TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.21

OUAT last rites


Title Last Rites

Two-Sentence Summary As Emma and the other heroes try to defeat Hades in Storybrooke, Killian and Arthur team up to help them from the Underworld. When Hades activates the all-powerful Olympian Crystal, it proves to be a weapon of terrible consequence for the heroes as well as the Lord of the Underworld’s own undoing.

Favorite Lines
Arthur: No! No! No!
Killian: Denial, anger, grief…Can we just get to acceptance?

My Thoughts “Last Rites” was an emotional roller coaster. At times, the vast emotional swings from painful grief to soaring love highlighted the beautiful duality of life. Where there is life, there is also death. Where there is grief, there is also joy. Hope and heartbreak both exist in the world. And just as there is pain in knowing that moments of hope will eventually give way to heartbreak, there is also comfort in knowing that moments of heartbreak will one day give way to moments of hope.

At other times, though, the emotional twists and turns of this episode felt like they were giving me whiplash. The objective of this episode was clear: to juxtapose Emma getting the man she loves back from the dead with the death of the man Regina loves. It once again made me think of Emma and Regina as two sides of a coin, which has been a part of this show since the beginning. But I am growing tired of the fact that it feels like only one of these women can be happy or at peace at a given time. I know that they are the two central pieces of this story, and, as such, their stories must have conflict to create good drama. But just once, I’d love to see both women have a chance to be happy and feel like they’re in a good place at the same time—though I fear that probably won’t happen until the end of the series. As someone who loves both characters fiercely, it’s frustrating to see one of them set up for a period of stability and happiness only to realize that means the other will almost surely face a period of misery. But I’m the kind of person who would love for every character to be happy, and that’s why I don’t write TV dramas.

It was difficult to analyze this episode using my traditional format (and within the time constraints my life has put on my writing this week), so I chose to try something new here. “Last Rites” was filled with intense highs and lows, so here are my high and low points of this episode.

High: Zelena
Zelena has been the high point of this entire arc. I am so happy for the writers and for Rebecca Mader that a story they clearly put a lot of care and time into has paid off so well. Mader was once again fantastic in “Last Rites.” Her performance in the scene in which Zelena kills Hades was absolutely riveting. I was so proud of Zelena for coming to the realization that has always separated heroes from villains on this show: Love should be enough. Zelena didn’t want power or revenge anymore; she just wanted a normal life full of love. And that was so true to her character—a woman who just wanted a family, who just wanted to be enough for someone. And when she discovered that she still wasn’t enough for Hades, the pain Mader poured into that moment was tangible, but so was the sense of self-respect. I can only hope this character continues to grow and continues to be there for her sister, because I am so excited for the prospect of more Zelena, which is something I never thought I’d write.

Low: Maurice
I’m sure we all figured that Maurice wouldn’t be able to wake Belle from her sleeping curse, but I was shocked that he willingly chose to keep his daughter under that spell because of his hatred for Rumplestiltskin. I understand him wanting to keep Belle away from Rumplestiltskin, but a sleeping curse has been called a fate worse that death. We’ve seen the nightmarish red room and the flames, and that’s not something I’d want someone I loved to be subjected to for any amount of time. There were extenuating circumstances involved in keeping Belle under the curse (Emilie de Ravin’s maternity leave), but it still served to remind us that Belle needs to get away from the men in her life as soon as she wakes up.

High: Killian and Arthur’s adventure
Killian and Arthur: The scruff sandwich bromance I never knew I always wanted. This was such a smart use of Arthur, placing him on another quest—not for personal glory this time, but to do good for others. His unfinished business was his prophecy: He needed to fix a broken kingdom not through deception and darkness but through honest, good work. And the Underworld was exactly the kind of broken kingdom that needed him. It was an excellent way to resolve his story, which had been dangling as a loose plot thread since the end of Season 5A. And pairing Colin O’Donoghue and Liam Garrigan made for a double dose of charming fun. Both actors played off each other so well, and they both brought a lovely bit of sincerity to their final interaction. It meant a lot for Killian to call the man who dealt him a fatal blow in Camelot “Your Majesty,” proving that he’s no longer a man who craves vengeance. And I’ll admit to getting emotional when Arthur called Killian “Captain,” a title which speaks to the sense of honor that is so important to Killian.

Low: No resolution for the River of Lost Souls
Are we really just supposed to believe Milah and Aunt Em will be stuck in the River of Lost Souls forever? I can pretend that Arthur will one day rescue those souls and help them move on, but it was genuinely upsetting to me that we didn’t get to see it happen onscreen. It felt brutally unfair for those two characters (especially Milah) to be resigned to such a horrible fate, but “brutally unfair” seemed to be a running theme in this episode.

