireball aimed for Dorothy misses, for she ducts, and instead it hits a guard who walked through the doors at the wrong time, immediately disintegrating his head. Toto pulls the string that releases the curtains though, and before Zelena is able to make another move she is immediately hit by the fallen cloth and collapses to the ground. While she struggles to get out from underneath, Dorothy grabs her back and makes her way out the doors, with the Scarecrow and Toto. Zelena is too late to stop them, only being able to yell out a "NO!"
Another soul has moved on.
In the Underworld, located in the center of Main Street, Hades approaches the fallen clock tower. He stops in his tracks to look down at a certain piece of paper he holds in his hands. This piece of paper happens to be the illustration from the Underworld's version of the storybook, being of himself and Zelena from years before. He then looks up at the clock and notices another tick, meaning that another soul has left his domain. While this obviously upsets him, he understands there are more important matters at hand, and he looks back at the page.
Hades continues to hold leverage over the Dark One.
"You'd think a desperate man would work a little faster," Hades exclaims, having made his way down to his lair. Over by a spinning wheel, the Dark One, Rumplestiltskin, works to spin straw into gold. He tells the God of Death that magic cannot be rushed; creating a portal is no simple task. Hades accepts this, but states that they don't have a Dark Curse or a magic bean or silver slippers, they have something better: his Dark One-tainted blood; it got him to the Underworld in the first place, meaning it can re-open the portal. This isn't enough for Rumple though, who questions why Hades even needs a portal when he can come and go as he pleases. "But I can't bring anyone back alive," Hades replies, and explaining that by he and the Dark One combining their powers that can change. With that, he finishes by adding that he doesn't care how painful it is for Rumple. As the Dark One looks up, Hades unrolls the contract that gives him the right to Rumple's unborn child; "So if you want me to tear up this contract so that your child-to-be is your child-to-be, you won't care about the pain either." Seeing as he has no choice, Rumple accepts Hades requests, simply needing to know where the portal is to be directed. And so the God of Death answers, revealing it to be Storybrooke.
Belle tends to children of Storybrooke's orphanage.
An overview of Storybrooke's Main Street is shown, with numerous citizens going about their everyday lives. Next though, is the local convent, which Belle is seen making her way towards; however, she remains oblivious to the unseen figure who makes their way around another entrance. Once inside, Belle makes her way to the nursery where she greets Prince Neal and Baby Hood in their respective cribs. Holding their baby formula, she nudges the two children, asking if they slept well. As they coo, she takes this to mean that they did, which is satisfactory enough for her. Belle's time with the babies is soon interrupted though, for Mother Superior makes her way inside and greets the brunette, questioning what it is she is doing there. This confuses Belle, since she has been showing up daily with formula for the two babies. Realizing her error, the fairy quickly brushes this off, offering to help with the feeding. When she goes to take the bottles, however, she grabs the blue instead of the red, which is meant to be first.
The Witch is back.
Belle corrects this, and so Blue once again brushes this off, stating that she just doesn't know where her head is today. Belle doesn't let it slide though, and instead drags out the subject; she asks what's going on, but again, Mother Superior says it's nothing, and that everything is fine. "No it's not," a voice calls out, just as Belle was about to accept Mother Superior's answer. The two look up and shock befalls all as the real Mother Superior makes her way into the nursery. "Who are you?" the Blue Fairy demands to know, but it's Belle who quickly comes to the realization that it is none other than Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West. "Huh, you really are a clever girl," she exclaims, making the magical transformation back from the Blue Fairy and into the Wicked Witch. Belle is outraged by how this is possible, bringing up that Regina sent her back to Oz. (See "Swan Song") Zelena brushes this off though, stating that all Belle needs to know is that her sister cannot keep her down and that she has come for her baby; "So if you wish to remain alive, step aside," she demands.
Rumple comes to realize that Hades is after Baby Hood.
Back in the Underworld, straw continues to be spun into gold by Rumplestiltskin when he suddenly comes to a realization. He's come to realize that the reason Hades needs a portal directed to Storybrooke is because he is after Zelena's baby; "What do you want with her child?" the Dark One asks. Hades realizes he has been figured out, but he keeps his composure together, stating that Rumple of all people should know the value of keeping one's reasoning their own; he doesn't have to tell the Dark One anything. Rumple lets out a chuckle as he continues to spin; "And yet you keep doing so. Some might call that the mark of an insecure man." Hades does not like this comment; he stands to his feet, telling the Dark One that they are done here. He demands Rumple get him Zelena's baby, then he'll rip up the contract, and the Dark One can tell Belle she's pregnant without also having to reveal that she owes her baby to the God of Death himself. He then whispers into Rumple's ear, "I heart that expectant mothers hate that... almost as much as they hate hearing that their husbands are still the Dark One." Rumple has come to the completion of his spinning, and Hades pulls out a knife, telling him to do it. Rumple stares at the knife placed before him.
In the Storybrooke Convent, Zelena reaches into the crib of her crying daughter to retrieve her. Belle stands there, powerless to do anything about it, but begs that the Wicked Witch put her down. "Or what?" Zelena questions, "You'll smite me with your book-learning?" The Blue Fairy whips out her wand, however, stating that she has something more than that. Zelena calls their bluffs though, calling out that neither of them would dare hurt her child.
Meanwhile, back in the Underworld, Rumple is slicing into his hand with the knife provided to him by Hades. His blood is then dropped onto the center of the floor in Hades' lair, and with that, a firey-red portal begins to open up. The two men look down at it, awaiting Baby Hood's arrival.
Wicked Beauty goes at it whilst their impending doom awaits.
