This review contains spoilers! Proceed with caution.
This episode was almost like a season finale with all its twists and turns (not to mention that cliff-hanger ending). However, all these different plot points were needed to bring us closer to a resolution, especially since the actual season finale is just around the corner.
Hades has been a shady character from the beginning, and ‘Firebird’ only confirmed what we already know: he can’t be trusted. Despite striking up a deal with the extended Charmings to save Zelena, he just as quickly betrayed them. It seems he has grand plans for Storybrooke, and the only way to achieve them is by trapping the heroes in the Underworld. Well the joke’s on him, since the gang (well, most of them – but we’ll get to that later) still made it through the portal. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Hades as a villain, but I can’t wait for the heroes to kick his ass.
It’s only a matter of time before Hades is defeated, but what’s going to happen to Zelena now that his true colours have been revealed? It was proven by their True Love’s Kiss that Hades has genuine feelings for her, however he’s still manipulating her for his own gain. So far, all of his ‘acts of love’ have served to further his evil schemes, which makes me wonder how long he can keep up appearances. And when Zelena does learn the truth, here’s hoping she’ll side with Regina. Seeing the sisters team up instead of trying to kill each other would be a refreshing change.
It would have been easy for Rumple to ask the gang for help in saving Belle, but instead he’s attempting to do it via his own twisted methods. And those include liaising with Peter Pan (sidenote: the way he calls him ‘papa’ will never not be cringe-worthy). Thankfully he spared Robin’s Hood heart and double-crossed Pan instead (the lesser of two evils, I suppose). But this only proves that despite hating his father, Rumple has turned out every bit as manipulative as him. He needs to take a good look in the mirror before telling others that ‘villains don’t get happy endings’.
And last, but most definitely not least, are the developments between Emma and Killian. After four seasons of speculative shipping, it was finally confirmed that they are a True Love pair. Of course, this was followed by heartbreak because the writers don’t want us to have nice things. Emma’s selfless act enabled them to pass the True Love Test (for lack of a better phrase), but the unexpected sacrifice came from Killian. His decision to remain in the Underworld stopped the episode (and my heart) in its tracks. We had just enough time for a tearful goodbye before the action picked up again. But like all of their goodbyes, it definitely won’t be permanent. They’ll find their way back to each other – they always do.
There was a ton going on in ‘Firebird’, so much so that the forty-five minutes felt closer to two hours. Despite this, the episode never dragged – instead moving along at a brisk pace. Addressing a huge chunk of the plot before the finale was a great decision as it leaves more room for loose ends to be tied up.