Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 13 – TV Review

OUaT Labor of Love Cruella

But read “bark” as in, like, an over-exaggerated “back” in a fancy British accent.
Also, dog pun.

With Cora out of the way, I was worried we’d have to suffer a Fabulous Bitch Goddess vacuum.

Regina is way too friendly these days. And as camptacular as Queenie is in the flashbacks, she can’t affect anything important happening now.

So thank God OUaT threw us a bone with Cruella. After her “in car form only” snubbing last week, I didn’t expect it.

TL;DR Cruella manipulates Henry into helping her plan to return to life; flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest show a teen Snow’s friendship with a young Hercules; the gang team with Hercules in the Underworld to defeat Cerberus, guard of Hades’ dungeon; Hook languishes in said dungeon; there is way too much Snow White in this episode.

Bailee Madison is growing up. But sadly, not as an actress.

So the major plot of the episode sees our heroes following a clue: Kacey Rohl (she’s on a roll) escapes from a subterranean dungeon thanks to Hook, who distracts the dungeon’s guardian, Cerberus. Snow sees Hercules’ grave in the Underworld cemetery and, upon hearing Cerberus is in the way, seeks out the buff youngster to help. Snow battles her own demons at seeing her teen boy crush dead and in purgatory, and resolves to help him defeat Cerberus, which is his unfinished business (it killed him when he faced it while alive). Snow, Hercules, and a skittish Kacey use the power of teamwork to take out the three-headed beast, and it turns out that Kacey is actually Meg, a girl Hercules tried to save from Cerberus (it killed her after it killed him). They journey over the Hell portal to Heaven, which is Olympus or something. Aww. Meanwhile, Henry, at Regina’s suggestion, sneaks into the mayor’s office to look for maps to find Hook. Cruella ambushes him and reveals that she misses being alive. Shocker, right? But she makes things interesting by telling Henry that if he can revive her, then that would mean that Emma is no longer a murderer. Henry apparently accepts. Meanwhile, Hades isn’t a fan of losing another two Underworld dwellers, and declares that he’s going to use our heroes to replace them: it’s up to Hook to decide which three (at least for now) will die. And in flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest, a teenaged Princess Snow struggles to defend her citizens from bandits (who have been secretly hired by Queenie to make Snow look like the incompetent boob she is. Obv). She finds training and teen flirtation in Hercules, and succeeds in driving the bandits out. Despite a cutesy wootsy kiss, the two part ways.

Yeah yeah, Young Snow is cute, but where’s young Cora? Rose McGowan may be a major douchebag now, but I’m sure she wouldn’t turn down that ABC guest star money if they came knocking.

Despite all the Snow White in this episode, this is actually a really good time. The Enchanted Forest flashbacks continue to be redundant (did we really need one to tell us how Snow learned to use a bow?), but I have to admit that I was on board for Snow’s guilt trip over Hercules’ young death.

There is no greater tragedy than a young, hot dude dying. Especially if you only had a single, chaste kiss, and didn’t get a chance to ride that disco stick.

And, of course, the tragedy is only multiplied when it turns out she ends up with David. Yeesh.


Why I hate this episode:

Snow continues to be one of the major sticking points of Once Upon a Time. Her harping wholesomeness is only matched by her occasional utter despicable evil. Like when she and David got rid of Maleficent’s baby and didn’t really care that much (whatever happened to Maleficent and Lily, anyway?). At the end of the episode, Snow vows to shed her boring, Mary Margaret persona, and be more like the badass forest bandit she used to be. Let’s just hope that doesn’t involve inheriting Bailee Madison’s acting skills. Or that fucking wig.

Yes, Bailee is back as Young Snow. While I appreciate that they kept up the actor continuity, she’s still pretty rubbish. It doesn’t help that her character is exhaustingly predictable. That wholesomeness is even worse on a wide-eyed youngster.

And her “victory” against the bandits is laughable. She pretends to be all badass with her bow, but the bandits are only routed because she’s got Hercules by her side. And then the citizenry eventually take up arms themselves, anyway. What a wank.

I expect better from Queenie. Her plan to have the citizenry lose faith in Snow only involves a handful of bandits? Pfft.

Is Olympus actually Heaven? Or is that just what Heaven is for Hercules and Meg? I’m confused.

Hercules’ actor kept reminding me of a tweenier Bellamy from The 100. They should have paid the extra cash for him.

The fabulous Blind Witch from the Hansel and Gretel episode appears again, but only as a source of information to find Hercules. Here’s hoping the poor dear gets her own focus episode soon.

Hades’ insistence that Hook choose which three of our heroes will die is such a dumb, pointless villain move. I’m surprised Hades didn’t sprout a flame moustache and start twirling it. Just kill them yourself and shut up, dude.

Oh, and it looks like all that Author garbage we thought we’d gotten rid of last season is back, bitches. Cruella explains that the Author’s quill is kind of a life form, so when Henry broke it, it was sent to the Underworld. He’ll need to find it so he can write Cruella outta there or something. Jesus, OUaT. You don’t bring back tension-killing plot devices after you’ve gotten rid of them. Didn’t you learn anything from what happened to The Originals season 2 when Hope came back? Boo.


But it’s not all bad:

Cruella is back! And not a moment too soon. I think I’ll be able to stomach all the “save the Underworlders” bullshit if it means Cruella can have a slice of that action. And she’s not content for simply moving on to Heaven: she wants to come back to life, darling.

But what does Cruella miss about being alive? Here’s the episode’s best line, and it’s hers:
Cruella: “Oh, how I miss it. The music. The gin. The glamour.” She pauses. “The gin.”
Maybe she could go drinking with Kai from TVD?

She also gets the second best line of the episode with this delightfully petty dig at Henry’s maternity: “Tell me, how is your mother? Oh, yes, with you I need to be more specific: how is the one that killed me?” Ya burnt.

I’ve got to give Snow the credit she deserves, and I really appreciated the emotional beats she hit in regards to seeing Hercules, dead, in the Underworld. This demigod who showed her how to fight and become the “badass” she grew up to be, who only had one labour left to complete, died young and beautiful and was doomed to life in purgatory. I understand her interest in helping him out.

It also fits nicely into the fact they need to kill Cerberus to rescue Hook, so points for practicality, too.

She even shows a twinge of jealousy when Hercules and Meg make their connection before passing over to Olympus. You old cougar, you.

Queenie’s plans against Young Snow may have been tiny, but I love her obligatory sabotaging just the same.

Hades is oddly evasive when the gang asks him why the Underworld resembles Storybrooke. Intriguing.

Hercules actually teaches Young Snow decent form for drawing her bowstring. I used to do archery when I was young, and it’s disgustingly rare to see anyone on TV hold their arrow in their bowstring properly.

I’m not a huge Hercules fan, but the Meg reveal with Kacey Rohl was cute. I’m also glad that Hercules and Meg are outta here, already. We have enough characters. And Kacey’s got to get back to The Magicians and (maybe?) iZombie.

Watching Young Snow fail replenished my electrolytes.

Oh, and Hercules and Young Snow’s kiss even has a little sparkle in it. Unlike their relationship.

OUaT Labor of Love Hercules Snow kiss

At least Hercules traded up to Kacey Rohl from Bailee Madison.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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