Ah, siblinghood. It’s a complicated thing under the best of circumstances, but when motherly abandonment is at hand, well, the emotional impact is everlasting.
Such is the case for sisters Regina and Zelena and twin brothers David and James, each of whom grew up in highly unequal circumstances and have been at odds with one another ever since.
We open with Hades and Zelena going for a casual midnight cruise with a shovel in the back of the car (which isn’t too terribly odd, considering the company). With the dreary vintage tune that’s blaring right now, it might seem like something wicked is afoot (again, considering the company), but it turns out the two are simply out and about for a relatively innocent picnic by a fire pit — kinda romantic, really — where Hades has a little proposal for his lady love.
No, not that kind of proposal — but it’s just as major.
He shows her the cityscape of this Underworld he has built for her — “a kiddie version of what your sister had,” he shamefully admits — and says that what he really wants is to go with her upstairs to Storybrooke and start anew and become a real family, whilst all the heroes (yes, all of them — he’s carved each of their names in tombstones this time so no one’s immune to his deathly charms) are sent to live down here without them for the rest of eternity. “I know things between you and your sister are complicated, but it’s her or us, so what do you say Zelena? Will you make chaos with me?” he asks. We don’t hear her answer…yet.
Thanks to her mini-Magic Mirror, Regina knows exactly what Hades wants her sister to do, and she’s a) ticked that she didn’t say heck no; b) pretty sure there’s no reformation in sight for “the god of death,” no matter how much Zelena might fancy him; and c) gonna call Mom because, as Robin Hood, Emma, and David remind her, that’s pretty much the only person who can put in a pin in her budding relationship with Hades.
Why? Well, let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we? There was a time when Cora tried to shield Regina from her own magic — back when she was just a girl who made pretend besties with her porcelain dollies and whatnot while she roamed the castle alone. But then one day, Cora forgot the key to her wand-wielding drawer in a busy tizzy, and the next thing you know, Regina’s spelled herself to sleep in a flash.
That’s when Cora goes out in search of Zelena, a young girl from the Land of Oz whose magic is clearly strong but suppressed by her oppressive father. Cora’s able to freeze him mid-scolding long enough to convince Zelena she could convince her father her magic is not evil so stop hatin’ by rescuing an innocent girl from eternal slumber. Plus, she’d be helping someone in need. Win-win, right? Zelena’s eager to lend a green light-emitting hand.
Meanwhile, our second pair of tormented genome sharers come head-to-head in the middle of the street. While David’s out running dad errands, a sheriff’s unit rushes him in the street, and though he’s just jaywalking right now, sure, the aggressiveness of the vehicle indicates he’s got much more than a simple citation coming his way right now. Alas, it is “King James” (the title he insists upon), David’s long-lost twin who’s still ticked about being dead, for one, and being their mom’s chosen one. (“You stole my glory. You were half the man I was, and yet you got everything. Everything that was mine. Now you’re going to pay.”) James stuns him and promises to enjoy playing the Shepherd for a little while.
As much as he looks like David, though, James almost gets himself caught in the first moments of his assumed identity. Emma’s reminiscing about a picture of her mom and dad, and when James strolls in and acts like he’s been shopping for baby wipes and whatnot, she asks if he remembers the image. He incorrectly pegs it as a birthday shot, but Emma disregards the error as a consequence of “all the curses and time-jumps” they’ve been grappling with lately.
NEXT: True love’s kiss will do the trick…