High: Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla’s acting
I know I stated earlier that I’m growing tired of either Emma or Regina having to be sad at almost all times, but it does give Morrison and Parrilla great material to work with. Both actors were at the top of their game in “Last Rites,” creating genuinely moving performances. Parrilla’s work in the scenes following Robin’s death was stunning. The total sincerity in her vulnerability when she was telling Zelena that true love is sacrifice made me cry. That was contrasted in a really smart way by her outwardly stoic performance in the funeral scene—ever the regal queen, fighting to stay poised as her world falls apart. And Morrison’s portrayal of Emma’s grief resonated even more strongly with me because it was given even more time to develop. She brought total authenticity to each moment—from her initial desperation to the achingly realistic way she spoke the simple truth we all feel when we lose a loved one: “I miss you.” This episode was as moving as it was because these two actors made every wild swing in emotion feel rooted in something profoundly honest.

Low: Not enough Sean Maguire (both in this episode and all season)
Sean Maguire had more screen time in this episode than he’s had for most of this season, but that’s not saying much. I know this is a big cast, and I feel as if the writers were purposely trying to lessen our connection to Robin before his death to make it less painful. However, all it did was leave me frustrated at the missed opportunities for this character. It seemed like the writers were never quite sure what to do with Maguire and with the character of Robin—especially this season. For as much as I appreciated the chemistry between Maguire and Parrilla and loved what Regina’s relationship with Robin did for her character, that relationship always felt as if it were missing something. And maybe that “something” was more time onscreen with them being happy or having meaningful conversations before this episode. It felt like “too little too late” in this episode, and the impact of his death was lessened by the character’s absence this season. That might have made it easier to say goodbye, but when you’re bidding farewell to such a seemingly important character, it shouldn’t feel easy.

High: Emma and Killian’s connection
To know me is to know my love for romantic relationships that are supportive partnerships. So you can imagine my joy when Killian and Emma spent this episode continuing to help each other even though they were separated by death. As Killian said all the way back in Season Two’s “Tallahassee,” they make quite the team, and it seems not even death can keep them from being teammates. Perhaps my favorite thing about this part of the episode was the fact that they could feel what the other was going through even though they were in completely different realms. Killian knew that Emma was struggling to fight Hades, and Emma knew that Killian wasn’t going to move on until he helped her with this last task. Eventually, he helped her by sending her the storybook, symbolically sending her hope from the Underworld. And once Hades was defeated, Killian knew Emma had succeeded. I loved O’Donoghue’s delivery of “I don’t know. I just…do.” You could feel the understanding settle in him that they will always be connected by the strength of their True Love. Because, as he said earlier this season, when you love someone, you know. There was such a lovely message of hope in the idea that not even death could sever the connection between their souls and keep them from supporting each other as they always have.

Low: Hades and Zelena’s “True Love”
Once again, the pure love between Killian and Emma—as well as the love between Regina and Robin—made me question how on Earth Hades and Zelena could have shared True Love’s Kiss in last week’s episode. Zelena clearly wasn’t enough for Hades, which goes against everything we know about True Love. He was actively deceiving her, trying to hurt her family, and planning to gain more power because he wanted more than just a life with her. That kiss never should have worked, unless it only needed to be a kiss from someone who truly loved him.

High: Robin and Regina’s True Love
True Love is sacrificial. We’ve seen that time and again on this show, as recently as last week’s episode. And Regina repeated that idea this week when she told Regina that Robin gave up everything to save her, because that’s what True Love is all about. Robin’s death was an act of True Love, willingly putting Regina’s safety and happiness above his own. It was a choice he made to selflessly protect the woman he loves at the expense of his own life—because he believes she is worth it (even when she doesn’t). Although Robin’s death was incredibly sad, it was also a beautiful testament to the fact that the love between him and Regina was as True as it gets. And although it seemed unfair for Regina to lose another person she loved, I was happy that she at least got to see that someone loved her—even knowing her dark side—enough to die for her.

Low: Roland is an orphan
Yes, it was heroic and beautiful for Robin to give up everything for Regina. But he also left behind a son and a daughter. Nothing in this heartbreaking episode destroyed me like the shot of Roland laying an arrow on his father’s casket. That poor little boy already lost a mother, and now he has to grow up without his father, too. I know he’ll be taken care of (I could see Regina taking care of him or any of the Merry Men or even Snow and Charming.), but to inflict that much trauma on a kid seems excessive. However, it is a good “fairytale origin story,” considering how many fairytale heroes and heroines lose one or both of their parents.