Belle continues to watch in fear, back in the convent in Storybrooke; she turns to Zelena, fear-stricken, and assures the Wicked Witch that she does not want to hurt her own baby. As the Blue Fairy's wand is still pointed at her, Zelena directs her attention to Belle where she agrees, but states that she doesn't mind hurting her. "Okay, we'll see," Belle says as she gathers up some motivation. She begins to lunge herself at Zelena in order to steal back the baby, but suddenly the ground begins to shake and the three women and the baby are sent tumbling. As the lights flicker and the entire building erupts, Belle screams at Zelena to stop, spitting out that she is endangering everyone. Zelena denies being the reason behind this sudden eruption though, and suddenly Rumple and Hades' portal to the Underworld opens up on the floor right next to them. The three women hold onto the crib in fear, but Belle, determined to get Baby Hood away from Zelena, manages to get across and over to the Wicked Witch where she wrestles the baby out of her arms and from there jumps into the portal to hell. "NO!" Zelena screams, outraged with the book-worm, and so she jumps into the portal after her, leaving Blue and Prince Neal in the convent alone.
In the Underworld, the portal opened in Hades' lair begins to close up, and he and Rumple are left in confusion. "Okay," he exclaims, turning to the Dark One and asking where the baby is. Rumple doesn't have an answer though, and so he remains silent.
Belle asks what we're all wondering.
Elsewhere in the Underworld, in a pile of wreckage outside this realm's version of the convent, Baby Hood cries whilst in the arms of Belle. The book-worm, as well as the Wicked Witch are knocked over on the ground and are forced to take a minute to take in their surroundings. "What happened? How did we get out here?" Belle asks. As the crying was just beginning to calm down, it starts up again as Zelena begins to sit up. She, also on the verge of tears, asks for her baby and if she is hurt. Sitting up too much only results in the Wicked Witch falling back down though, and trembling in pain, having hurt her leg when coming through the portal. As Belle works to calm down the crying baby, Zelena fails at using magic to heal herself; she's powerless in this new realm. Belle demands to know what the Wicked Witch did to them, but she swears that this wasn't her. The brunette questions if it wasn't Zelena then who was it, as well as where there are, and, the question everyone who is anyone has had since the very start: "Why is the sky red?"
Zelena goes un-trusted.
Zelena looks up and immediately realizes where it is she and Belle are; "No, no, no!" she cries, revealing that they're in the Underworld. Belle inhales a deep breath, taking this information in, but comes to the conclusion that it must mean Rumple needs her help; that's why they're there. She stands to her feet, but Zelena informs Belle that this is not the case; they're there because of her... her past with Hades. The Wicked Witch starts to turn to tears as she reaches out for Baby Hood; she knows the God of Death is after her. "Hand her over," she demands of Belle, but the book worm refuses, exclaiming that nothing good came of anyone trusting the Wicked Witch. "Give her to me!" Zelena cries as Belle starts to walk away. The Witch tries to stand to her feet, but once again collapses. Belle doesn't look back, despite Zelena's pleas and promises of being able to keep Baby Hood safe. "Belle!" she cries, "BELLE!"
Boq pays the ultimate price.
In a flash to Oz of the past, Zelena, as the Wicked Witch of the West, has arrived at one of the munchkin villages. Still holding her flying broomstick, she paces back and forth before the terrified munchkins; she confronts them for tipping off Dorothy that she was still alive. As she nears the small men, she states that, since they're so fond of tattling, she'll give them the chance to make it up to her; she demands to know where she can find the Scarecrow. They all gasp, jumping back in fear as the Wicked Witch gets in the face of one particular munchkin. "We don't know," he exclaims, trembling, "we swear." "Fine, have it your way," the Witch says to the munchkin, Boq, before exploding him in a puff of smoke. This results in the gasps of all the surrounding munchkins, who jump back further, in fear. "Did that loosen your bearded lips?" she asks them, staring each of them down, giving them the alternative of becoming a pile of ash as well. "Now, now, no need to make more of a mess," calls out a voice. Zelena and the munchkins turn to see a man approaching. The Witch asks who the Hell is he. The man comments on the appropriateness of such phrasing before introducing himself as Hades.
A new ship is introduced to the storyline.
Zelena recognizes him to be that of the King of the Underworld, to which Hades confirms by switching on his flaming blue hair. The site of this terrorizes all the present munchkins, who each run to hide behind some sort of outdoor object and watch, in fear. The God of Death, kisses the Wicked Witch's hand, the latter of whom wonders what she owes of this visit. Hades compliments Zelena for her handy-work, noting the last headless guard she sent his way, something Zelena takes pride in. However, as she prances around, sweeping the floor with her flying broomstick, she senses there is more to Hades' visit, which is soon confirmed. He has heard rumors of Zelena dabbling in time travel, working to achieve the un-achievable. Zelena stops in her tracks to turn back to Hades, spitting that it won't be un-achievable for long. Hades agrees with her, stating that's why he is there; he believes in her. The Witch lets out a simple laugh; "Is the Devil flirting with me?" she questions, something Hades laughs at as well before correcting that he is in fact not the Devil, but that they're often mixed.
But this Witch don't need no man.
