‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 5 Episode 13 Recap: ‘Labor of Love’

Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 13 Colin O'Donoghue
Colin O’Donoghue in ‘Once Upon a Time’ (Photo by Jack Rowand / ABC)
The search continues for the missing Captain Hook in ABC’s Once Upon a Time season five episode 13 titled ‘Labor of Love’ and airing on March 13, 2016. The episode found our favorite pirate beaten but not ready to give up hope that his Emma will find him no matter what. ‘Labor of Love’ also introduced us to Hercules and Meg, with both characters playing pivotal roles in our heroes’ ongoing quest to free Hook from Hades’ prison and leave the Underworld. And episode 13 ended with a twist that put Emma, Regina, David, Snow, Henry, and Robin in grave danger.

Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 13 Recap:

Through the smoke, we head underground to where Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) lies beaten. He wakes up, thinks he can escape, but a female fellow prisoner (the only other person in this dungeon) warns him it’s a trick and no one can escape. Hook knows Emma (Jennifer Morrison) is on her way, and he swears the message he received from her is not a trick being played by Hades (Greg Germann). The girl (Kacey Rohl) warns there’s something horrible keeping guard over them but Hook wants to try to make a break for it no matter what. They run but the hellhound isn’t far behind. Hook tells the girl to keep going and to find Emma Swan and let her know he’s alive and to find him while he stays behind to take on the creature. And then the three-headed hellhound closes in on Hook…

Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) is walking through the graveyard and tells David all the graves belong to people from her father’s kingdom that she couldn’t protect. David (Josh Dallas) assures her they’ll figure out a way to protect their daughter and find Hook, reminding her no one is better at tracking then bandit Snow. As they leave, she stops and kneels at a grave and is visibly shaken.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, the bandits are terrorizing her kingdom and her people demand help. Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) says her stepdaughter will take care of them, but Snow doesn’t know what to do. She races from the room in tears while Regina smiles behind her back at the fleeing Snow. Outside, Snow falls into a hole in the ground and is trapped until a stranger pulls her up. It’s Hercules!

Back at the graveyard, David is amazed and a little jealous to know his wife is friends with a god. Mary Margaret corrects him, saying he was a demigod and he also happens to be dead. Mary Margaret say they have to help him move on and if they do, he can save them because after all he is Hercules (Jonathan Whitesell).

Emma, Henry (Jared Gilmore), Regina, and Robin (Sean Maguire) can’t find Hook in the woods, and Regina thinks maybe her maps still exist in this bizarro Storybrooke. Off Robin and Henry go to look for the maps while Emma and Regina keep hunting for Hook. Emma finds a trail of fresh blood and races off, only to discover the girl who’d been held captive with Hook. They hear the hellhound and poof out of the woods to safety. They appear in Mary Margaret and David’s apartment which is vacant. “It’s officially a cold day in hell when I move in with the Charmings,” says Regina. The girl tells Emma she doesn’t know if Hook is okay and that she escaped through tunnels into the woods, warning her about the three-headed hellbeast with teeth that can crush bones with a single bite. According to the girl. nothing can defeat it. Just then in walks David and Mary Margaret, and Mary Margaret knows what the beast is and who can defeat it.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Hercules explains his mom was mortal so he’s only a demigod. He tells Snow he has to complete his 12 labors in order to join his father on Mt. Olympus. Snow has to figure out what to do about the bandits and he tells her she has to fight them. Snow claims she’s not a hero but Herc is willing to train her. He shows off his medals, including his first for conquering his fears and defeating a lion. Herc will teach her to stand up to the bandits because he believes she’ll make a great queen one day. He teaches her to use the bow and arrow not just to help her people but because he wants to spend time with her before completing his last labor: defeating the three-headed hellhound, Cerberus.

