Once Upon a Time: Get Out of Hell Free Card (Recap S5: Ep 20)

"Now what the heck are we supposed to do for two more episodes?" "Disney World, anyone?"

“Now what the heck are we supposed to do for two more episodes?”
“Disney World, anyone?”

This week on Once, all the disjointed plot points line up in just the right way for everybody to conveniently get out of the Underworld . . . well, everybody except the guy they went in to get in the first place.  Also, we learn the true inspiration behind Emma’s fashion choices.

It’s time to finally cash in that “Get Out of Hell Free” card, we’ve been holding on to all season long.  Let’s do it, Oncers!


Crimes of Fashion

finding her

The year is 2009.  The world economy is in the crapper.  Twilight: New Moon is in theaters.  And Emma Swan is still in the throes of her Emo Glasses and a Ponytail phase of life.  When we meet up with Emma, she’s hanging around some fast food joint near where Snow White and Prince Charming abandoned her, by putting her inside a tree with a guy suffering from a rare disease that causes the wrong part of his body to grow when he’s thinking naughty thoughts.


Emma is hoping maybe the people at the fast food joint might remember her parents from 26-years ago, when they abandoned her ass.  Apparently, Emma has never worked in fast food.  If she had, she’d know that it’s hard enough to remember whether the person in front of you wanted just lettuce and tomato on her burger or onions too, let alone what terrible parents frequented the joint 26 years ago. And that’s assuming any of the same people still work there from back then!


A hip looking middle-aged lady seems creepily sympathetic to Emma’s lost cause, waxing poetic about how “young and beautiful” our protagonist happens to be.  But then, just when you think the older lady is going to ask Emma out on a date, she not so subtly lets her know that she’s a bail bondsperson, tasked with collecting Emma and bringing her back to Arizona, where our plucky heroine had apparently recently skipped bail.

This, bail bondsperson, named Cleo Fox, is clearly not very good at her job, otherwise she would have handcuffed Emma, right when she was sitting across from her at the fast food table, rather than eye sexing her for three minutes, and then allowing Emma to get a running head start away from her.  Cleo does eventually manage to catch Emma though.  Then, she brings her back to her hotel room and chains her to the radiator, while she showers and “changes into something more comfortable.”

Damn, this flashback is getting kinkier than I thought!

Left to her own devices, Emma easily frees herself of her handcuffs, and rifles through Cleo’s stuff, finding some cash, and a picture of a little girl named “Tasha” taken in 1999.  Also nearby is a computer conveniently left on a Stalk People for Free website.  Suddenly, a lightbulb goes off in Emma’s head.  Maybe she can use the Stalk People for Free website to find her no goodnick parents.  Emma briefly considers the fact that she can also use it to check up on HER son, who she gave birth to in jail, and then gave up for adoption eight years ago.  But meh!  Kids are boring!

ouat 4.2 henry 2

Emma somehow convinces Cleo to spend the day with her engaged in the futile task of searching court records for her parents, before Emma returns to the authorities in Arizona.  This is likely either because Cleo is a moron.  Or, she’s super attracted to Emma, and is also a moron.


Emma’s trip to the court house is predictably fruitless, as public records about NOT REAL fairytale characters have always been a bit lacking.  “You should buy yourself a nice bright colored leather coat, so you don’t have to think about how sh*tty your parents are,” suggests Cleo.

“Why would a stupid coat make me forget that I was abandoned by my parents 26-years ago, spent my life in the foster system, and was turned to a life of crime?”

“I don’t know,” shrugs Cleo.  “Something about the toxic fumes from the paint used to dye the leather causing a very specific type of brain damage.  It’s the reason I keep allowing you to drag me around on these wild goose chases against my better judgment.  The parts of my brain that deal with emotions and logical reasoning have decayed to basically nothing by now.”

Speaking of brain damage, Emo Emma must have been inhaling some of the toxic fumes in Cleo’s leather jacket, because she leaves the hotel in the middle of the night, to BREAK INTO THE COURTHOUSE and read the exact same records she just found a few hours ago, again.  Cleo wakes up and heads to the courthouse to find her, and they somehow both end up being chased by the cops.  Rather than telling the cops that she was only on the scene to perform a citizen’s arrest on Emma, Cleo inexplicably jumps out a two story glass window to evade “capture,” and then appears surprised, ten minutes later, when she finds a lethal shard of glass in her abdomen.