He moves on from this though, stating that he wishes to help Zelena. The Scarecrow being one of the ingredients needed is then brought up, which the Witch confirms, stating that she had him until a "medeling farmgirl" got in the way. Hades recognizes this to be Dorothy, who he had done research on before arriving in Oz. From what he has dug up on her, she is a powerful woman; however, Zelena feels the need to make it clear that she is as well. While Hades knows this, he reminds the Wicked Witch that there is one thing Dorothy has that she doesn't: the love of the people; "And pardon me for saying so, but," and he whispers into Zelena's ear, "no one loves you." This, quite frankly, annoys the Witch, but Hades continues, stating that there is a way to defeat Dorothy: with an ally. "And what does Hades need with a time travel spell?" Zelena asks, but the God of Death remains mum on the subject, simply telling her all in good time. He sticks out his hand, wishing for her to accept his partnership, but the Wicked Witch refuses. "I don't need anyone's help," she says, before disappearing in a puff of green smoke.
Snow realizes Neverland 2.0 is occurring.
Back in the present day, in the Underworld's version of Granny's Diner, a meal is placed before Snow and David. "We haven't ordered yet," the confused Princess exclaims, but the Blind Witch points out the foods to be one dry-wheat toast and one oatmeal; she knows the orders of all the regulars. With that, she tells the Princess she will get her coco. Snow has made a shocking revelation though, as she stares off into space to take it all in. David, who was busy enjoying his toast, then notices his wife's predicament; "What?" he asks her, to which she replies that they've become regulars of the diner. She states that they were only supposed to be down there for a day, but now they're regulars at the diner in Hell, or, on the way to Hell; she infers that he knows what she means. The Prince puts his toast down to comfort his wife; he realizes she's thinking about their son, Neal, who he does as well, all the time. "If only we could talk to him... if he could hear our voices..." At this moment, the Blind Witch returns with their coco; she reveals that they can actually do that, speak to those in the land of the living.
She explains that it's a simple Level #1 Haunting; a lot of people do it there until they lose interest in life, people, and joy. The Witch explains that she knows where a booth is, something that confuses David; "A booth? For haunting?" he questions. Snow is intrigued, and wishes to know where; however, the Blind Witch remains vague. The Princess knows there must be something the Blind Witch wants, and so the latter pulls out a flask which she asks for David to breathe into. David is taken a back by this, but she explains that the breath of a living buys a lot on the black-market there. Not really knowing what to say to that, the Prince gives in and does as told; once handing the flask back for the Blind Witch to seal up, their directions are able to be given. The Blind Witch explains that the booth is by the bus stop; they just have to pick up the phone and tell the operator who they wish to haunt. With that, she finishes with: "Happy Haunting!" As the Charmings are left alone, David turns to his wife, telling her they should go and talk to their boy.
Henry throws a bitch fit.
That moment of Snow and David then turns into that of a page in the Underworld's version of the storybook. In the Blanchard Loft, Henry is showing his family the written pages of that meeting. "Riveting tale, Snow likes oatmeal," Hook exclaims, "Is my morning breakfast in there too?" Emma glares at her boyfriend as he continues, stating that he thought Henry was going to use his author powers to help defeat Hades. "I don't even remember writing this. I just woke up and had it done," he says in a bitter tone. Seeing her son is unnerved, Emma attempts to calm him by complimenting how well-written the pages are, to which Regina adds on that the illustrations are lovely. The Savior then suggests that her son focus more, which then results in him flipping out. He accuses everyone of acting like their authors now, before defending himself, stating that he is doing the best that he can. As he gathers the pages together to leave the adults alone, he suggests they lay off of him a little bit. Regina stops him, asking where it is he is going, to which he responds that he'll be upstairs.
Zelena comes to share that her daughter is in danger.
Silently standing by, Robin gives an eyeroll at the boy's behavior, and Emma comments that they officially have a teenager on their hands. Suddenly their group meeting is interrupted though, for a knock is heard coming from the front door. Everyone is curious as to who would be visiting them at their Underworld apartment, and so Emma cautiously goes to the door. Upon looking through the peephole, she turns back to the others and lets out a sigh; opening the door, it's revealed to be none other than the Wicked Witch of the West. "Zelena?!" Robin exclaims, to which Regina says with an evil grin, "So, someone finally did you in." Zelena sarcastically apologizes for disappointing her not-so-dear sister, but reveals that she is still very much alive. Robin wonders how it is the Wicked Witch got there, and so she reveals it to have been by a portal... and she didn't come alone. "Who else is here?" Regina wonders. Zelena reveals it to be none other than Baby Hood, and that she is in danger. A look of shock and worriment come across everyone's faces.
Zelena's not in a mood to celebrate.
In another flash to Oz of the past, the Wicked Witch of the West makes her way through a set of doors, continuing to proceed down the yellow brick road of the royal palace. However, she's disappointed by the site before her, as Hades sits at her mirror. "You again," she scoffs, at which point the Lord of the Underworld questions if it's the Wicked Witch's birthday, as he handles the green frosted cupcake she had possessed earlier. As he stands up, Zelena comments that she didn't know the King of the Underworld was so nosy, but then admits she doesn't know the day she was born, and sarcastically thanks him for reminding her. "That's actually a sad story," he exclaims, at which point the Wicked Witch finishes that she only knows the day her mother abandoned her. (See "Bleeding Through") "Getting sadder," Hades says, then wanting clarification that what she's doing is celebrating abandonment day. However, Zelena states that she's not celebrating anything, and then proceeds to blow out the cupcake; she asks that he please go, then taking a seat at her mirror. Hades obviously doesn't listen though, instead admitting that when he offered to help her it was coming from a place of self-interest, but now he thinks he really can help her. As he gives back the cupcake, which she places down, he understands Zelena to be thinking about her sister; the Wicked Witch wonders how he knows that, at which point Hades exclaims that he knows exactly how she feels. "She got everything you ever wanted and you got nothing. Am I warm?"
An unholy alliance is formed.