High: Robin’s death makes sense from a storytelling perspective…
As a piece of dramatic storytelling, I understand what the writers are doing by killing Robin. It sets in motion a new story for Regina (So can we consider Robin’s death a male example of fridging?). Once again, Regina has lost a man she loves. This creates the conflict between the part of her that will always be drawn to darkness and the part of her that is now striving to do the right thing. In addition, it forces her to confront the idea that it’s not just villains that don’t get happy endings; heroes suffer, too. How will she deal with that? Robin’s death raises the stakes, reminding us that this is a world in which real losses can happen. But most importantly, I think Robin’s death happened in order for Regina to discover what Emma learned in the last episode: When you lose someone, their death won’t be in vain if you find a way to honor them. Emma tried to honor Killian’s death by keeping her armor off (hence the gut-wrenching scene of her being so openly emotional at his grave), and I think Regina will come to learn that she can honor Robin by being the woman he believed was worth dying for—a woman who fought to be her best self when it wasn’t easy, a woman who let herself be guided by hope and love rather than anger and vengeance. Regina’s story can now become a story about the hope that you can live a good and happy life even after suffering a terrible loss by choosing not to let that loss consume you. There is beauty to be found in such a story, and I hope that’s the story they choose to tell.

Low: …but still feels too bleak for a show about hope
Not only did Robin die; he was obliterated. No Underworld. No hope of moving on. No character deserves that fate—especially not when we saw characters like Cora moving on and Arthur finding a purpose in the Underworld. My feelings about this are like my feelings about Milah being stuck in the River of Lost Souls multiplied by a billion: It’s brutally unfair. And I know that life is often unfair. But Once Upon a Time is a show about hope, and this was one of the bleakest turns this show has ever taken. For as happy as I was at the end of the episode, I couldn’t help but to still feel sad on Regina’s behalf. Having Killian return on the same day as Robin’s funeral was a nice bit of compact storytelling, but it was also emotionally jarring. Selfishly as a fan, I didn’t want to have to feel bad because I was happy to see Emma and Killian reunited, but that’s exactly what I felt. Kudos to the writers for making me feel for everyone in this situation, but I just wish what I was feeling was a little happier. This is a show about hope, after all, and what they did to Robin—and to Regina by extension—felt about as hopeless as it gets.

High: Ending on a happy note
Even though the staging of Emma and Killian’s reunion was less than ideal (but was done to heighten the Emma/Regina conflict that’s sure to come), that doesn’t mean I didn’t love every beat of it. One of my favorite little nuances about it was the lack of hesitation on Emma’s part as soon as Killian said her name. This is a woman who used to be as skeptical as it gets, but she didn’t doubt for a moment that Killian had come back to her. That’s what love does; it helps you believe in the impossible. And even when Killian was trying to explain to her what happened (let’s call it the ultimate deus ex machina), it didn’t matter to her. She was willing to finally accept that things could just be good in that moment, that someone she lost could come back to her and that she could be happy without holding anything back out of fear of it not being real or lasting. And she didn’t hold anything back in that scene. Emma and Killian’s kiss was such a stunningly romantic moment, but what I loved the most were all the little kisses Emma showered him with as he tried to talk. The joy of the moment was infectious (I will never stop smiling at the memory of his little giggle as she kissed his cheek.), and it was all because of the sincerity O’Donoghue and Morrison brought to it. It’s not often that a reunion can feel as good as a separation felt painful, but this was the rare occasion where the pure happiness of one moment made up for a season of brutal angst. It was an earned moment if there ever was one on this show, and it ended a very bleak episode with a spark of hope. In the middle of a rainy graveyard, they created a moment of life and light. And it was a moment I won’t soon forget.

As a side note, NGN will be going on hiatus starting tomorrow as I travel to Walt Disney World for a long-awaited vacation! This means my analysis of the Once Upon a Time finale won’t be posted until some time after May 23. (It also means the rest of NGN’s regular content will be on hiatus, too.) I appreciate your patience in advance, and I promise to make it worth the wait!

27 thoughts on “TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.21

  1. Hey Katie, it’s Carrie. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this review and how you totally encapsulated my thoughts and feelings to a tee. I feel like I’m still processing the episode bc like you said, it was a series of highs and lows that definitely gave me whiplash. In a fandom filled with pointing fingers and people placing blame, I’m glad I can come here and read your reviews and make sense of my feelings without those things. Bravo!

    • Yay, Carrie, nice to see you here!! This was a rough one for sure. This whole season, even all the way back to 5A, has been rough. For every happy moment between CS in Camelot, we got equal angst in Storybrooke, and now we get CS finally reuniting only to suffer a major loss to another character. I just wish they would give us a little more time to feel the triumphs!

  2. I’m in a crazy-busy time, too, so I’ll be brief. (I’m sure some of you will be shocked.) Nice job on this, Katie. I love when you step outside the box (for whatever reason). I know some of this was due to time constraints, but I think this approach is a great match for this particular episode.

