‘Once Upon a Time’ Season 5 Episode 16 Recap: Our Decay

Rebecca Mader and Greg Germann Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 16
Rebecca Mader and Greg Germann in ‘Once Upon a Time’ season 5 episode 16 (Photo by Jack Rowand / ABC)

Episode 16 of season five of ABC’s Once Upon a Time found two Storybrooke characters and one Wicked Witch pulled down to the Underworld. The episode titled ‘Our Decay’ didn’t spend a lot of time with Hook, Emma, Snow, or David, and instead focused most of the action on the return of Zelena and her bizarre connection with Hades. Episode 16 also found Henry dream-writing/drawing new pages for the book, although unfortunately none of the new pages addressed the key problem at hand for the Storybrooke folks stuck in the red-tinted Underworld: how to return home.

The Recap:

Flashback to years ago in the land of Oz, Zelena (Rebecca Mader) is apparently celebrating her birthday by herself while watching old home movies in the mirror. In flies a winged monkey with the Scarecrow who Zelena is going to use to help her with a time travel spell. Before she can take his brain, Dorothy (Teri Reeves) rushes in to rescue the Scarecrow and protect Oz. Toto’s there too and he drops a curtain on Zelena so Dorothy and the Scarecrow can make their escape.

Zoom forward to present day Underworld and Hades (Greg Germann) is holding the photo from the book showing he and Zelena. He wants Rumple (Robert Carlyle) to hurry up with the portal to Storybrooke. Combining their powers and using Rumple’s Dark One blood will be painful, but Hades is holding the contract that will allow him to take Belle’s baby if Rumple doesn’t go along.

In Storybrooke, Belle (Emilie de Ravin) delivers formula for Neal and Baby Hood (who still does not have a name) to Mother Superior who is acting strangely. It turns out Mother Superior is actually Zelena and she’s come for her baby. In the Underworld, Hades demands Rumple use the portal to snag Zelena’s baby. If he delivers her, he’ll rip up the contract and Belle can keep her baby.

Zelena picks up the baby and Mother Superior and Belle demand Zelena put her down. Meanwhile in the Underworld, Rumple and Hades are opening up the portal right below Zelena’s feet. Belle grabs the baby and falls through, quickly followed by Zelena. But much to Hades’ dismay, no one appears through the portal and he wants to know where Zelena’s baby is.

Belle, Baby Hood, and Zelena don’t know where they’ve landed until Zelena notices the red sky and figures out they’re in the Underworld. Zelena realizes that means Hades is the one who made the portal because he wants her baby. Belle – not believing Zelena is trying to protect them – runs off with the baby.

Back in Oz, Zelena questions the munchkins about the Scarecrow. She knows they’ve tipped off Dorothy to the fact she’s back in charge of Oz and she starts turning munchkins into piles of ash when they won’t tell her where he is. Hades strides in and introduces himself, telling her he likes her style of killing. He’s heard she’s dabbling in time travel and is there to help her out. Hades thinks Dorothy is powerful because she has the love of the people and no one loves Zelena, but Dorothy can be defeated if Zelena and Hades team up. Zelena turns down his offer, saying she’d rather go it alone.

In the Underworld, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and David (Josh Dallas) realize they’re regulars at the diner on the road to hell which freaks out Snow. She really wants to speak to Neal and the Blind Witch tells them they can do it by haunting Neal. It’s relatively easy. All they have to do is go to a phone booth and they can talk to their boy.

Once Upon a Time Season 5 Episode 16
A scene from ‘Once Upon a Time’ season 5 episode 16 (Photo by Jack Rowand / ABC)

Meanwhile, Regina (Lana Parrilla), Robin (Sean Maguire), Emma (Jennifer Morrison), and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) are looking through Henry the author’s new pages which show Snow and Charming getting the good news about the phone line that can deliver ghostly messages. Hook says he doesn’t care what they have for breakfast and thinks Henry should concentrate on getting them out of the Underworld. But poor Henry doesn’t even remember writing or drawing the new pages; they just appeared when he woke up. Henry gets upset with the gang because they all seem to think they know what he should write and being a typical teenger, he rushes upstairs to hs room. Just then Zelena knocks on the door and although Regina hopes that means she’s dead, Zelena explains she came through a portal with Belle and her baby – and she tells them the baby is in danger.

Back in Oz, Hades hasn’t given up on making a deal with Zelena. He knows about Regina and how she got everything while Zelena got nothing. He gets it because his brother is Zeus, and Zeus got everything while he got the Underworld. What a pair! He says only true love’s kiss can free him from the Underworld, but that’s impossible since everyone hates him. Hades tells Zelena he knows where the Scarecrow is and he really wants to help her so he can travel back and take Zeus’ place. They both share that overwhelming, all-consuming need for revenge.

Robin and Regina set out to find his daughter without a tracking spell because they don’t have anything of the baby’s. Zelena tags along because they can’t stop her.

Belle walks into the library but it’s so different she doesn’t understand what she’s seeing. Rumple shows up and he immediately thinks she’s dead, but Belle quickly tells him she came through a portal with the baby and Zelena. He figures out that’s why the spell didn’t work and Belle’s confused as to why he made a portal in the first place. She asks why he wanted to steal a baby and Rumple blames it on Hades, explaining he made a deal to save Baelfire in exchange for his second-born child. That’s how Belle learns she’s pregnant! She’s happy, and then realizes he’s already sold their baby. And when he says he’ll use his power to fix it, she realizes he’s the Dark One again. He admits it, drawing out the dagger and saying he loves both the dagger and her. He says he’s a better man now but not a different man. He is who he is, and he’s always craved power and refuses to give it up – not even for her. He explains she fell in love with him because he was a man and a beast, but neither exists without the other. He says she can choose to love him this way, but Belle refuses to make any choices until he gets her back to her friends and he fixes everything.