But Zelena doesn't answer. Hades continues, referencing how some people look up to their old siblings as gods. "Well my older sibling is a god," he reveals, proceeding to tell Zelena of his brother Zeus who got everything he ever wanted, getting to rule Mount Olympus while he's trapped ruling the Underworld. "He stopped my heart. Love, happiness, joy, they've all been taken from me. What I'm left with is only anger... and a thirst for vengeance." Zelena admits she's survived off that for quite some time, at which point Hades furthers his statement by revealing that only the kiss of true love can restart his heart and allow him to return a fully-formed man, free of his curse. "But, well, true love. No one is more hated than the Lord of the Underworld." Zelena smirks at this though, commenting, "I could give you a run for your money." "Yeah, which is why we need to find your ingredients," he exclaims, then revealing that he knows where her Scarecrow is. Zelena is now intrigued, as Hades requests once to help her, to help them both. He states that if he can travel back then he can see to it that it's he who ends up in Olympus and his brother who suffers. Zelena's officially been won over, as she and Hades smile into the mirror and her last comment being, "You might just be as vindictive as I am."
Robin wants to redeem at parenting.
Back in the Underworld's present day, in that realm's version of the Blanchard Loft, Robin Hood is seen gathering together his archery equipment as Zelena watches, questioning where it is that he's going, at which point he states to find their daughter. Zelena recommends that they use a tracking spell, but Regina states they don't have anything of the child's to use. Robin assures he doesn't need magic though, that he can find his child without it. "I lived in the forest for years, I can find anyone." Zelena doesn't seem so convinced though, as Robin, followed by Regina makes it out the door. "I will find our daughter," he says once more as the Wicked Witch rolls her eyes, proceeding to follow the her sister and the father of her baby out the door.
Rumbelle reunites, but of course their happiness is short-lived.
Elsewhere, on the streets of the Underworld, said child continues to be carried around by a curious Belle who soon makes her way to this realm's version of the Storybrooke Free Public Library. Opening the door, she is met with the discovery of wreckage, similar to the state of the rest of the town. Looking around, she wonders aloud, "What is this place?" But she's not given much time to investigate as she hears the elevator moving upward; not knowing who it could possibly be emerging from it, she decides to hide behind a book shelf and watch from a distance, still with Baby Hood in tow. After a moment of suspense, she is met with a shock when watching Rumplestiltskin exit. She gasps, proceeding to make herself known, as the two warmly greet one another. The Dark One wonders what his wife is doing there, before quickly wanting to make sure she isn't dead, which she quickly confirms. She further reveals that a portal had brought her and the baby, as well as Zelena, which Rumple realizes is why the spell didn't work as he thought; it brought three bodies instead of one. Belle is confused though, wondering who her husband was trying to bring if not her and he didn't know Zelena was back... which only leaves Baby Hood. "No," she realizes, then asking, "Why would you steal a baby?!" But Rumple reveals that it was Hades, who used leverage to force him.
The announcement of Belle's pregnancy comes with an even more undesired revelation.
He begins to explain that a long time ago, long before they even met, he made a deal, one that he thought would never rear its head. "What did you do?" Belle wonders, further intrigued, at which point Rumple reveals that Baelfire was sick, and in exchange for his life he made a deal to give up his second born child. (See "Devil's Due") Belle points out that her husband doesn't have a second born child though, but he motions her stomach with his hands. "It happened, Belle," he exclaims, to her utter shock and surprise. "I'm- I'm pregnant," she realizes, to which the Dark One nods. She kind of chuckles a little, exclaiming, "We're- we're going to have a baby..." And again Rumple nods but this time with a happy smile. Belle's demeanor soon changes as she realizes that this baby is a baby Rumple has already sold. He admits to this, but promises they can fix this, then stating that he'll use all his power to be sure of it. But now Belle is met with another revelation. "You're the Dark One again..." And so Rumple nods, realizing there's no longer a point to keeping this ruse going; he pulls the Dark One's dagger out of his coat pocket, confirming his wife's revelation. "See, the thing is, I love this dagger," he finally admits to his beauty of a wife, "and I also love you. Both are possible." He points out that she wanted him to be a better man, and he's done that (See "The Bear and the Bow"), but if he wants her to be a different man... "I'm sorry, this is who I am."
Once again this troubled ship is left hanging in the balance.
Belle is quick to deny this though, stating that he wasn't always. But the Dark One assures that he was, admitting that even when he was a coward he craved power; the only difference is that now he has it, and he won't let it go, not again. "Right," Belle exclaims, choked up, "not even for me." However, the Dark One isn't finished yet as he tells his beloved wife that there is something she must realize. "Falling in love with the man behind the beast isn't really what happened to you. You fell in love with me because there was a man and a beast. Neither exists without the other." Belle is disgusted though, refusing this, stating that she cannot condone her husband being like this, not again. She starts to walk away from him, but the Dark One tells Belle that she can. "You just have to choose to," a comment that doesn't fly well with Mrs. Gold. Rumple continues that if she does then they can have what's important: family and happiness. It's her choice. However, Belle refuses, stating that she's not making any choices, not now. Looking down at the baby she still carries, she tells her husband that she won't be deciding anything until he gets her back to their friends and he fixes all of this. "Then that's what I shall do," he agrees, "but you'll see I'm right. You'll see."
Snow and David prepare to haunt their son.