    Last week, I felt like I needed NGN as my support group. I felt fairly certain Killian and Emma’s separation wouldn’t be permanent, but I really didn’t want it to drag out too long. Now, I feel like I need this space to sort through (and mildly vent) about this episode. So, yeah, still my support group.

    I adored the Emma-Killian reunion. It was gorgeous. However, it is hard to completely enjoy because of Regina. *sigh* Just one episode where everyone is happy . . . ok, Rumple doesn’t have to be happy. Actually, right now, Rumple not being happy would make me happy. But everyone else — happy. De-tree Dopey and everyone hangs out at Granny’s. There could be karaoke. It would be awesome.

    My problem is that I have a hard time seeing how Robin’s death is good for the story. His death just seems so hopeless. Senselessly hopeless. And a wee bit mean in terms of complete obliteration. Obviously, I need to suspend final judgement until I see where the writers go with this. (In the mean time, I am imagining a Rory Williams-Amy Pond scenario for Regina and Robin. If a thing is remembered it is never completely gone. If you can remember someone, you can bring him back.) Thanks, Katie, for your positive perspective on the possibilities. (Ok, I really didn’t intend the alliteration, but it does bounce nicely, so it’s staying.) Like you, I also felt that the writers never completely had a grasp on what to do with Robin.

    Short stuff:
    — Yes, Belle needs to ditch the men in her life. Bring back Ariel and the two of them can start a detective agency together.
    — After Hades’ death, I wanted Regina to reach out to Zelena, but it made sense that Regina would go to Robin. When I saw Zelena reach for Regina for comfort, I realized THAT was what I really, truly wanted.
    — I expected Zeus to be more . . . Zeus-ly.
    — I adore the idea of Cruella and Arthur going head-to-head in the Underworld.
    — Baby Neal is seriously adorable. That hat . . . (Yes, I have a thing about hats.)
    — Poor Walter. What do they expect is going to happen?
    — I love that Snow had Arthur locked up. Go Snow. Sooo glad to see her in fantastic-Mom mode, too.

    Happy vacation, Katie! Be sure and do something slightly crazy and/or outrageous on my behalf. 🙂

    • Yes to everyone getting to be happy for at least one episode! Although they need to pick somewhere besides Granny’s to have a party, because a Granny’s party is sure to end in misery for someone.

      You are not alone in your confilicting feelings, it seems we all have them after this one. Milah and Robin both deserved better than they got this arc.

      Odds we will find out what happens to tree Dopey? Maybe if Henry suceeds in destroying magic he will go back to his dwarf self? Or forever be stuck a tree…in the middle of the road. That cant be safe. And what about Belle, will she forever be stuck in a sleeping curse without magic?

  3. Great recap! Did you get the scandal blog attachment yesterday? Will you be able to post it before you leave town? 

    So much to say about last night’s episode, but I know you’re probably rushing around getting ready to leave tomorrow. Agreed with everything in your post, though. 

     Enjoy your vacation! 

    From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.

  4. Maybe I’m crazy but I’m not giving up hope on Robin. That glow stick glowed and went out when his soul dissipated. So who knows? Maybe his soul is trapped in the crystal. And we never actually saw Rumole give Robin his heart back. Let’s face it, if they WANTED to bring him back, they could. But I agree that if it does happen they certainly want the audience and the characters to not expect it.

    And have fun while playing on my stomping ground!

    • His ceases to exist. His existence is no where.
      Rumple giving his heart back or not (which i think he did) , still doesnt matter because the existence has ceased.
      Sadly for Robin was very much lacking as character and actor. So i dont see him coming back. And from what it looks like The Showrunners decided to let the character. Looking at the interviews, he was told in January

    • I agree, no matter how definate you claim someone’s death to be on a fantasy show, they can always write their way out of it if they want to. But it does sound like they dont have any immediate plans to bring him back with Sean leaving the show. 😦

  5. This review summed up so much of what I felt after watching this episode. “Brutally unfair” is such a great description; I’ve never been more upset after a Once storyline. I hate that Regina and Emma have to always be on opposite sides of the emotional spectrum but this has been the problem with the Underworld arc from the start: in order to make death mean something on the show, the writers will have to go out of their way to explain why the heroes can’t just journey down to the Underworld again (especially now that it’s ruled over by newly benevolent Arthur and not Hades). So in order for Robin to be “gone”, he had to really be GONE. The writers needed to make death matter again and so the death had to be impossibly bleak.

