Review: OUaT S5E12

Review: Once Upon a Time - "Souls of the Departed"

By: Isabella Montenegro

Previously on OUAT: Rumple/Gold is an ass. In our flashback past, we learned the truth of all that happened in Camelot, and how Emma tried solving the itty bitty issue of being the Dark One by doing something crazy: she and Hook became the Dark Swan Pirate duo. In further past flashbacks we learned that Papa Hook was still alive shortly before Hook and Regina first teamed up, and in a weird twist of fate Hook killed his own dad. On the very last episode we saw the ending of the Dark Swan, as Dark Hook brought all the past Dark Ones to town, but the power of love pulled him back from crazyville, and he absorbed all that darkness and let Emma kill him. In a twist of the universe, we learned that Gold is still a jerk who manipulated everything to become the Dark One again. In other news, our favorite green witch was shipped back to Oz post baby bump, and Belle is once again blindly in love with Gold. Emma threatened Gold, and decided that true love is cool, thus the Storybrooke Underworld field trip was approved. Now on to tonight’s episode and the start in rescuing the world’s best looking pirate. 

Let’s start by phrasing one important thing, the Underworld isn’t actually Hell, in fact, the Underworld seems to be a purgatory of sorts that holds souls of those people who died with unfinished business. From there, you can move on to a better or worse place. 

The Main Story: … not saving Hook
For this 100th episode, the main story actually revolves around Regina and Cora. To summarize, Cora wanted Regina to leave the underworld for unknown reasons or she would send Regina’s dad into a fiery pit to true hell. Let us start by noting that Cora, regardless for the love she has of her daughter, prefers to threaten and manipulate over explaining and being selfless. This will be put into a deeper contrast, when a cornered Regina summons her father’s “Astral Projection,” and Prince Henry virtually sacrifices himself so Regina can stay and help her friends and family. One of the many things I love about Regina’s character and arc is the fact that her parents are such influences on her and yet they are polar opposites. While this particular storyline overshadowed anything else in the episode, we did learn a few things: How Prince Henry’s body ended up in Wonderland, when he was ok at the time Cora was banished; and we also learn that succeeding in completing one’s unfinished business leads them to ‘heaven.’ It is important to note that all the Flashbacks revolved around one of the Evil Queen’s birthday, and how her father betrayed her to get her off Cora’s influence. When Regina refuses to leave the Underworld, she truly breaks free from Cora, thus truly overcoming one of her deeper vulnerabilities and issues. 

Side Story A: Gold is an ass
Let’s start by recapping that Gold is not here from the goodness of his heart to save Hook, as he leads Belle to believe (Seriously, just how often will she be blind to his duplicity).  Gold is essentially being blackmailed into helping, and the most good he does is getting a potion that allows communication with the dead, by pouring it over the person’s grave (Also, everyone dead has a grave in the Underworld). This Astral Projection Potion was acquired in his shop when he talked to his father Peter Pan, whose only goal is to take the place of one of our daring adventurer’s and get back to the land of the living. 

Side Story B: Neal can inception people
Right at the start of the episode, as our heroes are entering the Underworld, Neal hijacks into Emma’s mind and warns her about going to the Underworld. In his Ghostervention, he pretty much does the whole “Don’t go it’s dangerous,” bit and then leaves her mind. (She passed out in the crossing). He is the first person to tell us that the Underworld is a home for unfinished business. 

Side cap: It is also noted by Rumple, that the hero team probably is the source of unfinished business for a few of the Underworld residents.

Let’s talk Underworld
Now, the actual appearance of the Underworld we had an idea of, since most of the set pictures showed a decaying Storybrooke. What we didn’t see until a few trailers and sneak peeks, was the red tinge to that world. If you wanted a comparison, it is similar to the Hell we saw in the movie Constantine minus the wind and fire and brimstone; perhaps an ode to the idea that the way to hell is through fire. 

Another note to make on this, is a comment by Regina, who drew a connection with the Underworld, and the origin of the Dark Curse… which actually opens a new can of questions, but not enough information to actually go too deeply into it.

Let’s Draw lines
Rumple lets us know really quickly that Cruella’s unfinished business is with Emma (and perhaps Henry), in a weird kiss scene, we see James (David’s bro) who obviously has business with his bro; and we can safely assume, that Pan has business with Rumple. Those are a few of the storylines we can obviously expect to see this season.

Side Moment
Henry went looking for Neal at Granny’s hoping to tell his dad he was okay, but Emma assured him that not only does Neal know, but he is in a better place. This sets in stone that Neal had no unfinished business. 

What should have been the main story: Hook!
We now know that Hook isn’t running around like the rest of the people in the Underworld, in fact, he seems to be somewhere where even the Astral Projection potion can reach him, and moreover, seems to be enduring torture. The Astral Projection nearly shows them his suffering, and makes Emma go a little worried that Hook doesn’t know they are coming for him, nor that she cares. 

Twist and Turn
As Cora uses the library elevator to descend way lower than it should, she enters a room with five rivers in five colors (Lethe?), and we meet Hades, who is in the middle of his pedicure. We learn the truth of why Cora wanted Regina to leave: because Hades wanted that. See, when Regina’s dad moved on to heaven the clock tower tolled a minute, which counted a soul leaving for the better place, something Hades really doesn’t want. Cora failed, and was punished by being forced to be the miller’s daughter for the rest of eternity. Hades it seems, likes having people to torture.

Things we noticed:
Hook’s grave used his actual name ‘Killian Jones’ as opposed to his moniker. I feel like this is a step forward in the character, as we see him now as Killian more than we do Hook… Hook is just a cooler name. 

Henry calls this mission Operation Firebird (Operation Phoenix would be better and just as obvious)
Regina is seemingly intent on remaining a savior of sorts. 
Pan’s unfinished business is resurrection.

Funny things, although not important:
Robin, the clearly seasoned thief and hunter, did not notice someone was following them.
While I know this will never be answered… how did the clock tower break in that way and fall in the angle it fell to?
Who is taking care of Leo? And isn’t he a newborn, shouldn’t one parent stay behind?


  • Lana Parilla and Tony Perez’s scenes together were lovely.
  • Not trying to explain all the rules of the Underworld at once. 
  • Very little of Rumple’s “selfless acting” with Belle, we’ve seen enough of that.
  • No memory losses


  • Would have loved to see more of the hunt for Hook. While I love Regina, the stalling of the plot felt dragging at moments. 
  • Barely explaining the rules of the underworld beyond “unfinished business” (Can the souls know what happens in the world of the living?)

Rating: 8.5 – A compelling start, but the stalling was a little much


  • Hook’s unfinished business is obviously about his father and brother, but Liam will gain heaven by saving his brother from something. 
  • Killian’s half-brother will come into play somehow.
  • Hades is afraid of the hope that Regina represents, but Emma will be the one to beat him somehow.
  • Belle will be completely oblivious of Gold’s duplicity until at least the finale