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REVIEW: Once Upon a Time 5×16 “Our Decay”


And here we have yet another episode of Once Upon a Time that felt like pure filler. The season still has a couple episodes left, but it seems like they’re just killing time at this point. I’m not saying that “Our Decay” didn’t serve a purpose to the overall story arc, but holy crap, it felt rather unnecessary as its own separate installment. This is one of those storylines that could’ve been tagged onto another episode. (spoilers ahead!)

Hades and Rumplestiltskin create a potion that allows Hades to come and go from the Underworld as he pleases. The portal appears in Storybrooke, sucking Belle, Zelena, and her baby into it and transporting them to Underbrooke. One question: how exactly did Zelena escape from Oz? What was the point of her being banished all those episodes ago if she could just come back?

Throughout the episode, we learn about the long-ago relationship of Zelena and Hades, because who makes a better couple than the Wicked Witch and the Lord of the Underworld? But the two have a rocky relationship to say the least. Hades came to Zelena because she had the ingredients and the recipe for a time travel potion. The two share the common factor that they were both screwed over by their siblings, and they desire to travel back in time to fix their family issues.

This episode dives into Zelena’s past, shedding more light on her wicked background. I’m assuming we’ll get a Hades developmental story somewhere in the next couple of weeks, but if we don’t, I’ll be highly upset. There’s a brief cameo involving Dorothy and the Scarecrow (who looks like something that Tim Burton created in a drunken stupor). Oh, and Hades introduces Zelena to the concept of a bicycle. Yeah, riveting stuff, am I right? It felt rather bland overall, and I’m not a fan of how one of Zelena’s motivations is the fact that she doesn’t know her true birthday. But I guess it fits in with the show’s lore where something as mundane as a child’s name is super important.

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In the present timeline, Belle encounters Rumplestiltskin in the Underworld, where he reveals not only that he’s once again the Dark One, but that he’s made a deal with Hades regarding his second-born son. Belle discovers she’s pregnant, and she seems pretty happy, until she realizes what it means for her baby. Poor Emilie de Ravin – she’s always dealing with some BS regarding her characters’ babies.

Zelena meets up with the rest of the Storybrookers to find Belle and her baby. The groups are eventually reunited, and then Zelena TAKES THE BABY AND RUNS FOR IT. I cannot stand the naivety of the characters sometimes. How many times do they have to trust Zelena and have her stab them in the back before they learn? It’s so frustrating to see it happen time and time again. She eventually relents and gives the baby back, but that still doesn’t stop me from being pissed at the stupidity of the main cast.

As Zelena returns the baby to Regina and Robin, she makes them promise they’ll protect her from Hades, who seemingly wants to use her for his time travel spell. Zelena is proven wrong when she meets up with Hades in the town square and he admits that his love for her lasted all these years. Hades explains how he modeled the Underworld after Storybrooke for Zelena, and that he “took care” of her mother for her. Aw, so sweet. What does it take to pair up the Wicked Witch and the Lord of the Underworld? Torture and murder obviously.

The episode felt all over the place. The Zelena and Hades backstory was well done, but everything else felt thrown in haphazardly. There’s a subplot involving Mary Margaret and David trying to use their “haunting” abilities to speak to their child back in Storybrooke, and while I understood the sweet sentiment behind it, it felt very rushed and out of place for this episode. Come on, Once Upon a Time – you’re better than this.

Final Grade: C

+ Greg Germann as Hades – need I say more?

+ It was interesting to learn about Hades and Zelena’s backstory.

– The whole “haunting” scenario was meant to be sweet, but it felt so rushed and forced.

– Very filler-y episode.

Extra Thoughts:

– How much you want to bet time travel becomes a central plot point at the end of the season?

What were your thoughts on the recent episode of Once Upon a Time? Are you a fan of the Hades/Zelena love story? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!