    I think the reason I’m most upset about it is that there were other ways to “break” Robin and Regina apart that could have put Regina down while Emma is up that didn’t involve death. It was definitely “emotionally jarring” as you put it to see Emma and Killian reunite with Robin’s coffin in the background. It made the injustice of Robin’s fate all the more apparent and though Emma and Killian’s joy touched me despite my anger, I really can’t enjoy their reunion right now. Which sucks because I was so looking forward to their reunion after that devastating separation last week.

    Maybe it’s the fact that Emma got a scene to say goodbye at Killian’s grave and Regina didn’t get to say anything. Maybe it’s that Emma’s goodbye to Robin got interrrupted by Killian’s return, serving as the last proof that the writers refuse to give Robin his due on this show, even in death. I’m holding out hope that we’ll see more of the writer’s reasons for killing Robin off in the next episode because this is just too much. Maybe then I’ll feel better and be able to rejoice in CS happiness again.

    • This was such a rough episode wasnt it? I mentioned above in my comment to Carrie that I feel like they have been doing this to us all season…the Camelot flashback structure also tainted a lot of the postive CS development as well, and I think a lot of us are just worn out.

      You mentioned that the structure made the injustice of Robin’s fate more apparent, and I think that is the point of it moving into these next few episodes/next season. It was completely unfair, and Regina has always had trouble with those feelings of inequity. I have always had a hard time sympathizing with Regina because she sometimes can come off as entiled, but I do have sympathy for her after this. Losing Robin isnt fair. She has every right to be angry, and its completely understandable if its going to be challenging for her to see Emma and Killian back together when she has lost someone she loved. I am looking forward to seeing where this takes her.

      And as crappy as it is, I do think the writers had to be this drastic in killing Robin in order to push Regina’s character. We had already seen Regina be selfless and let Robin go with Marian before. They had to be final about it this time.

  6. Katie, great review and what a perfect way to structure it! I agreed with every single one of your points. Like, I can’t even quibble about anything.

    I am glad that you noted Robin’s death might make sense from a storytelling perspective, that it might give them the opportunity to show that Regina has grown enough to fight her darker temptations and still be her best self. Plus, they have at least one more season to fill, and the same four couples have been together for a while…I am sure they wouldn’t mind giving Regina a new love interest at some point.

    I was spoiled for the death, so I’d be curious to hear from others whether the were surprised that Robin died and Killian returned. To your point about Robin’s lack of development, I definitely thought they were telegraphing his departure all year by keeping in the background and not spending time developing his relationship with Regina any further.

    Finally, I just wanted to note how refreshing it was that this episode was flashback free. It really gave them room to have a fully formed B-story (Killian and Arthur in the Underworld.) Those scenes were the most purely entertaining part of “Last Rites,” and I am shocked to say I was as moved by Arthur’s redemption as I was by any other character’s all season, except for possibly Zelena’s. That plot also gave us Katie’s favorite lines of dialogue, which were also mine – I love funny Hook! Plus Cruella and the Blind Witch!

    Have a great vacation, Katie!! I hope you find lots of hidden Mickeys (or maybe only people like me who travel with a 5 year-old do that…)

    • I didnt even notice that this episode didnt have any flashbacks until Katie mentioned it! But you are both right, it was a good call. I think we definitely know these characters well enough at this stage that a ton of flashbacks just arent necessary…and there is so much cannon at this point the writers only seem to get themselves in trouble with the timeline and character development when they do.

      I was ready to leave the underworld, but I am for sure going to miss Cruella and the Blind Witch. I cant tell you how much I loved seeing Emma Caulfield on my TV on a regular basis again!

  7. Katie, excellent review as always! I, too am struggling with my emotions after this last episode and think the way you structured this review is a perfect way to express the ups and downs we all probably felt. There were such extremes of emotions in this episode, but like so many others I almost felt no emotion was fully felt or realized. I remember thinking “I know Hook has to come back in this episode, but when – there are only 10 minutes left.” I guess I wished the quest with Arthur and Killian and Killian and Emma communicating through other realms and then eventually reuniting were in one episode and Zelena’s discovery of Hades’ ultimately villainous and unrepentant ways, and Robin and Regina’s heroic, yet ultimately fatal quest to expose Hades and rescue his daughter were a completely different episode. This way I could fully sympathize with Zelena and Regina, fully grieve for Robin, and fully rejoice for Killian and Emma. But alas it’s not to be and I do have faith in Adam and Eddy that they will bring us someplace wonderful with this new development. I guess it’s more like hope 😉

  8. I liked this format! I also enjoyed that you went back and forth, as opposed to lumping all the good and bad together, and of course you ended on a high note, literally, and I wouldnt have expected anything else from you 🙂

    So, its Tuesday, and I just finished watching due to my travel schedule. Since the show premiered in 2011, this is the longest I have gone between airtime and watching, and I think a large part of that is I wasnt ready to say goodbye to Robin. Although I think really I am just sad to say goodbye to Sean. He always seemed to really enjoy and appreciate being on the show, and it makes me more frustrated than anything that they werent able to do more with him. But at the same time, the fact that I had more emotional attachment to the actor than I did to the character is probably a sign it was necessary to let him go. And I am actually looking forward to seeing what this means for Regina as a character. And Henry too. I was MUCH more torn up over Neal’s death, mainly because I thought Neal had way more potential story-wise.

