Once Upon A Time 5×20 “Firebird” Recap

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To quote the 80s classic, The Princess Bride: “death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it for a while.”

Episode Summary: In Flashbacks, while Emma’s searching for her birth parents, a Bail Bonds woman, Cleo, manages to convince her to let go and after her death, Emma pursues the same career. In the underworld, True Love’s kiss restarts Hades’ heart and the quest Killian and Emma are sent on doesn’t go as planned forcing the heroes to once again say goodbye as they return home without the man they set out to rescue.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time deals with incredibly real situations with fantastical elements, but despite the fact that magic and myths are a prodigious part of this series, the issues our heroes face can often be unbearably difficult at times. Nevertheless, we’ve come to learn that the hard path is always the right path and in the midst of the journey, it’s key to remember that the choices made today, pave the road for tomorrow. Emma Swan is the character that’s made her way into countless hearts for a number of reasons and the love story she’s a part of needed to be just as unique as her role in this fantasy world. “Firebird” tragically epitomized what it truly means to be brave revolutionizing the notion that where there’s bravery, there’s always love. It is apparently possible to have an episode even darker and more heartbreaking than “Swan Song”, but Once Upon A Time is a series about hope, and when it comes to Emma and Killian’s love, there’s never a single doubt that it will prevail.

“Firebird” explored a theme we don’t often see on Once Upon A Time, and it’s the importance of letting go. As human beings we have a tendency to hold on too tightly and while there’s strength in determination, sometimes, we must let go in order to let the universe take its course. Sometimes, we need armor in order to get through the things that burden us. And sometimes, armor isn’t about protecting ourselves, but rather protecting those we love. Ultimately, it all comes down to selflessness and the fact that while it’s okay to choose ourselves every once in a while, we must be able to tell which of our choices will lead us towards the good life we’re destined for.

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Once Upon A Time 5×19 “Sisters” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

“Sisters” is one of Once Upon A Time’s most beautiful and thematically powerful episodes.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal that there was a time where little Regina and Zelena got along incredibly well only to have their bond broken by Cora and their memories of one another completely wiped. In present day, once Regina overhears Hades’ plans to leave the underworld and make a living with Zelena in Storybrooke, she seeks out her mother in order to stop Zelena from giving Hades “True Love’s” kiss. James switches places with Charming and attempts to kill those closest to him. A heartfelt apology finally allows Cora to move on, but before Zelena could happily take her sister’s advice, she’s taken captive by Peter Pan and Rumplestilskin.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is a show about family. It is the show where despite how ridiculous it sounds to those who’ve no idea what it’s about, each and every character is connected to one another in deeply intriguing ways. And “Sisters” managed to make a strange connection absolutely beautiful. When you say it out loud, it sounds bizarre to think that the Evil Queen and the Wicked Witch of the West are sisters. However, after this week’s episode, it’s a relationship a lot of us care greatly for. Despite it’s unique and wonderful ridiculousness, Once Upon A Time tells real stories and while some stories are bound to have a happy ending, other’s simply just aren’t given the chance. Sometimes, it’s too late. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to change someone, it doesn’t work out. And “Sisters” not only illuminated the serenity found it forgiveness, but it showcased the rage that’s built up from the refusal to let go.

Anything and everything requires love. In order to move forward you must open your heart to those in front of you. In order to forgive, you must choose to hold on to love . The greatest strength doesn’t come from magic or physical versatilities, but rather love, for love and only love alone could change lives in impeccable ways. And at the end of the day, it all comes down to a choice. 

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Once Upon A Time 5×17 “Her Handsome Hero” Recap

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Once again, do not make the deals with the devil, kids — there’s always a trick with him.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal Belle and Gaston’s first meeting followed by an adventure that showcased what a powerful team they could’ve been if their story evolved further. However, when they’re reunited in the underworld, Gaston reveals she was a weakness and his quest to kill Rumple is the unfinished business he’s doomed with. And unfortunately, when Rumple’s involved, souls don’t move forward to eternal bliss, instead, they decay in the “River of Lost Souls”. In an attempt to stop the men from destroying each other, Belle accidentally pushes Gaston into the river, but despite the fact that a soul departed in Hades’ preferred way, because it wasn’t Rumple’s doing, he will not allow Belle to keep the child. Emma believes her dreams are visions leading to Snow’s death, but what the heroes come to find is the fact that a beloved friend has found her way into the underworld — now whether dead or alive, (hopefully the latter) next week’s episode is bound to be extraordinary with Red and Mulan.