(Let that be a lesson to you kiddies, drugs and leather paint fumes are bad for you!  Wear cotton!)


With her dying breaths, Cleo conveniently admits that the child in the picture in her wallet is the kid that SHE abandoned years ago.  “Interesting,” responds Emma to dying Cleo.  “I have a kid too, and I won’t give a sh*t about him for another three years.”

Shortly after Cleo’s death, Emma takes a job as a bailbonds person, herself, and uses all her good stalker software to track down Cleo’s daughter at where she works: a clothing store that specializes in leather jackets that cause brain damage.  “Hi Cleo’s daughter,” Emma begins.  “I was directly responsible for your mom’s death, but here’s a folder filled with stuff about her, you probably could have found yourself on Google.  By the way, can I buy a brain-damaging red leather jacket from you?  I want to wear it for five seasons, and never wash it ever, because hygiene is for weiners.”

sad emma

And that, my Dearies, is how Emma came to own her most prized piece of clothing . . .

Meanwhile, in the FUTURE . . .

The Heart Wants What It Wants

happy couple

Something is happening to Hades.  Every week, he reads his lines slower and slower . . . with . . . more . . . and . . . more . . . unnecessary . . . pauses.  It’s to the point where, if this keeps up, every remaining episode is going to have to be over two hours long just to fit in his dialogue.  And he doesn’t even have a brain-damaging leather jacket to blame it on!


Anywhoo, Hades wants our Gang of Heroes to help him rescue Zelena, who has been captured by Rumpel and Pan.  In exchange, he will grant them all a free pass out of the Underworld.  Emma totally trusts Hades, despite having absolutely no reason to do so, because her brain-damaging leather jacket has turned her “Super Power of Always Knowing When Someone is Lying” to complete and utter mush.

Rumpel’s and Pan’s conditions for Zelena’s release are easy.  All Hades has to do is rip up the contract giving him rights to Belle’s and Rumpel’s unborn child.  Hades does this immediately, and without much fanfare, because he never really wanted Rumpbelle’s baby anyway, it was just a plot conceit to get the two characters involved in the Underworld story.

But then Pan reveals the twist in the plan.  Hades can have Zelena back, as long as he gets to remove her heart and use it so that he can leave the Underworld and return to Earth.  Fortunately for Zelena, Emma is on hand to rescue her from Pan.  As for Rumpel, upon realizing that his baby is free, and remembering that he doesn’t give two sh*ts about his awful father Pan, he quickly disappears to give True Love’s Kiss to Belle, except, GASP, it doesn’t work, and she stays comatose . .. because the actress is still too pregnant to show her belly on camera.

ouat 4.1 belle

Back in our main plotline, Zelena has been saved!  It’s time for her and Hades to finally swap spit.  I mean, can you imagine, two of the most evil villains of all time, too pious to get first base, until they’ve dated for nearly the entire season?  Was there a plot point where Hades became a member of the Duggar clan (but not Josh!) that I missed?

So, anyway, Zelena and Hades play some tonsil hockey, and this causes some rainbow special effects to fly around the room.  You know what that means!  Zelena’s a closet lesbian!  Just kidding!  It means True Loves Kiss, obviously!  Now, Hades has become a true mortal, with a beating heart.  And this means he can leave the Underworld with his lover Zelena and the rest of the heroes!

And they all lived Happily Ever After, right?  WRONG!

Justify My Love

Hades leads the entire cast to a newly opened portal back to Earth, and dutifully removes all the characters names from the tombstones, so they can leave at will, since none of them were actually dead in the first place . . . correction: only one of them was actually dead, in the first place.

hook pel

With Regina’s help, Emma splits her own heart in two, so she can share hers with Hook to bring him “back to life and home.”  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work.  Apparently, Hook has been dead too long, has rotted and decayed too much, and had his corpse feasted on by way too many maggots to be revived by a simple half heart.

didnt work

Emma is understandably devastated.  Sex with a smelly corpse would be such a turnoff, even if that smelly corpse looked like an only slightly rotting version of Hook.


