We didn’t expect to cry so many tears watching Once Upon a Time‘s big 100th episode midseason premiere, but here we are, big blubbering messes after that emotional trip to hell—excuse us, the Underworld.
As promised, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and the gang began their descent into the afterlife in their quest to save Hook (Colin O’Donoghue), encountering familiar faces with deep connections to our core characters that only a show this good that’s been on for this long could return to. So, what exactly had us sobbing? Let’s examine.
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The Unexpected Warning
A lot of the returning characters were advertised by ABC ahead of time, but right off the bat, we were treated to the biggest surprise of the night: A drop-in from Neal (Michael Raymond-James). He came down from his better place to warn Emma about the dangers of traveling to the Underworld (“Once you get there, it is not an easy place to get out of. I know you’re trying to save Hook, but trust me on this. This won’t end the way you think it will.”), ask how their son Henry (Jared Gilmore) is doing, and assure her that he always loved her. Sob level: 10/10.
Regina’s Reunion, Pt. 1
All the bad blood between Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Cora (Barbara Hershey) was swept by the wayside (for a few minutes, anyway) when mother and daughter reunited in the Underworld. Guess who’s mayor of this bizarro-Storybrooke? Cora, of course. That perfect bit of symmetry, and the heartfelt moment they shared upon seeing each other was lovely to see. If only it lasted… Sob level: 4/10.
Regina’s Reunion, Pt. 2
Now this one was a doozy. This one was the one Parrilla herself told E! News was “five years in the making.” This one reunited Regina with her sorely missed papa, Henry (Tony Perez). You remember, the one she sacrificed back in her Evil Queen days to set the curse that kicked off the whole series into motion. It was impossible not to cry our way through their scene in the cemetery. But, later, when she watched him ascend to his happier place? We were goners. Sob level: 10/10.
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Henry Meets Henry
Of course, there was a moment even more emotional than Regina and Henry’s, and that would be when she brought her son Henry to meet his namesake. It was a powerful moment, played perfectly by Parrilla, Gilmore, and Perez. We need a tissue just thinking about it. Sob level: Off the damn charts.
Of course, the episode wasn’t all tears. No, some reunions just reminded us why we loved to hate some characters in the first place. Take Peter Pan (Robbie Kay) for instance. Running a version of his son’s Storybrooke shop here in the Underworld, he’s got a plan to return to the land of the living by taking one of the living souls that just conveniently presented themselves to him. Will newly Dark One’d Rumple (Robert Carlyle) be able to stop his dad again? We’ll see.
Some reunions had us laughing, hysterically. We’re looking at you Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin), confusing David (Josh Dallas) with his dead cad of a twin brother James. If the souls in the Underworld are trapped there because of unfinished business, expect to see David and James come face-to-face sooner than later. We’ve a feeling the latter has a bone to pick over the former taking his place on the throne.
But it was an introduction, actually, that left us, well, dead in our tracks. Hades (Greg Germann) is officially here, in all his blue-flamed glory. Of course, he’s got a problem with the clock ticking again. “Each clock tick means a soul has left my domain,” he informs Cora before sentencing her to a life back in the mills for her failure. “Do I look like I like to lose anything?” No, he doesn’t. He also appears to take foot care very seriously. This is going to get interesting.
What was your favorite part of the 100th episode? Any familiar face you’re still looking forward to seeing in the Underworld? Sound off in the comments below.
Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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