1. Hero deaths have been rare on Once Upon A Time. This week Robin Hood sacrificed himself to save Regina and his baby. How do you feel about his death and how it fits into the continuing story of Once?
Sam: I'm really going to have to wait and see the repercussions of Robin's death before I know for sure how I feel about it.
Ashley: Disappointed. I felt there was so much more to see with Robin and Regina's relationship. They were in a nice place, a happy place. I'm going to be brief since I'm very tired of talking about this and simply say that this was a misstep.
Zach: Ashley said it all, disappointed is the best way to describe it. It really goes against the
"hope and happy ending" message of the show. I'm going to keep faith in the writers that something substantial will happen with Regina, but it was still disappointing.
Laurie: I am very disappointed in Robin Hood’s death, but the manner of his death was in keeping with his character. I don’t think there IS a continuing story of Once anymore - does anyone think these events are planned? Regina and Robin supposedly had True Love, and a future together. We haven’t seen anything of them as a couple because the entire show is now a vehicle for Hook and Emma, so Robin became expendable (just as Neal was in Season 3). There is only so much time to explore different plot lines - this season has suffered from an excess of “new” characters and each one (including Hook-don’t get me started) ) had to have their backstory episodes. The only problem is that this leaves us no time to explore the characters that already exist in the Once world. And I miss them.
Teresa: I completely want to echo what Zach wrote. Where is hope? Unless, I, to my great sadness started suspecting in Season 4, am right that when the writers have been saying that the show is about hope, they meant that it's about hope being elusive, only reserved to a few. Is the focus now what happens when hope is yanked away? I believe that this death hit so hard because it represents the confirmation of a paradigm shift for Once. I am at a loss as to where the show will go now. Any proposition for a new story will be haunted by this abrupt negation. How can we get excited about future stories when the three-year promise of a Second Chance has ended in despair? It's a very strange place to be for me.
2. Zelena was forced to face the truth that Hades was using her. Do you think Hades had any real love for Zelena? How do you think her actions will change Zelena's character moving forward?
Ashley: I think he did, but I think he loved himself more, he loved the idea of Zelena and the idea of a future where he had power. I don't think this experience will embitter Zelena. In fact, I think it will give her hope. The worst has happened, you can only move on from there.
Zach: Hades had love for Zelena, absolutely. But like Rumple before him, Hades had a deeper love for power and control and that love won out over Zelena. She'll definitely be changed for the better by this situation; now that she's experienced romantic and familial love, she'll soften up her wicked ways. The one-two punch of reconciling with Regina before they both lost their true loves will lead to more sisterly bonding, and they'll help each other overcome their grief before turning into Aunt Jet and Aunt Frances from Practical Magic and making midnight margaritas. (They're even following the brunette/redhead rule, it's perfect!)
Laurie: I think Hades had love for Zelena at one time, but has chosen a different path because of power, similar to Rumple. I think Zelena’s character has already started to change with the birth of her baby. Motherhood was the catalyst for change here, which led to an opening of her heart to Regina. I think she will struggle with her morality (as Regina has) going forward - and now that Robin is dead, she and Regina will probably bond out of necessity. The show is skewed heavily in favor of strong women (I’m not complaining!!) but it’s really a shame that men have to be absent, be creeps or die in order to achieve that.
Teresa: I think Hades loved Zelena as much as he could. He got a certified True Love's Kiss and you can't fake that. I really hope that Zelena will move "higher" with this experience as this episode seemed to demonstrate. Sure, she needs to atone for her crimes, as Regina and Rumple continually do, but I'm a sucker for redemption. Zelena has been both a Beauty and Beast. Loads of potential there to explore in later episodes and perhaps this will lead to healing between the beloved Charming-Mills-Gold family. Rebecca Mader's performance was magnificent in this episode. I want more of that and I want to be blown away by Zelena's next arc and cheering!
Sam: I do believe that Hades loved Zelena, but I agree that like Rumple he was too greedy for power. I was happy to see that finally having Love in her life let Zelena move on from all the anger she had built up in a lifetime. I hope that she can focus on her newfound family and find support in those around her.
3. Hook was given a "Get Out of Death FREE" card by Zeus. How do you feel about this twist in light of Robin's death?
Zach: From what we've been shown and told, Robin Hood was a class act who rarely committed a wrong and whose final act was self-sacrifice for the woman he loved. Hook helped defeat Hades, ok, sure, but his foray into the Hero Brigade is relatively new compared to Robin's. I'm pretty sure the sum of Robin's life is equal to the last few months/years of Hook's, so I don't understand why he couldn't have been saved.