“Don’t worry, Emma.  You can go down to my basement and get Hook some munchies called Ambrosia.  That will bring him back to life.  Why don’t you and Hook go and get that stuff, while the rest of the cast waits around for you and does nothing?  Meanwhile, Zelena and I will take Robin Hood’s baby and return to Storybrooke by ourselves.  What could possibly go wrong with that plan?”  He inquires, before twirling a mustache he doesn’t have, and laughing maniacally at the camera.

the moving hair

“Nothing suspicious to see here . . .”

“I trust Hades,” Emma responds dumbly.  (I blame the leather jacket.)

“Me too,” replies David, Regina, Hook and Henry.  (I blame plot convenience.)

“What are you guys f*&King nuts?”  Robin Hood asks.

robin hood

“Even I know something is fishy about this guy, and I spent most of my life not wearing underpants . . .”


“I feel so free!”

“Shut up, Robin!  You aren’t a well-developed enough character to have opinions on stuff like this,” lectures Regina.  “You are grounded.  Now, go outside, so you can think about what you’ve done . . . also so Rumpel can steal your heart and give it to Peter Pan, thereby leaving you stuck in the Underworld.”

“Hodor,” responds Robin Hood.

Then he realizes he’s not on Game of Thrones, steps outside and waits patiently for his heart to be ripped out.

Downstairs in the basement, Emma finds that in order to open the pantry door with the munchies in it that she will need to feed Hook, so he can get out of Hell, she first has to weigh her heart, to see if it needs to go on a diet.  Just kidding, the weighing process is supposed to show whether she really loves Hook, or whatever.

hearts on fire

“Don’t worry.  This is all part of the foreplay process.  Our heroes love foreplay!”

When Emma first puts her heart on the scale, not only does the Munchies Pantry door not open, but Hook gets engulfed in flames, and Emma suffers from what appears to be a heart attack, even though she isn’t wearing her heart at the time.  Instead of rescuing her own heart, Emma jumps on top of Hook to snuff out his flames, also because it’s kind of sexy to jump on top of your boyfriend in the basement of Hell.  How many people get to say they’ve experienced that in a lifetime, I mean seriously?

uh oh

*insert 70’s porn music here*

This act of sacrifice proves that Emma loves Hook more than she loves herself or her brain damaging leather jacket.  And so, the Munchies Pantry from Hell opens!

hell test

Not so Fast . . .

grab on

The only problem is that someone has gone and eaten all the ambrosia out of it already.  Those pigs!

Realizing that Hook is likely going to be stuck down in Hell forever, and this whole season / Underworld Road Trip has potentially been a massive waste of time, Hook and Emma share a seriously sweet goodbye.  Emma promises not to lock up her heart with brain damaging leather jackets as a result of losing Hook.  And Hook promises not to have Emma as his unfinished business, thereby allowing him to get to Heaven.  It’s the kind of all-encompassing conversation we all wish we could have had with loved ones prior to their passing, but most likely did not.


Then, Hook and Emma hold one another’s hands for as long as possible, until Emma rises above ground and emerges from the basement.

In other bad news, the rest of the Once Gang finally figures that Hades tricked them, when Cruella and that witch from Hansel and Gretel lock them all in a room, so they can’t make it out to the portal back to Storybrooke.

new sheriffs

Fortunately, this bad news is quickly eradicated when a tearful Emma emerges from the basement.  Together, her and Regina free the gang in time for them all to get to the portal.  But what about Robin Hood?  Doesn’t Pan have his heart?


As it turns out, Rumpel was just kidding about the whole stealing Robin Hood’s heart thing.  He promptly vanquishes his dad, puts his sleeping girlfriend in a box for safekeeping (Oh the metaphors!), and returns to Storybrooke with the rest of the crew . . . except Hook .  . . and Pan . ..  and all the people who got turned into sperm this season . . .

Until next time, My Dearies!

[Shameless self promotion alert:  Do you like stories with snark?  Romance?  Friendship?  Awkward sexual encounters?  Vengeance?  Drag queens?  Puppies with two wheels for back legs?  If so, please feel free to check out my new novel, Snarky Goes to Hollywood.  It’s only a $1 on Kindle, Folks … the same amount of money you occasionally give homeless people on the street, when you can no longer avoid making eye contact with them .]

TV Show: Once Upon a Time

You may also like...