Recap and Analysis by Amy Hood- @Amylia403
As we get closer and closer to the season finale, Once Upon a Time is definitely raising the stakes for all of our favorite Storybrooke residents. This week, we got more insight into Emma's past while in current time her future became more uncertain. Hades proved to be even more devious than we thought, and Rumple pulled a fast one, putting him back in our good graces.
The flashback this week was all about Emma. We met Cleo, a bailbonds woman who finds Emma with the intention of taking her back to Phoenix for skipping bail. Cleo gives Emma some leeway and decides to let her stay in town one more day to try and find out more information about where and who left her when she was a baby. Unfortunately for Emma, there isn't anything new for her to learn, but the two women strike up a begrudging sort of friendship in the short time they have together. As it turns out, Cleo gave up a daughter for adoption and can feel for Emma's struggle. In a moment of advice that will start Emma on a journey to who we know her as now, Cleo tells Emma that she has to protect herself, that the jacket she herself wears is armor and Emma should find a way to protect herself as well. She also tells Emma that she needs to let go of the struggle to understand why she was abandoned and move on. Cleo is hurt after she and Emma escape the police while searching records and Emma is forced to leave her bleeding and presumably dead in an alleyway.
In current time, the heroes are struggling with several obstacles in the Underworld. Hades asks for help from our heroes to get Zelena back from Pan and Rumple. The contract is indeed torn up, releasing the Rumbelle baby from Hades' future grasp. Zelena is freed as Pan and Rumple poof away, clearly with a very strained relationship between the two. In a shocking but fantastic moment, Zelena and Hades share a kiss which, BOOM, turns out to be True Loves Kiss! Hades' heart is restarted and he is ready to get the hell out of Hades for lack of a better phrase. He tells Emma and Hook about the ambrosia tree that lies deep in the Underworld, which will allow Hook to be free of this purgatory he's in. Unfortunately, despite that TLK, Hades is a true villain and plans to trap everyone in the Underworld while he lies to Zelena and escapes to rule Storybrooke with her.
After a perilous journey down, and a test that proves Emma and Hook really do feel True Love for each other, they are dealt a harrowing blow. The ambrosia tree was cut down by Hades years before, and there is no fruit left to save Hook. The two say a very emotional good bye, with Emma begging Hook not to let her be his unfinished business. As she rises in the elevator, they grasp hands as long as they can, until finally they can no longer touch. The heroes make it to the portal just in time, and return to Storybrooke.
In Rumbelle news, Rumple kissed Belle and confirmed that, sadly, his kiss will not wake her. What do you do with your wife who is under a sleeping curse when you need to travel? You put her in a box of course! A tiny box, just right for carrying in your pocket. Rumple made us all think he had truly crossed that unforgivable line this week by taking Robin's heart, but as it turns out, he put it back when we weren't looking! It was all a ruse to fool his Father of the Year parent, Peter Pan, who thought he was getting Robin's heart and a one-way first class ticket to Storybrooke. Sorry Dad, it was only the best water balloon EVER, filled with water from the River of Lost Souls. Bye Bye Pan, parting is such sweet.... well, its just sweet.
This week's episode gave us a much loved look into the origin of Emma's jacket. We have seen her put it on like armor for the past several seasons and finally it was actually called that on the show. We got a great opening that mimicked the opening of the pilot, driving home the fact that the character of Cleo was very much what Emma would become in time. The ties continued when we learned that Cleo had given a daughter up for adoption, very much like Emma had given up a son and had been given up herself. In a really lovely wrap up of Cleo's story, Emma was able to find Tasha (Cleo's daughter) and tell her about her mom. At the same time she was able to suit up, find her own armor and let go of some things that were holding her back. We can visually see Emma becoming who she is in current time. The subtle shift that putting on our own armor can affect in us, is very much evident in Emma.