    The high and low feeling of this ep I think is pretty much a testament to this entire arc. There have been some really great things this arc, but just as many things have fallen flat. Hades ultimately wasnt a very fulfilling villain. Power and control? Really? That’s your endgame? Pretty boring. And yes, what the heck is going on with the river of lost souls?! I am going to have to believe that King Arthur is down there working on it. And making out with Cruella.

    I was actually really happy to see the Camelot folks again. I think it was a nice way to transition back into Storybrooke. We are asked to be VERY patient with side plots on this show, which is usually annoying, but it is always welcome when we come back to an old plot thread.

    Emma’s “I miss you” was definitely the most emotional I have gotten all season. Most of this arc has been “go go go”, and I had never really mourned everything that had happened between Emma and Killian either. But the moment the danger was finally over, and things slowed down, and Emma was finally able to truly grieve, I was right there with her. Their reunion was perfect, and I loved how Emma didnt care about the how or the why, she was just happy and relieved to be in his arms again.

    That said, it did feel wrong to lose Robin and gain Killian back within the same episode. The way this show has set up Regina and Emma as foils might be the easiest way to keep the overall plot moving along, but all it has done is foster fan drama. I am all for a season where both Emma and Regina are happy and Rumple can be the stupid punching bag for once.

    Speaking of, I knew Mo would succeed in doing something really jerky. Ugh, a huge YES to Belle getting the hell out of Storybrooke and away from those two. I didnt think I could dislike Mo anymore than I already did, but now I do! Going under the sleeping curse might have been a dumb decision, but at least it was Belle’s decision. Mo keeping her under because he doesn’t agree with Belle’s choices flat out disgusts me. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

    -Why was Zeus even in this episode? He just looked all wrong, I would have just preferred a commanding voice from above. “I am here to accompany you”. Dude, you said like one thing and then took A step. Dont work too hard buddy.
    -So Hades threw the storybook into the river of lost souls and then what, the souls decided to redecorate and thought the book would look nice in that statue’s arms? And they got really mad that the scruff twins were going to ruin all their work? I have no idea what was going on there.
    -Ugh, poor Henry. Poor Roland. Poor Sean. No more deaths, please. Happy progress only.

    • As always, we seem to be on the same page on so many things . . .
      — the coolness of Katie’s format for this ep
      — being more attached to Sean the actor than Robin the character
      — the horribleness that is Mo
      — the Un-Zeusliness of Zeus. (I laughed REALLY hard at your Zeus comments.)
      — the need for happy times — your point about Granny’s is well-taken. Obviously, karaoke night needs to happen elsewhere.
      — Rumple as Season 6 punching bag — preferably because Belle is living it up and happy without him.
      — the fun of imagining Cruella and Arthur (with the Blind Witch) shenanigans in the Underworld.

  9. First of all- Enjoy your vacation Katie!

    Half of this episode felt strange to me and I think it’s because I was never Outlaw Queen fan, so I was indifferent in their scenes, I do feel sorry for all OQ fans, that death was not fair especially how final it was. most of all I feel bad for Sean, they could have given Robin so much more story than they did that even in the little he had it felt like Regina is his voice, I think their little fight in the tunnels was maybe the first time it’s his voice, his thoughts. I can see story wise where they are going with it but personally I don’t like Evil Queen and we saw too much in flashbacks of her. and Roland, I want to hug him so much, poor pumpkin!

    I loved Killian and Arthur so much! I loved everything about it especially what it showed about Killian and his redemption arc that for me is done. Technically Arthur is the one who killed him, he is the one that separated him from his true love and cut short their happiness, the old Hook would have wanted revenge, would have been angry and bitter but not Killian. he saved Arthur a few times during their quest, he didn’t have resentments, he even offered him to move on with him. it says so much about Killian and I was proud as hell.

    I loved Emma & Killian’s connection beyond death, how they knew and felt each other, I loved his desperation when he couldn’t find the pages (we rarely see Killian that desperate), I loved Emma touching his face in the storybook, talking to his grave broke me cos for her it was final, she knew he was finished in the UW and really gone, and even though its a good thing that he moved on she still miss him, Jen played it so well.