Review | Analysis: From an early age, fairy tales were meant to paint gorgeous pictures of the significant lessons, except sometimes, instead of dragons and witches, the demons are internal battles. Once Upon A Time and this arc especially, emphasize the vitality of hope in a masterful way. It’s been scientifically proven that positivity and laugher can play an enormous role on a person’s physical health. In the same way, negativity can do the exact opposite. “Her Handsome Hero” touched on perspectives inspiring us to once again be certain of the fact that though a hero’s life isn’t always easy, it’s not only always worth it, but it strengthens hope and ensures happiness in beautiful ways.

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Once Upon A Time 5×16 “Our Decay” Recap

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Love is enough … or at least for some.

Episode Summary: In flashbacks we learn that at the time where Zelena was first concocting her time travel spell, Hades was there to help her; only instead, he fell in love, but Zelena chose to carry on with her plans. In present day, Belle, “baby green bean”, and Zelena are teleported to the underworld where Hades and Zelena unite and Henry’s time as the author isn’t as peachy as imagined.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time is always here to remind us that love is not only a choice that’s always possible, but it’s also always enough. And in “Our Decay” we were given the opportunity to see two men take two completely different routes in their journey of love allowing us to fully understand that at the end of the day, if love is true, it’s eternal. No matter if it’s romantic or platonic, love and only love is the strongest force of all. In what may have been one of the most surprising episodes in Once Upon A Time history, “Our Decay” did an astounding job of baring characters in a way that’s bound to permanently alter things.

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Once Upon A Time 5×15 “The Brothers Jones” Recap

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It’s not enough to have others forgive you, you have to forgive yourself, too.

Episode Summary: Flashbacks reveal the terrible deal Liam took with Hades to ensure his and Killian’s place in the King’s Navy. And when Liam doesn’t choose to see the best in Emma, she needs to put her heartache aside to fight and make sure Killian forgives himself. The heroes go on a quest to find the underworld’s version of the storybook, but in order to keep his secret hidden, Liam does Hades another favor by tearing his story from the book. However, when he’s caught red-handed, sacrificing himself after revealing the truth to Killian and the crew gives him the chance to finally move on.

Review | Analysis: Once again, the series beautifully magnified the significance of forgiveness and true heroism reminding its viewers that the honorable road is the honest one. As human beings, desperate times call for desperate measures, but the secrets that are kept and the inability to forgive ourselves can haunt in unbelievable ways. A hero isn’t someone who’s free of all sin, but rather the person who’s learned from their mistakes. “The Brothers Jones” reminded viewers of the fact that there’s a clear difference between selfishness and self-love, one dooms us, while the other frees us. And most importantly, a hero is someone who lends a hand. Once Upon A Time has continuously illuminated the idea that selflessness will lead to a far better future than constant greed.

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Once Upon A Time 5×14 “Devil’s Due” Recap

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Don’t make deals. Don’t ever make deals. Don’t make deals with Rumplestiltskin. Don’t make deals with Hades. Don’t make deals with Cruella. Just don’t make deals okay?

Episode Summary: When a rare snake in flashbacks threatens Bae’s life, Milah and Rumple seek a man who can magically help him, but they cannot afford his asking price. Milah asks Rumple to kill him in order to steal the elixir, but instead, his naiveté inspires another decision instead: their second born child will be given away. We also see Milah and Killian’s first meeting after he defended her from a drunken man at the tavern. In Underbrooke, Regina is given the opportunity to see that Daniel has moved on to a better place. Rumple seeks Milah’s help in order to get him and Emma into Hades’ lair where Killian’s held. Milah and Rumple discuss how her unfinished business in Bae, but instead of giving her the opportunity to reunite and move forward with their son, Rumple takes a deal with Hades, sends her into “the river of lost souls”, burns their ride home, and lies to the heroes. Killian and Emma reunite, but because Killian would not choose souls to stay behind, Hades took matters into his own hand trapping Emma, Regina, and Snow. In the end, it turns out Belle is pregnant and when the child is born Rumple must give him/her to the man he once killed in order to get out of the contract.

Review | Analysis: Once Upon A Time at its core is a series about redemption and this arc especially is focused on the importance of doing good, honorable deeds in order to help others. “Devil’s Due” was perhaps one of the darkest episodes Once Upon A Time has done because it focused primarily on just how far man is willing to go in order to seek what he desires. Surely we weren’t the only ones hoping the episode would have ended with Milah being given the opportunity to move on, but something tells us this isn’t the end of her story. What this episode has fundamentally done is revealed the truth behind a villain’s agenda — it’s never black and white. It is complicated, it is messy, it is heartbreaking, and it is disgusting. However, it has once again reminded us of what clearly distinguishes heroes and villains. While tonight’s episode did not leave us hopeful like the past two have done, it has beautifully revealed that teamwork is truly the key to success.

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