Once Upon a Time ‘Labor of Love’ Review: A Herculean Task

This review contains spoilers! Proceed with caution.

This week upped the ante in terms of the heroes’ journey to save Hook. A number of obstacles stand in the way of his rescue. Jumping these hurdles continues to be a team effort, but Emma is now a step closer to being reunited with her pirate.

While ‘Souls of the De­parted’ showed that Killian was far from okay, ‘Labor of Love’ confirmed our worst suspicions: he’s being kept prisoner in Hades’ personal dungeon. If that wasn’t bad enough, the prison is guarded by Hades’ three-headed dog, Cerberus (Harry Potter flashback time). Although he had the chance to escape, he instead distracted the beast so that a fellow prisoner – who was later revealed to be Megara – could get away. This is yet another selfless act in the list of Hook’s heroic deeds. His capacity for kindness, even towards a complete stranger, is why he’s one of my firm favourites on the show.

I really enjoyed Snow and Hercules’ interactions – both in the Enchanted Forest and the Underworld. Their relationship consisted of solid support and encouragement, which is always great to see. We learned via adorable flashbacks that Herc was Snow’s childhood crush. It was under his guidance that she became a skilled archer. He taught her to believe in herself all those years ago, and she finally had the chance to return the favour in the Underworld. By convincing him of his worth, Snow helped Hercules to overcome his fears once and for all. Slaying Cerberus meant that he could claim his rightful place on Mount Olympus (with Megara in tow). Although I’d have liked to see more of this character, I’m happy with how his storyline was wrapped up.

Cruella’s proposition to Henry presents a loophole for the Charmings; if Henry finds the quill he will be able to write everyone, including Hook, back to Storybrooke. Despite being an ideal solution, the quill acting as a deus ex machina strips all suspense from the plot, and for this reason I don’t think the writers will follow through with the idea. However, Cruella is the second character to express a desire to return to the living world (the first being Peter Pan). Knowing her scheming ways, it’s certain that she’ll be causing trouble further down the line.

Even though the heroes are in the Underworld to find Killian, they can still free some souls along the way. Hercules and Megara were a welcome appearance this episode. Hopefully they were just the first of many exciting cameos.

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