In the "Once Upon a Time" episode "Labor of Love," we get back a character that we've seen in spurts, but maybe never fully appreciated: Snow White. Her Mary Margaret days are behind her, according to her, and she looks (hopes) to be a more active part of the team. And this episode, exploring her fleeting history with Hercules, is the first step back.
Back in Underworld Storybrooke, broken clock tower and all, we finally get to see what's going on with Captain Hook. It seems Killian is being kept in a dungeon prison with no bars. The way out is guarded by the three-headed dog of myth, Cerberus. Knowing he can't escape, Killian helps a mysterious woman get out to go find Emma while he runs interference with the hellhound. He knows Emma and the others are there to find him because he got the message, which he knew was real: "When you love someone, you know."
Snow finds Hercules' grave as they search for Hook, telling Prince Charming that they knew each other when they were young. Little bit of jealousy? The question is raised about whether Hercules will be able to help the heroes. Maybe, if they can help him. They need to also find Hook, though, and, as David says, "Nobody's better at tracking than Bandit Snow."
Perfect opportunity to flashback. The wonderful Bailee Madison is back as Lil Snow, uncanny in her resemblance and portrayal of a younger Ginnifer Goodwin. But she's kind of a wimp as a kid princess. She runs out of the castle when confronted with angry citizens who want to know how she'll deal with a bandit. Runs right into a huge trappers'/hunters' hole. Lil Snow is helped out of the hole by none other than teen-ish looking demigod Hercules.
So Herc and Snow chat. In order to make Snow stronger, and a better queen and champion for her people, Herc decides to train her to fight. Hercules trains Snow White!? First Mulan trained Merida, now this? Wow. They seem to have a little adolescent crush on each other going on there, too.
In the Underworld Enchanted Forest, the heroes are still searching for Hook. They decide to split up, with Emma and Regina going off to search for Killian in the forest while Robin and Henry go back to Regina's "Bizarro World" office to find maps of the city that may help the search move faster. While searching , Emma and Regina find the escaped girl from the dungeon, who's injured. Cerberus is after her, and Emma teleports them to the Underworld version of Snow and Charming's apartment.
Snow, who just happens to show up at the apartment with Charming, knows about Cerberus, and she's pretty confident they can defeat it with Hercules' help.
First they need to find Hercules. They question the child-eating witch from the Hansel and Gretel story. The witch was killed by Regina and now runs Granny's diner in the Underworld. Love the coincidences. Another coincidence is that Hercules comes to the diner often.
At the docks where Hercules works, he and Snow re-meet. After a bit of a pep talk to the down demi-god, she convinces him to kill Cerberus.
Hook is caught by Hades, and with no particular bite at all, says he'll kill Hades. After getting beaten up by his pet, maybe not so much of a threat.
Henry sneaks into Cora's office while Robin stands guard, and who but Cruella de Vil is there. Great to see actress Victoria Smurfit again! Cruella and Henry have a talk. Cruella wants out of the Underworld. She misses life. "The music, the gin, the glamour ..... the gin." She tells him that as the author, he has the power to bring her back to life. The pen is a living, breathing entity, and when Henry broke it, it's possible the energy was sent to the Underworld. Cruella will help him find it, he'll bring her back to life, it'll help give Emma back the peace of knowing that she didn't kill anyone. Will Henry agree to this? Something seems off.
Flashback again. Enchanted Forest. Snow White, emboldened by her training with Hercules, tries to help her people by facing the bandits and threatening them. She's not quite as intimidating with her non-mastery of the bow, and the one-eyed bandit is surrounding her with his men. Hercules bails her out. As the bandit reports in, we find that Evil stepmom Regina is behind the whole thing. She's trying to turn the people against Snow.
Present. Hercules faces Cerberus ... and runs away. Hades calls off his hound, and chats with the heroes. He mocks the fact that Hercules is in the Underworld because he was killed by Cerberus, threatens Snow's family, scoffs at Regina and tells Emma that he's basically torturing Hook, and will do much worse. I'm sure he knows that he pushed the exact wrong buttons with that exchange.
Snow and Hercules try to figure out how to beat Cerberus. Basically, according to Herc, one person can't. Hit one head, the other bites you. But if Herc has help...
Hades sics Cerberus on the heroes, so their theory will soon be tested.
Interlude. Back to the Enchanted Forest. Snow stops the bandits with a more confident bow. Is this the beginning of bandit Snow White? And oooo, Snow and Hercules kissed when they were younger. Oooo. Knew they were closer than just a chance meeting and a day of training.
In the present, they continue their teamwork. Hercules, Snow White and Megara — the strange girl — hit Cerberus at the same time in each head, taking it out. Great moment as the hound dissipates.
Hercules and Megara walk hand in hand towards the light — which in this case is Olympus — leaving the Underworld. Hercules offers to stay and help, and the heroes probably could've used him, but they let him go. A more confident Snow White has now shed her Mary Margaret trappings and wants to be fierce again. "Mary Margaret can't help. We don't need her. We need Snow White," says Regina.
That's two more souls the heroes have saved from the Underworld. But for each soul, another will have to stay in the Underworld in its place. One of the heroes will have to remain — and Hook will have to choose which souls are trapped, per Hades' orders
Couple of points:
— Henry is keeping his meeting with Cruella a secret for now, but that relationship will be interesting.
— Seems that the cemeteries would be a great place for the heroes to look for more help.