    I loved that Killian didn’t know he is going back to her, that he was at peace with death, that Zues said he is sending him where he belongs, and the reunion was precious is all ways, I love this OTP so much, Colin and Jen bring so much to it.

    Little notes:
    – I want Cruella! she is diamond
    – I want The Blind Witch!
    – was proud of Zelena, what she did is anti parallel to what Belle never could, she is wise enough to see that for Hades love was never going to be enough, was really sad for her.
    – Sad we didn’t get resolution to the lost souls, A&E said we will this episode! it’s not fair to Milah!
    – The heroes never learn, check the dust! off course a part of the Crystal will be there and Rumple will find it.

    • I LOVE your comment on Killian/Arthur dynamic. I had completely forgotten that it was Arthur that dealt Killian his fatal blow (that seems like a forever ago). Its amazing to see how far Killian has come. I have always loved how he has owned his actions and has been ready to accept his fate.

      And YES, for heavens sake, check the dust!! Lol. Looks like we need to add this to the long list of needed public outreach campaigns!

    • A&E didn’t say we’d get resolution for the lost souls, just an answer to whether they’re stuck there forever or not. The answer is they’re not, since with Hades gone the Underworld is changing and souls from the river can regain sentience and come out of it now. So Milah won’t be in there for eternity.

  10. You found more to like in this episode than I did. Although I don’t like the whole ‘ship’ phenomenon, I also don’t like to see the main romantic couples separated by death. I watch TV to escape pain not to experience more pain. That said, your blog made me go back and look at the more positive and more interesting aspects of the ep. I admire your impartiality….. have a great time on your trip!

  11. Concerning the River of Souls, two (or was it the same one both times, I couldn’t tell) souls came out and attacked Hook and Arthur. After that happened, Hook said things seem to be changing now that Hades is gone, since this hasn’t happened before. So clearly the souls CAN leave the river now, which means Milah, Auntie Em, Gaston, James, Pan, and all the others stuck there will move on eventually.

  12. Also, Belle isn’t in the fiery room, that comes in nightmares after someone has awoken from the sleeping curse. The person in the sleeping curse is stuck in a maze of mirrors, left with nothing but themselves and their regrets.

  13. Totally agree with your takes on highs and lows. I never thought I would root for Zelena, but I was so relieved when she did the right thing and stabbed Hades. She’s come a long way, actually. It will be interesting to see what happens now. Will she go back to believing that everyone else gets what they want except her (and drag Regina along with her), or will she continue to move forward?

    Maurice is the worst. Honestly, I could do without either Belle or him. (sorry to the Belle – lovers). I think I cringe every time I see him on the screen.

    My thought when Hades killed Arthur, was “really, that’s what how they are resolving his story?” So, I was glad to see him in the underworld and nice little quest with Killian. Granted, Killian probably could have done it all by himself, but they do make a nice stubble sandwich. And I did get the feeling that without the whole” Excaliber sword, be a great king thing” in the way, Arthur would be a little less crazy obsessed and be able to redeem himself. Too bad they didn’t pull in Liam Garrigan way back when as Liam (#1), though. He and Colin really do look like brothers.

    And I totally see where Robin’s death is great to move a story along and provide some fodder for Regina’s character. But, it was sooooooooooooooooo sad and FINAL. Could the writers have not found some OTHER way to move Regina’s story along. For a show about hope, this season has been very lacking in evoking that feeling in me. Honestly, the only times I’ve ever felt it is when Snow speaks. Ginny is just fantastic at giving that spark in her lines. They don’t feel like a ‘hope speech’. She is able to make you believe that it just might be possible for things to be okay in the end.

    Random thoughts:
    – Moral of the story with Regina: Don’t go off the deep end when someone spills a secret. You will pay for it for the rest of your life, no matter how much you later regret doing it.

    – No wonder Henry loses it in the finale. He’s lost his father and two almost step-fathers in the space of what, a year? And he’s a teenager. Sure recipe for rebellion.

    – It makes sense that Zelena would believe so strongly that she could change Hades. He’s the first person/god to show any love to her. She would want to believe that he’s who she thinks he is with every fiber of her being. Cause if he’s not, it just proves that she is truly as bad as she thinks she is and is only able to be loved by the worst of the worst. Who would want to go down that path?

    – I’m not sure where they are going with Rumple in this season/arc, he seems to be all over the place. He almost seems to be back to Season 2/3 Rumple, only looking out for himself at the cost of everyone else. (Notice how he didn’t care whether anyone else got through the portal to StoryBrooke. As soon as his business was done, he strode out there and got himself and Belle back. No thought to the others.) Not sure that whole becoming a hero thing affected him at all.