On the streets of Underbrooke, a line is formed behind the haunting booths used to contact the land of the living. David and Snow stand, the latter of which questions how this even works. She's worry about whether they just talk, and then comes up with the idea to sing to the son they plan to contact, as he does love their singing. David doesn't think it matters though, just that Neal hears their voices. Snow is still confused as to how it works though, wondering if it goes straight through his ears, or repeat on a loop; understanding his wife's concerns, David turns around. Behind him is a sad-eyed man, who the Prince asks knows how the haunting booths work. The man admits to having no idea, stating that he doesn't even know if the messages get through. He hopes so though, because otherwise he's wasted a lot of time these past thirty years. This isn't of much help to Snow and David though as, if anything, it only makes things worse. David sees that it's their turn though, and so he ushers his wife along to enter inside the booth. Once inside, Snow picks up the phone and dials for her son.
Just shut up, Robin.
Elsewhere, the search for Baby Hood continues as her parents and Regina roam through the Underworld woods. Zelena exclaims that, before they find her daughter, she'd like them to have the curtesy as to sharing whatever "horrid" name that sattled her with. "Probably something dreadful like "Brittney" or "Nancy" or... oh god not "Marian"." Robin Hood stops in his tracks though, turning to the Wicked Witch and admitting to have not named their child yet because he needs to know her first to find out who she really is, something he hasn't been able to do because he's been too busy protecting her from her mother. Zelena is quick to bite back though, arguing that the thief hasn't been protecting their daughter at all; he just left her so he could go on some "heroic" quest. She wonders how rescuing some pirate could be more important than Baby Hood. "Helping friends, setting an example of heroism, that is important," but Zelena rolls her eyes, not seeing the same. Regina, meanwhile, finally speaks up, exclaiming that she used to be just like her, only for Zelena to tell her sister in turn not to flatter herself. "When I was the Evil Queen, I spent everyday not giving a damn about anyone, and in return no one cared about me." Regina continues that she once thought all she needed was her vengeance to keep her warm at night, but then something happened: her enemies became her family, and that's when she finally felt happy; that is why she is here. They need her help, and when family needs help, you step up. "In case you've forgotten, there is someone I love who needs my help: my daughter." As the Wicked Witch starts to tear up, she says to her sister that if they could get on with finding her then that would be brilliant.
Sparks fly for Hellena.
Flashback to Oz, during the night and in the woods, Zelena and Hades walk as the former wonders what they are doing there, stating that it's where Dorothy first landed in the realm. (See "Kansas") Picking up a bike from the wreckage of Dorothy's old home, Hades states that sometimes to find someone you need the right tools. He begins using his hand to dust off the bike, with Zelena wondering what the hell it even is. Hopping onto the bike, Hades remembers that Oz doesn't have them; as he begins riding around the Wicked Witch, he reveals what it is, only to leave Zelena wondering how the contraption can be used to find Dorothy and the Scarecrow. Hades tells her to hop on, offering to show him; however, she appears to be hesitant. "Please, trust me," he begs of her, ever-so-genuinely, something the Wicked Witch realizes, and so Zelena takes a seat with Hades on top of the contraption. Something appears to be wrong with the Lord of the Underworld as he lets out a sigh, and so Zelena wonders what it is; he brushes it off as nothing though, and asks if she's ready. As Zelena nods, Hades tells her to hold on as he kicks off and the two start to ride.
The hunt for Dorothy and the Scarecrow continues.
As the wheels move down the forest floor, a bell on the bike rings and Zelena lets out a light laugh, clearly enjoying her time. "It's like a broom with wheels," she exclaims, as Hades dings the bell again, and the Wicked Witch continues to laugh. As the two continue to ride though, they finally hit a fallen try branch which sends them flying, landing them on the ground. No pain seems to be felt though, as now they're both laughing and gazing into each other's eyes. "I've got you," Hades promises, as the two both catch their breath. He then asks Zelena if she would like to go again, which she confirms, and so the two sit up, looking at the bike before them. "Now, tell me how this piece of tin can help me find my prey," she exclaims, "That loathsome farm-girl must have him carefully hidden." Hades tells Zelena that it's simple; this bicycle belongs to Dorothy, so if she enchants it then it should take them right to her and the Scarecrow. As the two stare down at the bike for a moment, Zelena finally raises her hand and magics, it, enchanting it to a green color, implying that it's ready to track. The couple then smiles.
Belle reunites Robin with his daughter.
Back in the present day, Belle carries Baby Hood through the woods of the Underworld. As she cautiously walks and looks around, she kisses the baby on its head, only to hear people now calling for her. She looks ahead, and soon enough Regina and Robin come rushing out of the fog, the latter exclaiming, "You have her!" He runs for his daughter, who Belle hands over; she assures that the little girl is fine, while Robin ever-so-gratefully holds her in his arms again. He's relieved to see her okay and he leans in to kiss her; Belle is pleased to see the reunion take place, and Robin thanks her. "Yes, thank you," Zelena adds on, revealing herself to a shocked Belle. The beauty wonders what the Wicked Witch is doing, to which she reveals that she's helping them. "She stole your baby," Belle tries, to Regina and Robin, but Zelena corrects that it's her baby, which was stolen from her, and now she's helping. "It's alright, Belle, she won't hurt anyone," Regina promises, to a still very wearisome Belle. As Robin nurtures his daughter, she starts to cry. As he tries to shush her, Zelena reveals that she has a bottle, and asks to have her. Robin refuses, instead wishing that Zelena hand over the bottle so that he can feed her. However, Zelena points out that she doesn't have any magic in the Underworld, so the worst that could happen is some mother-daughter bonding.
With the return of her magic, Zelena puts her redemption arc on hold.
