“Souls of the Departed” ***** stars Aired 3/6/2016
Written by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
*spoilers contained within*
Hello dearies! Once Upon a Time is back and it was one emotional ride! The show officially aired its 100th episode and begins the journey of Emma Swann (Jennifer Morrison) and the residents of Storybrooke as they try to find Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) in the underworld. The journey is not easy as the group encounters old faces and the souls of the dead who have “unfinished business” while having to contend with Rumplestiltskin’s (Robert Carlyle) unwillingness to help them unless they do it his way. As they continue with their mission, Regina (Lana Parilla) encounters her mother Cora (Barbara Hershey) who is about to send Regina’s father Henry (Tony Perez) into eternal fire. Emma visits Hook’s grave and uses a spell given to them by Rumplestiltskin but it’s not enough to get him back so they must think of another way.
It was nice to be back in Storybrooke again. The opening to this episode was great reuniting Neal (Michael Raymond James) and Emma in the yellow Beetle as he explains he is in a better place and advises her not to go into the underworld. There were plenty of returning faces and references to past characters in this episode. The show returned to its Enchanted Forest flashback format as we see the story of Regina’s parents unfold which included a guest spot by Giancarlo Esposito as the magic mirror and the dwarfs led by Grumpy (Lee Arenberg). It made for an emotional episode especially when Regina’s father escapes the fire and is sent to the better place because he tried to save Regina from the influence of her evil mother. Before he goes, Regina introduces him to Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) and the two thank each other for saving Regina in their own ways. While there was emotion, there was also a cringe-worthy moment when Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) encounters the blind witch (Emma Caufield) at granny’s and then is kissed by David’s (Josh Dallas) twin brother James (Josh Dallas). There was a return of one character everyone loved to hate, Peter Pan (Robbie Kay). In the underworld, he controls Gold’s Pawn Shop instead of Rumplestiltskin. The families in this show like to put the “fun” in dysfunctional.
The team behind Once Upon a Time did a great job not only with this episode in terms of making it the 100th episode and the first episode back from the winter break. It made a splash and it sets up a new story arc in a new world. We even got to see Hades (Greg Germann) for the first time which was great. Being renewed for a sixth season is proof of how strong of a fanbase Once Upon a time has and how much fun it is to watch. I cannot wait for the season to continue because it is going to be a trip.