‘Once Upon A Time’ S5: E20 ‘Firebird’ Review – TheMovieNetwork.com

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Once Upon A Time (2011)

After Zelena’s (Rebecca Mader) kidnapping, Hades (Greg German) is forced to make a deal with the heroes. He vows to allow them to leave as long as they can save her. Things don’t exactly go according to plan though when it’s discovered that Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) still can’t leave. In search of a way to get him out, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) agrees to put their love to the test in the depths of the underworld.


**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S5E20 of Once Upon A Time. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.


Thrilling Heroics

We learn just how Emma got into bounty hunting. With the episode flashbacks this week, we learn that Emma was only a bounty hunter for a short time before Henry tracked her down. What was she doing instead? She was breaking the law and trying to find out anything she could about her family – until she crossed paths with a bounty hunter after skipping out on her bail. We meet the woman who inspired Emma to become the person she was when season one of the show began, and it’s a really interesting look into Emma’s past, much better than some of the Enchanted Forest flashbacks we’ve seen this season.

This episode movies pretty quickly. When Hades comes to Emma for help at the top of the episode and Rumple gets his contract torn up and Zelena gives Hades true love’s kiss, it felt like we were seeing an hour of an episode condensed into a single 10 minutes. I’ve grown so used to this show dragging out plot points for much longer than they need to that I wasn’t expecting for so much conflict to be resolved so quickly.

Henry shares unfinished business. With things moving so quickly in this episode, Henry decides he still wants to help the people trapped in the underworld to move on. Using his abilities as the Author, he sets up shop and writes out their stories so that everyone knows just what it is they need to accomplish. I have to wonder why this didn’t occur to anyone earlier. It could have given Henry and Robin something to do instead of just leaving them out of whole episodes at a time.

Of course Hades has something else up his sleeve. As Cruella steps up to take over the power vacuum Hades will leave behind when he goes to Storybrooke with Zelena, the Blind Witch helps her out with a little magic. Given that the two of them combined don’t hold the same amount of power as Regina, it raises all kinds of red flags. Add to that the ambrosia Hades sent Hook and Emma on a quest to find is dead because the tree was cut down long ago, and it’s obvious that Hades wants to get to Storybrooke without any heroes in his way. At least his sudden change of heart as a result of his love for Zelena is explained.




Zelena is actually Hades’ true love. Maybe this isn’t necessarily a bad story point, but it was a surprising one. I fully expected there to be a twist since the writers like to have as many roadblocks as possible for the heroes, and Zelena is trying to be a part of the heroic side these days, even with her wicked tendencies.

Rumple uses Robin. If you’re like me and you’ve been wondering just why Robin has been in the underworld at all since he’s never part of the main story, we finally get a reason tonight as Rumple rips his heart from his chest to give to his father, which, of course, is all a ruse revealed eventually anyway. I can’t be the only one who feels like Robin is only on the show at this point to be used by everyone around him instead of having his own story.

Hook stays behind. In what I’m sure is supposed to be a touching scene, Hook and Emma are forced to say their goodbyes when they find there’s no immediate answer for him to get through the portal to Storybrooke. He can’t use half of her heart because his body has been dead for too long in the real world, and the ambrosia is useless. While it’s sweet that he puts her first and stays so that she can help Storybrooke from whatever Hades has planned, there’s also the matter of the entire back half of the season has been built on the Hook rescue mission and now he can’t be rescued. I feel like we’ve wasted two months of episodes.




What does Hades have planned? He was all about breaking his curse and getting to live again, and now that he’s able to do that, it seems like a happy ending with Zelena wasn’t enough for him. He also wants Storybrooke. I guess he’s decided that he wants to give her the real thing now that his underworld version is back to being Purgatory without him?

Will Zelena going fully Wicked again? Zelena was finally starting to make headway and develop a relationship with Regina, letting go of her past grudges. But she also thinks that her love is enough to make Hades a good guy. Will she stand by whatever his nefarious plan is in the end, or help her sister?

Is Hook done on the show? My first instinct is to say of course not since the show revealed that what he and Emma has is true love. But with only a few episodes left this season, we might not be seeing him again until season six while he looks for a way to escape the underworld on his own.

Who is dying next? If you caught the promo for next week, you know that once Hades is in Storybrook, there’s going to be a major death. Someone is dying, and it doesn’t look to be Emma or Regina since they both attend what looks like a funeral service. Instead, ABC promises that it’s the “heart of Storybrooke,” so I’m putting my money on Henry, who figured out that it was cursed in the first place, or on Snow, who has always put everyone else before herself.


Grading the episode: You would think now that the writers got things moving in the underworld that this episode would be better than everything that came before it in the back half of the season, but that’s not the case. There hasn’t been a happy medium of too fast or too slow when it comes to the episodes, and this one felt rushed, and it practically negated the entire reason for the heroes having stories in the underworld at all. C

‘Once Upon A Time’ S5: E20 ‘Firebird’ Review – TheMovieNetwork.com