Back in the Underworld, Mary Margaret, Regina, and Emma head to the diner to ask the witch (you know, the one burned to death by Hansel and Gretel) if she’s seen Hercules. She has, telling them he comes in every day on his lunch break. He works at the docks and so Mary Margaret heads down to talk to him. She’s older now, of course, but he recognizes her and they hug. He’s still young and she wants to know what happened. He doesn’t tell her how he died, and she tells him she’s not dead but came down to the Underworld to help her daughter. “What if I told you there might be a way to leave the Underworld once and for all?” asks Mary Margaret. Herc says he can’t because he didn’t finish his labors which Mary Margaret knows because Cerberus is still here. She tells him he’s the only one strong enough to defeat the beast and save her daughter’s boyfriend. Herc says that hero is dead, but Mary Margaret reminds him not to let fear of failure keep him from trying.

Down below, Hook’s tossed on the floor at Hades’ feet. Even though he’s in bad shape physically, he claims he’s going to kill Hades. Hades says that’s impossible, but Hook continues to talk big because, well, he’s Captain Hook.

Robin and Henry attempt to find the maps but there’s a protection spell put in place by Cora. Robin finds a way into the room through the vent, and Henry heads in because he knows where the maps are kept. Once in the room, he immediately runs into Cruella who asks after his mother. “Oh, yes, with you I have to be more specific. How’s the one that killed me?”

Hercules, Mary Margaret, Regina, and Emma head down into the tunnel, and Regina questions whether he can take down the beast. Herc leaves them behind as he goes to fight Cerberus.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, the bandit is stealing from her people when Snow shoots an arrow in warning, telling him to leave her lands and leave her people behind. He doesn’t take her seriously, and she fumbles for another arrow. Just then Hercules slams the ground, shaking the earth and telling the bandits they’ll have to answer to him if they don’t leave her alone.

The bandit shows up at the castle where he gets his payday from Queen Regina who has set this up to turn Snow’s people against her.

Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 13
Jennifer Morrison, Jonathan Whitesell, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Lana Parrilla in ‘Once Upon a Time’ (Photo by Elke Schroter / ABC)

In the Underworld, Hercules walks through the tunnel until he encounters Cerberus. He drops his sword, scared to death, and runs back to Mary Margaret, Regina, and Emma. They prepare for battle when they hear a whistle, the beast retreats, and Hades appears. Regina knows Hades, Hercules’ uncle, and demands to know why this “hellhole” looks like Storybrooke. Hades won’t answer and Hercules warns him to leave them alone. Hades asks if Herc thought he could really face Cerberus again – and Mary Margaret realizes that’s how Herc died. Mary Margaret says she’s not afraid of him, but Hades says she should be or else he’ll come after her family. Emma doesn’t take the threat lightly but Hades has a message for her, showing her Hook’s bloody hook which is now detached from his body. He warns her she should be worried about what he’s about to do.

Cruella wants Henry’s help. She says they have two choices in this Underworld: leaving for a better place or a worse one. She needs a third choice: to go back to the real world. She misses the gin, the glamour…the gin. Cruella says Henry’s still the author, despite what he was told. Henry tells her destroyed the quill but Cruella says the quill is actually a living, breathing energy and that when he broke it, he sent it to the Underworld. Its purpose isn’t fulfilled and she’ll help him find it so that she can go back to the real world. By helping her, Regina will be restored to a pure soul because she won’t be a murderer any longer.

Mary Margaret’s sitting on her bed in the Charming house when Regina tells her they need her to get back out and help them. Mary Margaret says she can’t because it’s all her fault. She thought Hercules could help them. Regina reminds her that Mary Margaret doesn’t give up, and that she actually defeated her and made her her friend. Regina says they need Snow White not Mary Margaret right now.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, Snow tells Herc she can’t be a leader and that Regina will be a better leader. Herc says no one wins every battle, telling her his first labor nearly killed him. He explains the lion’s fur was impenetrable and he couldn’t stab him, but he accidentally dropped his torch, burned the lion’s fur, and was then able to stab him.

Back in the Underworld, Snow demands Herc pick up the sword and try to defeat Cerberus. She wants to know how he was killed. Herc says when he would face one head, the other two heads would attack. Herc says he never should have fought him alone, and Snow says this time he won’t. She became the hero that Herc thought she could be and they will fight Cerberus and win.