"It's alright, there's nothing the fairy isn't feeding," she assures, but everyone still appears to have little trust in the Wicked Witch. Still, she ushers that Robin hand over the baby, and finally he agrees; but he requests that she be returned to him once she's done eating. As the crying baby is handed over, Belle appears to be more wearisome than ever as Zelena starts to feed her child. The Wicked Witch smiles as Baby Hood begins downing the formula, and calms down. "There, there, my little sweet pea," she exclaims, as she further whispers to her feeding child. Regina, Belle, and Robin finally start to lighten up, as it seems Zelena is finally taking to a more caring side as it seems she knows exactly what the baby needs. However, as it appears she's had enough, Robin takes the bottle and requests that Zelena hand back the baby too. As it seems she is about to do so though, some magical green sparks start to spout from the Wicked Witch's hand; her magic seems to be returning. "Now, Zelena," Regina demands, as the Witch seems enticed by her magic. She looks up though, finally taking in what's being demanded of her, and seeing this as her chance, she refuses. "No sis, not now, not ever." With that, she waves her hand and knocks Regina, Belle, and Robin backwards, and from there she takes off with her child.
Snow frets over getting through to her son.
"You... can do that?" Emma questions, in the Underworld's version of the Blanchard loft, "You can talk to the real world?" Snow confirms this, though she immediately retracts this claim, admitting to not exactly knowing. David points out that at least they tried, but Snow states she just needs Neal to hear their voices. Emma stands up, leaving Hook on the sofa, assuring her mother that he will once they get back home; however, Snow wonders when that will actually be. She points out that they already went through this with her for all of those years; she wonders if Emma had just heard their voices then if that would have made a difference to her. Emma doesn't answer, though the look on her face gives away her answer.
Zelena frets over accidentally harming her daughter.
Elsewhere in the Underworld, deep in the woods, Zelena is now hobbling along with Baby Hood in tow. She struggles to get by with her twisted ankle and lack of magic. She cries out that this won't do, causing Baby Hood herself to cry as well. This breaks Zelena's heart, hearing her daughter in such distress; as such, she tries to calm her down, shushing and rocking her, telling her that it will be okay. "I'm gonna find us a safe place," she promises, but the baby won't quit crying. She asks her sweet pea what it is, and moves a bit of her blanket to reveal a bruise on the little girl's face. Zelena gasps in shock at this; she tries to tell Baby Hood that it's okay though, and to just let her "mummy" fix this. Zelena goes to raise her hand to magic the bruise away, but then it hits her... her magic did this. "I did this," Zelena comes to officially realize, now on the verge of tears herself. "I'm sorry," she cries aloud to her baby girl, bawling with her, not knowing what to do now. She holds Baby Hood in close, nurturing her as best as she can.
Dorothy's hideout is discovered.
In Oz of the past, Zelena and Hades stroll through the woods of the realm on the bicycle they came across. They soon come across a house where outside Dorothy waits by a fire. "There she is," Hades exclaims, upon seeing the farm girl, now ushering the Wicked Witch to go on. "This Dorothy's no match for you," he assures of her, "I've seen many powerful women in my day, but none as brilliantly wicked as you." Zelena turns to her new partner-in-crime with a smile on her face as he continues with complimenting her as being "clever", "witty", and "beautiful". The Wicked Witch is touched by all of this, and there as a moment of silence as she and Hades look into one another's eyes; they start to lean in for a kiss, only to be interrupted by the sound of a door opening. They look over to see that, back at the house, the Scarecrow is exiting, joining Dorothy. Hades now ushers Zelena to go on again, and as she gets off the bike she tells Hades that if that "Kansas brat" gets in her way then they'll see what gingham looks like with blood-splatter.
She cackles wickedly as she walks away from the Lord of the Underworld and over to Dorothy and the Scarecrow. "Give him back," she demands of the farm girl, resulting in a petrified Scarecrow gasping an "oh no!" "Back off, Witch," Dorothy exclaims, drawing her sword, telling Zelena that she's not taking the Scarecrow from her. Zelena cares not for games though, as she waves her hand and freezes Dorothy in her tracks. "Yes I will," she says, making her way to the Scarecrow, giving him no time to react before punching her hand straight into his head and ripping out his brain, killing him. Dorothy and Hades both watch, from different areas, as Zelena comes out as victorious. "I won't let you win," Dorothy exclaims, despite Zelena pointing out that it's too late. The farm girl admits to not being afraid of the Wicked Witch, however, as she tells her that she can do her worst and she will still never be afraid of her.
Zelena revels in Dorothy's defeat.
"I'm not sure where all this back talk is coming from," Zelena exclaims, then wondering, "What happened to you in Kansas?" Dorothy doesn't answer, not that it really bothers Zelena, who is quick to admit she doesn't really care. They're finished. She explains that she doesn't need to kill Dorothy, and whether she believes it or not, she doesn't want to either. As Dorothy remains frozen in her tracks, Zelena continues to explain that she wants every munchkin, quadling, and good and bad witch of Oz to know that the "Great Dorothy Gale" can't protect them. "Aw." Even further, the Wicked Witch states that they need to know that she failed, and then: "And then my pretty, you'll have nothing." Zelena starts cackling once more, turning back and calling out for Hades to tell him that he was right; however, she finds that the bike has been abandoned and that the Lord of the Underworld is no where to be found.
The heroes come to reclaim Baby Hood.
