‘Once Upon a Time’ 5x13 review: ‘Labor of Love’

With a season one flavor, this episode focused a lot on Snow White and Regina. Their relationship has become so dynamic, and perhaps a bit convoluted, that they’ve begun to take it in turns to bolster each other. Tonight it was Regina’s turn to remind Snow of who she really is: a butt-kicking, do something about it, deliverer of hope! The best part of the episode had to be when Regina told her that they didn’t need Mary Margaret anymore; they needed Snow White.

There are so many ways to approach this episode. Just about every blatantly established relationship was touched upon, save for Rumbelle. Even Hercules’ familial relationship with Hades was brought to attention. Therefore, the events in this review will be discussed in terms of ‘ships.

Hercules and …

Traditionally, Megara was Hercules’ first wife, whom he killed in a fit of madness. His labors were then assigned as his atonement. In the Disney animated version Hercules completed his labors to earn his way to Mount Olympus. Meg worked for Hades, but fell in love with Hercules, who later traveled to the Underworld to rescue her. In Once Upon a Time, like the Disney flick, Hercules labored to gain his heavenly status. However, he met Megara minutes before losing his battle with Cerberus, who then chowed down on Megara too. It appears that Hercules and Megara share a “true love” look prior to departing from the Underworld together, headed for Mount Olympus. I, for one, was left wondering when they had time to develop a relationship, and where they went if she couldn’t go to Mount Olympus.

I didn’t expect Hercules’ appearance on the show to be so short lived. Despite his lack of longevity, he did make quite an impact in his relationship with Snow White. We knew from the promos, that he was one of her childhood friends, but just how close they were was a bit surprising. He helped the young Snow White find her courage, and learn that success comes with not giving up after failing. As they parted ways, he gave her what appears to be her first kiss (which also happened to be Bailee Madison’s first on-screen kiss)! This garnered them the ‘ship name “Snercules.”


As Mary Margaret and David were leaving the Underworld graveyard, she noticed Hercules’ grave. Before she realized that meant Hercules was there and could help them, David expressed a bit of jealousy, which was admittedly refreshing. If he only knew….

Captain Swan

Our first look at Hook was when he awoke in a stone building reportedly guarded by Cerberus. Meg was there to warn him to stay put, but Hook had no intention of doing that. He got Emma’s message and was bound and determined to help her. He distracted Cerberus so that Meg could escape and find Emma to tell her where he was. Meg was able to accomplish that goal, but Emma only made it to the entrance of Hades’ lair before she was stopped short. There Hades confronted her.

After he faced Cerberus, Hook was brought before Hades. Hook impotently threatened Hades, who proceeded to inform him that from that point forward, every soul that left the Underworld would have to be replaced by one of his friends. He placed a chisel in Hook’s hand and told him he’d get to choose who stayed!

Outlaw Queen

While searching the woods for Hook, Regina realized that there may be schematics of the town in the Underworld version of her office. Robin Hood offered to go get them while she, Emma, and Henry kept looking, but Regina sent Henry with Robin. It was great to see Henry and Robin working together. When they arrived at the office and couldn’t get in, Robin came up with the idea to go through the ventilation system. Henry went in and Robin stood guard. I suppose it took Henry longer than Robin expected, because he became worried, and rightfully so. Cruella was waiting for Henry in the office!

Cruella De Vil

As predicted, Cruella appeared in this, the 101st episode. She confronted Henry with the same request Peter Pan made of Rumple: to return to the world of the living. While Peter Pan suggested he return in place of one of our heroes, Cruella presented the idea that since he is the author, Henry could just write them out. How? It turns out that the quill is a living entity, thus when Henry broke it, its living essence went to the Underworld with the unfinished business of recording current events. Why would Henry help her or any of the other villainous tormented souls of the Underworld? Cruella points out that since Emma murdered her, her soul is tainted. If Henry writes that Cruella lives, then that would effectively undo Emma’s crime, restoring her soul. Will Henry do it? Maybe. When he returned to Robin, he lied about finding anything in the office. Hmmmmm!

As a side note, I disagree with the idea that Emma is tainted for murder. Looking back at season two, Emma was passionately motivated to return to her son, and refused to let anyone or anything stand in her way. She seemed to have no trouble with killing in self-defense, or protecting the ones she loved. How, then, is killing Cruella in an effort to protect Henry from her any different?

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Carissa Shuman

Carissa is a writer, editor, and artist with a love for science and science fiction.

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