Regina, the girl, David, and Emma are at the Charming house when Cerberus breaks through the roof. They run with Cerberus hot on their heels.

Back in the Enchanted Forest, the bandits continue to steal from Snow’s people. Snow shows up again and this time she’s much more forceful. She doesn’t fumble for her arrow and her aim is true. She forces the bandits to lower their weapons and tells them this is over. Her people will no longer be robbed and terrorized. Snow’s a hero because of Hercules’ training! But, that means Herc has to head out on his final labor. They kiss after he tells her she’s going to make an amazing queen.

Back in the Underworld, Mary Margaret and Hercules meet up with Emma, Regina, and David who held off Cerberus long enough for the girl to escape. They split up to find the girl before Cerberus does, with Mary Margaret and Herc finding her right before Cerberus shows up. They run into the library and Mary Margaret says they have to hit all three heads at once, but that means the girl will have to help. Herc gives her his dagger as Cerberus begins to break down the door. Herc has a pipe, the girl a dagger, and Mary Margaret her arrows. Mary Margaret yells “Now!” and they each take on one head. That’s enough to kill the beast. After it’s vanished, Herc thanks the girl and she introduces herself as Meg (we knew that, but now she’s actually said it).

The gang meets at the diner where Herc and Meg continue to flirt. He tells her he thinks they’ve met before, and she reveals they met years ago when he tried to save her but Cerberus got her right after he got Herc. He apologizes for not saving her then, and she says he made up for it now. She thanks him and their hands touch as Mary Margaret realizes maybe defeating Cerberus wasn’t Herc’s only unfinished business. And then Mary Margaret has an epiphany. She tells Emma that back in the Enchanted Forest she was strong, took risks, and inspired people, and she doesn’t want to ever forget that. She doesn’t want to be Mary Margaret anymore; she wants to be Snow White again! “Well it’s about time!” replies Regina.

Meanwhile, Henry crawls out of the room and tells David he didn’t find anything. He doesn’t tell David about Cruella.

Hercules and Meg stand above the flaming pit, and the gang is there to say goodbye. Meg wants Emma to tell Hook she did the right thing and that it was right for him to trust her. Hercules volunteers to stay and help them find Hook, but Snow says he and Meg have to go before Hades finds them. Herc tells her she became an amazing hero and after one final long hug, Meg and Herc step out onto the bridge over the pit and into the white light. He’s incredibly happy as he sees Mt. Olympus.

Back underground, Hades tells Hook the girl he helped has moved on from this world. Hook tells him to get on with killing him but Hades says he actually wants to punish his friends for all of the trouble they’ve caused. “From now on for every soul that your friends free, one of them is going to have to stay,” says Hades, creating three tombstones in front of Hook. “And Captain, you get to decide who.”

‘Labor of Love’ Review:

Hercules popped into the Once Upon a Time world, reminded Snow White she’s a warrior hero, killed a three-headed hellhound, found love, and headed off to Mt. Olympus. We may see him again in flashbacks as Once likes to revisit characters, but this will likely be Jonathan Whitesell’s longest appearance on the show even if he does return to further Snow’s hero journey. Whitesell did a terrific job with Hercules, as did Kacey Rohl as Meg, Hook’s fellow captive in hell.

The episode also gave us our first lengthy look at a bruised and bloodied Hook, which was better than the flickering glimpse we got of the sexy pirate in the 100th episode. It also advanced Hades’ character arc, showing he’s completely evil but with a dark sense of humor. But, surprisingly, ‘Labor of Love’ turned out to really be a pivotal episode for Ginnifer Goodwin as she said goodbye to Mary Margaret and got back in touch with her inner Snow. With Regina’s help, Snow embraced her past and shed the ‘Mary Margaret’ name for good. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects Goodwin’s character moving forward and if alters any of the relationships among Storybrooke characters once they exit the Underworld.


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