Return to the present day Underworld, away from the town, Zelena is hidden away in this realm's version of her farmhouse. She looks out the window to see her enemies approaching, and she knows the jig is about to be up. "Zelena!" Regina calls out for her, with Robin wondering if she's in there. Zelena lets go of the curtain as she tries to compose herself while Robin shouts that this is enough; it's not safe for her or their child out there. Zelena holds the baby in close though, looking as Baby Hood sleeps in her arms, still with a bruised cheek. "Zelena!" Regina exclaims, once more. And now Belle adds to the calls too, calling out for the Wicked Witch. Finally, however, Zelena chooses to answer; she opens the front door to reveal herself and her child and, in tears, says she's right here. Regina, Belle, and Robin stop in their tracks to find the Wicked Witch rejoining them, stating that it's all her fault. She can't protect them, not down in the Underworld and not from Hades. Robin states that Zelena needs to tell them exactly what happened with her and the God of Death, and so she reveals that he wants to use her for the time traveling spell; he has the same thirst for vengeance as she does.
With no other choice, Zelena says farewell to her daughter.
Continuing, Zelena reveals that he once had love in his heart, but because of her it's gone. "And she's the ingredient," Regina realizes about Baby Hood, "Symbol of innocence." Looking down at her baby girl, in full-on tears, Zelena finally makes her stance and tells them to take Baby Hood. "What?" Robin questions, surprised by the Wicked Witch's request, and so she makes it again. She points out that they can protect her while she can't; her magic is unpredictable. "I don't care if you never let me see her again, but you have to save her, Regina, please." Regina is in shock, seeing an entirely new side to her wicked sister, who finishes that protecting Baby Hood is more important than anything that happens to her. "We'll do everything we can to protect her," Regina promises, and Zelena turns to her baby, bawling. "Goodbye, little one," she says, "Mummy has to let you go." She gives her baby one last kiss before handing her over to Robin, bawling even further as she hobbles off back into the farmhouse. Regina, Belle, and Robin watch, in shock.
Belle draws some attention to Robin's poor parenting.
Return to the Underworld's Blanchard loft where the heroes have all gathered, Robin and Regina admiring Baby Hood. "She has your eyes," Regina comments to her beau, and Belle does the honor of asking the question that everyone is dying to know the answer for, that being if she has a name yet. Robin denies this though, stating that he can't, as Hades can do things with names. "Like put them on tombstones to keep people from leaving here," Regina bitterly reminds everyone. Robin states that he doesn't even think it's safe to keep Baby Hood in this apartment, questioning if Zelena perhaps changes her mind. Hook takes his turn to speak up, however, hating to be the one to offer optimism, but thinks it sounds like the Wicked Witch was being sincere. "She was," Regina agrees, but states that it doesn't mean that what she knows can't come back to bite them. She reveals to everyone that Robin is taking Baby Hood to the forest, which Robin admits to be the only place he has ever really felt at home. Henry comes to interrupt the conversation though, making his way down the loft's stairs, revealing that it happened again.
Confirmation that Snow and David successfully haunted Prince Neal.
In his hands he holds storybook pages that he proceeds to hand over to David. Giving them a look, he calls for Snow's attention, revealing them to be images with a story of Prince Neal. "Why did you write this?" David asks of his grandson, but he points out that it's like before - he didn't, or he doesn't remember; it just wrote itself, like it does. Emma proceeds to take the page containing words of the story, reading it aloud: "The infant son of Snow White and Prince Charming looked up at the tiny glass unicorns as they stirred at the wind, but on this night he didn't hear the chime of crystal. Instead he heard the voices of his mother, Snow White, and his father, Prince Charming. They sang a lullaby until he fell asleep as soundly as if he were in their arms." Snow turns to her husband, exclaiming that Neal heard them, and David is grateful to Henry for delivering this news. "I don't know about anyone else, but I am really ready to get home to my family," Snow exclaims, then clarifying, "my whole family. No more waiting; we're going to take down Hades, and we're going to do it now."
Elsewhere in the Underworld, out by the fallen clock tower, Hades appears to be waiting himself. He looks out at the street, a look of determination on his face showing that he is a force to be reckoned with.
Hades professes his one-day-old love for Zelena.
Flashback again to the land of Oz, where Zelena has returned to the Emerald City and is making her way back through her palace. "There you are," she exclaims, finding Hades; however, she notices that he has a fancy table set up, and she wonders what it is. As the God of Death holds two candles, he reveals that it's dinner to celebrate, proceeding to blow on the candles in order to light them. Zelena's pleased, understanding that he saw her confrontation with Dorothy. "Of course I saw," he exclaims, "You were wonderful. I knew you'd succeed." He then ushers that she join him at the table, which she does; however, she wonders if this also doubles as a farewell dinner before he returns to the Underworld, but he reveals that it isn't. "I'm not going back to the Underworld, Zelena." "But you said you needed-" And thus, the Wicked Witch comes to realize. Hades confirms this with a "yes", and so Zelena speaks aloud that the God of Death believes the two of them are true love. "You can't tell me that you don't feel something too." "Yes, but we just met," she points out. While Hades understands this, he continues to point out that while they were on that bicycle and he had his arms around her he felt something he hasn't felt in eons. "My heart... fluttered." While it was just for a moment, he truly believes that once they kiss then his heart will start again; he'll be free and they can be together.
But she turns him away, believing no one can love the wicked.
Zelena appears to be believing this as first, and Hades starts to lean in for that kiss of true love; however, she backs away before he can succeed. "No!" she exclaims, confusing Hades. She wonders how she could be so stupid, only confusing him further. She states that she almost believed him, despite Hades promising it was the truth. Zelena, however, thinks that Hades has an ulterior motive; he wants her to kiss him to free him from the Underworld so that he'll have the power to steal the brain and enact the time traveling spell without her. "Because that's what I would do." "No," Hades tries, but Zelena has convinced herself that Hades simply wants revenge and without it he will never be satisfied. He needs this spell; he needs to go back and beat his brother just like she needs to go back and beat her sister. "Love is not enough." But Hades tries to convince her that he doesn't want that anyone; he just wants her. "I love you." Zelena is on the verge of tears now, settling on the conclusion that: "No one can love me." She then points out that if he really did then he wouldn't try to take away her one chance of revenge. "Go back to your brimstone," she exclaims, "I never want to see your face again." Crushed and now angry, Hades says, "You will regret this, Zelena." With that, he disappears in a puff of blue smoke, leaving Zelena to wonder just that.