Laurie: I‘m not happy. I didn’t want Hook to die, but they painted themselves into a corner with the whole Underworld thing. They set up rules and surprise - those rules don’t apply to Hook. I’m shocked. This way Hook gets a dramatic storyline with NO consequences.
Teresa: I fear that this solidifies that there is a problematic, narrative double standard present on Once now. Robin Hood, a good man, who has been victimized these last seasons--a widower emotionally tortured by his wife's fake return, and then the absolute worst that can happen to a person: sexual violation-- is denied Heaven with a hasty new rule of Crystal Obliteration, but Hook gets a literal Deus ex Machina from the closest Once has to The Almighty? If Hook had come back in another way, in next week's episode, and not right next to Robin's coffin, I think that a different interpretation would present itself to me. I want to like Hook. I want to root for him, but never at the expense of other characters. Never at the expense of two orphaned children and other characters' hope. There is no need in my opinion for an either/or. How about a both/and? Why not Hook getting a break .... and others getting one too? I want everyone to have a Happy Ending!
Sam: This was a tough one. While Hook certainly did his part in helping to defeat Hades, it was Zelena who made the sacrifice. We spent the whole half season slowly letting go of Hook so this sudden death of Robin, who was sort of an innocent bystander and then the sudden return of Hook for almost no reason, feels gimmicky. I also really wish that the Captain Swan reunion would have happened in any location other than next to Robin's grave. I'm not a "shipper" of any kind, I enjoy the show as a whole, but that scene was in pretty bad taste.
Ashley: That if Zeus was handing out such cards, he should have brought some for the whole class. I'm glad someone got to come back to life, but my thoughts are that no one needed to die. There has been a disturbing rash of main character deaths on tv lately and I'm disappointed OUaT can be added to the list.
4. Belle's plan to be awakened by her father did not work out. Now Rumple is doing things his way. Any guesses as to what he wants to do with the Olympian Crystal?
Laurie: I have no idea. I’ve been a huge Rumple (and Rumbelle) fan since Season 1, but this new Rumple is just the worst idea ever. I can’t get behind it, even though I think Robert Carlyle is knocking it out of the park. I can’t help thinking that this would not be happening if Neal was still around.
Teresa: I'm thinking it has to do with waking Belle and saving his child. His narrative in 5b has been all about that, and so it would seem that the logical conclusion to this part of his arc is centered on that motivation.
Sam: I still love Rumple best when he is being dark and mysterious. Does he need the crystal to wake Belle, or protect his "kingdom" or increase his power? As long as he keeps the rest of the town on their toes, he can do whatever he wants.
Ashley: I haven't a clue at this point what Rumple wants to do.
Zach: He must want to use the Crystal to rule Storybrooke. It's hard to tell with him, his motivations change so frequently.
5. Favorite Moments
Teresa: The return of Rumple's Cane of Feels!
Sam: I liked it when Zelena chose to believe Regina over Hades. It was a nice moment of growth for her.
Ashley: Zelena and Regina in the mayoral office, both before Hades dies and after it. Just that raw emotion coming from both women, with Regina being stunned to inaction and Zelena bursting in to tears. Excellent work by both actresses.
Laurie: The scene with Robin and Roland’s reunion that never made it into the show.
6. Favorite Quotes
Sam: I have to give this one to Cruella, again! 'Stubble Sandwich'.
Ashley: Cruella's entire little speech to Hook and Arthur in the Underworld diner.
Teresa: "Maybe it's time you start dealing with death the way other people do." ~Charming to Emma. Yes indeed! I love Charming!
7. Anything Else?
Ashley: I always enjoy the two hour season finales. I'm intrigued by where we will be going with that and where the story will take us in Season 6. I also hope people can chill out on social media. Not matter what you are feeling, blind hatred and nastiness is the exact opposite of what the show and the cast promotes, so be excellent to each other and to the cast and writers.
Zach: Looking forward to next week's two-hour finale as well as next season's storyline!
Teresa: I want some warm and fuzzies next week! I'm hoping for something similar to the 3a arc where the families unite to fight together for each other!
Sam: I was really disappointed in the King Arthur story this season. I think it was a waste for him to be such a raving, madman most of the time. I kind of like the idea that he has a chance at redemption by helping people in the Underworld, but it's kind of too little too late. I wish we got to see even more of Merlin.
I am looking forward to the season finale and seeing the set-up for Season 6.