12:00 pm EST, February 29, 2016

‘Once Upon a Time’ season 5 dives deeper into the darkness

Facing the Dark One was just the beginning.

Once Upon a Time‘s Underworld is not a place where the dead delight. Here’s what you can expect from “Souls of the Departed” and the back end of season 5!

Neverland was charming and Oz was quite fine. Arendelle and Camelot were brought to life from the pages of stories both old and new. Adam Horowitz, Eddy Kitsis, and the incredible writing team at Once Upon a Time are master world builders. They take something familiar — a lost boy’s cave, a palace (or four), a small town in Maine — and skew them ever so slightly, challenging the viewer’s preconceived ideas of the iconic lands. The Underworld is no different.

Once Upon a Time season 5 episode 100 review emma david

Once Upon a Time‘s season 5 spring premiere is a landmark episode in more than one way. It is the 100th episode of the series, it holds a very special and heartbreaking family reunion, and one super-secret-not-so-secret-anymore character returns to issue a word of caution. It is an episode that demands live viewing and encourages a second, or third return.

When the casting announcements for the premiere began to roll in it seemed to be striking a balance between progressing the story set up in “Swan Song” and acting as a fun way to see everyone on screen together again. Once Upon a Time found a way to make sure nothing about this episode seemed light-hearted in any way. There is a darkness that looms over the entire affair (and it is not solely because the editing room relied heavily on a sepia filter for the Underworld scenes).

Once Upon a Time season 5 episode 100 review regina robin henry

If season 4 shattered the illusion of fairytale endings, season 5 began the tricky business of maneuvering around the sharp debris. The further Once Upon a Time took their exploration of darkness, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness, the harder it became to avoid the occasional cut. The collection of fairytale characters in Storybrooke and beyond bleed. Once Upon a Time season 5 features the strongest storytelling the show has rolled out and it is only getting better as the stakes get higher.

Here are some spoiler-free hints at what’s to come when Once Upon a Time returns.

‘Once Upon a Time’ episode 100’s best moments

A birthday fit for a queen — Well, any queen who is not Regina. Is there a reality show for spoiled teen royalty who do not get what they want on their birthday? My Enchanted Sweet Sixteen coming soon to a forest near you.

Dark hair, hook for a hand — Finding Killian is not going to be easy. The teasers for Once Upon a Time‘s season 5B arc are the perfect indicator of what awaits Emma in the Underworld and it is not a pretty sight.

Never has a phrase been more fitting for this pirate.

Have some tissues on hand — The opening three minutes of the episode will take your heart out, crush it, and sweep it into the nearest drain.

The Devil is a friend of mine — Introducing the ruler of Underworld, the hot-head himself, Hades. To quote “The Gospel Truth,” this man is “as mean as he is ruthless.” Fans of Hercules have nothing to worry about, Greg Germann’s Hades is the perfect combination of charm, terror, and elegance. We’re sorry there is nothing we can do about that CGI hair, though. It is what it is.

Who said it?

– “Sometimes a mother has to do what is best for her child, even if it’s reprehensible.”

– “It’s seems like such dull work.”

– “You won’t find anything unless I want you to.”

– “If this were a dream there’d be talking doughnuts or something weird like that.”

– “When I get my revenge it will be my victory.”

Still want more? Check out this featurette shown at the 100 episode celebration for the cast and crew!

Once Upon a Time season 5, episode 12, “Souls of the Departed,” airs Sunday, March 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

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