Zelena arrives to face her old flame.
Hades is still waiting on Main Street of the Underworld, where a voice calls out to him: "Hello, Hades." The camera pans to reveal Zelena approaching him, still maintaining her limp. The God of Death calls out to her, exclaiming that he was looking for her, but she points out that he was looking for her baby and that she was just a happy accident. "Yes, yes you were," Hades chuckles, "but when I heard you fell through my little portal I really was looking for you." Zelena knows this though, which is why she thought she would make it easy; she knows he wants her child for his time travel spell. As hades surprisingly shakes his head, Zelena gets up and close to the Lord of the Underworld, promising that, if he touches Baby Hood, then she will demolish him. As she raises her hand to form magic, Hades reveals that there is no need for that; he wouldn't ever hurt her.
The Underworld's scenery is finally explained.
As Zelena lowers her hand at this revelation, Hades reveals that this is the thing about true love, it endures, but it can't be broken. Zelena is shocked though, realizing that sending Rumplestiltskin after her daughter had nothing to do with revenge on his brother. Hades clarifies that he was trying to rescue Baby Hood from those miserable heroes for her; he didn't know she was there. "Despite everything I've done, you've loved me all this time?" Zelena questions, rather flattered by this revelation, and Hades laughs, telling her to look around. He asks if she is curious as to why the Underworld looks so much like Storybrooke; he did it for her. He saw how much she wanted to cast the Dark Curse to get everything her sister had. "You made me my very own Storybrooke...?"
Hades exclaims that he made her everything she wanted, everything Regina had. It's not perfect, as the Underworld is a place of destruction; despite his best intentions, things don't grow there, but instead decay. "But it's our decay." He approaches the rather emotional Wicked Witch, taking her hand and asking her if it wouldn't be nice to not be alone anymore. After all of these years he still chooses her, and he wonders what better revenge is there than having it all. "But I had it all," Zelena exclaims, "but I gave them back my baby because I thought you wanted to hurt her." "Well then we'll just have to go back and get her won't we?" Zelena is heavily considering this, understanding that Hades really, truly loves her, but she backs away again. "No." Crying again, she assures the God of Death that she wants to trust him, and he understands that she still can't.
Zelena's choice is made... for now.
She apologizes, but admits that it's too much. "I will get my daughter back, but I'll do it all on my own." With that, she starts to walk away from him, only for him to call out the date of April 15th. Zelena turns back, wondering what that is, and Hades reveals that it's her birthday. "Just thought you might want to know." She wonders how he knows that, and Hades reveals that he tortured it out of a "miller's daughter". Zelena is rather touched to hear this as he tells her not to worry; he took care of Cora for her. He knows that Zelena doesn't need him, that she doesn't need anyone, but states that if she happens to change her mind and decide she wants him then he'll be waiting for her at home... just like he always has. With that, he poofs away in a cloud of blue smoke, leaving Zelena to look around and find herself entirely alone.
- The title card of this episode features the munchkins of Oz amid the red skies of the Underworld.
- This is the only episode in the latter half of the fifth season to feature all of the series' regulars.
- The mirror Zelena uses to look into the past is the same one to be found in Rumplestiltskin's castle in "It's Not Easy Being Green".
- Paul Scheer (Scarecrow) previously portrayed Hart Archer in Good Morning Storybrooke, an extra on the second season's DVD and Blu-Ray.
- The design of the silver slippers contains noticeable differences from the pair used in the third season. The new pair of slippers are "Pompadour" French Court Shoes from American Duchess, with added glitter.
- When finding Belle and Baby Hood in the Underworld woods, Regina is suddenly wearing a hat despite not having worn one earlier while out and about with Robin.
- When Zelena is disguised as Mother Superior, the nun outfit she wears has long sleeves, whereas the real Mother Superior has short sleeves. In the next scene, however, this switches, with Zelena having short sleeves and Mother Superior having long sleeves.
- The title of this episode was officially confirmed by executive producer/co-creator Adam Horowitz, via his Twitter account, on January 17, 2016.
- This episode marks the fifth writing credit for Tze Chun and the seventh for Dana Horgan, as well as the second directing credit for Steve Pearlman.
This episode garnered 3.78 million viewers, an increase from the previous week's.
The episode was met with positive reviews.
- Andrea Towers of Entertainment Weekly gave it a positive review, noting the chemistry between Rebecca Mader and Greg Germann.
- However, Amy Ratcliffe of IGN said of the episode, "We only learned about the Hades and Zelena connection in the last episode, and twenty minutes of flashbacks in this episode weren't enough to sell their love story. Two characters known for being evil need extra time to make genuine feelings convincing, and it didn't happen here." Ratcliffe gave the episode a 6.8 rating out of 10.
- Christine Orlando of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.6 out of 5.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
- ↑ "Pompadour" French Court Shoes (White)(1680-1760)
- ↑ Adam Horowitz tweet.
- ↑ "Once Upon a Time recap: Our Decay", by Andrea Towers, Entertainment Weekly (April 3, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time: "Our Decay" Review, by Amy Ratcliffe, IGN (April 3, 2016)
- ↑ Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 16 Review: "Our Decay, by Christine Orlando, TV Fanatic (April 3, 2016)