The line for the phone to haunt loved ones is super long, and Snow and David wait in line trying to figure out how and if it really works. No one in line is sure the messages get through, but they’re all hopeful.

Robin, Regina, and Zelena search the woods and Zelena goes off on a rant about what horrible name they saddled the baby with, hoping it’s not Britney or Marian. Robin says he hasn’t named her because he doesn’t know the baby yet. Regina tells Zelena she’s there to help her friends who have become her family, and Zelena starts crying that she’s there because she loves her daughter – and, strangely enough, she sounds completely truthful.

In Oz, Hades and Zelena go to the Wicked Witch of the East’s house and find Dorothy’s bicycle. They hop on and Hades promises it will help them find the Scarecrow. Zelena’s giggling like a little girl, saying it’s like a broom with wheels. They crash but they’re both still having flirty fun. Hades then tells Zelena she needs to enchant the bicycle so it will take them to Dorothy and the Scarecrow.

In the Underworld, Robin and Regina finally find Belle and the baby. Belle doesn’t understand why Zelena’s with Robin and Regina and tells them Zelena was in the process of stealing the baby in Storybrooke when they fell through a portal. Regina assures Belle it’s okay, and Zelena whips out a bottle to feed the baby. Robin allows her to feed the baby but tells her she has to give her back when she’s done. But of course when she’s done with the feeding, Zelena refuses to give her back, saying, ‘Not now. Not ever!’ and runs away.

Snow and David tell Emma and Hook they made a call to Neal and can only hope it got through.

Zelena run/limps through the woods and notices the baby has a cut on her face. She also figures out her magic did it and starts crying. [I can’t believe I’m feeling sorry for Zelena this episode.]

Back in Oz, Zelena and Hades locate Dorothy. Hades lavishes compliments on Zelena and tells her to go get the Scarecrow. Dorothy pulls a sword but it’s no match for Zelena who takes the Scarecrow’s brain. [And now I’m over feeling sorry for Zelena!] Dorothy tells Zelena she’ll never be afraid of her but Zelena says she’s not going to kill her. Instead she’s going to spread the word to all the munchkins and assorted creatures that Dorothy can not protect them. “Then my pretty, you’ll have nothing.” Zelena calls out to Hades, proudly showing off Scarecrow’s brain but Hades isn’t there. The bicycle stands alone.

In the Underworld, Robin, Regina, and Belle track down Zelena who’s hiding inside a house. She comes out willingly and tells them it’s her fault and that she can’t protect the baby. Robin wants to know exactly what happened with Hades, and she reveals he wants to use the baby for a time travel spell to satisfy his thirst for vengeance. Regina immediately understands why he needs the baby (because it’s the symbol of innocence). Zelena hands the baby over to them because they can save her. Zelena’s crying and acting solely out of love for her baby. “Good bye, little one. Mommy has to let you go,” she says, breaking down crying while limping back into the house.

Back at the Charming home, Robin holds the baby and Belle asks about the name. Hook thinks Zelena was actually telling the truth and Robin says he’ll take the baby to the forest to hide her. Then Henry runs downstairs with new pages. This time the pages show baby Neal looking up at crystal charms and hearing the voices of his mom and dad singing a lullaby. They thank Henry and Snow says she’s really ready to go home. “We’re gong to take down Hades and we’re going to do it now!” Snow proclaims.

Back in Oz, Hades has set up a romantic dinner for two. He watched Zelena take Scarecrow’s brain and thinks she was wonderful. [This is a seriously twisted couple.] He says he’s not going back to the Underworld, and Zelena realizes that he believes they’re in love. Hades confesses that when he was on the bicycle with his arms around her, he felt his heart flutter just for a moment. He really believes that if they kiss, his heart will start again and they can be together. They lean in to kiss but then Zelena says no! She doesn’t believe him and thinks he’s tricking her into kissing him which will free him from returning to the Underworld. She believes his plan all along has been to steal the time travel spell. He swears that’s not it and he just wants her, even going as far as to declare his love. But she says no one can love her and even if he did, that would mean he’d take away her best chance for revenge. She tells him to go back to the Underworld and he tells her she’ll regret her decision before leaving.

In the Underworld, Zelena faces Hades in the middle of the street. Hades was looking for her and she still believes it’s because he needs her baby in order to complete the time travel spell. But, again, he says he wouldn’t hurt her now and he wouldn’t have hurt her back then. He says true love doesn’t end and that he was just trying to rescue her baby from the heroes and had no idea she was there. Hades also finally explains why the Underworld looks like Storybrooke. It’s because he created it to look that way for her since he knew how much she wanted what her sister had. She realizes he gave her her very own Storybrooke! Hades asks, “Wouldn’t it be nice to not be alone anymore?” He chooses her and they can have it all, but Zelena says she gave them her baby because she thought the child was in danger. Zelena is still leery about trusting him and says it’s too much. She will get her daughter back without Hades. He stops her by saying, “April 15th.” That’s her birthday, something she told him years ago she never knew. He tortured someone to get the information. If she changes her mind, he’ll be waiting for her at home…like he always has.

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