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'Once Upon a Time' recap: A brother's sacrifice and a mighty quill

"Once Upon a Time" is putting a spotlight on brothers, with the Jones brothers taking center stage this week. Oh, and the pen is mightier than, well, almost anything.

To start, the De Vil car is running the streets with Cruella at the wheel driving Henry around Underbrooke in search of the quill. Henry thinks he spotted it, but Cruella's not so sure: "No pen. Just dirt and things that smell like dirt." But Henry did see something. The Sorcerer's Apprentice is in the Underworld. His unfinished business is Henry -- he still has to help the author walk the write, or right, path. It was a half-truth that the pen could not resurrect the dead -- it may actually work in Underbrooke -- so Cruella's plan could work. If that were Henry's plan as well...

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But, "you are the author, you should only record the stories," says the Apprentice. Even knowing that Henry may use the quill for something other than just recording, the Apprentice tells him that it's in the Sorcerer's mansion. In the Sorcerer's mansion are all of the light magic that have come to the Underworld, including the quill and ink. The sheriff has the key to get in. And the sheriff is David's evil brother, James -- there's that brother theme popping up again.

Speaking of brothers -- Hook and Emma are having one of the few moments alone they've had in this half of the season. Hook is not sure he deserves saving from the Underworld. He succumbed to the darkness of the Dark One too quickly. Emma fought it off and was still trying to do good. Maybe he was too weak? His hero, though, is in the Underworld. His brother, Liam, knocks on the door.

Flashback. Killian and Liam are in servitude onboard a ship -- right where their father left them. Liam has a plan, though: They are going to join the King's Navy to get enough money to pay their way off the ship. Later, the captain gets Killian drunk and gambles with him. He loses all of his money, and as Liam returns with certification that they can leave to be with the King's Navy, he finds that Killian has gambled away his money. Liam could have left, but he would not forsake his brother, and the two went back to being servants on the ship.

Seems like a good brother. So why is Liam in the Underworld? He doesn't know -- or at least that's what he tells Hook. All he knows is that there's a book that could possibly be used to overthrow Hades. The heroes know the book all too well -- a story book. They will find this book and topple Hades. "The day you push a sailor too far is the day the mutiny begins," say the Jones brothers.

As they search, Liam has a heart-to-heart with Emma. He tells her that she's not good enough for Hook, and that she should leave him in Underworld if that is his desire. He doesn't like that she made Killian into a Dark One, calling it selfish: "Killian's been fighting darkness his whole life, and you pushed him off a cliff."

As everyone's looking for the book, Henry comes in to tell them exactly where it is: the Sorcerer's mansion. Now they need to confront David's brother. Snow and David spring into action, especially because Snow wants to smack James for kissing her. Now David does, too.

Hades, as usual, gets wind of the heroes' plan. He finds a back door in: Liam. He threatens Liam, saying that he will tell Killian why Liam is really in the Underworld if Liam doesn't recover the book for him. He specifically wants the pages about him taken out. Hades can't do it because apparently "light magic doesn't agree with me." Hmmm ... with Emma being a powerful light-magic wielder, this could get interesting.

Snow and David find the key in the jail, but are interrupted by Cruella. David has to pretend to be twin brother James. Apparently she and James have a ... relationship. Cruella, though, knew it was David all along. He's not "damaged" enough. Snow leaves to get the key to Henry, while David deals with Cruella.

The remaining heroes go to the Sorcerer's mansion and make their way inside. Henry must be the lookout, again. He doesn't like that and goes off to search for the quill. Liam finds the story book and rips out the pages about Hades. Dang -- hoped he'd let the heroes in on the plan and maybe double-cross Hades somehow. Oh well.

Hades actually met Liam on the night Liam decided to mutiny. The ship's captain was steering the boat into a massive storm in search of a rare jewel called the Eye of the Storm. Liam led the mutiny, hoping to steer the ship out of danger, but Hades had other plans. If Liam lets the ship sink, killing the men onboard, Hades will give him the Eye of the Storm, and ensure that he and Killian get out alive. Liam agrees, letting the ship go straight into a deadly storm.

Now we know why he's in Underworld. Emma confronts Liam, but leaves him and Hook to talk about it. Hook figures out his brother's misdeed, seeing ink from the story book on Liam's hands. Hook is disappointed, but not as mad as the sailors who went down on the ship due to Liam. They are in the Underworld, too, and they take Hook and Liam hostage.

The group of sailors brings the brothers to the fire pit, where they'd be finally dead, but Hades intervenes. Hades tries to kill Liam, flinging him off the cliff toward the fire. But Hook grabs him. Dangling from the top of the cliff, over the flames, Liam sacrifices himself, not wishing to take Killian down, and looking to atone for his crimes. Knowing that he shouldn't have sacrificed the men all those years ago, he pays the price and lets go, falling into the fiery pit.

But...

That was Liam's unfinished business. Sacrificing himself released his soul to go on to the better world that Hercules and others have ascended to. Another soul lost for Hades, and a lesson learned for Hook as Liam tells him to trust Emma after all.

Back at the Sorcerer's mansion, Henry finds the quill and the ink.  As the heroes are trying to figure out what to do with the book and its missing pages, Henry is also contemplating his next move as the Author. Should he write the story up the way it should be? The way he wants it to be? Cruella's way? Luckily, Grandpa David intervenes, as they all notice that he's brooding. A little talk, assuring him that he has a family that is ready and willing to talk to him about anything he wants, and Henry is ready to let everyone in. He tells them that he has found the quill, and has the power to re-create the pages about Hades that Liam destroyed, but he doesn't know Hades' history or why Hades was so eager to keep it away from them.

In a final scene, we see some of the pages. Looks like Hades had a relationship with Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West, and we'll get to see more of that next week.

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In a twist, we add insight to the straight-laced recap by publishing occasional questions, concerns and comments submitted by Layla Andre, 8, a fervent fan of "Once Upon a Time" and the daughter of an L.A. Times staff member. They come about while watching the latest episode, and they're probably some of the same that many viewers have.

-- The Sorcerer's Apprentice should trust Henry.

-- Emma's feelings were really hurt when Hook didn't kiss her. And she came to the Underworld to save him!

-- Killian doesn't look anything like his brother.

-- Where is Snow White's baby? Has Doc been taking care of Baby Neal all this time?!

-- Why doesn't Liam want Hook to be with Emma at first?

-- Why haven't James and David met in the Underworld yet?

-- The scenes at sea were pretty cool.

-- The quill looks like a mini-lightsaber.

-- There were a lot of brothers in this episode.

-- Zelena had a relationship with Hades?! I can't wait for her to come back!

-- The scarecrow in the trailer for next week looks freaky because of its eyeballs.

Follow me on Twitter: @Storiz

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