    – The executives need to put in a little more consideration before making characters/actors series ‘regulars’. I think it sets expectations in both the actor’s and audience’s minds. And not being able to live up to those expectations is what causes all the hard feelings. They’ve done it twice now with Will Scarlett and Robin Hood. Let’s hope they don’t do it a third time.

    – And to those who have commented that things seem to be rushed or couldn’t they have broken it out into two episodes, etc. I’m not sure the two arcs per season is still working. I think it is causing the writers to have try to cram too much into 11 episodes and they aren’t able to fully flush out some of those stories/conversations we wish characters would have.

  14. My heart goes out to all the “Hoodies” and “Outlaw Queen” fans. Robin deserved better than what he got. Every other main relationship on this show has had excellent, balanced development. Outlaw Queen when it was introduced in 3B, I think the coupling had serious potential to become an epic romance on the same level as Captain Swan. I liked the idea of finding love, or true love again after heartbreak.

    But then, the writer’s decided to add external drama to the couple instead of giving Robin and Regina a chance to develop naturally as a couple. Here’s my other problem, Robin wasn’t given a chance to develop as a character in his own right. Okay, he’s Robin Hood and most of us know the legend of Robin Hood, but we also know the story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook, and yet OUAT was able to give a fresh new look into Captain Hook’s story that’s refreshing, new and relatable and the writers couldn’t give Robin Hood the same treatment?

    Robin has had a few moments here and there where we actually got to see him as a person. I liked that moment earlier this season where we actually got to hear his thoughts about the whole baby situation with Zelena. Everything else before then, it was Robin reacting to situations and we didn’t really get a chance to see how he personally feels about what’s going on. Unfortunately, he was given the same treatment in 5B. He was removed from the action, he didn’t know what was going on, the changing dynamic with Hades, Zelena, and Regina. As soon as he was thrust back into the action, and Regina’s telling him it’s okay to give his daughter to Zelena, I understand him feeling betrayed and “WTF?” reaction.

    The Outlaw Queen relationship was so unbalanced. When you develop a new couple, like Outlaw Queen, the writing should be balanced where you see the development of both characters as individuals. That’s not what happened with Outlaw Queen. Instead, Outlaw Queen wasn’t about the relationship; it was about Regina. I’ve come to like Regina in recent seasons and see her develop as a hero and someone who believes in good and happy endings, but the relationship just shouldn’t have been about Regina exclusively. It should also be what Robin finding love again with Regina has brought to his life too.

    When I think about the show losing Robin Hood, it’s also Roland and baby Hood losing their father, Regina losing her love (again), Regina never really having the chance to tell him that she loves him, and it’s losing the opportunity to grow Robin’s character. I like Sean too. He is a sweetheart, a charming and funny person but there were so many missed opportunities to give his character a chance to really grow.

    (Okay, we had one backstory in season 4, but seriously, one backstory isn’t enough!). And the writer’s couldn’t find a way to resolve the baby triangle without killing Robin? I would have liked to see Robin/Zelena/Regina find some common ground together and find a way to become a peaceful family and move on together. I like Zelena, I do and I look forward to seeing more of her as time goes on; it’s just sad the price of her growth is at the expense of a character who deserved better.

  15. Great review, love. You chose a perfect structure for such an emotional episode and each point you made is one I agreed heavily with. One thing I didn’t touch up on in depth which you did is the river of lost souls. I’m confident Arthur will set them free, but it’s also something I’D LOVE TO SEE! I don’t just want to believe it. So, I truly hope we get some sort of official confirmation that those souls have departed. This is one of those episodes that I sadly don’t ever want to think about again. And I agree on the fact that there just wasn’t enough Sean Maguire / Robin in the past, but then I suppose it would’ve made it a lot harder to swallow this episode? It’s such a tough, complicated one and I honestly don’t feel OUAT has ever done something that’s left me both heartbroken and confused at the same time. Bottom line is you did an excellent job bidding farewell and laying down all the important matters!

    • @mgcirclesmedia: Adam Horowtiz on Twitter confirmed that the reference to souls coming out of the river now that Hades is gone (like the ones that attacked Hook and Arthur) was the proof that the souls can leave the river now and are no longer eternally condemned to it. Arthur taking command of the Underworld will also help matters, as he can guide them out and to the places they need to move on to.

  16. How can you put up with this shit? How can you? The death of Robin was so unnecessary that it made me want to throw up. How many times will Emma be rewarded, despite her transgressions? And how many times will Regina be punished? How could you sit there and watch Zelena be rewarded with a child she had conceived via deceit and rape, and a quickie redemption arc, while her victim ends up dead?

    I tried to give this show a chance after the S3 finale, the Frozen arc and the atrocious Dark Swan arc. But the death of Robin was the last straw for me.

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