Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep16 – Our Decay

This week’s episode of Once Upon a Time explored the backstory of a character who we didn’t think we’d see again and who (of course) shared a connection with the ruler of the Underworld. The episode also tackles the relationships between parents and their (abandoned) babies as Snow and Charming try to communicate to Baby Neal through a haunting hot line.

After Regina banished her to Oz, Zelena returns with a vengeance, determined to claim sole custody of her baby. Despite her iffy track record with people Zelena does have a right to see her child, and to be fair, she seems more concerned about the fate of the yet unnamed baby girl since Robin and Regina left the infant behind to journey into the Underworld. For once, Zelena actually has her priorities straight. Having a baby has softened her and made her grow a little more mature. The scenes where she demonstrated genuine affection and concern for her child were quite touching, and allowed us to see a different side of her character, which was a refreshing change from her endless jealousy of Regina and obsession with revenge.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep16 - Our DecayThere were some lengthy flashbacks to Oz, showing Zelena in all her wicked glory, tormenting munchkins and facing off against a grown up Dorothy. I’m not too fond of the way Once Upon a Time has treated this fictional universe with the strange costumes and the cheap CGI. The episode also showed the connection established between Hades and Zelena, who shared a sickly sweet bicycle ride through a dark forest.

While Hades continues to be an amusingly evil character to watch, this time he showed his softer side as he was immediately attracted to Zelena’s wickedness and sibling rivalry issues. But his suddenly deciding that she was his true love was a little too sudden. And I’m glad that she didn’t fall straight into his arms and even when they met up in the Underworld, Zelena did not trust him immediately. His falling in love with her was too fast and she was right to doubt that.

And since Hades is such a shady and manipulative character, Zelena was wise not to give in to his advances, given that true love would have re-started his heart and freed him from his curse (because of course he was cursed.) While some part of Hades may have been sincere, no one is buying the fact that he was willing to give up his age-long quest for vengeance after spending such a short time with the Wicked Witch.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep16 - Our DecayBelle was inadvertently sent to the Underworld as she, Zelena, and Zelena’s baby got sucked into a portal Rumple created for Hades. She reunited with her husband and then immediately found out about so many things: her pregnancy, the deal Rumple made for his second-born child, and Rumple being the Dark One again.

It’s a lot to take in after falling into the Underworld but it’s a bit of a relief that everything is now out in the open for Belle. Her problematic relationship with Rumple has always been threatened by the latter’s endless lies and it was refreshing to see him honest about everything for once, even if it mean showing Belle a monstrous side of him. Because, as he said, that is the kind of person he is and she deserves the truth. How they can ever move forward from this will be intriguing to watch.

Once Upon a Time, S5 Ep16 - Our DecayEveryone in Once Upon a Time has parental abandonment issues so I’m glad they’re addressing the issue of Snow and Charming leaving yet another child behind as they go off on a heroic quest. While they at least remembered that they had another child who needed them back in Storybrooke, I don’t think this adequately makes up for the fact that they left a helpless infant behind to follow their capable, ADULT daughter (who has magic) in a quest to rescue her pirate lover.

After some tips from the Blind Witch (whose appearance lasted longer than I expected but is still quite fun to watch), Snow and Charming queue at a supernatural phone booth and sing a lullaby to baby Neal. Hopefully, they can return before he’s old enough to resent them for leaving him behind.

And Henry’s been going into mysterious writing trances in order to fill the pages of the storybook.

Next week on Once Upon a Time, we see Gaston again for some reason and Hades threatens Belle’s baby: